Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Players with Patriots Ties Continuing Football Journey in FXFL

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
A former Florida Gator and Patriot, guard Jon Halapio will continue his football journey in the FXFL. (Kim Klement - USA Today Sports)

A former Florida Gator and New England Patriot, guard Jon Halapio will continue his football journey in the FXFL. (Kim Klement – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The Fall Experimental Football League is slated to begin its inaugural season on Wednesday, with the aim of serving as a developmental platform for the National Football League.

Founded by sports lawyer Brian Woods in May of 2014, the FXFL’s four-team circuit will provide a venue for former college prospects and recent NFL players to work back into the league of 32. And when the league kicks off its month-long schedule, at least eight players with ties to the New England Patriots will play a part in it. (more…)


Bryan Stork Held His Ground vs. Bengals, Patriots Followed Suit

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Using a difference combination along the offensive line on Sunday night, the Patriots unlocked the Bengals defensive front. (NFL Game Rewind)

Using a different combination along the offensive line on Sunday night, the Patriots found a way to unlock the Bengals defensive front. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

It has been trial and error for the New England Patriots. But there were very few errors involved when the Patriots deployed a different combination on the interior offensive line against the then-undefeated Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night.

With two-year starting center Ryan Wendell over at right guard, Dan Connolly opposite him at left guard, and rookie Bryan Stork in the middle, the pieces fit into place. And those pieces changed the complexion of New England’s offense on the way to unlocking Cincinnati’s defense.

It it began with aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage. Stork, a fourth-round pick in May, was an integral part of it. The Week 5 game marked only the second start of his season and NFL career, but aside from false start and holding penalties in the third quarter, the game proved to not be too fast for him.

Sometimes, he was too fast for it. (more…)


Stock Report: Patriots vs. Bengals Edition

Monday, October 6th, 2014
NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Patriots’ running back Stevan Ridley had a strong outing versus the Bengals, toting the rock 27 times for 113 yards and 1 touchdown.. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

The New England Patriots played with emotion and a sense of urgency Sunday night as they beat the Cincinnati Bengals 43-17. Players stepped up and rallied around quarterback Tom Brady. There were a number of areas I could have chose to highlight from this victory. Kyle Arrington for instance played aggressively – making plays on defense and returning a fumble for a touchdown on special teams. Stephen Gostkowski continued to be one the most steadfast kickers in the league, and Darrelle Revis virtually shut down AJ Green for an entire half.

Below are just a few of the bright spots I chose to examine from last night, as well as some areas where New England needs to pick up the slack if they hope to contend later this fall when their schedule beefs up.

(more…)


2014 NFL Trade Deadline: Are the Patriots looking for a dance partner?

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
NFL: Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick may be looking to the trade deadline for reinforcements (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

Twenty-four more days are available for NFL teams to trade players. The Patriots’ front office has around $14M available in cap space, and as of Monday night New England fans have about zero patience available for this team.

Frustration, disbelief and confusion are the best ways to describe what fans are feeling right now. There are so many places to point the finger, but placing blame won’t solve this organization’s issues any faster. What this team needs is a shake up, and Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City was just that.

Now it’s up to the Patriots to pick themselves up, get back on the horse, and circle the wagons. They have enough talent, at least on the defensive side of the ball, to clinch their division. But talent alone doesn’t always translate to wins, it also takes effort and patience. Two things players and coaches have lacked through four games.

In order to right the ship a lot of internal transformation has to take place in that locker room. However, infusing a new element onto a roster can sometimes provide the necessary spark desired to pivot a franchise 180°. Deals at the trade deadline don’t happen often in professional football, and they’re usually never significant moves when they do.

Bill Belichick trading for Aqib Talib a couple years ago is the exception to that rule. Talib gave a lack luster Patriots’ defense the jolt needed to spur a turn around that season. Question is – is there another player available this year who could do the same?

The desert and Motor City may offer solutions…

(more…)


Monday Night Massacre: A Patriots Pictorial Essay of Tom Brady’s 26 Pass Plays vs. Chiefs

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Tom Brady and the Patriots' passing game saw the results hinge on the seconds and the routes. (Denny Medley - USA Today Sports Images)

For Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing game, it came down to the routes and the seconds afforded for them versus the Chiefs. (Denny Medley – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Development takes time.

The New England Patriots’ passing game hasn’t afforded itself enough through the first four weeks of 2014. And it all came to a head for quarterback Tom Brady and the offense against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night.

Brady was behind center for only 38 snaps over nine series. He went 14-of-23 passing for 159 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and two sacks over that span, departing for the sidelines early in the fourth quarter with a 41-7 score.

There was nothing more the offense could do. The Patriots didn’t appear built to close the gap. Not defensively, and not through the air nor ground.

New England’s running game was turned to for 16 carries, 75 yards and two first downs, but it was unable to work symbiotically with an aerial attack that netted just 10 first downs. The Patriots went 2-for-9 on third down, and failed to establish a rhythm in between the Chiefs’ 36 minutes of possession.

There was a difference in calibration between the two sides.

The field was seldom spread by the patterns of the New England’s receivers during the Week 4 tilt at Arrowhead Stadium. And in an effort to get the ball out quickly, there were few elements of surprise between Brady and his connections.

That allowed the Chiefs to respond accordingly, transitioning from a two-deep to a single-high secondary, dropping a safety down into the box to congest the underneath. The front brought pressure with a four-man rush. And the Patriots, in turn, were tasked with beating them at their own game.

New England was not going to beat Kansas City solely over the middle on screens, slants and in routes. Brady and the Patriots route-runners were going to have to beat the defense vertically, down the sideline or deep over the middle.

But the tools weren’t there. The routes weren’t there. And the time in the pocket was not, either.

Over the course of Brady’s 26 pass plays versus the Chiefs, the seconds and routes mattered. The following is a breakdown of the results. (more…)


Decisions But No Solutions for Patriots in 41-14 Loss to Chiefs

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
The Patriots' 41-14 loss to Chiefs resonated. But there are no answers to go along with it. (John Rieger-USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots’ 41-14 Monday night loss to the Chiefs resonated. But there are no answers to go along with it. (John Rieger – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Decisions and solutions are separate entities.

That was seen over an hour before 8:30 kickoff on Monday night, as head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots penciled only three wide receivers in to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Second-year pros Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins saw their names on the deactivation list in favor of rookie halfback James White, reserve linebackers Deontae Skinner and Chris White, and safety Don Jones for depth and special-teams purposes.

It marked fourth time that the two route-runners did not suit up for the same game this season. And it marked the first time that neither Dobson, a 2013 second-round pick, nor Thompkins, a 2013 undrafted free agent, suited up for a game this season.

After working in tandem for 69 receptions, 985 yards and eight touchdowns as rookies, Dobson and Thompkins have accounted for just seven receptions and 66 yards over split time in 2014. Concerns with their ability to get open quickly against the Chiefs was likely part of it. Only that reasoning falls short of justifying it.

All reasoning fell short of justifying what happened thenceforth on both sides of the ball. Dobson and Thompkins could not have prevented what transpired at Arrowhead Stadium, where the temperatures climbed over 80 degrees and the noise over 140 decibels; where the team’s offensive line was set to start two rookie fourth-round picks in Bryan Stork and Cameron Fleming; where the Patriots would soon unravel in the darkest performance of the Belichick and Tom Brady era.

Something should have been different. Perhaps everything should have been. (more…)


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Monday Night vs. Chiefs

Monday, September 29th, 2014
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Kansas City halfback Knile Davis has forged his way in the absence of Jamaal Charles. New England will face them both on Monday night. (Stan Liu – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Three years have passed since the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs last met. It was Nov. 21, 2011, a Monday night, at Gillette Stadium.

Then-rookie Patriots halfback Shane Vereen registered his first NFL touchdown, while part-time cornerback Julian Edelman turned in his second career punt-return touchdown. In the secondary, a well-traveled cornerback by the name of Philip Adams intercepted onetime Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko, and Kyle Arrington – donning No. 27 at the time – picked off two more as New England went on to a 34-3 victory.

Much has changed since then. And this time, the venue for what unfolds will be Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are some notes to monitor leading up to the 8:30 p.m. kickoff. (more…)







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