Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Inside Zone: How the Patriots Run Defense Has Shifted Since the Last Broncos Encounter

Friday, January 17th, 2014

New England’s defensive front has undergone subtle renovations since allowing 280 rushing yards to the Denver Broncos in Week 12. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Rush yards were at a surplus when the New England Patriots defense faced the Denver Broncos ground game in Week 12.

Quarterback Peyton Manning handed the football off to his running backs 47 times, and 280 yards were the byproduct. Fifth-year back Knowshon Moreno had a career day, compiling 224 rushing yards and a touchdown on 37 attempts, while rookies Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson combined for 56 yards on 10 attempts.

Whether it was by design or by accident, the Patriots front didn’t give the record-breaking Manning much of a reason to pass to his assortment of receivers – he totaled 150 pass yards. And while the absence of defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly certainly played a part in the Patriots’ failures there, the woes delved deeper than attrition for the then-31st run D.

Much of it came down to how the scheme approached the inside zone.

That approach has since been altered. It may, however, be fine-tuned once again for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Mile High.

(more…)


Three Phases of Impact: Revisiting Patriots Linebacker Jamie Collins’ Complete Game vs. Colts

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The upside of rookie Jamie Collins was clear in New England’s playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Jamie Collins’ finest NFL performance arrived 17 contests into the New England Patriots season.

It arrived in the divisional round versus quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

For the rookie second-round linebacker out of Southern Mississippi, Saturday’s 43-22 victory marked his most complete showing in a Patriots uniform. He played a complete game in quantity – logging all 66 defensive snaps for the first time in his career. And he played a complete game in quality – totaling six tackles, two QB hits, his first career sack and his first career interception.

But it came down to more than reps or statistics for the 6’3”, 250-pound McCall Creek, Miss., native.

It came down to changing the game. (more…)


Without Brandon Spikes: Charting the Response of the Patriots Linebackers

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Brandon Spikes’ season-ending knee injury has thrust the Patriots linebackers into the spotlight as the Indianapolis Colts await. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

On a 1st-and-10 with 5:03 remaining in Week 17, Brandon Spikes’ season came to an end.

It transpired as Buffalo Bills halfback C.J. Spiller pierced through the sodden Gillette Stadium hashes and crossed outward to the flat, where he created separation beyond the New England Patriots linebacker.

Buffalo quarterback Thaddeus Lewis found his target in stride. And from there, the ball-carrier veered past the 50-yard line, shedding the arcing arms of nickelback Kyle Arrington as Spikes closed in.

Yet at the New England 48, Spiller redirected.

Spikes did not, nor could he. (more…)


2014 NFL Draft: Wide Receiver Rankings (Oliver Thomas)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin has a rare combination of size and speed. And in turn, he has the attention of NFL scouting departments. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

January is a month of divergence for the NFL. Eight teams are left in the Super Bowl hunt; 24 others have cleared out lockers and dispersed for the offseason. But before long, all 32 will be back in the same lane, preparing for the 2014 NFL draft.

It’s a process of personnel evaluation from now through May. There will be all-star games, combines and pro days to gauge a player’s value in the same setting as their peers. Yet in actuality, 90 percent of their value has already been determined.

It’s been determined by the game film and the eyes viewing it.

Now big boards and positional rankings must be taken with a grain of salt. It ultimately comes down to preference, need, and fit.

One area where that rings especially true is at wide receiver.

Over the last three drafts, 90 receivers have been selected by NFL teams – including the Cleveland Browns’ compensatory pick of Josh Gordon in 2012. Of those 90, 36 were chosen within the first three rounds, netting an average of 12 annually.

That trend is expected to continue this spring. (more…)


NFL Wild-Card Weekend: Scouting the Patriots’ Potential Divisional-Round Opponents

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

This wild-card weekend, the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves battling for a Week 5 rematch with New England. Two other teams, however, are in contention to do the same. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Head coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots will be playing a Cover-3 defense this wild-card weekend, as potential divisional-round opponents in the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals fight to advance.

All three sit at 11-5. All three have their respective strengths. And while no team in the AFC is without weakness, all three carry the traits to exploit New England’s. The Patriots will be a favorite in all three of the games – feel free to find a place to bet at SportsBettingDime.com – as the Patriots are 7/2 to win the AFC. The Broncos are the favorite at 5/7.

There are few certainties in the wide-open AFC playoff picture; Kansas City and Indianapolis will play on Saturday, and Cincinnati and the San Diego Chargers will play on Sunday.

All the Patriots can do is prepare to host the highest remaining seed on Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m. (more…)


Clearing Lanes: Exploring the Purpose of Patriots Defensive Tackle Sealver Siliga

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Sealver Siliga is on his fourth team in three years, but he’s fighting for an extended stay in Foxborough. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

It was after 6 p.m. on an October Tuesday when the news broke. But the news wasn’t announced via press release, an agent or a reporter.

It came directly from the source.

“Proud to say I am now officially a New England Patriot!,” 23-year-old defensive tackle Sealver Siliga posted on Twitter, along with a photo of himself pointing to the Patriots poster surfacing the wall behind him.

New England had signed Siliga the practice squad – a familiar destination for the well-traveled Utah Ute. And perhaps because of that, expectations were tempered.

Since going undrafted as a junior entrant in 2011, Siliga had been cut by the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos, traded to the Seattle Seahawks and cut thrice more. The 6’2”, 325-pounder had been a member of two practice squads and played in one career game.

Although after just five weeks on New England’s eight-man roster, Siliga was promoted to the 53-man roster. He’s played in five games since, starting four of them. He’s totaled 23 tackles and three sacks over that span.

Yet as an interior defensive lineman, Siliga’s true purpose with the Patriots hasn’t been seen in numbers.

It’s been seen in the lanes he’s cleared for teammates. (more…)


New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: Week 17 Observations

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

LeGarrette Blount had Bill Belichick’s back in the Patriots’ regular season finale. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Matthew Jones

The New England Patriots will enter the playoffs as the AFC’s second seed after defeating the Buffalo Bills by a final score of 34-20 in what was a game characterized by outstanding success on the ground, which was able to successfully mask a pedestrian passing game and questionable defense. Read on for five observations from the victory.

(more…)




  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives