Patriots Offensive Woes: Blaming Brady Easy Excuse

October 5th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Jason Cappell

 

The numbers don’t lie. Tom Brady hasn’t been impressive at all this season. In fact 2014 is no doubt the worst season of his NFL career. But to put the blame on Tom Brady’s shoulders is a grave mistake. The diminishing talent around him has failed Brady, and it’s Bill Belichick the GM and not the coach who is responsible.

It’s been well documented that the best way to get Tom Brady off his game is by knocking him off his feet. The New York Giants exposed this flaw on two separate instances in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. Give Tom Brady time in the pocket and he’ll pick you apart all day long, but when you find ways to put him under duress, his skill set is diminished.

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

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…

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Saturday Slate: NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Week 6

October 4th, 2014

landon collins

NEPD Staff Writer: CJ Sousa

IT IS UPON US! The big time conference match ups begin this week. The crowds are a little louder, the hits are a little harder, and the games certainly mean that much more. But before that excitement, let’s do a quick recap of week 5.

Eyes on the SEC: Saturday started with Tennessee giving a legitimate scare into 17 point favorite #12 Georgia. I see Georgia having big issues down the road if QB Hutson Mason can’t improve his play. If not for the heroic effort of RB Todd Gurley (Just give him the damn’ Heisman already), this would have been a different story. Gurley ended with a career high 208 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. His power, strength, and speed is unmatched across college football. Tennessee freshmen RB Jalen Hurd will be a name to keep an eye on. He grinded out 119 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries against a good Georgia front 7. A&M came back to beat Arkansas in a wild one at Jerry World in OT. A&M QB Kenny Hill lit it up (386 yards, 4 TD, 1 Int), in a season saving effort to climb out of a 14 point 4th quarter hole. Arkansas RB Alex Collins (who I have as the 3rd best RB in the conference) shined as he ran for 131 yards and a touchdown. And in a wild night cap, Missouri went on the road and beat South Carolina in a revenge game from last season. Mizzou scored 14 unanswered to stay in the SEC east race, beating the Gamecocks 21-20. Read the rest of this entry »


Scouting Report: Marcus Peters, CB Washington vs. Hawaii and Stanford

October 3rd, 2014

With a quarter of the season already in the books, it seems the Patriots have more questions than answers. It has been the better part of a decade since fans have questioned if the team has what it takes to make the playoffs rather than can  they win the Super Bowl. As draftniks, we’ve become accustomed to the Patriots having late-round draft picks. This year, if Coach Belichick and the team cannot  turn the season around, we may be drafting in uncharted waters.  With so much uncertainty, no prospect can be overlooked because the Patriots may be picking much earlier than usual. Because of this, I decided to look at one of the top CB prospects, Marcus Peters.

Positives:

Peters has good size for the positions, coming in at 6’0″, 190 lbs. He shows an ability to play press man, off man, and zone coverage and looks comfortable in all three schemes. Peters is consistently lined up with the opposition’s best wide receiver, showing his confidence. He also shows good play recognition and quick reactions. When he plays in press man he shows a good backpedal and an ability to stay low, which gives him great change of direction. He also has aggressive hands to jam the receiver at the line of scrimmage. Peters has fluid hips and does not lose any speed when coming out of his backpedal. Because of his aggressive nature, he plays much bigger than his size and uses his body well to cut off routes or force the WR out of route. Sometimes it even looks as though he is running the route better than the WR. He has potential to be a true shut down corner at the next level.

Negatives:

Marcus Peters’ overall game is fun to watch, but there are some aspects that he needs to improve on if he’s going to be an elite corner at the NFL level. Aggressiveness, one of Peters’ biggest positives, is also his biggest negative at times. At one one point in the game, I saw him peeking back at the quarterback only to have the WR run past him. He also looks to jump routes and can get burned by the double move. So far in the games I have watched, it has not come back to hurt him, but it is something that offensive coordinators in the NFL will look to exploit. Peters also shows an inconsistent effort in run support. At times, he shows a willingness to come up and make a tackle on a RB or on a WR while running a screen play, and he is actually pretty good at it, but there are far too many examples of him “dancing” with a WR and allowing someone else to make the play. He is not alone in needing to improve in these areas though as these are common issues for just about every CB in college football. Peters’ aggressiveness off the field is also a concern. His tantrum on the sideline of a game earlier this year caused him to to be benched for the Illinois game. Finally, I noticed that Peters relies more on his athleticism rather than technique at times, especially against lesser competition.

Summary:

Marcus Peters possesses all of the skills you look for in a CB. He has a unique blend of athleticism and aggressiveness but he walks a fine line between aggressive and over aggressive in many facets of his game.  If he can clean up some of these issues, he has what it takes to be an elite corner at the next level.

 


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

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. Read the rest of this entry »


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

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. Read the rest of this entry »


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Monday Night vs. Chiefs

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. Read the rest of this entry »







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