Posts Tagged ‘Don’ta Hightower’

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…)


Gap Integrity: How the Houston Texans Running Game Tested Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, and the rest of the Patriots defense faced an aggressive Houston Texans rushing attack in Week 13. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Defending the run is a concept that’s simple in theory yet complex in practice.

It’s a concept that the New England Patriots defensive front is still vying to collectively grasp without reinforcement from defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, and linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Currently, New England’s defense ranks 31st in the NFL with 138 rushing yards allowed per game and 26th with 4.6 yards allowed per attempt. And head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have taken schematic measures to avert that trend.

Whether it’s been rooted in matchups or attrition, the front seven has transitioned to more of a 3-4 base of late. The move has bulked the defensive line with an assemblage of rookies Chris Jones and Joe Vellano, veteran nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and practice-squad promotion Sealver Siliga. It has also spelled defensive ends Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich at outside linebacker, a step back from their traditional stomping grounds.

The rise of the three-man defensive line has impacted more than those who align there, however; it has impacted the responsibilities of linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Brandon Spikes.

With an already-depleted retaining wall in front of them, the two have seen offensive linemen upfield at a prolific rate this season. So having one less interior disruptor on the field for much of Week 13 against the Houston Texans only heightened it. (more…)


Patriots Training Camp: Hall of Fame Backdrop to Day Four

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Tedy Bruschi and Gil Santos were honored before Patriots training camp practice.

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

Mere minutes after Gil Santos and Tedy Bruschi were inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame, current players took the field on day four of Patriots Training Camp.

Here are some observations on how the veterans and rookies looked during their first action in Gillette Stadium this year.

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Patriots Training Camp: Versatility on Display for Day Three

Sunday, July 28th, 2013
Dont'a Hightower Training Camp

Dont’a Hightower is looking to make an even bigger impact during his second year in New England.

NEPD Editor James Christensen

A year ago, the fresh face of Dont’a Hightower was just trying to fit in during his first training camp in Foxboro. Today he stands as part of the new look defense that is charged this year with winning games, not just holding on to the lead.

See what Hightower had to say and other notes from the third day of Patriots training camp.

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Patriots Draft Pick Review: Dont’a Hightower

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Dont'a Hightower 2012 NFL draft

What grade would you give Dont’a Hightower’s rookie season? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Tony Santorsa

With the 25th overall pick in this year’s past draft, the New England Patriots traded up with the Denver Broncos to select linebacker Dont’a Hightower out of Alabama.

My immediate reaction to this selection was that I loved it. I felt that Hightower was the perfect fit for the Patriots.

Throughout the entire scouting season, I was all over Hightower and felt that he’d be a perfect fit for New England. Hightower impressed me in so many ways, not only because of how he flourished with Nick Saban at Alabama, but his versatility and athleticism.

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New England Patriots vs San Francisco 49ers: Patriots Ultimately Come Up Short

Monday, December 17th, 2012
Randy Moss Patriots Game

Randy Moss had an eventful homecoming in New England. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

On a bizarre night that featured a ten minute Ed Hochuli-induced delay, multiple turnovers, a 28 point deficit and some brutal conditions, the Patriots ultimately couldn’t get it done.

Read about the instant classic 41-34 loss here.

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Patriots vs Titans: Week 1 Aftermath

Sunday, September 9th, 2012
Patriots Titans Rookies

Tavon Wilson and the rest of the Patriots rookies held CJ2K to just 4 yards. (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Matthew Jones

Here is a drive-by-drive look at the New England Patriots performance in their 34-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

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