Posts Tagged ‘Film Breakdown’

How Kyle Arrington, Patriots Secondary Cornered T.Y. Hilton

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014
Kyle Arrington and the Patriots took away the Colts' primary resource Sunday night in Indianapolis. (NFL Game Rewind)

Kyle Arrington and the Patriots found a way to remove the Colts’ top receiving resource on Sunday night in Indianapolis. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Nearly 40 years have passed since Bill Belichick received his economics degree from Wesleyan University. But what he learned in Middletown is still being put to use two hours northeast in Foxborough.

That was even evidenced in Indianapolis on Sunday, when the New England Patriots’ defense set foot on the Lucas Oil Stadium field to face quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts’ high-volume passing attack.

Belichick, along with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and safeties coach Brian Flores identified the production awaiting them. The ground game, as well as Luck’s league-leading 393 pass attempts could remain. So could the 64 catches for 799 yards combined by tight end Coby Fleener and wideout Reggie Wayne.

The 56 catches for a top-five 937 yards from T.Y. Hilton could not. (more…)


Brandon Browner’s Value to the Patriots Illustrated vs. Broncos

Friday, November 7th, 2014
Brandon Browner's game remains unchanged, and both sides of it were illustrated against the Broncos in Week 9. (NFL Game Rewind)

The physical game of Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner remains unchanged. And both sides of it were seen against the Broncos in Week 9. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Brandon Browner’s brand of football may be going extinct. But despite the NFL’s points of emphasis on illegal contact, holding and pass interference, and despite the seven flags he has drawn through three games this season, his brand has remained the same.

The 30-year-old cornerback is not letting it go without a fight, a tug, or at least a shove.

“I’m not going to change my game. I’m not going to let it bother me,” Browner said as training camp opened in July. “I’m going to force them to make the call. I’m going to try to stay aggressive. That’s what got me here.”

Those words have rung true. The brand that got the 6’4”, 221-pound journeyman to the New England Patriots is not unlike what got him to Oregon State, the Denver Broncos, the Calgary Stampeders and the Seattle Seahawks. It’s physical, glaring, and in a sense, ugly.

It’s supposed to be. And the reason why was explained against the Broncos in Week 9. (more…)


How Patriots ‘X’ Receiver Brandon LaFell Has Marked His Spot

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
Brandon LaFell’s rise has provided the Patriots with the element of unknown. (NFL Game Rewind)

Brandon LaFell’s rise has provided the Patriots’ passing game with the element of unknown. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Brandon LaFell was targeted six times in his first two regular-season games as a member of the New England Patriots. And, heading into his third game of September, the former Carolina Panthers third-round pick had zero catches to his name.

He’s had 36 over the seven games since.

It’s been both a gradual and sudden rise for the 6’3”, 210-pound wide receiver; one that arrived along with the surveillance of his three-year, $9 million contact last March. Organized team activities proved to be about familiarization for him, and that continued through the summer as he looked to find a home on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium.

Route miscommunications and concentration drops were the unintended consequences of a journey that sent him from the NFC South to the AFC East. The 28-year-old had to acclimate to the ball placement of quarterback Tom Brady instead of Cam Newton, and he had to acclimate to his own placement in the offense of coordinator Josh McDaniels instead of Mike Shula.

It required repetition. (more…)


Without Chandler Jones, Three Patriots Tasked with Role of One

Friday, October 31st, 2014
New England called upon Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore to encompass Chandler Jones’ responsibilities in Week 8 against the Bears. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

New England called upon Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore to encompass Chandler Jones’ role against the Bears. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots have been without Chandler Jones for only one game thus far into the 2014 campaign.

That one game saw the front seven send three different players out to succeed the role of one.

Dominique Easley, Akeem Ayers and Zach Moore – each of whom brought their own traits to the defensive rotation. Each of whom brought forth their own third to replace the snaps of a player who had logged 417 through seven contests, per Pro Football Focus.

Only it hinged on more than volume for them in Week 8 against the Chicago Bears; it hinged on how they encountered their alignments, and how they left their impact within them. (more…)


Five Away: Charting Tom Brady’s 30-of-35 Performance vs. Bears

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Tom Brady played a complete game against the Bears on Sunday, even though he didn’t finish it. (Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports Images)

Tom Brady played a complete game against the Bears on Sunday, even though he didn’t finish it. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Efficient and prolific are seldom seen in the same sentence.

Tom Brady was both against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The 37-year-old quarterback operated a short-tempered New England Patriots offense with brevity on the way to completing 30 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns.

In doing so, the 14-year pro crossed all three passing thresholds for the third time in his career and first time since 2007, according to Pro Football Reference.

Brady could have crossed more had he stayed in for the final 5:15, only New England’s collective performance at Gillette Stadium did not require him to. The offensive line preserved ground, the rushing committee gained ground, and the defense broke ground, affording second-round quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a call from the bullpen with a 25-point lead in hand.

And with that, after 68 snaps of command, No. 12 headed to the dugout just shy of pitching all nine innings. He headed off without that final strikeout to seal it all into memory. But he didn’t need it; Brady’s 100th regular-season start in Foxborough was a near-perfect game to those who saw it.

Five incompletions over his 35 attempts were all that stood in the way. (more…)


Patriots Gameday Notes to Monitor Sunday Afternoon vs. Bears

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
The last time the Bears traveled to Foxborough, Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad got the starts out wide. Eight years have since passed, and it will be Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall this time. (Dennis Wierzbicki - USA Today Sports Images)

The last time the Bears traveled to Foxborough, Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad got the starts out wide. Eight years have since passed, and it will be Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall this time. (Dennis Wierzbicki – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Eight years have passed since the Chicago Bears last visited Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. The date was Nov. 26, 2006, and the final score was a Patriots’ 17-13 victory, but the game itself has been remembered for what transpired with 11:34 to play.

It was then, with the score tied at 10 apiece, that Tom Brady took a 3rd-and-9 snap from shotgun and felt the pocket collapse. He ran. And four seconds later, he juked, heading right as eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher headed left.

The one-on-one gauntlet ended in a first down, and ultimately a touchdown.

Much has changed since then. Urlacher is now awaiting immortality in Canton, Brady is now 37, and Chicago’s roster is no longer headlined by the likes of halfback Thomas Jones, wideout Bernard Berrian, D-lineman Tommie Harris, deep man Nathan Vasher or return man Devin Hester.

As for New England’s roster, suffice to say tight end Ben Watson will not be leading the team in receiving this time around.

Things will be different on both sides of the ball when the 3-4 Bears and 5-2 Patriots encounter each other in Foxborough at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Here is a closer look at what to monitor when the two do. (more…)


Well-Traveled Jonas Gray Awaiting Role in Patriots Backfield

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
On his third team since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012, Jonas Gray waited until last Thursday to play in his first NFL regular-season game. (NFL Game Rewind)

On his third team since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2012, Jonas Gray waited until last Thursday to play in his first NFL regular-season game. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Jonas Gray waited. The Pontiac, Mich., native found himself in a crowded Notre Dame backfield consisting of Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, James Aldridge and Theo Riddick, garnering a total of 75 carries over his first three years in South Bend.

But he found his way into an expanded role as a Fighting Irish senior in 2011, filtering in behind Cierre Wood to take 114 carries 791 yards on his way to the first 12 touchdowns of his collegiate career. With those 12 scores, though, Gray’s collegiate career was over.

He had started five games and appeared in 34. Yet as the 2012 NFL draft got underway that April, Gray would have to wait once more. His name was not among the 253 players and 19 running backs selected over three days and seven rounds.

It was among the Miami Dolphins’ undrafted signings, instead. Only the 5’10”, 230-pound undrafted rookie would never play in a regular-season game for Miami; he was placed on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury during the 2012 training camp. He was later released following the 2013 training camp.

Gray cleared waivers and joined the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad, where he remained for the duration of the campaign. But when the Ravens’ campaign ended in Week 17, so did Gray’s tenure with the team.

He embarked on a new tenure with the New England Patriots on Jan. 2, 2014. The reserve/futures signee proceeded to hold onto a spot on the 90-man roster, then 75-man roster seven months later. He played in all four preseason games, and led the team with 142 rushing yards on 37 carries.

Gray continued to hold on, even after he was waived during August’s final cuts. And when Stevan Ridley was lost for the season only six weeks in, the 24-year-old was promoted from the practice squad and handled an opportunity he never had in Miami or Baltimore. (more…)







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