Posts Tagged ‘Joe Vellano’

58 Defensive Line Combinations: A 2013 Patriots Personnel Study

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The defensive line of the 2013 Patriots shifted in waves. Its components changed by the week, and in some cases, by the snap. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The 2013 New England Patriots defensive line was one of adaptation.

It was one of many faces and many alignments. And it was one composed of 15 players, forged by attrition.

For the collection of former draft picks and undrafted free agents, waiver claims and veteran free agents, it was about being greater than the sum of their parts. For head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and position coach Patrick Graham, on the other hand, it was about being interchangeable.

From Week 1 through Week 17, the New England’s defensive line was just that. But its identity remained unknown. There was no true first-team. There was no true base defense.

Its contributors and alignments shifted with each opponent, with each snap. (more…)


Adapting to Attrition: How the Patriots Defense Replaced Vince Wilfork vs. Falcons

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Vince Wilfork’s season-ending Achilles injury has left the Patriots defense in search of answers. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots survived a 30-23 thriller against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. But what will be felt longer than Week 4 win is the loss of All-Pro defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the season.

In one play, the 31-year-old captain’s season came to an abrupt end with a torn Achilles tendon. In one play, the Patriots defense was forced to move on without its five-time Pro Bowler. And in one play, two undrafted rookie defensive tackles found themselves with big shoes to fill next to veteran Tommy Kelly.

The Patriots defensive front had no choice but to adapt.

(more…)


Beating the Odds: Seven Undrafted Rookies Make Patriots’ Initial 53-Man Roster

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Zach Sudfeld wasn’t the only undrafted rookie to catch on with the Patriots this summer. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

Being one of the best 53 players on an NFL team is a baseline goal for both veterans and rookies, alike. It’s not about what a player accomplished elsewhere, or what round a player was drafted in; it’s about what a player can accomplish in the present and the future.

And whether you’re a prized acquisition or a long shot, that song remains the same.

Just ask New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Belichick and the Patriots brass trimmed New England’s roster down to 51 players before the 6 p.m. deadline on Saturday, Aug. 31. Among the notable moves, five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson was placed on injured reserve, 2011 second-round defensive end Jermaine Cunningham was waived/injured and 2010 fifth-round punter Zoltan Mesko was released.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, tight end Zach Sudfeld, offensive linemen Braxston Cave and Chris Barker, defensive tackles Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, as well as punter Ryan Allen.

All of whom made the tentative cut as undrafted rookies. (more…)


Patriots vs. Lions: Thoughts and Observations

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Kenbrell Thompkins showed off star potential last night.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The third preseason game is notoriously hailed as the “realest” of all the preseason games. That wasn’t the case last night, as the Patriots were thoroughly beaten in their attempt to sort out their roster. With roster cut downs slated to begin on Tuesday this was the last opportunity for bubble players to change minds. What did we learn from the third preseason game and did anyone play their way onto the roster?

(more…)







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