Posts Tagged ‘Kenbrell Thompkins’

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

Saturday, 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…

(more…)


Year of Growth: Revisiting the Rookie Seasons of Patriots Wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins made key contributions as Patriots rookies. And, in a sense, those contributions linked the wideouts together. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

One was a 21-year-old second-round pick out of Marshall, the other was a 24-year-old undrafted journeyman by way of Cincinnati and El Camino College. But while Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins traveled far different roads to Foxborough in April of 2013, their impact as New England Patriots rookies eventually merged them to the same one.

Early on, though, they appeared to be at different stages of development.

Dobson was on the field in the fourth quarter of preseason games, acclimating to the offense with players on the fringe of the 90-man roster. Thompkins, on the other hand, was on the sidelines after building chemistry with the first unit and quarterback Tom Brady.

Those initial glimpses weren’t solely rooted in talent, however. It was clear that Dobson’s ceiling was a high one, only the Conference USA product required a higher volume of in-game reps to reach it. His route tree with the Thundering Herd wasn’t the most assorted one. And Thompkins already had experience running an array of patterns versus future NFL cornerbacks in a basic yet rapid Bearcats hurry-up offense.

Still, both Dobson and Thompkins flashed promise during the summer’s four exhibition contests. The two wideouts had similar production by the end of August; Dobson netted 11 catches for 150 yards over his four games and two starts, while Thompkins netted 15 catches for 166 yards over his four games and three starts.

Even so, it was apparent that they were different players. It was apparent that they won in different ways. (more…)


Patriots Wide Receiver Breakdown: Volume in Numbers at OTAs

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

The Patriots’ wide receiving corps was highlighted during the summer of 2013, and it is once again in 2014. (Photo: Oliver Thomas)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

As organized team activities opened up on Tuesday, May 27, the New England Patriots filled the 90-man roster to maximum capacity by signing two wide receivers. In doing so, one of the positions which grew scarce with attrition and inexperience last season now stands among the squad’s deepest in volume.

It stands at 13.

In a numbers game, though, less than half of that baker’s dozen will ultimately make the 53-man roster. And if the past serves as an indicator of the future, the process will remain a fluid one until then.

That was illustrated last June, as the Patriots stocked OTAs with 10 wideouts. The pool included three incumbents – who combined 21 receptions for the year prior – along with four veteran signings, two rookie draft picks and two undrafted rookies.

The average age of the nucleus was 25 years old.

But by the time OTAs turned into training camp and the preseason, the landscape shifted. Rookie Mark Harrison was never activated from the non-football injury list, incumbent Kamar Aiken and veterans Michael Jenkins, Donald Jones and Lavelle Hawkins were let go. Several more joined only to meet the same fate.

The fate of New England’s 2014 collection is not yet known. Even so, there are some elements that are. (more…)


In the Red Zone: Examining the Patriots Passing Attack vs. Dolphins in Week 15

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Julian Edelman and the productive Patriots passing game met its match in the red zone. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

While 34 completions, 364 yards and two touchdowns convey otherwise, the New England Patriots passing game was condensed in Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Without tight end Rob Gronkowski attracting defenders off the line, without rookie wideouts Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins stretching the edges of the field, and without left tackle Nate Solder enduring blocks off the blind side, New England’s offense was forced to change shape.

The unit did so with backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui supplanting Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and fourth-round pick Josh Boyce occupying the top three wide receiver spots, and left guard Logan Mankins transitioning to left tackle.

The modifications exchanged size and downfield presence for short, timing routes built to exploit Miami’s off-man and press-ball coverage while preserving quarterback Tom Brady.

The offense remained relatively efficient through the process. Brady was sacked once, hurried 12 times and hit seven times, according to Pro Football Focus, but the Patriots managed to sustain drives of 16, 10, 15 and 12 plays long.

As those four drives merged into the red zone, however, New England’s undermanned and undersized attack revealed its side effects.

Only one drive inside the 20 resulted in a touchdown. (more…)


Routes and Coverages: Charting the Balance of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Broncos

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Rookie wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins have been utilized in different facets for the Patriots. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

There was a halftime shift in the New England Patriots’ comeback win over the Denver Broncos in Week 12. And while that was apparent in the 34-31 final score, it was also apparent in the use of rookie wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins.

As the second-round pick opened the game at “X” receiver, the undrafted free-agent opened the game No. 4 on the depth chart. Yet after intermission, their roles were switched. The 6’0”, 195-pound Thompkins found himself on the field, and the 6’3”, 200-pound Dobson found himself predominantly observing from the sidelines.

The beneficiary, whose first passing play came with five seconds left in the first half, ultimately finished with six catches on nine targets for 56 yards. On the other end, Dobson finished catchless over his 37 snaps, relieving an injured Thompkins for just two plays in the third.

At first glance, the personnel switch suggested that the 22-year-old Marshall wideout had been benched in favor of the 25-year-old Cincinnati product. But in reality, the decision delved deeper than that. Dobson was not spotted at Patriots practice on Wednesday due to a foot injury, and Thompkins’ skill set and route tree best suited Denver’s defense. (more…)


2013 Patriots Mid-season Draft and Rookie Review

Monday, November 11th, 2013
Brady Dobson

Aaron Dobson and Tom Brady are starting to develop some rapport. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

It’s hard to believe that the 2013 NFL season is more than half-way over. The playoff picture is taking shape and teams are looking forward towards the 2014 NFL Draft. In terms of the 2013 rookie class it’s still early in their careers, but that hasn’t stopped fans from labeling players “busts” or “steals”.

With the Patriots coming off their bye week, it is the perfect time to review the Patriots 2013 NFL Draft class, evaluate how the rookies have performed to date, and look ahead to what each player could bring in future seasons.

(more…)


Moment of Resiliency: Tom Brady, Kenbrell Thompkins, and the Last-Second Touchdown over Saints

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The final two minutes of Sunday’s game saw the Patriots fight back to defeat the Saints. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

A 10-point halftime lead, as well as four starters, departed from the New England Patriots’ Week 6 battle against the undefeated New Orleans Saints. And with 2:24 remaining, the Patriots found themselves with the football, down 27-23, searching for the energy that had been vacuumed out of Gillette Stadium.

Yet at that juncture, all quarterback Tom Brady found was Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis on a downfield interception. New Orleans took control once again, running the ball three times and expiring New England’s last timeout. Head coach Sean Payton and his Saints squad could not expire the contest, however, as a vital three-and-out by the defense sent the Patriots offense back onto the field with 1:13 left.

That was all it took. (more…)







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