Posts Tagged ‘Michael Buchanan’

Will Smith Could Bring Sub-Package Power to Patriots Defense

Monday, June 16th, 2014

After missing the 2013 season with a torn ACL, veteran pass-rusher Will Smith is vying to return to form in a new uniform. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

An ACL tear during the 2013 preseason brought Will Smith’s 10-year run with the New Orleans Saints to an unceremonious end. But the former Pro Bowl pass-rusher is looking to start anew with the New England Patriots in 2014.

He just may not start.

It’s an understandable reality for the 32-year-old, released by New Orleans in early February. Despite the 120 starts and 139 regular-season contests under his belt, expectations for the five-time defensive captain are as tempered as the one-year, $855,000 contract he signed in May.

A stark contrast from the $3 million in base salary he was due in 2013, Smith is no longer the player who amassed 33.5 sacks over his first four NFL campaigns. He is no longer the player who forged through left tackles for 13 sacks along the way to a Super Bowl victory in 2009.

Yet for head coach Bill Belichick, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Patriots defensive front, what Smith currently is could be enough to make a difference.

Situated behind defensive ends Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, and their Pro Football Focus-leading 2,256 snaps in 2013, the 2004 first-round pick has an opportunity to excel under a lesser capacity than the one he’s accustomed to. He has an opportunity to earn a title unlike the one’s he’s earned before.

Sub-package rusher. (more…)


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…)


Edge of Development: Patriots Defensive End Michael Buchanan

Monday, April 14th, 2014

A seventh-round selection in the 2013 NFL draft, Michael Buchanan’s first year in New England was one glimpses. But as the 2014 draft has come into focus, so has his growth. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

It requires more than two starting defensive ends for a sustainable front to unsettle quarterbacks.

It requires an assembly.

And after a year in which Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich led all 4-3 defensive ends with 1,142 and 1,114 snaps apiece, according to Pro Football Focus, that was a reality the New England Patriots understood all too well.

New England’s collection of defensive ends remained a seldom-used one for the duration of 2013. There was the 34-year-old Andre Carter, who was re-signed in October and played in 11 games to register 196 snaps. There was 2012 third-round pick Jake Bequette, who played in just five games and logged 14 defensive snaps.

Then there was rookie Michael Buchanan. (more…)


Final Auditions: Unsung Patriots Make Push in Preseason Finale vs. Giants

Friday, August 30th, 2013

Undrafted running back George Winn wasn’t the only overlooked Patriot to seize the moment versus the Giants. (Photo: Patriots.com)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots capped off the exhibition schedule with a 28-20 victory over the New York Giants on Thursday night. But for those who saw their most extensive action of the preseason during the Week 4 tilt, it was about far more than the final score.

It was about the final auditions.

The Aug. 29 game at Gillette Stadium served as an unofficial farewell party for dozens of current Patriots. A large fraction of whom will never don the “Flying Elvis” helmet again, while some will never play in the league again. Because by 6 p.m. on Aug. 31, New England’s roster – and the 31 other NFL rosters – will be cut from 75 men to 53 men. And the whittling has already begun.

With that reality set in, the battle versus New York was a vital one for every Patriots player firmly entrenched on the bubble. Many played like it was vital, capitalizing on the limited reps to give the coaching staff a lasting impression. (more…)


Patriots vs. Giants: Final Preseason Thoughts and Projections

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Michael Buchanan showed off in the Patriots final pre-season game.

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

The final dress rehersal for the New England Patriots before the roster is cut down to 53 and the regular season is in the books. Nothing more can be done to make the team and it’s all in Bill Belichick’s hands now.

While most of the roster was decided prior to the game, it was still an important night for bubble players that needed to put out good tape. How does the roster look now that the preseason is in the books and did anything change as a result of tonight’s game?

(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.

(more…)


From Illinois to the Patriots: The Utilization of Rookie Michael Buchanan

Monday, July 29th, 2013

How could No. 99 Michael Buchanan stand apart with the New England Patriots? (Photo: Oliver Thomas)

NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas

Former University of Illinois pass-rusher Michael Buchanan was once projected as a third-round NFL draft selection. That projection was merely a projection, though. Instead of hearing his name called on April 25 or April 26, No. 99 had to wait until the afternoon of April 27 to see his name next to a team on the television screen.

That team was the New England Patriots, who took a flier on the 6’6”, 255-pounder during the seventh and final round of the draft, pick 226 overall. (more…)







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