Posts Tagged ‘Rob Gronkowski’

Without the Football: Exploring the Presence of Patriots Halfback Shane Vereen

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
In a 33-20 defeat, Shane Vereen left an impact on the Dolphins defense. (Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports Images)

In Sunday’s 33-20 loss, Shane Vereen left an imprint on the Dolphins defense. His seven carries and five catches were only part of why. (Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

There’s something to be said for dictating an opponent’s movements. Shane Vereen’s utilization has helped him do so.

That was on display Sunday, as the New England Patriots opened up the 2014 season against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The 5’10”, 205-pound running back caught five passes for 35 yards, and he handled seven carries for 36 yards and a goal-line touchdown as well.

But Vereen’s impact in a 33-20 defeat was about more than what he did with the football. Over his 53 snaps, it was often about what he did without it.

Force adjustments. (more…)

No Gronk, No Chance

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

NEPD Staff Writer: Jason Cappell 

Opening week was a rough start for the New England Patriots. They have no excuses. Miami simply outplayed New England and deservedly earned the win. The Patriots failed to execute both offensively and defensively, but if there is anything positive to take away from their crushing loss, it was the impactful return of Rob Gronkowski.

Plain and simple Gronk is a catalyst for the Patriots offense. With a substantially improved defense, the Patriots once again entered the season with a “Super Bowl or bust” attitude. But without a healthy Gronk come January, they don’t stand much of a chance.


Rob Gronkowski Progresses, Cameron Fleming Starts on Final Day of Patriots Training Camp

Monday, August 18th, 2014
The New England Patriots drew a large crowd for their final open practice of the summer. (Photo: Dan Hope — NFL Draft Sites Network)

The New England Patriots drew a large crowd for their final open practice of the summer. (Photo: Dan Hope — NFL Draft Sites Network)

NEPD Contributor: Dan Hope

Monday’s training camp practice for the New England Patriots was the final session open to the public this summer. It gave Patriots fans the opportunity to see something they’ve been waiting to see since December: Rob Gronkowski participating in full-team drills and taking contact.

Eight months removed from a torn ACL, Gronkowski has been working his way back gradually during training camp. He hasn’t played in either of the Patriots’ first two preseason games—and it’s doubtful he’ll play in either of the last two—but he looked ready for action, or at least close to it, on Monday.


Undrafted Tight End Justin Jones Learning Under Rob Gronkowski at Patriots Camp

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

As a 6’8″ undrafted rookie tight end, Justin Jones is looking to make his play stand apart at Patriots training camp. (Photo: Oliver Thomas)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Justin Jones has a natural advantage over the defenders covering him at New England Patriots training camp. But for the 6’8”, 275-pound undrafted tight end, it’s about learning to get the most out of it.

He has one to learn from in the 6’6”, 265-pound Rob Gronkowski. (more…)

Patriots Tight End Breakdown: Six Deep in Final Week of OTAs

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Asa Watson is one of five Patriots tight ends vying for a roster spot behind Rob Gronkowski. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots entered the final week of organized team activities with five tight ends on the 90-man roster. But by the time Monday’s session drew to a close, so did the tenure of undrafted rookie wide receiver Derrick Johnson.

A sixth tight end was signed in his place.

It’s unknown how long the untested group will carry that allotment. What is known is that two OTAs separate the Patriots from mandatory minicamp, and three minicamp practices separate the Patriots from a month-long summer break.

Between now and then, moves will be made on the back end of the roster. Many will depart from Gillette Stadium on June 19 without the surety that they’ll return for training camp on July 16.

Yet within that uncertainty lies competition. And at tight end, where the average age is just 24 years old, there’s no shortage of opportunity for it. (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…)

Chasing Continuity: Tracking Patriots Personnel Following Rob Gronkowski’s Week 14 Injury

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Rob Gronkowski’s departure from Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns left the Patriots offense searching for answers. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

The New England Patriots are chasing continuity. But in a sport predicated on speed, power and physicality, continuity is elusive. From one game to the next, teams battle against attrition.

And attrition is undefeated.

Versus the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, that sentiment was illustrated once again. The Patriots offense, already without right tackles Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon, backup tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, as well as wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, found itself without two-time All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski.

With 8:32 left to play in the third quarter, Gronkowski caught a 21-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady before his right leg caught the shoulder of Browns safety T.J. Ward. The towering, 6’6”, 265-pound target was taken to the hospital, and on Monday, New England’s worst fears were confirmed.

Gronkowski’s 2013 season was over after just seven games, and in turn, his health for 2014 was cast in a shadow of doubt. He had torn his ACL and MCL.

But on Dec. 8, the Patriots didn’t have time to process the future. All the Patriots could do was respond over the remaining 18 minutes – without Gronkowski’s 39 catches, 592 yards and four touchdowns, his unremitting double- teams, and his blocking prowess.

Head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the undermanned offensive personnel did respond. And by using a similar procedure, New England surged to defeat the Browns in the final seconds, 27-26. (more…)

  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives