Posts Tagged ‘Stevan Ridley’

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…)


The Turf Report Mid-Season Rankings: Upperclassmen on Patriots’ Radar

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon could join former teammate James White in New England’s backfield next season. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

With the Turf Report taking the past couple weeks off, figured it would be appropriate to return with some mid-season rankings. Lets take a look at who’s stood out from the pack, and which amateur backs might be donning a flying Elvis on their helmet next fall?

Last Sunday’s season ending knee injury to Stevan Ridley has cast some uncertainty in Foxborough as to what the Patriots will do after this season at running back. Both Rildey and Shane Vereen are impending free agents, and there’s no guarantee either will return after 2014. The following are potential Junior and Senior prospects that should be appealing to New England this spring. I broke them down into three tiers and detailed the ones that could land on Belichick’s radar.

(more…)


Stock Report: Patriots vs. Bengals Edition

Monday, October 6th, 2014
NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Patriots’ running back Stevan Ridley had a strong outing versus the Bengals, toting the rock 27 times for 113 yards and 1 touchdown.. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

The New England Patriots played with emotion and a sense of urgency Sunday night as they beat the Cincinnati Bengals 43-17. Players stepped up and rallied around quarterback Tom Brady. There were a number of areas I could have chose to highlight from this victory. Kyle Arrington for instance played aggressively – making plays on defense and returning a fumble for a touchdown on special teams. Stephen Gostkowski continued to be one the most steadfast kickers in the league, and Darrelle Revis virtually shut down AJ Green for an entire half.

Below are just a few of the bright spots I chose to examine from last night, as well as some areas where New England needs to pick up the slack if they hope to contend later this fall when their schedule beefs up.

(more…)


Monday Night Massacre: A Patriots Pictorial Essay of Tom Brady’s 26 Pass Plays vs. Chiefs

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
Tom Brady and the Patriots' passing game saw the results hinge on the seconds and the routes. (Denny Medley - USA Today Sports Images)

For Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing game, it came down to the routes and the seconds afforded for them versus the Chiefs. (Denny Medley – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Development takes time.

The New England Patriots’ passing game hasn’t afforded itself enough through the first four weeks of 2014. And it all came to a head for quarterback Tom Brady and the offense against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night.

Brady was behind center for only 38 snaps over nine series. He went 14-of-23 passing for 159 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and two sacks over that span, departing for the sidelines early in the fourth quarter with a 41-7 score.

There was nothing more the offense could do. The Patriots didn’t appear built to close the gap. Not defensively, and not through the air nor ground.

New England’s running game was turned to for 16 carries, 75 yards and two first downs, but it was unable to work symbiotically with an aerial attack that netted just 10 first downs. The Patriots went 2-for-9 on third down, and failed to establish a rhythm in between the Chiefs’ 36 minutes of possession.

There was a difference in calibration between the two sides.

The field was seldom spread by the patterns of the New England’s receivers during the Week 4 tilt at Arrowhead Stadium. And in an effort to get the ball out quickly, there were few elements of surprise between Brady and his connections.

That allowed the Chiefs to respond accordingly, transitioning from a two-deep to a single-high secondary, dropping a safety down into the box to congest the underneath. The front brought pressure with a four-man rush. And the Patriots, in turn, were tasked with beating them at their own game.

New England was not going to beat Kansas City solely over the middle on screens, slants and in routes. Brady and the Patriots route-runners were going to have to beat the defense vertically, down the sideline or deep over the middle.

But the tools weren’t there. The routes weren’t there. And the time in the pocket was not, either.

Over the course of Brady’s 26 pass plays versus the Chiefs, the seconds and routes mattered. The following is a breakdown of the results. (more…)


Patriots’ Stock Report: Trying to Find a Silver Lining in Foxborough…

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has struggled to find rhythm with his offense this season, getting ready during warm-ups before Sunday’s game. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

NEPD Staff Writer: Ken Vetrano

There’s really no sugar coating the Patriots lack luster beginning to 2014, they’ve underperformed and shown a lack of execution and discipline that’s not typical of Bill Belichick coached teams. New England’s offense can’t get in rhythm, and at this point card board cut outs of last year’s offensive line would be an upgrade to the current cast being shuffled on field. Not much progression has been shown on that side of the ball, and I have a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better.

(more…)


Second Glance: Observations From Patriots’ 16-9 Win vs. Raiders

Monday, September 22nd, 2014
The Patriots walked away with a win against the Raiders on Sunday. But the team remains unsolidified on both sides of the ball. (Winslow Townson - USA Today Sports Images)

The Patriots walked away with a win against the Raiders on Sunday. But the team remains in flux on both sides of the ball. (Winslow Townson – USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

They don’t award style points in the NFL. The New England Patriots’ 16-9 win over the Oakland Raiders evidenced why.

The Week 3 home opener at Gillette Stadium netted a total of 10 punts between Oakland’s Marquette King and New England’s Ryan Allen. It saw a total of six field goals between Sebastian Janikowski and Stephen Gostkowski. And by the time defensive tackle Vince Wilfork clung onto his third career interception and the Patriots clung onto the victory, every point in the game had been scored by a player whose last name ended in “-kowski.”

Neither backfield crossed the century mark in rushing. Neither passing game threw for over 235 yards. And combined, the offenses of the Patriots and Raiders converted on just one of six red-zone opportunities.

It wasn’t how it was drawn up. It was, however, more of what it has been for head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots thus far in 2014.

Upon second glance, here are seven observations from Sunday’s tilt. (more…)


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…)







  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives