Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Browns’

Finding Space: Patriots Rookie Wideout Josh Boyce vs. Browns in Week 14

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Patriots rookie Josh Boyce saw extended opportunity versus the Cleveland Browns in Week 14. (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Josh Boyce has been finding space dating back to his days at Copperas Cove High School, where he amassed 42 receptions for 837 yards as a senior target for current Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

That penchant followed Boyce to nearby Texas Christian University, where the 5’11”, 205-pound wide receiver accumulated 161 catches for 2,535 yards and a school record 22 touchdowns on his way to becoming a New England Patriots fourth-round draft choice last April.

Yet as a rookie in Foxborough, Mass., this season, finding space of another sort has been a challenge for Boyce. No. 82 has been confined behind the likes of Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman on the wideout depth chart. In turn, his chances to carve a role have been limited.

Over the first 13 weeks of New England’s regular season, Boyce played in seven games and was inactive for five. He stood in the offensive huddle for a total of 74 plays, according to Pro Football Focus, recording two catches for 30 yards on five targets while also returning six kicks for 149 yards on special teams.

But against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, injuries to fellow rookies Dobson and Thompkins thrust Boyce into an extended moment. (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…)

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