Sunday, August 31, 2014

MusketFire: Analysis of the New England Patriots Roster Cut-downs

Analysis of the New England Patriots Roster Cut-downs

A few thoughts on what the roster moves yesterday mean for the New England Patriots offense, defense, and more. What's the plan at linebacker? What did it say about the recent draft classes? Are safeties Patrick Chung and Tavon Wilson still safe after surprisingly surviving the final cuts?  Chris Barker is still on the team? Really?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Key Stories From Preseason Game Four

New England Patriots: Key Stories From Preseason Game Four

A look back at the tape of the New England Patriots’ preseason finale versus the New York Giants sheds some light on a few different players. While the Giants won 16-13, the final score is really relevant. As always, the last preseason game gives the coaches a chance to evaluate backups and the depth behind the starters. With the only projected starters on the field being players for the Giants, the first few drives of the game were a golden opportunity for New England to match-up their backups against the Giants’ top players. Here are a few key stories from the final preseason game having an impact on the Patriots’ 2014 season.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

H4TV: Boston Red Sox Need To Double-Up On The Mound This Winter - The Sports Journal

Boston Red Sox Need To Double-Up On The Mound This Winter - The Sports Journal

With the gaping hole in the outfield patched-up now, the Red Sox need to focus on the starting rotation for ’15. With Joe Kelly the only starter all but guaranteed of opening in the ’15 rotation, Buchholz unreliable as ever, and the rest of the youngsters unproven, the Red Sox should be looking at two top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers in free agency or through the trade market. The obvious top choice is bringing back current A’s starter Jon Lester.

MusketFire: Why Logan Mankins is No Longer A Member of the New England Patriots

Why Logan Mankins is No Longer A Member of the New England Patriots

The New England Patriots made a surprising trade on Tuesday. On the first deadline day for training camp cuts the usual lists of undrafted free agents and washouts being cut was spiced up by head coach Bill Belichick. As first reported by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, New England traded 32 year-old and long-time Patriot Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick. So what has changed the equation so drastically to swing Mankins out of town? There are a couple of reasons..

Monday, August 25, 2014

Grade Day: How’d the New England Patriots do against the Panthers? | New England Patriots

Grade Day: How’d the New England Patriots do against the Panthers? | New England Patriots

Friday night saw the New England Patriots take on the Carolina Panthers in preseason game three as the starting units got a longer look under the lights. With a 30-7 victory, all three units had a strong showing: the offense was putting up points with all three quarterbacks leading scoring drives; the defense had a shutout going most of the game with Carolina’s third-string offense finally getting on the board late in the game; and finally the special teams unit got a big showing in the kicking game as Stephen Gostkowski booted field goals from 47, 60, and 21 yards. How'd the Patriots grade out against the Panthers in preseason game three?

First Stop Fantasy: FSF Top 100 Players – #24 Darrelle Revis

FSF Top 100 Players – #24 Darrelle Revis – First Stop Fantasy

Darrelle Revis basically spent the last two seasons on the sidelines (ACL injury in 2012) and in purgatory (toiling at less than 100% for a four win team in Tampa Bay). In his absence from the spotlight young cornerbacks such as Cleveland’s Joe Haden, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, and Seattle’s Richard Sherman have been lavished with record contracts and taken to social media to declare themselves the best cornerbacks in the league. Revis is still in the prime of his career and is now teamed up with defensive wizard Bill Belichick in New England ready to stake his claim as the best cornerback in the NFL...

MusketFire: Perspective on New England Patriots Pummelling of the Panthers

Perspective on New England Patriots Pummelling of the Panthers

So which is it?

Is preseason game three the game that gives the most accurate projection of the team’s fortune for the coming season? Does it mean little and is just another preseason game where the starters get a little extra work?

Last year the preseason meant little as the New England Patriots were destroyed by the Detroit Lions 40-9 as quarterback Tom Brady was harassed and chased around Ford Field by the Lions defense and the running game was non-existent...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cover32: Three things to watch for in the New England Patriots third preseason game | New England Patriots

Three things to watch for in the New England Patriots third preseason game | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots face an interesting preseason game three matchup versus the Carolina Panthers. The third preseason game tends to be the most competitive and the game the starters get extended playing time. After debuting last week, New England’s starters had a strong game on both sides of the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles. With a strong defensive front seven the Panthers should give the Patriots’ first team offense a good test in the first half of the game before the reserves enter to play most of the second half. Here are three key areas to watch for on Friday night:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Hopes Rest On Rob Gronkowski’s Health - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Hopes Rest On Rob Gronkowski’s Health - The Sports Journal

http://www.h4-entertainment.com/2014/08/new-england-patriots-super-bowl-hopes-rest-on-rob-gronkowskis-health/

The New England Patriots enter 2014 in the same situation they’ve had over the past two seasons: an offense dependent upon two players. Those two players: Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. And while Brady will do his thing, Gronkowski needs to stay healthy for once if New England wants their glory back. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Gronkowski is like no other tight end in the NFL. Although there are bigger and more athletic tight ends, none have the combination of size, strength, pass-catching, and blocking ability that Gronkowski brings to the New England offense – other than perhaps the Saints’ Jimmy Graham.  A true matchup nightmare, the “Gronk” is too quick and agile for any linebacker to cover, and simply overpowers any defensive back lined-up across from him in coverage.

Musketfire: New England Patriots Starters Shine in Preseason Game Two

New England Patriots Starters Shine in Preseason Game Two

Looking at the New England Patriots' first team offense and defense in preseason game two against the Philadelphia Eagles. Two different looks from 2013 highlight a strong first quarter by the starting units.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cover32: Updating some of the New England Patriots key training camp battles | New England Patriots

Updating some of the New England Patriots key training camp battles | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are continuing their second week of practices with their preseason opponent and this week the other squad is the Philadelphia Eagles. After their combined practices last week with the Washington Redskins and the Patriots’ subsequent 23-6 loss in the first preseason game, the Patriots made some moves at positions and the position battles became clearer. With preseason game two looming and many of the starters who had the night off against Washington will get their first action on Friday night. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the remaining key roster battles to play out throughout the rest of training camp.



INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE: Who is in the center?



The Patriots seemed to have a pretty clear plan at center going into training camp with draft pick Bryan Stork being brought in to compete with incumbent center Ryan Wendell...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

MusketFire: New England Patriots: Final Look at Preseason Game One

New England Patriots: Final Look at Preseason Game One

A not-so-great team performance but it was a fantastic showcase for the understudies to take to the stage and get a chance to perform with the spotlight shining brightly on them. Some took advantage of the opportunity and opened some eyes; others missed a golden chance to grab a role and run with it. Time to take a second look at the tape to see who was a shining star and who was a disappointment during the first preseason game on last Thursday night before moving on to the next preseason game this week .

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cover32: Who performed best during the New England Patriots preseason game? | New England Patriots

Who performed best during the New England Patriots preseason game? | New England Patriots

With it being preseason the focus is not on the final score, but rather on the performances of individuals as they fight to secure a roster spot with the New England Patriots. There were winners and losers in the first game; Players that made a name for themselves in a positive and a negative light; Players who are already looking to latch-on to another team; Players who are three weeks away from being a member of the New England Patriots when the games matter in the standings.For the first time for 2014 the grades are in and ready to be disseminated.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

H4TV: Is Patriots’ Golden Child, Tom Brady, Still Elite As He Turns 37? - The Sports Journal

Is Patriots’ Golden Child, Tom Brady, Still Elite As He Turns 37? - The Sports Journal

New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady turned 37 this past week, and celebrated it like he has probably for the last twenty-plus years: out on the practice fields working with his team. With much discussion about his decline this offseason, all eyes will be on Brady, as he takes the field in 2014 to see if he can win that elusive fourth Super Bowl championship. Brady is the elder statesman on the Patriots’ roster, and unlike Peyton Manning, who is only in his third season in Denver, Brady has been wearing Patriots red, white, and blue since he entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick in 2000. The names of players on that team are distant memories, as Drew Bledsoe, Kevin Faulk, J.R. Redmond, Troy Brown, Terry Glenn, Lawyer Milloy, Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law, Ted Johnson, and Willie McGinest have long since retired. Only kicker Adam Vinatieri (now in Indianapolis) remains in the NFL from that squad. Despite the analysts and media members ready to drop Brady from the list of elite quarterbacks in the NFL, he is far from finished.

First Stop Fantasy: 32 in 32: Houston Texans

32 in 32: Houston Texans – First Stop Fantasy

No one could have predicted the Houston Texans self-destruction in 2013. Sure, the loss of defensive end Mario Williams on defense was expected to slow the ferocious defense a step, but at no time did the prospect of a 2-14 record and the number one overall pick ever enter anyone’s mind. It was a snowballing season that ended with the Texans bottoming out like they did last year.

Houston started 2-0 to open the season and looked well on their way to the playoffs. Then the losses started snowballing: an overtime loss to Seattle; blown-out by San Francisco and St. Louis; a one-point loss to Kansas City going into the bye week; six straight losses by seven points or less coming out of the bye week; and then finally–mercifully–limping to the finish line to secure the first overall pick in the draft after losing 14 straight games.

Musketfire.com: Ryan Mallett's Deja Vu Preseason Performance

Ryan Mallett's Deja Vu Preseason Performance

The key story coming out of the Patriots-Redskins preseason game one was the struggles of backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and the coronation of third-string quarterback and 2014 second-round draft pick Jimmy Garoppolo. In the instant analysis of social media Mallett was declared a bum who should be released immediately and Garoppolo is the obvious heir to Brady. While this may bear out, it is hard to base team decisions based on a single preseason game. The game and reaction stirred up memories from the past and reminded me of the 2008 preseason. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Cover32: Should Logan Ryan start at cornerback for the New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

Should Logan Ryan start at cornerback for the New England Patriots? | New England Patriots

New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner made headlines this week with his physical play in the joint practices with the Washington Redskins. Browner has been lauded for having brought a physical presence to the New England secondary this preseason. However, there is one problem for the Patriots: after the preseason, Browner must serve a four-game suspension. The Patriots need to find a starter opposite All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, and right now, the battle is primarily between third-year cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and second-year cornerback Logan Ryan.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

MusketFire: Revisiting Cordarrelle Patterson New England Patriots Trade

Revisiting Cordarrelle Patterson New England Patriots Trade

The Minnesota Vikings indicated that second-year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson would be limited in kick returns this preseason as the Vikings keep the Pro Bowl returner focused on receiving. What does that have to do with the New England Patriots? Well, to the fans and analysts that had New England staying at #29 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft and taking Patterson with their first-round pick. Instead, the Patriots traded down with Minnesota getting the #52 overall pick in the second-round, the #83 overall pick in third-round, the #102 overall pick in the fourth round and the #229 overall pick in the seventh-round in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Vikings drafted Patterson, and the Patriots turned those picks into linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Logan Ryan, wide receiver Josh Boyce, and a season of running back LeGarrette Blount.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Cover32: Grading the New England Patriots offenses through the Belichick-Brady era | New England Patriots

Grading the New England Patriots offenses through the Belichick-Brady era | New England Patriots

The Patriots have focused on a number of different offensive concepts on offense over the years based upon the personnel surrounding Brady. As much as the offense stays the same, it adapts over the years. Last year there were three distinct offenses in one year, but usually the grouping and identity carry over a few years. The Cover32.com Grade Day will review and assign grades to the Patriots offenses over the Belichick-Brady years:

Monday, August 04, 2014

H4TV: Red Sox Trade Deadline Deals Are Quick Stepping Stone For 2015 - The Sports Journal

Red Sox Trade Deadline Deals Are Quick Stepping Stone For 2015 - The Sports Journal

The Boston Red Sox set off the trade deadline fireworks with a number of moves to completely change the fabric of the franchise...The Red Sox dealt all of their major pieces with expiring contracts during the trade deadline...Lester being dealt to Oakland as his contract comes to a close this season was the biggest domino dropping...Replacing Lester and Lackey is not an easy task for Boston...

MusketFire.com New England Patriots Offense Still Needs the Running Game

New England Patriots Offense Still Needs the Running Game

Historically, the statistics bear out the balance in the offense of the Patriots. While they moved to the two-tight end offense, they continued to run the ball. Despite allowing Blount–their most effective running back last season– to leave in free agency, the Patriots took Wisconsin running back James White in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. The passing game works best with the play-action and that is dependent upon having a strong running game.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

First Stop Fantasy: 32 in 32: Buffalo Bills

32 in 32: Buffalo Bills – First Stop Fantasy

The first of the series of a preview of 32 teams in 32 days starts with a look at the Buffalo Bills with an recap of 2013, an overview of 2014, a look at the draft, offense, defense, special teams, and breakout players.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Cover32: One year has made all the difference for the New England Patriots offense | New England Patriots

One year has made all the difference for the New England Patriots offense | New England Patriots

The New England Patriots finish their first week of training camp and the storylines around the team are in stark contrast to 2013. Last year, the Aaron Hernandez saga was in full swing with the tight end’s shocking arrest, release and non-stop news all summer. Add in a dose of Tebow-mania as the most talked about third-string quarterback dominated the non-Hernandez related drama. Finally, last year the focus was squarely on who was going to catch passes from quarterback Tom Brady. At the wide receiver position Wes Welker relocated to the Rocky Mountains and the Patriots had a plethora of rookies, unknowns, unproven players and Danny Amendola trying to fill his shoes in training camp. At tight end, Hernandez was in jail and Rob Gronkowski was out following offseason back surgery and multiple arm surgeries after twice breaking his forearm in 2012. The offense looked like a mess in training camp with all these moving parts.

FullPressCoverage.com: New England Patriots’ Top 2019 NFL Draft Picks Show Evolution on Both Sides of the Ball

The New England Patriots may have tipped their hand with their first two 2019 NFL Draft picks. Choosing a bigger, more aggressive outside-...