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A New England Patriots Community Blog



Updated: 2017-12-12T16:09:40-05:00

 



Patriots finalizing a 2-year deal with free agent wide receiver Kenny Britt

2017-12-12T16:09:40-05:00

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New England is about to bolster its offensive depth.

Yesterday, the New England Patriots offense delivered one of its worst games of the season and scored only 20 points against the Miami Dolphins. Today, the team is about to add some depth to its offensive skill positions by bringing free agent wide receiver Kenny Britt on board as first reported by ESPN's Field Yates:

Source: the Patriots are close to a deal with former Browns WR Kenny Britt. He visited them today.

The deal is also for the next two seasons, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:

The #Patriots are signing WR Kenny Britt to a 2-year deal that locks him in through 2018, source said. This was his top landing spot.

Britt entered the NFL as a first round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2009. The Rutgers product spent the first five seasons of his career with the team, appearing in 57 games and catching 157 passes for 2,450 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2014, the 6'3, 220 lbs wideout joined the then-St. Louis Rams as a free agent. After three years with the team, he signed a four-year, $32.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns in March.

However, Britt was released on December eight after catching only 18 passes for 233 yards and a pair of scores. The Patriots didn’t claim Britt because he had guarantees for 2018 in his original contract. By allowing him to clear waivers, New England could create their ideal contract with the wide receiver.

In New England, the 29-year old will now join a wide receiver depth chart consisting of Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola as the top options, with Phillip Dorsett and Bernard Reedy as the depth players.




Snap Count Report: Patriots at Dolphins

2017-12-12T16:00:01-05:00

Official snap counts on offense and defense from the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins in Week 14. Below are the official snap count tallies for the Patriots on offense and defense from the team’s 27-20 loss to the Dolphins in Week 14. Offense Despite scoring a modest 20 points, the Patriots offense had one of its worst games of the season on Monday night. The Patriots offense went three and out seven times and failed to convert a single third down (0-11). It was the first game since Week 5 of the 1991 season that the Patriots failed to pick up at least one first down on third down. From a playing time perspective, the first item on the list was the return of wide receiver Chris Hogan. Hogan went back to serving a prominent role in the Patriots offense playing in his first game since Week 8 logging 55 snaps on Monday night. Hogan’s return bumped wide receiver Phillip Dorsett off the field who had been filling in for Hogan over the last four games. Dorsett didn’t play a single snap on offense for the Patriots after playing on 61.7% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps in the previous four games. In the backfield, the score played a huge factor in how the snaps were distributed. With the Patriots playing most of the game from behind, James White led the way with 35 snaps on offense despite fellow running backs Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead having the hot hand entering Week 14. Finally, despite LaAdrian Waddle’s return from injury, fourth-year tackle Cameron Fleming played every snap for the Patriots at right tackle. Fleming was tasked with blocking one of the game’s best pass rushers in Cameron Wake for most of the game, and didn’t surrender a hit on Tom Brady, but did allow three hurries. Defense The Patriots defense saw its impressive streak of holding opponents to under 17 points end at eight games after the Dolphins hung 27 on the Pats in Week 14. It wasn’t a great start defensively, but they did force the Dolphins to punt on each of their final five possessions excluding kneel-downs, which kept the door open for the Patriots to try to pull off the comeback. Along the defensive line, Malcom Brown, Lawrence Guy and Adam Butler have been called upon to log some serious snaps in the absence of Trey Flowers. Brown (64 snaps), Butler (55 snaps) and Guy (54 snaps) had season-high snap totals on Monday night, while rookie Deatrich Wise played a limited role despite Flowers’ absence (16 snaps). The Patriots opted to go heavy along the defensive line with Brown, Guy, Alan Branch, and Adam Butler, and relied on newcomers Eric Lee and Marquis Flowers to provide an edge presence. After his breakout performance in Week 13, Lee was on the field for 100% of the Patriots’ snaps on defense in Miami. The Patriots were thin at linebacker heading into the game with Kyle Van Noy (leg injury) and David Harris (healthy scratch) both inactive. The lack of depth at the position has forced second-year linebacker Elandon Roberts into a prominent role. Roberts’ play has been trending upward in recent weeks, but he took a step back this week thanks to some poor coaching and Miami’s talented running back Kenyan Drake. The Patriots defense finally began to show the effects of being down two key starters in Kyle Van Noy and Trey Flowers on Monday night. With defensive captain Dont’a Hightower already lost for the season, the Patriots defense continues to get thinner in the front seven. [...]



The Patriots' third down struggles against the Dolphins already started on first and second down

2017-12-12T15:00:01-05:00

New England went 0-for-11 on third down on Monday night. Usually when the New England Patriots accomplish something last achieved more than 25 years ago it is a positive. Most consecutive this, first to do that and so on. On Monday night against the Miami Dolphins, however, the team went the opposite direction and tied the 1991 Patriots – a squad that would finish the season with a 6-10 record – by converting a franchise-low in third downs in a single game. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The Patriots offense was unable to extend its drives once Tom Brady and company reached third down territory and therefore finished the game in Miami with an 0-for-11 mark. And while two third downs were technically converted via defensive penalties, the story remains the same: New England failed to keep drives alive and as a result held the football for not even 24 minutes – putting pressure on both its offense and its defense. Going through each of the team's third down attempts means finding the following results: New England went to the passing game on all 11 of its third down attempts but could not get over the first down marker due to incompletions (five), connections short of the sticks (three), interceptions (two) and at one point in the fourth quarter a sack. The continued lack of success is not the only thing to stand out, however. What also can be found by taking a look at the Patriots' 11 third downs is the distance between line of scrimmage and new set of downs. Only four of New England's conversion attempts came from closer than five yards away, the rest happened in the 6-20 yard range. Take the team's first third down of the day, a play that resulted in an interception when Brady unsuccessfully targeted wideout Brandin Cooks. The Patriots found themselves in a 3rd-and-10 after a stuffed run for no gain on first down and an incompletion on the ensuing second down. This sequence of plays was no outlier: Failing to gain significant yardage on the first plays of a drive haunted the team all game long and put it in a disadvantage when it came to approaching third down. On first down, New England gained an average of 5.0 yards; on second down the team gained 5.9. Not particularly bad numbers per se but when compared to the yardage needed, they show how the Patriots played from behind the sticks almost the entire time: On first down, New England gained 53.2% of yardage needed for a new set of downs (5.0 of 9.4 yards). On second down that number decreased to 50.0%, which is noteworthy as the Patriots on average needed to gain more yards on second down to get a fresh set of downs: 11.8 (the equivalent of 2nd and 12ish). The inconsistencies on first down consistently put New England in second-and-long situations and the team failed to gain significant ground to put itself in favorable third downs. Add it all up and the struggles on down number three do therefore not come as a surprise. The Patriots needed 8.9 yards to extend their series on the average third down. However, they gained only 1.0 yard per play (or 11.6% of the needed yardage) as they exclusively relied on the pass due to the long-yardage situations they found themselves in. Even for a team that gains 6.0 per play over the course of the season – 8.0 per pass – and features one of the NFL's premier offenses, this obstacle proved to be too big to overcome. Follow @BerndBuchmasser Follow @PatsPulpit src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fpatspulpit%2F&width=450&layout=standard&action=like&show_faces=true&share=false&height=80&appId" width="450" height="80" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"> [...]



Did Bill Belichick make a mistake in trading Jimmy Garoppolo and keeping Tom Brady?

2017-12-12T14:00:02-05:00

Let’s see what the head coach has to say about that. The New England Patriots lost a game in Miami to the Dolphins, snapping their 8-game win streak and preventing the team from clinching the AFC East for yet another week. Tom Brady put together his second-straight “blah-to-bad” performance, combining to complete 45 of 73 passes (61.6%) for 491 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions for a passer rating of 68.9. Brady looked scared of the pressure early and struggled to throw to his receivers by the sidelines. While the loss of Rob Gronkowski certainly impacted the offense’s potential, Brady was missing his targets all night. Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo has led the San Francisco 49ers to a 2-0 record over these past two weeks with a passer rating of 87.0, despite a much weaker supporting cast. So I think it’s important to ask head coach Bill Belichick whether he regrets making the trade after seeing the past two weeks. So, coach, what do you think about the Garoppolo trade now? Wait, coach, I’m serious, isn’t it a fair question to ask? I mean, you’re not perfect on all of your decisions, right? So it’s possible you messed this one up? Please answer my question, Bill. I also sent an e-mail to you for comment. Okay, coach Belichick wasn’t willing to discuss the matter, so I think it’s a good idea to talk with Brady himself to see what he thinks about the past two weeks. Tom, do you think the Patriots would be better off with Garoppolo instead of you at quarterback? Okay, I know that you were an incredible 73 of 99 (73.7%) for 833 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 1 interception for a passer rating of 128.1 in the three games ahead of these back-to-back divisional road games. And I know that you were without Rob Gronkowski and Marcus Cannon, and that it was Chris Hogan’s first game back from a serious shoulder injury, and that the running game failed to gain any traction. But is it possible that you forgot how to play football over the past two weeks? Oh, wow, sorry, do you have any final message to Patriots fans that question your ability? Brady wasn’t too happy with the questioning, either, so I tried to get team owner Robert Kraft to give a comment on the situation. Do you think the Patriots should have kept Jimmy Garoppolo? Okay, but what about the struggles of Tom Brady- are you concerned at all? Bob, is it possible that we’re witnessing the END of the Patriots dynasty?! Kraft wasn’t helpful either. So perhaps I should go to the other side of the discussion and ask Jimmy Garoppolo his thoughts on how the trade has played out. Jimmy, are you ready to talk about the trade and how you’ve been playing in San Francisco? This is hopeless. The bottom line is that Tom Brady was perfectly fine up until two weeks ago and it’s clear that he’s been checking out his hand after plays and that his Achilles is acting up. He’s banged up. But once that heals, everything should go back to the way it was before. The only thing more certain than death and taxes is that once everyone starts to think about the demise of the Patriots, New England will make a serious rebound and push to the Super Bowl. [...]



Rex Burkhead sits with Rob Gronkowski atop Patriots’ 2017 touchdown ranks

2017-12-12T13:00:04-05:00

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Rex Burkhead gathered his seventh TD of the season on Monday night in Miami.

Rex Burkhead and Rob Gronkowski have, at minimum, one thing in common.

Through Week 14 of the 2017 season, they share the New England Patriots’ lead in total touchdowns.

Gronkowski’s been there many spikes before, seeing how the four-time All-Pro set the franchise record in October and became the fastest tight end to amass 70 TD grabs in September. Burkhead, though, really hasn’t been since his days at Nebraska.

The 27-year-old running back reached the end zone four times over the course of his 42-game tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, and never more than twice in a season. But despite missing a month worth of football this campaign due to a ribs injury – starting with Sept. 24 against the Houston Texans and ending with Oct. 15 against the New York Jets – Burkhead has crossed the plane for six on seven occasions.

PATRIOTS’ TOTAL TD RANKS

  • Seven: Rex Burkhead, Rob Gronkowski
  • Five: Dion Lewis, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan
  • Four: Mike Gillislee
  • Three: James White
  • Two: Danny Amendola
  • One: Dwayne Allen

In only nine games.

Burkhead posted consecutive multi-touchdown performances versus the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills before getting there once more in the second quarter of Monday night’s 27-20 loss to Miami at Hard Rock Stadium. And with the three-yard plunge out of jumbo personnel, he now has four of New England’s 11 rushing touchdowns after having three in his Bengals career.

He also has three of New England’s 27 receiving touchdowns after having one during his stay in Cincinnati.

TOUCHDOWNS BY YEAR

  • 2017: seven in nine games
  • 2016: two in 16 games
  • 2015: one in 16 games
  • 2014: one in nine games
  • 2013: none in one game

Drafted No. 190 overall in 2013, Burkhead handled the ball just 16 times through his first two seasons with the Bengals. And while he became an every-game active in both 2015 and 2016, it was special teams first on a depth chart reserved for Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. In relative terms, it still is for Burkhead, who signed a one-year, $3.15 million contract with the Patriots on March 14.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound multipurpose back has played a higher percentage of snaps in the kicking game – 25 percent – than on offense – 19 percent – this year. In addition, he’s blocked a punt, returned a kickoff 17 yards and registered four tackles.

So, the fact Burkhead is averaging a TD every dozen offensive touches says something. The fact he’s made five trips to the end zone in New England’s last three games certainly does, too.

Burkhead has gathered 252 rushing yards on 60 carries. He’s tacked on a career-best 249 receiving yards on 29 catches. And, at least for now, he can say he’s right there with Gronkowski, who served his one-game suspension in defeat Monday.

We’ll see whether one can take the lead outright next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Not long ago, though, it would’ve been hard to foresee Burkhead even having the chance to.




Coping With Loss: Miami Dolphins Edition

2017-12-12T12:00:04-05:00

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5 positives we can all take away from Monday night’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Miami Dolphins absolutely handled the New England Patriots last night to the tune of a 27-20 beatdown that actually wasn’t even that close; Miami completely controlled this game from start to finish and just imposed their will on a new England offense that looked lost and a New England defense that showed it’s thinness.

But you know what? That’s OK. And here’s why.

Affordable loss. It seems odd to list a divisional game when you’re neck and neck with another team for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs as an affordable loss, but the Patriots could 100% allow this one. Given the remaining schedule, this game won’t have any impact whatsoever as long as the Patriots take care of business down the stretch.

This was the stinker. The Patriots were due for a game like this, and this happens every single year. I wish I knew why they feel this need to lose one game they have absolutely no business losing every single season almost without fail, but I guess that’s just wired into their DNA. Absolutely nobody showed up yesterday at any level. Brady was inaccurate and out of it. The defense got zero pressure. There was no intensity. The Patriots are a better team than the Dolphins, but the Dolphins wanted this one 1000 times more than New England did, and boy did it show. The Patriots have only swept the AFC East twice during the Bill Belichick era, and history shows that the Pats were due. I’m just glad they played so poorly this week as opposed to next week.

Returning to health. The defense was completely decimated yesterday. Gronk was out, serving his suspension. Chris Hogan was still working the rust off. The Patriots team that took the field against the Dolphins is a very different squad than the one that will be taking the field come January. And January is all that really matters here.

No more primetime games. There’s a late game next week in Pittsburgh, and then there are two 1PM games to close out the season. No more late nights, Monday nighters, or national broadcasts. I hate primetime games for so many reasons, and now I won’t have to worry about watching the Patriots during the regular season late at night until September of 2018. And that’s just fine with me.

SUPER BOWL CHAMPS! That’s right. I’m still riding high from last season’s Super Bowl win and remain aware that every yard the Patriots gain from here on out is just gravy. It’s really, really hard for me to get too worked up over a regular season loss to the Dolphins when Tommy B hoisted his fifth Lombardi Trophy earlier this year. So if you find yourself despondent for some odd reason this afternoon, try to have some perspective. 5 Rings, folks. Enjoy every last second of this ride. Let Miami enjoy this. Fins fans, if you’re here to gloat, gloat away!




Pats Pulpit Podcast Episode 096: The Patriots could not have played any worse in 27-20 loss to the Dolphins

2017-12-12T11:00:03-05:00

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It was that bad.

The New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins 27-20 and according to Alec Shane, there was one play that was emblematic of New England’s performance the whole night.

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How uninspired. How poorly executed. How ugly. Patrick Chung might have been the only player that had a good night and he suffered an injury on this kick that is hopefully not serious.

(I get the actual idea behind the kick, though. Patriots want to either run around the ball to box out the Dolphins or have a Miami play accidentally touch it before 10 yards. Either way, the Patriots have their entire team around the ball. It’s just visually an unimpressive play).

Tom Brady was bad. Everyone on offense was bad. Everyone on defense was bad for the first three quarters. All of the coaches were bad.

Oh, and now the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the schedule. Will any of the Dolphins game trickle into next week?

Alec and Rich cover it all. This podcast is available in the iTunes store, Stitcher, TuneIn, BluBrry, and via RSS Feed. Please subscribe and comment on what you want to hear about in future podcasts!

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New England Patriots links 12/12/17 - MNF over-reactions: Season over, Miami won Super Bowl, Brady done

2017-12-12T10:05:40-05:00

Daily news and links for an over-reaction Tuesday TEAM TALK Gamebook: Full Patriots-Dolphins stats. Post Game Notes: Brady sets mark for most single season yards for a 40 year old QB. Erik Scalavino Analysis: Bad night all around. Paul Perillo Game Observations: Dolphins drop Pats. Andy Hart Stock Watch: Brady's passing game loses its way in Miami. Post Game Transcripts: Patriots and Dolphins. Post Game Pressers: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. LOCAL LINKS Mike Reiss reminds us the Patriots are still in position for a home-field edge, but they need a win next week in Pittsburgh. Karen Guregian focuses on the five biggest threats to the Patriots in the AFC playoffs. Mike Reiss thought the Patriots looked out of sync and vulnerable last night, and being without Rob Gronkowski was only one of the problems. Jeff Howe recaps the Monday Night stinker in Miami. Zack Cox picks the 11 plays that defined the Pats' ugly Monday Night loss. 1. Cutler to Parker on fourth-and-one. Karen Guregian lays the loss at Tom Brady's feet. Bob George (PatsFans) Patriots fall into Dolphins trap. Mark Daniels says the Patriots made history last night in a bad way, with the offense going a dreadful 0-for-11 on third down. Zack Cox shares some notes and nuggets from the ugly 27-20 loss in Miami:on Monday night: The Patriots now sit at 10-3, just one game up on the third-place Jacksonville Jaguars. Ian Logue (PatsFans) Five takeaways from the Patriots loss to Miami: 1. No repeat in their ground game this time around. Mike D'Abate (FullPressCoverage) Pats Recap: Dolphins embarrass Patriots on Monday Night. Ron Borges calls this loss a throwback to days we don't want to remember. /so, uh, thanks for reminding us. Mike Reiss picks his Ups and Downs from last night's loss: Dion Lewis provided a spark; Pats needed more from Brandin Cooks. CBS Boston picks their Ups and Downs: Patriots can't find their rhythm in Miami. NATIONAL NEWS NFL Game Center (NFL.com) New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins. Jeremy Bergman (NFL.com) Jay Cutler outdoes Tom Brady as Dolphins beat Patriots. Conor Orr (SI) Tom Brady struggles as Dolphins pull off massive upset on Patriots. Danny Heifetz (The Ringer) The Patriots can’t summon their dark magic against Dolphins. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Belichick on looking past Miami: “Give me a break”. Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) AFC playoff picture: It’s showdown time. Curtis Crabtree (ProFootballTalk) Jay Cutler’s three touchdowns, Xavien Howard’s two interceptions lead Dolphins to 27-20 win over Patriots. Darin Gantt (ProFootballTalk) Jarvis Landry on TD celebration: “I’m deflating it”. Greg Bishop (SI) A closer look at a devastating week of NFL injuries reinforces this season's recurring theme: Pain. Charean Williams (ProFootballTalk) NFL could set record for most worst-to-first teams. Curtis Crabtree (ProFootballTalk) NFL warns of “significant discipline” for any offensive conduct toward officials. /’and we’ll enforce it, or not, whenever we feel like it.’ DUMPSTER DIVE Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Colts sent non-players on field to clear snow, violating NFL policy. Charean Williams (ProFootballTalk) Report: No suspensions from Jaguars-Seahawks game. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans, Ike Taylor suspended by NFLN after harassment suit filed. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Goodell: I pay for my plane use. [...]