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  • The Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2018: Number 11
    by Alec Shane on May 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Our offseason countdown continues with the Number 11 Most Memorable Patriots Moment of 2018. Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I know that summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, but everyone with a brain knows that the summer season lasts from Memorial Day through Labor Day - and after that, football season begins. On the horizon are long weekends, cookouts, beach parties, yoga pants, and that critical time on the NFL calendar that is the preseason. Nobody is getting any work done today as we all get ready to head home and fire up the grill, so thanks for slacking off with me here on the countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2018. The list so far: 20. Danny Etling gets half of the Giants fired with an 86 yard touchdown run.19. The Patriots demolish the Jets at home to secure a playoff bye.18. Julian Edelman bounces off a Bill and into the end zone on a 4th down conversion.17. Some punt team acrobatics keep the Steelers from getting a touchback.16. Gronk magic returns with a 34 yard touchdown seam route catch against the New York Jets.15. James Develin finds the end zone twice against the Minnesota Vikings.14. The New England Patriots trade for Josh Gordon.13. A Julian Edelman screen pass and an epic Tom Brady fakeout secures a primetime win on Sunday Night Football over the Green Bay Packers.12. The Patriots right the ship with a Week 4 blowout of the Miami Dolphins. Number 11 takes us out of Foxborough and on the road for a showdown in the NFC North. 11. Special teams lead the way for a decisive road victory over the Chicago Bears. When the Patriots came to Soldier Field on October 21st, 2018 for a Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears, it was tough to get a read on what kind of team this Bears squad was. They dropped their season opener to the Packers, but then rattled off three straight, including a 48-10 pantsing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But coming off a Week 5 bye, they lost to a Dolphins team that had just gotten housed by the Patriots, albeit by only a field goal. The Patriots, however, after starting 1-2, had scored 38, 38, and 43 points on their way to a 3-2 record. That said New England had yet to win a game on the road, and Chicago is a fairly difficult place to play. A lot of the analysts (shockingly) were pretty split over who was going to come out on top. The game started out well enough for the Patriots; they received the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards on eight plays, not even seeing their first 3rd down until it was 3rd and 1 all the way down at the Chicago 9. Brady would hit Edelman on the play for the score. On defense, the Patriots looked solid as well; the Bears were held to a punt and a FG on their next two possessions. Unfortunately, Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the Bears possession at the 24 yard line. Fresh off the field and with a short field to defend, New England was unable to contain Mitch Trubisky, who scrambled eight yards for the score on 3rd and 5 from the 8. To make matters worse, running back Sony Michel would get folded like an accordion three plays into the next Patriots drive, and the Bears would recover and score again to take the 10 point lead. With the lead and homefield advantage, Chicago was in position to put a stranglehold on this game. On the ensuing kickoff, Patterson fielded the ball at the five yard line and took off down the left sideline. The Patriots blocking scheme was set up perfectly, and he was able to dart through a hole at the 25 and break for daylight. A quick juke to the right, and he was gone, taking the ball 95 yards for the touchdown and some nice redemption from his earlier gaffe. Just like that, the Pats were back in it. They would go on to score on their next possession as well to take a 21-17 lead into halftime. The Bears, however, answered right back, scoring on the first possession of the 3rd quarter to regain the lead. new England answered back with a FG, and it was 24-24 late in the 3rd. Chicago’s next drive was aided by a questionable JC Jackson DPI call, but the defense would ultimately get a stop. Lined up to punt at their own 45, the Bears apparently forgot to triple-team Dont’a Hightower, as he absolutely plowed straight up the middle and blocked the kick with his face. Kyle Van Noy picked it up and returned it 29 yards for the go-ahead score - a lead the Patriots would not relinquish. They would add one more TD in the fourth quarter, James White’s second receiving score of the day, to make it 38-24, and the game was all but out of reach. To Chicago’s credit, they were able to pull the score to within a TD, and then a last-second Hail Mary was caught by Kevin White at the one yard line, but White was swarmed by Patriots and unable to punch it it. Patriots 38, Bears 31. Bill Belichick always harps on all three phases of the game, and you won’t find a coach who waxes more poetic about special teams than Belichick does; it’s how a lot of guys make it onto the roster in the summer, and how special teams performs all but dictates the ever so important field position battle. Add to that special teams putting up two scores on the day, one on a kick return and one on a block, then you know that Bill was happy - although he’d never show it. That it came on the road against a very tough opponent and gave the Patriots their first away game win of the season makes this one an easy choice for Number 12. Game highlights here. […]

  • Patriot Nation Podcast #27: The final results of the all-time Bill Belichick era draft
    by Ryan Spagnoli on May 24, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Spags and Pat continue with the final eleven rounds of their all-time Bill Belichick Patriots players draft. In this week’s episode of the Patriot Nation Podcast, Spags and Pat continue their off-season fun as they finish up with the last eleven rounds of the all-time Bill Belichick Patriots player draft. The two have to draft eleven guys on offense and eleven guys on defense to fill out their teams. To explain the rules (if you miss last weeks show or post), it goes like this: Offensively, they need to choose one quarterback and running back, five offensive lineman, two wide receivers, one tight end and one flex position player. On the defensive side of the ball, they have to pick four defensive lineman, two linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties, and one more skill position player. The players you draft, you get in their Patriots prime — Randy Moss, for example, will be had in his 2007 version. When it was all said and done, the teams came together as follows: Be sure to interact with Spags and Pat and let the world know whose squad would take the cake if these two ever squared off (and click here in case you’re visiting via Apple News). You don’t want to miss an episode of the Patriot Nation Podcast or the two other Pats Pulpit shows? Subscribe here to stay up to date: Apple Podcasts: Google Podcasts: RSS: Spotify: Stitcher: Also, make sure to follow the show and its hosts on Twitter: Patriot Nation Podcast: @PatsNationPod Pat Lane: @plane_pats Ryan Spagnoli: @Ryan_Spags […]

  • New England Patriots links 5/24/19 - Welcome to OTAs, the season of “I know it’s only practice, but...”
    by Marima on May 24, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Daily news and links for Friday TEAM TALK Patriots sign rookie WR Gunner Olszewski. Paul Perillo’s OTA Blogservations: 2019 kicks off in Foxborough. Jerod Mayo was quite vocal working with inside linebackers; Most of the coaches and virtually every player donned Bruins hats on the field; More. Erik Scalavino shares the news, notes and buzz from Thursday’s OTA practice at Gillette: Watson, Collins embrace second chances. Press Conference Transcript: Bill Belichick. Press Conferences: Bill Belichick (3.09 min. video) - Julian Edelman (6.05 min. video) - Jamie Collins (3.24 min. video) - Benjamin Watson (6.51 min. video) OTA Recap: Patriots rooting for the Bruins. (49 sec. video) LOCAL LINKS Kevin Duffy tells us what to know about Thursday’s OTA, first media viewing since January: Rookie receiver N’Keal Harry is making a solid first impression. Harry’s contested back-shoulder TD catch was one of the top plays of the day; More. Tom E. Curran shares his OTA session observations: TE Matt LaCosse looked like a very natural hands catcher; In the 11-on-11 session — which is the contact equivalent of tossing it around on the side yard at a Memorial Day BBQ — Ben Watson made a nice catch in traffic on a throw from Danny Etling; More. Evan Lazar offers ten observations from Patriots OTAs: Joe Thuney plays left tackle; Joejuan Williams, Chase Winovich round out solid showing from top rookies; More. Ryan Hannable gives his us his impressions of yesterday’s OTA session: N’Keal Harry stands out; J.C. Jackson and rookie Joejuan Williams were the DB standouts; More. Mike Dussault (PatsPropaganda) Return of the Patriots rookie eyeball test: 2019 Edition. Mike Dussault (PatsPropaganda) Tweets of note from Patriots 2019 OTA #1: Absentee list, who’s playing where, etc... Ryan Hannable emphasizes while Tom Brady’s absence from OTAs stands out, he concedes that the end game makes it worth it. Karen Guregian gives us her impressions of QB Jarrett Stidham after a first look at Tom Brady’s possible successor, and says ‘he certainly had his moments, both good and bad...’ Doug Kyed reports Jarrett Stidham was imperfect, as expected, in his first NFL practice open to reporters, adding that Stidham was 6-of-13 with an INT in team drills. Kevin Duffy says there was a lot to like from rookie N’Keal Harry’s performance at yesterday’s OTA: He moves well for his size, and he clearly has a knack for winning in “jump ball” scenarios. Nick Goss points out how Rookie N’Keal Harry is following Julian Edelman’s lead: “I’ve seen myself improve on route-running already within the first three days, so I’m just going to keep listening to him and keep that same approach and that same mindset coming into practice every day.” David Latham (LastWordOnSports) Patriots Training Camp Battles: Duke Dawson vs Jonathan Jones. Doug Kyed identifies the mystery offensive player donning No. 72 as converted defender, rookie WR Gunner Olszewski out of Bemidji State. Ryan Hannable lists the Patriots OTA jersey numbers, including Jamie Collins wearing No. 8. Mac Cerullo writes that after Jamie Collins and the Patriots didn’t part on good terms, he’s taking a ‘strictly business approach’ in his return. “It’s football at the end of the day, and it’s business,” Collins said. “I come in here and handle my business just like anywhere else I go.” Mark Daniels reports Jamie Collins says he learned a lot after being traded to the Browns. He now comes back to the place where it started with a business-like focus that he hopes will serve him well. Mike Reiss talks about how Ben Watson targeted two of his former teams - Pats and Saints - when having second thoughts about his retirement. Tom Keegan finds Ben Watson not afraid to speak his mind. Doug Kyed relays Dontrelle Inman’s simple reason for signing with the Pats: “I like winning. It’s one of those things like being part of a winning organization, you want to try to help the team win.” Evan Lazar takes an initial swing at a 53-Man roster projection: Patriots have challenging cuts ahead of them. Doug Kyed addresses his Patriots Mailbag: Who will emerge as New England’s top TE option? Jim Hackett attempts to rank Tom Brady’s all-time best receivers and finds it’s not as simple as it sounds. Adam London NFL Rumors: Patriots among six teams interested in Gerald McCoy. Darren Hartwell NFL Rumors: Patriots in consideration to host 2022 NFL Draft in Boston. Nick Goss mentions how several players and coaches showed their support for the Bruins by wearing B’s hats at practice. Michael Hurley suggests that with his new contract, Julian Edelman can become the second-most important player from the Patriots Dynasty. CBS Boston notes Julian Edelman gives a shoutout to Boston as ‘the best sports city in the world.’ Foxboro Report: Reunion season in Foxboro with Watson, Collins, & Bolden. (6.12 min. video) Patriots All-22 Podcast: Evan Lazar and Adam Kirkjian discuss Patriots OTAs, Edelman extension; More. (48 min.) NATIONAL NEWS Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Patriots depth chart 2019: New England makes another reload look easy. Terez Paylor (Yahoo! Sports) Here’s why earning Tom Brady’s trust won’t be easy for Pats’ promising No. 1 pick. Charean Williams (ProFootballTalk) Julian Edelman “not going anywhere” after signing extension. Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Benjamin Watson: Gronk’s retirement not a factor in decision to play again. Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Jamie Collins was surprised to hear from Patriots. Gregg Rosenthal ( 2019 NFL season: One key homegrown player for each AFC team. Patriots: Sony Michel. Albert Breer (SI) Game Plan: Why Robert Kraft has a good chance at avoiding suspension from the NFL; More. Will Brinson (CBS Sports) 2019 NFL Season Win Totals: Patriots continue to be a safe bet, but two other AFC East sleepers will emerge. Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports) Here are five second-year players who could emerge as stars in the upcoming season. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL players supposedly will compete in 40-yard dash tournament. Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Bucs, Ndamukong Suh agree to one-year, $9.25 million contract. Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) It’s just a matter of time before Scouting Combine exits Indianapolis. Darin Gantt (ProFootballTalk) Combine changes could lead to longer stays for players. Analysts ( Debate: Which NFL head coach has best chance to win his first Super Bowl? NFL Total Access ( Steve Mariucci’s best and worst moves of the 2019 offseason. (2.04 min. video) Dan Patrick Show (YouTube) Chris Long talks retirement, marijuana in the NFL & More, with Dan Patrick. (9.23 min. video) EXTRACURRICULAR Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) California Senate passes bill that would allow college athletes to earn money. Report (1053TheFan) Tony Romo loses appeal of lower court ruling in Fan Expo lawsuit against NFL. […]

  • On-field skills not the only thing standing out about N’Keal Harry
    by Bernd Buchmasser on May 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Related: 6 thoughts on the Patriots’ first open OTA practice New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry had a busy practice on Thursday, during the first OTA session open to the media: he led all pass catchers with a total of ten targets during team drills. In general, it was not hard to see why New England felt confident selecting Harry in the first round of last month’s draft: the Arizona State product stood out due to his intriguing combination of size, athleticism and smooth hands. His on-field skill set is not the only thing that catches the eye, though, as Harry also is actively trying to improve as a receiver — and the early results appear to be encouraging. “I’ve seen myself improve on route-running already within the first three days, so I’m just going to keep listening to him and keep that same approach and that same mindset coming into practice every day,” Harry told reporters after Thursday’s session. What does he do to foster that development and keep improving? For one, the rookie is taking a close look at one of the best and most productive wideouts there is in the NFL right now: Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. Harry is expected to play a major role in New England’s offense alongside the veteran, and he is taking an active approach to learning from one of the best receivers to ever don a Patriots uniform. “Just following his lead. Just seeing the types of things he does, seeing the way he prepares before practice, after practice. Those are going to be the biggest things. He’s helped me a lot so far,” said the 21-year old about Edelman and the impact he has had on his development up to this point. New England’s number one receiver is not the only man helping Harry get up to speed at the next level: ex-Patriot Troy Brown also is involved in grooming the wideout. “He’s been helping me a lot with my technique, how to get separation and a lot of those things. He’s been a big help so far,” said Harry about Brown, who joined the Patriots’ coaching staff yesterday to specifically work with the wide receivers. “Coaches have just been trying to show me different techniques to help me get open, so I’m just trying to apply that every day when I come out here. That’s just my job.” “As a wide receiver, my job is just to get separation, get open and catch the ball. So that’s my main focus every time I step out there on every play I take part in,” continued the rookie. Of course, in order to put himself in a position to be able to do that, Harry also needs the trust of the men throwing him the football — and the best way to earn it is to know a playbook that is regarded as one of the toughest in the entire league. Harry told CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar that he works closely with Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer in order to pick his brain and understand the concepts run by the team. “It’s pretty complex [but] it’s nothing I wasn’t expecting,” Harry said when speaking about the challenge that is learning New England’s playbook. “I knew it’s going to be complex, but it’s just about how much time you put in and how much effort you put into learning.” “I’m just trying to learn everything. I’m just trying to do my part and do everything I can to help the team win [...] I’m just trying to do whatever I need to do, whatever the coaches ask me to do,” the wide receiver continued. So far — and yes, one practice is the smallest possible sample size — it appears as if Harry is doing all the right things to get himself in a position to becoming a contributor in 2019 and indeed helping the team win. But no matter happens further down the line, the rookie wideout seems to be pretty happy to be in the position he currently is in. “It’s a dream come true,” Harry said about the transition from student-athlete to NFL player. “This is my job now, this is my profession, so I have to act as such. Off the field I have to do what I need to do: in the playbook, in the film room, and taking care of my body to be a true professional.” Harry is not only saying what he needs to say, it also looks as if he is doing what he needs to do. His performance on the practice field is therefore not the only aspect about him that is standing out: his willingness to improve does as well. […]

  • 6 thoughts on the Patriots’ first open OTA practice
    by Bernd Buchmasser on May 24, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Related: Patriots OTAs: N’Keal Harry, J.C. Jackson among standouts on day three The New England Patriots’ organized team activities are in full swing, and Thursday saw the team’s first appearance in front of the media. The almost two-hour long session held on the fields behind Gillette Stadium was little more than a first taste of the 2019 Patriots, but it already produced some memorable moments — in terms of production and when it came to personnel usage both on and off the field. With that in mind, let’s quickly run through six of the bigger storylines to come out of the third and final OTA practice of the week. Joe Thuney is the next man up at left tackle... for now The Patriots’ offensive tackle depth is not exactly ideal at the moment: with Jared Veldheer retiring after just eight days in New England, and both Isaiah Wynn and rookie Yodny Cajuste out due to injury, the team turned to their starting left guard to fill in. Joe Thuney lined up exclusively as the team’s left tackle on Thursday, with Ted Karras, Brian Schwenke, Cole Croston, Dan Skipper and at one point even David Andrews taking reps at left guard. Thuney is of course no stranger to playing on the left end of the line: the 26-year-old was a starter at left tackle during his senior season at N.C. State, and has the build and experience to be successful in that position as well. That being said, it would still be a minor surprise if anybody but Wynn lined up as the starting left tackle once the season opens in early September. But what yesterday again showed is that the Patriots might need to add an extra body at the position for the sake of stability at the other four spots. The punter competition will be fun to watch this summer While incumbent Ryan Allen was absent on Thursday, the punter competition shapes up to be one of the most intriguing of the summer. After all, fifth-round rookie Jake Bailey already looks like a stronger challenger than Corey Bojorquez ever was: he displayed a strong leg as well as plenty of hang time and also was given reps as a kickoff specialist. His directional kicking and consistency will be a deciding factor whether or not he unseats Allen, but early on Bailey appeared to be comfortable in the position he’s in. N’Keal Harry is off to a good start When you invest a first-round draft pick in a player, you expect him to make an impact sooner rather than later. In wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s case, it looks as if ‘sooner’ is right now: just one month after hearing his name called to close out round one, Harry impressed in what is only his third ever OTA practice. The rookie saw plenty of reps and proved himself to be a reliable target capable of winning one-on-one matchups and out-muscling his opponents in crowded situations. While he still has ways to go and obviously needs to build a rapport with starting quarterback Tom Brady once the future Hall of Famer returns to the field, the early signs are encouraging for Harry. He certainly catches the eye, as his size in combination with his athleticism and ability to catch the football all stand out. The Patriots’ deep cornerback group stands out Speaking of standing out, so does New England’s cornerback group. Led by All-Pro Stephon Gilmore, the competition for practice reps and by extension playing time shapes up to be an exciting one. Yesterday, for example, two players stood out in particular: second-year man J.C. Jackson — coming off an impressive rookie year that saw him go from undrafted signing to de facto starter opposite Gilmore — registered a pair of pass breakups. Jackson is in line for the famed second-year jump, while another youngster might also see regular action if he can build on the small sample size that is Thursday’s practice. Second-round rookie Joejuan Williams stood out because of his size, and already made use of it as he registered a pass breakup during the session and also came a way with an interception in a team drill that would likely have been a pick-six in a game. All in all, the depth and quality at cornerback is apparent — especially considering that a player like last year’s second-round pick Duke Dawson Jr, who played primarily in the slot on Thursday, also is part of the mix. Jerod Mayo the coach is just like Jerod Mayo the player When he with the Patriots from 2008 until his retirement following the 2015 season, Jerod Mayo was a vocal presence at the linebacker position — a team captain and leader on a team in transition. Now manning the sidelines as New England’s new inside linebackers coach, his approach appears to be the same: Mayo is an active communicator and taking a hands-on approach with his players; some of which former teammates of his. Don’t sleep on New England’s offensive skill acquisitions While the rookies draw plenty of attention during organized team activities, the veteran offseason additions should also be kept in mind. Yesterday, for example, three players stood out: Benjamin Watson and Matt LaCosse looked good as the men atop the tight end depth chart, while wide receiver Maurice Harris — as pointed out by CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar — saw numerous reps in a gadget-player role like the one previously held by Cordarrelle Patterson. While a lot can and will happen until training camp and the preseason, the veteran trio is off to a solid start in terms of usage and production in a limited setting. Once live contact is allowed, of course, they will get tested in another way, but at this point, it seems as if the coaching staff feels confident when it comes to putting plenty on respective plates of Watson, LaCosse and Harris. […]


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