I think an improved running game in New England would obviously come from three things: improved blocking, improved running and a greater commitment to running ball from the coaches. I have a lot of faith that the latter two things are going to occur this season. I really like what I’ve seen from
I was more than happy on how the Patriots played against the Saints last Thursday. Our defense was sharp and aggressive. Ryan Mallet and
Holy long, rambling email! I do my best to cover as much as possible, but try decaf my friend. I don’t agree with a lot of your observations – especially on Mallett – but I’ll leave that for another day and get right to your specific questions. I think the Patriots will run a bit more in 2012, as I said in the previous answer. But more importantly I think they will run with more success. I thought BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a pretty bad year last fall. I am very intrigued by the youthful potential that the two second-year backs bring to the table assuming they get some blocking to work with. Last year’s 438 carries for the team was the lowest in any season in which the Patriots have gone to the Super Bowl under Bill Belichick. As for the offensive line that will be such a key part of the rushing game, I still hold out hope that the unit will include Solder, Mankins, Connolly at center,
Why can't the Patriots find a way to motivate Spikes? Injuries and all, the guy's mind is not always focused, and that's where the team and organization can help. We need Spikes to show up.
I heard this similar question posed by a local media personality recently and thought it was crazy. I don’t think motivation is in any way an issue for Spikes. He just needs to get and stay healthy in order to stay on the field for a full season. I think he’s as motivated as anyone to help the team and is dedicated to his profession. But, to spin an old saying, you can’t help the club from the tub. I don’t think Spikes has any desire to be in the tub. He just needs to stay out of it for an extended period, and so far this summer he’s been unable to do that. And if you or other people are referencing Spikes’ strange Tweeting, I don’t really think that’s an issue. All players have to do something during their time away from the game. He chooses to spend some of that time doing some at times indiscernible tweeting. So what.
With the total team depth on the Patriots roster, how many guys that get cut end up on the 53 man roster of another team? Could you give possibilities of players and new teams?
I have no idea. I don’t pretend to know all the weakness of other teams. New England had a lot of guys land in other spots in recent years – young guys and veterans alike. There will probably be some more this fall. Maybe one of the veteran tight ends. Probably one or two of the linemen who get cut on both sides of the ball. But in the end, does it really matter? And why?
After the preseason game how many sacks do you think Chandler Jones will have in the season?
So, my blind side protection looked spotty [against the Saints]. I thought we drafted Solder to fill in as a replacement at left tackle? Will Smith is good, but he isn't the best DE in the league. Will this be a sign of things to come? I'm 35 and I'm not sure if I remember how to run out of the pocket. Plus, I don't want my hair being messed up.
Tom, you know as well as anyone that it’s too early to make any grand assessments of any aspect of the team. You also know that Solder is a talented, hard-working young tackle with a lot of potential. He got a little off balance and seemingly overanxious against the Saints. I really think he will get better. If not, he’ll get more help from a tight end or a fullback during the season, as you guys used to have to do at times with Matt Light. And don’t worry about your hair, it looks much better these days with your short haircut than it ever did when it was long. Good call on taking care of that.
Hi guys, loving the work! Long time reader first time questioner (not a word I know) from across the pond in the UK. Are the Pats’ jersey numbers confirmed for next season yet and when will Dont'a Hightower or Chandler Jones jerseys go on sale? The reason I ask is because I can't find the new Nike, Jones or Hightower jerseys anywhere and I have noticed Hightower wore 45 against the Saints which I thought was not allowed for a LB??
Hightower will indeed have to change his number to something in the 50s or 90s, unless he gets some sort of special approval from the league. Hightower also cannot wear the No. 30 he had in college, which right now belongs to
Hi Guys. I think you do a great job, and I think your opinions about the Pats are probably the most valid that are out there. My question is: Do you think Nate Solder can be coached up to play better, or is it an issue of strength and foot speed? On a side note... I was glad to see Chandler Jones look good against someone other than Solder.
I am not all that worried about Solder. While he certainly needs to continue to get stronger, I believe he has the athleticism and footwork to be an elite left tackle. I know he didn’t look like it in the preseason opener, but that was only one game. Let’s give him a chance to settle in. I do think there may be some growing pains with Solder at left tackle against some of the NFL’s better rushers. I also understand that can be scary for fans, with Brady’s health on the line every snap. But in the end I think Solder is capable of getting the job done at a high level, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Hey guys, long time reader thanks for the constant updates and inside info. I had a question regarding
Ebert is on the roster right now, and has actually been practicing pretty well of late. He missed the early portion of camp with a leg injury. But since getting on the field he’s shown intriguing athletic ability and has caught the ball pretty well. I don’t think he will make the team, but after a year on the practice squad might be a guy to keep an eye on next summer as a possible slot target and return option.
I have read that
If we are just talking about receiver, I would obviously much rather have Branch than Slater. Slater has done very little as a receiver in New England, and was really just the team’s deep threat last year because, well, he’s fast and there was no one else capable in that role. If he makes the team this year, and I think he will, it will be for his special teams work. He was the special teams captain a year ago. He’s capable in coverage and as an off returner. He also filled in as an emergency starting safety last fall. He’s a great guy to have on the bottom of the roster. But he’s not a real option as a receiver. I still think that Branch will make the team and will be very surprised if he doesn’t. I actually think seven receivers will make the team, including the likes of Branch, Slater,
Well I heard the team is doing pretty good wait they are good anyways. Well who’s getting kicked off the team Gaffney or Donte Stallworth?
First, thanks for the well thought out email, Nick. As for the wide receiver competition, as I wrote above I still think there is a good shot the team could keep all the veteran receivers. New England has kept seven receivers in the past – in 2008. So I don’t see why it couldn’t happen again, as both Edelman and Slater are essentially special teams players anyway. If I had to choose just one guy to cut at this point, I’d probably leave Stallworth off the roster. I think he’s the least versatile of the group with maybe the least left in the tank. But I think the coaching staff likes what he brings to the table, both athletically and in terms of leadership. So in the end I think Gaffney, Stallworth and Branch may very well all be on the roster to open the season if they are all healthy.
Are the Patriots going to sign Kevin Faulk this year?
At this point it really doesn’t look that way. While Faulk has made it clear – through the media and on Twitter – that he’d love to come back, there doesn’t seem to be a need for his services. He didn’t look like he had all that much left in tank last year coming back from a torn ACL. Regardless, it looks like the Patriots want to give Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen every chance to prove themselves this fall. I, for one, really think that Vereen could be a star and big time playmaker for this team. And if it doesn’t work out with the young guys, maybe the team will give Faulk a call during the season. Stranger things have happened and it’s a good insurance policy to have in their back pocket.
BB doesn't usually talk up rookies. The last one I can recall is
First, don’t leave
I was wondering how the secondary has looked so far in camp. Which guys are looking good? And have you seen improvements in Devin McCourty.
I don’t want to be labeled a cynic or pessimist, but I haven’t seen huge strides in the secondary this summer. I would say the biggest gain has been with the stability that
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