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Archive for November, 2011

Could Andy Reid and Bill Belichick Team Up Next Season?

In Sunday’s Patriots victory in Philadelphia, I noticed something noteworthy. Late in the game, Eagles fans were chanting ‚ÄúFire Andy.‚ÄĚ While I do not believe Philadelphia should fire Reid, if they were to let him go, should the Patriots be interested?


Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are good friends, but could they work together? (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Now I know what many of you might think right off the bat; why would we want to replace Bill Belichick? Although my thought is not bringing Andy Reid to be the head coach, but as an offensive coordinator.

There is a lot going into this thought. Reid does have some differences in philosophy, but many fans have not been particularly pleased with Bill O’Brien and the play calling; a role Reid could fill in the off-season. The Eagles coach has been in the league for many years and is widely considered an offensive genius.

Would the Eagles organization actually want to fire him? I believe it would be a dumb move with the shortened off-season and all of the new faces added to the roster, but it seems his shelf life is shorter by the day.

Reid is good friends with Bill Belichick and could this allow Belichick to focus even more on the defense? I have felt ever since Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis have left, the team has lacked strong high-ranking coaches besides Belichick; can Reid help solve that problem? Can Reid help challenge Belichick and could the two coach side-by-side?

Do I believe this will actually happen? Probably not, but it does make for interesting discussion. While I do believe there are a lot of positives, I am not sold Belichick would move away from Bill O’Brien and bring in Reid; If, of course, he is actually fired.

What do you think? Would you bring in Andy Reid next season if he was made available or stick with Bill O’Brien? Share your thoughts below!

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me:@PatriotsHaven!

Thoughts and Analysis: Patriots Turn Dream Into a Nightmare for Eagles

The¬†New England Patriots traveled to Philadelphia and defeated the¬†Philadelphia Eagles 38 – 20 on Sunday afternoon. The Patriots delivered a great overall performance and remain in the AFC East drivers seat. Here are some thoughts on the team’s victory. -


Sunday’s victory was Tom Brady‚Äôs 119th career win as a starter in the regular season, tying Johnny Unitas for sixth most in NFL history. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- The Eagles got on the board right away, needing just five plays to take the early 7-0 lead thanks to a 58-yard bomb from Vince Young to Riley Cooper, that was eventually finished off two plays later by LeSean McCoy. After a 10-point start, the Patriots took control of the game and flipped momentum, scoring 21 unanswered points.

- Tom Brady had another fantastic performance on Sunday afternoon. He final stat line was 24 – 34, 361 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His 3,627 passing yards are now most of any quarterback in NFL history through 11 weeks.

- Is there a defense in the league capable of stopping¬†Rob Gronkowski? The second year tight end is having an absolute monster year and he had a great game on Sunday evening. He now has 11 touchdown passes on the season and has turned in to one of Brady’s favorite targets.

- The Patriots defense continues to be strong in the redzone. Yes, this unit can be burned and they give up yards, but they have been holding opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns. After 11 games and 12 weeks into the season, New England’s defense is ranked 11th in points per game allowed league-wide at 20.3 ppg.

I also thought the Pats run defense played one of their best games of the season, as they held the NFL’s Leading Rusher¬†LeSean McCoy to 31 Yards.

- Along with Andre Carter, Mark Anderson has had a very good season for the Patriots.  I have been in favor of him seeing more playing time for quite awhile and he seems to be capitalizing on his opportunity.

- How about Julian Edelman‘s night?¬†He takes 16 defensive snaps, 23 offensive snaps, plays kick off coverage and returns two punts. Even though he did not catch one pass, he crushed Vince Young on a blitz and had three tackles; the same number of tackles as defensive captain Jerod Mayo.

- I feel like I need to show Pats punter Zoltan Mesko some love. In his second year, Mesko has developed into a very good special teams weapon and can swap field possession for New England. Very rarely does a punter get any attention, but I thought Mesko’s play this season was worth a mention.

- The Patriots third receiver has been an issue all season. Chad Ochocinco has struggled, Taylor Price cannot make it on the field and on Sunday, Tiquan Underwood drops a touchdown catch from  Brady in the second quarter. Someone needs to step up and fill that role for New England before they get to the playoffs.

-¬†Sterling Moore had never played safety until joining the Patriots this season. Very quietly, Moore has done a pretty good job throughout the past few weeks — not great — but pretty good. It’s definitely nice to see some of these young players develop.

-¬†Chad Ochocinco has made a few plays this season, but there are still some question marks surrounding him. The wide receiver was added to the team’s injury report with a reported hamstring issue and was inactive for Sunday’s game. ¬†I have a gut feeling the wide receiver will give New England solid production later in the season, but he’s definitely not there yet.

Furthermore, I found it curious Drew Rosenhaus, Terrell Owens‘ agent, was on the sidelines for a portion of the game. It might be nothing, but i just thought it was noteworthy.

- Late in the game, Eagles fans were chanting “Fire Andy.” While I do not believe Philadelphia should fire Reid, if they were to let him go, should the Patriots be interested? Not as a head coach, but as an offensive coordinator. Reid does have some differences in philosophy, but many fans have not been particularly pleased with Bill O’Brien and the play calling; a role Reid could fill in the off-season. Do I believe this will actually happen? Probably not, but it does make for interesting discussion.

- When I take a look at my pre-game thoughts and prediction from earlier in the week, I was little off. While I picked the Patriots to win 31 – 27, New England’s defense played better than I expected and contained the Eagles high octane offense. Even though the Eagles have struggled this season, there is a lot of talent on that football team and the Patriots did a great job getting a solid win at¬†Lincoln Financial Field in week 12.

I will be posting my “Report Card” and “Tale of the Tape” observations over the next few days. For now, the Patriots will¬†return home to host the¬†Indianapolis Colts next week.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me:@PatriotsHaven!

Patriots and Eagles Inactives

The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles have listed their inactives for today’s game. -


Chad Ochocinco was a late addition to the injury report with a hamstring injury. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

New England Patriots:

S Patrick Chung
WR Chad Ochocinco
LB Brandon Spikes
C Dan Connolly
LB Dane Fletcher
CB Devin McCourty
QB Ryan Mallett

Philadelphia Eagles:

QB Michael Vick
WR Jeremy Maclin
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
DE Brandon Graham
OT King Dunlap
G Julian Vandervelde
DE Phillip Hunt

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

 

Pre-Game Thoughts: Patriots at Eagles

The New England Patriots travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Pats have started their season 7-3, but they have a tough challenge against an NFC East opponent in week 12. The Patriots have a bit of an injury bug, so their depth could be tested. Here are a few thoughts on the upcoming game. -


Bill Belichick and the Patriots face another tough task in Philadelphia this Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- Don’t expect a lot of defense: In all aspects of this game, I am definitely not expecting to see a ton of great defense. With both team’s possessing some of the most potent offense’s in the NFL, a defensive game would be surprising. I expect both team’s to put up points, but whatever defense plays better could be the deciding factor. One caveat for this game, however, is most of the time when a high scoring shoot out is expected, it rarely lives up to the hype.

- Don’t take your foot off the gas: This game has all the makings of a shoot out, so I do not want the Patriots to relax and play conservative offense. The Eagles have some serious firepower and can put up a lot of points in a short amount of time. New England needs to play their style of smart and disciplined football. Hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, the Pats can capitalize.

- Running game in focus: The Eagles have a game breaking running back in LeSean McCoy. Andy Reid has never been one to focus on the running game, but McCoy is one of the best tailbacks in the NFL this season and is a true human highlight reel. For more information on McCoy, check out my previous post “Scouting Report: Spotlight on LeSean McCoy.”

- Pressuring Vince Young is key: I am going under the assumption Michael Vick will not be able to play with his two broken ribs, which thrusts Vince Young into the starting quarterback role.¬†I would love to the Patriots to continue to generate consistent pressure and force a couple of turnovers. With LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and the other weapons the Eagles possess in their arsenal, New England’s pass rush ability be a huge factor in the game.

With all of these thoughts taken into consideration. I believe the Patriots can win this game, but there are some definite concerns. The Pats are still banged up, but Philadelphia seems to have more issues at the moment. While I believe the Patriots could struggle, I am confident they get the win on the road. My prediction is Patriots ‚Äď 31, ¬†Eagles ‚Äď 27.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Scouting Report: Spotlight on LeSean McCoy

In New England’s week 12 match up against the Philadelphia Eagles, their ability to stop running back¬†LeSean McCoy may be the key to victory; however, that is easier said than done. The Eagles tailback has been dominant at times in his young career and can take over games. Here are a few statistics to keep in mind for Sunday. -


Jerod Mayo will play a key role in containing Eagles RB LeSean McCoy on Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

McCoy is incredibly fast and is used in several different ways by Andy Reid in the Eagles offense. He runs inside, outside, in the wildcat package, end arounds, catches passes out of the backfield – he is a true weapon for this Philadelphia team. The 23-year-old out of Pittsburgh is on pace for the best season in his three-year career.

Watching the Eagles star running back on tape, he loves to cut back. McCoy can turn on a dime and will reverse field without hesitation. Jerod Mayo and the Patriots linebackers will play a large role containing the tailback Sunday afternoon.

McCoy has rushed for an NFL leading 1, 019 yards on 188 carries this season. He has also rushed for 10 touchdowns through the first 11 weeks.

His 5.4 yard-per-carry (ypc) average is also near the top in the league among running backs with at least 100 carries.

The running back is not only a threat running, he is also an exceptional pass catcher out of the backfield. In fact, McCoy has 34 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns so far this season.

Analysis:

The Patriots ability to contain McCoy will undoubtedly be one of the keys to the game. While these statistics may make that out to be a tough task, it is not impossible. Yes, the Patriots defense has struggled this year, but Bill Belichick has always done a great job of taking away what opposing teams do best and the unit has improved of late.

Hopefully, the defense can continue to build off their recent performance and continue to make strides. I believe the Pats do enough to contain McCoy, resulting in another New England victory. Look for my full pre-game thoughts and score prediction Saturday morning.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Practice Squad Update, Tarpinian to IR

The New England Patriots made yet another roster move involving safety Ross Ventrone Wednesday, re-signing him to the practice squad and releasing cornerback Josh Victorian from the unit. 

Ventrone was waived from the 53-man roster on Tuesday to make room for offensive lineman Donald Thomas. Victorian has been on and off the practice squad in recent weeks, and could return in the future. With the recent roster shuffle, here is a look at the Pats current practice squad.

Patriots practice squad
TE Garrett Mills
OG Nick McDonald
OT Matt Kopa
DE Markell Carter
DE Alex Silvestro
LB Mike Rivera
CB Malcolm Williams
S Ross Ventrone

In other news, rookie linebacker Jeff Tarpinian was placed on season-ending injured reserve with an illness, head coach Bill Belichick said today in his afternoon press conference. A head injury was the specific listed injury on the team’s report.

Tarpinian, who made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent, was one of the Patriots’ top special teams tacklers this season and made his first career start vs the New York Jets two weeks ago.¬†Replacing Tarpinian is wide receiver¬†Tiquan Underwood.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Roster Shuffle: Ventrone Out Again

On Tuesday night the New England Patriots released safety Ross Ventrone only one day after he was promoted to the 53-man roster.

The transaction was made on Monday night and the Patriots defensive back has already cleared waivers. For Pats fans keeping track at home, Ventrone has been involved in 17 roster transactions since final cuts in August.

Even though Ventrone has been mainly a practice squad player, he has earned some playing time this season. Ventrone played 18 defensive snaps in Monday night’s win over the Chiefs according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, coming in for both James Ihedigbo and Sterling Moore at different times in the game.

For now, the Patriots now have an open spot on their 53-man roster. With starting left tackle Matt Light seen leaving Gillette Stadium in a walking boot after he¬†injured his right leg late in Monday night’s contest, I would guess the team brings in an offensive lineman. Light’s injury is supposedly not too serious, however, so hopefully this is more of a depth move than several game replacement.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Patriots and Chiefs Inactives

The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs have listed their inactives for today’s game. -

New England Patriots:

S Patrick Chung
CB Devin McCourty
LB Brandon Spikes
RB Kevin Faulk
LB Dane Fletcher
LB Jeff Tarpinian
QB Ryan Mallett

Kansas City Chiefs:

WR Keary Colbert
TE Anthony Becht
T Steve Maneri
DE Brandon Bair
DE Glenn Dorsey
LB Demorrio Williams
S Jon McGraw

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me: @PatriotsHaven!

Prediction and Analysis: Chiefs vs Patriots

The New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in the week 11 match up. The Patriots statistically have the easiest schedule in the NFL through the last seven weeks and enter this game as heavy favorites. Here is my prediction and analysis for this week’s game. -


Tom Brady should shine bright under the Monday night lights. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Prediction: Patriots 34, Chiefs 16.

Analysis: The Patriots enter the contest with some injury concerns, but after their 37 Р16 rout of the New York Jets last Sunday night, I believe the team  begins to gain momentum to close out the season. The Chiefs limp into Foxborough with starting quarterback, and former Patriots player, Matt Cassel out for the game with a hand injury.

With four-year veteran Tyler Palko starting under center for Kansas City, the New England defense should have another solid week. While key contributors Devin McCourty (Doubtful) and Brandon Spikes (Out) will both most likely miss the game on Monday, the team should have no problem holding the Chiefs in check.

Like many Patriots fans, I believe the team wins by a wide margin, but I would expect Kansas City to put up a fight early. I know some might bring up the¬†“Romeo Crennel knows this offense” argument, but I think the Patriots are too much for the Chiefs and win decisively. Be sure to look for my post game thoughts and observations after the game.

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me:@PatriotsHaven!

Patriots Injury Report: Spikes and Fletcher Out

On Saturday afternoon, the New England Patriots ruled out linebackers Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes for Monday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Also, cornerback Devin McCourty has been listed as doubtful for the game. Here’s the complete injury report. -

Out
LB Dane Fletcher (thumb)
LB Brandon Spikes (knee)

Doubtful
CB Devin McCourty (shoulder)

Questionable
CB Kyle Arrington (foot)
S Patrick Chung (foot)
C Dan Connolly (groin)
DE Shaun Ellis (rib)
RB Kevin Faulk (knee)
RB BenJarvus Green Ellis (toe)
LB Gary Guyton (shoulder)
S James Ihedigbo (shoulder)
WR Taylor Price (hamstring)
WR Matthew Slater  (shoulder)
OT Nate Solder (concussion)
LB Jeff Tarpnian (illness)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (back)

Probable
G Brian Waters (knee)
WR Wes Welker (knee)

Do you have a Twitter account? Be sure to follow me:@PatriotsHaven!


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