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Player Bio: Patriots Select Jordan Richards in Second Round

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted May 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

The Patriots selected Stanford defensive back Jordan Richards in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft. (USA TODAY Images)

Name: Jordan Richards

Position: Defensive Back

School: Stanford

Selected: Round 2, Pick 64

Height: 5’11

Weight: 211

Strengths:

  • Team captain and defensive leader
  • Known as a “coach on the field”, High football IQ
  • Productive, Three-Year Starter
  • Willing tackler in run support, good pursuit

Weaknesses:

  • Limited range in pass coverage
  • Out of comfort zone in man coverage or deep safety
  • Despite understanding assignments of his teammates, struggles to diagnose opponents route combination and can be late to react

Expert’s Takes: 

“Richards is a very smart safety. This is a bit of a reach for the Patriots; maybe two rounds early.” — Daniel Jeremiah

Richards has enjoyed a productive career for the Cardinal, racking up post-season all-conferences honors after each of the past two seasons. He has good agility and gets his hands on a lot of passes (22 PBUs over his career) but must do a better job of fighting through blocks and making reliable tackles in the open field to overcome his lack of ideal size.” — Rob Rang

 

Analysis: 

The Jordan Richards selection caught many by surprise. NFL(dot)com had Richards as a sixth or seventh round projection, classic Belichick.

From this viewpoint, this was a bad move. It’s all about the “V” word, value. This was very reminiscent of the Tavon Wilson pick several years ago. It’s not a knock on the player himself, rather where he was selected.

Secondly, the position is questionable. And what does this say about Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson? Two back up safeties Belichick selected too early in past drafts that are currently back ups. New England addressed the interior defensive line, but guard, cornerback, running back and wide receiver all seemed like bigger needs.

Nevertheless, we’ll have to wait and see how Richards plays out. By all accounts, the Stanford product is an outstanding person. Smart, polished and mature. A team captain and started for three years. Interested to learn more about him over the next few days.

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

Player Bio: Patriots Select Malcom Brown in First Round of 2015 NFL Draft

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted May 1, 2015 at 8:00 am

Name: Malcom Brown

Position: Defensive lineman

School: Texas

Selected: Round 1, Pick 32

Height: 6’2

Weight: 319

Strengths:

  • Big-bodied, athletic lineman with ability to play in 3-4 or 4-3 defensive fronts
  • Great feet for his size, plays with power and explosion off the snap
  • Puts pressure on offensive lineman, can diagnose plays and react quickly
  • Uses hands well to counter initial contact, control opposing lineman
  • No off-field concerns, high maturity level

Weaknesses:

  • Must develop more pass rush moves
  • Plays with high motor, but can wear down as game goes on
  • Technique will need work to reach potential in NFL

Expert’s Takes: 

“This is a great pick for the Patriots. To get Brown at 32 is tremendous. He has an ability to push the pocket. He can be a three-down player, but in New England he’ll be in a system in which he plays all over the place.” — Mike Mayock

Compares To: Arthur Jones, Indianapolis Colts — Like the 6-3, 337-pound Jones, Brown’s size, strength and agility will intrigue clubs operating out of a base 4-3 or 3-4 alignment, alike. Also like Jones (who battled through a devastating knee injury as a senior to outplay his fifth-round selection), Brown possesses the maturity to take full advantage of his gifts. — Dane Brugler, Rob Rang

“One of my favorite players in this draft class, he’s easy to figure out when you study him… He can be dominant at the point of attack but also has that quickness to penetrate up-field.” — Daniel Jeremiah

Analysis: 

Going into the first round I selected Florida State University defensive lineman, Eddie Goldman, in my mock draft. The position was correct, but Malcom Brown was expected to go earlier in the round — I had him going 23 to the Detroit Lions. Despite initial reports the Patriots were going to trade down, New England took the Texas prospect to end the first night of the 2015 draft.

Brown is an excellent pick for the Patriots. He gives the team a big-bodied, athletic and versatile lineman to put in the trenches. Pairing Brown with 2014 first-round selection, Dominique Easley, could give the Pats a powerful combination in the middle of their defense.

Brown can eat up space, take on blockers and push the middle of the pocket, helping fill the void left by Vince Wilfork. With Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich on the outside, along with linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo, New England’s defensive front seven looks promising for the upcoming season.

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

On the Clock: Final 2015 NFL Mock Draft

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted April 30, 2015 at 9:00 am

It’s that time of year, the NFL Draft is finally upon us. Put down the draft guides, scouting reports and prospect film, it’s time to see how the board falls. Here’s my first and final 2015 mock draft.

1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

The Bucs get their quarterback of the future, it would be a surprise if any other name was called.

2) Tennessee Titans: Leonard Williams, DL, Southern California

I don’t buy the Mariota talk here. Tennessee gets the best overall prospect to bolster their defensive front.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars: Dante Fowler Jr., DE/OLB, Florida

Head Coach Gus Bradley comes from a Seattle team that loves to attack opposing QBs, now he gets Fowler to lead the Jaguars front seven.

4) Oakland Raiders: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama

Cooper or Kevin White, could see Oakland going with either of the top receiving prospects. The Raiders pair the Alabama prospect with their promising young QB, Derek Carr.

5) Washington Redskins: Vic Beasley, DE/OLB, Clemson

Washington needs front seven help and Beasley is one of the most explosive edge players in this year’s class.

6) New York Jets: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

The calm and collected Mariota is thrust into the bright lights of New York. With Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Chris Ivory, the Jets offense is starting to come together.

7) Chicago Bears: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia

With many of the top defensive front seven prospects off the board, the Bears target Brandon Marshall’s replacement.

8) Atlanta Falcons: Bud Dupree, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Head Coach Dan Quinn begins to rebuild Atlanta’s mediocre defensive front. Look for the Falcons to try and trade up. This is the first spot where running back Todd Gurley could be in play.

9) New York Giants: Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa

The Giants get the talented and versatile Iowa lineman to help keep Eli Manning upright. Plug and play.

10) St. Louis Rams: Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford

With the NFC West’s strong defensive fronts, look for the Rams to target their offensive line.

11) Minnesota Vikings: DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

The Vikings pair Parker with his former college QB, Teddy Bridgewater.

12) Cleveland Browns: Danny Shelton, DT, Washington

The Washington defensive lineman is big, strong and explosive. Immediately upgrading the interior of Cleveland’s defense.

13) New Orleans Saints: Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State

Sean Peyton loves his offensive weapons, but the defense should be the top priority in this draft. Waynes makes too much sense at this spot.

14) Miami Dolphins: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

With Waynes off the board, the Dolphins target Johnson to help build their secondary. Gurley is also an option.

15) San Francisco 49ers: Arik Armstead, DL, Oregon

The 49ers have lost a ton of defensive talent this off-season. Armstead is a versatile lineman that can help fill the void in the middle of their defense.

16) Houston Texans: Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida

With Andre Johnson gone, it’s time to add a playmaker on the outside to pair with Deandre Hopkins.

17) San Diego Chargers: Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami (FL)

Running back is a possibility in this spot, with Melvin Gordon a good potential fit, but San Diego elects to add help in the trenches.

18) Kansas City Chiefs: Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State

After losing Rodney Hudson in free agency, Erving would be a nice addition for Andy Reid. The FSU prospect can play anywhere on the line.

19) Cleveland Browns: Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

The Browns continue their rebuild of the wide receiver position, taking the sure-handed Strong for whoever is under-center this fall.

20) Philadelphia Eagles: Byron Jones, CB, UConn

Almost impossible to predict what Chip Kelly will do on draft day, but the athletic Jones could help Philadelphia’s mediocre secondary. Keep an eye out for ASU safety Damarious Randall, too.

21) Cincinnati Bengals: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon

The Bengals reportedly love Fisher and they get add him to the offensive line to keep Andy Dalton protected.

22) Pittsburgh Steelers: Landon Collins, S, Alabama

Some have suggested a cornerback here, which is a definite possibility, but safety is a need with Troy Polamalu retiring a few weeks ago. Collins helps turn the page to a new-look Steelers defense.

23) Detroit Lions: Malcom Brown, DT, Texas

With Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley moving on in free agency, this would be a solid addition to the middle of Detroit’s defense.

24) Arizona Cardinals: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

Finally, Gurley comes off the board. It’s hard to imagine him lasting this long, but Bruce Arians won’t let him fall past this point.

25) Carolina Panthers: D.J. Humphreis, OT, Florida

Wide receiver is also in play here, but the Panthers offensive line is a mess. They stick with their board and address their top need.

26) Baltimore Ravens: Marcus Peters, CB, Washington

Cornerback is the most glaring need for Baltimore and they land arguably the most talented cornerback prospect in this class.

27) Dallas Cowboys: Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin

Gordon falls, but could be scary behind Dallas’ monster offensive line. Dynamic playmaker that can take pressure off Tony Romo.

28) Denver Broncos: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M

It’s easy. Protect Peyton Manning, contend in January. The Broncos add to their offensive line.

29) Indianapolis Colts: Jalen Collins, CB, Louisiana State

The run of cornerbacks in the first-round continues. Collins is raw, but very athletic with a high upside.

30) Green Bay Packers: Denzel Perryman, LB, Miami (FL)

The Packers look to add more talent to the defense. Defensive line, linebacker and cornerback all in play. Perryman would fill a hole and give Green Bay the ability to put Clay Matthews back on the edge.

31) New Orleans Saints: Randy Gregory, DE/OLB, Nebraska

Once though of as a top-10 selection, Gregory falls because of a failed drug test. Continuing with the defensive theme, the Saints add a much-needed edge prospect to their defense.

32) New England Patriots: Eddie Goldman, DL, Florida State

The void left by Vince Wilfork is huge, figuratively and literally. Goldman makes a lot of sense if the Patriots decide to keep this pick, we all know trading down is a big possibility though.

New England struggled against the run last season and the Florida State prospect could make an immediate impact. At 6’4, 336, Goldman is a big-bodied lineman with a lot of upside. He plays with power, violent hands and can control the middle of the field. He can two-gap and move offensive blockers at the point of attack.

Goldman’s biggest negative is the lack of a consistent pass rush. Pairing him with last year’s defensive tackle Dominique Easley, however, could prove to be a dangerous tandem. If Goldman can eat up space in the middle, he’ll free up other players in New England’s front seven to get after opposing quarterbacks.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

Reaction: Five Thoughts on the Patriots 2015 Schedule

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted April 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots got their first look at the 2015 regular season schedule earlier this week.

We knew the opponents, but as a fan and analyst it’s always exciting to see when the team you follow plays certain games. Here’s the schedule and some thoughts below. —

2015 Regular Season Schedule:

Week 1 Sept. 10 vs Pittsburgh at 8:30 p.m. on NBC (Thursday Night Football)

Week 2 Sept. 20 at Buffalo at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 3 Sept. 27 vs Jacksonville at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 4 Bye Week

Week 5 Oct. 11 at Dallas at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Week 6 Oct. 18 at Indianapolis at 8:30 p.m. on NBC (Sunday Night Football)

Week 7 Oct. 25 vs NY Jets at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 8 Oct. 29 vs Miami at 8:30 p.m. on NFL Network (Thursday Night Football)

Week 9 Nov. 8 vs Washington at 1:00 p.m. on Fox

Week 10 Nov. 15 at NY Giants at 4:25 p.m. on CBS

Week 11 Nov. 23 vs Buffalo at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN (Monday Night Football)

Week 12 Nov. 29 at Denver at 8:30 p.m. on NBC (Sunday Night Football)

Week 13 Dec. 6 vs Philadelphia at 4:25 p.m. on Fox

Week 14 Dec. 13 at Houston at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 15 Dec. 20 vs Tennessee at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 16 Dec. 27 at NY Jets at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Week 17 Jan. 03 at Miami at 1:00 p.m. on CBS

Thoughts: 

– At first glance, the schedule sets up very favorable for the Patriots. In terms of opponents, it’s relatively easy, at least on paper. When you look at the opponents to start and end the season, the team should be able to capitalize as they attempt to make another title run.

– The Steelers were the rumored opening day opponent for quite some time, so it wasn’t a shock when the schedule was released. It makes a lot of sense, with the league drumming up “Super Bowl 50″ hard to argue with two of the most successful franchises in it’s history.

With Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell suspended for the first three games of the season, that’s one less headache New England will have to deal with to start the year and a big loss for the Steelers. We’re still a long ways away, but you know Gillette will be rocking when the banner is dropped on opening night.

– Two back-to-back stretches jump out when looking over the schedule. Week 5 and week 6, when the Patriots travel to Dallas then to Indianapolis is the first. Two of the tougher opponents, both on the road, and the Colts will be looking to establish themselves as true AFC contenders.

The next back-t0-back stretch occurs in weeks 12 and 13, traveling to Denver first and then returning home for a showdown with Chip Kelly’s Eagles. Not only are both opponents tough, it will come at a critical time as the team jockeys for playoff position. Four of New England’s last six games are on the road.

– The week four bye is unfortunate. It’s always more beneficial to a team, from this viewpoint, to have a break later in the season. After a few manageable games to start the year, it should give the team an opportunity to prepare for their first real challenges the following weeks.

– I thought about doing an early “Win” or “Loss” prediction for each game, but we’ll get to that before training camp. For now, let’s just look at the season as a whole. Based on the current roster, granted more changed are on the way, it looks like the Pats should be able to win 12 games.

It’s hard to imagine the team losing more than four games given the opponents and how the team finished last season. If New England had less question marks in the defensive backfield, I’d feel even more confident in that statement. Like I said previously, though, we’ll save a full prediction until the roster is more settled.

Overall it’s a favorable schedule with five primetime match-ups. Patriots fans will be counting down the days to drop the banner and open up the 2015 NFL season, but first we’ll turn our attention to the NFL draft this week.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

Grading the Patriots Addition of Travaris Cadet

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

With the NFL free agent frenzy well underway, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the key signings made by the Patriots throughout the next few weeks. 

Player: Travaris Cadet

Position: Running Back

Former Team: New Orleans Saints

Grade: C+

The New England Patriots announced the signing of running back Travaris Cadet on Tuesday evening.

Cadet, a four-year NFL veteran, signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2012 from Appalachian State. The undrafted free agent shined in the preseason, earning a spot on the 53-man roster.

Over his four-year career, Cadet has played in 41 games with one start. The 6’1, 210-pound tailback has 11 rushes for 37 yards, along with 45 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns in his career.

The bulk of Cadet’s production came last season. The 26-year-old had 10 rushing attempts for 32 yards, 38 receptions for 296 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. 

Interestingly enough, Cadet’s first career touchdown came against the Patriots Oct. 13, 2013 at Gillette Stadium.

Cadet was a Restricted Free Agent, but was not tendered by the Saints making him an Unrestricted Free Agent to start the offseason. He’s been primarily used as a third-down back and return man for New Orleans.

While the contract details have not yet been released, the deal is reportedly for two years.

Cadet could potentially help fill the void of Shane Vereen, who left to join the New York Giants at the start of the new league year. While fans should temper expectations, this could be an under-the-radar type signing by New England.

This is a typical Bill Belichick move. Low risk, undervalued player with a specific skill set he envisions of filling a particular role. Cadet is entering the peak of his career, displaying the ability to play in an up-tempo offense and rack up yards after the catch.

Cadet was in a crowded backfield in New Orleans, sharing the role with Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson. He will have the opportunity to fight for a role as a third-down back, joining James White, Tyler Gaffney and others in Patriots training camp this summer.

Cadet’s size, catching ability and special teams value is intriguing. It’s not the “splash” signing some fans would like, but he has the potential to be a quality addition next season.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

Grading the Patriots Addition of Scott Chandler

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

With the NFL free agent frenzy well underway, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the key signings made by the Patriots throughout the next few weeks. 

Player: Scott Chandler

Position: Tight End

Former Team: Buffalo Bills

Grade: B

The Patriots haven’t moved as quickly as some may have liked to start the new league year and free agency, but New England made another solid addition to start the week.

The team announced the signing of Scott Chandler on Monday evening, although the contract details have not yet been released.

Assuming Chandler’s contract is reasonable, this is a good move for the Patriots. Chandler offers New England some insurance for Rob Gronkowski as well as depth as a pass catching weapon for next season.

Chandler’s 6’7 frame will give the Pats two huge targets, paired with Gronk, which could be especially favorable in the red zone.

The 29-year-old (who turns 30 in July) has been productive with the Buffalo Bills, despite their struggles at quarterback over the past few seasons.

The last two seasons, Chandler has racked up 100 catches for 1,152 yards and five touchdowns.

He has suited up against New England nine times in his career, catching 28 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns. Although, if you’ve watched the majority of the Patriots versus Bills games, he’s given New England some problems. So this signing has the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” feel to it. 

When Chandler was asked about playing with Tom Brady, he told Patriots.com“Not very often you get to play with the best ever, so that had a big determining factor in my decision.”

Let’s not make the Chandler addition more than it is, but he could certainly help in a supporting role. We’ll see if this has any ramifications for Michael Hoomanawanui or Tim Wright down the road.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

Grading the Patriots Addition of Jabaal Sheard

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:00 am

With the NFL free agent frenzy well underway, it’s time to take an in-depth look at the key signings made by the Patriots throughout the next few weeks. 

Player: Jabaal Sheard

Position: Defensive End / Outside Linebacker

Former Team: Cleveland Browns

Grade: A

After a wave of depression swept New England in the aftermath of Darrelle Revis signing with the New York Jets Tuesday night, the Patriots made their first significant addition.

Sheard, a 2011 second-round draft pick out of Pittsburgh, has posted 23 sacks the last four years. The 6’3, 264 pound edge player had his most productive season his rookie year, when he was used as a 4-3 defensive end and tallied 8.5 sacks.

Along with offering some pass rush ability, he also is known to be stout against the run.

The 25-year-old (he turns 26 in May) has dealt with three different defensive coordinators during his time in Cleveland, and also was moved to a 3-4 outside linebacker because of the change in philosophies.

While he showed the versatility to play standing up, he has been more effective with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 defense. Note: 15.5 sacks in his first two seasons as 4-3 DE, 7.5 sacks previous two seasons as 3-4 OLB.

Sheard has been durable throughout his four years in the NFL, missing just three games in his career all in the 2013 season.

The Patriots signed Sheard to a two-year, $11 million contract with $5.5 million guaranteed Wednesday evening.

So why is this signing an “A”? For several reasons.

For starters, he’s a young, versatile and tough edge player that gives New England more flexibility in the front-seven. Also, Sheard will have the benefit of coaching stability.

His best football is ahead of him.

With current defensive ends, Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, playing such a high level of snaps the past two seasons — no defensive lineman in the NFL played a higher percentage of snaps than Ninkovich in 2014 — this move will allow the team to rotate in a third quality player to keep everyone fresh.

In today’s NFL, you cannot have enough guys to attack opposing quarterbacks.

An interesting note, current Patriots front office member Michael Lombardi was the General Manager in Cleveland when the team drafted Sheard in 2011. New England was also rumored to be interested in Sheard, but ended up selecting cornerback Ras-I Dowling (whoops) four spots ahead of him in the second-round.

A fresh start for a talented player, along with a need filled and under a reasonable contract for the team, this is a win-win.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

The Patriots and Revis Part Ways After Both Sides Stick to What They Know Best

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets agreed to a five-year contract Tuesday evening. (USA TODAY Images)

A little more than five weeks after winning the Super Bowl, the sky is falling in Patriots Nation.

After one year with New England, cornerback Darrelle Revis is heading back to the New York Jets. The feared realization is setting in, the Patriots just lost their best defensive player.

Revis is reportedly signing a five-year contract, worth up to $70 million and $39 million guaranteed.

New York was desperate to make a splash and bring back one of the franchise’s most popular players. Forget Rex Ryan and John Idzick. It’s the Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan era now, and it’s still a defense-first philosophy.

New York gains support from the media, fans, players and added a transformational talent to help their defense. With Revis back in the mix, New York’s defense could be a formidable unit once again. Only this time, maybe the front office and Head Coach won’t ignore the offense like the previous regime.

But this worked out for Revis, too.

Many thought Revis was a mercenary, and Tuesday only cements no.24’s legacy as a business man first, NFL player second.

Revis has earned over $85 million so far in his career, and now just added a minimum $39 million with this new deal.

He’s earned awards, accolades, several big contracts and thanks to his time in New England, a super bowl ring. He’s the modern-day Deion Sanders. And just like “Primetime”, he’s a Hall of Fame player one day.

The Patriots were in the mix, but ultimately could not bring themselves to match the financial commitment it took to keep Revis Island in New England.

Apparently $39 million was too rich for Bill Belichick and the Patriots front office.

If you’re a Patriots fan, you know the manta by now — “The Patriot Way.”

The Patriot way does not mortgage the team’s future for the present, no matter the player. It’s about building a team and compiling players that fit Belichick’s system to achieve ultimate team success.

We’ll know more in the coming days, but the Patriots reportedly were willing to go around $35 million in guarantees for Revis. So why not $40 million?

On one side, you’ll hear fans say the team was cheap. That seems like a reactionary, unfair label to a team that just re-signed defensive back Devin McCourty to a $47.5 million contract a few days ago.

There’s one word that fans don’t want to hear, though. No, not cheap. The dreaded “v” word. Ah yes, value. The Patriots set a value for Revis, he surpassed what he was worth in their minds.

It took several years for the team to rebuild the secondary. Investing money, time and numerous draft picks in the process.

Now it’s time for them to start over, again.  So where does Belichick and the Patriots go from here?

You can’t replace Revis with one player. New England will have to retool, add depth and upgrade at other defensive positions to mask the loss of one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks.

But Revis’ loss creates even more problems than just a hole at the cornerback position.

Part of what Revis brought to the table was his ability to go toe-to-toe with the opposing team’s top passing target, allowing New England’s defense to roll coverage to other areas.

McCourty was one of the biggest benefactors, as he was able to play single-high safety, roaming the backend of the defense and make plays throughout the season. With a less talented cornerback in Revis’ spot, the Pats won’t be able to do the same things schematically. Unfortunately, this could mean more pressure on McCourty and less impact plays.

It could get even worse. Remember the soft zone days? Let’s stop before we both have nightmares.

And let’s face it, judging the Patriots at this juncture isn’t fair. Do you have the right to be upset at the loss of Revis? Of course. But we are looking at one piece to an incomplete puzzle.

As bad as it seems now, Belichick has earned the right to ask for patience. After all, last season when the team lost Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos, the very next day Revis fell into his lap.

Maybe the “In Belichick We Trust” Kool-Aid is flowing too strongly, but there’s a contingency plan in place.

It’s not what Patriots fans want to hear, I get it. You lose one of the NFL’s best defenders and now you hear, “Oh this is just what the Patriots do.”

But, it’s true. This is what they do. And from the other side of today’s news, this is what Revis does too.

This only adds to the Patriots and Jets rivalry. Revis returns to where he started his NFL journey, but New England will always have this season over New York.

As shocking and wild as today has seemed, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. The Revis and Patriots chapter wasn’t as long as many in New England would have liked, but you can’t argue with the short-term results.

In the end, both sides stuck with what they know best. Now we’ll see how it plays out.

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

Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

Gostkowski Signs Franchise Tender

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 7, 2015 at 8:00 am

Stephen Gostkowski and the Patriots have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement after the kicker signed his franchise tender Friday afternoon. (USA TODAY Images)

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski signed his franchise tender Friday afternoon.

The 31-year-old is now signed for $4.59 million in 2015. The team released a statement shortly following Gostkowski’s decision to sign. —

“Stephen has been extremely productive and a vital component to our success since joining our team in 2006. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal.”

As the Patriots mentioned in their statement, signing the tender keeps Gostkowski for the upcoming season while allowing both sides to work on a long-term extension.

The deadline for players who received the tag to sign an extension is July 15, a little over four months from now. It seems unlikely the two sides will not be able to reach an agreement before then.

Gostkowski has been extremely reliable and productive throughout his career.

He made 35-of-37 field goals (94.6 %) in 2014 and has played in every game since being drafted in the fourth-round of the 2006 NFL draft.

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McCourty to Anderson: “I want to play (in New England), but I also understand it’s a business.”

Written by: Derek Havens
Posted March 3, 2015 at 9:00 am

Patriots safety Devin McCourty will be one of the most sought-after free agents if he hits the open market next week. (USA TODAY Images)

Pending free agent Devin McCourty spoke with ESPN’s Josina Anderson Monday evening after the Patriots decided not to place the franchise tag on him. The 27-year-old safety is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March. 1o, the start of the new league year.

The following are direct quotes from Anderson’s conversation she tweeted out on Monday.

McCourty on the Patriots not using their franchise tag on him: “I really didn’t know. There was no real information from them on if it was going to be me or (Stephen Gostkowski). So I was kind of going off of what everybody else was going off, with what people were reporting as far as sources and all that. So, I guess it’s more realistic now that (there’s) a chance that I might not be back there. Or there’s still a chance that I will, but I guess (there’s) more of a chance now with the franchise tag going to Steve that I could be playing in a different place. Still, keeping an open mind and trying to enjoy the process.”

McCourty on New England’s thought process: “No matter what they do with players somehow they always end up winning so. I really don’t know what their thought process is with me exactly, but I think both sides want to be back. So we will see how it works out.”

McCourty on whether he wants to return: “I want to play there, but I also understand it’s a business. I don’t want to play there no matter what, but I want to be back. We’ll have to see how it works out.”

Whether McCourty would be bitter not returning to New England after a Super Bowl win: “It would definitely be bittersweet. You stay somewhere for five years and really make a name for yourself in that place. I’ve gotten a lot of help. I know a lot of people in the area, built great relationships, so it will definitely be bittersweet. But my mom always reminds me that comes with the territory. That’s part of being in the NFL, that change is always coming.”

McCourty on where else he wants to play if he doesn’t return to the Patriots: “Not sure. I’m actually going to meet with my agent tomorrow to kind of start putting stuff together and try to get situated… We’ll have to see what teams are interested, and what the best situation is. But I know no matter where I go, it’s probably going to be a little different from New England. It’s a well-oiled machine there… It’s my first time going through this. I really don’t know what to expect or what to think really.”

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Listen to our “Patriots 4th and 2 Podcast” on Blog Talk Radio as writers Russ Goldman, Steve Balestrieri and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news on Wednesday.

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