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Matt Chatham On The Latest Episode Of Patriots Fourth And Two

In this episode, we first looked back at the Patriots victory against the Browns. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Dolphins.

We also played an interview done earlier with former Patriots player Matt Chatham, who currently writes for the Boston Herald, can be heard on WEEI, and be seen on NESN.

In this episode, we first looked back at the Patriots victory against the Browns. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Dolphins.

We also played an interview done earlier with former Patriots player Matt Chatham, who currently writes for the Boston Herald, can be heard on WEEI, and be seen on NESN.

More Football Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on BlogTalkRadio

Despite Loss of Gronkowski, This Season Is Far From Over

I have seen many things in my years of watching Patriots football, but seeing an impact player like Rob Gronkowski continue to have significant injures over his short career with the Patriots is new to me.  Here are my thoughts on this latest injury though my eyes.

With the Patriots once again playing a very poor first half of football, I really had no doubt they would come back in this game as the second half began. However, this miraculous comeback by the Patriots was overshadowed, because aspirations of fourth Super Bowl trophy were downgraded significantly when Gronkowski got injured.

My first thought after the hit by T J Ward was that if we saw the cart, the season for Gronkowski was over. When he was taken off on the cart, my next thought then was the Patriots cannot overcome this injury to win a Super Bowl.


It won’t be easy, but despite losing tight end Rob Gronkowski New England still has a shot heading into the postseason.
(USA TODAY Images)

Now, Adam Schefter is reporting that Gronkowski has torn his ACL and MCL which means his season is over. So, do I stop watching the Patriots because of this injury? The answer to that question is absolutely not as I am a Patriots fan, and will enjoy the rest of the season coming up.

The journey to win a Super Bowl is a hard one, and injuries can change your chances. However, the 2001 Patriots showed us that anything is possible if you play together as a “team”.

The Patriots offense will not be the same without Gronkowski. The opposing defense generally has a game-plan to stop Gronkowski which opens up opportunities for other players. Well, the job of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels just got much tougher, and he needs to figure out a way for the offense to adapt and change once again.

We saw this movie last season without Gronkowski in the play-offs, and it was not pretty. However, that loss to the Ravens had much more to do with the loss of Aqib Talib to an injury in the first half than missing Gronkowski, but he was a factor.

Right now, the Patriots have dealt with a significant amount of injuries all season, and the task seems large as we head towards the play-offs. So, can the Patriots overcome the injury to Gronkowski and win a Super Bowl?

Well, their chances got much tougher, but when you have Brady and Belichick, you always have a fighting chance. Also, the desire to win from this team is huge, and the victory yesterday was just one of several games this season that saw the Patriots find a way to win.

When you play as a team and never give up, you do give yourself a chance to win. In other seasons, I would tell you that there would be no chance for that fourth ring, but the competition in the AFC, and the league is down.

I have already seen the Patriots beat the Broncos, and with or without Gronkowski, I still think the Patriots have a chance to get to MetLife Stadium, and win the big game. I know how much more difficult it will be, but based on the victories this season, this Patriots team is up for a fight.

In a season of bad injuries, the latest one to Gronkowski is devastating, but did it end their quest for a fourth Lombardi Trophy? Many think so, and I have a serious doubt on the quest, but do not count them out just yet, because they have plenty of football left to play, and there is always a chance to see a team defy the odds like the 2001 Patriots did to win the organization their first ring playing together as a team.

Five Things To Look For: Pats vs. Browns

The Patriots are back in action Sunday to face the Browns. Here are Five Things for you to look for in this match-up.

1. Can the Patriots get off to a fast start? The team has struggled for a few weeks now in the first half, and opponents have gotten up on them early.

I do think it is important to play from ahead in this game, because when you are playing a team that is 4-8, you need to give them no hope, and the best way to do that is score early.

I would be in favor of the “hurry up” offense early to set a good tempo that could lead to points. A fast start by the Patriots could really do damage to a Browns team that has struggled this season.

2. Can quarterback Tom Brady spread the ball around to his receivers? In seasons past, when Brady has just found the open receiver, the offense has been tough to stop. Last week, in the second half, Brady spread the ball around to several receivers, and the offense carved up the Texans.

Defenses key on Rob Gronkowski, which could lead to opportunities for other players, and we saw that last week against the Texans. On the touchdown reception to Shane Vereen, the Texans had three players covering Gronkowski. The more receivers Brady gets involved on Sunday, I think the better they will be on offense.

3. Can the Patriots get after the quarterback on defense? Right now it is unclear who will be the Browns quarterback, but regardless there is an opportunity to set the tone, and possibly force turnovers in this game. One of the best ways to cause turnovers is putting pressure on the quarterback.

4. Can the Patriots defense contain wide receiver Josh Gordon? Right now Gordon leads the Browns with 64 receptions, with 1249 yards, and seven touchdown receptions.

I am hopeful that cornerback Aqib Talib is healthy enough to cover Gordon one on one. You might want to regardless give him help to cover Gordon, as he might be one the player that can hurt you on the Browns offense.

5. Can the Patriots stop the run in this game on defense? I think this is very important for not just this game, as the Pats defense is really struggling to stop the run. Also, a great way for a team to stay in the game is to run the ball, and control the clock.

The Patriots are currently 31st in the NFL in rush defense, but the Browns are 28th in rush offense so something has to give. This game is a perfect opportunity to see if the Patriots can improve their abilities to stop the run.

If you just go by the records, this game should be a mismatch, but you still have to win the game on the field. I am expecting the Patriots to start fast, and take care of business on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots win this game by three touchdowns.

If you are looking for more of an extensive preview of this game, please take a listen below to Patriots Fourth And Two.

Greg Bedard On The Latest Episode Of The Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast

In this episode, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Texans. Later on, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Browns.

In between these segments, we had a great interview with Greg Bedard who is now a Staff Writer for The Monday Morning Quarterback With Peter King.  This is an interview you are going to want to listen to, as Greg shares his thoughts on the Patriots and the rest of the NFL.

Six Takeaways From The Patriots 34-31 Victory Against The Texans

Each week I am going to look back, and give you six takeaways I got from watching the Patriots game. I want this to be a balanced post so I am going to give you an equal share of the positive and the negative takeaways in this match-up for the Pats.

The Positives

1. Julian Edelman continues to make catch after catch for the Patriots offense. I know I mentioned him last week, but Edelman made some huge receptions yesterday, and scary to say reminded me of Wes Welker.

Edelman ended the day with nine receptions for 101 yards against the Texans. He now has 70 receptions for the season, and continues to prove me wrong.

2. Tom Brady had an elite quarterback performance against the Texans. I always believed that the Patriots offense would get back into gear, once a few players returned from injuries.

Well, now you are seeing an offense that is really getting into shape, and Brady looks like a future Hall Of Fame quarterback once again. He ended the game throwing for 371 yards, and two touchdowns. He was on his game especially in the second half.

3.  Special Teams makes a big impact in this game. The kick-off returns this season have been horrible, but in this game, they made a difference. Josh Boyce had a total of 149 in six returns, and his longest went for 41 yards.

Stephen Gostkowski missed one field goal, but hit two clutch 53 yard field goals in this game. His last field goal was the difference in the game. Special teams overall stepped up against the Texans.


Stephen Gostkowski hits two field goals against the Texans.
(USA TODAY Images)

 

The Negatives

1. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower continues to be a problem on defense for the Patriots. Unfortunately, it is now two weeks in a row that he has been in the negative category, and his lack of play is affecting both the run and pass defense.

I don’t know why we did not see more of Dane Fletcher in this game as he only had 12 snaps. Hightower was in on 49 snaps, and he is not worthy of that much playing time right now.

2.The run defense was poor against the Texans. The Patriots gave up 121 yards on the ground, and this is just unacceptable against a team who was missing Arian Foster. On top of that, running back Ben Tate had three touchdowns, and really gashed the Patriots defense.

3. Cornerback Kyle Arrington struggled on the outside against the Texans. On one catch for DeAndre Hopkins, it seemed like he gave up on the play. Arrington is a great slot corner, but when he is on the outside he is a liability.

In concluding, once again this was a game of two halves, as at the end of the first half we saw the Patriots trailing by ten points. We are seeing too much of this lately by the Patriots, and needs to stop moving forward.

However, once again we saw the Patriots play a great second half, and find a way to win. No matter what I criticize, the bottom line is the Patriots won this game. It is a good sign that they win these close games, because it should prepare them well for what to expect in the playoffs.

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast – Pats vs. Texans Preview

In this episode, we first looked back extensively at the Patriots 34-31 victory against the Broncos. Later on in the show, we previewed the upcoming game for the Pats against the Texans.

Six Takeaways from the Patriots 34-31 Victory Against The Broncos

Each week I am going to look back, and give you six takeaways I got from watching the Patriots game. I want this to be a balanced post so I am going to give you an equal share of the positive and the negative takeaways in this match-up for the Pats.

The Positives

1. Aqib Talib continues to show his value as the number one cornerback for the Patriots. The job for Talib on Sunday was to shut down Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.

Well, this was a battle for Talib, and overall he really did his job well. He limited Thomas to four receptions for 41 total yards. Thomas did score a touchdown, but these two players were fighting down the field often, and overall I would have to give the victory of this battle to Talib.

The Patriots have a much better defense when he plays, and he sure showed his value on Sunday. This defense has not had this great of a cornerback since Ty Law, and that is high praise.

2. Linebackers Dane Fletcher, and Jamie Collins make important contributions in this game. With the poor play of linebacker of Dont’a Hightower in this game, it was nice to see two players step up when the Patriots desperately needed it.

Fletcher had seven total tackles, and forced a fumble in the second half, which was a help in the Patriots second half comeback. Collins had a total of ten tackles, and for a rookie that is impressive in an important AFC match-up. The next man up mentality certainly applies to Collins and Fletcher.

3.  Julian Edelman stands out on offense and in special teams. In a season that the Patriots offense was dealing with injuries early, Edelman has stepped up, and has been an impact player at times on offense, and on special teams.

In this game, he had nine receptions for 110 yards, and two touchdowns. On top of that, he had an additional 39 total yards on three punt returns. Edelman has proven me wrong, as there is no question his value to the Patriots has been pretty high this season.

The Negatives

1. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower was a disappointment in this game. Hightower was beat by tight end Jacob Tamme in the first half, on his touchdown reception, and overall was a non-factor in this game. He ended the game with three total tackles, and apparently was replaced in the second half. I expect more from a player that was drafted in the first round.

2. Running back Stevan Ridley continues to fumble the ball. For all the good that Ridley can offer the Patriots on offense, his fumbling diminishes tremendously his impact.

The Patriots were driving in their first possession, and his fumble led to a touchdown, and totally changed the momentum of the game early. I honestly do not know what his future will be with the Patriots the rest of the season.

3. The turnovers destroyed anything positive the Patriots did early in this game. The Patriots defense got off the field against the Broncos on their opening drive, and that was followed by a promising drive by the Patriots offense.

The positive early beginning for the Pats was wiped out by three turnovers that all came very quickly. They were very fortunate that they found a way to come back in the second half, because in the majority of games, a team does not recover from that type of deficit, that was caused mostly from the turnovers.

In concluding, this was a tale of two halves of football. I have to give credit to Denver, because they seized the opportunity in the first half, and put themselves in a great position to win a game.

However, for the Patriots to fight back in the second half, shows some serious character that might be a great indicator of things to come in the near future. The Patriots got lucky in OT with the punt, but that shouldn’t diminish what they accomplished to get to that point of the game. This was a well earned victory for the New England Patriots.

Five Things To Look For: Patriots vs. Broncos

The Patriots are back in action Sunday Night to face the Broncos. Here are Five Things for you to look for in this match-up.

1. Will the Patriots “pick their spots” to play fast on offense?¬†The match-up last year saw quarterback Tom Brady us the “hurry up offense”¬†at times to throw off an aggressive Denver Defense.

I think it is important at times to play fast against the Broncos, and I would certainly use this style to run the ball. The “hurry up” is not just effective in the passing game, as it can be a true weapon on the ground as well.

2. Can the Patriots get the ball to running back Shane Vereen early and often against the Broncos? Vereen led the Patriots in the last game with receptions, but only ran the ball once. I think you need to feed him the ball in the running and passing game.

3. Can the Patriots step up their “red zone offense” against the Panthers? ¬†This might be the biggest key in the game. The Patriots cannot afford to kick field goals in this game once entering the red-zone.

This game has the potential to be a shoot-out, so touchdowns are necessary, and Brady now has the weapons to get seven, instead of three when in the red-zone. If you see the Patriots settling for field goals in this game, you will know they are in trouble.

4. Will acting Denver head coach Jack Del Rio play his standard defense against Brady? A huge advantage I feel the Patriots have is that Brady knows how to beat the Denver defense.

In Brady’s history against a Del Rio defense, it has been so easy for him as he usually knows what is coming. Unless Del Rio makes changes, and adjusts during the game, the Patriots should have little problem moving the ball.

5. Can the Patriots defense disguise their coverage against Peyton Manning? Listen, they aren’t going to do anything that Manning hasn’t seen before, but they can make it difficult for him to read what defense the Patriots are playing.

The idea here is to try to slow down an excellent offense, and it will be difficult to do, but you need to try. I hope the Patriots are switching often from zone to man to man looks in the secondary. Just maybe it will pay off in this game.

This is my fifth Brady vs. Manning, and the Patriots are 3-1 in those games. There is no question that this game should be close as the Patriots can score to keep up with the Broncos.

I have much respect for Manning, and know this is a huge challenge for the Patriots, but they have a few factors working in their favor. First, it is going to be very cold, and Manning over his career has not played well in cold weather.

The other factor is the head coach right now for the Broncos. I have a feeling Del Rio will be playing checkers, while coach Bill Belichick will be playing chess. This is a huge advantage for the Patriots, and could be the difference of a field goal, so that is why I am predicting the Patriots win this game by three points.

If you are looking for more of an extensive preview of this game, please take a listen below to Patriots Fourth And Two.

Patriots Fourth And Two Podcast – Patriots vs. Broncos Preview

In this episode, we first looked back at the Patriots 24-20 loss to the Panthers. We did discuss the final play, but went into more depth about the rest of the game.

The second half of the show we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Broncos. We ended the show by giving our predictions for Sunday Night Football.

Six Takeaways From The Patriots 24-20 Loss To The Panthers

Each week I am going to look back, and give you six takeaways I got from watching the Patriots game. I want this to be a balanced post so I am going to give you an equal share of the positive and the negative takeaways in this match-up for the Pats. Since the Patriots lost, the negatives have to come first.

The Negatives

1. The Patriots failed to contain Cam Newton in the pocket. A major concern in this game was to prevent Newton from getting outside of the pocket, and running the ball. Well, he did that well last night, and a few carries led to key first downs for the Panthers.

I do have to give credit though to Newton, who showed why he is a serious threat to become an elite quarterback. The Patriots should have done better on some runs, but their were others that there was nothing they could have done, because of the talent that Newton possesses.

2. The fumble by Stevan Ridley really hurt the Patriots in this game. There is no way getting around the fact that Ridley has a fumbling issue, and this game it really cost the Patriots points, as he gave up the ball in the red-zone.

Each team had serious time consuming drives, and this fumble took at least three or possibly seven points off the the board for the Patriots. He was benched for awhile in this game, but I was glad he came back in later. Ridley is a talent, but until he fixes the fumbling problems, he will not be the complete running back he should be.

3. The pass protection in the final drive broke down. Honestly, I thought the offensive line did a decent job protecting Tom Brady for the majority of the game, but on that final drive the protection struggled a great deal against an aggressive defense.

I am not used to seeing the offensive line struggle the way it has this season. They needed more from this line late in the game.

 

The Positives

1. Shane Vereen made a difference in his return to the offense. Vereen was used often in the passing game, as he ended with eight receptions for sixty five yards. He was key player on third down, and reminded me of a young Kevin Faulk. The return of Vereen should pay off big time as the season goes on.

2. Tom Brady proved he is still one of the best in the game. This game became a battle of the quarterbacks, and Brady was up for the challenge. He was extremely accurate most of the game, and did everything he could to help the Patriots try to win. He threw for 296 yards, and was 29-40, with a passer rating of 91.2 in this game.

3.  The Patriots defense stops the run against the running backs. I already talked about the problem in stopping the running of Newton, but the Patriots defense did a nice job against the running backs. The Patriots held the three Carolina running backs to a total of 41 yards, with only a 2.56 yards per carry average which is excellent. This was an improvement for the Patriots defense.

In concluding, this was a disappointing loss for the Patriots, because I thought overall this was a well played game by both teams. In the end, one team made just a few more plays than the other.

However, there are serious positives to take out of this game, and I mentioned them above, regardless of how the game ended. You can build on these positives as we head into the stretch run of the season.