Archive for September 15th, 2010

Brady Calls Out Patriots Fans

There has been plenty made about the fact that fans at Gillette haven’t been quite as passionate during some of the home games, and apparently quarterback Tom Brady noticed on Sunday. 

Brady told reporters on Wednesday he wasn’t pleased about looking up early in the fourth quarter against the Bengals on Sunday when they were up by 21 and seeing that a large majority of the fans had already left to try and beat the traffic.  After playing down at the Meadowlands last year following Rex Ryan’s call to all Jets fans to be as loud as possible, Brady admitted that unlike Gillette, it’s not an easy venue for opposing teams to play at.  It’s a hostile environment, and he expects it to stay that way until the final whistle when the two teams meet this weekend.

“It’s a tough place to play,” said Brady of the Meadowlands.  “The road environment is very different than our friendly home crowd, who, when I looked up, half the stadium was gone when we were up 21 points in the early fourth quarter, which I wasn’t so happy about. But I don’t think the Jets fans leave early.”

Last year New England went into the Meadowlands and managed just 9 points in a 16-9 loss in the second game of the season.  In that game Brady was just 23-of-47 for 216-yards and also threw an interception, finishing with a quarterback rating of 53.1.  The fans were loud the whole game, and Brady had an uncharacteristic three delay of game penalties.

He expects them to be just as loud on Sunday.

“They’re going to be loud the whole game, so communication is always an issue. We worked on it a lot in practice, and we worked on it in training camp quite a bit. Last year we didn’t do a very good job of it, and that was painfully obvious to all of us. We have to do a better job this year.”

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Patriots Promote RB Javarris James From Practice Squad

According to FoxSports.com’s Adam Caplan, New England has reportedly promoted runningback Javarris James to the active roster. James apparently replaced the recently departed Laurence Maroney, who was traded to Denver yesterday.

The former Miami star will reportedly be activated to the 53-man roster, which will allow him to join Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the team’s 5th runningback.

James is 6’1″, 215-pounds, and had 103 carries for 492-yards with 6 touchdowns, while also catching 13 passes for 85 yards at the University of Miami. He finished his collegiate career with 505 carries for 2,162 yards and 18 touchdons.

He originally signed with the Colts before being waved and has since been on the practice squad here in New England.

In the meantime here’s a highlight video of a 62-yard touchdown run he had against North Carolina:

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RB Maroney Trade Analysis

There were probably many fans who were surprised by the Laurence Maroney trade yesterday, but looking at the move it doesn’t necessarily come as a complete shock.

The former first round draft pick has struggled with injuries the last couple of seasons, having never had a year where he played an entire season, nor has he ever finished a season with 1,000 yards. Last year he rushed for 757-yards on 194 attempts (3.9 avg), but between the fumbling issues he had and his inconsistant play, along with the fact he’s been battling injuries all preseason, it left too many question marks heading into this year.

To make matters worse Maroney has more or less gotten lost in a runningback group that currently has the likes of Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin Faulk as the experienced veterans of the bunch, along with 3rd year back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Morris and Taylor both carried the ball well during the preseason, with both averaging nearly 4-yards per carry. Taylor had some success in the team’s win over the Bengals, carrying the ball 14-times for 71-yards and ran hard, and appears that he could be poised for a good season.

While some will argue that Maroney also ran fairly well in what little we saw of him in the preseason, the problem is that he’s more or less an odd man out in a group that already has experience. It also appears that Bill Belichick is committing to developing BenJarvus Green-Ellis, as he spelled Taylor and Faulk during the Bengals game, carrying 5-times for 22 yards.

Taking a further look at Maroney the last couple of years, his style of play has changed, and it doesn’t currently fit what they’re doing here at this point – at least for this season. He doesn’t hit the hole as hard as he did his rookie year, and continues to hesitate before picking where he’s going to go and committing himself to it. As most fans are aware, that’s been a problem that has plagued him for a long time. New England has long been in need of a north-south type of guy who hits the hole hard and can drag some people and muscle out some extra yards. That’s where Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris come in, although the biggest question mark will be can they stay healthy this season. Then if they need some speed and a guy to catch the ball out of the backfield, that’s where Faulk has always excelled.

Where we saw glimpses of how Maroney may contribute out in Denver, is that he’s very good catching the ball in open space and making guys miss and then gaining positive yards, which when we have seen him do it he’s been successful. Unfortunately, considering how effective that Faulk has been in that role, Belichick’s not about to change what isn’t broken.

After all, having Faulk in the backfield creates a threat where defenses don’t necessarily know what to expect. They may run a draw, they may do a delayed handoff, or they might send him out in the flat on a third and short to try and pick up a first down. Team’s really don’t know what he’s going to do when he’s out there, and that element of surprise is one of the things that has always made them successful.

It’s simple, Denver had a need, and the Patriots had a player who with so many question marks no longer fit into their long-term plans. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels knows Maroney, and most reports out in Denver feel he wants to go in a different direction in the running game. McDaniels reportedly made the move after Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars where he felt that they “left a lot of yards on the field“, and didn’t perform like he had hoped they would. According to the Denver Post the plan appears to be within a week or two for the Broncos to have a tailback rotation of Knowshon Moreno and Maroney.

Hopefully a change of scenery does the 25-year old some good. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. We’ve spent the last couple of years talking about Maroney’s potential while continuing to hope he’d finally break out and become the guy that we always saw glimpses of.

But you can only wait so long for that to happen, and unfortunately it appears that Belichick decided that he wasn’t going to wait any longer.

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