Archive for November, 2012

Grogan’s Grade: Week 11 – Jets Annihilation Edition and Dolphins Preview

PatsFans.com is proud to welcome former New England Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan back for the 12th straight season. Grogan played in 149 games with the Patriots from 1975-1990, and was named to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1995. Steve will join us each week to provide his insight on the progress of the Patriots during the 2012 football season. He already joined the Buzz on Monday, now we do an additional expanded feature with another interview from local writer R.R. Marshall which gives you even more from the former New England signal caller.

R.R.Marshall: Steve the question of how the Patriots offense would fair without tight end Rob Gronkowski was answered emphatically on Thanksgiving with a 49-19 blowout of Rex Ryan’s Jets. After the overtime game the two teams played last month, I really doubted that we’d see a game like this. Did you?

Steve Grogan: I think it was a little surprising that they won so handily. But it was one of those games where they did everything right, and the Jets did everything wrong. I don’t think either team is as good or as bad as they looked like the other night, but it certainly was fun to watch them hammer the Jets the way they did.

RRM: The Patriots turned the game into a rout in the second quarter with three touchdowns in :52. The first, a Tom Bady to Shane Vereen hookup out of the backfield that went for 83 yards. That play came about so easily, I’m thinking that had to be something they spotted on film prior to the game?

SG: Probably. They probably had something on film that they felt like they could get a big play. I’m not sure they expected to get that big of a play. When something breaks like that, either you’ve found something on film study, or you just run a regular play and somebody on the defensive side of the ball just totally breaks down – that’s not what it looked like happened.

RRM: The other two scores in that sequence came on returns off of Jets turnovers. The most bizarre had to be when Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez ran smack dab into the butt of his own lineman and fumbled the ball to Steve Gregory, who scored an easy touchdown. Had you ever seen that particular play happen before?

SG: [Laughs] Not off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ve probably seen it, but it’s a rarity. Just to run into your lineman and have the ball pop out into somebody else’s hands – it tells you it’s not your night. It’s just one of those crazy things that can happen occasionally, but it was just not the Jets night because of things like that happening.

RRM: The unsung hero on that play was massive Vince Wilfork, who seemingly week after week we forget to mention his name, but he’s probably the most important player on the defensive side of the ball for the Patriots?

SG: Yeah, he’s become a steady performer. He just demands double teams, which frees up other people and still makes plays even though he’s being double teamed. He’s really turned into a veteran leader on that team and their defensive front would be hurting without him.

RRM: It’s funny, the point explosion kind of minimized the key interception that Steve Gregory made that helped keep the game scoreless in the first quarter. Was that play a perfect example of why Mark Sanchez will never be an elite quarterback in this league?

SG: It’s probably an example of that. I thought Gregory baited him into that one and made a nice play on it. But you don’t see guys like Brady, or Peyton Manning, or even Drew Brees make throws like that. They don’t let guys bait them into throwing interceptions very often and Sanchez seems to let it happen far too often. That’s probably why he’ll never be the greatest quarterback that the Jets want him to be.

RRM: Back in my high school days we used to call that a “sucker play”.

SG: [Laughs] It was. It looked he was going to one side of the field, jumped the other side – and it happens to most quarterbacks at some point in time. But it seems to happen a lot to Sanchez.


“Welker’s still a great player and a huge part of their offense. Maybe he doesn’t deserve the long-term contract with the big money that he’s looking for, but they certainly have a guy like Edelman who can step in and do the same kinds of things that Welker’s doing.” – Steve Grogan (FILE:USPresswire)

RRM: Julian Edelman was seemingly all over the field on Thursday night and he just killed the Jets with two scores. You couldn’t help watching that performance and think that Bill Belichick now feels justified for all the playing time he gave to Edelman at the expense of Wes Welker at the early part of the season?

SG: Welker’s still a great player and a huge part of their offense. Maybe he doesn’t deserve the long-term contract with the big money that he’s looking for, but they certainly have a guy like Edelman who can step in and do the same kinds of things that Welker’s doing. Edelman seems to get better and better every year and every week. He’s becoming more and more of a factor for them.

RRM: Aside from a missed field goal by Stephen Gostkowski at the start of the game, this had to be best game turned in by the Patriots special teams unit this year do you think?

SG: I would say that was probably a correct statement. I thought their special teams played outstanding. Gostkowski’s gotta become a little bit more consistent. It’s unusual to see him miss. I think it takes everybody by surprise when he does, but all-in-all their special teams have really been playing well the last few games.

RRM: I was going to ask you specifically about Gostkowski. No one expects him to be perfect, but with all these key games coming up against top opponents in December, it has to make you just a little but nervous with some of his kicks this year.

SG: There’s a little doubt in the back of everybody’s minds right now and you know if the fans have the doubt in the back of their minds, then the coaches have the doubt and probably Gostkowski himself has a little bit of doubt because he’s not used to missing field goals like that. So it’s going to be extremely important for him to get his confidence back as they get down the stretch run and into the playoffs because they can’t afford to have misses like that.

RRM: From a players perspective is having the last 10 days off a significant benefit compared to having only three to prepare for the Thanksgiving day game?

SG: I think it helps a little bit. We never played on a Thursday night, but to have 10 days off and a couple of days to get away from it all even though they have the bye weeks now, it’s like having another short bye week and I’m sure the players were looking forward to getting away from things for a couple of days.

RRM: With the Patriots being off on Sunday it gave all of us a chance to catch up on the rest of the league. I guess what we found out is that the Texans have more lives than a cat, Peyton is Peyton again, and the Steelers are in a lot of trouble?

SG: Yeah, the Steelers are really hurting without Roethlisberger and they’ve got some other guys banged up – according to what I heard. Peyton Manning is back to his old stuff in Denver, he’s making them a contender. I think we also found out that there’s nobody else in the AFC East that’s going to challenge the Patriots. Miami, Buffalo, and New York just don’t have much talent this year.

RRM: Speaking of opponents in the division, the Patriots travel down to Miami this week to play a young Dolphins team that snapped a three game losing streak with a last-second win over Seattle. Is that kind of emotional victory a good sign for them heading into this game?

SG: I think it’s a good sign for them, but I still think they’re in way over their heads playing against the Patriots. They don’t have the talent level that the Patriots have. They will be playing at home, it will be warm, which the Patriots aren’t going to be used to – although they probably will practice in the dome with the heat turned up so that’s not a factor like it used to be in the old days. This is a game that if the Patriots take care of business the way they should, should not be a very close football game.

RRM: So far this season the Patriots are 1-1 facing rookie quarterbacks. Miami’s Ryan Tannehill will break the tie on Sunday, but do you consider him on the same level as either Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck – whom the Patriots have already faced?

SG: I think he’s a good young quarterback. He’s going to have a good future in the league, but I don’t think he’s to the level of the other two guys at this point. At least he doesn’t have the talent around him that the other two guys seem to have right now and that makes it hard for him to rise to their level.

RRM: You mentioned the weather down in Miami being a factor. Miami’s never been a safe haven for the Patriots’ fortunes over the years as I’m sure you can attest. But Bill Belichick has probably over the years prepared his team just about as well as anybody to deal with the crowd, the conditions, everything a team faces when he goes to Miami. He’s only been stung a couple of times down there, so I wouldn’t think playing them down there at this time of year will be a factor?

SG: I don’t think he’s going to worry too much about the weather. Again, it’s a young team with a young quarterback. If they hang around and hang around in the game, the crowd will keep them in it. But if the Patriots can jump ahead early and take the crowd out of the game, there’s so many other things for those people to do down there, they’ll be leaving at halftime and it will turn into what will seem like a Patriots home game because there are a lot of Patriots fans down there that do show up for the games.

RRM: I imagine the charter flights will be booked up this weekend?

SG: More than likely [laughs].

RRM: What were Grogan’s for the 49-19 annihilation of the Jets on turkey day evening?

SG: I don’t do this very often, but I gave them an A+ for not only beating the Jets, but embarrassing them on national television in front of the whole nation. To me that’s something pretty good. The hated Jets…it’s fun to watch them struggle like that. The look on Rex Ryan’s face after the third score in :52 was priceless.

RRM: I was going to say it’s hard to explain, but it was kind of acquired with you once you moved up here – wins over the Jets just seemed to be, for the last 30 or so years that I can remember, they just take the place of any other victory over any other team in the NFL.

SG: Yeah, I think the rivalry really started back in the late 70’s when we had some pretty good teams and they had some pretty good teams and that rivalry has continued since then. The proximity between the two cities and the fact that we’ve had good teams at both places over the years, I think they’ve become the chief rival of the Patriots and to beat them like that the other night is pretty special.

Grogan’s Grade: Week 11

Offense: A+
Defense: A+

Overall: A+

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PHOTOS: Patriots at NY Jets 11/22/12


Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sideline during their 49-19 win over the Jets Thursday night.



Julian Edelman walks off the field after taking a vicious shot Thursday night.



Steve Gregory celebrates following an interception on Thurdsday night against the Jets.



Wes Welker scores a touchdown during Thursday night’s game.

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Belichick Reaches Milestone With Victory Over Jets


Belichick on the sideline during Thursday night’s win. (FILE:USPresswire)

Patriots fans haven’t seen a losing season since 2000, with head coach Bill Belichick having finished every season since then with at least a winning record.

Obviously they’ve enjoyed plenty of success over the years and Thursday night’s victory over the Jets helped him achieve yet another milestone after Belichick became the 8th coach in NFL history to reach the 200 win milestone.

“Well, it’s been a privilege and a great opportunity to coach the players that won those games,” Belichick told reporters after the game.  ”I didn’t make a block, didn’t make a tackle, didn’t throw a pass, didn’t kick a ball. The players win them, but it’s an honor to coach the group of players to really go out there and make the plays to win those games and that’s the way it was today. The players went out there, they made the plays and they deserved to win.

“It’s a privilege to coach this team. For Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, the Patriots organization and the players that are on it. It’s nice, but I think it’s really more a reflection of what the players have done. They win them.”

According to ESPNBoston.com Patriots owner Robert Kraft also gave Belichick the game ball to celebrate the acheivement.

Tom Brady told reporters that the fact Belichick gets the best out of all of his players is what makes him so great.

“I mean, there’s no coach I’d ever want to play for other than him,” said Brady.  ”He’s so consistent. As players, I think we really appreciate him even though he’s tough and he’s disciplined, but that’s what we need. That’s the way our program’s run. He expects us to play at a high level every week.  He has high expectations in practice everyday and I think that’s what you look for in a coach – someone that gets the best out of all of the players that he coaches. He certainly does that.”

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Wes Welker and the Patriots had a big night against Ryan’s Jets. (FILE:USPresswire)

Raise your hand if you’re going to miss Rex Ryan…even a little.

The boisterous coach of the Jets ignited the border-war by saying he wasn’t going to kiss Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl rings, but Thursday night’s win likely sealed the fate for the embattled Ryan after the Jets dropped to 4-7 following the 49-19 debacle in front of a nationally televised audience.

It’s the second time it’s happened.  The Patriots last did the same thing back in 2010 with a 45-3 Monday night win.  While Ryan got the last laugh by knocking New England out of the playoffs, in all likelihood he’ll be on the outside looking in this time around.

It’s ironic when you think about it.  On one side was Ryan talking to reporters after his team was just dealt was could arguably be considered the worst loss of his tenure as coach of the Jets, while on the other Belichick was being asked what it was like to become the 8th coach in NFL history to achieve 200 wins.

Needless to say it’s a little poetic justice.  Ryan made a lot of noise and barked quite a bit when he tried to let everyone know his Jets would become the team to beat in this Division, but all signs seem to point to him walking away with his tail between his legs and in need of a job somewhere else.

Owner Woody Johnson declined to talk to reporters after the game, and has recently said he wasn’t pleased with the team’s record.  The whispers out of New York have basically said that anything less than a playoff appearance along with some promise of improvement is the only thing that could potentially save Ryan’s job.

It’s doubtful Thursday night’s result was what Johnson was looking for.

We’ll see how things play out in the coming weeks, but it appears there could be someone else standing at the podium next season for the Jets.  Ryan’s quite the character but unfortunately the Jets need a coach, and that’s probably what they’ll be searching for after the season is over.

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Bill Belichick’s Post Game Press Conference Transcript

Opening statement:

“Well it’s really nice to come down here and be able to sweep the Jets the season. It’s always a challenge, especially in a short week. I thought our players really deserve a lot of credit on this one for turning around so quickly.  Coming off of last week’s game the preparation that we had this week was just really, I thought, outstanding by the players. They were very attentive in meetings, our walk-throughs, our films, even the walk through we had this morning. I mean it was just some of the best sessions we’ve had all year and time was really short.  They really put a lot into it and I think it showed up out there today. It was an awesome job by the players. Once again, we got contributions from everybody. Another touchdown on special teams, turned the ball over on defense, and converted them on offense. Of course Shane [Vereen] got us started there with the big play early in the game.  Overall I thought it was a good team effort. I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of the way they responded this week after the Indianapolis game. Like I said, it was a short week, it was a tough week, but they really dug down and brought their best in terms of concentration and effort in the classroom and walk-throughs and all that. Those results were evident on the field today.  We’ll take a little break here, and get on to Miami.”

On if he’s concerned about Edelman’s injury at all:

“We’ll see.”

On the play of Steve Gregory:

“Yeah, I thought he made a real good play on the interception. He read the quarterback well, came over there and undercut the route. Of course the fumble was just a good scoop and score play. But Steve’s a heady player, a smart player, prepares well, and is very instinctive and anticipates well. He’s made a lot of those plays for us this year.”

On if he was playing a robber role on the interception or if it was a designed “trap” play:

“Like any good player he’s aware of the routes, reads the quarterback, was able to anticipate the play.”

On if he’s ever seen a streak where a team scored three touchdowns in 52 seconds:

“Well unfortunately, I was on the other end of that at the Pro bowl a couple of years ago and it was 42-0 in the middle of the second quarter on the same kind of plays. The touchdowns, the interception returns, the fumble returns and all that. Look, it doesn’t take a lot to score a lot of points in this league quickly. Turnovers, defensive returns, special teams returns, it can add up in a hurry both ways – getting ahead or also coming back. Nothing surprises me in the NFL. That’s why it’s a great game.”

On if he’s happy about the way his team’s played over the last two weeks:

“Each game is its own challenge. I thought we played well today and more importantly prepared well, had a real good week of preparation on a short week and to perform very competitively today… I thought we had good energy and made a lot of big plays, obviously and it was good to see us do those.  The long play in the passing game, big play in the return game – it’s always good to score on special teams. That’s two touchdowns against the Jets in the kicking game this year, so that’s winning football.”

On if the way the guys responded speaks of the team’s toughness:

“Well I thought they had a good week. I mean, we’ll see about next week.  Next week will be another challenge against Miami, but they did it this week.”

On the play of Vince Wilfork:

“Vince has been a solid player for us all year again, both in the running game and the passing game. Very unselfish.  We play him at different positions usually where we feel like he may be the most needed. Not necessarily where it’s going to feature him or give him a great opportunity to make plays, but a lot of the times it is to eat up blockers or try to disrupt plays. He’s an explosive guy that’s got very good football instincts. He knows where the ball is, he knows what they’re trying to do. He really responded to a lot of the different challenges or positions that we put him in. Like I said he’s done it very unselfishly, and very productively. And he’s given us great leadership too, all year – he’s given us great leadership. He and Jerod [Mayo] and Devin [McCourty] on defense have really…those are the guys who have really been outstanding.”

On if Vollmer being inactive was precautionary, or a long-term thing:

“We’ll see. You know, he wasn’t able to play today, we’ll see how that goes going forward. We’ll just have to take it day by day.”

On his 200th win:

“Well, it’s been a privilege and a great opportunity to coach the players that won those games. I didn’t make a block, didn’t make a tackle, didn’t throw a pass, didn’t kick a ball. The players win them, but it’s an honor to coach the group of players to really go out there and make the plays to win those games and that’s the way it was today. The players went out there, they made the plays and they deserved to win.  It’s a privilege to coach this team. For Mr. Kraft, the Kraft family, the Patriots organization and the players that are on it. It’s nice, but I think it’s really more a reflection of what the players have done. They win them.”

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Tom Brady’s PostGame Press Conference Transcript

OPENING STATEMENT:

“It was a fun day. Fun to win. Happy Thanksgiving to you guys.”

On how he keeps everyone in the locker room humble after two big weeks:

“Well, we got a lot of turnovers from the defense. The scoring plays on defense, on special teams, those are huge. Anytime you get one of those, we got two of them, we got two or three of them last week. It was a great job on a short week against a team knows us really well and putting together four good quarters.”

On their third-down efficiency today:

“That was important. I thought we did a real good job on third down and this is a team that’s a very good third-down defense. They challenge you in a lot of ways with their blitz schemes but we made a lot of conversions. We made quite a few.”

On the 83 yard play by Vereen:

“He had a wheel-route, and they carried Wes [Welker] and Brandon [Lloyd] on the outside, they just carried them up the field and once I threw it to him, he’s so fast – he can out run those guys. He caught it up the sidelines and it was nice seeing the back of his jersey running all the way down the field. He opened up, and it was a great play.”

On his thoughts on bill Belichick getting his 200th win:

“He’s, I mean there’s no coach I’d ever want to play for other than him. He’s so consistent. As players, I think we really appreciate him even though he’s tough and he’s disciplined, but that’s what we need. That’s the way our program’s run. He expects us to play at a high level every week.  He has high expectations in practice everyday and I think that’s what you look for in a coach – someone that gets the best out of all of the players that he coaches. He certainly does that.”

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Grogan’s Grade: Week 10 – Thanksgiving Week Edition

PatsFans.com is proud to welcome former New England Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan back for the 12th straight season. Grogan played in 149 games with the Patriots from 1975-1990, and was named to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1995. Steve will join us each week to provide his insight on the progress of the Patriots during the 2012 football season. He already joined the Buzz on Monday, now we do an additional expanded feature with another interview from local writer R.R. Marshall which gives you even more from the former New England signal caller.

R.R. Marshall: Steve on a weekend that featured upsets and near upsets in both the college and pro ranks, the Patriots held serve and dismantled Andrew Luck and the Colts 59-24. The revamped Colts offense lead by Luck came as advertised, but it appeared that the Colts reconstructed defense may have been a tad overrated, or can Tom Brady make a defense look that bad?

Steve Grogan: Well, I think Tom Brady can make a defense look that bad but their defense didn’t play well Sunday. The pass rushers that they’ve had in the past that they’re now playing at outside linebacker just weren’t able to get to Brady Sunday. I thought their secondary was a little weak, didn’t cover well, and the Patriots defense got some pressure on Andrew Luck and made him force some bad throws and it resulted in a couple of touchdowns for the defense.

RRM: This had to be one of Brady’s best games of the season with a 24-for-35 effort for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. Is he winding into second half form a little bit early?

SG: Well, we’re hoping he’s winding into second half form but he sure looked comfortable with everything they were doing Sunday. They didn’t run the ball extremely well, but they ran it effectively enough to make the Colts think about it. But he was really putting the ball on target in some tight spots a few times. He just looked like he was really comfortable with a game plan they had.

RRM: Do you think all the talk this week of the Brady-Luck matchup helped to rev his engine up just a little bit for this game?

SG: I’m sure probably did. It’s the old guard versus the new guard and he wanted to prove to people that he’s not done yet. Andrew Luck has a lot to learn before he reaches Tom Brady’s status.

RRM: What about you personally? When you were playing in your later years and the hotshot rookie would come to town – I think specifically of guys like Marino and guys like that – in their first year. Did that get your blood pumping?

SG: Yeah, you always want to play well against somebody that was supposed to be the next generation and was going to take jobs away from older guys. You just always felt like you needed to go out and play better than them.

RRM: The rookie Luck gave the Patriots a scare in the first quarter with some extremely accurate pinpoint passing. You had your reservations about him last year when you saw him play at Stanford. But what’s your assessment now after seeing him play in an NFL game?

SG: I think he’s going to be a very, very good quarterback. He’s got all the throws, he’s just got to learn when to not force the ball and when to take the sack once in a while. He’s trying to carry the team on his shoulders and I don’t think he’s quite ready to do that yet. He certainly showed me a lot more than I thought he had on Sunday. He’s a very confident and talented young man.

RRM: It’s funny how there’s this indefinable quality with the quarterback called ‘presence’. He definitely has it, and some of these other guys who have come into the league have not. Is that your assessment as well?

SG: Yes, I would say that. He was raised in a football family. He just knows how to handle situations whether it’s on the field, off the field, he says the right things off the field. When he made mistakes he showed that he was upset. He didn’t just walk off like it didn’t matter to him and I think his teammates see that, and know how much he cares for him and it’ll make them play little harder.

RRM: Well the Patriots offense wasn’t the only unit putting points on the board in this game. They got two interception returns for touchdowns from both newcomer Aqib Talib and the other corner Alphonzo Dennard. And they also got a punt return touchdown from our old friend back from MIA in Julian Edelman. I can’t remember the last time I saw a game where they had 21 points worth of returns in the game?

SG: No, it’s been a long time, if ever. And really there for a while it looked like it was going to be the difference in the game. I think the middle of the third quarter, somewhere in there, they were up by 21 points. Those 21 points had come from two defensive touchdowns and a kick return touchdown. So they’re lucky they got them, but at the same time the Patriots offense in the last quarter and a half really came alive and took over the game.

RRM: It appears that the defensive secondary is now stabilized a little bit with the addition of Talib at one corner, and Dennard establishing himself at the other and moving Devin McCourty back to safety. Do you see things settling down here a little bit over the second-half stretch run?

SG: It seems to be stabilized, but I’ve been fooled before so I don’t think I’m going to take one performance and jump on the bandwagon yet. I want to see them play consistently like that for another couple of weeks and then I’ll say they’re much improved. I think having Steve Gregory back at safety helped them a little bit too. They’re on the right track, let’s see what they can do against the Jets and then the Titans after that. So we’ll wait and pass judgment in a couple of weeks.

RRM: Edelman had a monster game and made fans forget about the fact that veteran wide receiver Deion Branch was cut shortly before the game. Does Edelman now have a chance to be the same kind of producer as Branch was for this team for many years?

SG: Well, I think there’s no question. He’s probably been producing more than Branch has last couple of years. Deion’s a great kid, had a great career here and he may turn up back here before the season’s over with. But Edelman’s young, he’s fast, he can do a lot of things for you, he’s just a very talented athlete. I think you’re going to see more and more of him in this offense.

RRM: Steve this is the kind of victory that fans were waiting for after the Patriots came back from the London trip. Now that they produced that kind of effort, is this the kind of game that could help springboard them to have a successful last six games of the season?

SG: When you play a game like that, it instills a lot of confidence in you. It shows you what you can do, and it also can be a trap at times. You’ve cakewalked over somebody and you figure you’ve got it all figured out and about that time you play somebody who throws you a few new wrinkles and you don’t have it figured out. You’ve just got to keep working hard to get better every week like they talk about, and if they do that, they’re going to be all right. I think the key right now is going to be keeping people healthy. They lost Gronkowski Sunday, that’s a big hit. Hopefully Aaron Hernandez can come back in a couple of weeks. They’ve got to start getting some of these guys healthy as they hit the stretch run.

RRM: You mention the loss of Gronkowski and it came on a play that really didn’t amount to anything, blocking on the last extra point of the game. You hate to see an injury like that, but this team has so many because so many players play so many different positions. Yet you know that’s going to get a lot of flack talk this week?

SG: Yeah, but how many times do you ever see a guy break an arm on an extra point kick or a field goal kick? It’s just one of those freak things that happened. He’s been playing that position since he got here, which is one of those things that happens in football occasionally. And that’s why the Patriots are good on special teams – they play their best athletes on special teams, and that’s what he was.


“How many times do you ever see a guy break an arm on an extra point kick or a field goal kick? It’s just one of those freak things that happened.” – Steve Grogan on Gronkowski’s injury. (FILE:USPresswire)

RRM: Now I hear the possibility that he might be able to come back earlier than the 4 to 6 weeks if he wants to put a cast on, or maybe even a rod for support in there. Can you see him playing effectively? He’s so physical, it’s not like a wide receiver – I know that Reggie Rucker did it right before you got to New England and he had trouble catching the ball with a cast on his arm, but it’s hard for me to imagine Gronkowski playing that effectively with his left forearm in a cast?

SG: It would be difficult, but if anybody could do it, he can. He’s got such big hands, they could use him certainly in the blocking part of it and I think it also depends on where it’s broken. If it’s broken up higher where they can just put a forearm cast on it and still allow his fingers to move, that he’s got a chance. If it’s down lower and that cast is on his hand, then he’s going to have trouble catching the ball.

RRM: What would be your preference, for him to just ride out the rest of the season and get healthy for the playoffs?

SG: I would think. Usually when you break a bone, you’re looking at four weeks minimum. When they put pins in, he might be able to come back in three weeks. But unless they’re really falling off a cliff, I’d just as soon see him get healthy and get ready for the end of the season and the playoffs.

RRM: As everybody’s been saying it’s a quick turnaround for the Patriots this week as they have to play a Thanksgiving night game against Rex Ryan’s Jets. For me, on the surface this appears to be the perfect trap game with the Patriots coming off of a big win and the Jets breaking a two-game losing streak with a road victory and all of their fans are dumping on them. Does this look like a trap game to you, or am I wrong?

SG: It’s a possibility. It’s a short week. You’ve just hammered somebody on Sunday and you’re looking at a team that’s not really very good. But you’re playing them in New York and when you’re playing in New York, anything can happen. They’ve got be on their best preparation mode this week or they might take a surprise down there.

RRM: Does the fact that they’re playing against a division opponent they know pretty well help neutralize the short week of preparation?

SG: That helps, the short week. You’ve already played them once this season, that’s definitely a help.

RRM: The running attack for the Patriots was almost an afterthought against the Colts, but given the injury to Gronkowski do you expect to see them go back to an emphasis on the run against the Jets on Thursday night?

SG: I would think that they probably would run the ball more against the Jets but it all depends on what they see on film. If the Jets are vulnerable in their secondary, they’ll throw the ball. If they’re not, they’ll run it – that’s just the way their offense is constructed. But I would like to see them try to hammer the ball a little more, take some pressure off of Brady. The Jets have a decent pass rushing team and if you can run the ball, that’ll slow that down.

RRM: Given all that’s happened to the Jets over the last year and a half, if they don’t make the playoffs again this season, do you see Rex Ryan getting fired at the end?

SG: Yeah, I don’t see him keeping his job if they don’t make the playoffs. It would be a big surprise to everybody around the league if he did stay and they hadn’t made the playoffs.

RRM: So I take it the Grogan household will be taking in the NFL turkey day triple header on Thursday?

SG: Part of the Grogan household will [laughs]. I’ll be watching all of them. I don’t think my wife will sit there, but I’ll definitely be watching them.

RRM: It’s a far cry from being a kid and just being able to watch Detroit and whoever they were playing.

SG: Yes, exactly. It’s wall-to-wall now.

RRM: So what are Grogan’s Grades for the 59-24 corralling of the Colts?

SG: I’ve got A’s across the board. Defense, offense, special teams, they all played way above average. So they deserve and A grade in this game.

RRM: How about a special note to Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald for filling in for Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly?

SG: Yes, I think that was a big part of the game. They didn’t miss a beat. Those guys came off the bench and really did a nice job.

RRM: You’ve just got to say as an aside, not too many teams can do that. You lose an All-Pro guard, you’re in trouble. But this team…

SG: They find a way to get it done, it’s amazing.

Grogan’s Grades – Week 10:

Offense: A
Defense: A
Special Teams: A

Overall: A

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A Look at The Patriots Secondary Performance on Sunday

With Aqib Talib making his debut on Sunday, here’s a quick breakdown of where the Colts threw the football yesterday:

The one thing that stands out is the fact the Colts clearly thought they could go after New England’s secondary with the deep ball, with Andrew Luck attempting 16 deep passes, while only completing 5.

Last week the Bills didn’t take a lot of shots down the field, but when they did for the most part they were successful. They attempted 8 throws and completed four, good for a 50% completion percentage. Against Indianapolis Luck completed just 31.2% when throwing deep against this defense.

One game doesn’t make a season, but for the most part this group looked better than what we’ve seen in recent weeks. We’ll see how it translates when they battle the Jets on Thursday.

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New England’s front seven has been one of their stronger areas for much of the season, although last week’s win over the Bills wasn’t exactly their best performance. The good news is Sunday’s win over the Colts showed a bit of an improvement from their run defense.

Looking at the numbers from Sunday’s win, the Patriots allowed just four runs over 10 yards, down from 7 last week against Buffalo.  Taking it one step further last week they allowed a total of 12 carries over 5 yards, this week they allowed just six.

Below is a week-by-week breakdown of how they’ve been through the first 10 weeks of the season:

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Sunday is the last time we’ll see a “Gronk Spike” for a while as Gronkowski suffered a fractured forearm on Sunday. (FILE:USPresswire)

The Patriots can’t seem to catch a break recently when it comes to injuries.

You’ll have to pardon the sarcasm in the above sentence, just call it a little bit of frustration after Tom Curran of CSNNE.com reported that Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm during the Patriots 59-24 win over the Colts on Sunday.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the injury occurred during the Patriots final extra point of the game.  Gronkowski was seen leaving the field shortly after and headed to the locker room, and now it appears he’ll be out for a while.  One report from Ian Rapoport says that the tight end will likely miss 4-6 weeks due to the injury, which puts him out until at least the final couple of games of the season.

That’s good news considering how bad it could have been.  Ankle and knee injuries tend to be the biggest concern when it comes to tight ends or receivers, so the fact he won’t have to rehab back from an injury like that is at least encouraging.  Not to mention the fact he’s been banged up for most of the season, so the time away will likely due him some good there as well.

There’s been a bit of discussion in the Twitter-verse regarding whether or not he should have even been out there with the Patriots having Sunday’s game firmly in hand, but it’s somewhat of a silly argument to make.  Gronkowski – like other players for the Patriots – is part of the special teams unit which includes blocking on an extra point.  It was simply a freak injury, so while the easy argument is to get angry and question head coach Bill Belichick’s decision to still have him in at that point of the game, unfortunately it was just a bad “break” for Gronkowski.

Gronkowski finished Sunday’s game having been targeted seven times for seven receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns.  The second touchdown was a milestone, as it gave him 10 on the season, making him the first tight end in NFL history to score 10 touchdowns in his first 3 seasons.

Hopefully it won’t be long before we see the “Gronk Spike” while we wait for him to heal up.

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