Here’s a quick rundown of this morning’s top stories:
Both Garoppolo, Brissett expected to be ready Sunday – Monday was expected to be the day where if the Patriots were set to make a move to bring in another quarterback for Sunday’s match-up against the Bills, they would have done so.
They didn’t, and as Tuesday came to an end, it sounds like they’re confident enough where they expect to have either Jacoby Brissett or Jimmy Garoppolo ready to play on Sunday.
Adam Schefter confirmed that thought late Tuesday afternoon, reporting that it would be “an upset” if either injued quarterback wasn’t available.
Pats all but certain to have Brisset/Garoppolo vs Bills. No QB workouts this week, both practicing. An upset if 1 or both not avail Sunday.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 27, 2016
According to the team’s official site, both players practiced Tuesday, albeit on a limited basis with the team expected to release their injury report on Wednesday. Although, as everyone knows, it won’t reveal much. As a result, expect another long week of speculation leading up to their final game before Tom Brady puts all of it to rest when he returns next week.
Could Edelman Be The Suprise Starter? – Julian Edelman was last week’s emergency quarterback and despite the news that both quarterbacks were on the field during the media portion of practice, that didn’t stop the Buffalo Bills official site from speculating that something crazy might happen at Gillette Stadium this weekend.
John Murphy wonders if the closely guarded secret the Patriots are keeping could include Edelman lining up under center when the Bills visit this weekend given the “rumblings” indicating that possibility.
Writes Murphy of Edelman, “He knows the New England offense better than the other two options, and he was a record-setting quarterback at Kent State. In his senior year, Edelman threw 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He also led the Golden Flashes in rushing that year, running for 1,370 yards and 13 touchdowns.”
Edelman knows the offense well but it would certainly be a surprise for him to get the starting nod, although Bill Belichick is a fan of going against the grain and doing things that are unconventional. After all, he’s already improved to 3-0 thanks to the performance of two quarterbacks. Would he give Edelman a shot to make things interesting and show the world he can beat Ryan with yet another quarterback making his first NFL start? Given Ryan’s delicate status with the Bills, losing to the Patriots with Edelman at quarterback and dropping to 1-3 might be enough for Buffalo to pull the plug on the beleaguered coach.
Unlikely as it is, it would still be entertaining. But given Edelman’s value to this offense and how critical winning the Division is, one would expect that Belichick will play it safe and take his chances with either Brissett or Garoppolo, with Edelman once again likely being the guy only if it’s absolutely necessary.
The last time Edelman threw a pass, it worked out pretty well for the Patriots.
Coughlin Ryan’s Replacement? – Should Ryan get the axe, Patriots fans should be a little concerned that his potential replacement could be a former nemesis who is well-respected and a little bit more of a threat if he lands there.
According to a report from Sal Maiorana of the Democrat and Chronicle, former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin met with the Bills prior to their game against the Cardinals, although it’s not known what role he would play with the team.
The timing of the meeting is concerning given the fact the Bills were 0-2 heading into that contest, and fortunately, Ryan and his staff managed to put together an impressive win over Arizona, allowing Ryan a little breathing room one week after firing his offensive coordinator. Barring an incredible run, one would believe that he’s not yet off the hook and will be on a short leash . With what will likely be a difficult game in a place where the Bills haven’t had any success as they get set to visit this weekend, he’s likely feeling the pressure.
As most fans know here in New England, Coughlin is the coach responsible for both of the team’s Super Bowl losses and seeing him land within the division would be irritating. However, Ryan’s days in Buffalo appear to be numbered and a win on Sunday by the Patriots would likely push him one step closer to ending his time with the Bills and knocking him out of the AFC East after his previous failed tenure with the Jets.
As great as that would be to see Ryan potentially get the boot, seeing Coughlin replace him wouldn’t be much fun. Given Coughlin’s history, if it happens, it could be a move that finally might get Buffalo back on track and make things a little tougher moving forward.
Patriots add a receiver to the Practice Squad – After losing receiver Devin Street to the Indianapolis Colts off their practice squad last week, the Patriots went ahead and found a replacement for him on Tuesday.
The team announced the addition of Da’Ron Brown to their practice squad, with the former seventh-round pick from Kansas City in 2015 having been released by the Chiefs back on September 3rd.
The 25-year old Brown is 6’0″, 199-pounds out of Northern Illinois who lead his college team in receiving yards with 752 in 2013 and 1065 in 2014, as well as finishing with a team-best 9 touchdowns in 2013 and 6 in 2014. He also had a career-high nine catches for 70-yards during the team’s 2014 Mid-American Conference Championship win.
Belichick Talks About ‘Value’ Derby, Harbor and Freeny Bring – While A.J. Derby, Clay Harbor and Jonathan Freeny haven’t played major roles at their positions over the first three games, one area where they’ve each provided value has been on special teams, which was something Bill Belichick talked about earlier this week as it pertained to the difference between different body styles of players and the difference it makes when they can provide additional value in multiple areas.
Belichick was asked about the contributions he’s seen from each of these three players, and the head coach explained that the size each player brings an added edge compared to smaller, faster, players, which is valuable, allowing them to adjust their personnel groupings and alignments while giving them a better chance at making plays.
Freeny has been a player who has already seen his role change with the absence of Dont’a Hightower, who hasn’t played since Week 1 when he injured his right knee in the first quarter. That saw Freeny’s playing time spike from just six defensive snaps against the Cardinals to 35 against the Dolphins, and 41 last week against Houston. He was also in on 9 special teams snaps in Arizona (35%), 9 against Miami (32%) and 8 last week against Houston. Players like Freeny are what help the Patriots nurse through periods where they’re missing players like Hightower, and it’s one of the areas that have allowed them to weather the injuries they’ve been forced to overcome in past seasons. When you have a player like that who can also make an impact on special teams, that’s even better.
Belichick admitted it’s tough to find guys like that, and he’s glad to have them on the team.
“Jonathan’s a very good and core special teams player. He gives us some size in the kicking game, [he’s] important,” said Belichick. “He also has enough length to at times be able to play on the end of the line if we need him there, which he plays there in certain alignments. His versatility on defense is very good, and as I said, he gives us a lot of plays in the kicking game because of his size and his length. Again, it’s hard to find those players on special teams. It’s a lot easier to find smaller, faster, more athletic guys.”
For Derby, he’s been inactive over the last two games after playing 20-of-71 (28%) offensive snaps in the opener out in Arizona, including 6 on special teams while both Harbor and Rob Gronkowski were inactive. But in Week 2 Harbor took on that role, playing 22-of-80 offensive snaps (29%) along with 17 plays on special teams. With Rob Gronkowski active last week, Harbor’s time on the field dropped to just 3 plays on offense but he was still out there for 14 plays on special teams.
That area of the game tends to get lost and there are things people don’t notice when it comes to that part of the game, but it’s something that Belichick clearly values, and he said it was part of the reason why the team opted to keep all four tight ends on the roster.
“I’d say that’s kind of where Clay comes into play, too – 250 pounds or wherever he’s at. He gives us another size and athletic player in the kicking game with good depth there at tight end, so in keeping AJ [Derby] and Clay, that was part of our decision there on the roster, was to keep our depth at that position with guys that had both offensive and special teams value. A lot of times with those types of players it’s one or the other. So, to find guys with both, like I said – Freeny, Harbor, Derby – guys like that, they’re just harder to find. Those players are harder to find.”
Posted Under: Daily Patriots Rundown