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New England Patriots News 11-13, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
November 13, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 11-13, AFC East Notes(PHOTO: Steve Balestrieri -
Posted: Nov 13, 2016 05:00
🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 11-13, and AFC East Notes for this week.

Who Really Cares Who Belichick/Brady Voted For?
The feeding frenzy unleashed by Donald Trump when he read a letter penned by Bill Belichick in support of the President-elect, the night before the election was almost comical in Foxboro this week. While I understand that editors may want their writers to ask about it and heaven knows that many fans were outspoken about it, who really cares who Brady and Belichick voted for?

Does their support for or against a certain candidate influence your decision on who to vote for? If so, then perhaps you aren’t “DOING YOUR JOB!”

Many Hollywood celebrities come out for every election and stump for the candidate of their choice, and that’s fine. But just because I may love your films, show or music doesn’t mean that I am going to flip my vote for Candidate A over B because you’re for this one or that one. And neither should yours.

It just comes down to putting in the time on your own and using your own mind. On election night, I was asked to co-host a local television program where four panelists discussed the four Massachusetts ballot questions, the state elections and of course the Presidential election.

We had a phone call from someone (thanks for the plug!) of this column and asked if Belichick’s support influenced my vote and I answered it this way. “If I was looking to break down film on a football opponent, there is no one I’d listen to more than Bill. And yes, that would influence my decision. But if we’re discussing …say whether we should be supporting and training the rebels in Syria, then based on my experience, perhaps Bill should seek out my opinion.”

I don’t and never have gotten the draw of celebrity endorsements in an election other than if you are really a fan of one, maybe you get to press the flesh of one at an event. But to change my vote in an election….Not happening.

Cardona Great Choice to Represent Pats in NFL’s Salute to Service Award:
In a true no-brainer, the Patriots selected LS Joe Cardona to represent the Patriots as the team’s nominee for the league’s Salute to Service award.

Since 2011, the NFL’s Salute to Service Award honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. Finalists for the award will be announced in January, with the recipient being recognized at the NFL Honors awards show in Houston on the night before Super Bowl LI.

Being a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and a serving Naval officer in the US Navy Reserve gives Cardona high points for both anyone in the league and obviously with Bill Belichick who spent his formative years at the Naval Academy where his father Steve was a scout and an assistant football coach. Cardona as a rookie had to split his duties with the Patriots and those with the Navy being assigned at the Naval Preparatory School in Newport, RI.

Since then, the Navy has allowed Cardona to pursue his football career full-time and transferred him to the Naval Reserve, where he can fulfill his service obligation during the offseason.

NFL Consistency Takes Another Hit with Flowers Non-Discipline:
Surprising? Not at all, but once again when it comes to discipline of players, the NFL has decided not to pursue the discipline of a player when it seemed like it was a clear case of assault. And once again the player in question was a member of the New York Giants. Things that make you go hmmm.

The Giants will dodge another bullet given that the NFL’s has decided not to discipline tackle Ereck Flowers for shoving ESPN reporter Jordan Ranaan. Why do you ask? Good question.

The league’s own Personal Conduct Policy states: “Everyone who is part of the league must refrain from ‘conduct detrimental to the integrity [emphasis mine] of and public confidence in’ the NFL. . . . Conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL.

“We must endeavor at all times to be people of high character; we must show respect for others inside and outside our workplace; and we must strive to conduct ourselves in ways that favorably reflect on ourselves, our teams, the communities we represent, and the NFL.”

Wait. So, the dreaded integrity of the game has been violated? Don’t make me laugh. The crew at 345 Park Avenue don’t care about the integrity of the game until it suits them. This is the same bunch of folks that fined Travis Kelce $24,309 for throwing a towel in the direction of a referee while complaining about a penalty flag. But somehow Flowers shoving a reporter gets nothing? Showing favoritism of a team reeks of anti-integrity but it is totally lost there. Uglier by the day the National Integrity League is becoming…no?

Patriots Lose DL Anthony Johnson to the Jets, Workout Jarvis Jenkins:
In a bit of tit-for-tat, the New York Jets signed DL Anthony Johnson off the Patriots practice squad this week, only to have New England bring in DL Jarvis Jenkins in for a workout right after the Jets released him to make room for Johnson.

Johnson had a very strong spring and summer, and in limited reps, produced enough to make the initial 53-man roster. He couldn’t stick however and the Patriots cut him after the Buffalo game in Week 4 and signed him back to the practice squad.

Jenkins was a 2nd round draft pick out of Clemson in 2011 by the Redskins. The defensive end signed a two-year deal with the New York Jets this offseason, but the team released him earlier this week. He only started once for New York and recorded nine tackles in 2016.

Who Do You Like This Week:
Last week’s picks were 8-5 putting me at 74-56-2 on the year. So, who do you like today?

I am going with for the games on tap today Baltimore from TNF (picked last Sunday) Houston, Denver, NYJ, Atlanta, Carolina, TB, Washington, GB, SD, AZ, Pittsburgh, NE and the NYG on Monday Night Football. Early pick for Thursday Night Football, (Carolina over NO).

Eastbound and Down, AFC East Notes:

Bills at the Bye Face a Myriad of Questions for 2017:
The Buffalo Bills are on a bye week this Sunday and sit at a disappointing 4-5 after dropping three in a row. Confidence was high after a four-game winning streak, but losses to Baltimore and Seattle sandwiched around a blowout loss to the Patriots leaves them reeling.

The team will have a lot of questions for 2017 and it begins with their coach Rex Ryan.  Do the Bills keep the “winner of the offseason” or move in another direction? They still have a chance at the post-season but should they fail, Ryan may face the ax.

But even more importantly, 29 of their 53 players on the roster are free agents in 2017. Included in the 29 players currently in the last year of their deals are cornerback Stephon Gilmore, linebackers IK Enemkpali, Zach Brown, Brandon Spikes and Lorenzo Alexander, running back Mike Gillislee, wide receivers Justin Hunter, Marquise Goodwin, and Robert Woods, as well as starting right tackle Jordan Mills.

With the uncertainty of the head coach at this point, that will make their job of keeping their free agents even more difficult.

Dolphins Playing San Diego, But Need Help Stopping the Run:
The Miami Dolphins completed a solid 3-1 homestand but now go back on the road where they are 0-3 to face the San Diego Chargers. The good news is that the Dolphins have a running identity with Jay Ajayi but the bad news is they face arguably the hottest back in the NFL in Melvin Gordon.

The Dolphins are currently 30th in the NFL against the run allowing an average of 122.1 yards per game and 4.6 yards per rush. After revamping the linebacking core this summer, the Fins are better against the pass but their linebackers banged up right now haven’t been good against the run.

Some help will arrive this week, with the return of DL Earl Mitchell who is a big run stuffer inside. Miami’s front line hasn’t been consistent against the run either and has to step up their game this week against a very potent offense.

Jets Should See What Petty Can Do and Play Accordingly:
In an unsurprising but still fruitless decision, the Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles is still holding out slim hope for the 3-6 New York Jets to make the playoffs. So, the call on whether to play Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB will be a game-time decision. Bowles can either stick with Fitz or go with Bryce Petty to see what he can do with some valuable reps.

At this point, the Jets would have to run the table and win their final seven games to finish 10-6 and have a good shot of earning a playoff spot. Even a 6-1 finish would only bring them to 9-7 and that isn’t a guarantee that earns a playoff spot as remote as that kind of record seems right now.

The Jets would be best served with seeing what Petty can do now, it is doubtful that Fitzpatrick will be brought back next year so, why not see what you have in Petty and allow him to get some valuable experience. The worst possible scenario for Gang Green isn’t going 6-10, but around 8-8 or 7-9 which will sufficiently skewer their draft position for 2017.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.




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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: NFL Commentary
Tags: 2016 NFL Season 2016 Patriots season Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Dion Lewis Dont'a Hightower Jimmy Garoppolo LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Miami Dolphins New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Pittsburgh Steelers predictions Rex Ryan Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Tom Brady

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