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New England Patriots News 9-16, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
5 years ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

New England Patriots News 9-16, AFC East NotesStew Milne - USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Here is your Sunday Patriots news 9-16, & AFC East Notes.

We send good wishes today to our friends who live in the Southeast who are in the midst of a fierce hurricane that is pounding the Carolinas and Virginia. Although hurricanes are a fact of life down there, it never ceases to amaze the power of Mother Nature. And to our own neighbors in Massachusetts in North Andover, Andover and Lawrence, we hope everyone gets to get home soon…and safely.

Jacob Hollister is off of the injury report as of Friday and should make his season debut later today for the Patriots. One of those little “game within a game” situations. Hollister’s status may mean more Big Nickel for Jax. The Giants had some success against that last week. Stay tuned.

Sony Michel is itching to get on the field, but that probably won’t be today and with Rex Burkhead in the concussion protocol, the Pats may be really thin at RB today with just James White and recently signed Kenjon Barner.

Weather a factor… watch the heat and the resultant early season conditioning test for the Patriots today. With temps in the low 90s with a chance of thunderstorms in the area, the weather could be a big factor today. This could be a coaching point to get started quickly today.

Duron Harmon was fined $26.739 for a hit on an unnecessary roughness penalty on DeAndre Hopkins with 38 seconds left in the game on Sunday. Hopkins was going up for a contested ball with Devin McCourty and Harmon came in to break it up and appeared to use his shoulder to hit Hopkins, but his wallet is quite a bit lighter this week after that fine.

Kyle Van Noy was the subject of some personal attacks by members of the media for no apparent reason this week. Stating he was an “Ass” and a “Tool” and that he could stand his attitude, in the next breath, the same media member then stated he’s never met him. Even Paul Perillo from PFW who was a guest on that show seemed taken aback by the personal nature of the attack, which is all-too-familiar these days.

From our limited access and personal interaction with the players, we’ve never witnessed anything from Van Noy that didn’t come across as professional and ready to answer anything thrown his way.

And for the record, the Patriots got a steal from Detroit in the Van Noy trade. He’s been a starter here and a valuable cog in the defense and they gave up virtually nothing in return. Sometimes you just have to shrug and move on.

Bentley is a Pleasant Surprise For Everyone Except Belichick:

Ja’Whaun Bentley is off to a very nice start to his NFL career. The rookie from Purdue has turned heads since training camp, preseason and has carried it over thru Week 1 of the regular season. Bentley earned more snaps than any other front seven player against the Texans.

The three-year captain has turned heads with his play against the pass thus far. He was known as a big thumper in the running game, but his play against the pass has been a very pleasant surprise but not to everyone. Bill Belichick said the team isn’t surprised by his value at all.

“Well, I mean, first of all, I was surprised he wasn’t at the combine. That was surprise No. 1. I mean, it wasn’t to save airfare. The guy’s 20 minutes away. But, it is what it is.”

Belichick was asked about the rookie’s playing time and he summed it up, Bill style. “That’s up to them. But (it was) his first game, and he did a lot of good things out there. There were some things that we talked about during the game, some things he’ll improve in. We just need to keep working as a team and individually, collectively to try to get better in every area. “We have a long way to go.”

It will be interesting to see the workload that Bentley gets this week against the Jaguars.

“Must Win” Games in September? Not Hardly:

No one is discounting that today’s game is a big one between the two teams that played in the conference championship in January. But it is a September game and not much more. Far too much is being made of this because of the matchup that it is some kind of a “must win” game for each team. In Week 2? To quote Chad Johnson, “Child Please.”

This isn’t any more than an early season test and Patriots fans should be reminded that Bill Belichick treats the first month of the season like an extended preseason. We see just the basic installation of the offense and defense and this year will be no different.

I’m reading and hearing a lot of talk that playoff seeding in January is on the line over this one. One of our own colleagues here believes this game is more important to New England than to Jacksonville. What? We heard similar talk about the Chiefs after Week 1 last year. How did that work out?  The season is far too long with too many variables to be putting that kind of moniker on a Week 2 matchup.

So what happens if it is a “must win” game and you lose in Week 2? Do you tank the last 14 weeks? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out Matty P:

The long and not-so-fine Boston tradition of kicking people on their way of town is alive and well. Just look at Matt Patricia. Much of New England took entirely too much delight in watching Patricia’s head coaching debut with the Lions go down the tubes badly. The Jets curb stomped Detroit badly on Monday and you would have thought that NE became Jets territory with the shade thrown Patricia’s way.

And now, we have the revisionist history buffs trying to sell us a bill of goods that Patricia was a terrible defensive coordinator in his time with New England….Doug Kyed of NESN tried to quell this bit of chicanery the other day and you’d have thought he stole the crown jewels.  

Take a look at the personnel that the Patriots had on defense during the Patricia years and ask yourself if man-to-man they were anywhere near, the most talented defensive units on the field? The answer is no. And yet every year, the Patriots ranked as one of the best defensive units in the league in terms of points allowed. And that’s what wins games folks points…

Yards gained and yards allowed are the fools’ gold of the NFL. They’re the shiny hood ornament that doesn’t make your car go. Foles shredded the Patriots in the SB for 373 yards and 3 TDs. Brady threw for 505 and 3 TDs but lost.

Since 2014, only the Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Doom” have allowed fewer points than the Patriots. So did they do it with smoke and mirrors? It was coaching, plain and simple. While most people, (here included), lamented the style that they played, to say he was a terrible defensive coordinator is crazy talk.

One final thought on that Super Bowl, Patricia took the heat for the Patriots getting picked apart but what about the game before against the #1 defense in the league in points AND yards, the Minnesota Vikings?  Foles threw for 352 yards and 3 TDs in that one as Philly scored 38 unanswered points in a blowout win. By the same judging criteria, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator George Edwards is terrible too? Hardly. Philly got hot at just the right time, and much like Joe Flacco, a few years ago, that was all she wrote.

Who You Have This Week, NFL Week 2 Predictions:

Last week: 9-6-1 Ugh

Thursday night’s pick Cincinnati over Baltimore 1-0

Carolina at Atlanta: Falcons
Indy at Washington: Colts
Houston at Tennessee: Texans
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay: Eagles
Kansas City at Pittsburgh: Steelers
Miami at NY Jets; Dolphins
LA Chargers at Buffalo: Chargers
Minnesota at Green Bay: Vikings (regardless if Discount Double Check guy plays)
Cleveland at New Orleans: Saints
Detroit at San Francisco: 49ers
Arizona at LA Rams: Rams
New England at Jacksonville: Patriots
Oakland at Denver: Raiders
NY Giants at Dallas : Giants
Seattle at Chicago: Seahawks

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills’ Mistake in QB Derby Already Apparent:

The Buffalo Bills screwed up the placeholder job search for rookie Josh Allen and should have never traded A.J. McCarron. They decided to go with Nathan Peterman who struggled mightily with the Ravens on Week 1 and have hit the panic button and are rushing Allen into the breach with a surrounding cast that is not ready to help the rookie in his first NFL start.

“It’s the right move for our football team,” McDermott said. “I’m not going any further than that. I’ve got confidence in Josh, and it’s the right move for our football team.”

We couldn’t disagree more. Allen is the future of the franchise and this move could really backfire on McDermott and Allen. We’ll see how this turns out, but we’d expect a very simplified offense for the rookie and a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy.

And the Bills Mafia can’t be happy with the news that anyone caught table-slamming at a Bills tailgate is now subject to ejection and criminal charges….The horror.

Dolphins Take On the Jets in A Match of Unbeatens:

The Miami Dolphins travel to the Meadowlands to face the 1-0 New York Jets and rookie QB Sam Darnold. The Jets thumped the Lions last Monday night 48-17 and intercepted Matthew Stafford four times. The Jets bandwagon is back in full force since the “Sanchize” days (remember those?), they even trotted out Fire marshall Bill.

The Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans in a game that was delayed for many hours due to lightning. But the Fins had an impressive win as well and the player to watch this week is Miami QB Ryan Tannehill.

The Jets have traditionally played him very tough, (4-5 record, 10 TDs, 9 INTs) but he has a lot better personnel around him now although the loss of Josh Sitton on the offensive line will hurt, this week and beyond.

Bowles and the Jets Trying to Bring Sanity to Darnold Hype:

The New York Jets stomped the Lions on Monday night in their opener and after a pick six in his first NFL snap, rookie QB Sam Darnold rebounded excellently and played a heck of a game. Of course, the New York tabloids had a field day with the win and loudly proclaimed, “B’Way Sam” next to a picture of Joe Namath and “INSAMITY”. These are the same tabloids that named a certain QB “Sanchize” which even led to a Sopranos mention.

They are also the same tabloids that will turn on the rookie in a second if things go south. Which is why coach Todd Bowles is trying to bring the hype machine back amongst the mortals here and not in that rarified air at the peak of Mt. Olympus.

“It’s only been one game,” he said. “To sit here and say whether he’s great or whether he’s trash or whether he’s anything else, it’s way too early for that. He’s played one game. He’s got a lot of years to go and he’ll build it as he goes.”

Asked if he’s a franchise QB, Bowles laughed and said it was one game, check back when he wins about 100.

Bowles is taking the right  approach with the rookie but he’ll be powerless to stop the hype train if the Jets win again today against the Dolphins. The tabloids will be all for petitioning the NFL to waive the five-year rule for Canton.

But Bowles will be sure to have one of his staff whispering in his rookie’s ear about Sanchize and how quickly that turned. He was the toast of New York until he had an awful game at mid season and got picked five times in an OT loss to the Bills. The next day the papers called him B’way Schmo.

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 myself from discuss the latest Patriots news.

Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2018 Patriots Schedule 2018 Patriots season Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Chris Hogan Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady Trey Flowers

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