Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 11-10 and AFC East notes this week.
The Patriots are off, on their bye week so, this weekend is a time to watch the other games and check out some of the Pats’ future opponents.
Veterans Day is tomorrow. To those who served before me, to those I served with and to the ones who followed and will follow in the future…I salute you.
Quick Hitters For the Pats and the NFL:
Tom Brady/Ed Reed – We saw a glimpse of the two in the tunnel before the game on Sunday night embracing and it wasn’t hard to see the respect those two have for each other. Of course, NFL Films detailed the respect Brady and Belichick have for Reed a long time ago. Reed was honored at halftime after being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
OBJ/Larry Fitz – It seems Larry Fitzgerald to New England rumors will finally go the way of the dodo. And the rumor makers have seemingly found new fodder for the rumor mills- Odell Beckham Jr. We’ll be hearing and seeing this rumor a lot from now on.
4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, Please do check it out.
Iron Men – The Patriots offense played virtually the entire game against Baltimore with the same 10 players. Nine players were on the field for 100 percent of the snaps. A 10th player, Phillip Dorsett missed one play and was replaced by Jakobi Meyers. The only position where the team rotated was running back.
Former Patriot DE Jake Bequette Now An Army Officer:
After his playing career ended, former Patriot defensive end Jake Bequette fulfilled a life-long dream of his, in serving in the US military. Jeff Howe of the Athletic got in touch with Bequette who is now a 1st Lieutenant and serving in the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, KY.
Bequette, now 30, spent parts of four seasons with the Patriots (2012-2015) before moving on with his life. Initially, he couldn’t pass the medicals to enter the Army because of the injuries he suffered as a football player.
“I’ve known for a long time I wanted military service to be part of my life,” Bequette said to Howe. “I couldn’t say for certain exactly how that was going to manifest itself. I wanted to play football for as long as I could. Toward the end of my time in New England, I knew if I wanted to serve in active duty, if I wanted to do what I wanted to do — be an infantry officer and go through Ranger School and all that — it was kind of now or never.”
Bequette graduated the physically grueling Army Ranger School in 2018 and has already conducted two combat tours.
“Ranger School is a life-changing experience,” Bequette said in the interview. “It challenged me like I’ve never been challenged before. Mentally, physically, it’s a great leadership challenge as well. That was a goal I had going in, to graduate Ranger school. I was lucky enough to accomplish that goal. It was tough going from football. I played ball at about 270 (pounds). I went into Ranger School about 245. I graduated at about 200 pounds. People lose a lot of weight during Ranger School. Coming from a sports background, we’re used to being well-fed. Ranger school is more about pushing yourself past what you think are your boundaries. That was definitely one for me.”
With Veterans Day tomorrow, it is great to see more young men like Bequette take up the call and serve our country. Maybe this will soften Bill Belichick about getting an Army guy on the team… Maybe not.
Patriots Players Up and Down At the Bye Week:
It is hard to argue with the fact that the first half of the season has been very successful for the team at 8-1. While too many people (media/fans/hot take artists) are dwelling on their one loss, only one team, San Francisco has a better record at this point.
So, here are our Patriots Players who have performed well or better than expected at this juncture of the season and those who have not.
Players Trending Up:
Jamie Collins – Taking a page out of the Pat Chung “Yes you can go home again”, Collins has been fantastic through the first half of 2019. The Browns cut him loose after a so-so time in Cleveland. He has been a huge FA signing by Bill Belichick. He’s had 48 tackles, including seven tackles for a loss, six sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, and three interceptions. And scored a touchdown.
Yes, you can go home again. We were very wrong with this signing. And right beside Collins, you can add Kyle Van Noy and Dont’a Hightower. The Boogeymen cometh.
Stephon Gilmore – No surprise here. He’s finally getting the due across the league as the best corner in football and his performance through the first nine weeks has put a stamp on that. Remember a few years ago in his first few games as a Patriot? Bill Belichick took a lot of heat on that one… Those people are very quiet now.
Jake Bailey – The Patriots rookie punter caught a bit of flak when the usual ninnies who are infinitely better GMs than Belichick whined: “Why is Bill wasting a 5th round pick on a punter?” After watching him put several punts in the ozone during minicamp/training camp he beat out Ryan Allen who was outstanding at directional punting in his time here.
But Bailey has been getting better and better with his own directional game and he still routinely puts punts into the flight path at Logan. He’s helped out with kickoffs as well as punting and has proven to be a very smart selection…Imagine that?
Honorable mention: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, James White. Much is always expected from these three and they’ve done nothing to disappoint.
Players Trending Down:
Offensive Line – The favorite whipping boy, Marshall Newhouse is already on the tip of everyone’s tongue but in reality, he hasn’t been bad. He’s a long-time veteran journeyman offensive lineman, thrust into the starting left tackle for the most successful franchise over the last 20 years. Has he been good? No, but he’s hardly alone.
The offensive line as a whole has not performed as expected and that includes such usually solid performers Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.
Sony Michel – As the season began, we all expected big, big things from the Patriots 2nd-year running back. Things haven’t worked out that way as Michel has struggled.
While much of his struggles concern the play of the line (see above), Michel isn’t totally blameless as he’s not seeing the holes and reacting quickly enough.
Rookie Class – With the exception of the aforementioned Bailey and Chase Winovich the Patriots haven’t got much from their rookie class. N’Keal Harry has been injured and hasn’t played a snap.
Joejuan Williams, Damien Harris, Jarrett Stidham (thankfully), and Byron Cowart have barely seen the field. Yodny Cajuste and Hjalte Froholdt are on IR. Ken Webster was cut and is a Dolphin. Although UDFAs Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski have played well in spurts. And part of that is the depth that the roster has…Glass half-full.
NFL Schedule Week 10, Who Are Your Winners:
How are you feeling about the games this week? We have a post on our PatsFans Forum where our readers can predict the slate of games for that week. I did it on our weekly Sunday column here and will post it up below. Here is the link if you’d care to pick your own: https://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/picks/
Last Week: 9-5
TNF Raiders over LA Chargers 1-0
Kansas City over Tennessee
Arizona over Tampa Bay
NY Giants over NY Jets
New Orleans over Atlanta
Green Bay over Carolina
Buffalo over Cleveland
Baltimore over Cincinnati
Detroit over Chicago
Indy over Miami
LA Rams over Pittsburgh
SNF Dallas over Minnesota
MNF San Francisco over Seattle
Bye week: Patriots, Eagles, Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Redskins
Week11 Thursday Night Football Browns over Pittsburgh
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Bills Getting No Respect From Vegas, Underdogs at Cleveland:
The Buffalo Bills are 6-2 and have only lost to the Patriots and the Eagles. But somehow they are three-point underdogs as they travel to the dog pound to take on the very dysfunctional Cleveland Browns who are 2-6.
Has Cleveland done anything to deserve the preseason hype piled upon them? And the Bills are getting no love or respect around the NFL as they have compiled a very good record through the first half of the season. The Bills are completely healthy today, they had nobody on the injury report, a rarity these days.
Baker Mayfield and the underutilized OBJ will be facing a very tough defense in the Bills this week. Look for the Browns to feed Nick Chubb a lot in the early going as the Bills have struggled a bit in their run defense. Take the Bills, they’re for real.
Dolphins Gesicki Being Utilized More Lately and Thriving:
The Miami Dolphins barely used 2nd-year tight end Mike Gesicki in the first four games of the season but in the last four, his numbers have more than doubled as he begins to thrive in the Miami offense. Gesicki had just six catches in the Dolphins first four games but has 15 more in the last four.
Gesicki had 22 catches as a rookie last season and has nearly equaled that halfway through the 2019 season. Gesicki has developed a nice rapport and chemistry with veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who recognizes the value of a big (6’6) tight end.
“The big thing about playing with Fitz is that he’s just going to give you a chance to go make a play, which as a receiver, tight end, any pass catcher, that’s the trust and the belief that you want your quarterback to have in you that when the play … worst comes to worst, he’s just going to give you a shot and go make a play for him,” he said in an interview with The Audible.
Jets Enter Home Stadium “Rivalry Game” Against the Giants:
The New York Jets are 1-7 and in the throes of another meltdown and are facing the 2-7 New York Giants in what some NY fans are dubbing the “Toilet Bowl”. Expectations are so low for this game, that some innocuous comments by Jets LB Jordan Jenkins have been termed trash-talking by the media.
Said Jenkins, “We both share the same stadium. It’s almost like playing for the rights [to it].”
“It’s the team right up the street. You’re competing with who has bragging rights for the year and all that type of stuff,” he said. “We know it’s going to be a physical game. We’re battling for who’s home field it really is. It’s going to be fun.”
I doubt even the Patriots would find that bulletin board material. But I digress. C.J. Mosley will miss another game, it was a huge mistake for the Jets coaches to allow him to come back …too early against the Patriots and now he’s hurt and the season is rapidly becoming a wasted one for the big-money free-agent inside linebacker.
The clock is already ticking for Adam Gase and a loss to the Giants and his hot seat may become too hot to handle.
“Yeah, because that’s the way it is. It’s not about rating what did or didn’t happen. It’s about correcting the mistakes and improving on them, and there’s a lot of room for all of us to do that, and that’s what we’ll focus on – every player, every unit, every coach. I mean, when you look at it collectively, there are things we could have done better in every area that would have helped us, and we all need to address those and we all need to improve on them.” – Bill Belichick being asked about whether any positional group played well on Sunday against the Ravens.
“So, how was your week?”
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