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New England Patriots News 9-27, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
3 weeks ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

New England Patriots News 9-27, AFC East NotesJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 09-27 and AFC East notes this week. 

It was interesting to see fans and media alike looking for a silver cloud in a loss after the last-second stuff of Cam Newton in Seattle last week. There is a lot of optimism moving forward, because they saw that the offense can move quickly down the field if they have to and they know, that was a bad day for the defense. 

It has been a rare day for folks around here to look positively about a loss…but there it is. Today is a big game for both teams, so we’ll see how it plays out, but having some optimism for this team seems warranted right now.  

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

David Andrews: Tough break both literally and figuratively for the Patriots center who missed all of last year with health issues. Andrews broke the knuckle of his right thumb against Seattle last week and had a procedure to fix it. And because it is his snapping hand, he’ll miss at least this week’s game against the Raiders. 

Hjalte Froholdt, a fourth-round draft choice from Arkansas who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, has been one of the Patriots’ backup centers thus far and seems like the logical choice to step in as the starter. However, veteran James Ferentz is at least a possibility to be activated from the Practice Squad this week to fill in if Froholdt struggles.

Hot Seat’s Already? You Betcha: We’re only two weeks into the season but there are a couple of people who must already be feeling the heat. Former Patriots coach and current Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia’s chair is warm and getting hotter. The Lions have been in a word…terrible under his watch. They are 0-2 and are facing a dangerous Cardinals offense this week in Arizona and return to face the Saints next week. An 0-4 start would put him into the “borrowed time” category. 

Carson Wentz in Philly is struggling badly in the first two weeks of the season. Wentz is at or near the bottom in nearly every statistical category. According to a piece by ESPN, Wentz “is tied for most interceptions (four) through two weeks, ranks 29th in completion percentage (58.8), 32nd in yards per attempt (6.0), and is ahead of only Minnesota’s Kirk Cousins in quarterback rating (64.4). His 40.7% on-target pass rate is currently the lowest of any starter in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.”

Philly fans are notorious for getting on their sports stars when they underperform and while the OL is currently a mess right now because of injuries, Wentz is guilty of making terrible decisions with the ball. Today, they’re playing the Bengals and Joe Burrow. If Philly loses today to the rookie, there will be cries for the coaches to play 2nd round pick Jalen Hurts asap. 

Cam Newton: The Patriots’ QB released a trailer of a documentary that is coming out on him called “86 Nights”, and this looks like it is going to be one of those must-watch films. Lots of behind the scenes stuff that fans love. The trailer can be seen here:

Did You Know?… On this day in 1964, the Boston Patriots defeated the New York Jets 26-10 at Fenway Park in Boston. Vito “Babe” Parelli threw a pair of 59-yard touchdown passes to Ron Burton and Jim Colclough while Gino Cappelletti kicked four field goals (47,42,41, and 26 yards). The Patriots defense picked off Dick Wood five times and Mike Taliferro once.

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. We recorded a podcast yesterday talking Seahawks and the upcoming Raiders game. Check it out. 

Russ Francis/ Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.

Waller Is “The Guy” For the Patriots Defense This Week: 

Although he is questionable for today, Raiders tight end Darren Waller is the guy that the Patriots defense is focusing on stopping this week. Waller has been QB Derek Carr’s go-to guy and a huge focal point of the Raiders’ offense. 

In two games, Waller has been targeted 24 times and has 18 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. And with rookie speedster Henry Ruggs out of this game with an injury, Waller should see even more targets today. Waller, however, has not gone unnoticed by the Patriots defenders. 

Bill Belichick, as is his norm, offered effusive praise for Waller this week. 

“I think it’s been such a long time since we’ve seen a guy like this,” Belichick said. “He’s really got great receiver skills, played receiver. He’s got a lot of length like a big receiver does, but he’s got very good quickness and he blocks very competitively. He’s not afraid to mix it up. So he’s definitely more than a receiver playing tight end, but he’s got all the skills that can come inside. He’s a very good inside receiver, which sometimes the wideouts have trouble making that move in there. He’s really been impressive to watch.

“We saw him last year, looked at him in the offseason and you just see him doing everything — playing wide, playing in the backfield, playing tight end, running deep, catch-and-run plays, blocking, flash plays, point of attack plays. So, a very versatile player, a pretty unique guy in the league. There are some really good tight ends, but nobody really does more than this guy does and he does it very well. He’s got excellent hands and makes a lot of tough catches. He’s definitely a matchup problem.” 

The question will be who the Patriots decide to match up with him. It is a chess match within the big chess match. Will it be Stephon Gilmore, their best corner? Or J.C. Jackson? They’ve utilized big 2nd-year corner Joejuan Williams in that role. Patriots safety and defensive captain Devin McCourty said the Pats have to be aware of he is all the time. 

“He brings every challenge you can think of,” McCourty said. “It’s covering him, it’s tackling him, it’s knowing where he is in their offense, how they might use him. They use him so many different ways, you’re not going to get a true bead on it.”

We expect Waller to play this afternoon. Indeed he took to social media and reported that he’s good to go. 

“Everything’s fine. I will be playing on Sunday,” he said. 

Renfrow-Jones Another Big Matchup Today:

We already highlighted the defensive matchup with Waller, another big one will be the Raiders’ slot receiver, Hunter Renfrow. Since Renfrow operates from the slot and is very quick with ankle-breaking moves, we’d expect Jonathan Jones to matchup with Renfrow this afternoon. And it should prove to be interesting. 

Renfrow has been a favorite third-down target of Derek Carr in his first two seasons, the WR hauled in four touchdown passes a year ago. Raiders fans have nicknamed third downs as “third and Renfrow” as he will bear watching today. 

Jones is no slouch and was instrumental in the Patriots winning the AFC Championship Game two years ago against Kansas City while covering Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill. Renfrow is currently third on the Raiders in receptions. 

NFL Schedule Week 2 2020, 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. 

Last Week:     14-2

Season Total: 25-7

Last Season:  162-93-1

Thursday Night Football – 

Miami over Jacksonville 1-0

Sunday: 

Atlanta over Chicago
Buffalo over LA Rams
Cleveland over Washington
Tennessee over Minnesota
New England over Las Vegas Raiders (key matchup link)
Philadelphia over Cincinnati
Arizona over Detroit
SF 49ers over NY Giants
Pittsburgh over Houston
Indianapolis over NY Jets
LA Chargers over Carolina
Tampa Bay over Denver
Seattle over Dallas

Sunday Night Football:

Green Bay over New Orleans

Monday Night Football:

Baltimore over Kansas City

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Rule Three Out, Three Key Players Questionable:

The Buffalo Bills have a big game at home today against the LA Rams but will be missing some key players and may end missing three more. Buffalo has already ruled out Dawson Knox, Zack Moss, and Del’Shawn Phillips this week but the Bills defense may also be without linebackers on Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds along with nickel cornerback Taron Johnson.

And with the linebacker depth thin right now, it will put a lot of pressure on the safeties as they’ll face TE Tyler Higbee this week followed by the Raiders Darren Waller, Tennessee’s Jonuu Smith, and then Kansas City and TE Travis Kelce.

The Rams use a two-tight end set and Higbee is a big target at 6’5 and 255 pounds with a large (81 inches) wingspan. He has been a big target for QB Jared Goff in the red zone. 

Streaky Fitzpatrick Goes Into Record Book in Dolphins Big Win Over Jacksonville:

The Miami Dolphins know how streaky Ryan Fitzpatrick can be, they’ve played against him in the division when he quarterbacked both the Bills and the Jets. But they also know that when he gets hot, he can light it up with anyone. 

The Dolphins got a very good game out of Fitzpatrick in Sunday’s loss to the Bills and had the red-hot streaky Fitzpatrick on display in Thursday night’s big win over Jacksonville. In doing so, Fitzpatrick made it into the record books. 

NFL Research has found that Fitzpatrick is just the second player since 1948 to throw 2+ touchdown passes, 1+ rushing touchdowns, 25+ rushing yards, and record a catch in a single game. The first? Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton back in 1983.

Fitzpatrick, who briefly considered retirement a couple of summers ago seems to be playing with house money, completely enjoying his time in the sun and his teammates have totally embraced him as their leader. After the game, Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin told the media that Dolphins players race to the offensive team meetings so they can jockey to sit next to Fitzpatrick.

Jets Injuries Pile Up, Will Play “Anyone With a Pulse”… Gase:

The New York Jets are facing the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday without their three top wide receivers, their top running back and with two starting offensive linemen unlikely to be able to play. 

Asked about who would replace the injured players, head coach Adam Gase responded that they’ll play “anyone with a pulse.” With Breshard Perriman out with a hamstring, the Jets starting wide receivers will be Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios and Josh Malone, who has been back and forth from the Jets’ practice squad the past three weeks.

Backup QB Joe Flacco hasn’t practiced fully yet but could be activated as Sam Darnold’s back up soon. Center Connor McGovern (hamstring), and right tackle George Fant (concussion suffered in practice) will miss the Indy game too. 

_______________

“Well, I think Coach Gruden has built the team, specifically the offense, into the style of offense that he’s always coached. He’s obviously done a very good job of it. He has good players at every position. I think he’s maybe not there, but I think he’s pretty close to having what he wants from a personnel standpoint. Obviously, [Tyrell] Williams is a big loss for them, him not being in there, but from a personnel standpoint, I think he has what he wants to run the offense that pretty much he’s always run and run well. Coach Gruden’s been successful every place he’s been, offensively from Philadelphia to Oakland to Tampa and now back to Oakland again in a fairly short amount of time. So, it’s a proven system. He absolutely knows what he’s doing, he puts a lot of pressure on the defense, and as he’s gotten the personnel that he needs to have the full complement of an arsenal there, I think you’re seeing the results of it – 30-something points a game this year. So, I think he’s got things – or he’s getting them the way he wants them – I’m not saying he’s there yet or it feels like he’s there yet, but he’s certainly moving it in the right direction. Not sure exactly what other offense you’re referring to with the Raiders. They’ve had a number of different offensive coordinators and offense coaches in their history. This is not a team that’s had a lot of defensive coaches. But, they’ve all kind of had, I’d say, different styles, depending on who the offensive coordinator or I guess more specifically who the head coach was during those times.”

Bill Belichick on being asked about combatting the speed of the Raiders.

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 

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Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Devin McCourty James White Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Rex Burkhead Sony Michel Stephon Gilmore
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