Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 10-18 and AFC East notes this week.
The Patriots and the ongoing COVID-19 carousel keeps going round and round. We think…that the game between them and the Broncos will happen later today.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Cam Newton: Newton returned to practice Thursday although as of Saturday morning there has been no official announcement on whether he will be the starter today.
Justin Herbert: Has there been a more impressive rookie QB who is 0-4 in their first four games of their career? Herbert continues to impress and is playing with an injury-depleted cast.
He is completing 68.8 percent of his throws, 1,195 pass yds with an 8.5-yard per average with 9 TD passes against just 3 INT for a QB rating of 102.2.
Devin Asiasi: We are repeating this again, but the offense and Josh McDaniels needs to get him more involved in the passing game. Although he played about 30 snaps against the Raiders, last week he played only eight. Nothing against Ryan Izzo, but he’s been far from what they need (especially in the passing game) at the position. And a couple of those bad overthrows on Monday night weren’t his fault. But he is what he is at this point, a good blocker and very limited in the passing game.
N’Keal Harry: Today’s game will make the ¾ mark of an NFL season for the Patriots wide receiver. And with Newton under center, it would definitely light a fire in the decision to get him more involved in the offense.
Harry is actually tied for the team lead in receptions for the season with 18, but the vast majority of his targets have been of the very short variety. That isn’t his fault. But the more he shows in that part of the offense, the more they’ll put on his plate. We expect to see a lot of more that soon…starting today with them targeting him farther down the field
Did You Know?… On this day in 1981, the Patriots who went a woeful 2-14 that year, won for the second time in three weeks, blowing out the Houston Oilers 38-10. Steve Grogan threw for three touchdowns, with two going to Stanley Morgan. The ground game rolled up 244 yards while the defense picked off Kenny Stabler four times.
4th & 2 Podcast – If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Russ and Derek recorded a podcast on Friday talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Broncos.
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.
“Rookies Are Still Far Behind,” Belichick Says:
Although it has been anything but a normal season for the Patriots rookies, with no rookie minicamp, OTAs, team minicamp, and a very limited training camp with zero preseason games, that hasn’t been the only issues facing them.
Since the COVID-19 tests started showing positives, the facility has been locked down several times with Bill Belichick and the coaches erring on the side of caution. It has made the rookie transition even harder for the rookies to break into more prominent roles.
Make no mistake, it is normally very tough for rookies in New England to see a significant amount of snaps, but 2020 is a totally different animal. So while some eyebrows will arch and the boo birds will howl at Belichick’s recent comment, where he said, “They’re further behind than any rookie group that I’ve ever had before based on the offseason situation, and that rolled into training camp, too. They’ve got a lot of ground to make up to be competitive with players that have a lot more experience and have had a lot more training than they’ve had.”
But the flip side of the equation Belichick said was that, “I think they’ve tried to do the best they can, and I think they’ve taken a responsible approach to it and have continued to work hard and get better.”
“So they’ve done their part, and I feel like organizationally, we’ve tried to support them probably more than we ever have just because of the circumstances.”
Kyle Dugger and Michael Onwenu have been the standouts thus far, playing some significant snaps and contributing quite well. Justin Herron as well. But Josh Uche, and Anfernee Jennings as well as the rookie tight ends, Devin Asiasi, and Dalton Keene have had no impact. Justin Rohrwasser, the kicker taken in the 5th round is still on the practice squad.
But some of the other younger guys are really stepping up and that has helped immensely this year.
NFL Schedule Week 6, 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: 9-5
Season Total: 55-21-1
Last Season: 162-93-1
Thursday Night Football –
Tennessee over Houston
Baltimore over Philadelphia
Atlanta over Minnesota
Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Indianapolis over Cincinnati
Detroit over Jacksonville
Chicago over Carolina
Washington over NY Giants
New England over Denver
Miami over NY Jets
Tampa Bay over Green Bay
Sunday Night Football:
LA Rams over San Francisco
Monday Night Football:
Kansas City over Buffalo
Dallas Over Arizona
***Raiders, Saints, Seahawks, Chargers Bye Week***
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
The Bills Defense Hasn’t Played Up To Par…Time is Now With KC:
The Buffalo Bills defense the past few years has been one of the best units in the league. With the additions that Buffalo made offensively, many people (including here) believe they can be a final four team. And although they are 4-1, they’ve been carried by the offense and Josh Allen, while the defense has been somewhat lackluster, nowhere near, what we’re used to seeing.
The Bills defensive line has struggled to get after the QB and with the injuries they’ve had (Matt Milano, Tremaine Edmunds, Tre’Davious White), they’ve been forced to blitz much more than normal, on over 40 percent of defensive snaps, but are getting QB hurries on just 4.8 percent of their pass plays, 31st in the league.
Top draft pick A.J. Epenesa has struggled so far, not an unknown for rookies, and committed a key penalty against the Titans last week. Overall, the Bills have made big investments in the DL, and with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on the slate this week, they need them to step up big time.
Dolphins Fitzpatrick Playing With House Money:
The Miami Dolphins players love the guy they have at QB…and it isn’t Tua, although that may happen eventually. No, they love Ryan Fitzpatrick. And it shows.
Fitzpatrick knew that 2020 was supposed to be his last hurrah as Tua, the next one would be groomed to take over. But in typical Fitz-fashion, he calmed those calls for the rookie, in a hurry. After a bad game, where he was all over the field and inaccurate against the Seahawks, he followed that up with one of his very best, as the Dolphins crushed the 49ers last week.
Fitzpatrick knows he’s playing with house money, so he’s loose, having fun, getting all of his teammates involved, and enjoying his time in the sun. And while he brings the energy to the field, he also is bringing it off of it. Tua said he’s been a wonderful mentor this week and his demeanor has been infectious to a team learning how to win. And Tua might have to wait just a little longer than people thought.
No one is streakier than Fitzpatrick, hot or cold, but no one is having more fun than he is right now… And this week, he gets to torment his former team, the Jets.
The Jets DC Williams Calls Out the Offense:
The New York Jets are a dysfunctional lot. And they are imploding. The team is 0-5 and just released Le’Veon Bell after paying him about $27 million for 15 games. Adam Gase is a dead man walking. He’s losing the locker room and the coaches’ room.
While the offense has struggled with injuries and a poor roster of skill position players…okay it stinks, the defense isn’t any better, allowing nearly 400 yards per game and more points than anyone other than Dallas.
But DC Gregg Williams has added to it, by blaming the struggles of the defense…on the offense. Yes, Williams called out the offense and his head coach in a thinly disguised slam.
“It’s not a very good number — and a lot of it’s not all defensively,” Williams said after Friday’s practice. “It’s points on the board and we’ve got to do a good job of that, and how you do that is make them kick more field goals, got to do a better job in field-position-type things.
“As you see, the scoring is up in the league, but it still makes me sick,” he said.
Asked about his quote that is in bold, he responded with, “You’d have to figure it out,” he said.
Williams runs an ill-disciplined lot who have committed seven personal fouls with several coming in the loss to the Broncos. And 21 defensive penalties…2nd most in the league.
“I know everyone’s aware of our connections with Coach [Nick] Saban and Alabama. So, just want to wish him a speedy and complete recovery from this COVID virus. I spoke with Coach Saban recently. We both talked about how much we’ve learned about this situation and some of the challenges that have come with it. I know he’s been extremely vigilant and has put a great deal of thought and effort into the care of his team and players and he shared that with me. We both talked about things that we’ve done and have been helpful and so forth. As I said, just want to wish him the best from all of us here in the organization.
We’re looking forward to getting back on the field today. We’ve certainly had a lot of meeting time, Webex meetings and things like that, but it’s always important to get back on the field and to start to rebuild some of our fundamentals and execution that are so critical. We’ll look forward to that today and tomorrow and throughout the week and look forward to playing on Sunday, as well. So, we continue to press forward with as much safety and vigilance as possible in our whole approach to football and all the things that surround it, our families and the safety of everyone involved here – players, staff, organization, so forth. We learn things every day and we continue to try to take steps to put everybody’s safety at the very top of the list, and at the same time, try to accommodate the competitive aspects that we need to perform on the field. It’s definitely a balance there, but we’ve got to put first things first”
Bill Belichick speaking about his friend Nick Saban who has tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week and about getting back to work.
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Cam Newton Denver Broncos Devin McCourty James White Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Sony Michel Stephon Gilmore