Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 10-25 and AFC East notes this week.
The team got back some of their players this week at practice but will only get David Andrews back, which should help the offensive line later today against the 49ers.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Cam Newton: Newton has been upfront about his own struggles and has been on point with being extremely accountable. There has been no finger-pointing with the Patriots’offensive struggles, only optimism, and encouragement, especially for the younger players on the team.
“I just haven’t been good,” Newton said. “I haven’t matched enough good plays together for my liking, and that is what it comes down to. When I mean good plays, I mean right reads, I mean ball positioning, I mean making guys miss, just the whole gamut of how I play. I know what I am capable of, and my standard is extremely high and I haven’t been meeting it — my personal standard. That’s how I feel.”
Donnie Edwards: I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the former LB for a military podcast. For you fans who remember Edwards, he played 14 years in the NFL and was considered an undersized LB, however, in today’s game, he would fit right in. In the 2006 Patriots playoff win over San Diego, Edwards had a monster game with 13 tackles, a FF, an INT and, a sack of Tom Brady. And after that game the Bolts released him.
I asked Donnie about the rumors at the time that the Patriots were rumored to be interested in him in 2007 and other things. These days, Edwards runs a non-profit foundation (with no pay) for military veterans. As he puts it, to give back to the people who made it possible for him and guys like him to opportunity is there for everyone.”
Please check it out.
Antonio Brown: While Patriots Twitter has been gaga over the signing of Brown by the Bucs, re-uniting him with Tom Brady again, that signing remains “fool’s gold”. There is no doubt about Brown’s talent, he’s outstanding “on the football field”. He’s also a freakin’ disaster off of it.
He’s left the Steelers, Raiders, and Patriots and in each instance, he burned his bridges on the way out. Think it will be any different in Tampa Bay? Think again. Bruce Arians was reportedly against bringing him in, and Brady talked him into it. It will come back to Arians being right. The Bucs have plenty of offensive weapons, the only reason I can think of this one is perhaps Mike Evans is more banged up than we thought.
Fans and media will go crazy over Brown’s initial big plays and we’ll hear about how “AB is back!” and like everywhere else, it will eventually blow up. It is inevitable.
Julian Edelman: The Patriots banged-up wide receiver had a hilarious answer when asked by the media if he’s ever approached Bill Belichick about adding more weapons for the Patriots offense.
“Are you out of your mind?” Edelman said. “(I’ve never talked) to coach about a personnel decision or anything like that in my life here.”
“As a player you just sit and worry about things you can control and things you can do to help the team and you worry about the guys that you have in the locker room,” Edelman said. “That’s other people’s jobs in the organization. But I’m confident in what we’ve got and who we have, and there’s still a lot of football left here. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be urgent in any means with how we play, practice, and prepare, but that’s in someone else’s hands. I worry about what I’ve got to do as a player to come out and play my best football.”
Anfernee Jennings: The Patriots rookie linebacker got some nice praise from Bill Belichick earlier this week. His snaps on defense haven’t been too numerous but a look behind the scenes is telling. Not only is Jennings playing on the edge where he played a lot in Alabama, but playing as an off-the-ball linebacker. That kind of versatility is rare for a rookie, especially on the Patriots.
“Yeah, it takes a lot of work,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “It’s really hard to play one, and to play both takes a good level of instinctiveness and both mental and physical versatility because the skill sets are quite different between playing off the ball and only a few inches away from a good blocking tight end or a good receiving tight end. So, those are challenges.
“Jennings did both those things at Alabama. He also is a very, very good communicator and signal-caller and had roles on third down, as well. So, he had quite a bit on his plate in college, and I think that the volume of what he has now is certainly manageable, maybe a little bit more. But, he’s a good football player with, as I said, some versatility and ability to do some different things. We’ll continue to try to see where he fits in our defensive scheme and game plan on a weekly basis.”
Did You Know?… On this day in 2009, the Patriots played a game in Wembley Stadium in London against the Tampa Bay Bucs, blowing them out 35-7, with our own Russ Goldman in attendance as a credentialled media member with the BBC.
Tom Brady threw for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns including a 54-yarder to Sam Aiken, and 35-yards to Benjamin Watson. The Patriots improved to 5-2 with the win.
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 and I recorded a podcast on Friday talking about the Broncos loss, the trade deadline, and the upcoming game against the 49ers.
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.
Reading the Tea Leaves… Trading Gilmore? Seems Early For That:
Although the team is currently under .500, and there are a lot of question marks on this 2020 Patriots team, the coaching staff is still not yet giving up on themselves turning it around.
Many Boston media pundits are openly wondering not if…but when the Patriots will trade reigning DPOY Stephon Gilmore. While I certainly could see the team moving him next spring or at the trade deadline next year, why would they trade him now? Unless there is another player involved, trading the team’s best cornerback won’t make the team any better this year.
Why would they move Gilmore next year? He’d be significantly underpaid among the league’s best corners and he’ll want to get paid, and it is doubtful that the Patriots will pay him his worth. It has been reported that the team this spring, strapped by the salary cap, looked to move Gilmore in a salary dump.
With the cap projected to be $40 million dollars less in 2021, the Patriots may be looking to ease the burden of their own salary cap, especially with a secondary as deep as their own, and considering that Gilmore will be a year older. So, I can see the Patriots moving on from Gilmore, but in 2021, not this year. Unless they are blown away by an offer and floor would have to be a first-round pick.
And if a deal is done this year, does it mean they’re tanking on the season? Not necessarily. During years with Super Bowl runs, they traded both Jimmy G. (and no we’re not going down that ridiculous rabbit hole here) and Jamie Collins.
And of course, there is lots of speculation over Gilmore’s recent tweet where he posted “Saw a lot of people’s true colors in 2020.” Whether that tweet has to do with the Patriots good or bad is certainly open to debate. But we aren’t going to play psychoanalyst either…didn’t we have enough of that “body-language” BS about Brady the past few years?
If I was Belichick, (and I’m not), I wouldn’t trade him this year unless someone blew me away with a great offer (Jalen Ramsey type, who BTW while younger isn’t close to as good as Gilmore).
NFL Schedule Week 7, 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: 11-3
Season Total: 66-24-1
Last Season: 162-93-1
Thursday Night Football –
Philadelphia over NY Giants 1-0
New Orleans over Carolina
Buffalo over NY Jets
Cleveland over Cincinnati
Dallas over Washington
Green Bay over Houston
Tennessee over Pittsburgh
Detroit over Atlanta
Tampa Bay over Las Vegas
Kansas City over Denver
LA Chargers over Jacksonville
SF 49ers over New England
Sunday Night Football:
Seattle over Arizona
Monday Night Football:
LA Rams over Chicago
***Vikings, Colts, Ravens, Dolphins Bye Week***
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Lots of Injuries for the Bills, But the Jets Are on Deck:
The Buffalo Bills have lost two in a row…albeit to two very good teams in Tennessee and Kansas City (one combined loss), but their game plan was solid against the Chiefs, they just came up short. But in the meantime, they’ve suffered a rash of injuries. Four starters have been ruled out for Sunday, Josh Norman, John Brown, Dawson Knox, and Cody Ford. Tre White and Matt Milano are both listed as questionable. Normally this would be a huge red flag, but not to worry…the Jets are their next opponent.
While missing all these pieces, could make the game a tad closer, look for the Bills to right the ship and get back on the winning track against the winless and hapless Jets.
Despite the return of Sam Darnold, the Bills should handle this one fairly easily.
Fitzpatrick/Tua Plays Out as Curious Timing by the Dolphins:
The Miami Dolphins are 3-3 but have been getting excellent QB play from Ryan Fitzpatrick. But the team and head coach Brian Flores has decided it was time for the team to make a change at QB and bring in rookie Tua Tagovailoa.
Fitzpatrick was asked about it and answered honestly and from the heart.
“I was shocked by it. It definitely caught me off guard. It was a hard thing for me to hear yesterday, just digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day. I felt like it was my team. I basically got fired yesterday, and my day today consisted of Zoom meetings with the guy who fired me and sitting in a room with the guy who replaced me for four hours.”
Of course, the national media members for the most part skewered Fitzpatrick with the blowhard Rob Parker calling for his release. But instead of saying the stock party line BS, we all know how he was truly feeling and it came across loud and clear.
Yes, the head coach has the final say and we all know (Fitzpatrick most of all) that it wasn’t a question of if, but when he’d be replaced. He’s been replaced numerous times on several teams. He’s experienced it, but this time it was different. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes, for 1535 yards with 10 TDs. In three games he’s had a QB rating over 100 with a 93.3 rating last week.
His shock came across clearly and how would the media have reacted if he came out with a big smile and said, he was fine with it. Now that the shock has worn off, (the Dolphins have a bye week), you can expect Fitzpatrick will do everything he can to support the young QB, because he knows, he could easily be back in the lineup soon.
McLendon Learned the Jets Were Trading Him But Played Anyway:
The New York Jets traded DL Steve McLendon to the Tampa Bay Bucs before their game with the Dolphins. And in a move that is extremely rare, the Jets didn’t make him inactive and McLendon played anyway.
That decision could have nullified the trade had McLendon been injured, and I’m sure Tampa wasn’t happy about it, but it speaks volumes of the kind of person McLendon is and his comments reflect that.
“I got the news on Saturday night, that a car would be waiting for me after the game Sunday to come to Tampa,” McLendon said. “I was like, ‘OK.’ Sunday morning, I woke up, I prayed, and I was like, ‘This is one last ride.’ I told my boys, I was like, ‘This is one last ride together.’ A lot of guys were saying, ‘Man, you’re really gonna play?’ And I was like, ‘Man, this could be the last time I play with y’all in my career.’ I said, ‘Let’s go out here and make it a great one. Let’s go have some fun.’
“Even though we had lost that day, it was some good football played between us. When it was over with, it was emotional — very emotional — because I made a lot of great friends there and family members there that I call family now.
“The biggest thing is I’m here (Tampa) now. This is one of the greatest opportunities for me in my career. And it’s a great, great opportunity to come to be part of an organization that wants you at this age.”
“Yeah, absolutely. I’ll start with that. I mean football conditioning is a lot different than running around a track or jumping over bags and things like that. Those guys, especially in the interior line, I mean it’s like being in the ring. You’re in close quarters. You’re leaning and pushing and blocking and defeating blocks against each other in close quarters. There’s an element of stamina and leverage and technique and position that you just can’t simulate hitting a bag or running back and forth across the field.
So, not only is there a lot of technique involved, but there’s a great deal of endurance and stamina that you just don’t get unless you’re playing across from another guy your size and doing the same thing down after down after down and that’s how you build it. So, any player who hasn’t played recently needs that. It doesn’t matter whether honestly you’re coming off an injury or not coming off an injury. Once the injury is healed, they’re still back to the same thing as regaining football acclamation. And, we did that, everybody did it in the league through the acclimation period this year, between the ramping up of activities to longer practices to padded practices and so forth.
But yeah, that’s all part of bringing a player back on to the team in a productive way is something that we deal with every year and I’d say each situation is different. So, one player’s situation, one player’s injury, his position, role, so forth, is different than the next guy’s and it’s different than the next guy after that. So, each of those is done on a very specific and individual basis that takes into account what the player needs and what opportunities we can give them to regain that conditioning and fundamental work and how to best get it done.”
Bill Belichick speaking about the return of NT Beau Allen and the difference between being in shape and “football” shape.
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Season
Tags: Anfernee Jennings Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Cam Newton Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Stephon Gilmore