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New England Patriots News 11-8, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
November 8, 2020 at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 11-8, AFC East Notes(PHOTO: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 8 minutes

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 11-8 and AFC East notes this week. 

We want to wish an early but earnest Happy Veterans Day to all of our people still in uniform and to all of our vets who defended our country. In a time we as a people are as divided as we’ve ever been, it is important to recognize our ability, needed more than ever to pull back together. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL: 

Damiere Byrd: The Patriots wide receiver could be a big part of the game plan tomorrow night in the Meadowlands. He and Cam Newton have been working fairly well together here in New England, but because of the opponent and the situation, Byrd may see an uptick in targets. 

The Jets defense has been susceptible to RPOs and as we wrote in our keys on Friday, that could (and should) be a big part of the Patriots offense tomorrow night against the Jets zone defense. He and Jakobi Meyers will have to succeed against the Jets depleted secondary. We also expect the backs to feature prominently as well. 

Dante Pettis: The Patriots put in a waiver claim on the former 49ers wide receiver, according to ESPN insider Field Yates this week after he was released. But since the Giants (1-7) had a worse record, they were awarded him. Pettis had a good rookie season but has fallen off since and is still looking for his first catch in 2020. 

The team did add WRs Isaiah Ford via a trade with Miami and Donte Moncrief who was a free agent this week. 

Did You Know?… On this day in 2015, the Patriots beat the Washington (football team) 27-10. Tom Brady threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns to Julian Edelman and Brandon Bolden. Brandon LaFell had five catches for 102 yards in the game. The defense held Kirk Cousins to just 217 yards passing while going 22-40 with a TD and INT (Logan Ryan). 

Dylan Cantrell: With Devin Asiasi on IR, and both Ryan Izzo and Dalton Keane on the injury report this week, the Patriots (as they’ve been all year) are now even more dangerously thin at TE, especially pass catching ones. PS TE Jake Burt is on IR and LB Rashod Berry who played TE at Ohio State has been practicing there. 

But they are working out several with a chance to be signed. Most notably among those is former Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell. Cantrell tested very well at the Combine and his Pro Day, as he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, 6.56-second 3-cone drill, 4.03-second short shuttle, 41-inch vertical leap and 11-feet, 3-inch broad jump.  He also bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times. 

He was being converted to TE by the Chargers after being drafted in the 6th round last year and spending the year on their practice squad. He spent training camp with the Arizona Cardinals. At Texas Tech, he caught 58 and 71 passes, his last two seasons there.

4th & 2 Podcast – If you haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Russ and Derek recorded a podcast on Friday talking about the Bills game as well as the upcoming game against the Jets. Unfortunately, I missed this one as I was stuck in traffic on the highway…Top of the list of things I hate. 

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.

Finally…Belichick is Entering Territory of Red Sox Managers: 

No, you didn’t read that wrong. For the past 20 years, much of the Boston sports radio broadcasts and many fans have been itching to put Bill Belichick into the category of every Red Sox manager and that is to question every move he makes after the fact (and with the benefit of hindsight) and pick apart everything he does. 

While some have attempted this in the past it was quickly shown the door as nine Super Bowl appearances with six wins in two decades put all that nonsense (balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blarney, guff, blather, blether, rubbish, hogwash, baloney, tripe, drivel, gobbledygook, bilge, bosh…you get the idea) in the place where it truly belongs.

Ah, but five losses in 2020 have the ultracrepidarianism crowd rubbing their hands with glee. Now, everything is called into play, his coaching, his drafting, his other personnel decisions as well as his choice of coaches, although some dolts have been doing the last one for years (“Colorado School of Mines… REALLY”).

So, yes everything is on the table, a quick glance through Google and all the clickbait that follows when Belichick is typed in “Incompetent”, a ridiculous trade scenario, BB culpable for NE’s decline… etc, etc. ad nauseam. 

Is Belichick immune from criticism? Hardly, he’s made many coaching mistakes and it is a frequent statement of his after a loss, “we have to coach better.” His drafting is, and always has been a sore spot with the sports radio types and those that listen as “GM Bill is hurting Coach Bill” and it is repeated so often ( “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”) that it defies description. And now that has become the “Tom Brady, not BB was the reason for all those Super Bowls” 

Fact: Tom Brady WAS a major reason for all of those Super Bowls. He is the greatest QB to ever play the game and it stands to reason that he would. But championships are not won just by having a great quarterback (see Rodgers, Aaron) but surrounding those QBs with 52 other players that all have to play a role and having a coach that knows how to put those pieces together. Nobody does a better job of doing that than Belichick.

Has Belichick whiffed in the draft? Plenty, and he’ll tell you that. They’ve taken risks on guys with injury history or a questionable fit. There has obviously been a disconnect on drafting wide receivers. But the Patriots have actually drafted few WRs in the Belichick era (16 in total) and few in the early rounds, instead opting for bringing in veterans, several of whom didn’t work out either. 

Early in Belichick’s tenure, Deion Branch and David Givens (7th rd were draft hits), as was Julian Edelman in 2009. Malcolm Mitchell was a guy with an injury history but they liked his fit and he had a very solid rookie season and played a big part of the SB comeback against Atlanta. Sadly that was it for him. 

But early-round misses include Bethel Johnson (excellent returner, little production on offense), Brandon Tate (ditto), but big whiffs on Chad Jackson, Taylor Price, and Aaron Dobson in 2nd and 3rd rounds. Josh Boyce seemed like a guy who would be a great fit but never worked out. But guys like Jeremy Ebert, Jeremy Gallon, Devin Lucien, and Braxton Berrios were all 7th rounders, Berrios was bottom 6th 210th overall. The jury is still out on N’Keal Harry, who hasn’t played in 16 games yet.

But adding veterans even if they are only role players is something that a “good GM” does and not an incompetent one. Aqib Talib, Akeem Ayers, Josh Gordon, Kyle Van Noy, and others were added mid-season and all helped Super Bowl runs. 

We’ve all seen the lamenting of trading Jimmy Garappolo to the Niners and frankly, that was absolutely the correct move. The Patriots went to two Super Bowls with Brady winning one after that trade. As much as I liked Jimmy G., he hasn’t shown that the move was a mistake. He’s always hurt (again) and was, in truth, carried to a Super Bowl last year behind a dominant defense and running game. Now, he’ll probably be out next spring in SF. And now people are clamoring to bring him back…I wouldn’t. But we shall see…never say never. 

Do you want to see incompetence? Look no farther than the Patriots opponent this week. Trade for that.

NFL Schedule Week 9, 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:     5-9

Season Total: 81-37-1

Last Season:  162-93-1

Thursday Night Football – 

Green Bay over SF 1-0


Houston over Jacksonville
NY Giants over Washington
Baltimore over Indianapolis
Minnesota over Detroit
Tennessee over Chicago
Kansas City over Carolina
Seattle over Buffalo
Atlanta over Denver
Las Vegas over LA Chargers
Arizona over Miami
Pittsburgh over Dallas

Sunday Night Football:

Tampa Bay over New Orleans

Monday Night Football:

New England over NY Jets

***Philadelphia, Cleveland, LA Rams, Cincinnati Bye Week***

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills-Seahawks Could Come Down to Last Possession:

The Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks are set to play today and this one promises to be a very high scoring affair. Seattle’s pass defense has been largely MIA all season and facing a Bills passing game that is very good is not a recipe for a low-scoring affair. 

However, Russell Wilson and Seattle have been lighting it up all season and with Buffalo’s defense banged up, it looks like Wilson will have more opportunity to put some points on the board. The loss of LB Matt Milano is a big loss this week as he’s been a key performer for Buffalo. 

This one could conceivably come down to who has the ball last. This one should have a score with both teams in the 30s. With the players on defense hurting, I’m going with a 35-31 Seattle win, but this could easily flip the other way. This one should be fun to watch.

Dolphins Myles Gaskin Reverts To IR:

The Miami Dolphins suffered a big loss to their offense this week as they placed RB Myles Gaskin to IR meaning he’ll be about at least three weeks. Gaskin has rushed 100 times for 387 yards with two touchdowns this year. The player with the next number of carries is Matt Brieda with just 37. 

But Brieda is hurting now too with a balky hamstring and probably won’t play. That may mean that Jordan Howard who is in Brian Flores doghouse may see a big uptick in snaps this week. Howard has just 14 carries for 18 yards this week but with 3 TDs. But he’s been inactive for the past three games. 

We may see Howard on early downs and Patrick Laird on passing downs as the Dolphins take on the Cardinals in Arizona this week. The Dolphins will be looking to get their offense clicking a lot more than last week, despite the absences at RB.

Jets Players Find Hidden Cameras in Their Locker Room:

Several New York Jets players have notified the NFL Players Association that hidden cameras have been found in locker-room smoke detectors, and in a stunning admission, the NFL told the union that the cameras have been in and around the locker room since 2008.

The New York Daily News reported that the NFLPA was told that players were told that the cameras were there when the equipment was first installed in the Florham Park practice facility. Reportedly, the cameras were installed in 2008 for internal security purposes. 

The NYDN contacted several members of the 2008 Jets and none of them knew about the existence of security cameras in the locker room and none were asked to sign release forms. 

New Jersey is among several states with a statute that guards against the filming of people who are partially or fully nude without their consent. The NFLPA is mulling filing a grievance, the Daily News said. The report didn’t mention whether the opposing team’s locker rooms were also equipped with internal security cameras. 


“Mike’s not only a good player in terms of having position flexibility and the intelligence to handle different positions and different assignments and be on a different side of the ball, but his fundamentals and techniques are very good. So, really, anytime you have a double-team block, it’s really not a true double-team block. You’re starting off on two guys on one, but ultimately, you want to end up with two guys on two guys. You just don’t have enough guys to double team and get a hat on everybody. So, really the key on those double teams is to successfully block two for two. Again, that takes timing, practice, execution, and a lot of different situations that border into gray of who’s going to take the guy on the line, who’s going to go to the next level, and how quickly that may or may not happen. So, it’s a lot of teamwork and decision making and cooperation between the two blockers involved. But, as you mentioned, whether it’s the guard and center, tackle-guard, tackle-tight end, depending on what position he’s playing and who the double team and combination is with and so forth. Again, overall, he’s done a really good job of executing those, but they certainly take a lot of work and a lot of timing and good fundamentals for them to be successful. He does a good job of that, but I mean across the board, that’s the kind of thing that the more we do it, the better we get at it. We’ve had a lot of plays that have been good and we’ve done that well on. Just striving for a higher level of consistency.”

Bill Belichick speaking about the play of rookie offensive lineman Michael Onwenu who has been a steal in the 6th round after not being a highly valued prospect. He’s played multiple positions in the first seven games.   


“So, how was your week?”

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

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Quick Observations From the Patriots Comeback Win Over the Jets

About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Devin McCourty James White Julian Edelman Kyle Van Noy Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots

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    3 years ago

    Really happy you wrote this! THANKS: “Ah, but five losses in 2020 have the ultracrepidarianism crowd rubbing their hands with glee. Now, everything is called into play, his coaching, his drafting, his other personnel decisions as well as his choice of coaches, although some dolts have been doing the last one for years (“Colorado School of Mines… REALLY”).”

    Ultracrepidarianism is the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.

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