Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 11-22 and AFC East notes this week.
Happy Game Day! The Patriots have another test versus an excellent mobile QB in Deshaun Watson today as they attempt to win their third in a row on the road in Houston.
With the Patriots going through wholesale changes this year, it has taken this long for the team to begin to find their identity. Going into today’s game, the Patriots will have 15, that is F-I-F-T-E-E-N different starters than the team that met the Texans less than a year ago. They are far from out of the woods yet, but for the first time this season, they have a little bit of momentum going. And have the opportunity to begin a bit of a run.
We’d like to wish early Thanksgiving Day wishes to all our friends and readers out there. While the call is for everyone to avoid family get-togethers, do what you can to spend time with one another…life is too short.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Stephon Gilmore: The Patriots reigning Defensive MVP has missed the last three games with a knee injury suffered in practice. But all signs point to his returning this week. Gilmore tweeted on Saturday morning a picture of his bag being packed for the trip to Houston. So, if anything, he’ll at least be a game-time decision today. But the feeling here is he’ll play.
Sony Michel/Justin Herron: The Patriots players have been on IR but both practiced all week and are eligible to be activated off of IR. The team has until November 26 to activate Michel and until December 9 to activate Herron if they want either to be able to play the remainder of this season. Otherwise, they revert to season-ending IR.
Did You Know?… On this day in 1970, the Patriots lost to the New York Jets 17-3 behind two second-half touchdown runs by George Nock. The Patriots’ offense was rather offensive with only 80 total yards on the day. QBs Joe Kapp (4-17,70 yards) and Mike Taliferro (1-5, 15 yards) were a combined 5-22 for 85 yards but were sacked four times for 28. The ground game rushed 17 times for 23 yards. Something to consider when lamenting “how bad” the 2020 offense is.
4th & 2 Podcast – If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Derek and I recorded a podcast on Thursday talking about the big win over the Ravens as well as the upcoming game against the Texans.
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.
Carl Davis/ Lawrence Guy Key to Defensive Bounceback Last Week:
The Patriots have missed the big man in the middle of their defensive line. Last year it was Danny Shelton, who left in free agency this spring. This year it was supposed to be Beau Allen. But he never played a down and has been lost for the year.
And Lost was a good term for the Patriots run defense that relies on having a big immovable object two-gapping in the middle. They were gashed all year in the running game by teams taking advantage of that. But the team picked up Carl Davis from the Jaguars practice squad and the early results are encouraging.
Davis has bounced around the league for a bit, with stops in Jacksonville, Cleveland, Indy, and Baltimore. So he has some experience at playing in different systems. Although it didn’t begin that way, (Davis suffered a concussion in his first practice), but he’s been a good fit on the Patriots defense…and a very needed one.
He’s got the size, 6’5, 315 pounds, and has good strength and pretty decent athleticism for someone his size. Although his sample size of play has been small thus far, he’s already been making a difference on the run defense, something Doug Kyed from NESN commented on in a podcast I participated in with him earlier this week.
Getting Lawrence Guy back was also a huge plus, as he’s the best of the team’s interior defensive linemen. The combination of having Davis in the middle and having Guy back to his normal position was easy to see for the defense, as they held Baltimore to far below their normal rushing total on Sunday night.
Winovich’s Role May Be Evolving:
When the Patriots beat the Ravens last week, a very big part of the game was the outstanding play by Chase Winovich and John Simon, who played as off-the-ball linebackers and cheated a bit into the running lanes to slow down the Ravens running game from getting to the edge. It worked extremely effectively and a great deal of credit goes to the pair for making it happen.
Later in the game, the coaches moved the pair back to their more traditional roles and slid rookie safety, Kyle Dugger, into the slot. But Winovich was a big story to the game last week. After playing sparingly to nearly not at all against Buffalo, Winovich played in 98 percent of the team snaps, missing out on just one defensive snap against Baltimore.
But he was all over the field and was very disruptive. He described the different aspects of playing as an off-the-ball linebacker this week.
Playing off the ball was obviously a lot of fun,” he said. “It allowed me to really see the whole field and use some of the other attributes. I already talked about this after the game. I’d say some of the biggest things are just getting familiar with the different types of reads and — after playing for so long at a certain position, you get a feel for how tackles move and just different looks and it’s almost muscle memory.”
But his next comment made it sound like this could be a recurring role for him moving forward. “But whenever you switch positions, you kind of have to start from scratch in a certain sense. But honestly, football’s pretty natural to me. A lot of the stuff is things that I’m reading anyway from an outside linebacker position and sometimes they’re just easier from an inside linebacker position, so I really haven’t had too much difficulty in terms of picking some things up.
“I think it’s just the finer details is what I’m trying to groom and it’s obviously tougher to do that midseason than it would be if I started maybe in camp or something but you can’t really worry about that and the coaches are really helping obviously to bridge that gap quickly — when we’ve obviously practiced that, sorry. I should elaborate on that.”
Winovich credited former Patriots DE/OLB Rob Ninkovich as a great help for him as he’s learning to play both positions. “Rob Ninkovich has been a huge help for me, just picking his brain on different techniques and stuff,” he said.
So, perhaps, with the team morphing their game plans depending on their opponent, Winovich could see more snaps as an off-the-ball linebacker moving forward.
NFL Schedule Week 11, 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: 8-6
Season Total: 100-46-1
Last Season: 162-93-1
Thursday Night Football –
Arizona over Seattle 0-1
Pittsburgh over Jacksonville
Carolina over Detroit
New England over Houston
Baltimore over Tennessee
Cleveland over Philadelphia
New Orleans over Atlanta
Washington over Cincinnati
LA Chargers over NY Jets
Miami over Denver
Minnesota over Dallas
Green Bay over Indianapolis
Sunday Night Football:
Kansas City over Las Vegas
Monday Night Football:
Tampa Bay over LA Rams
***Buffalo, Chicago, NY Giants, San Francisco Bye Week***
Early Thursday Thanksgiving Day Predictions:
Detroit over Houston
Dallas over Washington
Baltimore over Pittsburgh
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Dolphins Unsure of Who the QB Will Be in Denver Today:
The Miami Dolphins travel to Denver to take on the Broncos, riding a five-game winning streak including the last three with rookie Tua Tagovailoa. But in facing the Broncos this week, Miami just may have to wait until the opening kickoff to find out who is starting for Denver. John Elway’s crew is playing coy with who their starter is this week.
QB Drew Lock is banged up after getting injured last week. But both Lock and backup QB Brett Rypien have been taking first-team reps this week. Head Coach Vic Fangio hasn’t made an announcement yet as to who the starter will be, and it may be a true game-time decision.
For Miami, no such question exists as Tua has performed very solidly as the team’s starter since taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick. In fact, he can become the first QB since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 to win their first four starts at QB. It has been done just five times in the Super Bowl era.
Jets Hope to Avoid Record Books By Beating Two Rookie QBs:
The New York Jets are 0-9 and staring up at possibly being a winless team that won’t go over well with a demanding fanbase as well as a media group that will turn into wolves at the slightest hint that things go awry.
So, with a tough strength of schedule remaining, the Jets’ best hope to avoid going winless at 0-10 and possibly worse may be to beat one of the two rookie QBs remaining on their schedule, with both of them upcoming. The problem is both rookies are performing extremely well with Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa respectively for their teams.
It will be interesting to see how Gregg Williams approaches playing the rookies. He likes to blitz and bring pressure on the opponent but his defense has been flagged with more personal fouls than anyone this season.
“I’ll tell you what, I didn’t do as much study on him in the offseason. I did a lot of study on Tua in the offseason,” Williams said. “Justin, he’s really, really having a good year. I think they’ve done a very good job of … manufacturing things for him that he’s familiar with offensively. And going around to matching things up to his skill set.
“I’ll tell you this, he’s like a lot of these other young gunslingers. He’s got a good, strong, deep arm that we’ve got to be very respectful for. He grows week by week by week. He’s not a person that you would say all of a sudden that he’s just a rookie. He’s got some very good play-time right now, and we as a staff have watched every single clip, every play he’s played multiple times. … Now we have to go out and play the way we’re supposed to play.”
The Jets will be playing a lot of young players down the stretch, at 0-9, this is the time to find out if the younger guys can play. But while they bring enthusiasm, they also bring inconsistency. Reference the Patriots game two weeks ago, young, rookie-like mistakes cost the Jets a meltdown in the fourth quarter in the loss to the Patriots.
“Well, I really appreciate the kind words from Secretary Miller,” Belichick said. “When you consider the type of leadership that he’s shown throughout his career serving our country, it really means a lot. I’m flattered by the reference that he made.”
“I’ll just say, while we’re on the subject, I read his point about combating traditional threats. And I couldn’t help but think and hope that we’ve seen from other countries around the world, and I hope that our country will take action against Turkey and Azerbaijan for their unprovoked and deadly attacks on Armenians,” Belichick said. “We’ve seen that when a humanitarian crisis and things like that, like ethnic cleaning, go unpunished, that they just continue to happen. I hope that we can put a stop to that.”
“I have learned that throughout Armenian history, regardless of any adversity or tragedy, the Armenian people have continued to thrive and persevere. I hope and pray for peace, justice, and the safety of the brave soldiers that are fighting for their nation’s recognition and freedom.”
Bill Belichick after being asked about the quote from Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, describing the “incomparable Bill Belichick”, while telling Green Berets at Ft. Bragg to “Do Your Job.”
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Cam Newton Denver Broncos Devin McCourty Houston Texans James White Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers Sony Michel Stephon Gilmore