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New England Patriots News 01-24, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
2 years ago at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 01-24, AFC East NotesRon Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 01-24 and AFC East notes this week. 

There is a lot of people wishing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski well in the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. And there are about the same amount hoping the Packers roll over the Bucs. 

We’re not taking the cheese on telling fans how they should feel, unlike other media and fan types that play “You’re not a fan of the Patriots if you don’t ….” yada, yada. I would personally love to see Brady and the Bucs play Buffalo in the Super Bowl. Although I am pretty positive the league would probably rather see the other two teams.

And for the record, can everyone stop with the ridiculous “Brady/Belichick” debate? The bottom line is they won because of one another and not despite the other. Appreciate the two decades of dominance. 

Have you checked out our team news feature for all 32 teams yet? It is a great resource to keep up with what is going on all across the NFL. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL: 

Julian Edelman: After that tweet surfaced that both fans and media alike read the tea leaves on and determined that he was retiring, Edelman had something to say about that.  Edelman was the guest on a recent episode of the “Pardon My Take” podcast, where co-host Dan Katz asked Edelman if he’d reconsider retiring from the NFL.

Edelman responded, “You guys are nuts,” Edelman joked. “What are you talking about? Right now we’re being a dad right now and we’re sitting back and training, getting our body right for the next year. It’s a time to get away from football right now. It was a long, crazy year.”

“I don’t know. We’re not there yet,” Edelman added. “This whole year was so jacked up, man. It was so long. I just need to decompress for a little bit. I am out in L.A. right now and taking my kid to school and picking her up, and doing those kinds of things that you don’t get to do during the season. I am enjoying that right now, so I don’t necessarily know what you guys are talking about.”

Bill O’Brien – The former Texans head coach and Patriots assistant lands on his feet with Alabama, becoming the Tide’s offensive coordinator. “We are pleased and happy to be able to add Bill O’Brien to our coaching staff,” head coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “He has a wealth of experience as both an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL and college. Bill is one of the brightest offensive minds in football, an outstanding teacher and excellent recruiter. He will strengthen our coaching staff and give our players the best possible chance to be successful.”

4th & 2 Podcast – If you haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Russ, Derek, and I recorded a podcast a few weeks back. to look at what’s next for the team. 

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.

Matt Patricia Returns to New England, After Disastrous Lions’ Stint: 

The Patriots are bringing former Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia back as an assistant to head coach Bill Belichick, similar to the role that Mike Lombardi held for the team. The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride was the first to break the story. 

Albert Breer reported that Belichick will be working on projects for Belichick, while the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that Patricia will be involved with the evaluation of personnel. 

Patricia is expected to fill a “variety of roles” for the Patriots and should help solidify a coaching staff that has seen a lot of turnover in the past few seasons. Patricia joined the Patriots in 2004 as an offensive coaching assistant then worked the offensive line before switching to the defensive side of the ball, taking over as the linebackers coach from 2006-2010 and the safeties in 2011. He was named defensive coordinator in 2012 and would help the Patriots to two more Super Bowl titles before his departure in 2018.

Patricia went 13-29-1 in three seasons for the Lions before getting fired this season. Also coming to the Patriots will be Evan Rothstein, who was an analytics guru for Patricia in Detroit. Rothstein was the defensive play-caller for the Lions when their coaching staff was hit with a COVID-19 late last season. 

Patricia has never been replaced as the defensive coordinator. Steve Belichick is the outside linebacker’s coach who has been calling the plays into the defensive huddle. Jerod Mayo, the inside linebacker’s coach has a big role with the defense as well. 

Looking at Defensive Free Agents:

For the Patriots, I already said that I thought the main push for defensive help would probably be through the draft with free agency second. And the opposite would be true for the offensive side of the ball. 

But with holes to fill at linebacker and the defensive line, who are some of the more intriguing options at both LB and DL in 2021? 

Obviously, Von Miller tops the list, even at age 32 but the Broncos have a club option for him, so he may never hit the open market. I’d expect Denver to make some kind of deal with him and bring him back. 

Matt Judon, Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree, and Shaq Barrett are probably going to draw more cash than the Patriots would want to spend. So, who could possibly see the tires get kicked this spring?

Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David is a true sideline-to-sideline linebacker. He’s been a big producer for them and would be an excellent addition if the Patriots are willing to spend $12-13 million per year, which is what he’d draw. He’ll be 32 as well next year but has been durable. 

Ditto for Leonard Floyd, the linebacker for the Rams who is only 28 and was a 1st round pick (#9 overall). The Rams are currently about $33 million dollars over the salary cap so they’ll have decisions to make if they are to retain him. 

On the DL area, the team should make every effort to bring back Lawrence Guy inside. Other defensive tackles within what the Patriots may opt to spend money on may possibly be DaQuan Jones from Tennessee or Jonathan Hankins from Las Vegas. Obviously, they’ll also be targeting the draft as well for both of those positions. 

Will there be a Beau Allen sighting in Foxboro this summer? 

NFL Schedule Conference Playoffs, 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:     3-1

Season Total: 169-86-1

Last Season:  162-93-1

Conference Championship Weekend:

Tampa Bay over Green Bay
Kansas City over Buffalo

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills One Game Away From a Super Bowl Berth:

The Buffalo Bills are in Kansas City to face the Chiefs, who are hosting their third AFC Championship Game in a row. Patrick Mahomes made a very quick recovery from his concussion on Sunday to be activated from the protocol. 

His being there will put a lot of pressure on a very good Bills defense that is excellent at getting after the QB. That will bear some watching on Sunday. 

Two players to watch in this one are Cole Beasley for the Bills, and Travis Kelce for the Chiefs. Beasley out of the slot can be a tough player to cover and I’d expect him to have his way with rookie corner L’Jarius Sneed.

Kelce had a pair of touchdowns against Buffalo earlier this year and Buffalo’s defense has allowed the most catches and the second-most receiving yards in the NFL to opposing tight ends this season.


“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 discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.


Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Offseason
Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Julian Edelman Lawrence Guy New England Patriots NFL Patriots edge rushers

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