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Patriots News Sept. 26, Edelman Honored, Players to Watch, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
September 26, 2021 at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News Sept. 26, Edelman Honored, Players to Watch, AFC East Notes

🕑 Read Time: 10 minutes

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 9-26, and AFC East Notes.

Gameday, as we put wrote in our key matchups on Thursday, despite the hysteria over the silly “he said, she said, they said” soap opera saga before the game next week, this week’s game against the Saints is an important matchup for both teams and features two of the game’s very best coaches in Bill Belichick and Sean Payton. 

Both teams are moving on from future Hall of Fame QBs and need this game to keep building for a potential playoff spot. While you can’t earn a postseason spot in September, you can certainly lose out on one if the team stumbles too much. 

The Patriots will honor Julian Edelman today and if the tradition holds, it should be a great treat for the fans. Edelman was such a key and clutch member of the team, and his highlight reel is long and should be entertaining.

Edelman was the subject of some flattering quotes by Bill Belichick and the former WR even offered some advice for rookie QB Mac Jones (below).

Have you checked out our sortable stats for the Patriots? It is a great resource for all of the players on the roster.  

Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL: 

Justin Herron: The Patriots offensive lineman was the guardian angel for a woman who was being sexually assaulted in a park this spring and was honored by the city of Tempe, Arizona. 

Herron was going for a walk early one morning and heard a woman scream, he ran to her location as a homeless man was trying to sexually assault her. As soon as he made eye contact with her, about 100 yards away, he came running. Another man, Murry Rogers, who was in the park for his daughter’s birthday also came running and the duo stopped the man and subdued him until the police arrived. 

The city of Tempe honored Herron and Rogers and the woman and her daughter arrived for a group hug as she thanked her “guardian angels”. 

Herron said, that he’d have the woman and her daughter in for a Patriots game. “We’ve established a relationship that will never be forgotten. Our paths will definitely cross again in some way shape or form. I don’t know when that is. But it will be a wonderful reunion.”

Josh Gordon: The NFL announced that they are reinstating the troubled wide receiver and he’d be eligible to play as early as Week 4. And many Patriots fans immediately began asking if he’d be an option for the team. 

While never saying never, the feeling here is that the chances of the Patriots bringing back the five-times suspended and troubled WR are very, very remote. Gordon last played in 2019 for the Seahawks and his best season (1646 yards) came eight years ago in 2013. 

Bill Belichick: The Patriots’ head coach obviously had a great amount of respect for Julian Edelman as a player. Belichick was asked about Edelman on Friday as the team gets ready to honor him. Belichick cracked a joke about Edelman’s “What Are We Doing” segment on “Inside the NFL” where he imitates Belichick’s roasting of players during the team’s film sessions.

 “Be great to see Julian, assuming that he doesn’t like… roast me or get into a big impersonation,” Belichick joked, referring to today as “Julian Edelman Day”. 

“Had a tremendous career. Had tremendous production in every area. Receiving, run after the catch, punt returns, was a good blocker, was a really tough, competitive kid. Right up there at the top of the guys I’ve coached,” Belichick added. 

“Be great to see him again and recognize him for the great career that he had here and how much he meant to this team, this organization, and how much he stepped up for us in big games year after year, week after week.”

Nelson Agholor: Speaking of Belichick, all it took was one phone call from the coach to convince Agholor to come to New England (wasn’t there a bunch of hooey this past year, that ‘nobody comes to NE to play for Bill’?). 

“I think to have the greatest coach of all time, Bill Belichick, call you and tell you he wants you to be a part of something special, that was enough,” Agholor said and added that he is fortunate to work with Josh McDaniels. 

“Then obviously I’ve seen this offense and I’ve seen the way that they attack defenses. So I’m super happy just to work with McDaniels because I think I learn more as a player. Not even from just a performing standpoint, I think as just a player that’s a fan of the game of football, I learn a lot more by seeing how he sees things.”

4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Derek, Russ, and I spoke about the Jets game and the upcoming game with the Saints.

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.

Tailgate Food: What’s everyone eating for their pre or post-game tailgate/home feast today? Since it is a 1:00 p.m. start, we’re eating during the later games. Our plan is to eat at halftime of the Bucs-Rams matchup with some reverse-seared steaks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob on the grill with an appetizer of some nachos during the Pats game. What’s on the menu this week for everyone? 

Edelman’s Advice to Jones? Put on the Blinders:

In the interview with the media on Thursday prior to his being honored at halftime today,  Julian Edelman was asked if he had any advice for rookie QB Mac Jones. 

“The advice I would give him is to just worry about what you’ve got on your plate right now and really put on the blinders,” Edelman said. “And I know it’s harder for this generation, younger guys…and it started with my generation, to kind of not read the clippings and all of that. But they’re in an environment where it’ll help. They’ll (Patriots coaches) keep him busy. And he, just from the jump, looks like a poised, calm, cool, collect kid where regardless of what he turns into, at this point right now, he looks like he’s doing all right.

“I’m not much of a guy who’s like, ‘Hey, this is what you need to do.’ I’m more of the guy like, ‘Hey, just literally do everything they ask you to do and put in a little more time and just see where it takes you,’ because if you’re a baller, you’re going to make plays. These guys have all played at a very high level for a long time, and that’s just how it goes.

“There’s going to be a “next-generation”. Take pride and try to be that next generation. Because it’s an unbelievable thing to go out in the Northeast — Boston, New England, and play for the history of these fans and this area. It’s a fun town to win in. And you want other people to experience that.”

And what has he seen from the rookie thus far? 

“There’s going to be some bumps in those roads, but we’ll see how he reacts. I like his demeanor, and I think he’s a stud and I’m looking forward to seeing him this week in person.”

Patriots Players to Watch Today:

Every week we look at the game within a game. Here are our players to watch from a Patriots perspective today. 

Ja’Whaun Bentley/ Dont’a Hightower —  The Patriots inside backers are going to be the key to stopping the Saints running game this week with Alvin Kamara. The first question on their mind should be “Where is Kamara” at every snap. 

Kamara is dangerous both running and catching the football. Bentley is coming off of a very good game against the Jets and this is the kind of tough matchup that he and Hightower are suited for. Limiting the Saints’ running game is key today. 

Isaiah Wynn/Trent Brown — The Patriots’ offensive tackles (if Brown is able to return this week) will have their hands full with the Saints’ Carl Granderson and Cameron Jordan. Jordan typically lines up on the left side which will present a difficult challenge for whoever plays right tackle today.

Mac Jones has been hit far too often in the first two weeks of the season, and while it is expected that the OL play will improve, the Saints’ talented defense presents a big challenge in both the running and passing game.  

Nelson Agholor —  The Patriots wide receiver may see an uptick in targets this week. The Saints allow only 66 yards per game on the ground, so the passing game should be expected to play a bigger role this afternoon. 

Agholor will face either Marshon Lattimore or Bradley Roby a lot today. Lattimore has been limited with a thumb injury, but both are talented and will be a tough matchup. The Patriots signed him to stretch the field and help open up things underneath for players like James White or Jakobi Meyers. This would be a good time to shine. 

Kyle Dugger — The Patriots’ second-year safety may see a lot of Alvin Kamara in the passing game this week. This could normally fall to Adrian Phillips but he’s questionable this week as he missed Thursday and Friday’s practices due to non-injury reasons (it is believed that his wife was giving birth to their first child). 

Dugger is an athletic, talented player but is facing one of the most dangerous playmakers coming out of the backfield  It should be quite a matchup. 

Week 3 Predictions:

The slate of games for Week 3 and my predictions for this week.

Thursday Night Football
Carolina over Houston  1-0

Sunday –
Kansas City over LA Chargers
New England over New Orleans
Buffalo over Washington
Cleveland over Chicago
Baltimore over Detroit
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Tennessee over Indianapolis
Arizona over Jacksonville
NY Giants over Atlanta
Las Vegas over Miami
Denver over NY Jets
LA Rams over Tampa Bay
Minnesota over Seattle
Sunday Night Football
San Francisco over Green Bay
Monday Night Football
Dallas over Philadelphia

Last Week:        11-5
Season:             18-14

Last Season:   169-86-1

2019 Season:   162-93-1

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills’ New Stadium to Have PSLs:

The Buffalo Bills are in the process of putting together plans for a new stadium. And in an effort to raise money for the owner’s portion of the upfront money for the stadium, the Bills are going to opt for permanent seat licenses (PSLs) to help defray the costs. 

As always, the billionaire owners pass on the cost to the consumer, the fans. However, it is either that or the cost of tickets will go through the roof and become even more unaffordable to the average fan. 

PSLs charge a fee for the right and obligation to buy the tickets for the games as well as giving priority access to purchase tickets to other events at the stadium. Ron Raccuia, the executive vice president and lead negotiator for Pegula Sports and Entertainment said that PSLs will be a part of the new stadium deal in an interview with the Buffalo News.

“We will most likely have the lowest PSLs of any new stadium built since 2009,” Raccuia said. “And that’s a function of the market and us being committed to making sure that we don’t price our fans out of the marketplace. We will be very cognizant of that with PSLs.”

Rumors of Watson Trade to Miami Persist After Tua Injury: 

The Miami Dolphins continue to be the subject of trade rumors concerning embattled Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson. With the latest injury to QB Tua Tagovailoa which will shelve the 2nd-year signal-caller for the next few weeks, those rumors have taken on a new lease on life. 

Watson hasn’t played this season and probably won’t play at all this season and ever again for the Houston Texans. The QB wanted out of Houston and the team began fielding offers for him …until he had about two dozen sexual assault allegations against him. Now he’s in limbo and the NFL has sat on its hands about this. 

But Pro Football Talk reports that despite all of his legal encumbrances, that Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross wants to land Watson, but what is holding up the trade isn’t that but the Texans’ asking price. Which was a combination of multiple first-round picks and players. 

Jets Crowder Doubtful to Play Against the Broncos:

The Jets’ situation at wide receiver is still in limbo. Jamison Crowder, the Jets’ leading receiver the past two years, missed the season opener after testing positive for COVID-19 and then missed the Patriots game with a groin injury. He didn’t practice all week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Broncos.

Last year’s 2nd round pick, the speedy Denzel Mims was a healthy scratch last week but may see action this week. He is a game-time decision according to head coach Robert Saleh. All of this means that Braxton Berrios is now the Jets’ leading receiver. While a feel-good story, it doesn’t bode well for rookie QB Zach Wilson. 

The Jets need Crowder back…and healthy and to get Mims dialed in if their QB is going to make some strides this season. 


“I think Sean’s always done a really good job of using his personnel, and it’s not like it’s a whole bunch of new plays every week. That’s not really what he does, but he uses his players effectively. He uses a lot of personnel groups, so more personnel groups than any of the teams in the league, and those combinations. They operate very quickly. They’re on and off the field. They’re in that little huddle. They’re up to the line and the ball’s snapped, and if you take time to break it all down, you can sort of figure out, yeah, well, this is why he’s in this set, and that’s why he’s doing this and that, and that’s what this guy does well, and that’s where he’s got in there, but it’s hard to do it during the game because it happens so fast, and then as soon as that play is over, he’s got somebody else in there and a whole other set of personnel, formations, motion, ball snap, and so it’s hard to stay ahead of Sean just because he operates so quickly with so many variables. 

“All the receivers play. All the tight ends play. The backs play. There are two different quarterbacks. There’s a lot of stuff, and then just the breadth of the offense from, you know, his time there since whatever it was, ’06 or whenever he got there, you know, there’s a lot of volume, and if you watch a game, I think you look at it and say, I’ve seen that play before. I’ve seen that play before, but it might’ve been two years ago, or it might have been eight games ago, so he’s got a pretty good breadth to his system, and he continually does things that they know how to do that they’re familiar with, but he dresses them up differently, or maybe it’s something that he hasn’t used in a while and you’re not preparing for it, but it’s something that’s really a part of their system, and it’s not really a new play for them. 

“Again, he does a good job attacking defenses and matching things up that create problems for your defense, and so when you’re looking at film, you’re looking at what he’s done, but that was against somebody else’s defense, and it’s really hard to predict how he’s going to treat you and what matchups he’s really going to try to exploit. Obviously, we know Kamara’s going to get the ball, and there’s some things that are pretty straightforward, but the details of it and how he does it all are very creative, and he moves very fast, and so I think that’s the problem that it creates is how fast he moves and how quickly the defense has to recognize and adjust, and then they’re on to something else. 

“They’re a very good situational team. They obviously are coached that well and know what they’re doing, and you better be ready to play good situational football against them, or they’ll slice you up there, too.”

Bill Belichick’s comments when asked about what stands out about a Sean Payton offense.


“So, how was your week?”

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

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Saints Run Over Lackluster Patriots 28-13

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 Dont'a Hightower James White Jamie Collins Julian Edelman Kyle Dugger Mac Jones Miami Dolphins Nelson Agholor New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots

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