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Tuesday Patriots Notebook 9/12: News and Notes

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
3 months ago at 11:44 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Tuesday Patriots Notebook 9/12: News and NotesVincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes for this morning:

Rodgers’ Injury Likely Means His Season Is Over

Monday night’s game down at MetLife Stadium completely changed everything for the New England Patriots.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who many believed would instantly catapult the Jets back into contention, lasted less than one series for New York, with the club now fearing he suffered a torn Achilles.

If that does indeed end up being the case, it essentially knocks them out of the mix for the AFC East.  That became even more clear after Zach Wilson stepped in and looked exactly like the player he’s been since the Jets – unwisely – put all their hopes on him three years ago.

Down in New York, the coaching staff remains in shock.

“I’ve been texting with three different Jets coaches, they haven’t slept,” said Peter Schrager on Good Morning Football on Tuesday morning.  “It’s 7am Eastern, and they probably got home at 3am.  Three different coaches, different facets of the game, just talking about what happened last night.  Excited about the win, but devastated.  Devastated not only for the fans but for Rodgers.”

“This guy was so invested all summer and has been a coach for the team and has put everybody under his wing and has been the ideal veteran leader.  And like that [snaps fingers] it’s gone.”

Rodgers went down after just four snaps, one of which was wiped out on a defensive holding penalty by Buffalo as he threw his second incompletion, which, thanks to the Bills miscue, won’t count against him on the stat sheet.

But the next play saw him get dropped for a sack as Bills linebacker Leonard Floyd hurdled left tackle Duane Brown, who tried to cut block him, and wrapped Rodgers up.

Rodgers tried to twist away, but his foot got caught underneath him as he went to the turf.

He stood up and then immediately sat back down and looked to the sidelines, with trainers immediately coming out to try and help him.

But a trip to the medical tent saw the Jets immediately bring out the cart and with his head down, Rodgers rode off the field probably knowing whatever story he hoped to write is likely shelved for this season.

“Concerned with his Achilles,” said head coach Robert Saleh after the game.  “MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is already going to happen, so prayers tonight.  But it’s not good.”

“My heart’s with Aaron right now,” he added.  “And nowhere else.”

As for what’s next, Saleh praised Wilson, who came in and completed 14-of-21 for 140-yards along with a touchdown and an interception after Rodgers went down.

“I thought he was awesome.” said Saleh.  “He had a couple of big third-down throws, clutch throws to extend drives and score points.  I thought his command of the huddle, line of scrimmage … I thought he was gritty, he created off schedule, scrambled for a big one.  He threw an interception, still bounced back, it didn’t snowball into anything big.”

“We still have a lot of faith in him.  I think we’ve proven that by keeping him here and continuing to invest in him.  Excited for him and his opportunity.”

Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers’ injury changes things. (PHOTO: Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK)

AFC East No Longer Looks as Daunting

Prior to Rodgers’ injury, both the Jets and Bills appeared to be the most likely duo to battle things out for command over the AFC East.  Instead, with Rodgers out, the Jets are now extremely vulnerable and the Bills saw Josh Allen finish with four turnovers, throwing three interceptions while also losing a fumble.

He was incredibly shakey, and for anyone wondering if he and Stephon Diggs have mended fences, that relationship still doesn’t look quite solid.

Given how New England’s defense played this weekend, the Bills absolutely no longer look as dominant.  Especially after how poorly Allen played.

Out in Buffalo, the mood is pretty ugly, with Allen taking responsibility for the loss when it was over.

“Trying to force the ball. Same (expletive), same place, different day,” said Allen.

“We can’t play two guys,” he added.  “Can’t play them and us, and I played us tonight.”

Allen talks about his mistakes, but it’s a trend that’s been going on for a while.  He’s aware of the problem, but it’s not stopping him from being reckless both with the football as well as with his body after he put himself in a position several times where he took some unnecessary hits.

As a result, there’s now a crack in the armor of a Bills team that many thought would again be a contender by the end of the season.

For now, the Patriots are quietly very much still in it.  Despite Sunday’s loss, a win this weekend against Miami would potentially put the Patriots in a position to take the first step toward retaking control of a Division that, before last night, certainly felt like a longshot.

Dolphins Will Be A Tough Match-up

That won’t be an easy task.  The Dolphins are coming off an impressive win over the Chargers on Sunday, which saw them put up over 500 yards of offense, with Tua Tagovailoa throwing for 466 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-34 win out in Los Angeles.

Tyreek Hill accounted for 215 of those yards, as he hauled in 11 receptions along with two touchdowns on Sunday.

As a result, the Patriots have a tough battle ahead of them, but if they can pull it off, it will be the first step in what could be an opportunity to get back to a place they haven’t been in a while.

Interestingly enough, a quote from head coach Mike McDaniel essentially summed things up pretty well when it comes to how both fans and players approach the start of the season, and that message was something he tried to instill in his players.

“Week 1 is always interesting, that’s what I spent most of the time talking to players because the whole league — really, all fan bases kind of lose their mind Week 1 and it’s totally understandable,” said McDaniel.  “You have all of this build-up and it’s the first game. You can really go sideways with your emotions when things don’t work out your way.”

“People overreact, a two-score deficit feels bigger. A dropped pass feels bigger than it actually is. So, overall, I was just really, really fired up about the team playing through things — having leads, losing leads and then ultimately, say what you want, the game was won with the defense on the field. That will always be the story of how teams win or lose. There’ll be a game this year, I told the guys in the locker room, where we’ll have to win the game without scoring a touchdown. Teams find a way. I was really pumped about that.”

“It was just weathering the storm, doing what you have to do on both sides of the ball. If we need points, go and get two points, and if we need to stop, get a stop.”

New England got it done on the defensive side of the football but despite two opportunities at the end by the offense, one of which was set up with a timely turnover by that same defense, they came up short.

That will need to change this weekend.  The Patriots have lost four out of their last five against Miami, with the club having lost four-straight prior to last January’s win at Gillette Stadium while Tua Tagovailoa was sidelined.

But the Patriots have the talent defensively to change that on Sunday.  And if ever there was a time for this team to make a statement and catapult themselves back into contention, this weekend’s game would certainly be a good time for it.

Odds and Ends

Henry McKenna of FoxSports pointed out the NextGen Stats graphic from Mac Jones’ performance and noted that Jones made throws all over the field on Sunday, with all three of his touchdowns coming at the deep or intermediate portions of the field.  He was also 3-of-5 in the red zone with 3 touchdowns. … The situation with quarterback Matt Corral remains a mystery.  Belichick confirmed on Monday the club has been in contact with him, but he wouldn’t say much beyond that.  “Yeah, he’s on exempt status,” said Belichick.  “I don’t have any comment on it. That’s a personal matter.” … Belichick also commented on the Patriots decision to alter their kickoff late in the game, saying the new kickoff rule did play a factor.  “The idea of lobbing one up there down inside the 10-yard line isn’t a good option anymore when they can fair catch it,” he explained.  “Putting the ball on the ground is always a good option in that situation, when they don’t have many blockers back there. But, we’ve just got to do a better job of coaching and executing the play. That isn’t what we wanted to do. So, we just didn’t do a good job on that play.” … According to the NFL’s transaction wire, the Patriots reverted Calvin Munson back to the practice squad after the linebacker had been elevated ahead of Sunday’s game against the Eagles.  Munson played 14 snaps, all of which came on special teams.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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