Category Archives: Patriots Podcast

Podcast: Chiefs vs. Patriots Victory Recap And Bears Preview

Russ Goldman
October 17, 2018 at 11:54 am ET

In this episode, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Chiefs. We ended the show by previewing the upcoming game against the Bears.

Podcast: Colts vs. Patriots Victory Recap And Chiefs Preview

Russ Goldman
October 10, 2018 at 4:08 pm ET

In this episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Colts. We ended the show by previewing the upcoming game against the Chiefs.

Podcast: Dolphins vs. Patriots Victory Recap And Colts Preview

Russ Goldman
October 2, 2018 at 10:57 am ET

In this episode, we started the show by looking back at the Patriots victory against the Dolphins. We then ended the show by previewing the upcoming game against the Colts.

Podcast: Dolphins vs. Patriots Preview Show

Russ Goldman
September 27, 2018 at 9:38 am ET

In this episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, we started this show by discussing the article “Patriots Demise Syndrome, the symptoms and how to cope” by Tom E. Curran.

We then previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Dolphins, as we went through the major match-ups, and also shared the keys to victory. We then gave our predictions for the game to end the show.

Podcast: Patriots vs. Lions Post Game Show

Russ Goldman
September 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm ET

In this episode, we looked back at the Patriots bad loss to the Lions.

New England Patriots News 9-23, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
September 23, 2018 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, Here is your Sunday Patriots news 9-23, & AFC East Notes.

Some Quick Hitters this morning… just a quick reminder that you can check out our key matchups to the game here and our players to watch for tonight’s game can also be found here:  

Jacob Hollister was a late addition to the injury report on Friday and has been ruled out of tonight’s game. He was one of the players we had in our pregame matchups to watch. He may miss a game or two according to reports.

Cyrus Jones is back in the fold and will probably be returning punts tonight. He was part of the last cuts by New England and landed on the Ravens practice squad. But the Pats signed him back to the active roster this week and look for a hungry and motivated Jones this week. An interesting tidbit was that Jones was practicing with the safeties this week.

Resilience:  The Patriots success under Bill Belichick is always enhanced by the fact that they don’t lose many games back to back. As we pointed out earlier this week, the Patriots are 45-6 since 2003 following a loss. And for those conspiracy theorists that lament the Patriots playing in the AFC “Least”? Since realignment in 2002, the Patriots are 51-16 against the NFC, the best interconference record in the NFL. 

Tom Brady reportedly was testy and irritable all week in practice. Mike Giardi from NFL Network reported that Brady was quite unhappy with the level of execution that the Patriots showed in Jacksonville and wants to ensure that it doesn’t happen again this week against the Lions.

Corey Coleman the former 1st Round draft pick of the Browns in the 2016 NFL Draft was released by the Patriots to make room for Josh Gordon. But the next day after clearing waivers, the Patriots signed him to the team’s practice squad.

Coleman had only spent a week in New England and was inactive for the Jacksonville game but Bill Belichick was highly complimentary of the former Baylor wide receiver.

“He’s a player we want to work with,” Belichick said. “We’ll see how it goes. We haven’t had him a long time but he’s done a good job with the opportunities that he’s had. We want to keep working with him. We’ll see how it goes.”

Malcolm Mitchell filed a grievance against the Patriots, as first reported by our old buddy Miguel Benzan, commonly known as @Patscap the salary cap guru. The former the receiver has filed an injury grievance against the team and was seeking his entire 2018 salary of $630,000.

Mitchell was released by the Patriots back on August 6. That release was not coupled with an injury designation, so the receiver could not recoup any money from his deal. Mitchell cleared waivers, however, late Friday night there were reports that the two sides had settled the dispute.

Pat Chung/Trey Flowers didn’t practice this week and are doubtful for tonight’s game. Their loss will be a big blow to the Patriots defense. Flowers is their best player on the defensive side of the ball and Chung is an excellent tackler and his presence will be missed in the running game and the covering of tight ends.

No One Wants to See Gordon Fail:

In the hoopla of the Josh Gordon trade this week, reactions were mixed but by far, most were exceedingly positive and the prevailing theme was, “Brady hasn’t had a target like this since Randy Moss.”

Others, including here in this column were against the trade. And my TL and DMs quickly jumped my mentions by explaining that it was a “low-risk, high reward” scenario. Other mentions accused me of wanting Gordon to fail, which is ridiculous.

But this move isn’t low risk, because Gordon isn’t being just brought in to be a complementary piece. All of the mentions states, the Patriots need a player who can stretch the field and take pressure off of the intermediate receivers. So, yes he will be expected to play a valuable role.

While the compensation is basically a wash, which is basically a no-risk scenario, the big risk here, as I pointed out in the Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on Tuesday is time. This wasn’t a trade you make in March and have six months to figure out if the player fits your offense, your locker room and has put his problems on the back burner enough for you to secure him a roster spot.

This scenario is after Week 2 of the NFL regular season. And the team doesn’t have the time to try to prepare for an upcoming opponent while trying to incorporate a new Wide Receiver into the fold while treading very lightly around said, player. And he is a player with serious addiction issues. It isn’t as some point out, “just weed” and is much deeper.

Saying all this can be easily fixed by just dropping him in the Patriots locker room is overly simplistic and doesn’t lend itself the seriousness of Gordon’s situation. What about when he goes home at night? That’s where his problems lie, not in the building.

Everyone here wants to see him be successful…at life, football is a far second to that. Addiction and drug use are big problems facing our nation as a whole. But his physical talents have never been in question.  Would we love to see him light it up and be a part of bringing Lombardi #6 home? Of course.

But it isn’t as simple or as easy as many will have you believe. Hopefully, Robert Kraft will put some quality off-field support mechanisms around Gordon to help him.

Derek Rivers Set To Make His NFL Debut?

The bad news of Trey Flowers having a concussion and having missed all of this week’s practice could be an opportunity for last year’s top draft pick Derek Rivers. Rivers has been a healthy scratch for both of the first two games of the season after falling behind Flowers, Adrian Clayborn, Deatrich Wise and Keionta Davis on the depth chart.

Rivers missed all of the 2017 season after tearing his ACL during joint practices with the Jaguars last August. He started slowly in training camp this year but came on and started to round into form.

It will be interesting to see how he can produce in a regular season game, which will be his first NFL action if Flowers is a scratch for tonight’s game. Rivers told NESN’s Doug Kyed this week that he hasn’t been frustrated by his lack of playing time yet but he’s just working hard and waiting for his chance.

“I’d be excited,” he said.  “But this is what we’ve been doing since camp. I got to play in the preseason, and every game is similar. I know everybody puts a lot of pressure on preseason and regular season, but a football game is a football game. It’s a blessing to play in each and every one of them. It will be exciting times, and god-willing, if this is the week, then I’ll be excited.”

Who You Have This Week, NFL Week 2 Predictions:

Last week: 9-6-1 Season 18-12-2

Thursday night’s pick Cleveland over the Jets 1-0

New Orleans at Atlanta: Falcons
Green Bay at Washington: Packers
Indy at Philadelphia: Eagles
Buffalo at Minnesota: Vikings
Oakland at Miami: Dolphins
Denver at Baltimore:  Ravens
Cincinnati at Carolina: Panthers
Giants at Houston: Texans
Tennessee at Jacksonville: Titans
San Francisco at Kansas City: Chiefs
LA Rams at LA Chargers: Rams
Dallas at Seattle: Dallas
Chicago at Arizona: Cardinals
New England at Detroit: Patriots
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay: Bucs

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Have a Tough Matchup on the Road in Minnesota:

Buffalo is 0-2 and heading to Minnesota to take on the 1-0-1 Vikings. Since opening their new stadium in 2016, the Vikes are 14-4 at home, third best in the NFL behind New England and Philadelphia.

Josh Allen has the unenviable task of going with a shaky offensive line and a dearth of playmakers against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Vikings have seven sacks as a team, while the Bills have already allowed 11.

After being hammered in the first half and allowing 28 points, Head Coach Sean McDermott took over the defensive play calling in the second half and the unit responded, allowing just three points in the second half. That will bear watching today.

While we were adamant that Allen should have been sitting and learning in his rookie year, McDermott hit the panic button after just one half of the first game. Allen was sacked five times last week and has been put in a nearly impossible position to succeed. Buffalo will have to tread carefully here, these type of situations have ruined other young QB’s confidence. And the Vikes will be bringing the heat.

Dolphins Have Big Game At Home Against the 0-2 Raiders:

Miami is 2-0 and has played very well against both the Titans and Jets and sit alone atop the AFC East after just two weeks. So why is this game against the winless Raiders such a big one? Because these are the types of games the Dolphins have consistently dropped when having a chance to get momentum going.

Today’s home game will put the Dolphins at 3-0 and guarantee them of no worse than a tie with New England with a road trip heading up to Foxboro next weekend. And a win will put the Dolphins of a chance of going undefeated thru the quarter pole of the season  That will boost a lot of confidence in the team as they move forward.

With kickoff time temps of about 88 degrees with high humidity, it is a built-in advantage. Also, factor in the Raiders are making an East Coast swing for a 1 p.m. game, something that West Coast teams don’t normally play well in, it is something to watch for.

Miami has a prime opportunity for them to pounce on a team that hasn’t played well yet in 2018. And look for their defense today to make a couple of big plays. That will set up some good drama for Week 4, which will pit them against the Pats for the first time this year.

Darnold Takes Blame For Loss, But the Fault Was With Jets Coaches:

The New York Jets lost on Thursday Night Football 21-17 to the Cleveland Browns, the Jets third game in 11 days and may have run out of gas at the end. And of course, the popular narrative was that Baker Mayfield outplayed Sam Darnold on the big stage.

While you can certainly point to the numbers to make that case, it was hardly that simple. When Mayfield came in, the Jets were rolling 14-0. But rather than put restrictions on him, the Cleveland coaches cut him loose and allowed him to throw the ball all over the field, in other words opening the playbook completely to him. And Mayfield looked very much the part of the 1st overall pick in the draft against what is a pretty darn good Jets defense.

Darnold, in contrast, was just 15-31 for 169 yards and two interceptions, both thrown with under a minute and a half left in the game on desperation throws.

“From my point of view, I just have to play better, simple as that,” Darnold said after the game. “It’s not acceptable, the way I played. I know that, and I have to take it like a man. I feel like I’m responsible for some of the stagnant offense we had. I just have to play better, that’s it.”

While standing up and taking responsibility is laudable, the coaches deserve as much if not more of the blame for the stagnant offense. They have saddled the rookie with a very limited playbook. Worried about the Browns blitzing, they gave him a steady diet of screen passes and other very conservative options. They never allowed him to test the field the way the Browns did.

Even Jets WR Quincy Enunwa hit on the issue, although he worded it carefully, there is no doubt what he said here. “He did as well as he could with the plays that were given to him,” Enunwa said. “They had a lot of pressure, and that kind of messed us up.”

The Jets aren’t helping his progression by limiting what he can do on the field. Making things simpler is one thing, hamstringing a QB’s options are another. It is like being thrown the keys to a muscle car and then being told, not to shift it out of second.

NFL fans lost out on what would have been an interesting matchup between two QBs of the future. Darnold didn’t regress in his third start, the coaching staff blinked. Let him play the way he’s capable of.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news.

Podcast: Patriots vs. Lions Preview Show

Russ Goldman
September 20, 2018 at 10:55 am ET

In this episode of Patriots Fourth And Two, we previewed the upcoming game for the Patriots against the Lions, as we went through the major match-ups, and also shared the keys to victory. We also gave our predictions for the game.

However, to start the show, we did our “Around The League” segment and the topics this week included , analytics in football, the Super Bowl Half Time Show, and drafting the right players that fit your team.

Podcast: The Josh Gordon Trade and Patriots vs. Jaguars Post Game Show

Russ Goldman
September 18, 2018 at 10:12 am ET

In this episode, we started the show by debating the Josh Gordon trade, as there was a good amount of disagreement in regards to this move for the Patriots. Later on, we looked back at the Patriots loss to the Jaguars, and we shared our thoughts on it.

New England Patriots News 9-16, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
September 16, 2018 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, Here is your Sunday Patriots news 9-16, & AFC East Notes.

We send good wishes today to our friends who live in the Southeast who are in the midst of a fierce hurricane that is pounding the Carolinas and Virginia. Although hurricanes are a fact of life down there, it never ceases to amaze the power of Mother Nature. And to our own neighbors in Massachusetts in North Andover, Andover and Lawrence, we hope everyone gets to get home soon…and safely.

Jacob Hollister is off of the injury report as of Friday and should make his season debut later today for the Patriots. One of those little “game within a game” situations. Hollister’s status may mean more Big Nickel for Jax. The Giants had some success against that last week. Stay tuned.

Sony Michel is itching to get on the field, but that probably won’t be today and with Rex Burkhead in the concussion protocol, the Pats may be really thin at RB today with just James White and recently signed Kenjon Barner.

Weather a factor… watch the heat and the resultant early season conditioning test for the Patriots today. With temps in the low 90s with a chance of thunderstorms in the area, the weather could be a big factor today. This could be a coaching point to get started quickly today.

Duron Harmon was fined $26.739 for a hit on an unnecessary roughness penalty on DeAndre Hopkins with 38 seconds left in the game on Sunday. Hopkins was going up for a contested ball with Devin McCourty and Harmon came in to break it up and appeared to use his shoulder to hit Hopkins, but his wallet is quite a bit lighter this week after that fine.

Kyle Van Noy was the subject of some personal attacks by members of the media for no apparent reason this week. Stating he was an “Ass” and a “Tool” and that he could stand his attitude, in the next breath, the same media member then stated he’s never met him. Even Paul Perillo from PFW who was a guest on that show seemed taken aback by the personal nature of the attack, which is all-too-familiar these days.

From our limited access and personal interaction with the players, we’ve never witnessed anything from Van Noy that didn’t come across as professional and ready to answer anything thrown his way.

And for the record, the Patriots got a steal from Detroit in the Van Noy trade. He’s been a starter here and a valuable cog in the defense and they gave up virtually nothing in return. Sometimes you just have to shrug and move on.

Bentley is a Pleasant Surprise For Everyone Except Belichick:

Ja’Whaun Bentley is off to a very nice start to his NFL career. The rookie from Purdue has turned heads since training camp, preseason and has carried it over thru Week 1 of the regular season. Bentley earned more snaps than any other front seven player against the Texans.

The three-year captain has turned heads with his play against the pass thus far. He was known as a big thumper in the running game, but his play against the pass has been a very pleasant surprise but not to everyone. Bill Belichick said the team isn’t surprised by his value at all.

“Well, I mean, first of all, I was surprised he wasn’t at the combine. That was surprise No. 1. I mean, it wasn’t to save airfare. The guy’s 20 minutes away. But, it is what it is.”

Belichick was asked about the rookie’s playing time and he summed it up, Bill style. “That’s up to them. But (it was) his first game, and he did a lot of good things out there. There were some things that we talked about during the game, some things he’ll improve in. We just need to keep working as a team and individually, collectively to try to get better in every area. “We have a long way to go.”

It will be interesting to see the workload that Bentley gets this week against the Jaguars.

“Must Win” Games in September? Not Hardly:

No one is discounting that today’s game is a big one between the two teams that played in the conference championship in January. But it is a September game and not much more. Far too much is being made of this because of the matchup that it is some kind of a “must win” game for each team. In Week 2? To quote Chad Johnson, “Child Please.”

This isn’t any more than an early season test and Patriots fans should be reminded that Bill Belichick treats the first month of the season like an extended preseason. We see just the basic installation of the offense and defense and this year will be no different.

I’m reading and hearing a lot of talk that playoff seeding in January is on the line over this one. One of our own colleagues here believes this game is more important to New England than to Jacksonville. What? We heard similar talk about the Chiefs after Week 1 last year. How did that work out?  The season is far too long with too many variables to be putting that kind of moniker on a Week 2 matchup.

So what happens if it is a “must win” game and you lose in Week 2? Do you tank the last 14 weeks? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out Matty P:

The long and not-so-fine Boston tradition of kicking people on their way of town is alive and well. Just look at Matt Patricia. Much of New England took entirely too much delight in watching Patricia’s head coaching debut with the Lions go down the tubes badly. The Jets curb stomped Detroit badly on Monday and you would have thought that NE became Jets territory with the shade thrown Patricia’s way.

And now, we have the revisionist history buffs trying to sell us a bill of goods that Patricia was a terrible defensive coordinator in his time with New England….Doug Kyed of NESN tried to quell this bit of chicanery the other day and you’d have thought he stole the crown jewels.  

Take a look at the personnel that the Patriots had on defense during the Patricia years and ask yourself if man-to-man they were anywhere near, the most talented defensive units on the field? The answer is no. And yet every year, the Patriots ranked as one of the best defensive units in the league in terms of points allowed. And that’s what wins games folks points…

Yards gained and yards allowed are the fools’ gold of the NFL. They’re the shiny hood ornament that doesn’t make your car go. Foles shredded the Patriots in the SB for 373 yards and 3 TDs. Brady threw for 505 and 3 TDs but lost.

Since 2014, only the Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Doom” have allowed fewer points than the Patriots. So did they do it with smoke and mirrors? It was coaching, plain and simple. While most people, (here included), lamented the style that they played, to say he was a terrible defensive coordinator is crazy talk.

One final thought on that Super Bowl, Patricia took the heat for the Patriots getting picked apart but what about the game before against the #1 defense in the league in points AND yards, the Minnesota Vikings?  Foles threw for 352 yards and 3 TDs in that one as Philly scored 38 unanswered points in a blowout win. By the same judging criteria, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator George Edwards is terrible too? Hardly. Philly got hot at just the right time, and much like Joe Flacco, a few years ago, that was all she wrote.

Who You Have This Week, NFL Week 2 Predictions:

Last week: 9-6-1 Ugh

Thursday night’s pick Cincinnati over Baltimore 1-0

Carolina at Atlanta: Falcons
Indy at Washington: Colts
Houston at Tennessee: Texans
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay: Eagles
Kansas City at Pittsburgh: Steelers
Miami at NY Jets; Dolphins
LA Chargers at Buffalo: Chargers
Minnesota at Green Bay: Vikings (regardless if Discount Double Check guy plays)
Cleveland at New Orleans: Saints
Detroit at San Francisco: 49ers
Arizona at LA Rams: Rams
New England at Jacksonville: Patriots
Oakland at Denver: Raiders
NY Giants at Dallas : Giants
Seattle at Chicago: Seahawks

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills’ Mistake in QB Derby Already Apparent:

The Buffalo Bills screwed up the placeholder job search for rookie Josh Allen and should have never traded A.J. McCarron. They decided to go with Nathan Peterman who struggled mightily with the Ravens on Week 1 and have hit the panic button and are rushing Allen into the breach with a surrounding cast that is not ready to help the rookie in his first NFL start.

“It’s the right move for our football team,” McDermott said. “I’m not going any further than that. I’ve got confidence in Josh, and it’s the right move for our football team.”

We couldn’t disagree more. Allen is the future of the franchise and this move could really backfire on McDermott and Allen. We’ll see how this turns out, but we’d expect a very simplified offense for the rookie and a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy.

And the Bills Mafia can’t be happy with the news that anyone caught table-slamming at a Bills tailgate is now subject to ejection and criminal charges….The horror.

Dolphins Take On the Jets in A Match of Unbeatens:

The Miami Dolphins travel to the Meadowlands to face the 1-0 New York Jets and rookie QB Sam Darnold. The Jets thumped the Lions last Monday night 48-17 and intercepted Matthew Stafford four times. The Jets bandwagon is back in full force since the “Sanchize” days (remember those?), they even trotted out Fire marshall Bill.

The Dolphins beat the Tennessee Titans in a game that was delayed for many hours due to lightning. But the Fins had an impressive win as well and the player to watch this week is Miami QB Ryan Tannehill.

The Jets have traditionally played him very tough, (4-5 record, 10 TDs, 9 INTs) but he has a lot better personnel around him now although the loss of Josh Sitton on the offensive line will hurt, this week and beyond.

Bowles and the Jets Trying to Bring Sanity to Darnold Hype:

The New York Jets stomped the Lions on Monday night in their opener and after a pick six in his first NFL snap, rookie QB Sam Darnold rebounded excellently and played a heck of a game. Of course, the New York tabloids had a field day with the win and loudly proclaimed, “B’Way Sam” next to a picture of Joe Namath and “INSAMITY”. These are the same tabloids that named a certain QB “Sanchize” which even led to a Sopranos mention.

They are also the same tabloids that will turn on the rookie in a second if things go south. Which is why coach Todd Bowles is trying to bring the hype machine back amongst the mortals here and not in that rarified air at the peak of Mt. Olympus.

“It’s only been one game,” he said. “To sit here and say whether he’s great or whether he’s trash or whether he’s anything else, it’s way too early for that. He’s played one game. He’s got a lot of years to go and he’ll build it as he goes.”

Asked if he’s a franchise QB, Bowles laughed and said it was one game, check back when he wins about 100.

Bowles is taking the right  approach with the rookie but he’ll be powerless to stop the hype train if the Jets win again today against the Dolphins. The tabloids will be all for petitioning the NFL to waive the five-year rule for Canton.

But Bowles will be sure to have one of his staff whispering in his rookie’s ear about Sanchize and how quickly that turned. He was the toast of New York until he had an awful game at mid season and got picked five times in an OT loss to the Bills. The next day the papers called him B’way Schmo.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news.

Podcast: Patriots vs. Jaguars Preview Show

Russ Goldman
September 13, 2018 at 7:42 am ET

This is our preview of Patriots vs. Jaguars. During the show, we go through the match-ups between the two teams. After that, we give our keys to victory for the Patriots, and that is followed by our predictions.