Tag Archives: Adam Gase

New England Patriots News 8-11, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
August 11, 2019 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 08-11 and AFC East notes this week. 

The Patriots return home and are off today after they played their first preseason game of the year against the Lions. They’ll be back at practice tomorrow and Tuesday and then head off to Tennessee where they’ll conduct joint practices with the Titans before preseason number 2. 

Check back with us frequently on PatsFans.com as we’ll continue to post daily training camp updates as well as breaking news. 

 Quick Hitters:

Chase Winovich – “It felt good to have it all come together,” Winovich said. “Hopefully, I made my family a little proud today.” On his first NFL action [1.5 sacks] and having his family there to see it.

Tom Brady – celebrating more for Brian Hoyer than Jarrett Stidham on Thursday? Don’t laugh, it is true. In the deep dive to find any controversy in Foxboro, we now have people analyzing his body language. 

Damien Harris – Didn’t play a down in Detroit, causing some to wildly speculate on what was the reason. I’d put money down that the coaching staff already puts him with some of the other established veterans [James White, Sony Michel] and gave him the night off. He’ll get plenty of work in Tenn. this week. 

Matt Patricia – was hearing the boo birds in Detroit on Thursday night. Entering his second season as the head coach, he’s already feeling the heat. The Lions’ fans have endured 60 years of frustration and that awful showing in the first preseason game was not a good start. 

Bill Belichick – Was in midseason form on Friday. Asked if Jerod Mayo was calling the defensive plays, Belichick refused to confirm or deny it. Pressed on it, in typical clipped Belichickian, he said, “we do what’s best for the football team and will continue to do so.” Well…all righty then.

Dan Skipper – the huge 6’9 left tackle hasn’t exactly filled the coaches and fans with optimism this summer. However, in the Thursday preseason opener, we didn’t hear his name called once as Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham worked for the most part with clean pockets. Granted, the Lions didn’t have their top starters out there. But at this point, we’ll take what we can get… A much bigger test awaits in Tenn.

Belichick Doesn’t Use New Coach’s Challenge on DPI:

There has been a ton of buzz this offseason on the new coach’s challenge for defensive and offensive pass interference and how they will change the game, especially time-wise. 

During the Patriots game with the Lions this week, there were two plays that the Patriots could have challenged during the game. Both were long passes from Jarrett Stidham to Maurice Harris. Both passes went off Harris’ hands, however, both seemed to be classic cases for the coach to throw the flag. 

Belichick didn’t choose to challenge either play although there was sufficient video evidence to suggest that both plays were DPI.  He was asked why he chose not to challenge the plays during his presser on Friday and gave a very distinct un-Belichick response to those questions. 

“It’s just… I don’t know. Maybe I’ve got to get used to the new rules.” 

Matt Patricia did challenge one play but the official call on the field stood and his challenge was denied. He had this to say after the game.

 “I think right now with the preseason, I think a lot of us, coaching-wise, we’re just trying to figure out how this is all going to be officiated,” Patricia said. I thought that maybe would be an opportunity we can see how they officiate it and we want to take that situation. It doesn’t really matter what we think of it, either way, it’s just I want to know what they’re going to look at and how they’re going to evaluate it.”

Belichick’s comment was far from the norm with him. He is always on top of changing rules and for him to say what he did was very curious, to say the least. 

Jarrett Stidham Finishes Off Good Week With An Impressive Game:

Oh my, how perceptions can change quickly. When the Patriots drafted QB Jarrett Stidham in the spring, the Auburn signal-caller wasn’t on anyone’s hot list for QBs who were designated as future starters in the league. 

But the rookie landed in a perfect place. With Head Coach Bill Belichick, Offensive Coordinator/QBs Coach Josh McDaniels, he has the right people for him to teach the system, and language of the Patriots offense. Don’t discount Asst. QBs coach Mick Lombardi. Of course, it doesn’t hurt learning on how to run the Patriots offense from Tom Brady. 

Stidham was a mixed bag in minicamp and early in training camp as he was trying to learn the system and how everything works together. Contrast that to the poised, calm demeanor we saw on Thursday in the huddle for the Patriots.

Granted it is only one game and as Belichick is sound of saying, “we have a long way to go”, but the coaching staff has to be quite pleased with how far and fast he is progressing. His deep ball accuracy is something he’s shown all summer and he delivered two passes on the money to Maurice Harris, but he dropped both. 

While it is far too soon to be putting him in competition with Brian Hoyer for Brady’s backup QB job [Hoyer was equally, if not more impressive Thursday night], now the doubts about his ability are being replaced with cautious optimism.

Bill Belichick chimed in on his performance during his Friday presser.

“I think there were several plays that fell into all the categories – quick throws where the read was clear and the receiver was open, and then maybe a secondary read, and then there were a couple of times where he scrambled and extended the play,” Belichick said. “Ran a couple of times and completed a pass. There was a little bit of everything there and most important thing for the quarterback is not to turn the ball over make good decisions and throw accurately. He did all those at times.”

Meyers Continues A Stellar Camp With A Big Game Performance:

For a guy who caught 92 passes a year ago, it was a bit of a surprise to not see Jakobi Meyers get drafted in April. While he didn’t test well at the NFL Combine [4.6 time in the 40], watching him play at NC State was another thing. And he’s carried that over to the Patriots now.

We’ve been singing his praises for a bit now as he constantly shows up big in practice and joint practice. He’s developing a chemistry and trust factor with Tom Brady, that we wrote about last week. But he had yet to do it in a game, which the UDFA rookie says he heard too.

 ”I was getting a lot of texts about, ‘Oh I heard you were doing great in practice,”’ Meyers said. ”It doesn’t mean anything because we didn’t have a game yet. So just the fact that I can go out there and show that I deserve to be here, for now, I’m just trying to keep pushing forward.”

In his first game action, Meyers was very impressive catching six passes for 69 yards and two TDs. And the rookie has his feet firmly on the ground, he isn’t worried about who DIDN’T draft him, but working for who did.

”I have to keep proving to my coaches that I deserve to be here,” Meyers said. ”I’m not on the team yet. I’m trying to make sure I can stay here and continue to be here. That’s who I’m trying to prove a point to, not really to people who didn’t give me the call.”

After the game, he was asked about his ability to catch on with this offense so quickly, something several established [and very productive] WRs have been unable to do. His comments were spot on.

“Because I want to be great,” he said. “I want to be in a position where they can depend on me, trust on me in tough downs, and at the same time, we’ve got a lot of great players on our team. All I have to do is listen. If I’m doing what they tell them to do, then I’ll just stick around.”

Winovich, Unlike Samson May Get to Keep His Hair:

Rookie edge player Chase Winovich has had a good productive training camp. And on Thursday night in front of a lot of hometown fans and family where he played nearby at Michigan, they got to see him perform. And he was very impressive with 1.5 sacks and displaying his non-stop motor, very good hands and bend coming around the edge.

Winovich spoke to the media after the game and made sure to downplay his own accomplishments and speak about the team, like he’d been playing for Belichick for years…

“It was cool. But it’s like anything. I’ve talked about this before, and I’ve always felt this way, and it’s definitely emphasized here,” Winovich said. “You saw me make the play, maybe on a couple of occasions today. But really, there are so many guys up front – Nick [Thurman], David [Parry], Byron [Cowart], Trent [Harris], really all the linebackers making the calls, Terez [Hall], Christian [Sam], and I could go on and on. There are so many intricacies during the game itself, just making adjustments with Coach [DeMarcus] Covington and Coach [Joe] Kim and Coach [Jerod] Mayo. I could name everybody by name. Just everything that goes into there and then goes back to all the work that we put in, staying extra at times, going over stuff, and working with Willie McGinest on technique.”

Belichick had to like his next answer when he was asked about what has he learned the most since joining the team this spring. 

“That’s probably my biggest thing, is the physicality and the moves and stuff, you improve on that stuff, but I’m just getting a lot better at my awareness and that stuff,” Winovich said. “Just trying to get better. I’m a rookie. I’ve got a lot to improve on.”

Winovich’s trademark look is his long blonde flowing locks, and one of the Patriots rookie initiations is to give them horrible haircuts. The rookie considers his hair a “source of pride and strength”

Winovich took to Instagram after the game with a picture of himself during game action. And one of his comments came from Brady himself who chimed in “Maybe you get to keep your hair.”

If Winovich keeps progressing like he is, maybe some of the players will begin sporting blonde wigs with a flowing mane under their helmets…

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Trade Eli Harold to Philly For OL Ryan Bates:

The Buffalo Bills have already had a lot of injuries to their offensive line. So, they traded DE Eli Harold to the Eagles for UDFA Ryan Bates who played both left tackle and right tackle for Penn State in 2018. 

Harold was just signed by the Bills this spring. He spent his first three seasons with the 49ers after being drafted in the 3rd Round [79th overall] in the 2015 NFL Draft and produced just five sacks. He notched four more last year with the Lions. With a base salary of just $805,000, Harold is not expensive and should benefit from playing in the aggressive scheme of Jim Schwartz. 

Bates wasn’t expected to make Philly’s roster and the OL is a position of need for Buffalo after the injury bug has hit. This move makes sense for both teams. 

Stills Doubles Down on Criticism of Dolphins Owner Ross for Trump Support:

The Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is hosting a fundraiser for his old friend Donald Trump who is running for re-election in 2020. That fact doesn’t sit well with Dolphins WR Kenny Stills who blasted the owner on social media stating, “you can’t have a non-profit with this mission statement then open your doors to Trump.”

Stills is referencing Ross’ non-profit organization the RISE Foundation which is hosting the event at Ross’ home. RISE [Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality] stands for racial equality and according to Stills, Ross is being hypocritical for hosting Trump with this event. 

Head Coach Brian Flores on Wednesday said that while he respects the veteran receiver using his platform, he was disappointed that Stills didn’t talk to Ross directly instead of airing it out over social media. Stills, after the Dolphins preseason game on Thursday, added more fuel to the fire.

“Someone has to have enough courage to let him know he can’t play both sides of this,” Stills said. “It’s something that I can look back on and say I made the right decision. … If you’re going to associate yourself with bad people, then people are going to know about it. I put it out there for everybody to see it. If you say you’re going to be about something, let’s be about it.”

Ross also stood by his friendship with the President with a statement of his own. “I always have been an active participant in the democratic process. While some prefer to sit outside of the process and criticize, I prefer to engage directly and support the things I deeply care about,” Ross said.

“I have known Donald Trump for 40 years, and while we agree on some issues, we strongly disagree on many others and I have never been bashful about expressing my opinions. I started my business with nothing and a reason for my engagement with our leaders is my deep concern for creating jobs and growing our country’s economy.

“I have been, and will continue to be, an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education and environmental sustainability, and I have and will continue to support leaders on both sides of the aisle to address these challenges.”

Stills is not expected to receive any discipline from the team over his criticism of the team’s owner and Ross has stated that he doesn’t take the comments personally. 

Quinnen Williams and Jachai Polite Quiet in Jets PS Opener:

The New York Jets played their next-door rivals, the New York Giants in preseason Week 1 this week. Top draft pick Quinnen Williams had a fairly quiet game, playing in just 11 snaps on defense but did draw a penalty, and assisted on one tackle.

Edge player Jachai Polite, the rookie edge player from Florida, who has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism early in camp played mainly with the third-team defense and also was not as active as the coaches would have hoped. He was in on two tackles and played in 32 defensive snaps.

Sam Darnold and the offense, however, was a different story. Darnold started the game and needed only seven plays to travel 75 yards for a touchdown. Included in that were a 32-yard pass to Chris Herndon where Darnold scrambled to find him and a 28-yarder to Jamison Crowder on a check down. He later hit Crowder for a three-yard touchdown to finish off the drive.  A very good start for Adam Gase’s offense and Darnold in his second season. 

________________

“It’s a different type of preparation when both teams practice together, both teams get an equal opportunity to practice against each other, get familiar with each other instead of running plays off cards. The other teams actually do what they do and we develop a familiarity with them as well as compete against them. If you don’t do that then both teams prepare separately without that type of competitive preparation and then play the game. We got a lot of good 1-on-1 work, a lot of good individual work, and we got a lot of good teamwork for all three days.”Bill Belichick on joint practices –  8-9

“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 blog talk radio as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

MUST SEE VIDEO: Adam Gase Shares Funny Response To Tom Brady Age Question

Robert Alvarez
March 26, 2019 at 1:20 pm ET

At 41 years of age and entering his 20th professional season, quarterback Tom Brady is still leaving many around the NFL puzzled by his continued success.

On Tuesday during the annual NFL coaches breakfast, New York Jets head coach Adam Gase shared his amazement at Brady’s seemingly ageless performance with a memorable quote.

“I wake up and feel like s**t … and he’s older than me” the 40 year old Gase replied.

Gase, who previously coached the Miami Dolphins for the past three seasons, has so far been unable to overtake Brady’s Patriots in the AFC East. He was fired after a 7-9 season but later hired by the New York Jets.

The Patriots have won the AFC East for the last ten consecutive seasons while the Jets last division title occurred in 2002.

New England Patriots News 2-10, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
February 10, 2019 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 02-10 and AFC East Notes.

 An Emotional Bill Belichick: We are used to seeing to the normally clipped and reserved Bill Belichick over the course of the year, where he always keeps things in perspective and never gets too high or too low. But as the Patriots clinched Super Bowl LIII, all of those shrouds were lifted and we saw the joy for all of the hard work come thru. In typical Belichick style, he gave all of the praise to the players. NFL Films captured it perfectly right here:

Patterson With a Diamond-studded Gift for Brady: Patriots WR/KR/RB Cordarrelle Patterson was obviously very grateful for his 2018 season with the Patriots and especially with Tom Brady. Patterson made a gift of a diamond-studded TB12 logo to Brady after the Super Bowl, which no doubt set him back thousands of dollars. Brady posted a picture of his daughter wearing it on his Instagram page. She saw it and fell in love with it…Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

What a Crowd for the Parade: The Patriots 6th Super Bowl win this week featured a couple of huge crowds which put to rest that the fans were getting blase about the team’s continued success. The turnout for the send-off rally was over 35,000 fans and the Super Bowl parade which had a huge crowd of 1,500,000 fans in downtown Boston. The crowd at the game itself was the first time that the Patriots had a clear advantage in terms of crowd noise. It never gets old or taken for granted.

Did you Know? For the yards are more important than points crowd… The Patriots in SB LIII garnered more yards (407) than their season average (393) against the Rams. While the defense held the Rams to 160 yards fewer (260) than their season average which was 421. When we wrote about the defense coming together late in the season, many scoffed at it. After those last three playoff wins, nobody is scoffing now.

A Return for Amendola? The latest news out of Miami is that the Dolphins are rumored to be moving on from WR Danny Amendola after just one season in South Beach. If that were to happen, could a return to Foxboro be in the cards? Absolutely. And I know a certain QB that would love to see that happen as well.

Close the Roof: With another sound clip from just before the game started, watching Bill Belichick questioning the timing of the roof closure after the flyover shows how detailed the Patriots and their coaches are in preparation for every possible scenario.

Favorite Play of the Game in Super Bowl LIII:

In a game dominated by defense, there are several plays that could fit the bill as favorite plays of the game. The pass breakup by Jason McCourty in the end zone, Stephon Gillmore’s interception, Dont’a Hightower just blowing up Tyler Higbee during the Danny Shelton’s run stuff, but my personal favorite was from Kyle Van Noy.

The Rams rolled Jared Goff out to the right and had three WRs flooding the zone. Josh Reynolds was the main target doing a shallow cross about 3-4 yards off the line of scrimmage with a deeper cross about 12 yards and Cooks running a deep corner route.

Van Noy was supposed to get sucked into Goff which allows his an easy window to complete the pass and have an easier 7-10 yard pass play. But Van Noy recognized the play coming, and slowed up to hit Reynolds with a forearm, flattening him. He then joined the rush after Goff, who had nowhere to throw and was forced out of bounds. It was a tremendous play.

Brian Baldinger from the NFL Network every week does his “Baldy’s Breakdowns” and highlights certain key plays and they are excellent. He calls this particular play here: 

Flores Brings Three Patriots Assistants With Him to Miami:

The Miami Dolphins hired former Patriots de facto Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores this week and Flores has brought three Patriots assistant coaches with him to Miami. Former WRs coach Chad O’Shea will become the Dolphins offensive coordinator. Josh Boyer who coached the NE cornerbacks will handle the same duties in Miami with the added title of defensive passing game coordinator as well. And Jerry Schuplinski, the assistant QBs coach will also handle the same duties there.

Greg Schiano Rumored to be the Next Defensive Coordinator:

With Flores departure for South Beach, the Patriots are looking for a couple of defensive coaches and what was first reported locally by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe, the Patriots are reportedly close to signing former Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano as their next DC.

Schiano spent the last two years as the Ohio State DC and is a friend of Bill Belichick’s. But where Schiano is best known for was his time as Rutgers’ head coach. During his tenure there 19 players who played for him made their way to New England.

Those players included Devin and Jason McCourty, Duron Harmon, Logan Ryan, and current Patriots safety coach, Steve Belichick. Bill Belichick will always surround himself with players he likes, and the Rutgers connection with Schiano is a testament to that. He and Schiano should get along fine.

Patriots Have Large Free Agent Class in 2019:

As tough as it is moving on from Super Bowl LIII, time marches on and now the team will have a lot of tough personnel decisions to make in 2019. Here is the list, and it is lengthy of the Patriots free agents this year.

Trey Flowers
Trent Brown
Chris Hogan
Cordarrelle Patterson
Phillip Dorsett
Jason McCourty
Eric Rowe
Stephen Gostkowski
Ryan Allen
Malcom Brown
Danny Shelton
LaAdrian Waddle
John Simon
Albert McClellan
Ramon Humber
Brian Schwenke
Ulrick John
Jonathan Jones (RFA)
Josh Gordon (RFA)
Ufomba Kamalu
Cody Hollister

Obviously, the two top free agents are Flowers from the defense and Brown on the offense. Flowers has arguably been the Patriots best defensive player for the past three years and has led the team in sacks in those three. The Patriots will no doubt try to find a way to secure Flowers services but he’s in line for a huge payday and is considered one of the top free agents this spring.

Brown was brought on-board last spring and had never played left tackle. He took over the position early in training camp and never looked back. He was very solid in pass protection and was terrific in run blocking, especially in the postseason. He’s another guy inline for a huge payday.

Hogan will probably be gone although I do believe that the team will make efforts to bring back both Dorsett and Patterson, the latter who did a bit of everything this past season, playing wide receiver, running back and returning kickoffs. Patterson had a combined yardage total of over 1100 in 2018. Dorsett was a forgotten man during the time Josh Gordon was on the team, but contributed down the stretch and had a big TD reception in the AFC Championship Game.

Gostkowski and Allen are an excellent duo. Gostkowski has been here since Adam Vinatieri left in 2006. Allen was outstanding in the Super Bowl, pinning the Rams three times inside their 10-yard line.

It will interesting to see if McCourty returns, there were rumors that he and his brother Devin may retire after the Super Bowl but he played well all season and made a huge play in the Super Bowl, coming from across the field to break up a pass for Brandin Cooks in the end zone. Rowe began the year as the #2 corner before landing on IR after just four games.

Brown and Shelton are the two big guys in the middle of the DL.Both played well down the stretch and into the playoffs. However, after passing on the fifth-year options on both, the team may only resign one. Waddle has been a valuable swing tackle, with the health along the OL this season, he wasn’t used as much.

Simon, McClellan and Humber were brought in mid-season and all filled valuable roles. The team will probably look to retain all three. Jones and Gordon are restricted free agents. And the interesting aspect of Gordon is that he can apply for reinstatement in May of this year.

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Have $80 Million in Cap Space, But Preach Caution:

In a really good piece by Vic Carucci, the Buffalo Bills in the first two seasons under Sean McDermott have been trying to manage expectations and build for long-term sustained success. So with about $80 million in cap space this spring, GM Brandon Beane in a letter to season ticket holders is preaching more caution. The message is to not expect the team to go all-in in free agency for instant gratification.

“The sole focus is to build the Buffalo Bills into a championship contender and help create a culture aimed at long-term, sustained success,” Beane wrote.

That is the correct way to build a winner. The Bills are still a long ways off from being a true contender and now they’ll try to start adding the long-term pieces that they’ll need to surround their young QB Josh Allen.

“The previous two draft classes have begun a new foundation of young players on our roster,” Beane wrote. “We are encouraged by the development thus far by players like Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, Tre’Davious White and others. Each of them was given an individual plan of improvement at season’s end and they understand they have a lot of work in front of them.

“We have opportunities to improve our team this offseason and the Pegulas, Sean (McDermott) and I are all on the same page and determined to bring winning football to the city of Buffalo. Thank you for your loyal dedication to this franchise.”

Dolphins Hire Flores Who Brings Plenty of NE Coaches With Him:

The Miami Dolphins hiring of Brian Flores is a new change of regime, of which the Dolphins have had plenty but this time they are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a big New England Patriots presence going to South Beach with Flores, Chad O’Shea, Josh Boyer and Jerry Schuplinski also coming on-board.

One of the more surprising bits of news coming out of Miami is that the Dolphins are planning on moving away from WR Danny Amendola, who they brought in a year ago to bring the veteran presence to the Dolphins locker room. That will bear watching.

Flores, like Belichick is behind the power curve in terms of being far behind in preparation for the NFL Combine, but the Dolphins will be looking to find their next franchise QB and are in need of a true nose tackle either in free agency and the draft.

Jets Coaching Staff Seems Like Perfect Choice for Hard Knocks:

The New York Jets hired Adam Gase as the new head coach for Gang Green. And as Rich Cimini of ESPN has pointed out, there is certainly no lack for potential controversy there.

The full staff, announced Friday by the Jets, includes longtime NFL assistant Joe Vitt, Gase’s father-in-law, and Blake Williams, the son of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

This is where it gets interesting.

Vitt and Gregg Williams were members of the New Orleans Saints’ coaching staff implicated in the 2012 BountyGate scandal. In the bounty hearings, conducted by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Vitt accused Williams of lying in his testimony.

Vitt also said the players didn’t take Williams seriously because of his “false bravado” and “schtick.”

Blake Williams, 34, has a reputation for rubbing people the wrong way. As a St. Louis Rams assistant, he upset people in the organization by screaming at a draft prospect in a scouting-combine interview, a source said. He also was reprimanded multiple times for sitting in the wrong seat on the team bus; he kept sitting in a seat reserved for a senior member of the staff.

The Rams fired him after the 2013 season. Williams has only worked for NFL teams in which his father was on the staff.

Gase also hired Jim Bob Cooter as the Jets running backs coach. With an eclectic group like this with all of the potential fireworks with the coaching staff, I believe that this will be a perfect choice for Hard Knocks this summer.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on blog talk radio as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

Patriots – Dolphins II Keys, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
December 30, 2016 at 8:30 am ET

The New England Patriots will play their final game of the 2016 NFL regular season on the road against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ with Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts handling the play-by-play and analysis duties. Evan Washburn will work the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.

The Patriots (13-2) defeated the New York Jets on Christmas Eve in Foxboro 41-3. Tom Brady threw for three first half touchdowns and LeGarrette Blount rushed for two touchdowns giving him a league-leading 17 on the season. The defense forced four more turnovers.

The Dolphins (10-5) beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31 in overtime. Jay Ajayi rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown, his third 200-yard game of the season. QB Matt Moore filling in for the injured Ryan Tannehill threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2016 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:
The Patriots and Dolphins will be meeting for the 103rd time with Miami holding an all-time 53-49 edge. The Dolphins hold a big all-time edge in home games 36-15. The last three years have seen the series split along home lines with each team holding serve on their home field.

The Patriots jumped out to a big lead in Week 2 but then had to hold on for a 31-24 victory with Jimmy Garoppolo starting at QB before being injured and giving way to Jacoby Brissett.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots 2016 Opponents, A Second Look at the Dolphins

Steve Balestrieri
December 28, 2016 at 7:08 am ET

Miami Back in the Playoffs And On a Roll

The Patriots 2016 regular season finale brings them back to South Florida where they’ll take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Dolphins have seemed to have found the right man in head coach Adam Gase. After a slow start, the team has bought into Gase’s system and they’re winners of nine of their last ten games.

The Dolphins started 1-4 including a Week 2 loss to the Patriots but have been on a roll since. With their win over the Bills on Sunday, coupled with the loss of the Broncos to the Chiefs on Sunday night, Miami is playoff bound for the first time since 2008.

They scantly resemble the team that came into Foxboro early in the season and will be looking to enter the playoffs on a high note. FWIW, Miami has beaten the Patriots on their last three trips to South Beach including last year’s regular season finale where the Patriots dusted off a game plan from 1933.

The Patriots need a win or an Oakland loss or tie to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs. They remember all too well having to travel to Denver for the AFC Championship Game and want the playoffs to run thru Foxboro. Miami is currently in the 6th playoff spot, but with a win and a KC, loss could move into the 5th position.

Here are our Five Updated Impressions of the Dolphins:

Gase Was the Best Move Made in Offseason:  We wrote this in mid-September and it has been proven by the way the season has played out. When Miami landed Gase this offseason, it was perhaps the best move the franchise has made in many years and arguably one of the best that any team had done this spring.

The acquisition of the Nick Saban disciple in Gase was a much needed and smart move by Miami who has had a coaching carousel for far too long. Gase worked well with Peyton Manning and he turned things around for Ryan Tannehill who hasn’t had a stable coaching staff in his career.

Gase went to a simpler offense that plays to the strengths of his QB and his talented skill players. Instead of the deep play offense that didn’t work, but more of a methodical approach that the Patriots employ.

The youngest coach (38) in the NFL got a ringing endorsement from Manning, who called him, “the smartest man I know.”

Jay Ajayi Has Been the Biggest Surprise of 2016: When the Patriots faced the Dolphins in Week 2, Ajayi wasn’t a big part of the Miami offense. They brought in veteran Arian Foster to bolster the running game, but his injuries proved to be too much and he’s since retired. Since then, Ajayi has become an explosive weapon.

Ajayi has three games this season where’s he’s topped 200 yards rushing including back-to-back games in Weeks 6-7 against Pittsburgh (204) and Buffalo (214). He was slowed in recent weeks but exploded for another 200-yard effort against the Bills last week when he rushed for 206 yards. In overtime, he burst 57 yards to set the Dolphins up for an Andrew Franks game-winning field goal.

Ajayi suffered a shoulder injury late in the game against Buffalo but is expected to be ready to go on Sunday. This will be a big test for the Patriots run defense, who prior to Saturday’s game against the Jets have held their previous four opponents to under 64 yards rushing.

Landry, Parker, and Stills, A Big Three in the Passing Game: The Dolphins have the receivers to give the Patriots plenty of issues when the teams face off in Miami. Jarvis Landry is the most prolific receiver on the Dolphins with 85 catches for 1060 yards and three touchdowns. He’s the go-to guy in the passing game. But DeVante Parker has been effective as well. He’s caught 51 passes for 699 yards and four scores. Both Landry and Parker had over 100 yards receiving when the teams met in September.

But it has been Kenny Stills who has become the homerun hitter for the offense. Stills has 38 catches for 685 yards and eight touchdowns in 2016. His 18.0 yards per reception is second in the NFL to only Chris Hogan’s 19.2. Stills has seven touchdown receptions of 20 yards or more, including three of over 50 yards. While Landry and Parker have moved the chains, Stills, in his second season in Miami has been the big play guy in the passing game.

This should be an intriguing matchup between the Patriots secondary and a Dolphins group of receivers who really came on in the second half of the game against them in Foxboro and narrowly missed an upset win.

Resilience, Depth the Keys to This Dolphins Team: As we mentioned above, the Dolphins made a very smart move in hiring Adam Gase. He kept the team marching forward despite a 1-4 start and a slew of injuries and kept this team winning where so many other Miami teams in the past would have folded up their tents.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1990, 128 teams have started 1-4. Only eight of those teams, just six percent have made the playoffs. The Dolphins join the Chiefs of 2015 as the two latest teams to accomplish that.

Miami has also lost arguably their best offensive and defensive players in safety Reshad Jones and center Mike Pouncey. They’ve had to deal with their starting QB Ryan Tannehill being out as well as the loss of linebackers Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins. This week, they’ll probably be without safety Isa Abdul- Quddus who is banged up.

Run Defense is a Huge Problem Spot: Miami’s defense takes a page from the Patriots playbook, while they’ve given up plenty of yardage, they’re not giving up a lot of points. However, the run defense has been a problem all year and continues to be an issue.

The Dolphins run defense is 30th in the league allowing a whopping 141.8 yards per game. They also allow a league worst 4.9 yards per carry. The defense has already allowed more yards than the awful 1-15 team of 2007. If the Patriots generate 335 yards of offense on Sunday, it will mark the most yards allowed by a Miami defense in their history.

But despite being #24 in yards allowed in 2016 (5726) and an average of 381.7 per game, the Dolphins are just 14 in points allowed.

Check back with us later in the week as we’ll break down the key matchups for the game right here on PatsFans.com.

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 I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots Hold On to Down Miami After Lightning Fast Start

Steve Balestrieri
September 18, 2016 at 8:01 pm ET

A Tale of Two Halves

A funny thing happened on the way to another home blowout win over the Dolphins on Sunday. Miami regrouped in the second half as Ryan Tannehill was tremendous in the final 30 minutes and the Patriots needed a Duron Harmon interception in the end zone with two seconds left to preserve a 31-24 win on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

With the victory, the Patriots improve to 2-0 and are a game up in the division over the New York Jets. Miami and Buffalo are already two games back at 0-2. The Patriots got off to a lightning fast start with Jimmy Garoppolo eviscerating Miami’s defense. In the first quarter, the Patriots outgained Miami 204 -12.

Jimmy G. looked positively Brady-esque completing 18-27 for 234 yards and three touchdown passes in the first half as the Pats raced out to a 24-0 lead before Miami knew what hit them. He threw a pair of touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and another to Martellus Bennett in the first half.

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Jimmy Garoppolo is in obvious pain after injuring his right shoulder during Sunday’s game.

But his last completion as he rolled out to his right was a costly one. Kiko Alonso hit him and drove him to the turf as he let go of the pass and Garoppolo hit the turf hard on his shoulder. He was immediately helped off the field and didn’t return.

The good news was that X-rays came back negative although he was reportedly in the hospital, presumably to get an MRI. His leaving ignited the Dolphins who drove down to kick a field goal at the end of the first half and carried the momentum into the second half.

Jacoby Brissett took over and played ok, completing 6-9 for 92 yards in relief and will undoubtedly get his first NFL start on Thursday against the Houston Texans. Miami’s offense made adjustments in the second half and their wide receivers were all getting open. Tannehill went to the no-huddle attack which stopped the substitutions by the Pats and wore down their pass rushers who got very little pressure down the stretch.

Tannehill ended up going 32-45 for 389 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs. Both Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker went over 100 yards receiving as Miami stormed back from a 31-3 deficit in the third quarter to 31-24 with about six minutes to go.

Blount, Bennett Shine: The Patriots got tremendous games from both RB LeGarrette Blount and Martellus Bennett this afternoon. Blount started slowly but he gradually began to wear down the Miami defense. He ended up with 29 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown, a nine-yard run up the middle to open the third quarter.

Blount had another highlight reel play when he hurdled Dolphins CB Byron Maxwell early in the fourth quarter. The 26-yard run put the Patriots in good position at midfield but a penalty on Joe Thuney killed the drive.

The Patriots want him to be a closer and he was particularly effective doing just that. With 6:06 left the Patriots began on their 25-yard line and the Dolphins knew they were going to run but Blount was the major factor in the Patriots driving to the Miami 26 before they stalled with just over a minute to go. Normally a chip shot field goal, but he pushed it wide right and what should have been a clinching drive gave Miami a final chance.

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Martellus Bennett had a huge game on Sunday.

Bennett played a heck of a game a week ago as a blocker, this week he was leaned on more as a pass receiver and was outstanding. He caught 5 passes for 114-yards including a 20-yard scoring pass from Garoppolo in the first quarter.

He also caught a huge 16-yard pass on the Patriots final drive to keep the chains moving and to give them the opportunity to kill the clock further.

Defense Must Improve: After a mainly very impressive first half, the defense was picked apart by QB Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went 22-27 with 273 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. He and coach Adam Gase made their adjustments, going to a shorter passing game and he was on fire in the second half.

After falling behind 31-3, the Dolphins scored touchdowns on their next three drives — 21 unanswered points to make this one a nail-biter. Kenny Stills had a 24-yard touchdown catch with 5:45 left in the third, on a play where Miami’s RT Ja’Wuan James jumped way before the snap and should have been called back for a false start. Jordan Cameron had a 12-yard touchdown catch early in the third between two defenders (Pat Chung and Jamie Collins), and then Kenyan Drake had a seven-yard touchdown run with 6:06 left in the game. Drake’s touchdown caught the Patriots in a blitz from the left side, as Miami ran to the right and Drake scored easily.

The secondary wanted to keep the play in front of them and avoid the big chunk plays. But in effect, they did neither in the second half. Parker and Landry were consistently beating the corners off the line and the Patriots pass rush was mostly a non-factor in the second half.

Chris Long had a good game, providing good QB pressure and recovered a fumble.

Special Teams Letdown: After being largely responsible for the win a week ago in Arizona, the Patriots STs were partly to blame for the game nearly going to overtime. When a field goal would have put the game away with a minute to go, Stephen Gostkowski has to make that kick. A 39-yarder is little more than an extra point for him and was a huge miss at crunch time. He’s normally as automatic as there is in the NFL.

Ryan Allen’s punting was poor on Sunday. While he did down two inside the 20-yard line, his four punts went for an average of only 32 yards with a long of just 37. Miami took a page out of the Patriots book and mortar kicked to Matthew Slater who could only get back to the 18-yard line. Danny Amendola was the lone bright spot returning three punts for 33 yards, including a 19-yarder.

Now with the Patriots facing a very short week and the Houston Texans coming to town on Thursday, there is very little time for Brissett to get ready to now be elevated to the starter’s position.

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 I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots – Dolphins Keys to the Game, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
September 16, 2016 at 6:37 am ET

The New England Patriots will play their home opener of the 2016 NFL season at Gillette Stadium against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The game will be televised by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ with Greg Gumble and Trent Green handling the play-by-play and analysis duties. Jamie Erdahl will work the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The SportsHub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.

The Patriots (1-0) defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-21 on Sunday Night Football as Jimmy Garoppolo was impressive in his first NFL start throwing for 264 yards and a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount ran for 70 yards and a touchdown. Arizona’s Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal with under a minute to go.

The Dolphins (0-1) lost to the Seattle Seahawks 12-6 when Russell Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for a game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute to go. Miami had chances to win with a field goal being blocked, a fourth and inches attempt failing from the Seattle 17-yard line and Kenny Stills dropping a sure-fire 71-yard score.

We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2016 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.

Series History:
The Patriots and Dolphins will be meeting for the 102nd time with Miami holding an all-time 53-48 edge. The Patriots hold the all-time edge in home games 33-18 and hold a sizable advantage at Gillette Stadium where they are 12-2. The last three years have seen the series split along home lines with each team holding serve on their home field.

The Patriots crushed Miami 36-7 in Gillette and Miami dominated in a 20-10 win in the final regular season game of 2015.

Here is a look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.

First up is the Patriots offense:

Patriots 2016 Opponents, 5 First Impressions of the Dolphins

Steve Balestrieri
September 13, 2016 at 11:50 am ET

Miami Finds the right guy to lead the team in Gase

The Patriots 2016 season returns to Foxboro for the first time in 2016 and they face their divisional rival Miami.

The Dolphins have been in turmoil for several years at the top despite being big spenders in free agency. No more. They seem to have finally found the right guy to lead the team in Adam Gase, we’ll have more on him below but they get high marks with his hiring.

The Dolphins lost a tough heartbreaker to the Seahawks on a Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin pass with just 31 seconds left. The 12-10 loss stings because Miami felt and rightfully so, that they left some points on the board.

Miami has some talent on both sides of the ball, the question is, is it enough to compete for a playoff spot and how quickly will Gase turn things around.

Here are our Five First Impressions of the Dolphins:

Gase Was the Best Move Made in Offseason: When Miami landed Gase this offseason, it was perhaps the best move the franchise has made in many years and arguably one of the best that any team had done this spring.

The acquisition of the Nick Saban disciple in Gase, was a much needed and smart move by Miami who has had a coaching carousel for far too long. Gase worked well with Peyton Manning and now will try to turn the fortunes around for Ryan Tannehill who hasn’t had a stable coaching staff in his career.

Gase is going to a simpler offense that plays to the strengths of his QB and his talented skill players. Instead of the deep play offense that didn’t work, but more of a methodical approach that the Patriots employ.

The youngest coach (38) in the NFL got a ringing endorsement from Manning, who called him, “the smartest man I know.”

Tannehill Should Benefit from the Hiring: If there is a coach that can bring out the best in Ryan Tannehill it is Gase and while the Dolphins are paying him like a franchise QB, he’s yet to produce like one.

While his numbers were pedestrian against Seattle on Sunday, 16-29, 186 yards and no touchdowns, that isn’t exactly an uncommon result from teams that play in Seattle against the Seahawks defense. Tannehill did have a deep pass to Kenny Stills that should have went for a deep 71-yard touchdown but Stills dropped it while all alone behind the defense.

Tannehill didn’t dwell on it, determined to move on, “I don’t know what happened on his end, but that’s football. We just moved on from it and kept playing. We had other opportunities other than that to make plays,… I saw a lot of good things from our guys.”

Dolphins Defensive Line Strong, Disruptive in Opener: Miami spent a ton of money on the defensive line in recent years, and if the season opener is any judge on how the rest of the season is going to go, then they’re going to reap the benefits soon.

The Dolphins nearly pulled off a big upset on the road and the DL was a big reason why. Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Phillips, Jason Jones, Mario Williams and Cameron Wake were constantly beating their opponents off the ball and causing disruptions in the Seattle backfield. They forced Russell Wilson into a couple of mistakes and were at times dominant.

Suh had four tackles, including a 13-yard sack, and three quarterback hits. He batted down a pass on third down on Seattle’s final drive, but the Seahawks were able to convert on fourth down. Jordan Phillips was very impressive and blew up a play that caused a fumble in the Seahawks backfield.

This should be another stiff test for the Patriots offensive line this week. This group can stop the run and get after the passer. Miami’s defense goes thru this front.

Arian Foster Recovers from Injury, starts in Week 1: Miami signed the former Texans running back this summer and when asked about his comeback last week, Foster bristled, stating that he was “injured not dead.”

Showing he was all the way back from his Achilles injury, he got the starting nod of incumbent Jay Ajayi and looks like the Foster of old for the most part. He managed only 38 yards on 13 carries, but that isn’t unusual for teams playing Seattle, but he did produce 62 yards on three catches including a 50-yarder.

Foster has rushed for 1200 yards or more four times in his career and the Dolphins are hoping that he can recapture some of that magic this season.

Dolphins Linebackers Still Have Questions: Miami is banking on a return to health of Kiko Alonso in 2016, the talented but oft-injured middle linebacker is a player that roam from sideline to sideline and make plays. If he can stay on the field and healthy, a big if, he’s a big upgrade from Kelvin Sheppard from a year ago.

Jelani Jenkins is another talented player but his consistency has been beset by injuries as well. Koa Misi is an athletic player but has an annoying reputation of letting the play coming to him rather than being an aggressive down-hill type player.

The depth is an issue, with the team having STs maven Spencer Paysinger, Zac Vigil, and Mike Hull as backups. That may be the reason the team is bringing in former Packer and Bengal A.J. Hawk this week for a look.

Check back with us later in the week as we’ll break down the key matchups for the game right here on PatsFans.com.

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 I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.

Patriots Fourth And Two Opposition Preview: Antwan Staley On The Dolphins

Russ Goldman
July 12, 2016 at 11:14 am ET

This is our opposition preview of the Dolphins with Antwan Staley, who covers the team for Athlon Sports and the Palm Beach Post.

In this episode, Antwan first shared his thoughts on the Dolphins at Mini Camp. He then shared his opinion on new Head Coach Adam Gase.

Later on, he gave his analysis of Dolphins starting Quarterback Ryan Tannehil, and also discusses the players that could help him with the offense.

Antwan also breaks down the strengths and the weaknesses of the Dolphins Defense. We end the the show with his prediction for the Dolphins this season.

I invite you to listen to this preview of the Miami Dolphins.

New England Patriots News 4-17, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
April 17, 2016 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here are Sunday’s Patriots news 4-17 notes and what’s happening around the AFC East.

WR? Patriots Have Had Issues Finding a Penetrating DT:
With the release of former 1st round pick Dominique Easley this week, it brings to light the struggles have had finding that elusive interior defensive lineman who can rush the QB. While much has been made about the Pats inability to develop wide receivers, the interior pass rushing presence has been missing for quite some time.

The Patriots whiffed on DT Ron Brace who they spent a 2nd round draft pick on back in 2009. They instead got a little production from Mike Wright and Gerard Warren. They tried CFL DT Armond Armstead but health problems prevented him from ever taking the field. Ditto for free agent Jonathan Fanene. Tommy Kelly got off to a good start with the team but a knee injury derailed his season and he was cut loose a year later.

They drafted Easley with that thought in mind, a slightly undersized DT that can penetrate and disrupt the passing game with explosion off the snap. Although both of his seasons in a Patriots uniform were cut short due to injuries, he flashed some of that known explosion in his time here.

So it is back to the drawing board (NFL Draft) for the team. They can expect 2nd-year player Malcom Brown to provide more production there but the rest of the tackles, Alan Branch, Terrance Knighton, Markus Kuhn, Frank Kearse and Joe Vellano are all more of the ‘big bodied run stuffers’ than penetrating pass rushers. We’ve profiled some of the draft possibilities and the Pats will be sure to look for help with this draft class which is considered very deep.

Patriots Also Release DL Jones and Kitchen:
The Patriots also released two more interior defensive linemen this week cutting Chris Jones and Ishmaa’ily Kitchen.

While Kitchen was viewed as mainly a depth player, Jones logged some quality snaps. He played in 28 games (23 starts), over the 2013-2014 seasons with the Patriots and notched 83 tackles, nine sacks and a big blocked field goal against the Jets. He added nine tackles and one sack in four postseason games. In 2015, Jones spent the entire year on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. 

His base pay was due to jump from $585,000 to $1.67 million in 2016 so the team may have decided that the value wasn’t there for that kind of money. In which case he could very possibly return at a reduced hit against the cap.

Jones could occasionally push the pocket from the inside and while they sometimes push their defensive ends inside in obvious passing situations, the need for an interior pass rusher has resurfaced. Bringing back Jones would be a small band-aid.

Easley Story Takes More Twists: The release of Easley unleashed some very “unPatriot-like” behavior with some of the players. When we learned of his trip to Germany ostensibly to seek alternative treatment for his ailing knees, we knew his career wouldn’t be a long one. The rumor was that his release wasn’t only an injury related one. Tom E. Curran from CSNNE spoke at length about how Easley “wasn’t always on the program” and that the timing wasn’t entirely unexpected.

But here is where some things go awry, usually the Patriots players toe the line and flash the party line but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported that one unnamed Patriot player called Easley “a locker room cancer.” On Saturday, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald had another un-named Patriot player call Easley “a great teammate.”

No one really knows the entire story, perhaps the Germany trip was a deal breaker. When we learned of it, we reached out to an insider and asked if the Patriots were onboard with this treatment. The insider stated that although it was known Easley would seek alternative treatment for his knees, he knew nothing (which probably means the Patriots didn’t either). That alone could have been enough for them to wipe their hands of the entire situation.

Patriots Face Challenges, Questions with 2016 Schedule:
The Patriots 2016 schedule was released (albeit a bit premature) on Thursday evening and a couple of things jump right out. First, if the NFL’s suspension of Tom Brady is re-instated, Jimmy Garappolo will have three straight home games after opening the season in Arizona. But it should be noted that two of those games are against division rivals so those games could factor in the Patriots late-season visits to the Jets and Dolphins.

The Patriots will play in no less than five prime-time games this season so nearly a third of the season will consist of late nights for the team and the fans.

The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Patriots in Week 9, smack dab in the middle of the season. After the injury-plagued campaign of 2015, the rest in the middle of the season is a perfect time for Belichick and Co. to re-charge their batteries.

There is a tough stretch in the middle of the year with a home game against the Bengals, then on the road against the Steelers and Bills. We should learn a lot about this 2016 team after that stretch.

The Seattle Seahawks come to Foxboro for a prime-time game which promises to be a tough one but it comes right after the bye week so the Patriots will have two weeks to prepare for Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll, and Co.

Patriots Hall of Fame Finalists Down to Clayborn, Faulk, Vrabel:
Also on Thursday, the Patriots announced three finalists for this year’s induction into the team’s hall of fame. This year’s finalists are CB Raymond Clayborn, RB Kevin Faulk, and LB Mike Vrabel.

Most fans are well versed in the exploits of Faulk and Vrable who were instrumental in the first three Patriots Super Bowl wins. Clayborn played for the Pats in an early era (1977-89) and was a three-time Pro Bowler. He set a franchise record for playing in 161 straight games.

Congratulations to all three finalists; you can read more on each and vote for your choice to be named to the Patriots Hall of Fame here: The Patriots are the only team in the NFL that allows the fans to vote and have a voice in who belongs in the team’s Hall.

Voting will be open until May 14. The Pats will announce the winner (the 25th member to be inducted), later this spring and the winner will be inducted later this summer, probably prior to one of the first two pre-season games either against the Saints or the Bears.

The Patriots Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held on the NRG Plaza just outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The outdoor ceremony is always free and open to the public.

East Bound and Down…AFC East Notes:

Dolphins’ Gase Will Put Feet to the Fire Early:
The Miami Dolphins have a new coach in Adam Gase and the schedule makers at the NFL did him no favors. The rookie head coach will take his team on the road to two very tough venues to start the season. To Seattle and then to New England.

Making matters even tougher is the fact that Miami has been notoriously slow starters at the beginning of each season, going a combined 11-22 in September since 2006. Gase will have to buck that trend quickly if he wants to get his team off to a good start.

Of course, if Tom Brady’s suspension is reinstated, it will make the Dolphins’ job quite a bit easier. Miami’s final four games to end the season isn’t easy either, at home against Arizona, on the road to face the Bills and Jets (who BTW swept Miami in 2015) and back home against New England…Welcome to the NFL Mr. Gase.

Jets Get No Love from the NFL Schedulers:
The Jets are facing a daunting task in Todd Bowles second season, their schedule has them playing six of their first nine games on the road in 2016. Gang Green opens at home against the Cincinnati Bengals then goes on the road for four of the next five weeks, including prime-time games against the Bills and Cardinals. Intermingled in their road trip are games in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Their next home game? Seattle.

Still no movement on the QB situation with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Jets have an offer of reportedly $8 million on the table. There is also talk of trading Muhammad Wilkerson and moving up in the top 10 to take either QB Carson Wentz or QB Jared Goff.

Bills WR Percy Harvin to Retire at 27:
A month after saying thru sources “that he was definitely planning to play” Bills WR Percy Harvin’s hip injury may be forcing him into early retirement.

Harvin is only 27 but has been beset by migraines for several years and now this hip ailment that forced him onto IR last season with Buffalo.

After wearing out his welcome in Minnesota, he went to Seattle where he played brilliantly at times and others fought with his teammates even during a year where they won the Super Bowl. The Seahawks traded him to the Jets for the final eight games of 2014 and from there he signed a one-year $6 million-dollar deal with Buffalo.

He played well for the Bills until his hip landed him on IR. Harvin was an extremely talented player who was a threat to score every time he touched the ball.

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

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcast on blog talk radio as the writers Russ Goldman, Derek Havens and I from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news Wednesdays at 12 noon.