Tag Archives: Josh Kline

Breaking News: Patriots Trade Kline, Conditional 4th, to Philly for Eric Rowe

Steve Balestrieri
September 6, 2016 at 12:27 pm ET

 The Patriots just traded guard Josh Kline and a conditional 4th round draft pick which could become a 3rd rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles for CB Eric Rowe. This news was broken by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

Rowe, a 6’1, 205-pound cornerback for the Eagles has fallen down the depth chart recently and Philly was contemplating moving him to safety where he played for three years at Utah before moving to corner.

Philly selected him in Round 2 with the 47th Overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. This could be a look to the future since Logan Ryan is expected to be a free agent in 2017. Or perhaps the Patriots are looking to this week facing the bigger WRs of the Cardinals and will maybe plan on using him in a sub-package role.

It will be interesting to see where the Patriots envision him on playing since they have an abundance of safeties.

Kline had 18 starts in his Patriots career and was thought to be the backup right guard behind Shaq Mason, until Mason broke his hand. That job may now fall to Jonathan Cooper.

******Update****** This is from a piece I wrote last year about Rowe prior to the draft and how he’d fit with the Patriots:

Rowe is one of those guys who is being perhaps over-scouted and now draft pundits are possibly over-inflating his position after a very good Combine performance. Where he was seen as 3rd-to-4th Round prospect prior to the Combine, he’s now being mentioned as a 1st round guy. In that case the Patriots would likely pass.

If he were to go later in the draft, he’d be a very intriguing prospect. The best thing about Rowe is his versatility. He can play outside corner, in the slot or at free safety. And as we all know, Bill Belichick loves versatile players.

Rowe is at his best with the play in front of him and may be best suited in a zone scheme with safety help over the top. But that isn’t to say he hasn’t or can’t play man as a corner. He has the things a team would want in a cornerback, length, good speed and explosiveness on the ball. But with only a year under his belt playing the position, he’s still on the raw side.

If they select Rowe, he could be cast in a role similar but not quite the same as the team used Browner last season. He’d be the bigger, more physical corner that they’d use with safety help over the top.

His versatility though is very intriguing as in the case of an injury, he could step up and play free safety seamlessly. With some experience and coaching at the next level, Rowe could be a quality starter for the right team in the NFL. He probably wouldn’t be an immediate starter, but might take a year to develop.

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Stork Trade Helping to Bring Clarity to Direction of Patriots’ OL

Lee Schechter
August 24, 2016 at 8:52 pm ET

Whether the false reports of the Patriots releasing center Bryan Stork or the actual news of his trade to the Washington Redskins shocked you or not, one thing became clear: David Andrews is going to be the starting center.

After an impressive rookie campaign in 2014, Stork was a key plug-in player who stuck in a revolving door of offensive linemen. Though, his health and temperament brought his days to an end in Foxborough. It’s easy to give credit to Stork for the offensive line’s success in 2014 after the slaughter at Arrowhead Stadium that September. But, it was really veteran Ryan Wendell who was the key cog who brought the OL together. This isn’t meant to discredit Stork, but it was the first sign that he may not last in New England.

Stork struggled with concussions and a nagging shoulder injury throughout his career. Then he let his anger overpower his talent. After a fight with the Chicago Bears during training camp and his history of throwing an occasional punch or extending a shove, the Patriots decided it wasn’t worth trying to harness Stork’s fire any longer. Stork punched his ticket out of town and handed the starting nod to David Andrews.

Stork is absolutely the more talented player between he and Andrews. But, Andrews offers the Patriots something that they have lacked with Stork—consistency.

Stork had moments of Pro Bowl-caliber play only to follow them up with a mistake. It’s part of life in the NFL as an offensive lineman, but enough was enough. Andrews has a likable approach to the game and has always been a leader from his days at Georgia. When Stork was injured, Andrews played with consistency. Andrews keeps improving as evident by his off-season team awards and the fact that he is healthy and doesn’t miss practice time.

The initial reaction to the Stork news is that no one is capable of backing up Andrews at center. But, that is not the case. The Patriots still have an abundance of interior linemen, which hasn’t been the case in previous seasons. Guards Josh Kline and Ted Karras can play center in a pinch or longer if necessary. While Joe Thuney is the left guard of the future, he is a Swiss Army knife on the OL. Thuney could slide in as a center, too.

So between Andrews, Kline, Thuney and Karras (if he makes the team), Stork was expendable and isn’t a big loss. In fact, cutting ties with Stork gives some more clarity to the rest of the OL.

Shaq Mason and Jonathan Cooper are more solidly in as guards. With Sebastian Vollmer reportedly heading to injured reserve, Marcus Cannon and LaAdrian Waddle remain the support at right tackle. There’s an extra spot open with Stork’s departure. Maybe Cameron Fleming or Karras slide onto the roster.

Ultimately, Stork’s departure shows the Patriots have direction and consistency in the middle of the OL with Andrews. But, they also have added flexibility with jack-of-all-trade linemen who can move around at either guard or tackle position on either side of the line.

Dante Scarnecchia still has a lot of work to do to pull together this OL into a cohesive unit. But, cutting ties with Stork and focusing on consistent and versatile is a start toward building an OL capable of working together to win a Super Bowl.

Patriots Training Camp Primer – Offensive Line

Steve Balestrieri
July 18, 2016 at 6:00 am ET

Return of Scarnecchia and Health Two Biggest Issues

The Patriots head into training camp in just a few weeks and there should be no shortage of competition at a number of spots. As a lead-in to the beginning of camp, we’ll break down the positions and give our take on who is a lock, a near lock for the 53-man roster and who is on the bubble. Next up is the Offensive Line.

Bill Belichick likes to say that the spring’s OTAs and Minicamp is a learning exercise and that the real competition begins in training camp. While that is true to an extent, with 89 players on the current roster, a minimum of 36 of these will be cut. That doesn’t take into consideration the tweaking that goes on during the season after the initial 53-man roster is completed.

So next on deck are the big bodies on the Offensive Line. The team is banking heavily on the return of positional coach Dante Scarnecchia who was retired for two years. He’s a tough taskmaster who demands the most from his charges. The health of this group is a big question mark; injuries ravaged them and the protection of QB Tom Brady steadily got worse as the season progressed.

So who’s locked in and who’s on the bubble?

Dante Scarnecchia returns to be the Pats OL coach after he retired two years ago. (USA TODAY Images)

Roster Locks: Nate Solder, Sebastian Vollmer, Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, David Andrews, Jonathan Cooper
Health is the key here, Solder was lost in Dallas Week 5 for the season with a torn bicep. Vollmer battled injuries throughout the campaign and has knee and back issues. But if both are healthy they’ll be your starting tackles. One would have thought that the tackle position would have been addressed in either free agency and the draft but it was not. We’ll see how that turns out later this year.

The Pats didn’t draft Thuney to sit on the pine, and with Mason, Jackson and Kline MIA this spring, he took the starting reps at left guard whenever Brady or Garoppolo was on the field. He even took a few at center. Mason finally appeared in the last spring workout and had 10 starts as a rookie. Coming from the running game of Georgia Tech, he’s an excellent drive blocker but as one would expect, had issues with his pass blocking.  Andrews, who started all the games early last season and played fairly well is undersized but tough. In a surprise move, he was getting the starting reps over Bryan Stork this spring…something to keep an eye on.

Cooper was a top draft pick for the Cardinals before injuries derailed his career there. With the aforementioned players out this spring, he got the starter’s reps at right guard. The Pats are hoping that Scarnecchia can rekindle his professional career.

Nate Solder returns after going on IR after Week 5 in 2015. (USA TODAY Images)

Near Roster Locks: Bryan Stork, Marcus Cannon, LaAdrian Waddle
Stork, who played so well as a rookie at center, missed the first six weeks of the season on IR-Designated to Return and struggled as he had health issues of his own last year. Stork even played at right tackle against the Giants as Cameron Fleming and Marcus Cannon struggled. It will be interesting to watch the competition between Stork and Andrews this summer. With Thuney providing added insurance, the pivot position should be in good shape.

Cannon, is the ultimate head scratcher for this team, but Bill Belichick and Scarnecchia love this kid.  He was ineffective last season when pressed into starting duty and was just abused in the AFC Championship Game in Denver. As the saying goes, we’ll see how it plays out on the field.

Waddle has the opportunity to seize the swing tackle position. He too was hurt against the Cowboys and his shoulder injury sidelined him. But the Patriots gave him a two-year contract this offseason and he also has the capability to be an extra blocking tight end in short yardage.

On the Bubble: Tre’ Jackson, Josh Kline, Cameron Fleming, Ted Karras
Jackson was a rookie draft pick (4th Rd, 111th overall), a year ago and had nine starts while appearing in 13 games. Prior to coming out in the 2015 NFL Draft, he had knee issues and he missed time with those during the season as well as missing both playoff games. If he’s healthy he’ll compete for the right guard spot, where he saw all of his action a year ago. But he missed all of the spring, so his status will bear watching once training camp begins.

Kline is a guy who the Patriots traditionally love, an undersized but tough player. He too missed all of the spring. With the additions of Thuney and Cooper along the interior of the line, he may find himself on the outside looking in.

Fleming flopped as a swing tackle a year ago, like Cannon was ineffective when pressed into service. But the last offseason, the Patriots fiddled with the idea of moving him to guard. He was training to do just that, cutting down on his weight a bit and improving his quickness. We saw the video of his workouts last spring and it seemed he was destined to move inside.

But the team drafted Mason and Jackson last spring and Fleming went back outside. The results were not good. Perhaps with a full offseason with Scarnecchia, Fleming can get his game back together. The swing tackle position will again go thru Cannon, Waddle and Fleming.

Karras is a tough kid that has a lot of upper body strength, completing 32 reps on the bench press at his Pro Day this spring. The 6th round draft pick has an NFL pedigree and is a good pass protector but isn’t very athletic and may find himself a practice squad candidate unless he can shine in limited opportunities.

Outside Looking in…. Longshots: Chris Barker, Keavon Milton
Both of these players have been let go in the past and face long odds of making the roster out of training camp.

Barker was originally claimed off of waivers from the Miami Dolphins in the 2013 season and appeared in four games. During the 2014 season, he split time between the practice squad and the active roster and appeared in two games. Last season he was signed to the active roster for the Week 10 game against the Giants before being released and signed back to the practice squad.

Milton was a UDFA in 2013 and was signed by the New Orleans Saints. He was among the final cuts of the Saints and was signed by the Browns and appeared in eight games with no starts that season. He then was released by the Browns at the end of training camp in 2014 and signed to Seattle’s practice squad. Released in September 2015 he was signed by the Patriots to their practice squad in November. The 6’4, 320-pound Milton was a blocking tight end at Louisiana-Monroe who made the transition to tackle

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.