Tag Archives: Khyri Thornton

Getting Social with Bob Socci – Three Questions For Week Five

Robert Alvarez
October 9, 2015 at 7:30 am ET

In a new weekly column introduced on PatsFans.com entitled “Getting Social with Bob Socci”, I was graciously granted the opportunity to interview 98.5 The Sports Hub Patriots radio play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci for his insight and predictions into this upcoming week five matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Who is your breakout player for either Dallas or NE this week?

“If it sounds too strange to say an eighth-year veteran with two Pro Bowls will be a breakout player, then let’s predict that this Sunday’s game in Dallas will mark the re-emergence of Jerod Mayo.  After very limited reps the first three weeks of the season, coming off injury in 2014 and left off the field in ‘sub’ packages (themselves a misnomer, because the old ‘sub’ defenses are the new norm), I suspect Mayo will have a much more integral role at Dallas.  The Cowboys’ best (maybe their only) chance to succeed on Sunday relies on being able to run the ball.  They’re also limited in personnel in the passing game, due to the injuries they’ve sustained at both receiver and in the backfield.  So I foresee a much greater role for Mayo in this game than in Weeks 1-3.”

Position matchup/battle to look for? 

“Dallas’ offensive line vs. Pats’ front seven.  I’m very curious about the roles that newcomers Akiem Hicks, Khyri Thornton and Jonathan Bostic are going to occupy in the next month and a half.  Naturally, if/when they’re employed defensively, they bear watching (closely).  Overall, it will be extremely important for the Pats to set and hold the edge defensively.  They had some problems toward this end, it seemed, at the outset of the season.  Let’s see how they do that this week, and if they become a bit stouter inside.  Considering that the Jets and Washington await in the next month, it will be imperative to improve against the run.  But they’ll have their work cut out for them against the Cowboys’ offensive line.”

What Patriot players will make the most improvement going into this week? 

So long as he’s on the field, if he gets on the field, there’s only one way to go for Bradley Fletcher – Bob Socci on Fletcher heading into Week 4.

“I’m stretching it a bit, because this player struggled in Weeks 1-2 and was inactive in Week 3.  So long as he’s on the field, if he gets on the field, there’s only one way to go for Bradley Fletcher.  That said, I won’t be surprised if we see him (at 6-0, 205 pounds) back out there against the Cowboys, perhaps involved in their coverage of Whitten.  Unlike in the past, including his struggles against Dallas a year ago, Fletcher won’t be asked to cover Dez Bryant.  Plus, Brandon Weeden has thrown mostly short check-downs underneath.  Maybe we see Fletcher this week utilized the way Brandon Browner was at times a year ago; asked to be more physical at the line with a tight end, with help, combining some man and zone concepts.”

Bob Socci has held the position of Patriots radio broadcaster since the beginning of the 2013 NFL season, taking over for longtime play-by-play man Gil Santos. He has called two AFC Championship games and the Patriots Super Bowl XLIX victory in February 2015.  He can also be heard weekly during football season on Patriots.com.

Patriots Beefing Up Front Seven During Bye Week, Add Thornton to 53 Man Roster

Steve Balestrieri
October 2, 2015 at 9:00 am ET

The Patriots continue to make a bunch of roster moves during the bye week, signing DL Khyri Thornton to the active 53 man roster as well as signing four more players to the practice squad.

With a game next Sunday looming against the Cowboys in Dallas, it looks as if the team expects Dallas to go run heavy by the recent additions of Thornton, Jon Bostic and Akiem Hicks this week.

Thornton was originally signed by the Patriots on September 6 after being cut by Green Bay. He was released two days later before being re-signed on September 17. Thornton is a 6’3, 315 pound defensive tackle who will add depth to the interior line. He was originally a 3rd round draft pick of Green Bay from Southern Mississippi in the 2014 NFL Draft with the 85th overall pick.

He was considered a good interior pass rusher coming out of college however he was beset by hamstring problems and showing up out of shape in both 2014 and this season which led to his ouster with the Packers.

The Patriots also signed DB Brandon Dixon, OL Sean Hickey, WR Austin Hill and LB Eric Martin to their practice squad. Martin was impressive in the early going of training camp before being cut after the first game of the regular season.

Dixon played for the Bucs last year after failing to latch on with the Jets who drafted him from Northwest Missouri State.

Hill spent training camp with the Jets after originally being signed by the Raiders. He’s a big bodied (6’3, 212), WR who had a fantastic 2012 at Arizona with 81 catches for 1364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He then blew out his knee (ACL), in 2013 and struggled last season to find that separation and suddenness in his cuts that he showed prior.

Hill finished last season with 48 catches for 630 yards and four touchdowns. When healthy, he was impressive; his NFL Draft profile had this to say:

Big and physical. Plays to his size. Runs with attitude after the catch and can take weaker cornerbacks for a ride. Puts defenders on his hip and uses his body to shield them. Good chance lateral quickness improves as he continues to trust his recovery from injury. Dedicated weight-room worker. Possesses strong hands and catching the ball comes easily for him. Effective blocker who can help spring big runs. His 2012 film shows very effective play from the slot.

It will be interesting to see if he is finally recovered from his injury and is ready to compete. After jettisoning Kenbrell Thompkins, perhaps the Patriots feel Hill can be stashed on the PS and be ready to compete in 2016. If he can return to his pre-injury form, he’ll be an intriguing signing.

But the Patriots front seven continues to be tweaked this week, with big games against Dallas and Indianapolis on the radar, Bill Belichick and the team wasn’t taking vacations during the bye week. Now the 53-man roster is filled and so is the practice squad.