Tag Archives: Kyle Van Noy

DL Potential Patriots Defense Draft Prospect Yetur Gross-Matos

Steve Balestrieri
April 9, 2020 at 7:22 am ET

As the 2020 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.

We’ve taken a look at a couple of linebackers and at safety but today we’ll look at the defensive line, specifically the defensive end/edge area. 

The Patriots don’t like to rely on one designated pass rusher but a collective effort where they can use different players to create mismatches by using stunts and blitzes to get after the opposing QB. The Patriots were tied for 7th in 2019 with 47 sacks but the leading sack producer was Jamie Collins with 7 followed by Kyle Van Noy with 6.5. Both of them are gone, so the production will have to come from elsewhere. 

On the edge, the Patriots currently have among the players on the roster Deatrich Wise, John Simon, Chase Winovich and Derek Rivers. They can use some fresh blood in there and provide them with the production that they received from Trey Flowers who signed with Detroit a year ago. 

So, let’s take a look at another one of the prospects that we feel would be a good fit for the Patriots and vice versa. A while back we wrote about Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa who could fall to them late in the first round of the upcoming draft. But this next player has an intriguing story.

Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State is a very productive defensive end who is another talented defender just scratching the surface of his professional potential. He’s a long fluid athlete and has the prototypical size for a defensive end at 6’5, 265. 

He’s got excellent quickness and speed to power and consistently walks tackles back into the pocket. His production spiked in his last two seasons and last year had 40 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss with 9.5 sacks and 7 QB hits.

Gross-Matos had to overcome a lot in his early life as he lost his father to a drowning accident and a brother who was struck by lightning before he was 11 years old. He checks all of the blocks with size, speed, production, and athleticism. 

Pros:

– Prototypical size, agility, and athleticism. 

– Excellent production, 35 TFL, 17 sacks last two seasons

– Very good change of direction, and can disrupt the play at the LOS

– Growing more as a pass rusher

Cons

– Hand usage needs to improve 

– Sometimes allows blockers to get in his chest

– Still needs to grow into his frame

What his Role Will Be:

Gross-Matos would initially be a sub-package pass rusher as a rookie. But he has the ability, with good coaching to become an every-down player

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?

Yes, in Year 2 he should be competing for starting reps

How Many Downs Can He Play?

Four

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?

No one. His potential mirrors that of the former defensive end Trey Flowers.

What is his ST Value?

Minimal 

Conclusion:
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, their resident draft expert wrote about the Litany Lion, Yetur Gross-Matos is an impressive person and player. He has the size (6’5″, 266 lbs) to play 4-3 defensive end right out of the gate and will remind fans of Trey Flowers with his mixture of power and quickness. He’s also just scratching the surface of what he can be down the road with good coaching—something he’ll get plenty of in New England.

Gross-Matos is not yet the sum of his parts. The best word when describing him is “potential”. He’s one of those twitchy edge rushers with the size, length, bend and burst that teams covet at defensive end. 

While he’s far from a finished product and could easily pack on another 10-15 pounds of muscle on his frame, he also needs to improve his hand usage, something the Patriots have a perfect mentor in Joe Kim, who uses a martial arts background to teach that. 

Once Gross-Matos harnesses his potential with his speed-to-power moves and improves in the small things that he needs to clean up, he has a ton of upside. In a draft without a ton of talented pass rushers, he is one of the top 3-4 with the ability to become a star in the making. If the Patriots decide to use #23 or trade back into the 2nd round, Gross-Matos should still be available to them. 

Gross-Matos’ highlight reel tape from JustBombs Productions can be seen here: 

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Potential Patriots Draft Target – LB Malik Harrison 

Steve Balestrieri
April 7, 2020 at 11:09 am ET

As the 2020 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.

On Monday we wrote about Alabama’s Terrell Lewis, who we feel is a great fit for the Patriots in what they do and how they normally target potential linebackers in the draft process. 

Again, presently at the linebacker position, the team currently has Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and Terez Hall. The team also has hybrid edge rushers who can also play some linebacker with Chase Winovich, John Simon, Brandon Copeland, Derek Rivers, and Shilique Calhoun.

So, let’s take a look at another one of the prospects that we feel would be a good fit for the Patriots and vice versa.

Malik Harrison from Ohio State is another one of those long-framed athletic linebackers who will play inside at the next level. He’d be an excellent fit in the Patriots 3-4 scheme as an inside backer. Harrison is versatile enough to be a good strong-side (SAM) backer in a 4-3 look 

He’s a very physical, downhill thumper in the running game. Prototypical size of 6’3, 247 who looks the part with a chiseled frame and huge arms. Was a former high school QB with freakish athleticism. 

Was considered only so-so in coverage, but improved as a senior and looked solid in coverage at the Senior Bowl with an interception. Growing as a blitzer up the gaps, he anchors well against the run and has great makeup speed.

Pros:

– Excellent Height and Length

– Freakish athleticism

– Outstanding change of direction, 6.83 in the 3-Cone Drill

– Just scratching his potential

Cons

– Natural aggressiveness makes him susceptible to play action

– Only average instincts

– Coverage ability still somewhat of a question mark

What his Role Will Be:

Harrison will initially be a backup and depth player for Hightower and Bentley. But as he grows into the system he could see more and more snaps as a rookie.

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?

Yes, in Year 2 he should be competing (and winning) reps as a starting ILB. Then look for him to become a much-more utilized blitzer up the A-gaps 

How Many Downs Can He Play?

Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?

Harrison isn’t the replacement for anyone on the current roster, but look for the Patriots to use him similarly to how they used Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins.

What is his ST Value?

He’ll be a frequent and often used coverage player in the kicking game due to his freakish athleticism. 

Conclusion:
Our friend from Patriots.com and Patriots Unfiltered Radio, Mike Dussault wrote about Harrison, “With the expectation that the Patriots trade out of the 23rd overall spot, Harrison would be a great first selection in the second round. He has outstanding size and athletic ability and would bring just the kind of hard-nosed play the Patriots love from their linebacker corps. After testing through the roof at the combine, Harrison is a riser on draft boards and would be an ideal foundational player as the defense looks to rebuild their front seven.”

Harrison, playing on a stacked Ohio State defense had excellent production, 75 tackles, 16.5 for a loss, along with 4.5 sacks. Harrison has the versatility to play all of the linebacker spots and has experience as a core special-teamer (a Bill Belichick positive). 

Harrison is the classic inside linebacker who can stuff the run; hits like a brick wall and is he’s outstanding at shedding blockers and getting runners while they’re still in the backfield. He’s versatile and can be moved around (a la Van Noy) While he does struggle some when it comes to coverage a bit, what we saw in Mobile may be a harbinger to come. He was slotted to go in Rounds 3-4 but I doubt he lasts into the 4th Round with the way he’s been shooting up different draft boards. If he’s available when the Patriots pick in Round 3, he’d be a great fit.

Harrison’s highlight reel tape from JustBombs can be seen here: </span>

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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 and game analysis.

 

Looking for Linebacking Help, Terrell Lewis Checks All the Boxes

Steve Balestrieri
April 6, 2020 at 7:30 am ET

As the 2020 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar or that we feel would be a great fit.

In my Sunday post, I touched upon the need at the linebacker position. The team lost an awful lot of talent of depth with Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, Elandon Roberts all gone this spring. Not only were those players talented but they were versatile too. Van Noy and Collins, in particular, were like movable chess pieces who Bill Belichick could move around and create mismatches. That’s why the sack numbers were so high, especially early in the season when Collins was en fuego. 

At the linebacker position, the team currently has Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Terez Hall. The team also has hybrid edge rushers who can also play some linebacker with Chase Winovich, John Simon, Brandon Copeland, Derek Rivers, and Shilique Calhoun.

As I wrote for the Sunday column, a lot of people are enamored (and rightfully so) with players Patrick Queen, Zack Baun and a few others who are tremendously talented but are not the size the Patriots usually covet. The average size of a linebacker that the Patriots draft is over 6’2 and 245 lbs. So, while I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it isn’t going to happen for either of those guys but I’m not holding my breath. 

We’ll take a look at a few of the prospects that we feel would be a good fit for the Patriots and vice versa.

Terrell Lewis from Alabama is an intriguing prospect that played in the SEC for Belichick’s good friend Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. When talking about Lewis, however, his injury history is bound to be a concern. He missed significant time as a sophomore with an arm injury and then all of his junior season with a knee injury. But healthy in 2019, he showed the potential that he possesses. He led Alabama with 16 QB pressures while notching six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss. 

He is built like a prototypical linebacker, with a long frame, very well built and excellent footwork. He runs well for a big man at 6’5, 262. He has the versatility to either rush the QB off the edge or drop into coverage. 

Pros:

– Excellent Height and Length

– Outstanding explosion off the snap

– Rare combination of speed and power

– Potential is far ahead of him

Cons

– Injury history in his middle two seasons

– Needs to get a little stronger in setting the edge

– Could use better use of his hands

What his Role Will Be:

Lewis will start out as a depth player, perhaps as a sub-package rusher, but by the end of his rookie season, he should be getting more and more reps

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?

Yes, in Year 2 he should not only be earning starting reps, but could see his role blossom into one of the leaders of the defense. 

How Many Downs Can He Play?

Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?

Lewis is won’t be replacing anyone currently on the roster but could see his role evolve into a similar way the Patriots used Jamie Collins. .

What is his ST Value?

Limited, but the team will probably use him on some of the coverage units taking advantage of his speed and athleticism

Conclusion:
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein in his draft profile wrote that Lewis, played in just 26 games, so he’s less technically sound than most Alabama defenders at this stage, but he was still productive and showed growth as a player in-season. With more coaching and development as a rusher, he should be able to pair traits with the skill to become a future NFL starter

Lewis’s future is tied up in potential. He is not yet the sum of his parts after playing in just 26 games in college. That combination of speed, power, and instinctive play should be an enticing look for the Patriots to take a flyer on. He is probably (if he can stay healthy) going to be a much better pro than he was as college player.

With the Patriots possibly trading down into the second round, Lewis should be around for them in the late 30s or early 40s.  The Patriots like their outside linebackers big, physical, and with the ability to either set the edge or drop their hand in the dirt and rush the passer. Lewis checks all of those blocks.

Lewis’ highlight reel tape from JustBombs can be seen here: 

 

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New England Patriots News 3-22, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
March 22, 2020 at 5:00 am ET

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 03-22 and AFC East notes this week. 

The news of Tom Brady leaving for Tampa Bay has dominated the talk and the print media this week, they’ll be much more of that below, however, there was plenty of other news this week as the Patriots had an exodus of veterans jump ship. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

Kyle Van Noy: As we said last week, the Dolphins were expected to show a lot of interest in Van Noy, and they did, signing him to a four-year $51 million dollar contract. 

In Miami, he’ll be reunited with former Patriots’ coach Brian Flores, and his former coach knows how to utilize the versatile player the Dolphins hope can become a centerpiece of their front seven.  Van Noy can play the run off the edge, drop into coverage and also rush the passer from any position.  

Jamie Collins: Is rejoining his former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in Detroit. The Lions offered Collins a three-year deal worth $30 million. Collins had a career-high seven sacks and three interceptions last season for the Patriots. 

Joining Collins in Detroit are DL Danny Shelton, who signed a two-year, $8 million dollar contract. They also secured Duron Harmon who was, in essence, a salary dump by the Patriots. New England gave up Harmon and a 7th round draft pick for a Detroit 5th round pick. 

Ted Karras: Opted to bet on himself and signed with the Miami Dolphins on a one-year deal worth $4 million. The Patriots offered him a two-year deal with more overall cash but Karras looked at the current unsettled situation, especially with Brady and his OL coach Dante Scarnecchia retiring, he’ll have a good chance to start at center for Miami

Nate Ebner: The ace ST player is joining former Patriots STs/WR coach Joe Judge with the New York Giants on a one-year deal.  

Damiere Byrd: The Patriots signed the small (5’9, 180-pound) but fast wide receiver to a one-year deal. Byrd is coming off of a career-high 32 catch season for the Cardinals and has the ability to return kicks and punts. Byrd ran a 4.28 in the 40-yard dash while at South Carolina. 

Beau Allen: The Patriots replaced Danny Shelton with the big, 6’3, 327-pound defensive tackle who is known as a run-stuffing interior lineman. Allen spent the past two years with the Bucs  

Danny Vitale: The Patriots signed the big, bruising fullback who played for the Packers last year serving as a lead blocker and occasional pass catcher (7 receptions, 97 yards). The signing of Vitale doesn’t bode well for the long-term health of James Develin who suffered a season-ending (perhaps career-ending) neck injury last year.

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, check it out. This week Derek and I went over the various comings and mostly goings of free agency. 

Trying to Make Sense of Brady’s Leaving:

For the first time in 27 years, the Patriots are now the team in the AFC East that is searching for their franchise quarterback. The Bills, for years, have been waiting for the next Jim Kelly, the Dolphins tried out numerous faces searching for Dan Marino’s heir apparent. The Jets? All the way back to Joe Namath. Now with Tom Brady leaving, there is a huge hole in the Patriots lineup.

For the past nearly three decades, the Patriots have had that stability, since they drafted Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Then when Mo Lewis leveled Bledsoe in the first game after 9/11, Brady stepped in and twenty years and nine Super Bowls later, the rest has been history.  That stability is now HIS-TOR-REE. And that is of their own choosing

They have 2nd year QB Jarrett Stidham, and honestly, nobody knows if he can be the guy or whether the Patriots even believe he can be. That’s what the other teams in the division have been dealing with for the past few decades…So, how the heck did we ever get here? 

But first and foremost, let’s get something clear and it seems like a lot of people on social media have it in error. Brady didn’t leave the Patriots. The Patriots forced him out the door. Now they can spin this however they want, but this relationship was broken to the point of no return last year.

Ian Rapoport from NFL Network said that the Patriots “likely would have done the contract” he signed with the Bucs, “though Tom Brady never came to them with his desire to return.” That’s a crock, sorry folks. They made it quite clear that they were not going to commit to Brady more than year-to-year. 

One of the people we spoke with is Tom’s long-time, good buddy Jay Flannelly. You can check out our conversation here: And we’ll get into the year-to-year thing shortly. But first, once the Patriots decided to go year to year, Brady was furious. He basically felt betrayed and that he was a lame-duck quarterback. He felt that after 20 years, he earned the security of a multi-year deal, even at age 42. 

After nothing was agreed upon by both parties in August, they gave Brady a raise and agreed to let him test free agency for the first time in his career this spring. Brady put his house on the market the next day. This was all very avoidable if, in fact, the team wanted Brady around past the 2019 season.  The sad fact is, they didn’t want him beyond 2019 unless it was at their terms and now they’re paying him $13.5 million dollars to play in Tampa Bay in 2020. 

And Tampa is paying him only what he asked of the Patriots last summer. Tom’s choice to leave? Really? No, this was their decision. 

One of the hallmarks of what made this team so great for the past two decades is that they invariably made sound decisions when it comes to the team. Bill Belichick is considered cold-blooded by some for his business first attitude and the fact that he doesn’t let emotions play into his decisions. That’s been their business model and it has obviously worked. 

But what about this decision? Do the Patriots have a better option at quarterback right now? Is there someone waiting in the wings that can handle this offense better, to where you’re paying Brady millions of dollars to stay away? 

This spring they didn’t even make an offer to Brady, the message was “go find an offer and bring it back to us.” To some bottom third of the roster player, that may be acceptable. To the QB who brought you to nine Super Bowls, that was a message that he wasn’t needed or wanted back. Then with the news that the DeAndre Hopkins trade was coming and how little Arizona gave up for him, Brady’s mind was made up. The Patriots weren’t going to make him an offer, nor would they be making another play to be all-in for another championship in 2020.

The Stefon Diggs trade was the icing on the cake. We spoke with someone that lives in Tampa, that Brady had dinner with Bill Gates, Derek Jeter and Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning and that he made Jeter an offer to buy his mansion on Davis Island off of Tampa Bay. His decision was made…for him.

On Monday, he went to Robert Kraft’s home and told him that he was leaving. But the fact remains, he was ready to leave last August. There were reports that Belichick was shocked that Brady was signing with the Bucs. If they thought he was going to come back to them for one final negotiation, they were sadly mistaken. 

You could make a comparison between Brady’s last season and Rob Gronkowski’s. Both were unhappy and unnaturally moody in their final season. But the difference was, Gronkowski made the signature play at the end of the Super Bowl, hauling in a great catch that set up the Patriots for the game-winning touchdown. He was able to ride off into the sunset a champion. Brady’s last game ended badly with a Wildcard Loss to the Titans. 

Robert Kraft has come off awfully bad since the news broke. First, he called into a daily “hot take” show to claim that it was Brady’s decision to leave. That Brady wanted to leave… that take was a classic Red Sox move (hint, that isn’t a good look) by trying to deflect it back on #12 and then on Friday, he had another statement that was even worse, by throwing Belichick under the bus, in essence comparing Belichick or possibly his son Jonathan to a meddling mother-in-law that ruins a marriage. 

“Think about loving your wife and for whatever reason, there’s something — her father or mother – that makes life impossible for you and you have to move on but you don’t want to,” Kraft told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi. 

If Kraft had just said that the Patriots were sticking to their business model and the two sides were hopelessly deadlocked, while one can disagree with it, or even dislike it, but at least you can respect the decision. This wasn’t the case at all. Kraft first tried a couple of times to insist that all Brady had to do was to tell them he wanted to return and then tried to blame others as if he didn’t have the power to change it. That was a really bad look. 

We’ve heard rumors that Kraft has increasingly turned over more of the day-to-day operations to his son Jonathan, and may have admitted as much a few years ago, when Brady signed an extension. Kraft said he looked at the contract and then asked Jonathan what he thought. But that is a stretch …or was it?

Kraft spoke with Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston and tried to explain that the Patriots were waiting for Brady to signal that he wanted to return…What? After eight months of inactivity, they waited until the final few hours for Brady to signal he wanted to return? Bad, bad, bad. For a team steeped in making smart business decisions, this one rivals any of the stupid ones the Jets or Dolphins have made in the past 20 years.

The Patriots made their decision and have now taken a giant step back. They will no longer be an automatic favorite to go deep into the playoffs and compete for the Super Bowl. They’ve rejoined the pack. They’ll have to fight, claw, and scratch for every win and hopefully eke out a Wildcard berth. They won’t be favorites, nor should they be, to even win the division they’ve owned for 20 years. Honestly, wearing an analyst’s hat, it makes for a very compelling season. It should be fascinating to see how the entire team dynamic is going to work. Switching to a fan’s perspective, it sucks. But we knew it was coming sooner or later…and now it is sooner.

And so, Brady is moving on to a new team, a new coach, new teammates, and a new system. But what isn’t new is his burning desire to win. Everyone who’s had the pleasure to watch him work and interact on a very small scale down at Gillette can see that the fire still burns really bright in him. His coaches and teammates will soon see that too. He’s going to a good coach that knows how to get a lot out of his QBs, although he’s a bit of a deep passing guy. 

Brady loves nothing more than a challenge. That’s his personal bushido, he approaches things with the warrior mentality of everything is a challenge. Any perceived slight or negative criticism is, therefore, also a challenge. And he does feel slighted and challenged by the Patriots forcing him out the door. The Bucs defense may hold them back this year, their secondary was awful a year ago. But Brady and the offense? He’s going to light it the hell up in 2020 in Tampa.  Just sit back and watch.

Patriots Franchise Tag Joe Thuney:

The Patriots in a somewhat of a surprise move used the franchise tag designation on left guard Joe Thuney and the 27-year old signed it guaranteeing him…for now having the highest salary on the Patriots at $14.78 million for 2020 now that Tom Brady is a member of the Bucs.

Thuney has made $3.6 million in his three-year career, so this is a big pay increase for him. He was expected to price himself out of New England this spring as a free agent but the tag will keep him a member of the Patriots …for now. The team could still opt to trade him since they’d have an inordinate amount of cap space dedicated to their guards. 

The Patriots have until July 15 to work out a long-term extension with him or he’ll count the entire $14.78 million against the cap this year. 

Adrian Phillips, Will Ease Workload on Pat Chung:

The Patriots signed Safety Adrian Phillips, the free-agent All-Pro and Pro Bowler came from the Chargers where he had spent his entire six-year career.  Phillips signed a two-year deal worth $7.5 million with $3 million guaranteed. Phillips can earn a total of $4 million this year if he hits all of his incentives.

Besides being a Special Teams ace, he is a physical, downhill safety and will play in the box, defending the run and in coverage against tight ends. He missed significant time in 2019 with a broken forearm but this year, with Pat Chung, who fills the same role getting older, Phillips would help scale back Chung’s workload and would look to be his eventual replacement.

So, Phillips would replace Ebner’s presence in the kicking game and back up Chung and play a role at Strong Safety. But the salary dump of Harmon still leaves the team with a hole in Free Safety depth. 

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Bills Trade for WR Stefon Diggs:

The Buffalo Bills are going to have an offense that will be tough to stop. They wasted no time in going after former Vikings WR Stefon Diggs during the early hours of “legal tampering” as free agency unfolded. 

While they paid a steep price for Diggs, a 1st, 5th, and 6th round picks in 2020 and a 4th rounder in 2021, he’s going to transform this offense into a very dangerous one. Buffalo now has speed, speed and quickness outside and it will be a case of “pick yer poison” while trying to defend Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley next year. 

Buffalo has three excellent wide receivers who give their QB a large target window due to their ability to get separation from defenders. For a QB that still has some accuracy issues in Josh Allen, this group will go a long way in alleviating that. 

Diggs is a very good #1 WR, Brown as the #2 and Beasley out of the slot gives Allen and Buffalo an excellent group of skill players. Coupled with a suffocating defense, Buffalo should be overwhelming favorites to run away with the division in 2020. 

Dolphins Going Conservative in FA? Not a Chance:

The Miami Dolphins had said that they were leaning towards being conservative in free agency, despite having a boatload of money to spend. But GM Chris Grier and HC Brian Flores were anything but, going after a ton of players that they coveted once free agency began.

Miami filled a bunch of holes in their roster as they quickly hit on the Patriots, poaching LB Kyle Van Noy, who should immediately become a centerpiece for their front seven. But their secondary got a huge boost from the signing of CB Byron Jones, formerly of the Cowboys to a deal worth a guaranteed $57 million. Jones, teamed with Xavien Howard gives Miami the most expensive CB duo in the league. Miami also brought in edge rusher Shaq Lawson, OL Ereck Flowers. They later added OL Ted Karras from the Patriots who should get the nod at the starting center in 2020. 

With three first-round draft picks in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, Miami is set to make a big splash there as well. A week into the process, the Fins are off and running. Conservative? Nope, but it is hard to disagree with anything they are doing so far. 

Jets Go Low Key in Early Free Agency:

The New York Jets, unlike Miami, DID go conservative in the first week of free agency, something they’ve not done in recent years. Probably the biggest signing the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets have made is slot corner, Brian Poole. While a needed, and solid signing, it isn’t the kind of splashy signing, we’ve seen from Gang Green under previous regimes. Although, those haven’t exactly worked out either. 

Poole is a solid player and a good signing, and while the Jets still need more help at corner, they didn’t spend a ton on him and he should pay immediate dividends. Another under the radar move GM Joe Douglas did was to sign C Connor McGovern. A definite position of need, McGovern is a solid, if unspectacular player but is an immediate upgrade over what they had last year. 

They gave McGovern good money, three years, $27 million with $18 million guaranteed but with the Broncos last year, he allowed one sack and just three QB hits. And he didn’t commit a single penalty last year. He’ll help keep the pressure off Sam Darnold up the middle in the A gap. Good moves by Gang Green

_______________

“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone-setter and a bar raiser. He won championships in three of his first four years on the field and in three of his final six seasons with us, while competing for championships in almost every season in between. This is a credit to Tom’s consistency and what separates him. He didn’t just perform. He didn’t just win. He won championships over and over again.

“Tom and I will always have a great relationship built on love, admiration, respect and appreciation. Tom’s success as a player and his character as a person are exceptional. Nothing about the end of Tom’s Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone’s adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.

“Examples of Tom’s greatness are limitless, going back even before he was drafted. We witnessed how he prepared when he wasn’t playing, how he performed when he got his opportunity, what he did to continuously improve, his leadership, his mindset, the example he set, and, of course, the person he is. I am extremely grateful for what he did for our team and for me personally.

“Sometimes in life, it takes some time to pass before truly appreciating something or someone but that has not been the case with Tom. He is a special person and the greatest quarterback of all-time.”  Bill Belichick on Tom Brady after he announced he would not be returning to New England. 

_______________

“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.

 

Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton, and Duron Harmon All Say Goodbye To The Patriots

Robert Alvarez
March 19, 2020 at 4:50 pm ET

Its been a tough week of thank you’s and goodbyes for the Patriots as free agency opens up.

Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton, and Duron Harmon all posted thank you messages to the Patriots organization and fanbase over Instagram following their signings or trades elsewhere.

Van Noy signed a four-year, $51 million deal with the Miami Dolphins on Monday reuniting with Brian Flores.

“It has been an honor, a privilege and a blessing to have represented the New England Patriots organization for the past three and a half seasons,” Van Noy wrote. “I am so fortunate that coach (Bill) Belichick brought me in and gave me a chance to contribute and leave my mark.

“Thank you to (Patriots owner) Mr. (Robert) Kraft, Coach, Nick, the Patriots staff and teammates for helping me grow as a player and as a person. I leave with two rings, but hundreds of memories that I will cherish forever.”

In 2019, Van Noy logged 56 tackles and a career-best 6.5 sacks to go with three forced fumbles and three pass deflections. He played in a Super Bowl in each of his three seasons in New England, winning two rings.

Read his full statement below.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you @patriots ! Thank you #patsnation ♥️♥️

A post shared by Kyle Van Noy (@realkylevannoy) on

As for Shelton and Harmon, both players reunited with Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions.

Shelton agreed to a two-year, $8 million free agent deal and Harmon was traded over to the Lions with a 2020 7th-round pick for a 2020 5th-round pick. The trade is pending a physical.

With the acquisition of a 5th round pick, the Patriots now possess at least one pick in every round of the 2020 NFL Draft except the second.

The Patriots draft assets currently consist of 12 total picks, including four in the first 100.

Both Shelton and Harmon add to a growing list of ex-Patriots in Detroit, they join Jamie Collins, Trey Flowers, and Danny Amendola on the roster.

Known as “the closer” for his clutch late game-sealing interceptions, Harmon was drafted by the Patriots in the third round (91st) overall of the 2013 draft out of Rutgers and was apart of three Super Bowl championship teams.

“Pats Nation I love you and will miss you guys!” Harmon wrote in an Instagram caption.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B97K7dahTsA/

Lastly Danny Shelton departs the Patriots after two seasons and a Super Bowl championship.

“Thank you Pats Nation and @patriots organization! It’s been a great two years and I’m forever thankful for the opportunity. Looking forward to what the future holds,” Shelton wrote on Instagram.

Shelton played a key role in the Super Bowl LIII championship helping shut down the Los Angeles Rams running game and Todd Gurley.

Gurley was limited to just ten carries for 35 yards in the victory.

 

PHOTO: Kyle Van Noy Thanks New England Following Signing With Miami

Robert Alvarez
March 16, 2020 at 9:50 pm ET

On Monday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced that free agent linebacker Kyle Van Noy had come to an agreement with the Miami Dolphins on a four-year deal worth $51 million dollars.

Van Noy had spent the past four seasons with the Patriots following a trade from the Detroit Lions and was apart of three trips to the Super Bowl and two championships.

In 2019, Van Noy posted career-highs in sacks (6.5) and quarterback hits (15).

The signing reunites Van Noy with head coach Brian Flores who was his linebacker coach with the Patriots from 2016-2018.

On his social media accounts Monday night, Van Noy posted a thank you to Patriots nation.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B90OhjCBjmz/

A few ex-teammtes tweeted out congratulatory messages to Van Noy following the news.

https://twitter.com/McCourtyTwins/status/1239708709774860288?s=20

https://twitter.com/zeus30hightower/status/1239710832013070336?s=20

https://twitter.com/SweetFeet_White/status/1239712715008024584?s=20

Best Of Social Media: The New England Patriots Celebrate Valentines Day

Robert Alvarez
February 14, 2020 at 5:09 pm ET

With the 2020 off-season underway, members of the New England Patriots took time to share some heartfelt Valentines Day social media posts with their loved ones.

As the NFL calendar remains empty until free agency opens in March, mid-February becomes a time of rest and relaxation across the NFL for active players and their families following the Super Bowl.

Check out some of the best photos and messages shared by the team below.

View this post on Instagram

My forever Valentine ❤️

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8jjboNAaTI/

View this post on Instagram

❤️

A post shared by James White (@sweetfeet) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8joWLJpGpo/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8jThU-lXEq/

View this post on Instagram

Forever My Lady ❤️

A post shared by Phillip Dorsett (@dorsett4) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8jqQ9PgjUL/

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My forever valentine ❤️

A post shared by Justin Bethel (@jbet26) on

Best Of Social Media: Stephon Gilmore Named NFL Defensive Player Of The Year

Robert Alvarez
February 3, 2020 at 1:32 pm ET

On Saturday night at the 9th Annual NFL Honors in Miami, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“It’s a great honor. It’s a blessing. It’s a lot of hard work,” Gilmore said. “Obviously, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, but to be the first player in Patriots history to win Defensive Player of the Year, it’s a great honor.”

Check out some of the best sights and sounds shared over social media from the evening below, including reaction from Gilmore’s teammates and players around the league.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1223732979056414720?s=20

View this post on Instagram

D-P-O-Y

A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8CpYbNhk2p/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8CrJOLFmAf/

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https://twitter.com/GamecockFB/status/1223733726451888128?s=20

Social Media Reacts To The News Of Dante Scarnecchia’s Retirement

Robert Alvarez
January 29, 2020 at 8:57 pm ET

On Tuesday, news was announced that New England Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is retiring from the NFL after 36 seasons.

The decision marks the second time Scarnecchia is stepping away from football after his first retirement following the 2013 season.

Scarnecchia returned to the Patriots in 2016, helping the franchise win two more Super Bowls, adding to his career total of five.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft and Head Coach Bill Belichick each released a statement praising Scarnecchia’s service to the franchise.

“Dante Scarnecchia has been unbelievable in every way. As a coach, he was extraordinarily talented at teaching his players and bringing the most out of each of them, Dante put everything he had into helping his players achieve their maximum potential — the mark of a great coach. His contributions to our team and to the game of football are unprecedented over the last four decades. Yet even more remarkable is the impact Dante has had on countless players, coaches and staff members who have walked through our doors. He modeled the principles he believed in through his hard work, diligence and integrity. He held himself accountable. He trained alongside his players. He treated everyone with respect. There truly is no way to sum up the incredible career he’s had, the positive impact he’s made on our franchise or how much he will be missed. We are forever grateful for Dante and wish him the absolutely best in his next chapter, along with his lovely wife Susan and his family. The New England Patriots are better because of Dante Scarnecchia, and he will always have a home with us.”

“It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “I knew that long before his initial retirement and throughout a second act of continued excellence. Dante is among the very best assistant coaches ever.”

Scarnecchia spent 34 of his 36 professional seasons with the Patriots, becoming the longest-tenured NFL coach in 2019 and owning the most coaching seasons in New England Patriots history.

Current and former players coached under Scarnecchia shared reaction over social media with heartfelt congratulatory messages, memories, and thank you’s.

Check out all the best below.

View this post on Instagram

Just saw the report that #Patriots OL coach Dante Scarnecchia is retiring. First let me say that it was a privilege to play and be coached by this man. From my predraft visit, where we sat through and watched the worst game of my college career (Syracuse), to my last game in a Pats uniform, this man taught me more about the game than I could ever imagine. Never relenting on the details, I always used to wonder why he was so damn hard on me my first couple yrs in the league and looking back on it…he did me a HUGE favor! That foundation is what carried me for 12 yrs in the #NFL and beyond. I want to thank coach from the bottom of my heart for helping turn a young pup from BC into a pro on and off the field…LUV!#patriotsnation

A post shared by Damien Woody (@damienwoody) on

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https://twitter.com/MFlowers59/status/1222342207937449984?s=20

https://twitter.com/SweetFeet_White/status/1222313007797166087?s=20

https://twitter.com/Trent/status/1222256276652150786?s=20

The New England Patriots Remember And Reflect Upon The Life Of Kobe Bryant

Robert Alvarez
January 27, 2020 at 1:01 pm ET

The sports world found itself in complete shock and sadness on Sunday when news broke that former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, California.

Bryant was traveling with his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven other people to a youth basketball game when their helicopter crash landed on a hillside. There were no survivors.

Speaking with a reporter from KCBS at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft shared his perspective on Bryant’s passing.

“It makes us all realize how we can’t take anything for granted…Seeing his beautiful little beloved daughter, [who] is 13, and I know the pride he took in her. Here we are in Kobe’s home in the Staples Center. I had a chance to see him in one of his last games here and he was such a gentleman and great competitor.”

As word of the tragedy made its way around the country, the New England Patriots community shared reactionary posts of reflection and remembrance over social media for the basketball icon and all those lost on board.

View this post on Instagram

Heartbroken.

A post shared by New England Patriots (@patriots) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7y6Zkdhp8A/

https://twitter.com/McCourtyTwins/status/1221605312215560194?s=20

https://www.instagram.com/p/B71CNSGnHTP/

https://twitter.com/SweetFeet_White/status/1221580056901963776?s=20

https://twitter.com/SweetFeet_White/status/1221581726570467328?s=20

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7y9iq8gidZ/

https://twitter.com/Danny_Shelton55/status/1221525169421766656?s=20

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doesn’t feel real. RIP To The Legend

A post shared by Ja’Whaun Bentley (@warriormentality) on

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7zZPsfAzB9/

There is nothing more common to the human experience than death. It touches everyone and everything on this planet. It…

Posted by Benjamin Watson on Sunday, January 26, 2020

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