Monthly Archives: September 2015

Maybe Jonas Gray actually sucks?

Now that I have your attention…as we head into the Opener tomorrow with the Pats on track to pound the Steelers to the tune of around 48-13…ok, if it rains hard, maybe 38-10…I’ve had some time to think about the Patriot happenings of the week.  And of course come up with some rock solid points.  To wit:

*Jonas Gray.  Obviously the most surprising cut.  People seem to still be in disbelief.  I was at first.  But then I considered the facts.  I always thought he played well when he was in the game last year.  Of course he had that huge 201 yard game against Indy.  But it seemed to me like he looked good in the other limited opportunities he had.

Then I looked at the game logs.  It was really only 2 other games.  86 yards against the Bears (17 carries), when they were up 38-7 at the half.  And then 62 yards on 11 carries against the Dolphins.  That when Belichick took the mothballs off him in the 2nd half after only leading 14-13 at the half and watching LeGarrette Blount do zero (8 totes for 17 yards) before halftime.

Otherwise, he was buried…including for essentially the entire Super Bowl run.  Was it really because he overslept one morning after his big game?  Everyone points to that, but I’m not so sure.

This is a guy who had been on a couple of teams the previous 2 years, essentially 1 year on an injured list and 1 on the practice squad.  Then last year, he spent the first several weeks on the Pats’ practice squad.  Anyone could’ve signed him and did not.  Then, once he was waived here last week, no team claimed him, despite not having any kind of prohibitive salary.  And now he is on the Dolphins practice squad…not an active roster.

Seems to me we all got caught up in the hype and ignored the whole story.  Though with Blount suspended for Week 1, the thought of Brandon Bolden being the lead back against the Steelers is kinda scary…

*Reggie Wayne.  If those rumors are true about why he asked for his release…wow.  I lost a lot of respect for him if so.  If you missed it, the rumors say that he did not find the Patriot environment very “fun” and “too tough”.  Ummmmm…ok.  Sure, he is 36 years old and once he got here he realized he really did not feel like starting anew after well over a decade in the same place.  As well as being…old.  That much I understand.

But…shouldn’t he have known that before he got here?  He knows plenty of players, coaches and all sorts of people involved with the league since he has been around forever.  He plays the Patriots almost every year.  He knows the stories.  The reputations.  The discipline.  The EVERYTHING.  In my estimation, he should’ve had an excellent idea about what he was walking into.

Yet he came anyway.  And pocketed some dough for a couple of weeks of nothing.

I’m not saying he came here just for the money.  He has made plenty in his career.  Surely an extra 450k wouldn’t matter much…to him anyway.

But it kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth, no?  Maybe he got here and both sides knew he was all done.  I’m not saying for either of them to admit that point either.  But for sure Reggie should have kept those specific comments to himself…again, if true.  Just makes him look bad, I say…

*Cameron Fleming.  A little surprised at this one too, though extremely minor in the whole scheme of things.  Seemed to play well when in the game.  A lot of times that was as a 6th lineman and eligible tight end.  But seemed to do his job nonetheless.  (“Do his job”…like how I slipped that one in there?!).  And a 4th round pick just last year.  Back on the practice squad now, maybe the story isn’t over.

*Zach Moore.  Ok, I bought into the hype on him last year too.  Small school player.  Physical freak.  Someone that could develop in 2-3 years.  Looked the part when you saw him on the field…which wasn’t often.  So much for that.  Didn’t even land back on the practice squad.  Went to Minnesota’s P=squad apparently.  Maybe that was his decision not Bill’s.  Oh well…

*Nate Solder.  Yikes, that extension is a lot of dough for a player who doesn’t exactly dominate.  He has been pretty good over his career, but a game changer?  Not sure about that.  He was terrible for a great deal of 2014…then the story came out where he was diagnosed with testicular cancer before the year.  So I should give him a pass.  And he was elected a captain this year too.  That has to mean something.

But he needs to be a lot better this year for that money.  Especially with the guards on the team in flux.  And with center Bryan Stork now being shelved for several weeks as of today’s move to short term IR-designated to return.

*Spygate, Deflategate, any f’n gate.  Enough already.  Now ESPN is dredging up crap from years ago to fill the void?  There of course is no proof of any of the allegations and accusations.  A lot of “former unnamed” players and “anonymous sources”.  Please.  Sounds like some disgruntled former employees maybe?  Hearsay?  Speculation?  On top of that, some of the allegations seem to be pure gamesmanship…stuff that every organization does.  Just silly.  Please stop.

The Patriots have been an extremely successful organization since the Kraft family bought the team.  They show no signs of slowing down.  Seems to me a lot of this stuff has arisen because of them being at the top.  Nowhere to go but down.

It’s about time people remember for the first 30-plus years of their existence they were pretty much the laughingstock of the league.  Doormats (1990, 1-15, the outstanding “Rod Rust era”).  Scandals (Lisa Olson and Zeke Mowatt anyone?).  Victims of horrible calls (see:  Sugar Bear Hamilton, 1976).  Coaches taking new jobs and getting suspended before the last regular season game in which they actually made the playoffs (no, not Bill Parcells in 1997, but Chuck Fairbanks in 1978).  Matt Millen punching GM Pat Sullivan in the head.  The Sullivan’s in general.  James Orthwein threatening to move the team to St. Louis.  Victor Kiam.  The trouncing by the Bears in their first ever Super Bowl.  Darryl Stingley being paralyzed.  I could go on…that’s just what came to the top of my head.

So enough of all this garbage.  Time to go back to focusing on the real criminals in the league…the McDonalds’, Hardy’s, Rice’s and all those guys that have done legitimate harm.  But that would be too easy, I guess…

Patriot’s roster projection, v3…and…final.

I can’t write about Deflategate…just can’t.  The thing was a joke from the beginning.  And now, despite many thinking otherwise, it is not over.  It will linger in the background for months.  Never leaving our consciousness.  Every angle has been endlessly discussed and dissected.  Everything that is out there to be said, has been said.  There is really nothing else to add.

So instead, we will do a final projection.  Why?  Because I just finished watching the last exhibition game, that’s why.  With pretty much no one of significance playing.  And the immortal Ryan Lindley going beginning to end at QB.  One word for this one…EXCRUCIATING.  And yes, that deserved all caps…anyway…

Offense:

QB (2):

Locks:  Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo

In:  None

Out:  None

Way Out:  Ryan Lindley

OK, Lindley wasn’t that bad…wait…yes, I think he was.  Though the line didn’t help him for a lot of the night.  Especially Chris Martin.

RB (5):

Locks:  LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray, James White, Dion Lewis

In:  None

Out:  Tavaris Cadet (Injured Reserve?)

Way Out:  Tony Creecy

Despite his suspension costing him Week 1, hard to believe Blount was in there at the end of this one.  Usually the 2nd half of the 4th exhibition game is for guys fighting for jobs.  Is he fighting for his somehow?  Doubt it.  But risky to expose him to 3rd and 4th stringers on the other side.  Gotta believe Lewis not playing means he made the squad…though Creecy didn’t play either.  Cadet could be one of those vets that actually gets released now and re-signed later…instead of going on IR.

WR (5):

Locks:  Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola

In:  Reggie Wayne, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper

Out:  DeVaris Daniels, Jalen Saunders

Way Out:  Zach D’Orazio

This one is going to be interesting.  Brandon LaFell is still not officially on the PUP list, even though the team sent 2 guys there before last cuts. Still have a feeling he goes there though since he hasn’t practiced at all.  I think Harper makes the initial roster and then gets waived after a few days to make it easier to land on the practice squad, as indicated in the last projection.  He may have done enough in the preseason to get claimed by another team if waived immediately.  Figure Dobson gets one more chance.  And I am still on the fence with Wayne.  I can’t imagine they bring a vet of his status in, give him a decent bonus, and then cut him like 2 weeks later.  Think they will give him time to mesh with Brady.  But he also could be a guy that is cut initially for the roster flexibility.  Then re-signed, especially after Week 1, where then his contract would not be guaranteed.  The team could keep Daniels or Saunders in the meantime, before waiving them and hoping they get to the practice squad as well.

TE (3):

Locks:  Rob Gronkowski, Scott Chandler, Michael Hoomanawanui

In:  None

Out:  Asante Cleveland, Michael Williams

Way Out:  None

Hoo-man didn’t play tonight, think that makes him a lock.  Changed my mind on Williams.  Another practice squad candidate.

OL (10):

Locks: Nate Solder (LT), Sebastian Vollmer (RT), Bryan Stork (C), Ryan Wendell (G/C), Marcus Cannon (T), Cameron Fleming (T/G?), Shaq Mason (G), Tre’ Jackson (G)

In:  Josh Kline (G/C), David Andrews (C)

Out:  Ryan Groy (G)

Way Out:  Caylin Hauptmann (T), Chris Martin (T)

Martin is actually way, way, way out.  Never seen someone getting turnstiled by so many guys that will be out of the league in a few days.  Just brutal tonight.  Andrews has gotten the hype, which led me to add him last time.  But with Wendell healthy again and starting at center tonight, I think there is a real possibility he faces the same scenario as Harper above…making the initial roster, then waived soon thereafter to slide onto the practice squad.

Specialists (4):

Locks:  Stephen Gostkowski (K), Ryan Allen (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST)

In:  None

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

No changes.  No competition.

 

Defense:

DE (4):

Locks:  Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jabaal Sheard, Trey Flowers

In:  None

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

The first three above did not play tonight from what I saw.  And Flowers was all over the field.  Looks good to me…

DL (5):

Locks:  Dominique Easley, Malcolm Brown, Sealver Siliga, Geneo Grissom

In:  Zach Moore

Out:  Alan Branch, Casey Walker

Way Out:  A.J. Pataiali’l

No changes…this is what I wrote last time…still applies, “just a gut feeling on Branch, that’s all.  I suppose they may be able to get Moore on the practice squad and keep Branch, but I am siding with keeping the kid…for now.”

LB (6):

Locks:  Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, Jonathan Freeny

In:  James Morris, Rufus Johnson

Out:  Darius Fleming

Way Out:  Xzavier Dickson, Eric Martin

Rufus continued to show up tonight.  Freeny didn’t play, as far as I can tell.  Appears to make him a lock.  But you know Bill loves his special teamers.  So he may have been a lock all along.

CB (4):

Locks:  Malcolm Butler, Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher

In:  Logan Ryan

Out:  Dax Swanson, Robert McClain, Brandon King

Way Out:  None

Fletcher didn’t play, so he must be in.  Think Ryan will get one more chance and stick…deservedly or not.  McClain may face the same scenario as Wayne could go through, as described above.  No big loss if he signed somewhere else, if you ask me.  King got sent home before the game with some of the regulars, it was reported.  It was reported earlier in the week from somewhere I don’t recall that he plays all 4 special teams units.  Interesting facts at the very least.  But something further to consider?  Again, Bill loves his special teamers.  And it isn’t like the DB’s are something special here…

S (6):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards

In:  Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner

Out:  None

Way Out:  None

Wilson and Ebner.  Special teamers.  Questionable secondary.  Looks like they are both in.

 

Physically Unable to Perform (3):  Chris Jones, Dane Fletcher, Brandon LaFell

Injured Reserve (7):  A.J. Derby, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Gibson, Brian Tyms, Jake Bequette, James Develin, Darryl Roberts

Non-Football Injury (0):

Practice squad (10):  Cleveland, Daniels, Dickson, Groy, Hauptmann, King, Saunders, Swanson, Walker, Williams

 

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