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Cordarrelle Patterson…

…why do we need to talk about him?  I don’t know.  I guess I just feel like I have something to say.  I have no idea why I actually care.

For the past couple weeks, this dude has taken a beating on local talk radio.  Why?  I’m trying to figure it out.

I mean, the guy only plays a handful of snaps every game.  Why are people so focused on him?

The reason is that because the New England Patriots have been shorthanded at running back in recent weeks, they have been handing Patterson the ball.  Seems a little odd, since he has had no experience running the ball in his career…other than like jet sweeps or something of the like.  Never, to most people’s knowledge, just taking a handoff and trying to run through the line.

Most of the time, he looks like someone who is a receiver playing running back.  But he had a long run one week.  And five carries on one great drive the other week.  Not horrible.

As long as he holds onto the ball, which he has thus far, why does anyone even care if he does this?

It’s a short-term fix until regular the running backs that are injured come back…Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead, in particular.  They don’t have to risk losing a player they like by releasing them and picking up a real running back (although they could have released someone like Geneo Grissom a couple of weeks ago and not have been affected at all, I will allow for that).  But it’s not like the Pats are giving Patterson 25 carries.  They are kind of spotting him in at times.  What’s wrong with that?

One retort has been that they have a real running back on the roster, Kenjon Barner, and aren’t giving him the carries instead.  Barner, Patterson…what’s the difference really?  Just because Barner has played running back in his career, does that mean he is actually any good at it?  I would say not particularly.  He has been on and off this roster like 3 times this year.  Not to mention is a journeyman in the first place.

Listen, Patterson is kind of a gimmick player.  His reputation throughout his NFL career is that he has no idea how to run routes.  Kind of a bad thing in this system, you know, with Tom Brady wanting perfection and all.

But he can add something to the team for sure.  Picking spots for him when the time is ideal.  Running a (very) few routes.  Returning kicks.  Jet sweeps.  And now giving him the ball out of the backfield a bit.  Why not?  How many times is he actually going to touch the ball in any given game?  And how many plays is he really going to be in for the game as well?

Some would argue that he is a waste of 3 plus mil.  Maybe.  But he’s only signed for the rest of this year.  And I will tell you the team is wasting 3 plus mil on players like Dwayne Allen, Chris Hogan and Duron Harmon, to name a few.  Not to mention 12 mil on Devin McCourty, who has played very poorly this year in my eyes.

What kills me is that whenever the Patriots experiment with other guys playing different positions, they are often lauded.  Troy Brown and Julian Edelman at cornerback to name the biggest ones.

But has everyone forgotten that they stuck Aaron Hernandez in the backfield at one point too?  That seemed to be an unusual choice too.  And didn’t look natural.  But he had a few good runs when he did it.

Why is it different for Patterson?

Again, I can’t believe I care.  But I feel a lot better now that I got it off my chest…

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-4.5)  

I’m so tired of hearing about Le’Veon Bell.  Aren’t you?  Now there are reports that he has been spotted working out in a Pittsburgh gym.  Who cares at this point?  The Steelers have won four in a row and have a running back named James Conner tearing it up.  Over 700 rushing yards and 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in 8 games.  Shouldn’t this make Bell look worse?  That some dude no one had really heard of came right in and is piling up yards.  Bell is a great player.  But it looks like he doesn’t really matter to Pittsburgh’s success…yet anyway.  I can’t wait until his reporting deadline passes.  Hopefully, he doesn’t show and loses a ton of money.  So what if he takes a year off and is fresh next year.  Will he really be?  I’m just thinking he threw a year of earnings away.  And a year of his career.  But I hope he’s happy.

That’s waaaaay too many words for one day about Bell and Patterson.  As for the game, did you realize that the Steelers are only 2-2 at home (3-0-1 on the road)?  Me neither.  Carolina is 5-0 at home.  But tonight they are not at home.  I’m not really buying into the Panthers anyway.  Everyone seems to rave about this Christian McCaffrey guy.  But every time I see him he is being stuffed at the line or is catching a 4-yard pass.  The guy apparently has talent, but I’m not sure I would have taken him eighth overall last year.  But the Panthers are 6-2 this year, so what the hell do I know?

Pittsburgh 34, Carolina 27.

Week (against the spread):  9-4

Week (straight up):  10-3

Season (against the spread):  71-63

Season (straight up):  87-47

Thank God For The AFC East…

…after another yawner Monday Night.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the New England Patriots didn’t play their best game that night.  But they didn’t have to.  And they knew it.

Why else would you go into the game with 2 running backs, one (James White) who is really just a receiver and the other (Kenjon Barner) someone who has bounced on and off the team a few times and is clearly someone the team doesn’t trust all that much.  More importantly, then give a stiff wide receiver 10 CARRIES?  That’s right, Cordarrelle Patterson lined up in the backfield plenty and also ran the ball plenty.  And besides breaking the one long run, not very well otherwise.

Dont’a Hightower was a late scratch as well.  Sure, he gets hurt a lot.  But no one really talked about him being in danger of missing the game…and then he did.  Cuz they played the Bills.  Good time for a rest.

With Derek Anderson behind center for the Bills, apparently a couple of weeks after he was trying to make some sort of professional golf tour, and perhaps their only true weapon, LeSean McCoy, possibly being limited from a previous concussion, the Pats were comfortable going into the game.  That’s the way we see it anyway.

Even though the Pats were pretty much limited to kicking field goals early on, did any of us think the game was in danger at any point at all?  Nope.

So once again, thank God for the ineptness of the division.  We’ve been through the whole thing with the Pats, how the year feels different, how the team usually has things a little more together at this point in the season, the question marks all over the place on the team…and all that.

But it doesn’t matter.  Now.

The Patriots will cruise to another division title with ease.  What happens this year in the playoffs may be a different story.  But we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Every year the “experts” think that either the Bills, Miami Dolphins or New York Jets are ready to pose a challenge for the top spot in the AFC East.

And every year, it just doesn’t happen.

This year will be no different.

I just hope the result of this game and the knowledge that the division is in the bag did not influence the trade deadline for the Pats.  That things are all good and there was no need to add reinforcements.  The team seemingly always does something at the deadline.  Something that doesn’t seem that major, but the players they get end up being key contributors down the stretch.

Why nothing this year?

Could have been the cost was too high.  But if that was the case, they should still have done it.  Especially at linebacker.  They are thin at running back, as noted.  But Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead will apparently be back at some point.  Good enough.  Receiver was an issue early on.  I’m ok with what they have their now.  The defensive backfield is a little muddled.  But they should be ok.  Both sides of the line, not horrible.  Linebacker is a glaring need.  Perhaps no one was available that fit what they do.  Would have been nice to see one move there at least.

Not much I can do about it myself.  So I guess I won’t lose any sleep over it…for now…

Oakland at San Francisco (-3.5)

…and if I was going to ever lose any sleep, perhaps the answer will be to just put this game on.  2-13 combined.  Ugh.  Not what the NFL had in mind when they scheduled this one.  Jon Gruden vs. Jimmy Garoppolo battling it out in Cali.  Nope.  Instead, with the backup (C.J. Beathard) to Jimmy Football now questionable, we may see an undrafted free agent starting for the Niners in Nick Mullens.  Riveting.  Enjoy!!

Oakland 24, San Francisco 13.

Week (against the spread):  8-6

Week (straight up):  11-3

Season (against the spread):  62-59

Season (straight up):  77-44

Patriot Free Agency (in)action, Offense…

As promised (threatened?), we will provide a snapshot of the New England Patriots roster as it stands now.  Of course, there will be plenty of informative comments following each position group.  Define the word “informative” as you may, but I’ll feel good about them anyway.

For the record, we will say where the player came from if they are an addition and where they went if they jumped ship.  We will also note if they finished last season on the Patriots injured list (IR) or on the Patriot practice squad (PS).  Just cuz I want to be informative, as I said…yup…

Enough of the nonsense, let’s get to it:

QB:

Holdovers:  Tom Brady, Brian Hoyer

Arrivals:  None

Departures:  None

In limbo:  None

Comments:  Everyone knows that Brady will be 41, Jimmy Football was traded for a bag of footballs and a tackling sled and that Hoyer stinks.  Not to mention that Jacoby Brissett was also traded last year for probably something less than Garoppolo.  Even though I keep hearing from some talking heads recently that Phillip Dorsett actually had a pretty good year “…when he played…he was actually open a lot, Brady either didn’t see him or just didn’t throw it to him…”  Ok, if you say so.  In any event…an obvious need at some point…and soon.

I’d take a QB fairly high in the draft.  Someone who the team thinks has potential to be that proverbial “next guy”.  Not taking one just to take one.  Brady (and his wife) were doing some whining on his little Facebook thing and some people took that to maybe mean he doesn’t plan on playing until he’s 125 like he has always said.  I don’t buy it.  It’ll all work out and he will be around for a while.  If they draft a dude now, they will have time to groom him.  It’s supposed to be a deep quarterback draft, but what do I know?

And no, I would pass on signing Matt Cassel or Matt Moore or any other Matt that is a veteran stiff…in case you were wondering.

Bottom line?  Still in pretty good shape here, wouldn’t you say?

RB:

Holdovers:  Rex Burkhead (re-signed), James Develin (FB), Mike Gillislee, James White

Arrivals:  Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati)

Departures:  Dion Lewis (Tennessee)

In limbo:  None

Comments:  We talked enough about Lewis yesterday.  Hill has regressed from his fantastic rookie year in 2014 for the Bengals.  But from what I understand, the Pats are on the hook for very little if he doesn’t pan out.  I feel like Gillislee deserves another shot and I want to see more Rex.  I feel ok with this collection…especially in this offense…and especially if they all keep Brandon Bolden off of the field.  Moving on…

WR:

Holdovers:  Kenny Britt, Brandin Cooks, Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman (IR), Chris Hogan, Cody Hollister (PS), Riley McCarron (PS), Malcolm Mitchell (IR)

Arrivals:  Cordarrelle Patterson (Oakland)

Departures:  Danny Amendola (Miami), Bernard Reedy (released)

In limbo:  None

Comments:  I’m not going to deny they will miss Amendola to some degree, especially when the chips are down.  But again, we went through all that yesterday.  I will also add that I am not sure that throwing multiple mediocre bodies at the end of the depth chart will help that cause.  But that’s me.

If the depth chart shows Cooks, Edelman, Hogan and Mitchell, assuming good health of course (a BIG assumption), do we really need Britt, Dorsett or Patterson?  Plus, McCarron has been getting a lot of love recently.  How many receivers can you carry?  What exactly are the first three bringing you anyway…especially if they are the 5th receiver on the depth chart?

That’s just it I suppose…depth.  Who knows where Edelman and Mitchell will be health-wise going forward?  I know, there appears to be little risk with the aforementioned three veterans, financially or otherwise.  And I know, Patterson is a dynamic kick returner.  Though I will agree with the talk radio chatter on Monday where it was pointed out that kick returns are a very small part of the game these days.

I have no inside info on the situation.  But I have a feeling there may be another shoe to drop here before camp opens.  There has been some smoke revolving around Cooks’ status for a couple of weeks now.  Cooks was up and down last year and my feeling is that he will improve in his second year in the system.  And none of those three vets mentioned appear to have the ability of Cooks.  But I suppose you never know…

TE:

Holdovers:  Dwayne Allen, Rob Gronkowski (we think?), Jacob Hollister, Will Tye (PS)

Arrivals:  None

Departures:  Martellus Bennett (IR, released)

In limbo:  None

Comments:  I do believe we have to take Gronks’ retirement “threats” seriously.  Despite being a monster, he has taken quite a beating over his NFL career.  And despite all the back surgeries, there is no doubt that the back will always hang over his head at least a little.  I’m betting that throwing a little money at him will get him back into the fold mentally though.  Isn’t that always the case?

Speaking of money, I am absolutely stunned that Allen is still here.  5 mil against the cap next season.  Was he that good a blocker?  Is he just hanging around in case Gronk does retire?  I don’t see it.  That’s money better spent elsewhere.  I know Hollister and Tye aren’t appealing backup options if Allen departs.  But there has to be someone else out there that is.

Let’s make Gronk happy and find a young tight end somewhere.  Not an extremely pressing area of need (unless Gronk walks of course), but definitely a position to keep an eye on.

OL:

Holdovers:  David Andrews (C), Marcus Cannon (T), Cole Croston (T), James Ferentz (C, PS), Antonio Garcia (T, IR), Andrew Jelks (T, IR), Ted Karras (G/C), Jason King (G, PS), Shaq Mason (G), Joe Thuney (G)

Arrivals:  Matt Tobin (T) (Seattle)

Departures:  Nate Solder (T) (New York Giants)

In limbo:  Cameron Fleming (T), LaAdrian Waddle (T)

Comments:  We ranted on Solder yesterday and I’m done talking about it.  The other four members of the line return.  It’s a solid, if unspectacular, group.  So obviously the focus is on finding a new left tackle.  And once again, I am not going to get worked up about it.  Dante Scarnecchia and the team should be able to figure it out.  Maybe it’s one of these guys above.  Maybe it’s a draft pick.  Maybe it’s someone released over the summer or early in camp.  Who knows?  Maybe I am being naive (or just plain stupid), but I am simply not concerned about it.

People are also seemingly terrified of losing Waddle and/or Fleming.  Seriously?  These guys were released in recent years.  Now they are all of a sudden irreplaceable?  Mystifying.

These guys are going to be alright next season without Solder.  I feel like that isn’t even going out on much of a limb, to be honest…

Next:  The Defense.

 

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