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Patriots Post Draft Roster Projection…Conclusion…

Nothing really more to say here, so…the rest:

Defense:

DE (2):

Locks:  John Simon, Chase Winovich

In:  None

Out:  Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Nick Thurman, Tashawn Bower, Nick Coe, Trevor Hill

Comments:  Rivers is another guy on the fringe.  I feel like he gets one more shot, especially with only two guys in this particular category.  Then again, some of the linebackers will play this role, so it’s not really two.  Simon is decent but is probably not getting any better.  That’s why we are hoping that Chase takes another step forward this season.  And not just cuz we want to see his hair.  I think time has run out on Wise, however.  But somehow, he always seems to stick when his roster spot seems in jeopardy.  So we cannot even rule him completely out at this point.

DT (4):

Locks:  Lawrence Guy, Adam Butler, Beau Allen

In:  Byron Cowart

Out:  Bill Murray, Courtney Wallace Jr.

Comments:  Seems like not drafting a defensive tackle almost gives Cowart the last spot here.  Let’s just hope Allen is good.  The local press loves Guy and Butler has his moments.  But it’s not that impressive of a group, let’s be real.

LB (6):

Locks:  Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Anfernee Jennings, Josh Uche

In:  Shilique Calhoun, Brandon Copeland

Out:  Terez Hall, Cassh Maluia, Kyahva Tezino, De’Jon Harris

Comments:  Big year for Bentley as we noted in the last piece.  And we believe that Uche and Jennings will see plenty of action out of the gate.  It would be nice if Hightower continues playing most of the games.  Always seemingly banged up, Dont’a has actually played 15 of the 16 games in the last two seasons.  You’d think he’d want to be out there in a contract year, so hopefully the trend continues.  It’d better.  This group is full of a whole lot of unknowns and perhaps special team types like Calhoun.  And Copeland came from the Jets, so how good can he be?

CB (5):

Locks:  Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Jason McCourty, Joejuan Williams

In:  None

Out:  D’Angelo Ross, Lenzy Pipkins, Miles Bryant

Comments:  Really about as cut and dried as you can get.  No questions here.  People are floating Gilmore’s name as a potential trade candidate, but I don’t see it.  He does make a ton of dough and as a result of him being the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, he probably wants more.  After this season I could see the Pats moving on from him in some fashion.  But if they want to win games this year, the secondary is going to have to be a big part of the game plan.  And ditching Gilmore won’t help that.

S (5):

Locks:  Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Kyle Duggar

In:  Adrian Phillips, Terrance Brooks

Out:  Adarius Pickett, Malik Gant

Comments:  Brooks has been the odd man out on several projections I have seen thus far.  But Bill loves his special teamers.  So I think he sticks.  Not to mention that Chung took a beating last season, Duggar is unproven and we will see about Phillips.  Duggar may not even play much on defense this season if I had to take a stab.  Just a hunch.  I would guess he needs some transition time as he heads from Division II to the NFL.  Maybe it won’t be a long and/or hard transition.  We will have to wait and see on that.  But he will return plenty of punts though, so he’s going to have that going for him.  As long as Edelman isn’t doing that, it works for me.  Oh yeah, and as long as Sanu is never, ever, ever back there again either.

Specialists (7):

Locks:  Justin Rohrwasser (K), Jake Bailey (P), Joe Cardona (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Justin Bethel (ST), Brandon Bolden (ST), Brandon King (ST)

In:  None

Out:  Cody Davis (ST)

Comments:  Davis will find himself on the roster to begin the year as well.  They gave him a fat 1.5 mil, so he kind of is earmarked for it, no?  I just had to leave him off for the number’s sake right now.  You know how it works…players get hurt and traded and some turn out to be useless.  Then an undrafted guy or three make some noise in camp and they can’t slip through to the practice squad.  Or they may actually be pretty good or at least can fill a niche role on the squad on Opening Day.  And as a result, everyone’s projections look stupid.  Rumor has it that Davis is a pretty good special teams guy, so there will always be room for him on Bill’s roster.  I mean, can you ever have enough guys that play solely special teams?

So that is that, another fun exercise for guys like me only probably.  With the season months away and training camp not even close, this projection means about as much as all the others out there.  Zero.  Nada.  Absolutely nothing.  But that’s ok.

Bottom line, let’s just hope there is a season in 2020.

Averting Disaster…

…in the most recent New England Patriot win, 16-10 this past Sunday in Buffalo.

Let’s face it though, this game should not have been as close as it was.

Sorry.

Let’s revisit, shall we?

Pats up 13-0, a little over 4 minutes left in the first half.  Tom Brady gets picked off in the end zone.  On a truly HORRIFIC pass.

If the Patriots score a touchdown there it is 20-0 (or at least 19-0, but we will get to that later).  With about 4 minutes left in the first half.  With the Bills being completely inept with their own offense, against a New England defense that hadn’t yet given up a touchdown this season to an opposing offense to boot.

GAME.  WOULD.  HAVE.  BEEN.  OVER.

Doesn’t matter that the Patriot offense did next to nothing the rest of the game.  They wouldn’t have needed to!

Perhaps the Pats offense still would have done something if that Brady pass didn’t “take the wind out of their sails”?

Worth thinking about.  And I know each drive is independent of each other.  But I kept saying it the rest of the game.  That pick really was the turning point and completely changed the complexion of the game.  Regardless of how bad the offense looked the remainder of the game.  The FEEL was just different.  There is something to be said for that.

You don’t think that fired up the Bills defense?  I mean, they seem to be pretty good in the first place.  But instead of being down three scores and maybe even packing it in after that, they had new life.

The next three possessions for the Bills offense?  Field goal, missed field goal, touchdown.

Hmmmmmmm…

Just sayin’.  This one should have been just like the others.  Smokeshows.

Brady played one of his poorest games in recent memory.  No, he is not done.  He has these once in a while.  He will rebound nicely in the subsequent weeks.  So don’t even go there.

The running game and offensive line didn’t do him many favors either.  It didn’t help that their best running back this season, Rex Burkhead, barely played as he is (again) battling injury.

But was Brady protecting his main receivers that were banged up as well?  Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman are a little banged up themselves.  And it was curious how he wasn’t going to Jules early on.  Seemed to be force feeding Phillip Dorsett more than anyone else.

Now, when the money was on the line, things changed.  But he definitely wasn’t throwing to Jules early.  Double teams?  Perhaps.  But when has that stopped Brady before?

Yes, Edelman had a bad drop on a potential long gainer.  And Gordon didn’t look all that great when he was being thrown to.  But still.

If those guys were more involved early, another reason I don’t think this game ends up close.

But that’s me.

As for the 19-0 or 20-0 referred to above, well, you know where we were going with that.

And now we have some…answers?

Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski was placed on injured reserve earlier today.  With some sort of hip issue, according to reports.

So was that the reason he was putrid this year?  Or are we still blaming the holder, punter Jake Bailey, at least a little?

I’m sure we will find out more as time goes on.  But I have some questions.  When did the injury happen?  If, as some reports say, he regrets not having the surgery in the offseason, then why didn’t he?  A hip injury to a kicker…kinda crucial, no?  And did the team know?  Why didn’t the Pats force the issue?  Or at least address it some other way?  And if the team knew, why the hell were they letting him kick off in games this year?  Shouldn’t they have reduced some strain by not having him do that?  Especially when Bailey kicked off most of the preseason and appears fully capable of doing so on a regular basis?

Gostkowski, despite many people disagreeing, has been pretty reliable over the years.  Both kicking for points and kicking off.  Kind of important that this position is somewhat stable, no?  We’ve seen it torpedo many teams over the years, no?

Regardless, Stevie has taken a beating from the fans this season.  My answer has always been “be careful what you wish for”.  The kickers on the streets are on the streets for a reason.

And now we are looking at Kai Forbath or Mike Nugent potentially for the rest of the year.  Part of me wants an injured Gostkowski still kicking over these guys.

Also, please stop with the Bailey kicking stuff too.  For this season anyway.  Yes, he kicked well in high school.  Repeat, HIGH SCHOOL.  He did not kick in college, from what I understand.  I am not sure the Pats have even had him practice placekicking from the day he arrived.  I would have.  But that’s not how it works.

I technically love the idea though.  Paying one guy peanuts (for now) to do ALL the kicking.  Absolutely.

But it ain’t happening this year, so forget it.

It still mystifies me that in this entire world that the NFL can’t find 32 good kickers…the cream of the crop…to kick in their league.  A quarter of the teams each year seemingly make kicking changes, and not because of injury.  And a quarter of the rest are putrid.  At least a quarter more.

So now we are looking at somewhere between kickers #33-40 (or #50?  #60?) I guess.

Yuck.

Los Angeles Rams at Seattle (-1.5)

The Thursday Night Football games have been mostly atrocious this season.  Last week’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers was pretty good, however.  Very good actually.  What’s in store for this week’s game?  Your guess is as good as mine!  Both teams are 3-1.  But the Seahawks’ three wins have come against teams with a combined 1-10-1 record. They are usually almost unbeatable at home but are only 1-1 there thus far this season.  And that one win was by one point against a truly wretched Cincinnati Bengal outfit.  They lost their other home game to the New Orleans Saints, in Teddy Bridgewater’s first start after Drew Brees went down.  On the flip side, the Rams just got embarrassed at home by what seems to be a fair to poor Tampa Bay Buccaneer squad.  Their three wins against the Saints, Browns and Panthers though are significantly better than the Seahawk victories.

So who shows up on either side for this one?  Short weeks are always hard to predict.  But my guess is that the Rams will be pretty damn motivated to wash that bad taste out of their mouth as soon as possible.  I would say it will be a little bit of a dogfight to get that done though.

Los Angeles Rams 31, Seattle 27.  

Week (against the spread):  9-6

Week (straight up):  9-6

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  2-2

Season (against the spread):  32-31

Season (straight up):  43-20

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