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Pierre-Paul, Rolle Among Giants’ Top Free Agents

By on March 3, 2015 at 7:47pm

The New York Giants have plenty to consider this offseason, especially when it comes to free agents. In 2014, GM Jerry Reese attempted to rebuild the ailing franchise by spending a whopping $115 million, which led to a disappointing 6-10 finish. With little room to play with under the cap this year and five star players about to become free agents, Big Blue needs to proceed carefully.

DE Jason Pierre-Paul

Although the sixth-year player Pierre-Paul finished the 2014 season with 12.5 sacks, he has struggled with nagging back problems and has not performed anywhere near the level he did during the 2011 Super Bowl run. The Giants put the franchise tag on him in order to keep him around. While no long-term deal has been hammered out, coach Tom Coughlin stated he would like to see Pierre-Paul retire in Giants blue. Continue reading Pierre-Paul, Rolle Among Giants’ Top Free Agents »

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BB-Dante

Mike Reiss of ESPN is reporting that the Patriots are in talks to bring back retired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The legendary offensive line coach retired after the 2013 season after having spent two decades coaching in New England. His replacement, Dave DeGuglielmo, had an up and down tenure in New England that ranged from a line that under-performed at times to a Super Bowl victory.

The play of the New England’s offensive line was the biggest issue in their AFC Championship loss to Denver and bringing Scarnecchia back would provide an instant upgrade. The Patriots still need to address the tackle position, however. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer have had injury issues and Marcus Cannon is a reserve player at best. Getting a quality third tackle will go  along way towards solving the Patriots’ problems.

Scarnecchia is a Hall of Fame level assistant coach who has routinely gotten the best out of his players. It is a major reason why he lasted through the regimes of several different head coaches and why some unheralded linemen became Super Bowl Champions. Many of the players on the roster have played under him and are comfortable with his style and respect his coaching acumen.

 

The familiarity that Scarnecchia brings to the table is a major selling point for him. He has had success in New England in the past and specifically with many of the same players that are still in Foxboro. Bill Belichick trusts him and Tom Brady will feel more comfortable knowing who is coaching his protectors. It is not set in stone yet, but it would be surprising at this point if he does not come back. Patriots fans should feel happy if he does; he won’t fix all of New England’s issues, but he will greatly improve a unit that was a black eye in the AFC Championship game.

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The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos are set to face off in what should be an epic showdown. Although the Super Bowl odds are tilted slightly in one team’s favor more heavily than we’ve seen in recent years, this matchup is very unique, where we have one team that’s on the rise, and one team that’s clinging on to veteran players. Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning has been the highlight of this game, as Manning has mentioned that this is likely to be his last season, and he wants to go out with a bang.

This matchup will be played during the first Sunday in February on the 7th. It will be the last game played in Levi’s Stadium, as the 49ers are moving to a new stadium after this season. The game is set to air at 6:25PM EST on CBS, but be sure to tune in early to watch the player introductions and the pre-game entertainment. The stage has been set for an epic showdown, and we just have to decide who to pick in this game. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Betting Preview by MyBookie.ag: Who has the Edge? »

Patriots Part Ways With Two Coaches

January 28, 2016 at 11:21am in Featured, NFL, Patriots

The Patriots parted ways this week with offensive line coach Dave Deguglielmo and strength coach Harold Nash. Both moves came within days of the Patriots falling to Denver in the AFC Championship game.

DeGuglielmo had been with the team for the past two seasons after replacing legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The offensive line struggled this season amid several injuries. When asked on WEEI this week, Bill Belichick said that DeGuglielmo’s contract was up and both sides decided to move on. However, it is also likely the Patriots didn’t want him back regardless. There were rumblings that his style did not completely mesh with that of the other Patriots coaches and the offensive line had its share of struggles.

Nash was with the Patriots from 2005 until earlier this week. His role as head strength and conditioning coach began in 2011. Patriots fans may know him as the person who held long exercise bands attached to Tom Brady on the sidelines. The Patriots had a high injury rate his year and although Nash is not completely to blame, the Patriots wanted to go in a different direction as far as their conditioning is concerned.

Both moves represent an early offseason  shuffling for the Patriots. No replacements have been identified for either position. The Patriots generally like to promote from within but they are willing to go outside the organization if it presents the best fit.

in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

The Patriots came up two points short of a trip to the Super Bowl in their loss to the Broncos. There were several factors in the loss, but none bigger than the play of the Patriots offensive line. Tom Brady was hit 20 times and was constantly under pressure. Von Miller, Demarcus Ware and Derek Wolfe dominated the Patriots front throughout the game.

New England struggled to move the ball until the fourth quarter and even then they had two drives end on failed fourth down conversions. On each of those failed conversions, Brady faced pressure. Brady also faced pressure on both of his interceptions, but neither was a good decision by him. Even the patented Patriots style of throwing before the rush could arrive was not effective throughout the game because the rush was supremely fast and the Broncos secondary played a great game. The injury earlier this season to left tackle Nate Solder made a large impact in this game, with Marcus Cannon routinely getting beat by Miller and Sebastian Vollmer having some struggles against Ware.

Despite this the Patriots still nearly tied the game on a two point conversion try with 12 seconds left. It is a disappointing end to a season that had the Patriots aiming for their fifth Lombardi Trophy. New England is fortunate that many of their key players are locked up going into next season and they will be getting reinforcements returning for 2016. However, with Solder coming off injury and Vollmer not getting any younger, it would behoove the Patriots to invest in a tackle in this year’s draft.

In the end, the 2015 Patriots started out like a team that could beat anyone but injuries and a few key mistakes led to their demise. Much can be debated about the finish to their regular season and today’s game, but the overriding theme in the end of their season was the offensive line getting beat consistently.

 

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The AFC Championship promises to be a great game. After defeating Kansas City and Pittsburgh, respectively, the New England Patriots will travel to Denver to play the Broncos on Sunday for a trip to Santa Clara. The main storyline will be the 17th matchup between future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the fourth time it has come in the AFC Championship.

On Saturday, Tom Brady looked much like he had during the first 10 games of the season. With Julian Edelman back and Rob Gronkowski having a full workload, Brady was able to get rid of the ball quickly and move the Patriots down the field. Edelman was not available the first time the Patriots played the Broncos this season and the team struggled at times to move the ball against a great defense. With him back, the Patriots will be able to put up points much easier.

On the other end of the spectrum, Manning didn’t play terrible, but he did not look like a quarterback capable of winning this week. He threw for 222 yards, but the Denver offense was quiet for most of the game and if not for a key fumble by Fitz Toussaint in the fourth quarter, they might have lost.

In order to win this week, the Broncos cannot rely on Manning. They will need big games out of Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson at running back. In order to counter this, the Patriots front seven will need to match the Denver running backs in the running and passing game. The Patriots’ ability to do this will come down to two players up front, Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. This is significant because the first time these two teams matched up Collins did not play and Hightower left early with an injury.

They were both on the field for most of the Divisional Round game. The Chiefs had 135 yards rushing, but 44 of those were on Alex Smith scrambles or designed runs. The Kansas City running backs combined for 28 yards receiving as well, putting their overall yardage output at 119. If the Patriots can hold the Denver backs to that number, it is unlikely the Denver offense will be able to put up more points than the Patriots.

Against the Steelers, Hillman or Anderson carried the ball on 31 of 70 offensive snaps and were also targeted four times in the passing game. Together, that is 50 percent of the offensive snaps that running backs were the focus. Denver didn’t show much ability to get the ball downfield outside of one catch by Emmanuel Sanders that went for 34 yards and one catch by Bennie Fowler that went for 31 yards. However, both of those passes traveled fewer than 20 yards from the line of scrimmage.

This is where Collins and Hightower come into play. The Patriots love to use both of them to blitz the A gap (between the center and the guard) to either create pressure up the middle or blow up run plays. Hightower can also cover well and Collins is an excellent coverage linebacker.

 

Collins and Hightower will need to makes plays in order to contain the Denver running backs. It almost sounds blasphemous to suggest that a team should force Manning to beat them, but that’s what this season has come down to. The more the Patriots can make Manning throw the ball downfield from the pocket the better. Eliminating the run game and his safety valves in the passing game will make it difficult for Denver to keep pace with New England.

Despite having an excellent defense, the Broncos are still going to need to put up points. If Collins and Hightower play well throughout the game, the Broncos won’t have enough juice to reach Super Bowl 50.

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Thanks to the Steelers win over the Bengals last night, the Patriots will host the Chiefs on Saturday at 4:30 pm in their Divisional playoff game. The chiefs defeated the Texans 30-0 earlier yesterday. The meeting will be the first time the two teams have faced each other since Kansas City blew out New England in week four of 2014. Since that game, the Patriots have lost a total of six games and won Super Bowl XLIX.

The Chiefs come into the game as the hottest team in the NFL, winners of 11 straight games. They are led by pass rush extraordinaires Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. Their defense also features Eric Berry at safety, Derrick Johnson at linebacker and a star rookie at corner in Marcus Peters.

Alex Smith has led the Chiefs offense that has come into its own this season, using a stable of running backs to move the ball. Travis Kelce is a solid tight end who gave the Patriots problems last season and if healthy Jeremy Maclin is a big playmaker for Kansas City. Andy Reid is no stranger to facing Bill Belichick, the two have squared off five times including  Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Chiefs are a physical team that will come into Foxboro not fearing the Patriots. The quality of opponent they faced in the Wild Card round was low, but they are team that can force turnovers and slow the Patriots offense down. The key for New England will be staying out of any second or third and long situations in order to avoid having to deal with Hali and Houston in an obvious passing situation. The Patriots should win this game, but the Chiefs present a solid test and will take advantage of any Patriots mistakes.

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Julian Edelman Likely Out Sunday

December 31, 2015 at 12:06pm in Featured, NFL, Patriots, Top Story
New England Patriots' Julian Edelman (11) returns a punt as Buffalo Bills' Marcus Dowtin (54) attempts to tackle him during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in Orchard Park. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Tom E. Curran of CSNNE tweet that the chances of Julian Edelman returning to action on Sunday are “real long.” Edelman has been out since he broke a bone in his foot during the first half of the Patriots win over the Giants in November.  The timetable for Edelman’s recovery could open the possibility for him to play this week and he has been practicing over the last several weeks. However, the Patriots can likely defeat the Dolphins and lock up the number one seed without him and the team has had little injury luck this season.

Prior to his injury, Edelman had amassed 61 catches for 692 yards and seven touchdowns in just under eight and a half games. He was also a major reason why the Patriots’ poor offensive line play did not show up as he was able to get open quickly and allow Tom Brady to throw faster than pass rushers could get to him.

This is an important function of Edelman, as well as Danny Amendola, and they will be counted on when they return. Because the team already has a first round bye, sitting Edelman out this weekend would give him an additional two weeks of rest before returning to action.

It likely won’t be clear until tomorrow or Saturday if Edelman is playing, but it would not be surprising for the team to hold him and out and play things on the safe side.

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