Brady Writes Letter to Patriots Fans

January 28, 2016 at 5:02pm in Patriots
Tom Brady Facebook

The Patriots season did not end in sunny Santa Clara California, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as New England fans had hoped, instead it ended in defeat and disappointment in Denver. Blame the O-Line, blame the kicker, blame the play calling from McDaniels, even blame Tom Brady and the ducks he threw up for grabs resulting in two picks. For me, personally, I blame Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel’s arrogant play calling in Miami earning the Patriots a week 17 loss and sending them to Denver for the AFC Championship rather than hosting it. The Patriots ran the ball 27 times for 70 yards, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. With multiple 3rd and long plays the coaching staff elected to run the ball and then punt. Only when it was too late did they allow Brady to throw and then the whole plan to protect Brady and establish a run game was out the window with the Dolphins getting pressure on every pass play, running through the Pats porous offensive line and leaving Brady tits up in the backfield for a good portion of the second half. Whoa, now that I got that out, I think I can move on.

The season is over and the grieving process has begun. As part of this process Tom Brady issued a handwritten letter to fans via Facebook. In the letter Brady thanks the fans for all the support over the season and states his pride in calling New England his home. A nice touch from Brady in a tough time for the team and New England fans. The AFC Championship was difficult to watch, with an un-Patriot-like performance allowing for mistakes, turnovers, and lack of execution. Outside of the defense from New England, this will not be a game with many positive things to look back on. Brady and the Pats never gave up, with big conversions down the field and then ultimately in the endzone to Gronkowski there was a glimmer of hope at the end but fell a 2-point conversion short.

Hopefully next season New England fans will once again see the well-oiled machine known as the Patriots offense with a better protection plan for TB12. One thing is for certain, New England will have a new offensive line coach, and, most would imagine, a differently looking offensive line to start next season.

On the upside for Patriot Nation, Tom Brady will return next year with a top notch core of receiving weapons, again be the favorite in the AFC East and a threat to go to Super Bowl 51. That cannot be said for Denver, this may be the last run for Ol’ Peyton Manning. So enjoy the Super Bowl Pat’s fans, no need to yell at the TV, or holler at whoever is reaching for nachos, blocking the game on a key third down, just enjoy the beer and truck commercials and watch the game like a casual sports fan, you know, like people from outside of New England.

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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.

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning

Well, I was wrong. I was wrong dead to rights. I was a deer caught in the headlights on this one.

I’m a man, so I’ll admit my wrongs. And, you know, after it’s all said and done, I’m not really mad. I’m sort of over it already, surprisingly. After 2014, even though I kept telling myself I wasn’t mad, I was burning on the inside. It felt like the Salem Witch Trial people were burning a witch to death next to my heart. I felt like my heart had been replaced with a furnace stockpiled with everyone’s Christmas coal. I was devastated- mostly because people gave Peyton credit where it wasn’t due. That reared its ugly head in the SB where he got punished nationwide (excuse the pun) 43-8. Continue reading Honestly Not Even Mad, Just Very Disappointed after Patriots Loss to Broncos »

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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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Against the Denver Broncos, Patriots QB Tom Brady joined a short list in the NFL record books by throwing for 3 TDs in his fourth straight game. Another one, and he's be in even more elite company. (ESPN.com)

The AFC Championship game is coming this weekend, or as I like to call it- the Brady Bowl. Tom Brady has been to this thing 10 of the last 15 seasons, and that’s COUNTING the season he tore his ACL. This shows Brady’s true dominance of the game. He’s literally been to more Championship games than most other franchises have been. If that’s not saying something, I honestly don’t know what will. The guy is a King, a true warrior of the game. It doesn’t surprise me we’re here again, and it won’t when we get there next year, too (you heard it here first). And I’m not even worried a smidge about the game being in Denver. Who cares?

People try to compare this thing to the 2014 AFC Championship game. I’m sorry, what? The two are literally incomparable. That game, we had no Gronk or Wilfork, and Welker took out Talib during the game. It was as close as Manning could get to playing against a Junior High School defense. But that’s all in the past. I don’t care anymore. We all know what happened to the lowly Broncos anyways; they got spanked on national television by the Seahawks. Continue reading The Brady Bowl, and Why Peyton May be in Trouble »

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Foxsports.com

The AFC Championship game has New England heading to Denver for a highly anticipated Sunday afternoon match up. The Patriots and Broncos have provided fans with some great games over the past few seasons. The championship game brings not just the top two seeded teams in the AFC together but also the top two quarterbacks of this era of football to face each other once again in what is likely the last Brady vs Manning post season match up. With the high stakes of a Super Bowl appearance on the line, the hype of a Brady vs Manning contest, and the pairing of Gronk, Edelman, and Amendola vs the Denver secondary led by Harris Jr, Talib, and the physically dangerous T.J. Ward has also led to some entertaining banter between the teams.

In a SportsCenter interview Tuesday Chris Harris Jr. was asked about stopping Rob Gronkowski, his response was the following: “You gotta hit him low, man. Hit him in his knees. That’s the best chance you got of hitting him.” As many know Gronkowski has had his share of injuries, particularly to his knee dating back to the 2013 ACL and MCL tear precipitated by T.J. Ward’s untimely contact to the knee at the exact moment Gronk planted his foot in the ground. The hit jarred open the debate of low hits being clean hits as Gronk was sidelined with the season ending injury. Another scare for the big tight end happened on a snowy night this November in the lost to Denver where a shoulder to knee appeared much worse than it actually was and had Gronk and all of New England holding their breath. To be fair to Chris Harris Jr tackling Gronkowski low may be the only way to drag him to the ground. He is too big and strong for most defensive backs to pull down alone and, with speed to out run linebackers if able to get loose, is one of the best yards after contact receivers in the league. Whether Gronkowski actually took offense to the comment about hitting him low or just sounded off in anticipation of the biggest game of the season Gronk responded in a very Gronk way with this double entendre via twitter: https://twitter.com/PaetyWinant. Without diving into the implied meaning of the duel-edged comment it is clear to see Gronkowski fans and followers will likely have a laugh at the expense of an unappreciative Broncos squad, as tensions between the teams continue to rise heading into Sunday.

With the history of these two post-season giants, a quarterback rivalry dating back over a decade, Gronkowski’s history and Ward’s presence the comments made by Harris and response from Gronk have gained a lot of traction in the build up to Sunday’s game. Ultimately this is probably the least serious thing that will be discussed this week leading up to the game but it is entertaining to see the two sides go at each other and for those following along to have a laugh as the Broncos now have some great white board material. After all it is going to almost necessary as the week rolls on to talk about something other than Brady vs Manning statistics and which analyst picks who as the best quarterback of the era. At this point both signal callers know that success is measured in rings and both will be playing for a chance to get their teams to another Super Bowl and solidify an already established greatness.

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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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