Want to know why whiny New England Patriots fans are the worst? Because everything always goes perfectly for their team.
Oh, the Patriots’ backup tight end addition isn’t working out so hot? Well, the Green Bay Packers will decide to waive Martellus Bennett, no one else will pick him up and the Patriots will claim him off waivers on a veteran minimum salary.
Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
@DougKyed Why do you think the Pats didn’t cut Dwayne Allen for Marty? Surely now with Bennett back in the TE corps the group is already stronger than the DE group #MailDoug
Many people expected the Patriots to cut one tight end for another when they claimed Bennett off waivers from the Green Bay Packers. If Allen is going to be released, however, it won’t happen until the Patriots know Bennett is healthy and can contribute. Bennett reportedly has a torn rotator cuff, and he “may try to play through it.”
The Patriots still need a backup tight end until they know Bennett’s status, especially with wide receiver Chris Hogan likely out Sunday night (and potentially beyond) with a shoulder injury. The Patriots could even decide to keep both Bennett (if healthy) and Allen on the roster. Allen probably is the better blocker at this point in their careers, and both players could serve as insurance if Rob Gronkowski gets injured again.
The Patriots simply weren’t using Geneo Grissom, who they waived for Bennett. And they’re likely confident they can get Grissom through waivers and back on their practice squad.
Did Shea McClellin’s setback occur prior to the trade deadline or after? Do you think his anticipated return impacted how the team approached the trade deadline?
The deadline was Oct. 31, and linebacker Shea McClellin practiced Nov. 1, so the injury (which reportedly is a concussion) setback occurred after the Patriots could have upgraded their linebacker depth through a trade.
There’s no real way of knowing if the Patriots would have acquired more linebacker/edge help had they known McClellin couldn’t play this season, but it’s certainly more likely they would have. The Patriots have had bad luck overall with players in that role this season. Rob Ninkovich retired, rookie Derek Rivers tore his ACL over the summer, Dont’a Hightower suffered a torn pectoral muscle and undrafted rookie Harvey Langi was placed on non-football injury after suffering serious injuries in a car accident.
So, yes, getting a versatile player like McClellin back from IR would have been big. Because all of those players have suffered injuries, defensive end Trey Flowers has been forced to drop back into coverage more frequently. That isn’t ideal. Expect to see linebacker Kyle Van Noy continue to take on more of a hybrid edge role moving forward. The Patriots could start giving Trevor Reilly more snaps, as well.
@DougKyed How much does the loss of Shea hurt the defense going forward?
Honestly, I thought it was kind of overblown until I answered the question above.
But the Patriots have lost a ton of versatility through all of those injuries. The Patriots love players who can rush the passer and drop back into coverage because it helps confuse quarterbacks. Now they really only have one player — Van Noy — who is adept in both skillsets. Flowers has dropped into coverage on over 10 percent of passing snaps this season, but it’s not always (ever?) pretty.
@DougKyed should the pats try to claim Vontae Davis?
No, because he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season and reportedly is undergoing season-ending surgery.
If Davis clears waivers, then maybe they could try to convince him to sign a two-year contract, but it seems unlikely Davis would be willing to do that for the amount of money the Patriots would be willing to pay him. It’s worth looking into, though. If the Patriots added Davis, then there would be less pressure to re-sign Malcolm Butler over the offseason.
#MailDoug Do you have confidence in the linebackers we currently have going forward this season?
Confidence is a strong word.
With the way Van Noy has played over the last couple of weeks, I have confidence he can continue producing at a high level. I actually think veteran David Harris should continue to see more snaps. It appears he’s doing good things when on the field. I’m not sure if he can take on 100 percent of snaps per game, but he certainly deserves a role.
Elandon Roberts excels as a run defender, but he has been slightly inconsistent this season. If he can produce at a more consistent level, then he could be an excellent run-stuffing middle linebacker.
There’s just a lot of questions at that position that would have been solved if Ninkovich, Hightower, Rivers, Langi or McClellin could play. The timing of McClellin’s setback was brutal if the Patriots believed they could get linebacker help at the deadline.
Who takes Hogan’s catches? #MailDoug
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett might get a couple per game, but I expect Danny Amendola to receive the biggest boost in targets and receptions. The bye week came at a good time for Amendola, who’s nursing a knee injury.
2 parter here. Do you think when Jimmy was drafted, Pats brass expected TB12 to be fading by now/when do you think they saw enough to say “old dude can still play so let’s move on w/Tom?” #maildoug
Yes, I do.
His receivers wound up being to blame, but Tom Brady was nowhere near as good in 2013 as he has been since. He had an 87.3 passer rating, his lowest since 2003, and his deep-ball ability was quickly eroding. He since has seen his passer rating rise every season from 2013 to 2016 and with it, his deep ball has improved. With the way Brady is playing now, I think the Patriots believe he’ll be able to continue this for at least a few more years.
280 characters for #MailDoug is a blessing… With Cannon (AKA Von Miller’s daddy) looking like he could be out, how do you think the Patriots will stop Von Miller from ripping Tom Brady’s head off? #MailDoug
The same way they did in Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers when Brady had Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram coming for his head. Don’t be surprised if Brady is pressured often, but he has to evade the pass rush and get the ball out relatively quickly to avoid being sacked. Brady avoiding sacks is as much on him as it is on his blockers.
Expect to see tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen and the Patriots’ running backs chipping in as blockers. Week 8 was a solid test for Nate Solder and LaAdrian Waddle as they get prepared for Von Miller.
Let’s go rapid fire.
@DougKyed Does/Can Bennet play this Sunday vs Broncos?
He probably could, but we have no idea where he currently stands with his shoulder injury, so definitely don’t expect it. We don’t even know if he’ll fly to New England or if he’s going straight to Colorado.
What are your top 5 30/30 documentaries
Four Days In October, The Marinovich Project, You Don’t Know Bo, Rand University and Nature Boy.
Does Dwayne Allen catch a pass this season? #MailDoug
He might have to do it Sunday night if it’s going to happen.
@DougKyed Sup? #MailDug
Listening to new Taylor Swift and watching “Thursday Night Football.” I’m writing this earlier than usual because the Patriots have locker room availability at 7 a.m. (!) on Friday morning.
“Getaway Car” is a banger on “Reputation.”
@DougKyed turkey or ham for thanksgiving? what are the best sides?
And green bean casserole, stuffing and mashed potatoes. Get other vegetables out of my face.
Why doesn’t burkhead play out of the slot?
Because he’s a running back.
No, but seriously, it’s because he’s a running back.
After seeing Dwight Freeneys performances so far in Seattle, why on earth didn´t the Pats sign him? Would be perfect, for what the team needs….
That’s a very good question, Jimmy.
Freeney not only has three sacks in two games with the Seahawks this season, he’s also third in Pro Football Focus’ pass-rush productivity in the last two weeks with eight pressures in just 39 pass-rush snaps.
The Patriots definitely could have used him on third down.
Did the Pats just claim Marty’s 3 year deal, or is it just this season?
His three-year deal, but there’s no cap hit if they release him after this season.
How tall are you? #MailDoug
@DougKyed NE near last on waivers. why do you think he feel so far?
Bennett? Apparently every other team wanted him to be on the Patriots or something. Buncha dum-dums.
If Marty plays out the season and then retires like he says he will, do Pats get stuck with any cap penalties or dead money? #mAiLdOuG #MailDoug