Tag:Adam Vinatieri
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:25 am
 

Offseason Checkup: New England Patriots

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

 

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups .



The Patriots were probably the best team in football last season, compiling a 14-2 record before surprisingly losing to the Jets in the second round of the playoffs. Let’s see what New England had: Outstanding QB, check. Pretty good running game, check. A good enough offensive line and wide receiving corps, yes. A rock-solid defense, um, no.

The team had its problems on defense – which is talented but oh so young – but the wizardry of Brady who knows coach Bill Belichick’s system so well overcame most of those defensive hiccups. The Patriots haven’t had a losing season this century, so whatever constructive criticism that follows in this piece doesn’t suggest that the Patriots suddenly will struggle to win games. With Belichick, that simply doesn’t happen very often (unless, ahem, he’s donning the headset in Cleveland).




Recent unsuccessful playoff runs

A ridiculous statistic for you: the Patriots haven’t won a playoff game since the 2007 AFC championship game. That’s right, since that undefeated New England squad lost the Super Bowl to the Giants, the Ravens in the 2009 playoffs and the Jets in 2010 – all three of those were considered upsets, as well.

Doesn’t matter that New England has an annual chokehold on the AFC East (though New York is beginning to threaten that dominance), the Patriots can’t get anywhere in the playoffs. They haven’t won a Super Bowl in six years. So, what’s the problem?




1. Wide Receiver
Getting rid of Randy Moss probably was the right call for New England, but when the Patriots sent him away, they also lost their downfield threat. You might argue that Moss’ skills are in decline – and the Titans would DEFINITELY say that – but he’s still quite a long-ball receiver. Wes Welker is one of the best slot receivers in the game, Deion Branch had a nice comeback year and New England’s young tight ends are really solid. But a Moss-like receiver would be welcome.

2. More DL depth
Mike Wright and Ron Brace missed a combined nine regular-season games last season before injuries forced them to the Injured Reserve lists while Ty Warren missed the entire year, and a trio of rookies (two of whom were undrafted) were forced to step in and replace them. What the Patriots need in this year’s draft is a pass rusher off the edge, and since they have a plethora of draft picks, they could certainly try to trade up and find one. Wright, with 5.5 sacks, was the team leader, and following behind him were LBs Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich. They need some help on the DL, though newly-signed Marcus Stroud could certainly ease some of that burden.

3. Better secondary play
Devin McCourtey had a strong rookie season, leading the team with seven interceptions and Leigh Bodden – who missed all of last year – will be a definite upgrade over Kyle Arrington. Pat Chung is solid at the SS spot, but FS Brandon Meriweather wasn’t very good last season (how he made the Pro Bowl is baffling). It would not be a surprise if New England tries to replace him.




The Patriots obviously have some corrections that need to be made. But this franchise has been the best – and most feared – in the NFL since Belichick took over (though Rex Ryan absolutely will NOT kiss his rings), and he doesn’t hesitate to get rid of loyal Patriots who he feels can’t help them anymore (I’m looking at you Richard Seymour, Adam Vinatieri, et al). The Patriots will continue to battle with the Jets for AFC East dominance, but like usual, New England will be a preseason favorite to win the Super Bowl.

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 9:33 am
Edited on: February 4, 2011 9:36 am
 

Why is Ray Guy not in the HOF?

Ray Guy punting in 1974 (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – Tim Masthay surprised me the other day. I was asking him about punters and about the Hall of Fame and if punters deserved consideration for induction into Canton, Ohio’s most hallowed grounds.

Especially with the 44 sports writers voting for the 2011 Hall of Fame class this Saturday in Dallas, I asked Masthay about punting pioneer Ray Guy (who’s not on the finalists list this year, by the way) and if Guy should be allowed to break the punting barrier.

I expected a defense of Guy – or, at the very least, an explanation of why punters SHOULD be voted in. That’s not what I got from the Packers punter, though.

“I really don’t feel that punters are snubbed that much or that they don’t get the credit that’s due to them,” Masthay said. “I guess punters are like any other position in the sense that they can have a big impact on the game, but I don’t know all the criteria for getting in the Hall of Fame. Whether or not we should qualify, I’m not really sure. I really couldn’t say yes or no. But I know punters can be a big factor in games.”

Right, like the NFC championship game vs. the Bears, when after Green Bay’s offense stalled out for much of the contest, Masthay’s booming punts kept the Bears offense in bad field position while making returner Devin Hester largely irrelevant. One could argue that Masthay was the MVP of that game. If a game like that doesn’t engage a conversation, what will?

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Masthay said. “I can see why it’s tough, because the most you’re going to play is about eight plays in a game. I don’t really feel that punters are snubbed to be honest.”

I disagree. The only pure kicker in the Hall of Fame is Jan Stenerud, though that might change five years after Adam Vinatieri retires. But Guy was such a big part of revolutionizing the game with his talent and style. Hell, he’s been a finalist seven times but hasn’t taken that next step.

“He brought punting into the modern era, and if there was a patron saint of punters of the league, he’s it,” said Joe Reedy, the Bengals beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer and a Hall of Fame voter. “And he should be in. But with all special team players, it’s difficult. We see the backlog of players just among the final 15. I think all of them deserve to be in, but you can only get so many of them in at the same time.”

Reedy thinks Guy eventually will make his way into the Hall of Fame, but I’m beginning to have my doubts. Masthay doesn’t seem to mind either way.

“You look at the selectors, and every year, there are two to three different guys that cycle in who are new that kind of change the persona or change the outlook a little bit,” Reedy said. “Most of us growing up saw the special teams age and saw how valuable Guy was. It slants it more and more in his favor.”

[More Super Bowl coverage]


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Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:19 pm
 

Hot Routes 10.11.10 boxscore tidbits Week 5

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

LeSean McCoy, playing with cracked ribs, had 92 yards on 18 carries at San Francisco.

Michael Crabtree came into Sunday’s game with just 11 catches for 139 yards on the season. Against the Eagles, Crabtree caught nine balls for 105 yards and his first touchdown.

The Jaguars became the latest team to plaster the Bills defense with 200 yards rushing. Maurice Jones-Drew had 84 of those yards on 19 carries. Sixth-round rookie Deji Karim added 70 yards on 15 carries. Karim also had a 51-yard kick return.

The Bills have allowed at least 150 yards rushing in 13 of their last 19 games.

Marcedes Lewis caught a pair of touchdowns for the Jags. Frustrated No. 1 receiver Mike Sims-Walker also got into the end zone (his second TD on the year). Sims-Walker, who was blanked for the second time last week, finished with four receptions for 46 yards.

Derrick Harvey got half a sack for the Jags. (Is it sad that this felt necessary to report?)

Cedric Benson topped the century mark on the ground for the first time this season, rushing for 144 yards against the Bucs.

Bucs rookie wideout Mike Williams had the best game of his young career. Williams, targeted 11 times, had seven receptions for 99 yards and a score – and against a very stellar Bengals secondary.

Terrell Owens went over 100 yards for the second week in a row, while Chad Ochocinco had just 20 yards on three catches. Ochocinco has been held to three or four catches and less than 60 yards receiving in each game since the team’s Week 1 blowout loss to the Patriots.

In the Bengals-Bucs game, the starting safeties for both teams finished first and second in total tackles for their teams.

If you’re wondering who will replace Mark Clayton as the go-to guy in St. Louis…Danny Amendola was targeted 19 times against Detroit.

The Rams were awful giving up 44 points, but on the bright side, it was the first time all season that they’ve allowed more than 17 points. (For what it’s worth, the defense was technically only responsible for 30 of the points Sunday.)

Adam Vinatieri knocked in four field goals for the Colts on Sunday (none of them Super Bowl game-winners, though). It marked the 16th time in the likely future Hall of Famer’s career that he’s made at least four kicks.

Until Sunday, the Redskins had not won back-to-back games since Weeks 7 and 8 of the 2008 NFL season.

Thanks to a 71-yard scamper, Brandon Jackson needed just 10 carries to post a career-high 115 yards rushing against the Redskins.

Six different Redskins had at least 20 yards receiving Sunday. Chris Cooley, Anthony Armstrong and Santana Moss combined for 271.

In addition to a crucial overtime interception, LaRon Landry had a team-high 13 tackles. The fourth-year safety is having a career year playing in Jim Haslett’s scheme.

The Panthers had 62 yards net passing Sunday. That would look bad if not for the fact that the Bears had 29 yards.

Jonathan Stewart had 30 yards on eight carries. More noteworthy is that it was his second most productive game on the season.

Baltimore outrushed Denver by 194 yards.

Days after complaining about his role in the offense, T.J. Houshmandzadeh was targeted only three times. Hey, at least Anquan Boldin was only targeted three times. Housh had two catches, 24 yards. Boldin had one catch, eight yards.

Andre Johnson had five catches for 95 yards, but he was held to just one catch for most of the afternoon. His numbers game in quasi-garbage time.

Osi Umenyiora notched two more sacks. He has six on the season, five in the last two games.

The Texans had a franchise-low 24 yards rushing against the Giants. The previous franchise low was 25 yards against the Jets in 2006.

After the loss at Arizona, the Saints are just 7/19 in the red zone this season.

Saints Cardinals nearly gave us the perfect time of possession balance. Saints: 30:01; Cardinals: 29:59.

Beanie Wells got 20 carries but mustered just 35 yards.

Michael Huff had 11 tackles and a sack for the Raiders. Of course, he was also part of a secondary that yielded 431 yards through the air.


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Posted on: September 24, 2010 10:32 am
 

Hot Routes 9.24.10: Where Randy Moss is perfect

Posted by Will Brinson

Hot Route time, people. Got a link you want submitted? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • So, you probably remember Randy Moss' one-handed catch from last week against the Jets. Well, it was so good that the folks at EA Sports decided to bump his "spectacular catch" rating on Madden up from a 99 to a 100. This is the first time anyone's had a 100-rating in two years and previously Reggie Bush (agility), Tom Brady (awareness), Peyton Manning (awareness), Sebastian Janikowski (kick power) and Braylon Edwards (spectacular catch) also received the "honor, according to Kotaku . I have a little beef with the Braylon thing, especially since he apparently had a 99 rating for the same thing this year, meaning there's a 100 percent chance that Donny Moore, ratings czar, is a Michigan grad. No other way to explain it.
  • Poor Lee Evans. He's "loyal to the Buffalo Bills, almost to a fault ." If you're gonna be that loyal to something, make it be something good that doesn't hurt you so much. Like coffee, or heroin or something. 
  • Pretty good stat here from Blogging the Boys : the Cowboys are 22-1 since leading at half over the last three seasons. The logic behind them stinking when they're behind is that Jason Garrett turns into someone with an Xbox controller who can't remember to balance the run and the pass when he's losing.
  • Our buddy Joel Thorman predicts that Jamaal Charles will come out of the San Fran game with more carriest than Thomas Jones. The logic here is that against a weaker Browns defense, it makes sense to pound the ball straight in their freaking faces with Jones. Against the Niners though, Charles might be the better play.
Posted on: August 25, 2010 7:20 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Report: Pats extend kicker Gostkowski

Posted by Will Brinson

Stephen Gostkowski, the fifth-year kicker who replaced Adam Vinatieri, and the New England Patriots have reached an agreement on an extension, according to reports.

The Boston Herald 's Ian Rapoport reports that the Gostkowski, who signed a one-year tender this offseason as a restricted free agent that paid him $1.79 million, and the Patriots have reached a four-year extension.

He will now be significantly more compensated now -- according to Rapoport's report, he'll make about $3.5 million a year through 2014, with $5 million in guaranteed money on a deal that begins after 2010.

That's a chunk of change, but the Pats' kicker has proven worthy of being a highly paid kicker, having only missed 18 field goals over the course of his career. And considering that Sebastian Janikowski makes $16 million over four years ($9 guaranteed), that's pretty good value for the Pats.

For those particularly inclined to judge his accuracy (like me!), he's 30/33 from inside 30 yards, 31/35 from 31-39 yards, 14/20 from 40-49 yards and 2/2 from 50 yards and longer. He also has the fifth-highest field goal percentage in NFL history (Vinatieri is 12th).

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