Tag:Aaron Hernandez
Posted on: October 6, 2010 11:16 am
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How Moss trade will affect New England

With R. Moss gone, look for B. Tate to get more attention from opponents (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Some of you were introduced to Patriots WR Brandon Tate on Monday Night Football when he used his immense speed to burn the Dolphins special teams and return the second-half kickoff for a 103-yard TD. Well, if you liked what you saw, get ready. You’ll be seeing a lot more of Tate now that Randy Moss has been traded to the Vikings.

You might not believe this, but with his nine catches, Moss ranked fourth on his team in receptions. As the season wore on, Patriots QB Tom Brady didn’t target Moss quite as much and elected to throw the ball to Wes Welker, TE Aaron Hernandez and Tate.

On the surface, it seems like Welker will be the most affected by the Moss trade. In the same way Minnesota’s Percy Harvin will benefit in the slot when Moss – and the stretching-the-field ability he brings to each snap – is on the field, Welker loses perhaps the best deep threat in the game. The Patriots obviously hope Tate can grow into that role. This also might provide a good opportunity to see what third-round pick Taylor Price, who's been inactive for all four games this year, can do on the field.

You also have to wonder if Moss had become a distraction (no, not Randy Moss!). He bitched about his contract after the Patriots beat Atlanta in the season-opener, and according to a few reports, Moss was lazy in his blocking (what, Moss lazy in his blocking?!?) during the Miami game in which Brady targeted Moss just once.

Unless we’re talking about addition by subtraction, this move doesn’t do much to help the 2010 version of the Patriots. I’ve already mentioned how Minnesota feels the need to win the Super Bowl this year, and I imagine New England also wouldn’t mind hoisting the trophy at the end of the season. But does trading Moss away get the Patriots any closer to that goal?

I don’t think that it does.

The defense has been unimpressive – it ranks 28th in the NFL - and until the Patriots special teams began to dominate the Dolphins, New England struggled to score points on offense (I realize the Patriots, at this point, are the No. 1 NFL team in points scored, but they also rank 11th in total yards per game).

Plus, the wide receiving corps is simply not as good as it was yesterday.

But think about this. The Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Those years, the top WRs were players like Troy Brown, David Patten, Deion Branch, and David Givens. Solid guys, but nobody extra special. Nobody like Moss.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: October 6, 2010 1:37 pm
 

Patriots are suddenly reloading at a rapid rate

Posted by Will Brinson

The knee-jerk reaction to the deal that sent Randy Moss from the Patriots to the Vikings is "TOM BRADY IS DONE!" (Well, from a fantasy football perspective anyway -- there's also the "The Patriots are giving up!" reaction as well.)

Both are silly, of course.

The deal just, hypothetically, means less deep balls in their offense -- but even that might not be correct with the lightning-fast Brandon Tate on the roster. And outside of that, they still have plenty of weapons in Wes Welker (he's good, duh), Julian Edelman (he's Wes Welker 2.0), Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

More importantly though, they now have two draft picks in the each of the first FOUR rounds of the 2011 NFL draft.

Think for a moment about how silly that is -- assuming they don't package these picks for more selections (which is not a safe assumption), they'll be grabbing eight players before most people get four and some people get three.

They have the Oakland Raiders' first-rounder (which is looking like a lottery ticket at the moment), the Carolina Panthers second-rounder (appearing to be in the high end of that round as well), the Minnesota Vikings third-rounder, and the Denver Broncos' fourth-rounder (you may recall they sent Laurence Maroney's corpse for that).

So, yes, eight selections in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft, a freshly signed Tom Brady, a slew of weapons on the offensive end and a young, but talented defense that needs some time to gel.

Are they the Super Bowl favorites this year? Of course not. Did losing Randy Moss probably hurt their short-term chances? Yes.

Can they turn those picks into high quality contributors and/or more picks in the future? That's the most important question, but it's safe to say that, yeah, they probably can do that. And because of that, the 2010 Patriots, once considered a near-dead dynasty, are suddenly straight reloaded.
Posted on: October 4, 2010 8:21 pm
 

Three keys for MNF

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

A couple of keys before we settle in to watch the Patriots play the Dolphins.

1) Patriots WR Randy Moss vs. Dolphins CBs Vontae Davis or Jason Allen:
Last season, Moss had some pretty good stats vs. the Dolphins, combining for eight catches, 213 yards and two TDs. But Davis, in his second season, is looking to change that outcome tonight. Also, the Miami secondary has some height to it, and that could create some problems for New England’s wide receivers. But don’t forget about the Patriots tight ends – Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and Alge Crumpler.

2) Dolphins RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams vs. the Patriots run defense: New England is currently ranked No. 24 in the league by allowing 119 yards per game, and though Miami hasn’t been great in this facet (112 yards per game and just one TD), it’s got talent. Brown has been much better than Williams – who’s already lost three fumbles this year – but the two are still splitting carries. Brown will be looking for a big game tonight, and he just might get it.

3) Neither team can afford to fall behind the Jets in the AFC East:
With the Jets easy win against Buffalo on Sunday, they moved to 3-1 on the season. New England and Miami are 2-1, but both already have losses against New York. A loss tonight, though it certainly wouldn’t be disastrous, would push that team to into third place in the AFC East. It won’t be a pretty view if that team has to look up at the Jets and the Patriots.

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Posted on: September 28, 2010 10:21 pm
 

Clearing up the Aaron Hernandez record

Posted by Andy Benoit

In Monday’s Hot Routes, we mentioned that Patriots rookie Aaron Hernandez set a franchise record for longest run by a tight end: 13 yards. We then added, “Eat your heart out Ben Coates…or whoever had the record to begin with.”
A. Hernandez
Well, on Tuesday, Patriots PR director Stacey James responded to our inquiry and said that the previous record for longest tight end run was held by Benjamin Watson (11 yards).

Can’t imagine many of you care, but we felt obligated to share since James is one of the better PR directors in the league and some poor intern on his staff probably had to spend at least a little time digging up that obscure record.

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:02 pm
 

Hot Routes 9.27.10 box score tidbits

Posted by Andy Benoit

After Tony Romo said the Cowboys needed to get the running game going, Marion Barber had 17 carries for a hard-fought 55 yards against the Texans. Felix Jones showed most of the usual speed and quickness that he, for whatever reason, hadn’t displayed the first two weeks. Jnes gained 43 yards on seven carries.

The 49ers managed just 43 yards on the ground against a Chiefs defense that ranked 31st against the run last season. (Granted, it is a much-improved Chiefs defense. But still…)

Frank Gore didn’t get going on the ground, but he amassed yards on nine catches. Michael Crabtree, however, has just six catches for 81 yards…on the season.L. Tomlinson (US Presswire)

3 sacks for Chiefs underrated, over-energized OLB Tamba Hali. The fifth-year pro also recorded two tackles for a loss.

The Lions were 3/12 on third down against the Vikings. But the Vikings were 3/11 on third down against the Lions. Fun game.

The Patriots ripped off 200 yards rushing against the Bills. Forty two of those yards game from ex-Jet Danny Woodhead. Ninety eight came from BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who is fast become a favorite of the coaching staff.

Rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez had another strong outing, leading the Patriots with six catches for 65 yards. He also set a tight end team record for longest run: 13 yards. (Eat your heart out Ben Coates…or whoever had the record to begin with.)

Great day for tight ends in New Orleans. Jeremy Shockey had eight catches for 78 yards and a score (most of the catches were of the usual manhood-validating variety that Shockey has mastered). Tony Gonzalez, not to be outdone, had eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Counting assists, every Saints linebacker posted double digit tackles against the Falcons.

Chris Johnson had 125 yards against the Giants, but it took him 32 carries to get it. He looked exhausted by the second quarter.

23:28 = Panthers time of possession against the Bengals. 23:28 might also equal Carson Palmer’s 40 time. Of course, with a cannon arm, Palmer doesn’t need to run. But does Palmer still have cannon arm? He was 19/37 for 195 yards, his second straight game under 200 yards passing. There are whispers that Palmer still doesn’t look like his pre-elbow surgery self.

Ryan Torain led the Redskins with 46 yards on seven carries. Remember the name – this guy will probably wind up being the team’s top rusher in the second half of the season.

David Garrard somehow threw 31 incompletion on 30 pass attempts. Just kidding. But seriously, Garrard was bad. 13/30 for 105 yards and a pick.

Michael Vick ran the ball only four times against the Jags (30 yards and a touchdown).

After Sunday’s game, 10 of DeSean Jackson’s 18 career touchdowns have been 50 yards or longer.

The Chargers had five turnovers and gave up two kickoff returns for touchdowns at Seattle. That’s what it takes to nullify a career-high 455 yards passing from Philip Rivers.

LaDainian Tomlinson has taken over as the No. 1 running back for the Jets. He had 15 carries against the Dolphins, five more than Shonn Greene had. Tomlinson managed a hearty 70 yards on the night.


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Posted on: September 21, 2010 11:25 pm
 

Young AFC East tight ends getting it done

Posted by Andy Benoit

There were plenty of big-name receivers on the field in New York Sunday (Moss, Welker, Edwards, Cotchery) but the stars of the passing game were the young tight ends.

For the Patriots, fourth-round rookie Aaron Hernandez led the way with 101 yards on six receptions. The popular thing to say about the ex-Florida Gator is that, at a willowy 6’2”, 250 pounds, he looks more like a wide receiver. Indeed, Hernandez has rare fluidity and suppleness. More than half of his yards were a result of deft running after the catch. But since everyone is talking about his build, let’s make a big deal about Hernandez’s youth. Did you know Hernandez won’t be of drinking age until November 6?

For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller came to life after catching just two passes for nine yards and failing to pick up a crucial first down late in Week 1 against the Ravens. Keller, who, like Hernandez, is practically a glorified slot receiver, caught seven balls for 115 yards against the Patriots.

If the Jets want Mark Sanchez to continue opening up the offense, they’ll need Keller’s receiving prowess in the slot. He is the young quarterback’s safety outlet.

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 10:57 am
 

Rookie TE Hernandez Is Becoming a True Patriot

New England’s fourth-round pick out of Florida, tight end Aaron Hernandez, is learning the one skill that all Patriot players must learn: talking to the media without saying anything. Hernandez has been dogged by reports that he failed multiple drug tests for marijuana while in college. He has admitted to failing one test but has been mum on everything else. Wednesday, Hernandez addressed the topic (in Belichick fashion).

“That’s in the past,” Hernandez said. “I’m just worried about the future and the present. I forgot about the past. I just keep grinding and do the best I can for this team.”

Hernandez slipped to the fourth round because of character concerns (he was suspended for a game and parts of another while at Florida; undisclosed reasons). But keep in mind, Belichick is close friends with Urban Meyer. He got the full scoop on the kid before and still comfortable drafting him.

Hernandez is a 6’5”, 250-pound pass-catcher. He’ll work with fellow rookie Rob Gronkowski (as second-rounder) to help fill the hole that was created by Ben Watson’s departure.

--Andy Benoit

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