Tag:Rob Gronkowski
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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:30 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 12:06 pm
 

Matchup Focus: Bengals DB vs. Patriots WR

Posted by Andy Benoit

It will be strength on strength when the Bengals corners line up against the Patriots wideouts (Sunday, 1:00, CBS).

First, understand something: New England’s receiving corps features the same two stars as 2007 (Wes Welker and Randy Moss), but it does not feature the same explosiveness.
R. Moss (US Presswire)
At 33, Moss has dissolved into strictly a straight-line receiver. This isn’t the end of the world – we’re talking about arguably the greatest deep threat of all time. Moss doesn’t quite have the wheels he had in Minnesota, but his speed still ranks in the NFL’s upper 20 percentile. More importantly, he’s a master at tracking a deep ball and disguising his intentions when exerting for a catch. That’s why he was still able to post 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.

The problem is, Moss is no longer a premium threat when changing directions. He has stiff hips and limited agility. Thus, instead of running any route on the tree, he now only shines running the 9 Route (fly pattern). Moss has never been a good route runner, but he at least used to be dangerous enough to command safety help simply by being on the field. Now, if the Patriots want Moss to command safety help, they have to design plays specifically for him to do so. This ultimately limits the rest of their offense (just a bit).

The Bengals will likely play a safety over the top against Moss, though in cornerback Johnathan Joseph, they have perhaps the best deep-ball man-defender in the AFC not named Revis. Joseph has excellent catch-up speed and a keen sense for timing his attack on a hanging ball. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie is the best deep-ball man-defender in the NFC.)

More concerning to the Bengals should be Wes Welker. (We’ll assume Welker, in his first meaningful game back from ACL surgery, will be his usual self. A big assumption? Perhaps. But the man looked sharp throughout training camp and the preseason.)
J. Joseph (US Presswire)
Welker, obviously, thrives as an underneath receiver. Leon Hall is a Pro Bowl caliber corner, but he’s not a press corner (neither is Joseph). That’s virtually a moot point, though, because the Patriots almost always line Welker up in the slot or flanker position (two yards off the line of scrimmage). Still, Hall must be physical with Welker early in his route. Hall is usually tremendous in this capacity, but he’s also a tad inconsistent.

The key to Cincy’s defense will be whether Hall can control Welker in the five-to eight-yard range. Fortunately, Hall is an adequate tackler. But for preventing Welker from even catching the ball to begin with, the Bengals may want to have weakside linebacker Keith Rivers patrolling the underneath flats (stopping Welker in motion over the middle is nearly impossible). By committing Rivers to the flats, Cincy would be gambling with Chris Crocker against athletic tight end Rob Gronkowski in coverage – but at least that matchups pits an intelligent eighth-year veteran against a first-game rookie. Plus, if Rivers is in zone coverage in the flats, he can combat Kevin Faulk’s receiving prowess out of the backfield.

If we’re to follow this train of thought, then it all comes back to whether Joseph can handle Moss. If Joseph can’t, then Crocker will be needed in deep coverage, which means the Bengals would likely end up counting on Roy Williams to cover in the box. Just the idea of Williams in any sort of coverage gives defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer nightmares.

What to expect: a modest day for Moss (say in the neighborhood of five catches, 65 yards), a solid day for Welker (eight or nine catches, 100 yards) but the contest ultimately decided by whether the Patriots can find a third weapon in the passing game.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com