But the Pats' reliance on "11 personnel" (3 WR, 1 RB, TE) was not a radical departure from what we have seen in previous games. The idea that the Patriots were using Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett together a ton was not accurate.
The Patriots used three receiver sets with a TE and an RB on 32 snaps and three receiver sets with two RBs and no TE on six snaps. They used a full back with two receivers on 16 snaps and four WRs on eight snaps.
Friday, December 2, 2016, 6:13pm
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 6:10pm
Vic Carucci reported this first, and it was confirmed by Rapoport. Carucci said Gronk is expected to miss 8 weeks, which finishes his fantasy season, but leaves the door open for a possible late playoffs or Super Bowl return. Martellus Bennett is the obvious beneficiary, but he's dealing with ankle and shoulder injuries of his own. Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcom Mitchell and the pass-catching running backs will all try to pick up the slack.
Losing his top target is a big hit for Tom Brady, but Brady is averaging 23.7 fantasy points in two games without Gronk this season (vs NYJ and SF), on par with his numbers with Gronk.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says his injured knee feels better than it did after last game.
A day after leading New England to a 22-17 win over the New York Jets , Brady said the knee was acting up during the game. But he said he hopes it will be better on Sunday, when the Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams.
It's not known when or how Brady injured the knee. He missed two practices last week because of it but returned to the field on Friday.
The team needed Brady, too. He attempted 50 passes and threw for two TDs in the win over the Jets. Brady should be fine for Sunday but we'll keep an eye on how he does this week.
Both Brady and Gronkowski will play against the Jets despite being questionable coming into this contest. Brady is battling a knee issue so the Pats could run a bit more but Brady is still worth a start in lineups and will be helped by the return of Gronk.
Earlier this week, ESPN's Dianna Russini reported Gronkowski was not expected to play against the Jets. On Saturday, Russini reported Gronkowski "made a lot of progress in the last 24-48 hours" and cited two sources who referred to him as a "true game-time decision."
Gronkowski had been a limited participant in practice all week and is officially listed as questionable. Reporters saw him wearing a red noncontact jersey at the end of Friday's practice.
Gronkowski sustained the chest injury in a 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 13. He missed the next week of practice and didn't make the trip last weekend to San Francisco.
Since Tom Brady's Week 5 return, the Pats have a 55-percent pass, 45-percent run balance. In only one game, the Week 6 win over Cincinnati, did the Patriots throw the ball on 60 percent of their snaps.
Compare that with 2015, when, including the playoffs, the Pats had nine games with at least a 60 percent pass/40 percent run disparity. And in five of those games, they had splits of at least 70 percent pass/30 percent run. The one-dimensional offense was great...until Denver neutralized it and the Pats did not have another dimension to visit.
This year, LeGarrette Blount is on pace for 322 carries, which would rank as the third-most in a single season by any Patriots running back, topped only by Curtis Martin in 1995 (368 carries) and Corey Dillon in 2004 (345 carries). Dion Lewis' return could decrease Blount's individual workload, but there is no reason to believe the team's rushing averages — 29.8 attempts per game — will change.
The 2015 Patriots offense, prolific as it was, had less balance than any New England offense in the Belichick-Brady era. The Pats threw on 62 percent of their offensive snaps and ran on 38 percent, the story said. Blount hasn't lost fantasy value since Brady's return this year and perhaps this is a way of helping prolong Brady's career in the long term. In the short term, Brady is dealing with a knee injury so it doesn't seem likely the team breaks away from the current split.
Friday, November 25, 2016, 6:43pm
Patriots QB Tom Brady (knee, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 12. We’d be shocked if Brady didn’t play through the knee injury, but stranger things have happened. The Patriots play in the late round of games, so hopefully we get more clarity by Sunday morning.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 8:58pm
Brady took a low hit from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor in the third quarter that left him a bit gimpy.
"It's a little sore, but...a lot of guys are pretty sore," Brady said after the Patriots' 31-24 loss.
Brady flexed his right leg in between plays after absorbing the hit, but never came out of the game. He did not appear to receive extensive medical attention on the bench. It's worth monitoring heading into next week's game.
Eight games into his first Patriots season, WR Chris Hogan surprisingly has emerged as the team's much-needed deep threat. He’s averaging 20.6 yards per catch and coming off a game in which his 53-yard touchdown down the left sideline was a catalyst in a 41-25 win over his former team, the Buffalo Bills.
The next day, quarterback Tom Brady referred to Hogan as being “deceptively fast.”
It started in the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, when Hogan had a 37-yard touchdown catch down the left sideline for the Patriots' first touchdown of the season. He caught a 63-yard bomb in Week 5 against Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden. He also had a 39-yarder against the Cincinnati Bengals the following week, on Oct. 16, and two weeks ago, it was Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore who was left in his wake. Hogan has had some fantasy clunkers though, including a game with zero catches and another with one catch for three yards, so you can argue it's boom or bust for those who play Hogan which gives him some risk.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took a season-high nine hits in Sunday's 41-25 victory over the Buffalo Bills, and acknowledged that he wasn't necessarily feeling "fresh as lettuce" upon waking up Monday morning.
"They were playing a lot of guys in pass coverage, which allowed me to hold on to the ball longer than normal," Brady explained on sports radio WEEI's "Kirk and Callahan Show."
"When you do that, you're just trying to find guys to get open. I don't really throw it away early, I would say. I just kind of wait until the last minute, and I would say they got a few good licks on me. That's football, and it's part of the season. It's good to take those hits and deal with the bumps and bruises because I think your body kind of calluses up to those hits. But, yeah, it's definitely a little more sore than it's been."
Of the nine hits Brady absorbed, five were sacks. It doesn't sound like Brady's status is in doubt, but obviously the team would like him a little less exposed.
Since his Week 5 return, Brady has targeted Hogan 12 times. The duo has connected for 11 completions at an average of 24.5 yards per catch.
That's an incredibly high success rate, especially when you consider the nature of most of Hogan's routes. As evidenced by the gaudy yards-per-catch figure, many of these completions have come on downfield throws. These are generally low-percentage plays.
Hogan now has receptions of 63, 53, 43, 39, and 37 yards as a member of the Patriots. In four seasons with the Bills, he had only three receptions of 35+ yards.
Hogan is on pace for 782 receiving yards, which would best his current career-high by over 300 yards. After Week 8, Hogan and Rob Gronkowski are two of only three NFL players averaging 20 yards per catch or better. Pittsburgh's Sammie Coates is the other.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 6:41pm
Patriots WR Julian Edelman (foot) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Edelman should be fine to play, though he hasn’t done much (5-35, 4-30) in two games with Tom Brady despite seeing 17 targets in two weeks.
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