Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 8:22pm
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters on Monday that he’s ready to play Sunday’s opener in Miami even though head coach Bill Belichick didn't seem so convinced. The uncertainty of Gronkowski's status along with his durability and stamina, make TE Tim Wright’s progress this week all the more important.
“You try to get him caught up in terms of the foundation of your terminology and I’m sure he’ll work real hard to do that; he has so far,” OC Josh McDaniels said. “When you start to get into this time of the year, the focus narrows down a little bit to what you’re going to do during the course of the game so there’s not quite as much volume to consider for a new person who hasn’t had an extensive exposure in the system.”
Wright has been impressive in his limited time in New England. We heard all along this trade had little to do with Gronk's status, and at this point it's anyone's guess as to whether or not Gronk plays in Week 1 now. Wright is more of a replacement for Aaron Hernandez at the "move" TE position anyway, but if Gronk can't go, Wright could give QB Tom Brady a target in the middle of the field. Wright's probably not fantasy lineup worthy right now, but is certainly someone to watch as the Pats like their 2 TE formations.
The Dolphins listed Lamar Miller ahead of Knowshon Moreno on the regular season’s first “tentative” depth chart Tuesday, although both are expected to see significant action in Sunday’s opener against the Patriots.
Miller, the Dolphins’ featured back in 2013, will likely split carries with Moreno this season. A knee injury limited training camp for Moreno, who signed with the Dolphins this offseason after rushing for over 1,000 yards last year. He appeared in just one preseason game. That one appearance was impressive, however. Moreno rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries against the Cowboys.
Although depth charts don't mean a whole lot right now, the point is this is to point out it's still a messy fantasy situation, and probably one to stay away from until we get a better idea how the Dolphins are going to use both backs. Right now, it looks like a flat-out committee.
“I’m glad that Rob’s optimistic about this situation,” Belichick said, via CSNNE.com. “We’ll go through the week of practice and take a look at everything, everybody, and see where everybody’s at and try to do what we feel like is best for the team. With all due respect to Rob — I’m glad he feels the way he does — but, in the end, we’ll have to make the decision we feel like is best for the team and we’ll do that as we go through the week.”
If after thinking for a while you found it strange Gronk declared himself a go for Week 1 so early, and was specific about snaps, you're not alone. As the story put it, Belichick may be telling the truth or, given his distaste for sharing information, he may know exactly what the Patriots plan to do this Sunday. Either way, the Dolphins aren’t likely to get a clear idea of the team’s plans until much closer to kickoff so they’ll have to be prepared for all eventualities. The good news is, this week is a 1 p.m. game so we'll at least know if Gronk is active around 12 p.m. Sunday. If he is, he probably still warrants a start in your lineup even if he's limited in snaps. Like we said over the weekend, those snaps would likely include red zone and scoring chances.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:48am
The Patriots bracketed and sometimes double-covered Clay in that second meeting. Clay had caught seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers the week before the New England game. He caught one pass for six yards against the Patriots.
If that's the direction the Pats go, Dolphins OC Bill Lazor expects WRs Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson to step up if the Patriots decided to erase Clay. The Pats were actually the 6th best team allowing fantasy points to TEs last year, so it wasn't just Clay they shut down last season. Clay ranks 13th on our TE list for Week 1, and owners should be aware it could be a long day for Clay.
For years, we have seen the headaches of what should be a dream job: catching passes from Tom Brady. How many times have you heard someone say something like this about Brady:
"He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be every route. Not a yard off, not a yard too deep, not a yard too short. He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be because he's going to put the ball placement exactly right."
That quote comes from wide receiver Brandon LaFell, but it could easily have come from any receiver to walk through the halls of Gillette Stadium. Learning the Patriots offense can be difficult for receivers because of the heavy verbiage, the importance of understanding coverages, and the range of factors that can determine a receiver's assignment on a given play.
"First things first, you've got to learn formations," said LaFell. "Man, we've got a million formations, and we've got a million personnel groups. I was just trying to get all that down pat, because at least if I know where I'm lined up, I can kind of figure out what everybody else is doing based on the concept of the play. And second, learning the terms of the plays that we use and different code words we use, because one play I can be the X receiver and if we go to a hurry-up offense, depending on where the ball is spotted, I can be the Z receiver the next play. I have to know the whole play, but first, learning the formations, personnel groups, second, learning the plays and the concepts and just go from there with it."
It could be why predicting success in terms of fantasy is often difficult with the Pats offense in general. The story went on to say that receivers can be asked to carry out multiple assignments based on alignment, coverage, personnel groupings, where the ball is spotted, and myriad other factors. That's why last year was such a struggle for then-rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Josh Boyce. You can even throw in Danny Amendola into that mix, who was a free agent but then got hurt early in the season. Knowing all of this should increase the fantasy value of any of these WRs, but now it's waiting to see who gets how many snaps. It also could mean a bigger year for Brady.
It doesn’t look like they’ll find themselves in the same predicament this time around. Gronkowski said Monday that he’s been given the green light to play against the Dolphins in the opening weekend of the regular season.
“Super excited. Super pumped,” Gronkowski said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “I feel mentally and physically ready, for sure.”
Gronkowski added that he won’t be playing every snap, saying that he hopes to get his “feet wet” against Miami before taking on a bigger role in the coming weeks, the story said. It's great news for owners and Gronk is still worth starting Week 1 despite likely not seeing a full workload. His time on the field should come in red zone and scoring situations. The Dolphins ranked 29th last year in terms of giving up points to TEs.
Mallet, a 2011 third round draft pick by the Patriots, was the subject of trade rumors for the past two seasons. Those rumors only intensified after the team drafted Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason in the second round.
Mallett, in his fourth year out of Arkansas, was in the final year of his rookie contract.
There were definitely signs that the Pats were looking to trade Mallett and they found a partner in the Texans. Texan coach Bill O'Brien is familiar with Mallett from 2011 before moving on to coach at Penn State, so this makes a lot of sense. Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely still start the regular season but Mallett could be a guy they turn to if the team struggles at any point this season. While he's been well hyped, Mallet has only attempted four passes in the NFL.
RB Stevan Ridley made the Pat's final roster.
Many thought Ridley was in trouble after a fumble in preseason Week 3. Adding to the speculation was the release of RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis by the Bengals, but it looks like the team is sticking with Ridley for now. He has the potential to put up decent fantasy numbers week-to-week as the Pats best inside runner, but we all know about the fumbling issue. Owners risk that he's one fumble away from another trip to the bench.
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 12:40pm
Tyms, according to a source, will "likely" remain with the Patriots through Saturday's cuts as the team trims its roster to 53 players.
The team has already cut WR Josh Boyce according to reports.
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 11:38am
Boyce, the second-year player who was selected by the Patriots 102nd overall in the 2013 draft out of Texas Christian University, failed to impress in his second training camp. He played in nine regular season games last year, including three starts, and caught nine passes for 121 yards before being placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury at the conclusion of the regular season.
Wright is a good fit for the team's 'move' tight end and could make a splash if he picks up things quickly. Last night's performance (just a few days after being traded) is a good start.
Despite some rust, Patriots WR Aaron Dobson moved well and did not seem cautious about pushing off of the injured foot. He was targeted nine times, and came up with three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Some of the missed connections were poor throws by Jimmy Garoppolo, others were bad routes by Dobson.
The important thing is that Dobson got on the field in a live game situation, and got off the field healthy. As long as that continues to happen, he should keep improving.
As a rookie, Dobson caught a respectable 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, but he flashed some big play ability in his 5-130-2 outing against the Steelers in early November. His FP/T (1.05) was average, but if he can beat out Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins for a starting job, he should produce with Tom Brady throwing the ball. He only played 63% of the snaps as a rookie. The foot injury has held him back this offseason, but now that he's healthy and playing, he looks ready to make a push.
The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe reported Thursday that Dobson traveled with the Patriots and is expected to make his preseason debut tonight against the New York Giants. It's uncertain how much playing time Dobson will see.
A return to action is the first step as Dobson tries to regain his footing as one of the Patriots' starting outside receivers. He's battling Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell, both of whom have the early leg up. Dobson performed well down the stretch last season and possesses a brand of speed the Pats are currently lacking in the passing game.
As a rookie, Dobson caught a respectable 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, but he flashed some big play ability in his 5-130-2 outing against the Steelers in early November. His FP/T (1.05) was average, but if he can beat out Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins for a starting job, he should produce with Tom Brady throwing the ball. He only played 63% of the snaps as a rookie.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:33pm
The "move" position is often lined up off the line of scrimmage or split out wide as a sort of bulky, physical receiver. As the name implies, the player moves across the formation a good deal, utilizing the option to have that tight end block and changing the angles from which that block can come. Putting the tight end in different positions also helps to expose opening in the interior passing game.
Wright has struggled to block this preseason and was buried on the Bucs depth chart. But the article says the Patriots will likely be counting on Wright to contribute early as a threat in the interior passing game, particularly as a complement to Gronkowski. It goes on to say, at the very least, the offense needs a player who can be a legitimate threat to run down the seam while taking some pressure off the team's outside receivers. Whether Wright can establish himself as a complimentary redzone threat remains to be seen, it went on. His fantasy value is also in question, but certainly seemsm to have some potential at least in deeper leagues. Wright may not be Hernandez but it seems like he could give the Pats more looks in two TE formations.
The Patriots have agreed to the parameters of a trade that would send Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick and tight end Tim Wright. FOX Sports' Jay Glazer first reported the news.
"We were looking at all options," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman. "It's something we've been talking about since first week of camp. We feel very fortunate. Logan is a very good player. I'm a first-hand witness to what he means to the locker room."
Licht worked in the Pats' front office from 2009-11, and director of player personnel Jon Robinson was with the Pats from 2002-13.
Mankins, the Patriots' 2005 first-round pick has started at least 15 games in seven of his nine NFL seasons, and he fills an obvious need on a Buccaneers' offensive line that has looked overmatched for much of the preseason. On Monday, the Bucs visited with former Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, but he left without signing a contract.
The raises the stock of Bucs RB Doug Martin a bit as the Tampa has been looking to improve their struggling line and this will help. As the story points out, the Pats have a history of knowing when to get rid of an aging player and still get value. Mankins is a Pro Bowler and considered a top-20 guard.
- Page 1