1.Marty Rex Makes The Locker Room and Patriots Twitter Better:
The addition of Martellus Bennett is starting to feel a lot like the Blount/Steelers thing. An unhappy player who wants to win deciding that rather than play out his season being unused, he orchestrates his departure to go back “home”. Marty’s health is a big honking question mark (that I am sure the league is already looking into), but having a guy like that in the fold is exciting. The locker room chemistry misses Edelman, they need some more levity and Marty Rex is a good sport. I’m excited to have him in there even if he’s not playing. With Cannon out and Waddle on Von Miller, I am thinking this is a Dwayne Allen week, where he will be utilized as a blocker in max protect, but the addition of Marty may alleviate the need for that going forward.
Also, it offers a welcome reminder of how special the guys who joined the Patriots last year were. Here’s a video of Chris Long trying to cheer up his opponent.
Love that dude too. Speaking of dudes:
2. When The Lights Go Off on Prime Time, Deion Sanders Just Isn’t A Good Dude:
If you haven’t heard, Deion Sanders savaged Tony Romo on TV because Romo had the indecency to mention the historical narrative about Sanders that he wasn’t a willing tackler.
Here’s that classic tackling technique:
Here’s Rodney calling him out in his early days of broadcasting, wonder why he didn’t go after Rodney the same way.
A few years ago, a friend of mine and his son were lucky enough to spend a Sunday watching football at the NFL Network Studios in Culver City, CA. His son has a visible chronic illness that I won’t detail out of respect for their privacy. All in all, it was an amazing experience to be able to visit the set, but one of the main takeaways was “Primetime was the only disappointment.” When the lights of the pregame studio show went off: Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Sanders and Michael Irvin gathered for a picture. Deion’s eyes were already focused on the exits, ignoring the kid. Before the shutter had closed, he was gone. The rest of crew, especially Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen lingered, taking time with the youngster, watching the early games in a private viewing area, getting to know them.
During his career, Deion Sanders wanted so desperately to be Bo Jackson, but he couldn’t hit a baseball and he couldn’t tackle, and ultimately became what he is now, a caricature of the selfish celebrity. Thin skinned, reactionary and un-self-aware. But he was fast, hell, he’s still fast, as long as you’re a kid with a disability just looking to spend time with your idols.
3. Four-point Plays Had To Be McDaniels Bye Week Focus:
Michael Lombardi calls 3rd downs in the Red Zone “4 point plays”, the difference between a touchdown and field goal. Earlier this year, I wrote about Patricia’s White Whale being 3rd and Short, but the Patriots Offense can cover any of the team’s weaknesses by converting Red Zone 3rd downs. They’ll score 30 on a bad night, if they can fix it. The Dynamism of the Running Game should help, Burkhead, White and Lewis all can do multiple things well.
This is where the loss of Edelman shows up, the short twitchy routes, but the addition of another Gronk-sized target like Marty will help in a big way. Another Run Blocking And Pass Catching TE that can disguise the Run/Pass option.
I wonder if we see James White in the slot and Burkhead/Lewis in the backfield more on these critical plays?
4. What Is The Deal With The Patriots Divisional Schedule?
Anyone who follows the scheduling process, knows that the league wants to back load the divisional games to raise the stakes for the divisional races heading into the playoffs, but two teams this year have had this taken to the extreme. Last year’s Super Bowl teams, the Patriots and Falcons, play five of their last six games within the division. I went back 10 years, this hasn’t happened before.
Curious to see how it plays out and if the NFL schedule makers will do it again next year to the Super Bowl teams.
5. Bye Bye, Bye Week
The season has been a roller coaster of close games. The bye week came at a bit of an awkward time, they were beginning to gel on defense, but the offense was struggling to turn deep possessions into touchdowns. A lot has changed since they last played: Jimmy Garopollo was on the team, Brian Hoyer with his 3 year contract was not, Belichick and Kraft had a slightly more public spat than I can remember, Hightower wasn’t on IR, McClellin was coming back from IR and then he wasn’t, Marty is back in the fold.
This is a team in flux, this was the last time for them to do a big self-evaluation until the playoffs.
…PSA 1: Happy Veterans Day, I’m lucky enough to know some of the Vets who served overseas during the most recent wars and am always thankful for their service to our country. Find a moment to reach out to anyone you know who has served and check-in.
…PSA 2: My incessant plea for folks to stop listening to Felger. The only way to stop him from saying insane shit like this week’s “Roy Halladay deserved to die” rant is to not make it profitable for the station. Ignore him. His role is to purvey horrible opinions and I think we have enough of that in the world.
…3rd straight season playing in Denver, hope that shifts back at some point.
…Hoping Gilmore can show his athleticism covering Demaryious Thomas this week. With Brocktopus dropping back, I’m hoping a few turnovers can change the course of the game.
…Can the Patriots contain the rushing attack? Might need the corners to do heavy duty over the top to push more men into the box.
…A bit concerning to see the designations to return on Malcolm Mitchell, Vincent Valentine haven’t taken shape yet. With only one spot to take between them because of McClellin’s On IR, Off IR, On IR few weeks.
…Another scheduling first for the Patriots, two straight games at mile-high altitude. At least it will be good for conditioning.
…Wish Kraft had done what Jerra is doing. Especially because he had the moral high ground and science on his side.
…I was critical of their Patriots Week coverage, but give a listen to the Ringer NFL Show that evaluates the broader issues of covering the NFL. Also you get to hear a woman, Claire McNear, discuss football, which is nice for a change.