Tag Archives: Danny Woodhead

The 2013 Patriots Have Questions Entering Camp

New-England-Patriots-Logo (2)


It is no secret the New England Patriots face their toughest uphill battle in pursuit of a Lombardi trophy in 2013. After losing the AFC Championship game last year, the organization is faced with the bitter reality that it has been eight seasons since ultimate glory has been achieved. While Patriot nation survived the “Summer of Gronk” last year, Aaron Hernandez is a different beast. Rob is currently rehabbing and Hernandez has since been released. Could the Patriots move toward a run-heavy attack and exploit defenses on play action? Only time will tell. With Hernandez’ future in serious question pending the murder investigation, let’s take a look at a few other notable offensive players New England has lost over the 2013 offseason:

- Wes Welker

- Brandon Lloyd

- Danny Woodhead

There is no way around it, losing your most productive wide receiver over the past six seasons (Welker) hurts. This graphic proves it all:

welker stats

New England hopes to find similar success with Danny Amendola in 2013, if he can stay healthy of course. While Brandon Lloyd was up and down for the lion’s share of last season, his veteran presence will still be missed. There is also no denying how valuable Danny Woodhead has been for the Pats. On the contrary, New England is deep at running back (Blount, Washington additions) and Shane Vereen should be able to slide right in. While Belichick has been proactive in filling those two holes, there are still some glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed.

Tight End

Following the release of A-Hern, the Patriots have Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Daniel Fells and rookies Zach Sudfeld and Brandon Ford on the roster. Just recently, Ted Bruschi shared his opinions on an ESPN podcast and expressed the need for more of a general veteran presence on the roster. Picking up someone like Dallas Clark could help subsidize the missing production and add a great lockerroom personality.

Cornerback

While it seemed as if Alfonzo Dennard was making a good name for himself, just last week “Fonzi” was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. Assuming Aqib Talib can stay healthy and man the left cornerback position, the shaky Kyle Arrington is the favorite to take the RCB slot with pressure from rookie Logan Ryan. The downfall and position change of McCourty has opened doors at this position. It has been a while since the Patriots have had a Ty Law or Asante Samuel type player, hopefully Talib can build upon his impressive debut in New England. If not, Brady and the offense will find themselves in a familiar spot – needing to score points and a lot of them.

Defensive End

Rookie Chandler Jones was quite impressive last year during his first year campaign, netting 6 sacks, 5 pass deflections and 3 forced fumbles in 14 games played in 2012. Unfortunately, he was nursing an ankle injury most of the year and hopes to come back stronger in 2013. After drafting LB/DE hybrid Jamie Collins, the Patriots continue to put their cards in the big anchors in the middle. Big boy Tommy Kelly has recently joined New England and Wilfork had arguably one of his best seasons last year. Justin Francis and Jake Bequette made some impact last year; however, there is still opportunity at this position.

Similar to the beliefs of Patriot Nation, I think as long as we have Belichick and Brady we will be right up there in the AFC. Unfortunately, “right up there” hasn’t resulted in a championship in close to a decade. Let’s see if the organization makes any last minute splashes to help boost their chances in 2013, I sure hope so.

Breaking: Patriots Re-sign Talib

Aqib Talib wil return to the Patriots in 2013.

Aqib Talib wil return to the Patriots in 2013.

Just after 11:45 this morning, Adam Schefter broke the good news that all Patriots fans wanted to hear. After letting one of their “big three” free agents in Wes Welker get away earlier this week, the team has reached an agreement with cornerback, Aqib Talib, on a one-year deal reportedly worth $5 million.

The news comes less than a day after the organization announced they signed five-time Pro Bowl safety, Adrian Wilson, formerly of the Cardinals. He will replace Patrick Chung, who left for Philadelphia.

Bringing Talib back should fortify the Patriots secondary, which struggled mightily last season. Talib’s presence alone was a season-changer for them and he was missed in the AFC championship game after being forced to leave with an injury. He also battled a hip injury during much of his time in New England, but should be good to go for the 2013 season.

As long as he can remain healthy and out of trouble, Talib has shown that he can be a very useful player for the Patriots’ defense. His size as a corner presents matchup problems for opposing receivers and his skill usually puts him against the opposing team’s best threat.

Talib reportedly turned down several multi-years deals the Patriots offered him and stuck with one of the one-year variety.

The team has also met with defensive ends Dwight Freeney and John Abraham with the expectation that they could very well sign one of them – more likely Abraham.

As free agency continues, Talib adds to the list of defensive players signed by the team that includes the aforementioned Wilson and also Kyle Arrington, who they reached a four-year agreement with Friday as well. It has also been reported that the team is close to making an offer to former Steelers receiver, Emmanuel Sanders.They added former Bill, Donald Jones, Friday after the departure of Welker for the Broncos and Danny Woodhead to the Chargers. After a very quiet start to free agency, the Patriots are coming alive.

With Alfonzo Dennard potentially facing jail time for his conviction of assault on a police officer, at least one conrnerback position will be accounted for in 2013. Next priority: Sebastian Vollmer.

 

Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.

Patriots Tweets Of Interest: Wilson’s Hello, Woody’s Goodbye & More Free Agency Babble

In this social media age, NEWS and ODDITIES are all around you and at your fingertips. With a tap of your smartphone, you can find out what your favorite athlete or celeb is doing and thinking. Some things make you SCRATCH your head or say HMM.

The members of the New England Patriots are no different, they are quite in tune with the almighty Twitter machine.

In this edition: New Pats Safety Adrian Wilson Ready To Tweet More, Danny Woodhead Goes Out With Class, Kyle Arrington Glad To Stay With New England & Danny Amendola Is Excited To Get Back To Work.

 

Patriots nation is excited to have their first physical safety since Rodney Harrison. Great signing by the hometown team.

 

Little “Woody”, as he was so affectionately called by the New England faithful, gave his all on every snap. Good lucky Danny and thanks for always playing bigger than your stature.

 

Kyle Arrington is back with the Patriots for 4 more years. Let’s hope he plays more like the 2011 Kyle Arrington than the 2012 version.

 

Danny, we are happy you are excited to come to New England. We are also excited to see if you can stay healthy something that Wes Welker did much of his career with the Patriots.

 

The 2013 season is going to be very, very interesting to say the least…..

Will They, Won’t They? The Patriots And Their 18 Free Agents

It’s time to clean out the house, time to shuffle the faces and time for the 2012 New England Patriots to start looking toward 2013 after they failed to show up in the second half of their embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Ravens in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.

As is the case every year, the team has a host of free agents that they need to make decisions on. Eighteen of their 20 free agents heading into the offseason are unrestricted and if the team doesn’t do anything to lock them up, they could be gone like that.

If the front office is having any trouble, they can just ask me. I’d be glad to help. Here’s my first offseason addition of will they or won’t they. (Hint: Both Wes Welker and Aqib Talib need to be back).

A veteran in the secondary would be good to have, but I don't see Will Allen making a comeback in 2013.

A veteran in the secondary would be good to have, but I don’t see Will Allen making a comeback for the Pats in 2013.

Will Allen: The former first-round pick has had a decent career and certainly could have been able to help in the Patriots secondary this season, but he has played in just 21 games since 2009, missing entire campaigns in both 2010 and 2012. Of course, as he was drafted almost 12 years ago now, age is going to be a question. Would he be able to keep up with the fast and physical tight ends around the league like, oh, I don’t know, Dennis Pitta for instance as a 34-year-old coming off of whatever injury he had. I’m just not sure it would work out like that. I’d cut Allen loose.

Kyle Arrington: Assuming the team does bring Talib back for his first full season, Arrington’s role would be that of a third corner in nickel situations or when injuries occur, like in Sunday’s game when Talib went down. In that game, particularly in the second half, Joe Flacco was pretty much throwing the ball at will with Arrington and Marquice Cole in the secondary. In 2011, Arrington led the league with seven interceptions. In 2012, however, he had zero. If he is okay with his role as a third corner, then I wouldn’t hate to see him brought back in 2013, but for less than the $1.85M he made this year.

Josh Barrett: In the five years since getting drafted out of Arizona St., Barrett has barely touched the turf during the regular season. Though he has shown signs of strong play and intelligence, his consistent ability to get injured has done neither him nor the team any good. Though he should be ready for the 2013 season after a calf injury has held him out for more than a year, he just might be playing it with another team. I’d let this one go too.

Deion Branch: Branch only returned to the team in 2012 following the injury to Aaron Hernandez in Week 1 of the season. He was cut by the team in the preseason. At 33 years old, he isn’t getting any younger. While Tom Brady still trusts him as much as anyone else, Branch had just 29 targets on the season, an indication that even if the team may want him back, he might not be willing. I predict that one way or another, Branch will not be a Patriot for the 2013 regular season. That is, until someone gets hurt.

Patrick Chung: Chung’s play and presence on the field has declined in each of the last two seasons, culminating with him losing his starting safety job to Steve Gregory in 2012 and seeing most of his playing time come on special teams. With both Gregory and Devin McCourty expected back next season, Chung may be the odd man out at safety. He could always be used as a backup and a spot defender, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that he could be a starting safety on a lot of other teams in the league. I wouldn’t be shocked if Chung has played his last game as a Patriot.

Marquice Cole: Aside from being a pretty decent gunner, Cole doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of secondary play. Only used as a defensive back when there were six or seven of them on the field or, like Arrington, when there were injuries, Cole is the kind of player who makes his money on special teams. His speed, particularly utilized at the gunner position, can also be helpful on the coverage teams. If he wants to come back, I’d have no problem seeing No. 23 in blue again next season.

Julian Edelman has been solid, but unfortunately may have played his last game in a Patriots uniform.

Julian Edelman has been solid, but unfortunately may have played his last game in a Patriots uniform.

Julian Edelman: When Edelman went down with a broken leg on Dec. 2 against the Dolphins, there was talk about that potentially being his last game as a member of the Patriots. Assuming the team does decide to re-sign Welker, Edelman may not be needed or wanted. His real value to the team is in the punt return game and not as a play-making wide receiver. If Welker is lost, which I don’t see happening, then Edelman would appear more likely to return to the team in 2013. I guess it kind of depends on what happens with Wes, but it is very possible that Edelman does not return to the team next season.

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With No Superbowl To Play, Patriots Must Focus On Offseason

That's right, it's time to focus on the off season.

That’s right, it’s time to focus on the off season.

It’s been almost a week since our beloved Patriots lost in the AFC championship game to the Ravens. Since Sunday, I have been keeping as far away from ESPN and any other sports outlet that may be talking about “Harbaugh Bowl” because it the wounds are still fresh. It’s also just obnoxious to see them talk about it non stop. Thankfully for Boston sports fans we can focus on the return of hockey to the city.

Anyways, Patriots players have cleared out their lockers and gone their separate ways for the off season. Some go to places where it isn’t below 0 outside (it currently feels like -8 outside) and some go back to their hometowns, wherever that may be. But, just because the players leave doesn’t mean that the work is over. Guys like Nick Caserio, Floyd Reese, both Bob and Jonathan Kraft and Bill Belichick have some serious decisions to make when it comes to choosing which players should be brought back for next season.

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Ravens Shock Patriots, Return To Super Bowl

Tom Brady sits on the ground following the interception that sealed the game for the Ravens.

Tom Brady sits on the ground following the interception that sealed the AFC Championship game win for the Ravens.

Remember when Tom Brady in the postseason was as sure as death or taxes? His 9-0 start to his postseason career had people all over New England thinking that this late-round diamond in the rough could never do any wrong. Three championships in his first four seasons.

None in his last eight.

Maybe it was payback. Maybe it was destiny. Whatever it was, Joe Flacco outplayed Brady, the Ravens defense outplayed that of the Patriots and as banged up as Baltimore  had been this year, it was the home team and favorite that felt the blows when it mattered most. Oh, and Ray Lewis, with the help if his good friend, God, has lived to play another day – and for the Super Bowl.

From the moment the coin hit the ground in favor of the Ravens and they deferred to the second half – stealing the Patriots’ bread and butter on their home field – it just seemed like it wasn’t meant to be. They committed fewer penalties, made less mistakes and completed a higher percentage of their passes. Most importantly, their zero turnovers, compared to three from the Patriots, were nothing less than huge. They were the team that executed better on Sunday.

Like it did towards the end if the regular season, the Patriots offense struggled to capitalize when their defense set them up with good field position and scored just 13 points – their lowest total of 2012. As the league’s No. 1 offense, the fewest points they had scored this year before yesterday were 18 in the Week 2 loss to the Cardinals.

The windy conditions at Gillette Stadium forced both teams to play conservatively and cost the Pats a couple chances at field goals they would normally attempt.

Their opening drive looked promising, but Wes Welker couldn’t haul in a deep pass from Brady when he had his defender beat by a couple if steps. They then almost caught the Baltimore special teams off guard, however, as Ryan Mallett snuck into the punt formation and forced the Ravens to burn a timeout.

A quick three-and-out by Baltimore gave New England the ball back, but only after a holding penalty called on Aqib Talib backed them up to their own 21. They had to settle for a 31-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski and took a 3-0 lead on their 32nd straight red zone possession that resulted in points.

The next Baltimore drive ended quickly as well, but came at a cost as Talib hurt his thigh while breaking up a pass on third and long. Some production from last week’s star Shane Vereen on the ensuing drive and a 15-yard personal foul penalty called on Lewis were for not as Brandon Lloyd ended up dropping a tough catch on third down.

Flacco then missed an open Dennis Pitta down the field and New England couldn’t convert following a 28-yard punt return from Welker as Paul Kruger influenced the Brady pass. The Pats D allowed just one completion in the first quarter and the Ravens went 0-for-3 on third down. New England led the Ravens 3-0 after one quarter of the AFC Championship game for the second consecutive year.

As the second quarter began, Flacco would lead a 90-yard drive in his first Title Game win to put the Ravens on the board with a two-yard run by Ray Rice. Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower both missed tackles on the back as he then walked into the endzone on second down. Pitta had an 18-yard reception on third and four and Flacco took advantage of Talib’s absence, hitting Torrey Smith on a 25-yard pass to the New England 15.

Brady would answer right away, however, aided by another personal foul penalty, this time on Dannell Ellerbe. A 24-yard pass to Welker set the Pats up in good position and Brady found him again from a yard out to make it 10-7 Patriots with 4:18 left in the opening half.

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