Tag Archives: Jerod Mayo

Patriots Pulse: 3-0 An Omen Or Just A Coincidence?

New-England-Patriots-Logo (2)


On the last two occasions that the New England Patriots have started a season 3-0 they have gone on to reach the Super Bowl. The 2004 season saw the team defend their Super Bowl crown from 2003 as the team went on to repeat their success from the year before and become back to back champions. In 2007 it appeared they would achieve something greater than that period of dominance as the team dominated the league entirely by finishing the 2007 regular season undefeated 16-0 and advancing to the Super Bowl with an 18-0 record before unfortunately falling at the final hurdle.

2004’s team was built around one of the best defenses in the league and on offense Tom Brady was efficient despite not having any real standout receiving options but it was the collective efforts from the likes of Troy Brown, David Givens, Deion Branch and David Patten which helped the team succeed. Brady in 2004 threw 28 touchdowns to 14 interceptions and 5 touchdowns to 0 interceptions in that post-season; It wasn’t until the 2007 season when we saw Brady throw over 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career as he went on to break the regular season record for passing touchdowns with 50.

Despite the 2007 team being a more complete team than any of the Patriots’ three Super Bowl winning teams they lost to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII as they missed out on being undefeated for the whole year. They are still arguably one of the greatest sporting rosters of all-time let alone in the NFL but the Lombardi trophy eluded them on that particular occasion. Here we are six seasons later and there have been many changes in New England especially ahead of the current 2013 season as the team entered a period of transition with many of Tom Brady’s receiving options being rookies as opposed to an explosive receiving core from 2012 which featured the likes of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.

Despite some doubt surrounding the Patriots going in to the start of the year the team managed to grind out two early season victories over the Bills and the Jets before a solid win over Tampa Bay last week 23-3. At 3-0 is it possible to assume the Patriots could make it to MetLife stadium in February 2014 for an eighth Super Bowl appearance? Well it is impossible to ever rule the Patriots out as they will always contend with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady but it is too early in the season to make Super Bowl predictions for any team in the league as there is still a long way to go.

In spite of that this Patriots team is improving week by week with Bill Belichick’s defense on fire so far as they are second in points allowed, 11.3 per game, along with being tied for eight in total defense, 309 yards per game. The Patriots D has had many standout performers this year from the likes of the young Chandler Jones to unsung heroes such as Rob Ninkovich and Kyle Arrington. Aqib Talib and Jerod Mayo have also been impressive for New England and Vince Wilfork is as consistent on defense for this team as Tom Brady is on offense.

New England’s defense is tied for eighth on third-down conversions allowed and they are the only team in the league to have allowed zero points in the fourth quarter which is incredible considering that run stretches over three games. With a big game against Atlanta coming up tomorrow night the form of the Patriots defense will stand them in good stead and considering they are doing well in turnovers and in the red zone, two things Belichick’ defenses have always relied on, it is clear to see this group have lots of potential. The defense has created seven turnovers in three games leaving them tied for fifth in the league and is tied for having the 12th best red zone defense.

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Patriots Owner Bob Kraft & Players Show Their Support For The Mayo Bowl (PHOTOS)

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Bob Kraft, Ricki Noel Lander & The Mayos


The 4th Annual Mayo Bowl was held last night at King’s Bowl in Dedham to raise money for Pitching In For Kids” & the Boston Medical Center.   A multitude of Patriots players and team owner Robert Kraft came out to support Jerod Mayo and bowl the night away for charity.

Chandler Jones, Marquice Cole & Dane Fletcher

Chandler Jones, Marquice Cole & Dane Fletcher

The Patriots players made their red carpet arrival among a bevy of media and taking time to sign autographs for fans. One of the coolest moments of the evening was Pats defensive end Chandler Jones calling a fan’s daughter on the phone.

This was a great little moment in a night of many.

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New England Patriots AFC East Preview

New England Patriots AFC East Preview:

Since the turn of the millennium the New England Patriots have won 10 out of 13 AFC East titles. The Patriots are the team to beat and have dominated the division as well as the NFL in the early 2000’s when they won three Super Bowls in four years; 2001, 2003 and 2004. In 2012 New England broke a tie with the Dolphins for most division titles; The Patriots have won 15 division titles to Miami’s 14 with the Bills on ten and the Jets on four.

Some people are suggesting that the Dolphins could be a threat to the Patriots in the AFC East but despite the fact they have improved on both sides of the ball it is rare for teams who spend big to do well on the field so despite Miami’s optimism their best hope will be to earn a wildcard spot whereas personally I see them finishing the season 8-8. The Bills are a team trying to find a new identity and their season will be judged on the production of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel so I’d predict them to finish 5-11. Meanwhile the Jets will finish 6-10 as despite having a good defense, they ranked 8th overall in 2012, they lack any spark on offense but Jets fans will be thankful that Mark Sanchez is out injured.

FUMBLE!

FUMBLE!


The main reason some are doubting the Patriots this season is because Tom Brady heads in to 2013 season without key members of a prolific offense from last year which broke the record for first downs in a season with 444 and finished third all-time in scoring, 557 points, just behind the 2011 Green Bay Packers and their own 2007 record setting season. Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Lloyd have all departed while Rob Gronkowski underwent a 3rd and 4th forearm surgery this off-season as well as back surgery so his return to the field could take up until week 6 and he looks doubtful for the season opener against the Bills tomorrow.

The Patriots offense now features many new additions with most of them being rookies but preseason alone showed that Brady seems to be making it work with the likes of Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Zach Sudfeld. 2nd round pick Dobson has lots of potential are notably during his senior season at college he did no record a single drop from the 92 times he was targeted. Josh Boyce and Thompkins put up impressive numbers during preseason so they could be valuable assets whilst undrafted rookie Zach Sudfield who stands at 6’7 has the ability to be a Gronk 2.0. Speaking of 2.0’s Danny Amendola was signed in favour of retaining Wes Welker’s services and the Patriots will be hoping for similar results out of Amendola with both resilient along with being quick and mobile. Amendola is also a fellow Texas Tech product and after building up a good rapport with Tom Brady it is safe to say he should fit in to the Patriots’ offensive system quickly. Brady has a knack for bringing the best out of his receivers which is a skill not many quarterbacks have and if he manages to produce great results out of this unknown group and win a 4th Super Bowl ring too he may certainly cement his place as the greatest QB to ever play the game. This is backed up by the fact that he holds the league record for most touchdown passes in the regular season with 50, has the most playoff wins in NFL history with 17, has the third highest career passer rating of all-time (96.6) and after breaking Joe Montana’s playoff wins record also became the first NFL quarterback in history to guide his team to 10 divisional titles; With Joe Montana he’s one of only two quarterbacks in history to win the regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP as well as being one of only two QB’s to lead their teams to 5 Super Bowls (3 wins) along with John Elway.

Can Brady and Belichick guide the Pats to their 4th ring?

Can Brady and Belichick guide the Pats to their 4th ring?

 

When you take the fact that this offense is led by head coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady even when you throw an unknown group of players in with them if anything it is scarier for their opponents as without the players who departed they won’t know what to expect which is what still makes the Patriots a genuine Super Bowl contender. Their running game is dangerous and will improve whereas New England’s defense doesn’t get enough credit for the fact that they have finished in the top 10 in points allowed for six of the past seven years. After drafting the likes of linebacker Jamie Collins in the second round from the 2013 draft and adding him to a young talented group of players that include the likes of Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower as well as defensive leaders Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes this could be one of the Patriots’ most talented defensive groups in years. With Aqib Talib signing a new contract he will be a real asset in the secondary and help this underrated defense improve in an area where they have been pretty vulnerable for the past two seasons. MetLife stadium is the aim for many teams for the 2013 season but when you assess the New England Patriots it is clear to see that they are one of the frontrunners to represent the AFC at Super Bowl and clinch a fifth consecutive AFC East title.

Season prediction: 12-4. 1st in AFC East.

 

Patriots Pulse: The Jerod Mayo Old Spice Commercial Is Delightfully STRANGE (VIDEO)

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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is the stalwart of the team’s defense. However, in his delightfully STRANGE Old Spice Commercial, Mayo can not take anymore of his coach’s lame ass stories.

I wonder if he goes through this with the Hoodie.

That would be one weird anal probe story.

 

Pot Of Baked Beans Goes To The Sports Grid!

Patriots Pulse: 53 Man Roster Projection

With the preseason games just around the corner many members of the New England Patriots team will be hoping to prove themselves on the field ahead of the regular season in hope of a spot on the roster for the start of the 2013 campaign. The Patriots have a lot of competition at various positions on both sides of the ball so it will be interesting to see who makes the final roster; let us take a look at my stab at predicting the 53 man roster come September with the following projection:

I choose you!

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OFFENSE:

Quarterback: Tom Brady, Ryan Mallett, Tim Tebow (3)

Despite the extra roster spot when having just two QB’s on the team being especially valuable to the Patriots in recent years I think Tim Tebow earns a spot on the team come crunch time. Obviously Tom Brady is a dead certainty as the future hall of famer looks to guide his team to their 4th Super Bowl Championship and with the Ryan Mallett to Cleveland trade rumours now all but gone he will definitely be on the squad too but whether Tebow makes it is a question everyone will have an opinion on.

Personally I think that although we know Tebow won’t be taking any snaps away from Brady his versatility will be the decisive factor in Belichick selecting him as New England can try to use him in various scenarios. Belichick would not have signed the former Florida man as a publicity stunt and after he spends a year with Brady and McDaniels they can assess his skill-set throughout the season giving the franchise the ability to assess the situation properly next year.

Running back: Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Leon Washington, LeGarrette Blount (4)

Ridley is a guaranteed selection after his production last season and after lining up at wide receiver in training recently Shane Vereen will make the team as he offers the team versatility which is what Belichick loves. Leon Washington can offer New England something different at the special teams and arguably something they have lacked in recent seasons especially in the shape of a kick-off returner so it’s worth him being chosen for the squad.

The three mentioned already are the sure fire bets but the 4th spot came down to either LeGarrette Blount or Brandon Bolden; Bolden has had recent injury problems and while the potential is there Blount is only 26 so despite being 3 years older than Bolden he has the advantage as he is reaching his physical prime as well as the fact that that he’s been making some nice plays in training camp so far so my bet is that Blount beats out Bolden for the 4th running back spot.

Wide Receiver: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins, Matthew Slater (7)

The battle to be a receiver on the New England Patriots’ team this season is the most intriguing and the productivity of this year’s receiving corpswill be crucial in determining any success the Patriots have in 2013. Dobson and Boyce both have the potential to be valuable for New England but obviously with it both being their rookie year in the league predicting any success for either remains a mystery but nevertheless both make the roster and will hope to improve before the start of the season. Danny Amendola has built up a good rapport with Tom Brady so far and any fan of the Patriots will be excited to see how the two link up when the season starts as well as how their on the field relationship progresses during the campaign. Amendola has the talent to become a star and now that he has Tom Brady throwing to him I believe this will happen; we saw the same happen with Julian Edelman last season before his injury and remember he did start the 2012 season ahead of Wes Welker. With that being said it is safe to say that Edelman makes the roster with his versatility being a key asset to the Patriots at this moment in time.

With Aaron Hernandez now off the roster the next 3 wide receiving slots are as crucial as ever with the offense needing as many valuable weapons as possible. The current receiving core is drawing comparisons to a depth chart that included the likes of Jabar Gaffney yet still made the Super Bowl but as we know Tom Brady can make anyone produce the goods due to the fact that he is arguably the greatest quarterback ever with this being one of the arguments why. Matthew Slater’s familiarity earns him a spot on the roster while Jenkins and Jones may well battle it out for the final receiving spot on the roster if Belichick decides to go with 6 wideouts which could very well happen but for now I’ll say that both make the team as Jenkins is a reliable veteran option whereas Jones has some decent statistics from his time in Buffalo, most coming against the Patriots, and could therefore prove to be a surprisingly good acquisition once the season progresses.

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Zach Sudfield (4)

Rob Gronkowski is in a race against time to be ready for the start of the season and following the Aaron Hernandez saga the Patriots are facing the possibility of going from having two superstar tight-ends to none for week 1 of the 2013 season. Gronkowski will be ready to cause havoc on opposing defenses eventually but in the event of his absence during the start of the season the likes of Jake Ballard and Michael Hoomanawanui will get the chance to try and make an impact for the team during the teams early games.

It’s safe to safe after Hernandez being cut from the team that Ballard and Hoomanawanui make the roster; the fourth tight end spot goes to the 6’7 man out of Nevada Zach Sudfeld who signed as an undrafted free agent on in May and has the potential to be a possible diamond in the rough for Bill Belichick. All three will have the responsibility of trying to produce the goods now that Aaron Hernandez has been cut but as long as Rob Gronkowski gets back to full health the Patriots know they have a superstar they can rely on as well as having Tom Brady’s most valuable weapon at their disposal.

Offensive Line: Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell, Nick McDonald, Marcus Cannon, Kevin Haslam, Markus Zusevics (9)

The likes of Solder, Mankins and Vollmer are all valuable assets to this team. Dan Connolly has improved season by season and Ryan Wendell will line up at centre again with Nick McDonald providing cover at that position as well as chipping in at guard. The offensive line needs familiarity that’s why there aren’t many changes from last year with the likes of Marcus Cannon also making the cut but this year Kevin Haslam and Markus Zusevic will get a chance to show what they can do.

Svitek was on my list but when you realise that this Patriots team is full of young faces it makes sense that they would choose a 5 year younger player in the shape of Haslam over Svitek plus Haslam came out of Rutgers and we all know how their connection runs deep. Zusevics makes the cut thanks to his versatility as the second year man his 2012 experience with the team under his belt and can offer cover at tackle and guard positions.

DEFENSE:

Defensive End: Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Justin Francis, Jermaine Cunningham, Michael Buchanan (5)

Chandler Jones is the surefire bet at this position; he will look to build on an impressive rookie season as his raw talent proved to be a valuable asset during the 2012 season. Coming in to his sophomore year Jones will be looking to make a bigger leap by continuing to assert himself as one of the NFL’s best young ends. His ability to rush the passer will improve and if his production continues at a high rate he could help the Patriot’s defense get back to what it was during its Super Bowl winnings years. Rob Ninkovich will want to continue his good form and increase in production. Jermaine Cunningham may well have a shot at the versatility role while Justin Francis also gets in based on versatility. Cunningham gets in thanks to former Rutgers man Francis moving inside; the two seem to have both improved from 2012 and if they are determined to succeed it will earn them a roster spot.

I’ve projected 5 players at this position and it was hard to leave Jake Bequette and Jason Vega out but both just give me the impression that they’ll fall short which leaves the door open for 2013 draftee Michael Buchanan who I believe could be a real steal for New England. The 7th round pick’s stock in the draft fell due to character concerns but the 6’5, 255 pound defensive end is athletic and has shown signs of potential that could prove valuable especially as he possesses the ability to fit in to either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense thanks to the fact that his strength helps him in the pass rush as well as against opposing offensive linemen.

Defensive Tackle: Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Armond Armstead (3)

With Vince Wilfork being the lone survivor on defense from the Patriots’ last Super Bowl winning team we know that he is pretty much as valuable to New England’s defense as Tom Brady is to its offense! This year I see him teaming up with just two out and out tackles in the shape of Kelly and Armstead; the two’s productivity will go a long way to determining the success of the Patriots’ passing defense in 2013.

Marcus Forston could well make the roster but having Justin Francis move inside along with Cunningham able to play inside means that the Patriots are allowed to go thinner at the defensive tackle position in 2013. If the ends and tackles step up like it seems they can then they can go a long way to helping the Patriots rack up a respectable position among defensive rankings this season and in the long run the production of these guys will go a long way in to determining any success they have come playoff time.

Linebacker: Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Don’t’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Dane Fletcher (5)

The linebackers all but pick themselves for the Patriots this season. Jerod Mayo is a key player on this team and Brandon Spikes continues to improve making him a must for New England. Don’ta Hightower is coming in to his second season in the league on a high following a very productive debut year in 2012. The team will hope for something similar from Jamie Collins with the 2nd round pick out of Southern Miss showing he could make a huge difference on the team’s defense this year; his explosiveness, athleticism and versatility means he can play multiple positions for the Patriots and as we know as well as something that has been mentioned many times previously… Bill Belichick loves versatility.

Dane Fletcher may not be as versatile or athletic as any of the previous four linebackers mentioned but he is reliable and a good player to keep on the roster. The fact that new signing Adrian Wilson can also play linebacker means that five linebacker selections is fine for New England which is bad news for the likes of Beauharnais as it seems that he’ll be deemed surplus to requirements and not make the cut. Like I said these five pretty much pick themselves and it will extremely interesting to see how the likes of Mayo, Spikes, Collins and Hightower play together as well as end Chandler Jones with the prospect of this year’s defense wreaking havoc on opposing QB’s being quite likely if all goes to plan.

Cornerback: Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard (5)

Like the linebacker position I believe that the corners pick themselves. Aqib Talib will look to prove himself again after showing how valuable he can be to this Patriot’s secondary during the second half of the 2012 season. The shutdown corner has the ability to go up against any of the top wideouts in the game and after opting to sign just a one year extension with New England in a way it shows that Talib is set on proving himself being committing to a long term deal. We all know Dowling has talent but will injuries haunt him again? Well that remains to be seen; if they don’t we will see how productive he can be but if the plague continues the Patriots will need to bring in someone else.

Third round pick of out Rutgers Logan Ryan was one of the most talented players at his position in this years draft and could be another steal for New England in the long run. Kyle Arrington makes the team for another season but Alfonzo Dennard has questions over his head following his recent arrest. If he stays he will look to improve from 2012 but for now if something happens to him or Dowling you can expect the Patriots to add at this position.

Safety: Adrian Wilson, Devin McCourty, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Duron Harmon (5)

Duron Harmon was selected by the Patriots as the 91st pick from the NFL 2013 Draft… From yes you guessed it Rutgers! For someone not many people had heard of Harmon seems to be good value for a third round selection and will have a chance to prove himself in 2013. Adrian Wilson has been signed from Arizona will Bill Belichick hoping he has the same effect as Rodney Harrison did. If so the Adrian Wilson signing could well inspire a Super Bowl win as they need a talented and experienced leader to be the rock of this group to help improve their woes in the secondary. Adrian Wilson’s namesake Tavon doesn’t have much hype around him but the second year safety has the chance to learn from Adrian and improve his game.

Devin McCourty did very well in his transition to safety and it is clear to see he is better suited to the position but now New England will hope he can build on the 2012 season by producing the goods in 2013.It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t go for one risky selection throughout this projection and it will be in the shape of Nate Ebner as I think he has the potential to beat out Steve Gregory but in reality that maybe is a bit of a longshot.

Special Teams: Steve Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Danny Aiken (3)

Rookie punter Ryan Allen has given Mesko a run for his money up until now but with Mesko being a very reliable punter as well as arguably one of the best in the league he will make the team. Gotskowski had a challenger brought in as well but despite a rocky 2012 he has the ability to bounce back in 2013. Danny Aiken continues his role as long snapper.

 

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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