New England Patriots in Line for Increased Roles in 2015

Houston Texans v Oakland Raiders

The Patriots captured the NFL title in exciting fashion to end last season. Already they are at the top as far as favorites to again grab another Lombardi trophy. Get in the game with these NFL Football betting analysis at Mybookie.ag.

The Patriots made a bold decision at the start of free agency, but one that they had to make in order to be able to stay competitive.

They decided early to pass on All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who went back to New York. His $20-million contract option gave the Jets an opportunity they didn’t feel they could pass up.

It cost them $70 million over five seasons (with $39 million fully guaranteed) to do it, but Revis was lured back to his NFL roots, fortifying the Jets while dealing their fiercest rival a devastating blow.

Losing Revis though will give a chance for a player to step up for the Patriots, and right now players in line for that are pickups Chimdi Chekwa, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain.

Those three are in line to be able to make plays, and along with losing Revis at one corner, they also lost fellow CB Brandon Browner, allowing him to leave the Patriots for the New Orleans Saints.

While those three CB’s mentioned above will have an impact on the position, don’t be so quick to rule out the team looking around to make a deal or also draft a CB early in the May 2015 NFL Draft.

The team is also looking to add more to their pass rush. They went out in free agency and grabbed former Cleveland Brown edge rusher Jabaal Sheard, a player that has shown potential, but needs to show more to make a big impact for the Patriots.

“Coming from a not-so-good program to a great Patriots program that’s been winning and doing well, I’m just really excited,” Sheard said last Friday in a conference call with the New England media.

“I want to win in the league. I want to be part of a great organization. That was a big part of me signing.”

Yes it’s true that Sheard’s sack totals dropped when the Browns switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in 2013, but he’s hoping that with a better team and a better system with good players around him, he will get back to the first two years of his career when he put up 15.5 sacks.

“I envision that they have some great plans for me,” Sheard said.

“Just knowing the system they run, I’ve been around three different systems in my last three years. I’m ready for whatever. I’m always ready to embrace something new and something different. I’m up for the challenge, whatever it is.”

The Patriots are not done wheeling and dealing, but for now they need to continue to look at the corner spot, as well as putting more pressure on the QB’s.

They are hoping the moves they have made thus far will help with that.

Thank You Vince Wilfork

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Thank You Vince Wilfork! (Photo From Patriots.com)

 

Vince Wilfork’s days as a member of the New England Patriots are done, but he won’t be forgotten by the fan base of the four time Super Bowl Championship organization.

Wilfork signed with the Texans last week, and I couldn’t think of a better fit for him, outside of New England. He will be on a good defense, and be playing alongside the best pass rusher in the NFL. I wanted him to end up with a good defense and play out his final days with a good team where he can make an impact, and that is Houston with former Patriots OC Bill O’Brien.

Wilfork started his career as a Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots and has ended it the same way.

In 2004 (his rookie year), Wilfork had 42 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 FR, and 3 passes defended. In the team’s 3 postseason games, Wilfork had 3 tackles.

In 2014, Wilfork had 47 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 passes defended. In the 3 postseason games, he had 3 tackles.

In 11 seasons with the Patriots, Wilfork played 158 games, recorded 516 tackles, 16 sacks, 4 FF, 12 FR, 3 interceptions, 25 passes defended, 27 stuffs, 56 stuff yards, and 2 kicks blocked.

Stats don’t tell the whole story for Wilfork though, he was so much more than numbers for the team. He was the leader on and off the field and an ever so big presence right in the center of the defense that struck fear in the opponents Quarterbacks and Running Backs. He was the heartbeat of the defense. He was the guy that made the guys around him better on and off the field. He would make an earthquake tackle and then light up the sky with that gigantic smile of his. He was Boston’s heart for 11 years. He was the Patriot Way and showed other players the way to Patriots Way when rookies came aboard or new Vets showed up.

He helped the Patriots to add 2 more Super Bowls to their collection and add more legacy to his ever growing legacy.

He was also big in the community, helping those around Boston and beyond with his charity work.

He has his own charity called the Vince Wilfork Foundation. They support diabetes research and raising awareness of diabetes and the causes. You visit the site to learn more about it and even support it by clicking the link below.

 http://www.vincewilfork75.com/foundation/about-the-foundation

We will miss his wife Bianca Wilfork too. She was very known throughout Boston, and a constant presence at the Patriots football game to support her husband. She is big in charity work and VWF with Vince. They together showed other athletes and people in general how to love and support one another.

The number 75 is a familiar number, one of the most easily recognizable number in red, white, and blue in Boston and one of the most known throughout the NFL fan bases. It will be weird to not see it anymore on the defense when New England takes the field in September.

Wilfork may be a Texan now, but he will forever be a Patriot.

Thank You Vince Wilfork for everything and a fun ride for 11 years! It won’t be the same but best of luck to you and your family!

Patriots give DE Rob Ninkovich a pay raise

Rob Ninkovich sacks Russel Wilson on a crucial play during the Super Bowl.

Rob Ninkovich sacks Russel Wilson on a crucial play during the Super Bowl.

The Patriots have given Ninkovich a pay raise for the 2015 season, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. 

Ninkoivich will make $5 million with $4.5 million guaranteed with his base salary and signing bonus combined.

He will have the remaining $500,000 in workout and roster bonuses.

His previous deal, Nink would earn $2.45 million, with a base salary of $2.1 million and $1 million became guaranteed last Saturday.

He would have had the remaining $350,000 in workout and roster bonuses.

Ninkovich is signed through the 2016 season.

*ESPN broke down Nink’s new numbers.

Pats sign RB Travaris Cadet

Cadet scores a touchdown against the Jaguars during a preseason meeting in 2012. (Photo By: Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune)

Cadet scores a touchdown against the Jaguars during a preseason meeting in 2012.
(Photo By: Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune)

The Patriots signed RB Travaris Cadet yesterday, according to reports.

Cadet played 3 seasons with the Saints and will compete for the pass-catching RB spot against James White, Tyler Gaffney, and Brandon Bolden.

Cadet is 6’1 and 210 pounds. He played his college ball at Appalachian State. He’s 26 years old.

He signed with the Saints in 2012 as an undrafted free agent.

He carried the ball 10 times last season for 32 yards. He caught 38 passes for 296 yards and 1 touchdown. He also fumbled the ball twice.

He had returned kicks for 383 yards.

His first career touchdown was against the Patriots in 2013.

 

Patriots sign CB Robert McClain

Robert McClain breaks up a pass for Micahel Floyd in November, 2014. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox / staff)

Robert McClain breaks up a pass for Micahel Floyd in November, 2014.
(Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox / staff)

The Patriots have signed CB Robert McClain, McClain announced on Twitter.

McClain was a 7th round draft pick by the Panthers (249th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft and was released by the team in 2011. He signed with the Jaguars on December 30, 2011 and then released by the team after they claimed an OT off waivers.

He signed with the Falcons in 2012 and remained with the team the past two seasons.

His rookie year, he had 16 tackles and 1 passes defended.

His first year with the Falcons was a good one, he recorded 61 tackles, 1 interception, and 10 passes defended.

He had 1 tackle in the team’s two playoff games.

In 2013, he had 65 tackles and 5 passes defended.

In 2014, he had 59 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, and 5 passes defended. He started 6 games for the team and had his best year in the NFL.

He has 158 tackles, 3 interceptions, 21 passes defended, 1 sack, and 2 FF in his 4 year career.

He was rated #57 CB who played at least 50% of the team’s snaps.

He beat out Josh Wilson and Jaiver Arenas for the nickelback position and ended the season as the starter.

Quarterbacks had a 88.5% passer rating when throwing at McClain and receivers caught 67.1% of passes with McClain in coverage.

He’s 5’9 and 194 pounds. He’s 26 years old and will be 27 in July.

He played his college ball at Connecticut.

McClain will add depth to the slot position and add another competition this off-season to the Pats secondary, like I said before, may the best corners win.

 

 

Patriots sign CB Bradley Fletcher

Fletcher after he intercepted the Panthers and scored a touchdown in 2014. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Fletcher after he intercepted the Panthers and scored a touchdown in 2014.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Patriots have signed CB Bradley Fletcher to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

Fletcher spent 4 seasons with the Rams and the past 2 seasons with the Eagles.

His 2014 season was his worst season as a pro, but he was good before last year, so maybe it was a down year, or maybe he needs out of that Philly system.

Patrick Chung struggled with the Patriots his last season and then went to Philly where he struggled before returning last season, and played very well for the Pats his 2nd time around.

Fletcher was good before and we will see if he will get back to being a good player. He struggled with the deep passes last year, but he will have safety help over the top by the best in the game, McCourty.

Maybe Fletcher will have the same turnaround Chung did.

Fletcher will be used in matchups because unlike most teams, the Patriots play matchups, so they won’t be sticking him with the likes of Dez Bryant, someone a lot taller than him, especially without backup.

Remember, they love matchups and with Fletcher, they will have pieces to move around on defense to give themselves the best matchups against other team’s wide outs. They probably won’t be playing man anyways and that might help him. Time will tell how this works out.

Also, just because he has been signed doesn’t mean he will make the team or even play much. He might just be depth, but he will compete for a role on the Patriots.

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He ranked #92 out of 108 eligible players in 2014, but in 2013 he ranked #44.

In 2014, he had 60 tackles, 1 FF, 1 interception returned for 34 yards and a touchdown. He had 22 passes defended.

In 2013, he had 70 tackles, 2 FF, 2 interceptions, and 15 passes defended during the regular season. In the one playoff game against the Saints, he had 1 tackle, and 1 interception.

Fletcher’s 2010 season may have been his best season as a pro. He recorded 75 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 11 passes defended.

He’s recorded at least one interception the past 3 seasons.

He’s 6’0 and 200 pounds. He played his college ball at Iowa.

His career numbers are 280 tackles, 1 sack, 8 interceptions, 58 passes defended, and 3 FF in his 6 seasons.

He was drafted by the Rams in the 3rd round (66th overall) during the 2009 NFL Draft.

He’s 28, will be 29 in June.

He ran a 4.44 during the NFL’s combine 40 yard dash.

The Pats are adding competition to their secondary with low risk high reward players.

This training camp, let the best corners win.

Chip Kelly works out Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow throws to Tom Brady during Patriots Training Camp. (Photo By: Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

Tim Tebow throws to Tom Brady during Patriots Training Camp.
(Photo By: Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

The Philadelphia Eagles worked out former Broncos, Jets, and Patriots QB Tim Tebow today, according to Adam Schefter.

The team isn’t planning on signing him at this time, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

They might have been looking at him if they don’t get a QB in the draft, or during the season if injuries happen or the QB spot just doesn’t pan out.

Tebow has been working with Tom Brady’s QB coach Tom House for the past year, a former major league pitcher who is now a co-owner of 3DQB, a performance center for quarterbacks and pitchers. Tebow’s new QB coach told Bleacher Report recently about Tebow’s progress.

The interview from Bleacher Report:

You started working with Tim Tebow in 2012. Have you been working with him continuously, or did he recently return to you?

Tebow came for two weeks in 2012, and then he went and played [for the Jets]. I didn’t see him that whole season. He came back when he was released by the Patriots [in 2013, at the end of training camp]. He’s been pretty much a regular since he was released by the Patriots.

How did your relationship with Tebow start?

I think, the first time through, it may have been Drew Brees who told him about us. The second time, I know it was Tom Brady who said, “Get out and see what you can do with Tom House and his staff.”

What was Tebow looking for from you?

His initial go-around was because he had accuracy issues and he had trouble spinning the ball. That’s what we’ve been working the hardest on.

What were his strengths and weaknesses as a passer before he started working with you?

Well, he was strong. He was probably the strongest quarterback that I have ever worked with. But strength is only one piece of the puzzle. There’s efficiency, timing and sequence.

He came to get better with accuracy; he came to get better at spinning the ball. He’s doing that with me.

Why is spin so important?

If the ball doesn’t spin true, there are issues with release point and where the wrist and elbow are. If the spin is there but the front side wobbles up and down, or the tail goes one way or the other, there’s a mechanical flaw somewhere.

A wobbling ball is not as accurate or as powerful as the quarterback intended, right?

Yes. What you said was perfect. Muscling the ball out of sequence is one of many things that cause issues. What we’ve done is create measurables for the things that can go right or wrong.

What have you done to improve the spin on Tebow’s throws?

Repetition, timing, sequence and mechanics. Nothing magic.

How often are you working with him, and for how many hours per day?

We’ve been seeing him about three days every week, year-round. Now, he works besides his time with us, but the time he spends working with us on skills, routes and all of those things works out to about two or two-and-a-half hours per day.

So he has homework?

He has homework. He also has his conditioning people. He has a support system that is second to none.

How many passes does he throw per session?

Not all of it is throwing. We have what we call “cross-specificity drills.” He does a lot of throwing motions, but he only throws the football 60 to 65 times per day. When all the reps from the skill drills are added up, he’s probably getting between 300 and 400 reps per day of the throwing motion.

Does he also work on other elements of mechanics, like dropbacks?

With “cross-specific drills,” we add three or four different kinds of drops. We add being in shotgun or behind the center, and then go through the throwing motion. On the field, we’ll block train, where he throws to a stationary target, then random train where his receivers will go through a route tree. So it’s a combination of things.

Are you also working on reading defenses and the mental components of playing quarterback?

I’m a throwing guy. But I work with John Beck, who is an ex-NFL and CFL quarterback [Beck had stints with the Dolphins, Redskins andTexans after starring at BYU], and Adam Dedeaux, and they are pure quarterback coaches. They talk about receivers, reads, footwork. Between the three of us, we provide as much information and instruction as we can to all the quarterbacks who come through here.

Do you have Tebow watch Brady or other quarterbacks on film?

We try not to have him look at other people. It’s not about other quarterbacks. It’s how they interpret for themselves what our measurables are.

We have a model. Every quarterback looks different doing the same things under the umbrella of that model. If you watch Aaron Rodgersthrow, it’s different than how Drew Brees throws. And Drew looks different than Brady. But they all throw the football with efficiency.

Then does Tebow watching himself on film?

We do that all the time.

All the high-level quarterbacks perform a motion analysis when they arrive. Our eyes lie to us, but when you have eight cameras showing you things at 1,000 frames per second, you can identify, based on our model, where they come up short and where they’re good. We teach to fix the problem areas we see in three-dimensional motion analysis.

We have one of the only coaching motion-analysis setups in the country. Eight cameras film simultaneously. The computer takes all that imagery and turns it into stick figures. We analyze those stick figures for efficiency based on our model.

We do it at the beginning, when they first show up. Then we do it on the exit to see the improvement. But for the most part, if these guys are doing the work with the right drills, they pretty much fix themselves.

What is Tebow doing differently now than he was the last time we saw him two years ago?

I honestly believe that everybody who was trying to help Tim, everybody who thought they “fixed” him, they probably did temporarily fix him. But Tim didn’t have enough repetition for it to become autonomic. When he got into competition, with the stresses and anxieties that come with the competitive situation, he fell back to his old habits.

The difference now is that he has put in the reps. There have been 10,000-plus reps. If he gets a chance to play again and gets back to competition, it’s hard-wired now. He doesn’t have to think about it.

Tebow’s delivery was idiosyncratic. Are there some things you don’t try to correct in a quarterback’s delivery?

If you give them proper mechanics, the idiosyncrasies go away. I think that Tim has found his efficient throwing motion. He did all the work. We just showed him the drills specific to his strength and mechanical requirements. He did the work to reinforce it.

Does that mean Tebow’s motion is shorter or more compact?

If you remember the old Tim Tebow, or you looked at old film, then you look at it now, you could see the difference. What that means to him or to you or to my eyes isn’t really important. What matters is that he is releasing the ball more efficiently, with better spin and accuracy, at the right time.

Does the fact that Tebow is a scrambler make a difference?

Whether or not you throw on the run, you still can’t throw it until your weight’s shifted. You still can’t release the ball until the energy has gotten to your fingertips.

You said that Tim has his own conditioning people and support network. Does that take away some of the disadvantages of not being on a roster?

Tim’s probably working as hard now without a job as he did when he had a job.

We all have opinions and preconceptions about Tebow. You have worked with him for years. What have you learned about him that the rest of us don’t know?

He’s real. What you see is what you get. He’s a great kid.

I don’t know why people would not like him. He gets along with everybody here. The coaches here love him. He’s authentic. His intensity level is huge. He’s a competitor.

What will coaches see if they give Tim Tebow a tryout?

They will see a more efficient passing motion, with more accuracy and more spin than they have ever seen before.

I can’t see any reason why someone would not at least give him another chance. I’m not running the football world; I’m on the periphery. But for closure on everybody’s end, it would be nice to see him get one more shot to make a ball club.

Why guess about it when all he needs is a chance to go play?

I’m personally rooting for Tebow. I’m a big fan of is, and to be honest, the NFL could use more people like him.

Patriots, Wilfork say Good Bye

Vince Wilfork bids Good Bye to Boston. (Photo By: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Vince Wilfork bids Good Bye to Boston.
(Photo By: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Houston, we have a problem!

Vince Wilfork, longtime New England great, is heading to Houston after announcing he will sign with the Texans.

Wilfork has spent 11 seasons with the Patriots where he became a 2x Super Bowl Champion, 4x AFC Champion, and a 5x Pro Bowler.

He played in 158 games and made 516 tackles, 16 sacks, 4 FF, 12 FR, 3 interceptions for 48 yards, 25 passes defended, and 2 kicks blocked.

Wilfork made 47 tackles, 1 kick blocked, 1 interception for 1 yard, and 2 passes defended during the 2014 regular season. He tacked on 6 more tackles during the Patriots 3 playoff games.

His deal is for two years and worth $9 million with $5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Wilfork wrote a message about his new and former team on Facebook and Twitter.

 “This has been an interesting process for me and my family, one we have taken VERY seriously and given a lot of thoughtwe will be starting a new chapter in our lives as Houston Texans. We want to thank the Kraft family and the entire New England Patriots organization for the past 11 years. The coaching staff in Houston has made the new exciting transition feel like home to us. We will FOREVER be Patriots in our hearts. Thank you everyone for everything!”

He also continued on Twitter sending out a goodbye message to the Patriots and the fanbase.

“To win a Super Bowl my rookie year as a Pat and win another 1 my last year as a Patriot is such a blessing I couldn’t write a better ending. The Kraft family will always Be family from every son their wives &grandkids NFL brings people together real relationships keep them together. Thank you Bill for 11 years I have learned so much it’s been an amazing run you your kids Linda we are always family. My brothers on the field I love you all I wish you success & health changing teams will never change our bonds we are brothers forever. To all the fans this is the hardest choice I have ever had to make you guys are my back bone and you guys will always be my heart.”

Bill Belichick released a statement on Patriots.com about Vince Wilfork.

“Few players reached or will ever reach the special level of Vince Wilfork.  He is a great champion and one of the classiest people I have ever been around – just a kind, genuine and giving person who was all about our team, football, winning and bringing joy to others.  There may have never been anyone at his position with as much strength, toughness, intelligence, instinctiveness and athleticism.  He is the best defensive linemen I ever coached, an all-time great Patriot whose place on our team will be missed but whose remarkable career as a Patriot will be remembered forever.”