|09.26.16 at 12:03 pm ET|
Stopping the run sounds like such a fundamentally easy concept.
With the Buffalo Bills, it’s anything but. On Sunday, the Bills ran roughshod over the Cardinals defense in a 33-18 win at New Era Field in Orchard Park that interjected a much-needed shot of life into the team from Western New York.
LeSean McCoy ran just 17 times but totaled 110 yards, including touchdown runs of 24 and five yards. Their quarterback, the newly minted Tyrod Taylor finally paid dividends, running the ball nine times for 76 yards, including a 49-yard gallop and a 20-yard touchdown run.
Even Mike Gillislee, the third-year back out of Florida (second in Buffalo), made his 2016 debut, carrying three times for 20 yards.
In all, the Bills ran 32 times for 208 yards. It’s a big reason why the Bills are averaging 4.7 yards per carry over the first three weeks, fourth best in the NFL. All of these numbers should not come as a surprise as Rex Ryan is the Bills head coach.
“It’s a very complex run game,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. “It has a lot of different facets to it. It has both zone and a scheme element to it, along with the quarterback run. And certainly, when you take a look at the guys up front, they do a great job of blocking and staying on their blocks. They’re big and strong and they drive guys off the ball. They do a great job of just staying with it.”
“Their running game definitely gives you a lot of problems,” Belichick said Monday. “The overall scheme that they employ is challenging as well with the read-option scheme, zone schemes, and then some blocking scheme plays. Double teams, pullers, combination blocks; they have all of that. I also thought that Gillislee gave them some good, strong runs in some short-yardage and red area type situations as well. Obviously, McCoy is as good as it gets. The production that he has had is outstanding so he’s a very difficult guy to handle. So yeah, they give you a lot of different problems there between, like I said, not only the players but also the different schemes that they employ.”
“Ground and Pound” has always been a Rex Ryan staple and now, with first-year offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn re-joining Ryan in Buffalo after serving as Ryan’s running backs coach, the philosophy is more prevalent than ever.
|09.26.16 at 12:01 pm ET|
Julian Edelman checked in with Ordway, Merloni & Fauria on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ 27-0 over the Texans last Thursday and also to look ahead to this Sunday’s game against the Bills To hear the interview, go to the Ordway, Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.
The Patriots were able to blowout the Texans Thursday night with rookie third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett leading the way. Edelman said any time the team wins a game it feels good, no matter what the circumstances are.
“Any time you get a win in this league it feels unbelievable,” Edelman said. “When you’re down a player with a guy hurt, or a guy is not playing who is a big-time player and you scrap and get a win, that’s just showing the mental toughness of a team. Of course it’s good, but winning any game in this league — it doesn’t matter who is there or who is not there — it’s so satisfying because you put so much time and effort into that one game. It’s not like other sports where you can take off five games and you can take off a game here and there, every game matters in the National Football League. Regardless of the situation, it’s always fun and the team is excited to get a win.
“On the other note, you have to move on because there’s only 16 games. It’s fun for those couple hours and that day or so and the long weekend because of the baby bye weekend, but you have to move on and we have a division game staring us right in the face against a team that got a big time win over a good opponent last week. It’s fun, but you have to get back to work.”
Edelman gave credit to the coaching staff for getting everyone to buy in and also talked about how the winning attitude is apparent throughout the organization.
“We have a coaching staff that works its tails off and what they are really good at is taking the players they have and using their strengths and going out and being able to call a game,” he said. “I’ll tell you right now, it’s not just the coaching staff, it’s also the players and the guys buying in. It’s the attitudes of everyone — the equipment guys, the people that are cooking for us — it’s just like a good attitude right now. That’s what winning does. It gets that whole complementary style and it’s what we’re trying to do.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
|09.26.16 at 11:19 am ET|
Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer or coach might have in said pass catcher. With all that in mind, here’s a look at the target breakdown through the first three games of the regular season.
WR Danny Amendola: 9 catches on 10 targets (90 percent)
WR Julian Edelman: 18 catches on 24 targets (75 percent)
TE Martellus Bennett: 10 catches on 14 targets (71 percent)
RB James White: 8 catches on 12 targets (67 percent)
WR Chris Hogan: 8 catches on 13 targets (62 percent)
WR Malcolm Mitchell: 4 catches on 9 targets (44 percent)
RB D.J. Foster: 1 catch on 2 targets (50 percent)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 1 catch on 1 target (100 percent)
WR Matthew Slater: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
TE Rob Gronkowski: 1 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
In his last 19 regular-season games, Amendola has caught 74 of the last 97 passes thrown in his direction for a remarkable 76.3 percent catch rate. It’s the highest rate for any wide receiver with at least 90 targets in that span. For the record, Keenan Allen at 76 percent and Doug Baldwin at 75.4 percent are just off the pace. In that same span, Julian Edelman has a 71.2 percent catch rate, second-best among the Patriots’ receivers.
|09.26.16 at 10:58 am ET|
On Thursday, the Patriots were whistled for three penalties for 15 yards, not counting flags that were declined or offset. Heading into Monday Night Football, New England has been hit with 18 penalties (13th fewest in the league) for 149 yards (12th fewest in the league) on the season. Here’s a breakdown of the flags that have gone against the Patriots after three regular season games:
|09.26.16 at 10:36 am ET|
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, checking in with Kirk & Callahan on Monday morning, heaped praise on Bills coach Rex Ryan, who already has started talking tough as the teams prepare for next Sunday’s matchup in Foxboro. To hear the interview, go to the Kirk & Callahan audio on demand page.
After his Bills knocked off the Cardinals on Sunday, Ryan said he doesn’t care who starts behind center for the Patriots, his team will come at the QB regardless.
McDaniels took the high road.
“I have a lot of respect for Rex, and what he says is usually the truth,” McDaniels told K&C. “They’ll blitz, they’ll bring a lot of different packages each week to try to disrupt the quarterback, whichever team he’s playing. They obviously played very well yesterday against Arizona.
“We’re going to have to be ready for all that stuff, because he always keeps you on your toes, makes it difficult. Certainly one of the best defensive coaches that we’ll ever play against. His team played very well yesterday.”
With Jimmy Garropolo and Jacoby Brissett nursing injuries, McDaniels said it isn’t clear who will be calling signals next Sunday.
“I don’t know that. I haven’t seen them in a few days,” he said. “Hopefully all those guys continue to get better. We’ll see them tomorrow. Hopefully they’re all ready to go. That would be the goal, that would be the hope as we head into this week. But as of right now, I don’t know that.”
|09.26.16 at 9:29 am ET|
Through three weeks, no team has run it better than the New England Patriots.
They are averaging 150.7 yards per game and 4.19 yards each time they don’t pass. Those two stats are key reasons why they are 3-0 without Tom Brady.
For all the credit the offensive line and coach Dante Scarnecchia has rightfully earned over the first three games for their efforts in run blocking, the key to the production might very well lie on the outside.
Tight end Martellus Bennett was a huge factor in the run game in the win over the Cardinals.
“I was just trying to whoop their ass all day,” the tight end said after the Patriots ran for 106 yards on 31 carries in a Week 1 win.
In wins over the Dolphins and Texans, LeGarrette Blount bounced outside several times, including a run of 26 yards against the Dolphins and dashes of 41 and 14 yards against the Texans. Jacoby Brissett even raced outside for a 27-yard touchdown run.
The runs to the outside aren’t successful without a combination of the offensive line doing its job at the initial point of attack and the tight ends and receivers blocking at the secondary or perimeter levels.
Malcolm Mitchell executed a block downfield that sprung Brissett into the end zone. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were big factors on Thursday night. Rob Gronkowski has always taken great pride in his blocking, and is rightfully considered one of the premiere blocking tight ends in football.
|09.25.16 at 7:09 pm ET|
Moments after the Bills picked up their first win of the season — 33-18 over the Cardinals on Sunday in Buffalo — Rex Ryan was already bringing up their next opponent in the Patriots.
New England will host Buffalo next Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium as the Patriots will enter 3-0 with the Bills 1-2.
The biggest question mark going into the game will be who plays quarterback for the Patriots?
Tom Brady is suspended, while Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are battling injuries. Ryan doesn’t care who plays quarterback, as he believes his team will have an advantage since Brady won’t be active.
“Hey, you know, I can sit back and say I don’t care who plays quarterback because I know Brady ain’t,” Ryan told reporters. “I don’t care who plays quarterback. Steve Grogan can play quarterback. If Belichick’s playing quarterback, we’re coming after him. I promise you that.”
Ryan also brought up the Patriots when discussing Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s mobility.
“I know how difficult it is to defend against a running quarterback,” Ryan said. “We have to be ready in case [Julian] Edelman is at quarterback, right? I have a funny feeling he isn’t going to be Brady back there.”
The Bills have lost 28 of the last 31 meetings with the Patriots, with one of the wins being the last regular season game in 2014 when it had no barring on the playoffs for the Patriots and they rested many of their starters.
For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
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