|Matt Patricia has his radar on for Bills ‘very complex’ run game: ‘They’re going to keep coming after you’||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.
|True grit: How Patriots receivers, tight ends lead the way in NFL’s best run game||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.
|How Brad Stevens has actually given Bill Belichick ‘a lot of insight’ on coaching||09.25.16 at 4:07 pm ET|
Bill Belichick knows good coaching when he sees it.
And in Brad Stevens, he sees a coach he once was. You’d think it’d be Stevens looking for advice from the Patriots head coach. But on Sunday, Belichick admitted he is the one who has bent the ear of the Celtics’ floor boss for some wisdom.
Stevens turns 40 on Oct. 22 and is entering his fourth season as Celtics coach. When Belichick was 39 (in 1991), he was in his first season as an NFL head coach.
On Friday, Belichick had a chance to chat with Stevens, along with former linebacker Jerod Mayo and left tackle Matt Light at his own foundation’s fundraiser at the Seaport World Trade Center.
“Brad and I talked about a lot of things that are just coaching related,” Belichick said in a Sunday conference call. “Obviously, the sports are different. I don’t know anything about basketball and he doesn’t know much about football so it’s really not about X’s and O’s and that kind of thing, but you know, more of the other parts of coaching; preparation, training, team work, teambuilding, confidence, communication, players relationships and so forth.
“Obviously, we’re in the same business of taking more people to training camp than we can keep on the roster and then managing a roster and dealing with all of the things that happen during the year with that roster, whether that’s bringing other guys on to the team, trades, and so forth and so on. We’ve chatted about a lot of those things.
“He has given me a lot of insight and I’d say some of the players that they get are a little younger than the guys we get on average. They’re coming out of college after one year; we get them after three years or four. Just the transition from college to pro which he obviously has a lot of experience with , coming to the New England area – for most players that’s an adjustment. We don’t get too many guys from this area, so all the things like that.”
Stevens, in one sense, is actually on an even faster path to success than Belichick. Stevens got his team to the playoffs in his second and third years. Belichick didn’t make the playoffs until his fourth season in Cleveland. Belichick won a playoff game that year against the Patriots before being eliminated by the Steelers.
|Bill Belichick on his quarterbacks: ‘We’ll give our injury report on Wednesday’||09.25.16 at 12:48 pm ET|
It appears there won’t be any further clarity on the Patriots quarterback situation until the middle of the week.
During his conference call on Sunday, head coach Bill Belichick would not elaborate on the injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo (right shoulder) or Jacoby Brissett (right thumb).
“We’ll give our injury report on Wednesday, as we always do, as we’re required to do,” Belichick replied when asked if there might be an update on where the quarterback situation stands. “Based on where things are at that point, that’ll be represented in the report.”
The Patriots will have to get through one more game without Tom Brady and that will come next Sunday at Gillette Stadium against the Bills.
Garoppolo reportedly sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder with five minutes remaining in the first half against the Dolphins.
Brissett sprained his right thumb against the Texans on the first drive of the second half on Thursday night. The initial fear that surgery might be required is subsiding while the team see how it responds this week.
Adam Schefter reported Sunday that team sources say Garoppolo is “definitely making progress” in an effort to be ready next Sunday.
As for Brissett, the team is waiting to see how the thumb responds, and is also hopeful, based on his play after the injury, that he might be ready to take the field against the Bills if needed.
|The ‘well-coordinated’ details that make Ryan Allen and Patriots special teams so important to Bill Belichick||09.24.16 at 9:31 am ET|
Bill Belichick has always been a huge proponent of emphasizing the significance of special teams.
On Thursday, that attention to detail paid off in huge dividends as Ryan Allen pinned the Texans inside their 15 six times with punts and the kickoff coverage team forced two turnovers that led to two of New England’s three touchdowns on the night.
“Tremendous, tremendous. Field position was phenomenal,” Belichick said immediately after the game. “It seemed like they had to go 90 yards every time they had the ball. Our kickoff team, once again, came up big with field position; two turnovers. That’s a very aggressive unit. I think Joe [Judge] and Bubba [Ray Ventrone] have done a great job.
“They have a lot of leadership on that unit, a lot of pride. We punted well, we covered well, we covered our kicks well, we had a couple of chances in the return game, we converted our scoring opportunities. The entire special teams unit, the coaching staff, they did a tremendous job tonight. We obviously needed that tonight and they really delivered it.”
Allen knew coming in that with rookie Jacoby Brissett starting, one way to take some pressure off would be flipping the field and making the Texans go a long ways while keeping the field shorter for the Patriots. It worked. Houston’s average starting field position was its own 16. New England’s was its own 40. Playground slides aren’t tilted that much.
“Really at the end of the day there has been times where I, I think I’ve learned that. Steve and I have talked a little bit about that,” Allen said. “You never really know how games are going to go. There’s sometimes at the beginning of the game we’ll make a comment or two about how we feel, where we’re at as a team right before we play and we’re totally wrong most of the time. So you just really like assume you never really that’ll get you anywhere and you have to just be prepared and when you’re called go out there and do the best you can. So I think it was a good collective effort tonight.”
|Source: Jacoby Brissett has torn ligament in right thumb, surgery likely needed||09.23.16 at 3:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jacoby Brissett is the latest Patriots quarterback dealing with an injury.
A source tells WEEI.com that the Patriots quarterback suffered a torn ligament in his throwing thumb in Thursday’s win over the Texans. The need for surgery at this point is uncertain, though likely to completely stabilize the thumb.
It’s not clear exactly when the injury occurred, but he was having his thumb examined on the sideline in the third quarter, with a broken nail clearly visible.
Brissett was tackled from behind by Vince Wilfork on the opening drive of the second half. On the play, Brissett scrambled off left guard for four yards into open space but didn’t slide. As he fell, Wilfork landed on him at the Texans’ 38.
That drive ended when Edelman dropped a Brissett pass in the back of the end zone. The Patriots settled for a 25-yard field goal, while trainers looked at Brissett’s right thumb on the sideline.
Brissett finished 11-of-19 for 103 yards while gaining 48 yards on eight carries, including his 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots are hopeful that Jimmy Garoppolo (with his injured AC joint from Week 2) can be ready for the Bills game on Oct. 2. But it’s too early to tell.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Patriots do not consider Brissett’s injury to be serious but are monitoring their options and are expected to add a quarterback.
|The anatomy of a perfect game plan from Bill Belichick: How Jacoby Brissett TD run happened||09.23.16 at 12:49 pm ET|
Sometimes one play can reveal a lot about a team’s preparation on a short week.
After Thursday’s 27-0 blanking of the Texans, Bill Belichick was effusive in his praise of the coaching staff and players to get ready and execute at a high level. Belichick knows it’s hard enough on a regular week. But when the week is compressed, every detail becomes critical.
No play reflected the Patriots’ preparation better than the 27-yard bootleg run from Jacoby Brissett, a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start.
In order to make Brissett comfortable against a defense led by J.J. Watt, Belichick and his coaching staff of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and running backs coach Ivan Fears got their heads together to scheme against former Patriots defensive coordinator and current Texans defensive guru Romeo Crennel.
On the designed bootleg at the end of the first quarter, several factors were involved. Watt lined up over left guard Joe Thuney. Linebacker Benardrick McKinney came down on the line of scrimmage to set the edge on the other side. Watt blew through but there was nothing for Watt to get at. The reason? The play was designed to run on the other side, with right guard Shaq Mason executing the key block on McKinney to spring Brissett.
“I didn’t think J.J. Watt really had anything to do with the play,” Belichick said Friday in his conference call with reporters. “He was on the other side of the line. I don’t think he would’ve had any chance at all. Jacoby just took the ball, kind of took one step back, gave a quick ball fake to LeGarrette [Blount] and just went to the edge and it was timed out well with Shaq, who cut McKinney on the line of scrimmage and got him down, kind of knocked him off balance. By that time, Jacoby is already outside. Once Jacoby got to the corner, it was really a run all the way.”
Brissett made free safety Andre Hal miss at the 5 and used a block from Malcolm Mitchell on Johnathan Joseph to dive into the end zone.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Anthony Johnson Released by Patriots: Latest Comments and Reaction
- Jacoby Brissett Injury: Updates on Patriots QB's Thumb and Return
- Jacoby Brissett, QBs Making Their First Career Start Under Belichick Are...
- Shorthanded Patriots Send Emphatic Message That They Are Team to Beat in...
- Patriots vs. Texans: Full Report Card Grades for New England
- Jacoby Brissett, Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount Post-Week 3 Fantasy...
- Despite Injuries, Patriots Already September's Biggest Winners in the NFL