|Revis Report, Week 3: ‘The Raiders always come to play’||09.19.14 at 12:49 am ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes the Raiders to Foxboro for the first time since 2005.
Overview: Revis and the Patriots open up their home slate Sunday at one against the Raiders. With rookie quarterback Derek Carr at the helm, Oakland is coming into the game with an 0-2 mark, having lost its first two games by scores of 19-14 (at the Jets) and 30-14 (home against the Texans). For Revis, it will be a chance to play a regular-season game in front of a home crowd for the first time with the Patriots, as well as catch up with a few old friends in the Silver and Black.
“It’s finally here,” he said Thursday when asked about the home opener. “I think the team is excited. We’re looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd.
“I know a lot of guys on that team, so I’m really looking forward to it,” he added. “The Raiders always come to play. We just have to be ready for what they’re going to bring. They’re 0-2 right now, and I’m sure they’re searching for a win coming off 0-2. We know they’ll be ready — we just have to be focused and make sure we don’t let one slip away at home.”
Last week: Per NFL gamebooks, Revis played 58 of a possible 66 defensive snaps on Sunday against the Vikings. (In terms of overall snaps, he played 88 percent, which was tied with Devin McCourty for highest playtime percentage among the defensive backs. Logan Ryan was first with 66 snaps.) While he was utilized mostly on one side in the preseason, as well as the opener against the Dolphins, last Sunday against Minnesota, it was mostly Greg Jennings. (He told the CBS broadcast crew the night before the game that he was going to be matched up against Jennings for most of the afternoon.) The nine-year veteran caught just one pass for 4 yards (in the fourth quarter) on four targets while matched against Revis. By the looks of the All-22 film, Revis did not allow another catch to any of the other receivers he was against, either in man or zone coverage. (It was a group that included Cordarelle Patterson.)
Perhaps the highlight of the year to this point for Revis came when he picked off Matt Cassel for his first interception of the season. With just over 13 minutes left in the second quarter and the Patriots holding a 10-7 lead, Cassel and the Vikings faced a 2nd and 10 situation at their own 38. The Vikings quarterback dropped back and fired a pass deep down the right side for Jennings, only to see it picked off. It was the 22nd career pick for Revis, and New England quickly cashed it in — seven plays later, Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-7, giving the Patriots a double digit lead they would enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
Including what he yielded in Week 1, to this point in the season — when matched in man coverage — Revis has yielded three catches on nine targets for 40 yards, with one interception and three pass breakups.
Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t be solely one-on-one): This week, it appears likely that the primary candidate for Revis Island will be veteran receiver James Jones. Called a “savvy vet” by the Patriots corner on Thursday, the 30-year-old Jones is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound presence out of San Jose State who is in his first season with Oakland after spending the last seven in Green Bay. A solid combination of size and speed, his performance last week likely moved him to (or at least near) the top of the wide receiver depth chart in Oakland.
|Revis Report, Week 2: Corner could face unique challenge in Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson||09.11.14 at 11:35 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England travels to Minnesota for a date with the Vikings.
Overview: This will mark Darrelle Revis‘ second regular-season game with the Patriots, and his first against the Vikings since he was with the Jets on Oct. 11, 2010. New England is coming off a surprising 33-20 loss to the Dolphins in the regular-season opener.
“We’re ready to go,” Revis told reporters after practice on Thursday. “We had a great practice today [and] we’ve just got to focus on [Friday] and tie all three practices together, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Last week: According to NFL gamebooks, Revis played 62 of a possible 74 snaps against the Dolphins (84 percent), and after looking at the All-22 film, we had him lined up on the left side for 61 of the possible 62 snaps. (This would certainly jibe with what we saw from him over the course of the preseason, where he was on the left side for 33 of his 36 preseason snaps.) In all, he was targeted five times by Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and yielded two catches for a total of 36 yards to Miami’s Mike Wallace, and also had two pass breakups.
While Revis stuck to one side of the field for the bulk of the afternoon, most of his action came in head-to-head matchups with Wallace. The most eventful play came in the first half when Wallace dropped an impressive double-move on Revis, allowing him to get some separation on the cornerback and get some clearance on the way to the end zone. However, the ball was just slightly off the mark, and Wallace was unable to come down with the ball inbounds. Revis ended the game with one tackle and a fumble recovery.
(For what it’s worth, Wallace’s move caused us to think about the most notable quote of the previous week from Revis on the receiver, saying that his speed can sometimes be deceptive. “Film can play tricks on your eyes sometimes when you watch it,” Revis said when asked about preparing for Wallace. “Until you get out there … film speed and game speed are totally two different things. I played against him in the past — a lot of guys on this team have — and I know how fast he is. He’s probably the fastest receiver in the league.”)
Ultimately, Wallace ended the game with seven catches (on 11 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown, an uptick from the numbers he had averaged against Revis-led defenses in the past (four catches for 41 yards per contest).
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|Four final Saturday thoughts on Patriots and free agency||03.17.13 at 12:36 am ET|
Four Patriots-related thoughts as business comes to a close on Saturday:
Brandon Lloyd: There’s extreme makeover, and then, there’s what the Patriots are doing at wide receiver. As it stands right now, the Patriots don’t have a single receiver on the roster that caught a pass for them last season. That doesn’t mean that they won’t bring back Lloyd (who was cut Saturday afternoon) or re-sign Julian Edelman (who is still an available free agent). But right now, New England is looking at a depth chart at wide receiver that includes newcomers Donald Jones and Danny Amendola. Strange days, indeed.
Two more notes on the wide receiver position: First, as of this moment, there’s no offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders. The receiver, who will turn 26 on Sunday, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012 for Pittsburgh, starting seven games. In his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five TDs. And two, this little nugget showed up late Saturday night: the Patriots were initially interested in Greg Jennings. According to Bob McGinn, “According to an NFL source, the New England Patriots offered Jennings a deal averaging $6 million but didn’t get very far. Then the Patriots turned to St. Louis’ Danny Amendola as the replacement for Wes Welker.” Jennings ended up signing with the Vikings, a five-year deal valued at $47.5 million with $18 million guaranteed.
Sebastian Vollmer: The right tackle is playing the waiting game at this point — along with most of the other elite free agent offensive linemen like Jake Long and Andre Smith — as the market continues to shake itself out. The first domino that is expected to fall is Long, who is still picking and choosing after a ridiculously long visit with the Rams. After Long’s deal sets the marketplace, Vollmer should follow soon after that. If he did come back to New England (and right now, it’s my guess that he does return, eventually), the Patriots might build some playtime incentives into his deal like they apparently did with Amendola. The new receiver has incentives for staying healthy — if he plays all 16 games all five years of his contract, he’ll make an extra $500,000 a year. Vollmer, who has also struggled with injuries over the last couple of years, has been an elite tackle when healthy, but injuries have slowed him in the past (particularly in 2011). But considering the market, the Patriots were wise not to use the franchise tag (it would have been $9.7 million) on him this year.
Aqib Talib: You rarely see two sides display such astounding common sense when it comes to negotiations, but the Patriots and the veteran corner handled this situation about as well as could be expected. New England read the market perfectly in this case — it’s a depressed year for corners — and instead of panicking and slapping the franchise tag on him (particularly in the wake of Alfonzo Dennard‘s murky legal future) which would have cost them $10.7 million, they waited it out and let the market set. As for Talib, he’s betting on himself to have a top-level year, and test the market again in 2014. The Patriots get a motivated player, while Talib gets a market-value deal and one more chance to prove to the rest of the league he deserves a big payday. Both sides get a big thumbs up for this one.
|NFL free agency update: WR Greg Jennings reportedly will visit Vikings||03.14.13 at 9:41 am ET|
With Wes Welker and Danny Amendola under agreement, the NFL free agent wide receiver focus is on Packers free agent Greg Jennings. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jennings has a visit scheduled with the AFC North rival Vikings on Thursday. The Vikings have a hole after sending Percy Harvin to Seattle.
Jennings, 29, has spent all seven of his NFL seasons in Green Bay. He has 425 career receptions for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns. Last season he was limited to eight games due to injuries, and he had 36 catches for 366 yards and four touchdowns.
‘¢ Ravens free agent safety Ed Reed has a visit with the Texans on Thursday, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The Ravens are believed to be interesting in re-signing Reed, especially after releasing safety Bernard Pollard.
‘¢ Defensive back LaRon Landry signed a reported four-year, $24 million deal with the Colts. Landry, 28, spent last season with the Jets, making the Pro Bowl after recording 100 tackles (76 solo), two interceptions and four forced fumbles in 16 games. He previously played five seasons for the Redskins, who drafted him sixth overall in 2007 out of LSU.
‘¢ The Lions lost a couple of defensive stalwarts, as tackle Sammie Hill agreed to a reported three-year, $11.4 million deal with the Titans and end Cliff Avril accepted a reported two-year, $15 million contract from the Seahawks.
|Jason Cole on M&M: Wes Welker is ‘only one I would even think about’ franchising||02.19.13 at 1:51 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports writer Jason Cole talked with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to discuss Aqib Talib and other free agent defensive backs, and potential wide receiver options for the Patriots. The Patriots have three players on whom they could place the franchise tag: Talib, Wes Welker and Sebastian Vollmer. Vollmer has had a lingering back issue, while Talib has a history of behavioral problems.
“Well the only one that I would even think about [franchising] would be Welker,” Cole said. “That’s if I want to pay him the $11.4 million. That’s the only guy I would think about.
“Vollmer. you just mentioned the back issue. … I think you can get him back at a fairly reasonable price if you want to get him back. Aqib, I would just never throw $10 million at Aqib Talib, guaranteed for one year. I would want to keep him, but I think he’s one of those guys who’s only going to get 7 or 8 million dollars out on the open market. … When’s the next blowup going to happen?”
If the Patriots do not retain Talib, they’ll probably look toward the free agent market.
“The market is not great,” Cole said, adding: “But you’re going to have some guys like Eric Wright out there. You’re going to have Aqib, Sean Smith, some guys who are not quite worth that franchise tag. I’ve just got to say that if I’m guaranteeing $10 million to a guy who has had behavioral issues in the past and doesn’t have the greatest amount of self-control. Aqib’s former teammates in Tampa, they’d say, ‘Look, he’s great to be around 95 percent of the time, but when that switch in his head flips, and he loses control, he’s very difficult to manage and it gets really out of control.’ ”
While Talib’s talent is undeniable, his work ethic and behavior issues have to be a red flag.
“People in Tampa said that didn’t always grind it out,” Cole said. “But there’s a certain point where if he’s playing well, how much does that really make a difference? … [Work ethic] doesn’t concern me as much as giving guaranteed money to a guy who has only shown me a short period of time that he’s turned his life around.”
Likewise, if the Patriots do not keep Welker, they might look to replace him through free agency.
“[Greg] Jennings I really like because I think he would fit exactly what [the Patriots] are trying to do. He’s really smart, he’d pick it up really quickly. Their biggest problem is they don’t have an over-the-top threat. They don’t have anybody to stretch in the field vertically. Even with [Rob] Gronkowski healthy, he’s not the kind of burner who scares any big defense. … Maybe that’s Mike Wallace, maybe it’s [Dwayne] Bowe. More likely it’s Wallace, but Bowe is also another guy; he’s had his own behavioral issues, too. But you take a chance on some of these guys.”
|Packers say their season started to turn around with loss to the Patriots||02.02.11 at 11:15 pm ET|
When it came to the 2010 Packers, the turning point in their season came on the night of Dec. 19 at Gillette Stadium.
Green Bay was coming off an ugly loss to the Lions, a defeat that saw starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers get knocked out of the game with a concussion, his second of the season. The Packers also had several players limited in practice over the course of the week, a group that included linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Charles Woodson. Rodgers was ruled out late in the week, and an already struggling Green Bay team was given little chance at winning.
But even at less than their best ‘ including a botched sequence late in the game that prevented them from what might have been an attempt at a game-winning touchdown ‘ the Packers hung tough and nearly matched the Patriots. Without Rodgers, Green Bay pushed New England to the limit, but eventually fell 31-27, a loss that dropped them to 8-6 on the season.
In a game that will be remembered around New England as the night Dan Connolly delivered one of the most memorable kick returns in franchise history, for the Packers, the contest was a tribute to their depth. Green Bay ‘ which eventually landed 16 players on injured reserve over the course of the season ‘ got 251 yards passing from backup quarterback Matt Flynn, while other players also stepped up and made big plays at key times in the contest.
While the phrase ‘moral victory’ is tough for players to stomach when it comes to explaining away late-season losses, the defeat to the Patriots galvanized the Packers, and showed them what they were truly capable of. If they could go on the road and almost knock off New England with a backup quarterback, well, there’s no telling what they could accomplish.
‘You don’t win games off of moral victories, but you can take a lot away from them. What we took from that game was we have a lot of guys who are going to step up and fight despite of who’s playing,’ Green Bay wide receiver Greg Jennings said Wednesday when asked about the December loss to the Patriots. ‘That is why we are here today ‘ because of guys being able to step up and fill voids.
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