2016 Season Blog.


1st Quarter.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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Garoppolo Holds the Lead.


The Pats kicked off after their big touchdown, and Johnathan Jones tackled the returner at the 11. "Jonathan has given us solid play on defense and in the kicking game," BB said. "He was in a good program at Auburn. Played for Coach Muschamp last year, and I think a lot of his secondary techniques that we teach are similar to some of the things that he has already done, so he picked those up pretty quickly. But he's a tough kid and has good playing speed, good quickness, and has been a productive player for us in the kicking game and on defense.

"You saw in the game against the Giants the other night there were several deep plays that they tried to toss up on him and he was competitive on those plays. We saw those in some other preseason games and practices. I'd say just overall his solid performance on defense and in the kicking game put him just a little bit ahead of a couple of the other players that we had competing at that position, too.

"It was competitive and we had two other corners claimed by other teams so I think that speaks to kind of the competition at that position. But Jon earned a spot based on his play on the field and his consistency. He's out there every day, always comes in ready to go, has a good attitude, gives you great effort. He has got all of those things going for him."

They killed the Cardinals with those little pouch Kick-offs inside the 17. "I think we have a lot of leadership on our special teams group. Stephen Gostkowski gives us great leadership of the specialists and through his long tenure here and high level of performance, he's a very steadying influence on the group," BB said. "Of course, Matthew Slater, is our special teams' captain. But other players like Nate Ebner, Brandon Bolden, Jonathan Freeny, guys like that, that also are really our core players and then we have some younger players in the group. But they all take a lot of pride in their roles. In their jobs. 

"And even when we've had some of the starters out there. Like Patrick Chung had a big tackle there on that last kickoff. McCourty had a big tackle on the kickoff they tried to bounce all the way across the field. You know, plays like that. So, no matter who's out there those guys take a lot of pride in that. They know how important field position is and believe me, if you're a defensive player you want that field position for your defense and if you're an offensive player then you want that field position for your offense. 

"So, those guys really support each other, they work well together as a unit. Coach Judge and Coach Ventrone have done a great job of [coordinating them to work well together]. I was just talking about the offensive line. How well they have to work together. I would say it's even more true, but harder in the kicking game because it's not always the same people working together and you're dealing in a lot more space. On the front line of the kickoff return handling twists and different movements that those guys have or on the punt team protecting against rush looks, again, with different guys beside you. Maybe not different guys, but you're only doing it for a few plays in practice. Whereas an offensive line, they're going to run many more plays than that together. So just more time with each other. 

"But Joe and Bubba [Ventrone] have done a good job with that and those guys have really worked hard to have that kind of trust and belief in each other, in their assignments, so we can play aggressively and it really helped us last night. Our field goal execution, our field goal team, and the overall execution of the specialists there to have those field goals was part of the difference in the game. Our kickoff coverage, punt coverage, even though we didn't have a lot to show for the returns, we gained a few extra yards here and there on the punt and kickoff returns that in the end they all count. So we're fighting for every yard and those guys did a good job of that. So I thought that group really helped us last night in all the phases."

1st and, the Cards lined up in a Singleback to start their second drive at the 11-yard line. The Pats matched up in a very confused 3-4. Hightower shifted Long inside, and he lined up outside of Long. The Pats brought five. But were looking at the RB on the play action. Palmer threw a long one to Floyd. He beat Butler to the sideline and ran 30 more yards downfield.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel with Chung at the Will. They ran David up the gut, and Long and Brown took him down.

2nd and 7, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. They matched up in a 3-3 nickel. Long beat the ORT to the corner again. He pulled himself past Humphries, and got in Palmer's face as he threw. This caused a wild misfire by Palmer that was thrown five yards behind David (Johnson) in the flat.

3rd and 7, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. They Pats brought six guys up to the line in a 2-3 Nickel. They were doing this the whole first half. They brought six guys up to the line, and were sending three and dropping three. Long got the outside shoulder of the ORT, but it was Hightower who hit Carson as he threw. He misfired to Nelson 25-yards down field. The D stepped up and forced the Cards to punt at midfield for the second straight time.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun with Trips left at the 8. They set up a screen. The three WRs took off down field, and don't block right away. Thuney, Andrews, and Karras take off outside and get in front of White in the Flat, which was empty as all the DBs followed the WRs downfield. White weaved through the twitting Cardinals for 22-yards. The three O-line only get one real block in, but the Cards secondary gave up an extra 15 yards running to avoid the three Big Uglies. That was a great execution of excellently designed play.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a tight I- formation. They are really telling the Cards when they are going to run. They ran a dive to Blount. He hopped outside and then inside, and had to lower his head for a yard.

2nd and 9, 3-Wide Strong-shotgun. Garoppolo had time, but he held onto it for too long. Andrews stumbled and fell to the ground as the NT swam violently over him. Garoppolo fired it late as he got hit, and the ball crashed into White's feet too short to catch.

3rd and 9, the Pats lined up Empty and the Cards jumped off sides. 3rd and 4, the Pats lined up in a tight Strong formation again. They ran White. He scrunched up to the line gripping the ball tight. Bennett had sealed the D-line inside. Develin hit Buchanan outside of him, and Edelman blocked the CB outside of them. White hopped outside and cut straight up field between Develin and Edelman. He lowered his head for a 1st down. But it was Bennett and Cannon who sealed the D-line inside.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a Singleback. The right side of the O-line, and Bennett, dominated the LOS. Blount headed to the right, and then cutback against the grain. His cutback sent him suddenly slashing through the second level for another 1st down. The Pats O-line chewed them up on that play.

1st and 10, 3-Wide Strong shotgun. They set up a WR screen. The OLB beat Cannon to the edge and leaped at Garoppolo. Garoppolo made a great sidearm throw, just squeezing it past the Markus Golden's long reach. Edelman went outside, and the two other WRs in the trips block for him, and fell down.

2nd and 7, The Pats lined up in a Singleback. Blount ran outside, and had to cut back inside of Cannon. Cannon turned the 5-tech and drove him inside. Edelman blocked one DB on the edge, but there was another DB waiting. Blount was able to slash between Bennett and Edelman's block.

3rd and 5 the Pats lined up in 4-Wide Strong-shotgun. The coverage was good. The DE got up field on Cannon again. But he held on, and it opened a nice lane to the flat  to throw through. Jimmy-G hit White, who had swung out of the backfield. The ball was low and inside when it should have been high and outside to reach the marker. White had to spin backwards to catch it at his ankles. He had the quick thinking to spin around outside to get past the marker for the 1st down, as the DB dragged him down by his ankle.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. They ran a great play action, and the entire front-7 followed Blount outside. Jimmy turned and hit the rookie Malcolm Mitch up high down field, and the ball ripped through his fingernails. He was open, but the pass was too high. He leaped up to grab it but couldn't hold on.

2nd and 10, the Pats stayed in the 3-Wide Singleback. They ran the end-around to Edelman. He had a ton of room. He turned the corner. But two DBs flew up fast. The open green was gone in a flash. The first DB went low, and he leaped up into the air to make him miss. But the second DB screamed in and hit his feet in the air, and Edelman got helicoptered down.

3rd and 3, Pats lined up Empty. The O-tackles cut the DEs, and Garoppolo threw short. But the Safety Branch defended the pass to force the FG. Pats-10. Cards-Zip.

1st and 10, Cards lined up in a Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 3-4. They ran play action and all the rushers were fooled. They got stuck on the line and Palmer had too much time. But the coverage was great. So Carson finally had to dump it off to the RB David. He made two guys miss, and turn on the jets for another 15-yards. He showed an elite burst when he turned up field.

1st and 10, the Card lined up in a winged shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 4-2 Nickel with a safety at the Will. Carson had too much time. Vincent Valentine finally sacked him from the side, and Flowers and Sheard hopped on top as well to end the 1st quarter. I never would have guessed that Valentine would have the first sack of the season. This was such a strange game.

2nd and 13, the Cards lined up in a Winged shotgun again. The Pats matched up in a 3-4 with five guys on the line. Jamie Collins snuck up inside of Sheard. They brought four. Collins and Flowers dropped. Carson had to dump it off to David. He snuck out of the backfield again. He turned up field fast. Chung and Flowers corralled him, which is not easy to do. Chung got him quick, and Flowers popped them both backwards with some force.

3rd and 5, 4-Wide Strong shotgun, with a bunch on the right. The Pats matched up in a very wide 3-5 Nickel, with Hightower and Collins at ILB. Hightower and Collins blitzed up the gut. They both got hit by the OC, and the RB held onto Hightower. They held on just enough to allow Palmer to throw. Carson hit Nelson on the slant high for a first.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a Singleback. The Pats D stuffed it good. Johnson jumped past the ORG, and turned and ran and hit Davis at the LOS. That was a great explosive play by Johnson. Branch got in on the tackle was well.

2nd and 9, Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 3-5 Nickel with Johnson still in to rush as the 3-Tech. He slanted inside, and left a big hole on the right. David got the ball, and ran right through the hole Johnson twisted out of and into Branch. Who was trying to twist back into that hole, but they had collided. David made it to the second level, where McCourty, Chung, and Ryan had to take him down.

3rd and 2, the Cards lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. The Pats crowded the line with all six guys in their 2-4 Nickel. They sent three. Long was standing up like Chandler Jones on the Blindside. He pushed Veldheer up, and almost off his feet. Then pulled himself past him so powerfully that the OLG Iupati, who was trying to double him, couldn't reach him. Long sacked Palmer, and that was as a great a power rush as you will ever see in the NFL to force the punt.

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