This list is pretty one sided because of the Patriots’ dominant win over the Vikings. After the depressing amount of articles that were put out on this site prior to the game, this article was a life saver. Although the Patriots have a long way to go before they evolve into the Championship team we all day dreamed about in the offseason, they took a huge step this week.
The offense definitely has some glaring weaknesses, but did one thing right this week: They capitalized on turnovers and short-field positions at the outset of the game. The Patriots scored quickly and early and held off some rallies by the Vikings by forcing turnovers.
This week, they face Oakland in their home opener with momentum and confidence. Obviously a 15-1 record is no longer out of the question….just saying.
Chandler Jones, DE
Against the Dolphins in week one, Jones was called for two roughing the passer penalties, which resulted in $16, 537 in fines. Further, the penalties kept Dolphins’ drives alive. This week, Jones absolutely destroyed the Vikings. He recorded eight total tackles, three for losses, two sacks and three quarterback hits. He also blocked a field goal and returned the ball 70 yards for a score.
Dont’a Hightower, LB
Hightower was a force on the field, recording eight total tackles, two sacks, and hitting Cassel two more times. The Patriots have elected to finally take advantage of Hightower’s strength, which is to pressure the opposing team’s offensive line and quarterback. He can be a three down player, but was one of the worst covering linebackers in the league last season. His strength is engaging and pressuring the line and quarterback.
Julian Edelman, WR
What can’t this guy do? Targeted eight times, Edelman finished the afternoon with six receptions for 95 yards and chipped in two rushes for 21 yards. Yet, while his stat line is always seemingly impressive, it’s his ability to hurt the defense in a number of ways that makes him a valuable asset. Cornerback Xavier Woods shadowed Edleman for much of the afternoon and simply couldn’t keep up with him. The former was flagged a number of times.
Jordan Devey and Offensive Line
Last weekend they were the goats, but this week they suddenly looked like the most consistent set of players. That’s notable because once the line begins to consistently play well, the rest of the offense will click. Brady needs time to throw and he got it this week. The line surrendered only one sack and three quarterback hits compared to last week’s four sack meltdown. They also led the way for a solid running game. On 37 carries the Patriots ran for 150 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry.
New England wanted to take back the trenches and they did so by using a more stable unit. They did not rotate, and instead elected to stay with left left tackle Nate Solder, left guard Marcus Cannon, center Dan Connolly, right guard Jordan Devey and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer.
Wide Receivers Not Named Julian Edelman
Outside of Julian Edelman, the Patriots receivers failed to make any kind of impact. They pretty much completely sucked up and down the field, and were certainly the reason Tom Brady showed frustration post game. How bad were their other receivers? On 22 targets only Aaron Dobson caught a pass and it went for 13 yards.
Just another season and another
Danny Aiken, LS
The Patriots cut Aiken prior to the season and then realized Rob Ninkovich was 1) Not the answer and 2) two valuable on defense to use a long snapper. So, they hired him back and the results have been iffy. He was often erratic and always one poor snap away from causing a blocked punt and touchdown….oh, wait.
Danny Amendola, WR
I’m just going to cheat and put Amendola out by himself on Exile Island. If you don’t know the reference it’s from Survivor, and yes I watch that show religiously. Pretty much Exile Island is for people who either suck at the game or have been banished from their fellow team mates. For the second week in a row, Amendola has made zero impact. He has three receptions on six targets and five of those targets came in week one.
It’s a tough call here. The rest of the Patriots’ receivers also made their own claim as to why they deserve to be exiled, but only one can. For now, that guy is Amendola. On the bright side…the player can get back into the game and are usually provided a machete, pot and flint to survive. This guy needs all the help he can get.