Patriots protection has enjoyable with stats

Invoice Belichick at all times says stats are for losers. Should you’re a group, and play like a group, there is no such thing as a more true mantra.

And whereas the Patriots imagine within the message from their head coach, that doesn’t imply they’ll’t have a bit enjoyable with numbers.

Members of the group’s dominant defensive unit use sacks, picks, pressured fumbles, and each different defensive statistic to push one another to better heights.

It’s a pleasant competitors between the gamers. Since not one of the opposing offenses have put up a lot of a struggle, why not problem one another?

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower says everybody enjoys their little facet battles and competitions desirous to one-up the following man.

FOXBORO, MA. – OCTOBER 10: Duron Harmon #21 intercepts as Dont’a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots appears on throughout the second quarter of the NFL sport in opposition to the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Workers Picture By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Proper now, security Devin McCourty has 4 picks. Linebacker Jamie Collins has three, adopted by Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson with two. Collins is simply forward of Jason McCourty on group tackles, and leads Kyle Van Noy in sacks. These numbers enable for good aggressive banter between the gamers.

“We feed off of each other. If somebody is making a play, like (Jason McCourty) got a pick (against the Redskins), I know when I get on the bus, I’m going to hear a tweet like I’ve got to get another pick. We compete. It’s a great group, not just in the linebacker room but the defense. We all want to compete. (Patrick) Chung and (Terrence) Brooks are competing with us on sacks. We’re trying to get more picks, more forced fumbles. It’s a great defense.”

It began as a sport between the linebackers. It began with the Boogeymen, as they’re now recognized. However with the McCourty brothers, it’s expanded to the corners and safeties and past. The consequence has the Patriots main the league in each sacks (25) and interceptions (14) collectively.

“We go back and forth. It’s bragging rights,” Hightower stated, when requested to increase on the topic throughout the week. “It helps the practices go by. It makes the games funner. I think it brings a lot more camaraderie, and brings us closer together.”

With Van Noy getting a fumble return for a landing Thursday evening in opposition to the Giants, and Chase Winovich choosing up a blocked area purpose and taking it to the home, there’s extra materials for the linebacker room to chew on.

It’s fascinating to notice that many previous Patriot defenses, the good ones anyway, performed comparable video games, and had comparable in-house battles throughout the group with the identical sort of pleasant wagering happening.

Rodney Harrison, on the championship groups from 2003 and 2004, stated these Patriots defenses, at the moment one of the best within the NFL, additionally stored rating of who was making performs.

“You’re spot on with that. Any time I played on a great defense, the challenge was to stop an opposing defense. But, behind that was, you always had bets, and challenges, and stuff like that with your teammates,” stated Harrison, now an NBC analyst. “Who can get the first turnover, who can cause more fumbles, who can get more interceptions? When you have a great defense, it’s no longer you’re just preparing for the opposing team, Buffalo, Washington, or whoever it might be. You want to win the turnover battle. So it almost becomes a competition within a competition. It makes it fun.”

Willie McGinest, who was additionally on the town Thursday evening with NFL community for the sport, additionally recalled how the defenses he performed on with Harrison have been additionally fiercely aggressive, and pushed one another in an identical method. That was a part of the key to their success.

“We did the same thing. It was really competitive. Guys pushed each other. It was a fun thing, but also a challenging thing. But it wasn’t just on the field stuff, it was off the field, too,” stated McGinest. “It was workouts, it was making sure everyone was taking care of their bodies from drinking water, to massages, it was hydrating, whatever you can think of . . . who’s watched film, who got there the earliest, every single thing you could think of, we competed at. And I just think it took our competitive natures, and what we did on the field to a whole nother level. And I think these guys are doing the same thing, too.”

Harrison, who loved a halftime ceremony Thursday evening acknowledging his latest induction into the Patriots Corridor of Fame, stated not each defensive unit can create the kinds of in-house challenges the Patriots now get pleasure from. It’s not for all defenses.

“You have to have a special defense to do that. Most of the defenses out here aren’t very good,” stated Harrison. “They’re totally focused in on stopping opposing offenses. When you have a really great defense, you have to find creative ways of challenging yourself. That’s one of the main ways.”

Backside line?

No matter these Patriots defenders are doing, works. They shouldn’t change a factor. They held the Giants to at least one landing Thursday evening, and picked up three extra sacks, three extra picks, and a fumble return. Opponents are solely changing 14 p.c on third down.

“These guys work extremely hard. These guys are asked to do a lot of different things. The challenges are there and they take pride in it,” stated McGinest. “When you have the physical reward or evidence that everything you’re doing is paying off, the turnovers, the sacks, the interceptions, the tackles for losses, whatever, all the statistics, with people starting to compare you to the 2000 Ravens, and the ‘85 Bears, and the 2002 Buccaneers . . . it’s pretty impressive. It’s a compliment to what they’re doing on the field, and how they’re doing it.”

The nice tease

So Rob Gronkowski’s analyst debut was extra about enjoying soccer, than speaking soccer. Between Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft saying Gronk hadn’t put in his retirement papers, and the previous Pats tight finish not disputing the declare, saying he’d “always keep the door open” to return, that acquired individuals buzzing.

BOSTON, MA. – APRIL 9: New England Patriots Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski maintain up the Tremendous Bowl trophies throughout Purple Sox Opening Day in opposition to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 9, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts . (Workers Picture By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

The Patriots, nonetheless, can’t rely on a Gronk return to save lots of the day and repair what ails the Patriots offense. He’s not within the image, and that’s the way it must be.

With accidents creeping in, the Pats need assistance. The query is the place to look, and which place? The mini-bye may assist with some accidents, but it surely gained’t remove the issues. Tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse have struggled as blockers, and LaCosse left the sport with a knee damage, to associate with an ankle damage he’s been nursing all yr. Would possibly they create Benjamin Watson again? He’d actually be prepared to hear. He’s at present sorting by means of a couple of inquiries, however would contemplate one other go-round with the Patriots if they arrive calling. At worse, they want somebody who might help keep the sting. Izzo misplaced it on the strip-sack of Tom Brady. Former Patriot Dwayne Allen is out there. They might convey him again. Or perhaps they make a commerce (Tampa’s O.J. Howard, Atlanta’s Austin Hooper, Cincy’s Tyler Eifert?). The eventual return of Isaiah Wynn ought to assist the offensive line. Fullback Jakob Johnson is headed to IR with a shoulder damage, do they search for a fullback? The may convey TE/FB Andrew Beck again, who’s on the Broncos observe squad. Extensive receiver Josh Gordon additionally went down. It seemed like an ankle, but it surely was introduced as a knee damage. He got here into the competition with a knee drawback. They want huge receiver assist, too.

It’s been famous Michael Bennett’s snaps have gone down with every sport. He barely performed Thursday evening. So it now not seems to be a load-management scenario. It’s trying extra just like the Patriots may commerce him earlier than the Oct. 29 deadline. So there’s rather a lot for the Pats to ponder going ahead.

Darnold no “magic wand”

Sam Darnold, who hasn’t performed for the reason that season opener final month due to having mononucleosis, returns Sunday in opposition to the Cowboys.

The 0-Four Jets, who the Patriots play subsequent Monday evening, aren’t anticipating miracles for his or her woeful offense after getting their starter again. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains wouldn’t name Darnold a “magic wand” who will rid the offense of all the points plaguing the unit proper now. However that’s to not say he gained’t assist.

Head coach Adam Gase stated simply with safety breakdowns alone, Darnold could be an improve.

“He has the ability to get the ball out quick,” Gase instructed reporters in New York. “His ability to move. (When) he breaks the pocket, he’s a threat. He’s a threat to run…. He’s played with those guys (offensive linemen) quite a bit to where he feels things and he’s out of there. He has a good feel for what to do in the pocket.”

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