December 8th, 2011
Patriots rookie report: Week One
Here is a look at how the Patriots' first-year players performed in the team's Week One win over the Dolphins.
OT Nate Soldier (first round Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets, 17th overall) — With starting ORT Sebastian Vollmer out with an injury, Solder got the call and performed admirably in his debut. He allowed just one sack to Cameron Wake and picked up one holding call, but his pass protection helped Tom Brady throw for 517 yards. The Patriots have to be pleased with Solder's performance, as he was considered a developmental prospect.
CB Ras-I Dowling (2, 33) — It was a bit of a surprise to see Dowling start, and even more of a surprise to see him play 66 of the 76 defensive snaps, according to ESPN Boston. Dowling finished with two tackles and had good position on the Dolphins' failed 4th-and-1 fade pattern to Brian Hartline. His size is something the Pats like Patriots RB Faulk placed on I.R._692, and it appears he will get a lot of playing time in his rookie season.
LS Danny Aiken (undrafted) — The team's third long snapper since the start of last season, Aiken did not botch a snap and recorded a special-teams tackle after a punt.
Notes: RB Stevan Ridley (3, 73) was active but did not play. ... QB Ryan Mallett (3 Alpinestars Gloves, 74) and RB Shane Vereen (2 Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Gloves ats OG Connolly earns a, 56) were inactive.
Pats OG Connolly earns award for long return
Patriots OG Dan Connolly has been the named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after the 6-foot-4 Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets, 313-pounder returned a kickoff 71 yards in the first half of New England's 31-27 win over the Packers.
Connolly becomes just the second offensive lineman to win the award. Raiders OT Langston Walker won in Week 12 of 2004 after blocking a kick.
The Patriots have now picked up four Player of the Week Awards. S James Sanders won Defensive Player of the Week in Week 10 before QB Tom Brady won back-to-back awards on the other side of the ball in Weeks 12 and 13.
The way we see it
It was a memorable week in special teams Alpinestars Motorcycle Boots, what with Devin Hester breaking the NFL record for kicks returned for touchdowns and DeSean Jackson's spectacular punt return at the end of regulation to cap off a stunning Eagles comeback win over the Giants. Connolly's unexpected return was fun to watch ruschi joins ESPN as NF, especially seeing him cut back inbounds near the end of the run to pick up extra yardage. Definitely well-deserved recognition for Connolly.
Tight ends coming to forefront for Patriots
Updated Aug. 27, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m. ET
After the Patriots released TE Chris Baker in the offseason, the position was left almost bare of experience and talent. But the trio of Alge Crumpler, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski has exceeded expectations and become a bright spot in the preseason. More than that, they have become an essential element to what the Patriots are trying to run offensively.
The team used several two- and three-TE sets in the win over the Falcons (and almost never went without at least one tight end — a departure from the true “spread” days of 2007), and each man contributed heavily to the effort. Although there were far fewer of these formations in the Patriots’ loss to the Rams Alpinestars A-10 Air Flo Pants, they are expected to be a bread-and-butter staple in some game plans.
Crumpler had a big block on RB Fred Taylor’s 28-yard TD run, and the two rookies — Hernandez and Gronkowski — each had a touchdown reception in the Atlanta game. Crumpler has sung the rookies’ praises, but it’s clear he’s playing more than just a mentor’s role. His diving reception along the sideline against the Rams shows that he’s not just a big, lumbering, one-trick pony at this stage of his career. Expect him to be on the field a good deal in ’10.
It’s hard not to be intrigued by what Hernandez offers in the passing game. Although the blocking element of his game is not considered a refined strength yet, his receiving flexibility is noticeable. He has lined up in two preseason games as an in-line tight end Patriots No. 4 pick scouting report- RB Stevan Ridley, LSU_160, just off the line in a “flex” spot, and both in the slot and split wide. He also took a snap as a fullback against the Falcons. It has been remarkable to see the 20-year-old being thrown so many responsibilities, and he has responded with some nice grabs. Hernandez sat out the Rams game with a knee injury, but it doesn’t appear serious.
In his place Cheap Alpinestars Boots, Gronkowski stood out. He caught his second and third TDs of the preseason in the game, including one where he dragged Rams LB James Laurinaitis five yards into the endzone. Early on in camp, Gronkowski appeared to be a bit of a work in progress. But he put his best foot forward against the Falcons and Rams and appears to be settling into a very big role as a rookie. The team likely will expand his duties even more as times goes on.
For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news atriots' Welker a s, free agency and fantasy football, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.
Bruschi joins ESPN as NFL analyst
Tedy Bruschi will continue to be a visible NFL figure even after retiring from the Patriots last week. The stalwart linebacker will soon be joining the media ranks as an NFL analyst for ESPN Sale Alpinestars Motorcycle Jackets, which will include spots on the network's various TV and radio stations as well as on ESPNBoston.com.
Patriots' Welker a surprise OTA participant
Nearly five months removed from ACL and MCL surgery Cheap Alpinestars Gloves Discount Fox Racing Dirtpaw Gloves-Black Sale - A5064, Patriots WR Wes Welker unexpectedly participated in drills at the team’s OTA practices on Wednesday.
For authoritative coverage and analysis of NFL news Alpinestars Boots, free agency and fantasy football, visitProFootballWeekly.com.