Nov 3, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) celebrates an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers with cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Morning everyone, and welcome to Thursday’s edition of the Patriot Way. Let’s take a look at the latest news, views and analysis of the New England Patriots.
There are a number of good player-focused pieces up today. Bleacher Report have been looking at the scrap-to-starter story of DT Chris Jones, who might just be providing the interior pass rush the team has been missing for the last few years.
Rant Sports, meanwhile, are looking at the impact of Aaron Dobson’s injury on the Patriots offence, having missed the second half against the Broncos, the whole game at the Texans and practice this week. With Dobson appearing to be out of the game against Cleveland, the Patriots will need Rob Gronkowski to step up against one of the NFL’s better defences against tight ends.
Another TE, Michael Hoomanawanui, is returning from injury, and his impact as a run blocker could be a big bonus to the Patriots. Whether or not Hoomanawanui is fit to play, the question over Stevan Ridley’s role will continue, though getting him back into form could be vital to the Patriots making a deep playoff run.
Over at the Boston Herald, they’ve been analysing the Pats backfield committee, and the roles the different backs can take to utilise their skill sets most effectively. Tom Brady does seem to be rounding into form nicely, having been on fire for the last few weeks. The Brady-Gronk combination is adding 12 points/game to the Patriots offence – long may it continue!
One player whose future is a little more questionable is Alfonzo Dennard. The CB discovers the result of his probation hearing today, and the DUI hearing tomorrow, and could well see his season end, depending on what the judges decide. Good time then for the rest of the DBs to fix their coverage mistakes and look at improving for the last few weeks of the season.