Here is this week’s New England Patriots stock watch, based on their 17-16 win over the Carolina Panthers.
I have been saying ever since Easley got drafted that if this kid could stay healthy, the NFL better watch out. And now that his knees appear to be at 100%, he is dominating on the interior like we all thought he would. His explosion, and get-off at the line of scrimmage is surreal, and he will be a chief reason why this New England pass rush will be one of the best in the league in 2015.
The acquisition of Chandler is going to prove to be one of the most underrated signings of the offseason. Rob Gronkowski is easily the best offensive weapon in football, and now he has a tight end partner that is actually bigger than him. Defending these two monsters in the red zone will be impossible for opposing defenses, and we got a taste of it on Friday with Chandler’s 18-yard score.
Man, it was awesome to see Mayo back out on the field this past week, especially paired with our first team defensive line, and electric linebacker Jamie Collins. Last year we thought the Patriots had arguably the best linebacking corps in the league thanks to Collins and Dont’a Hightower, completely forgetting about Mayo. When in reality, Mayo is still probably the better overall player, which now gives this defense another weapon to dominate with.
Dobson made a few nice plays late in the game against backups and second stringers, but early on, when it mattered, he struggled once again. While you could argue the first interception of Tom Brady should have been ruled a catch, the reality is Dobson should never have let that ball go. We have seen things like this from Dobson far too often, and his leash is getting shorter and shorter because of it.
Two of the interior starters were out for this game, but the offensive line struggled nonetheless. I’m not going to hit the panic button on them, because they have a great pair of tackles in Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer, a terrific center in Bryan Stork, a capable guard in Ryan Wendell, and a rookie in Tre’ Jackson that has a lot of potential. I think they will round into form as the season progresses.