No Huddle: Patriots-Seahawks postgame sound

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No Huddle: Patriots-Seahawks postgame sound

SEATTLE, WA -- There's a lot for New England not to like about its 24-23 loss to the Seahawks.
Check out the post game sound and see for yourself.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on how Aaron Hernandez looked in his return:
"I think everybody that played in this game could have played better, could have coached better, could have done a better job. I think everybody's certainly got missed opportunities and plays they'd like to have back."
Poor Hernandez. The tight end hasn't been active since Week 2 but his return doesn't even get the usual stock answer of, 'It's always great anytime a guy comes back,' because the team lost.
On the brighter side, the ankle didn't seem to bother him. Hernandez finished with six catches on nine targets for 30 yards and a touchdown. He certainly didn't play anywhere close to 100-percent of the snaps as he did in the season opener. Consider the tight end on a pitch count.
Quarterback Tom Brady on playing for the first time in Seattle and the impact of the crowd:
"The opponent was the Seahawks it wasn't the crowd, or the weather, or the refs. It was the Seahawks and we lost to a good football team. They certainly play well at home. We had an opportunity and we just didn't get it done."
It's good someone said it. All week Seattle's 12th Man was vaunted as though able to sack Brady itself. Loud, hostile stadiums can certainly cause trouble for visiting teams, but the 68,137 screaming Seahawks fans didn't beat New England as much as New England beat itself on Sunday.
Seattle wide receiver Sidney Rice on if throwing the ball downfield was a goal this week:
"Definitely. We studied the film; first thing we said was we'd have opportunities to take chances down the field, and all we had to do was take advantage of them."
How damning for the Patriots secondary. And you can bet every opponent feels this way after watching tape on the team. This Sunday, a rookie quarterback with the league's second-worst passing offense (169.7 yards per game) threw for 293 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Said quarterback, Russell Wilson, completed 11 passes of 10 yards or more.
Wilson on whether he was surprised the team went for it on fourth down before the touchdown to Braylon Edwards:
"We knew we were going to go for it on fourth down. That's the type of situation where you have Tom Brady on the other side, and you have to keep the football and make a play, and we definitely did that."
There isn't a team in the league whose ideal situation is to hand the ball to its opponent with three minutes to play and a 23-17 deficit to erase. Most teams respect a Brady-led offense enough to hate it a little more than usual. But when Seattle went three-and-out to set up such a situation, its fear was quickly dispatched. The Patriots gained just two yards on two runs before Brady wasted third down on an incomplete to Deion Branch.
It was the Seahawks who capitalized with a death blow. Wilson completed his four play, 57-yard go-ahead touchdown drive in just one minute and 20 seconds.
Seattle safety Earl Thomas on how hard it is to not get down when Brady is continually driving downfield and completing first downs:
"I know in my mind, and I'm pretty sure in everybody else's mind, that at any moment we could make a turnover. I know at any time the ball can come our way and we can change the momentum so that's how we look at it as a defense. We're going to fight to the end."
The determination Thomas talks about is the very thing New England seems to lack. Sunday night marked the third time in six games that the Patriots failed to close out a tight game. Their three losses are by a total of four points.
But ask around and.
Receiver Deion Branch on if the Patriots lack a killer instinct:
"No, I think we have it. We have it, we are just not executing. That is the name of the game. We have done a good job of moving the ball but are not finishing drives. We had a lot of flags and some turnovers, and you can't come into this type of environment and do those things and expect to win the game."
Fuzzy logic, here. I'm not sure how a team can possess a killer instinct yet fail to execute at crucial times. Branch is correct about penalties, however. The Patriots were flagged for six accepted violations (80 yards).
Left guard Logan Mankins on the outcome of the game:
"When you get down to the red zone you've got to score points. That's the difference in this league. We've got good players who care about the team. We've just got to make plays when they're there. We can't make mistakes in those big situations."
New England was a dismal 1-for-6 in the red zone Sunday. And this after a slow start and two back-to-back losses forced the team toward efficiency. The Patriots converting on nine of 11 red zone opportunities in the two wins that followed.
Looks like its back to the drawing board on situational football for Week 7.

Valentine will be plunked down in heart of D-line

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Valentine will be plunked down in heart of D-line

FOXBORO – The Patriots used the 96th overall pick – a compensatory pick that came to the Patriots after losing Darrelle Revis – on a very large man. Vincent Valentine, a 6-3, 329-pound defensive tackle from Nebraska who is more space-eater than penetrator.

Though Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio said Valentine has played all over the defensive line including 5-technique (outside shoulder of the tackle), he’ll likely be an early-down, middle of the defensive line player for the Patriots at the outset. How does the team go about getting him on the field?

Currently, they are pretty well-stocked with big bodies. Last year’s first rounder, Malcom Brown, is going to play a lot for a long time. Terrance Knighton, added as a free agent, figures to be a major component of the defensive line. And aging Alan Branch showed in 2015 that he’s still got plenty of plays left in him.

The other 300-plus pound linemen in the mix are Marcus Kuhn, a free agent brought over from the Giants, and Joe Vellano, who’s been with the team for four seasons as an end of the roster player.

Valentine had an injury-plagued final season with the Cornhuskers and will need to tune up his body and conditioning for the NFL. He’s not a project but neither is he a plug-and-play type who can be expected to walk in and make immediate contributions. With the 31-year-old Branch nearing the end, it’s reasonable to expect Valentine to be the successor to him in the Patriots interior rotation when they go heavy on early downs and in short-yardage and goal-line.

Examining possible Patriots fits going into Day 3

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Examining possible Patriots fits going into Day 3

The Patriots have eight picks remaining on the final day of the draft. While they may not use all of those selections -- they currently have 80 players on the roster, leaving them with only two slots for undrafted free agents if they use all of their picks -- they still have plenty of opportunities to take chances on talented athletes Saturday. 

Here's a quick look at some of the best players available after they spent their first four selections on a corner (Cyrus Jones, Alabama, pick No. 60), an offensive lineman (Joe Thuney, North Carolina State, No. 78), a quarterback (Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina State, No. 91) and a defensive tackle (Vincent Valentine, Nebraska, No. 96). 

The Patriots have one fourth-round pick, five sixth-round picks and two seventh-rounders remaining.

RUNNING BACK: KENNETH DIXON, LOUISIANA TECH

Listed as one of our top players available after Day 1, Dixon is still hanging around after nearly 100 picks have gone off the board. Perhaps his level of competition at Louisiana Tech has worked against him. Perhaps his fumbling issues have come back to bite him. Perhaps this is simply an indication of how the rest of the league considers this position. Only four backs have been drafted through the first three rounds. 

Other top running backs available: Jordan Howard, Indiana; Devontae Booker, Utah; Paul Perkins, UCLA; Jonathan Williams, Arkansas; Alex Collins, Arkansas. 

RECEIVER: DANIEL BRAVERMAN, WESTERN MICHIGAN

If ever there was a player who stood out as a potential Patriots pick, it would be Braverman. At 5-foot-10, 177 pounds, he is a prototypical slot receiver whose skill set resembles that of Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola or Troy Brown. He's very shifty in and out of his breaks, he does a great deal of his work while risking big hits over the middle of the field, he catches just about everything thrown his way, and he churns out yards after the catch with speed and good vision. 

Other top receivers available: Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia; Rashard Higgins, Colorado State; Devon Cajuste, Stanford; Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa; Keenan Reynolds, Navy.

LINEBACKER: JOSH PERRY, OHIO STATE

This Buckeye seems to fit the size profile the Patriots typically like in their receivers at 6-foot-4, 254 pounds. He runs well enough to be able to track ball-carriers from sideline-to-sideline, and he has a ton of experience coming downhill to make big hits in the running game. Perry will need some work before he's a reliable defender in coverage, but on first and second downs he could be a force. 

Other top linebackers available: Scooby Wright III, Arizona; Kentrell Brothers, Missouri; Stephen Weatherly, Vanderbilt; Blake Martinez, Stanford; De'Vondre Campbell, Minnesota. 

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: HASSAN RIDGEWAY, TEXAS

A college teammate of Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown, Ridgeway is considered by many to be more physically talented than Brown was when he declared for the draft. Injuries hurt Ridgeway's productivity last season, and there are some who question his conditioning, but he understands how to be a disruptive force on the interior, both in the running game and in the passing game. If he's in shape and can maintain the level of fitness that will be expected of him as a pro, he could turn into an immediate contributor.

Other top defensive tackles available: Andrew Billings, Baylor; Sheldon Day, Notre Dame; DJ Reader, Clemson; Dean Lowry, Northwestern; Justin Zimmer, Ferris State.

Patriots hatch latest backup plan at QB

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Patriots hatch latest backup plan at QB

Tom Brady needs a Hail Mary at this point to get himself on the field for the first four games of 2016. The Patriots are more aware of that than anyone, so Friday night they grabbed a little security, using a third-round pick on North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

The 6-4, 235-pound Brissett was a two-year starter for the Wolfpack and had 23 touchdowns and five picks in his senior season. He’s lauded for his leadership, has outstanding physical skills and is a tireless worker.

All that said, he’s not going to beat out Jimmy Garoppolo. Brissett isn’t in Foxboro to be the long-term No. 2 in 2016. But if he shows a high level of competency between now and the end of August, the Patriots will likely go into the four-game Brady-less stretch with Garoppolo as the temp starter and Brissett as the temp backup.

When Brady returns, everybody moves back down the ladder again.

But a look at the contracts of Garoppolo and Brady shows that, after 2016, Garoppolo may become expendable. Brady is signed through 2019 and isn’t going anywhere. Garoppolo is up after 2017 and will be a free agent. If Garoppolo plays well enough to impress the rest of the league in his four-game audition, the Patriots could look to deal him prior to the 2017 season.

The return on the former second-rounder isn’t relevant right now. What is relevant is that the Patriots are going to have to carry three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster in 2016: Brady, Garoppolo and Brissett. For a team that’s always churning the end of its roster to get the best players ready for every week’s matchup, the team will have one less roster spot to deal with than it’s had in past seasons.

The only way around carrying Brissett all year on the 53 would be to release him, hope he passes unclaimed through waivers and then sign him to the practice squad. It’s likely someone would claim him. So the Patriots will be working with three quarterbacks on their 53 for 2016. Forecasting, it’s not likely they’d do that two years in a row.

The addition of Brissett is a signal that the team isn’t preparing for life after Brady, but life after Jimmy G.