Sanchez can't come through vs. Pats 'D'

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Sanchez can't come through vs. Pats 'D'

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn FOXBORO The career of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been filled with ups and downs, to say the least. And no opponent seems to best illustrate how wonderful or wickedly bad Sanchez can be than the New England Patriots.

On Sunday, Sanchez was solid for most of the night, but against the Patriots, that wasn't enough as New England took control in the first half and never looked back in defeating the Jets, 30-21.

With the loss, the Jets (2-3) are now a full two games behind Buffalo (4-1) and New England (4-1) for the best record in the AFC East.

"I never thought we'd have a three-game losing streak like this," Sanchez said.

The play of Sanchez certainly didn't lose the game for the Jets on Sunday, but it didn't exactly help, either. The numbers he registered for the game are pretty respectable: 16-for-26 passing with 166 yards and two touchdowns.

But just as significant are the yards that Sanchez's receivers didn't get, courtesy of some less-than-stellar throws. On several occasions, Sanchez threw behind a receiver, which forced them to slow down, catch the ball and then try to run down field. By the time they collected the catch, New England defenders were in position to prevent them from getting too many yards after the catch.

While New England's defense didn't exactly shut Sanchez down, they seemed to apply enough pressure at just the right time to throw his rhythm off.

"As a defense, you always hope that you can get a quarterback just never to get comfortable in the game," said Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty. "That's when, when quarterbacks get in their comfort zone, they start picking you apart."

Sanchez never got to that point on Sunday, which is surprising when you consider how just about every quarterback to face the Patriots this season has put up big numbers. Remember, this is the same Patriots defense that came into Sunday's game with the league's worst pass defense. New York's insistence on having a balanced attack certainly played a major role in Sanchez not having a huge passing game.

In the past, Sanchez's play was often the barometer in gauging who would win between the Jets and Patriots.

Prior to Sunday's loss, Sanchez was 3-2 against the Patriots. In the three wins, he was 51-for-77 passing (66.3 percent) for 577 yards and seven touchdowns. In the two losses, he completed less than 50 percent of his passes with one touchdown and seven interceptions.

So for him to have such a solid performance on Sunday and still lose was a bit of a surprise.

"We lost the game," Sanchez said. "So it's hard for me to get into stats or anything like that."

Sanchez is more concerned - as are all of the Jets players - with finding a way to reverse their losing ways of late. It'll take a number of players to step up their play, Sanchez included.

New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress is in his first season with Sanchez and the Jets. So far, he likes what he has seen from the third-year quarterback.

"He's good; working hard to get better," said Burress, who had three catches for 42 yards on Sunday. "We're trying to put him in situations to have some success, to go out and play well. He did that. We just all have to come together and work hard to help him get better. Because as he goes, we go."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lada Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lada Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.