Tag Archives: Kevin Faulk

Artificial Turf: Colts Make Pats Eat Turf, Pride

Just a foot too short. Faulk must not have seen the yellow line.

The game wasn’t lost on the 4th and too short completion to Kevin Faulk as the clock ticked towards the two minute warning last night. Whether or not we broke our televisions shortly thereafter, from a coaching perspective, I stand behind the decision to go for it on that down & scenario and if you didn’t, you’re too thin skinned for the NFL.

The Colts were going to score from wherever on the field they got their last possession, so it was imperative to either keep the ball through the end of the game or work it down for a field goal to make it a 9 point game. We have Tom Brady and they have Peyton Manning. The decision was, keep the game in Tom’s hands, don’t put it in Manning’s. And Tom Brady, with the game on the line, in a must-have 2 yard situation with 5 WRs… I like our odds. The problem with odds… are the long shots. Freaking Faulk who played great up to that point didn’t run far enough, Brady rushed the throw, the press coverage was perfect and we turned the ball over on a non-reviewable play because we were out of time outs, we got a questionable spot and there was just nothing we could do.

Well shit.

And would someone please shadow the coverage on Reggie Wayne!?!? Man I hate Wilhite today.

I would rather be dancing now than then.

If you want to hear about any upside… like Moss’s 179 yard/ 2TD performance, Edelman’s return to the lineup with a score, Welker’s 9 catch / 94 yard day or how rookie tackle Sebastien Vollmer made Dwight Freeney his bitch and held him to straight zeros on the stat sheet, you’re gonna have to wait till later in the week. I would also like to address the fact that Moss, Green-Ellis and Wes Welker have all gone full-pirate. Seriously, look at Moss’s beard, Green-Ellis’s leather scullrag… personally, I think Edelman needs to join in on it. But I’m gonna wait till I’m less pissed at everybody to talk about something funny.

But we're not dancing. We're dejected losers.

The fact is, we won the game, and then effectively made the statement: we aren’t ready for this win. The Colts were. It just kept feeling… even in the first half, alla 2006, like tha game wasn’t over. They were a better team last night. A F you, NBC for when you gave the magazine cover montage of Brady and Manning you used a bunch of gay magazine covers for Brady and a bunch of sports illustrated covers for Manning. (And I mean ‘gay’ like Details Magazine photo spread with your shirt off, not like homosexual). Just so we’re clear, Brady has been on 9 Sports Illustrated Covers. So go Screw, NBC… tryin to make my boy look like a Mary and Peyton The Thumb Manning look like a football star…

The only thing that will make this feel better is pounding the Jets into the ground next weekend. And then by beating the Saints. If we don’t do those two very important things, we risk this game being the defining moment of the season.

Well shit.

StartMattCassel

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Artificial Turf: Patriots Keep at It, Suck on 3rd Down, Clutch on 4th.

Making Mondays not suck.

Making Mondays not suck.

This was a pretty good football weekend, even if you hate Favre as much as I do. Last night’s game was good enough to keep my attention till Green Bay’s final missed onside kick with under 2 minutes remaining. For a non-Pats game to hold my attention that long is truly a miracle. Monday night football has gotten exponentially better with the current trio in the booth, particularly the commentary between Jaws and Gruden. One of the most interesting thing they talked about was the history of teacher-student quarterback match ups through the years, most notably Joe Montana as a Cheif beating Steve Young and the 9ers. Jaws was recalling just how badly it seemed the Chief players wanted to do that for Joe, and how that same sense of elevated play could be felt in Minnesota’s dome last night.

Like I said, great game, even if you hate Favre and especially if you hate Green Bay.

But I digest.

Go. Patriots. They’re effing awesome. (And don’t worry, I’m not jinxing them because I’ve already been talking sh!t.) For the second week in a row, I headed to Gillette Stadium, this time as a guest of Katfish, thinking I was about to see the Patriots get it handed to them. Joe Flacco is a tough young QB and McClain, Watchyu Talkin Bout McGahee & Ray Rice are a formidable thunder, lightning and rain combination. Though if McGahee is the rain, he was held to a spitty New England mist, limited to 11 yards on 5 carries… Ray Rice however burned us for 103 yards that included a 50 yard scamper on 3rd and 20.

Pierre Woods and Ty Warren after a 2nd half defensive stand... Love to see em... need more of em.

Pierre Woods and Ty Warren after a 2nd half defensive stand... Love to see 'em... need more of 'em.

Though there were various frustrating points about yesterday’s game, there seem to be just as many positives. One such yin & yang is Lawrence Marony’s inability to move the ball the ball north & south as Sammy Morris’s skills as a backfield receiver improve. This is, of course, a nod to Coach Bill who elected to keep 5 running backs on the 53 man roster. (BJGE was inactive again last week.)

The most atrocious part of the team is 3rd down D. The Ravens converted on 9 of 14 3rd downs on Sunday and 4 in a row on their first sustained possession after  giving the Patriots the ball on the 12 freakin yard line and holding them to a g-d damn field goal. Perhaps the game would not have come down to the last Ravens drive of the game and some stellar defensive back play if we had stopped the Ravens on 3rd down earlier in the game. All I’m saying: I’m not all wet about this defensive unit like every single talk show host seems to be. Nut I am encouraged by the play of Guyton, Marriweather, and now Darius Butler who saved two touchdowns with solid corner play on two very good receivers. (Leigh Bodden also picked off the Patriots first INT of the season).

Thanks guys. That was awesome again.

Thanks guys. That was awesome again.

Randy and Tom got it going a little bit as well, exploiting a goal-line one on one which I was screaming about pre-snap from the stands. I’m almost certain they heard me. My favorite offensive look is Moss, Welker & Edelman, Watson and Faulk, though I don’t think we’re seeing enough Fred Taylor who only had 7 rushing attempts. That said, the Pats backs did exactly what I said they were supposed to do, combine for 100+ yards and a score. (Brady also ran one in. Go Him.)

I cant remember where I heard this... but of course the NFL has to protect the quarter backs... Ray Lewis killed a dude.

I can't remember where I heard this... but of course the NFL has to protect the quarter backs... Ray Lewis killed a dude.

Every positive factor will need to keep improving this week. Next week we fly to Denver to take on Josh McDaniels (who I told Denver they were lucky to have), Brandon Marshal (who has since stopped beating his girlfriend and teammates and is playing some sweeeeeet football) and Big Broski (who I can’t stand the thought of losing to because he throws temper tantrums… and that type of behavior can never be rewarded).

For the 5th week in a row, including week 1, the Patriots will take on an undefeated opponent. And this 3 game stretch is a huge test: ATL, BAL, DEN. But the Pats have reached the first quarter mark of the season with a low key 3-1 win/loss, some flashes of defensive fortitude and even a few offensive breakouts. We’re 3 wins into a long season and we’ve been given the perception that things are only getting better from here. At least we know the Denver offense pretty damn well.

StartMattCassel

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Artificial Turf & Week 2 NFL Picks: Taylor, Faulk; Awesome.

Well, the Patriots didn’t cover last week, but that’s OK, cuz they’re gonna cover in New York.

On another interesting note, I listened to a great Fred Taylor interview on WEEI in which he described the chemistry among the running back group. His advice to Maroney, who Taylor says mimics the early part of his own career, needs to take better care of himself and commit himself to “the little things.” The running back core was solid according to Taylor, with Maroney, Faulk and Morris, and with the addition of Taylor and the establishing season of Ben Jarvis, who Taylor took a special moment to mention individually as being constantly improving, the group is very well built. The offense isn’t built to get any ONE of them 30 carries a game, it’s built to generate 130 combined yards (runs and screens) and 6 points per game.

Kevin Faulk directs traffic in Foxboro. He has been improving for 11 seasons (and 3 championships). All with the New England Patriots.

Kevin Faulk directs traffic in Foxboro. He has been improving for 11 seasons (and 3 championships). All with the Patriots.

The coolest thing to hear Taylor talk about was how all the backs defer to Kevin Faulk. “He’s definitely the head of the group,” Taylor said, “and I even have a year on him in the league, but I find myself falling in line behind Kevin… Faulk knows exactly what coach wants, every single day.”

Taylor, Faulk; Awesome.

Fav


Line Dog SMC Done
At KC -3 OAK KC KC
At Tenn -6.5 HOU Ten Ten
NE -3.5 AT NYJ NE NE
At GB -9 CIN GB GB
MIN -9.5 At DET MIN MIN
At PHI PK NO NO PHI
At ATL -6 CAR ATL ATL
At Wash -9.5 STL Wash Wash
At Jack -3 ARI ARI ARI
At SF -1.5 SEA SEA SF
At BUF -5 TB TB TB
At DEN -3 CLE DEN DEN
At SD -3 BAL BAL BAL
PIT -3 At CHI PIT PIT
At DAL -3 NYG DAL NYG

Monday Night Football Line

IND -3 At MIA IND IND
Totals: 0-1 0-1

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Artificial Turf: Brady sucked, Then he didn’t anymore; Pats win 25-24.

Virtual Bad Ass: Stephen Gostowski comes up big with the fumble that would lead to a Patriots comeback.

Virtual Bad Ass: Stephen Gostowski comes up big with the fumble that would lead to a Patriots' comeback.

Last night was as good as a bad game gets. A VERY rusty Tom Brady, who started the game by missing Moss, Faulk and a wide open Lawrence Maroney -all for inevitable 1st downs-, pulled it together at the end to go 12 for 16 with two TD scores (on the same exact play on the same exact defense) in 126 seconds… which was a little more like it.

In the end, the previously noted “Really Crappy Defense” kept the Pats in play. The dbacks held the other #81 to 2 catches. They only gave up 17 points (Bills scored a combined 24 with a great defensive score by Aaron Schoebel) and it was Brandon Marriweather and Pierre Woods on special teams who combined on a remarkably heads up play to stand up the Bills’ veteran return man long enough to strip the ball and for the little guy Stephen Gostowski to recover it. He’s on my fantasy team. And then it was newly reacquired Tully Banta-Cain who iced it with a sack. We said he would make an impact. He did. Given that the Patriots should be expected to score a minimum of 24 points per game, the D did good enough.

Jerod Mayo left the game early with a knee something. We’re told it isn’t serious. Based on past Patriots practice, that means anything from “Probable” to “Career Ending.” It didn’t look that bad.

The backfield combined for over 100 yards and a score; Maroney & Taylor soaked up 19 carries for 57 yards and a Taylor TD, The Always Improving Kevin Faulk added 51 yards off 6 receptions and even Brady scrambled ahead for 9 late in the game. Morris was a complete non factor and Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis didn’t get a touch.

UTAH! GIMME TWO!

"UTAH! GITME TWO!"

Though Brady did start shaky, as mentioned, he did lead Moss to 141 yards on 12 catches, Welker to 93 yards on the same amount and he equaled Ben Watson’s 2008 Season TD total with a twofer. Keep in mind by the way the Watson was fighting for his job at the end of the pre season. Brady finished with a mere 378 yards, two scores and one INT. How blase.

So that’s the game wrap. Pats win, 25 – 24. No big deal.

Another notable is that it’s Patriots QB coach Bill O’Brien who has taken over offensive play calling after the departure of Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels. (McDaniels called the old dback tip to Stokely for his first win as a head coach.) We’ll see how the play calling improves from week to week…

Mozel Mozel,

StartMichaelVick

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Artificial Turf: It was only pre-season… so let’s just practice saying:

“Suck on that, New York.”

G-D Damn that felt good.

Tom Brady, playing the role of: The Shit Eating Grin.

Brady, playing the role of: The Shit Eating Grin.

The most compelling pre-season in the last decade concluded for us last night with a terrific second stringer victory over the Giants. This was without a doubt the best and most engaging pre season I can remember, there were four games that I watched: Brady’s return, Vick’s Return, Cutler vs. Denver and last night’s game against the Giants. It was easy to watch last night cuz you could flip back and forth between the Sox and the Pats… and the Pats game was interesting because they gave up 21 points in the first Q, which is OK to do in preseason, and then we got to see some terrific second string resolve and poise by a bunch of players trying to scrap their way onto the 53 man roster.

There are three topics that stand out to me as the last remaining points of evaluation before the actual season kicks off in Foxboro a couple Mondays from now… Second String QB situation, Running Back situation, how badly our defense looks right now.

(Before I do that I would like to digress for just a moment to address the Oregon/Boise St. punching incident. Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount was on his way off the field when Boise State’s Byron Hout taps him on the shoulder and shouts something to the affect of, and it’s OK to swear because it’s a quote, “Fuck Ya, Baby!” and then taunted Blount by jumping up and down around him. Keep in mind this was after the game… when you should be done with your shit talking. So what happens next? Blount lands a cross on Hoyt’s chin and sends his shit talking ass to the turf. A guy who deserved to get popped on the chin… got popped on the chin. Blount should get suspended for 2 games and Hoyt should get one game for taunting. If you talk shit after a game, the possibility should exist that you will get what’s coming to you… a haymaker.)

By I digest.

Undrafted Rookie Free Agent and new Patriots backup QB, Brian Hoyer takes some first quarter heat before settling in to manage the Patriots comeback.

Undrafted Rookie Free Agent and new Patriots backup QB, Brian Hoyer takes some first quarter heat before settling in to manage the Patriots comeback.

Second String QB: Hoyer. He proved last night, by remaining composed, not turning the ball over and only taking a handful on negative plays, that he’s the number 2 guy. He weathered some early game pressure from the Giant’s front 7 (they played their starters for about 8 minutes… i think just to get the lead… sissies) and then was able to settle in and go about 18 for 25 on 240+ yards and a score. Done texted me this morning to note that he was 2007CasselEsque; I quite agree.

Banjo's NFL career ended amisdts a host of steroid allegations.

Banjo's NFL career ended amidst a host of steroid allegations.

The reason we continue to have young backup QB’s instead of older Vets is because we need empty vessels that Bill can completely mold to our system… ala Matt Cassel. You can’t teach old dogs new tricks… especially when they are quarter backs. I of course realize the irony of this statement because to assume that a dog of any age could be a QB is simply ridiculous. They can’t grip the ball because they have no thumbs, to say nothing of the language barrier.

Running Back: Let me just quell a little debate by stating these facts as a given: Fred Taylor is our #1 back, Lawrence Maroney is our #2 back and The Always Improving Kevin Faulk is our 3rd Down back. This leaves room for one more back on the 53 man

BJGE is a totaly beast.

BJGE is a total beast.

roster… and after watching BenJarvis Green-Ellis last night, a name I know you all remember from last season, Sammy Morris may be the odd man out. BJGE got the most action this preseason and averaged an astonishing 5.1 yards per carry. But that is insignificant when compared to this fact: Guys who play like BJGE make Bill Belichick’s team. He runs down hill, he’s built like a fire hydrant (which is a quote I lifted from WEEI this morning), and he does anything and everything he is asked. Not to mention a tri of TDs and 125 yards on the ground last night. For second and third string players, it isn’t just how well you perform, its more about how well you fill the role assigned to you, and that last bit is all about how well you can be coached. I think Green-Ellis has played his way onto this season’s roster.

50 bucks if you can tell me who this guy is...

$50 if you can tell me who this guy is...

Our Crappy Defense: Our defense is crappy. Man I miss that Vrabel guy. Our secondary is too loose, Chung has shown ZERO signs of life from our first selection in this year’s draft and Shawn Springs has been roughed up and generally unavailable. I can only hope that Marriweather continues his improvement (which he has) and that Darius Butler, the rookie starter from UConn, will be as good as we think he can be today. No matter how you slice it… we lack a tough guy.

Bruschi’s departure puts the heat on Jerod Mayo and Mr. Thomas to lead the complex defense and Gary Guyton to step up and fill that roving Bruschi role. I’m Also personally looking to our old hometown favorite, Tully Banta-Cain to step up as an OLB/DE swinger.

So here we go. Next game is for real. Monday night, under the lights at Foxboro.

Season Predictions:

Moss: 1,050 yards receiving and 17 TD receptions.

Welker: 107 receptions

Taylor: 9 rushing TDs

Brady: 51 TD passes

Super Bowl Champs. No Question. Talk all you want, don’t worry about a jinx, book your rooms in Miami.

StartMattCassel.

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Artificial Turf: Thank you for being the model Patriot, Troy Brown.

Troy Brown doing his job.

Troy Brown caught 557 passes in his 15 year career in the NFL. All for the New England Patriots. He is the team’s all-time leader in that category. Ahead of Big Ben Coates, Terry Glen, Stanley Morgan… all the Pats’ past greats. He’s 6th on the team’s all-time kick return list, 1st on the all-time punt return list, 19th on the all-time scoring sheet AND… he’s got 3 interceptions and 25 tackles. Troy Brown DID HIS JOB.

Troy Brown carved and kilned the mold for the model Patriot: Team-then-Self. A real Bill Belichick type of “player.”

Troy Brown Doing Someone Else's  Job

Troy Brown Doing Someone Else's Job

We’re lucky as Patriots Fans to have another player cast from the same mold.

In Kevin Faulk’s 10 seasons in the NFL, all with the New England Patriots, he has been leaving his mark on the Pats’ all-time lists as well. His 1,384 career touches –yes, I used a calculator to get to that number- have been accrued through rushing attempts, receptions, passing attempts, kick returns, punt returns and fumbles recovered. The Always Improving Kevin Faulk currently ranks 6th on the all-time receptions list, the highest of any Patriot running back, 23rd on the all-time scoring list, 10th all-time in rushing attempts and 1st among all time kick return and kick return yards.

And his stats continue to accrue.

Kevin Faulk doing his job.

Kevin Faulk doing his job.

Sunday yielded 17 touches for Faulk, 13 rushing attempts for 60 yards and 4 receptions, one for a score. He provided excellent support on 3rd downs and was a constant threat from the Z back spot. When he splits out wide and forces a linebacker in to 1-on-1 coverage, he creates a great mismatch for Cassel to check to.

It’s clear that Cassel, who I hope you’re getting used to, has made Faulk and Welker –another TroyBrownian- his binkies. And that’s just fine provided he makes Randy Moss his weapon and starts hitting him up high where only Randy can get to it… but I digress…

Wes Welker doing his job.

Wes Welker doing his job.

The support Faulk is providing is invaluable. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not the only one seeing this, and other teams will start to scheme against him… but Bill always gets his players the ball. Look for Faulk to be a big contributor down the stretch.

We’re sittin’ pretty, tied atop the division. Anticipate a hell of a game next week…

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