McDaniels: Mason's height (or lack thereof) gives him 'built-in leverage'

McDaniels: Mason's height (or lack thereof) gives him 'built-in leverage'

FOXBORO -- Shaq Mason isn't the biggest guard the Patriots have ever had. Far from it. But at 6-foot-1, 300 pounds, he's used his athleticism and undersized frame to his advantage in his second season.

Last week he more than held his own against a talented defensive front featured by the Rams, which included perhaps the league's best defensive player in defensive tackle Aaron Donald. On Monday night, Mason was at it again against the Ravens.

During LeGarrette Blount's one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Mason single-handedly eliminated defensive tackle Brandon Williams from the play to help give Blount the room he needed to plunge into the end zone and tie Curtis Martin's franchise record with 14 rushing scores in a single season.

Williams was no easy assignment, either. The 340-pounder has been ranked by Pro Football Focus as a top-10 defensive tackle against the run in each of the last two seasons. 

"I tell him he’s got built-in leverage because he’s not the tallest guy in the world," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said of Mason. "That gives him an added advantage in terms of being underneath people and ultimately, playing the offensive line position, that’s really the most important thing. You’ve got to win with leverage and pad level and Shaq has done a nice job of that."

Mason has not missed a snap since Week 2 of the regular season, when he was dealing with a hand injury that limited him. Along with a more consistent starting lineup up front and with the help of offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, Mason has meant a great deal to the resurgent Patriots running game in 2016.

Not only has Mason been able to move bigger defenders off their spot at the line of scrimmage, he's also tapped into his collegiate background with the Yellow Jackets -- where the option offense was a way of life -- to overwhelm opponents when pulling or getting into the open field on screens.

"He’s worked to get back in and really be a strong contributor and a consistent performer for us," McDaniels said. "His attitude has always been very good. He works extremely hard at his craft . . . Practices hard. It’s important to him. He loves the game of football. He enjoys competing and playing. He’s tough. He can really move. He’s got great agility . . . He’s matured, he understands the pro game, he’s more comfortable in our system this year, and I think we’re seeing that in his play."

Eagles DE Michael Bennett charged with injury to elderly paraplegic

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Eagles DE Michael Bennett charged with injury to elderly paraplegic

Prosecutors in Houston say a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett for injuring a paraplegic woman as he tried get onto the field at last year's Super Bowl to celebrate with his brother.

The Harris County district attorney's office says a grand jury indicted Bennett on Friday on a felony count of injury to the elderly.

Authorities say Bennett was a spectator at the game in Houston when he tried to get onto the field immediately after the game to see his brother, Martellus Bennett, a tight end for the Patriots at the time. Prosecutors say he pushed through security personnel, including a 66-year-old disabled woman who had told him to use a different entrance to access the field.

The Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month acquired Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks.


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Robert Kraft flying high school protesters on Patriots' jet

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Robert Kraft flying high school protesters on Patriots' jet

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is using the team plane to transport high school students from Parkland, Florida. The plane will take the students from Florida to a rally in Washington, D.C. where they will stage a protest to promote gun reform.

Kraft took action after Arizona Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband asked him for help, according to CBS Boston.

The students' organized protests, which are expected to take place nation-wide, come after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School which left 17 people dead.

Some students took to Twitter to thank Kraft for the gesture.