Special Bonus Sunday Bag: How to use Lewis? Stop Graham?

Special Bonus Sunday Bag: How to use Lewis? Stop Graham?

It's not Friday, but we tackle a few more readers' Patriots questions, including some Seahawks-specific ones pertinent to tonight, here:


TC: The first part of the question will kinda determine the second part. I would imagine a measured workload for Lewis on Sunday night. If he touches the ball more than 10 times I’d be surprised because – even if he’s feeling great as the game goes on- it’s important to see how he responds after the workload he’s given and then have it expanded based on that.

TC: Based on the last time they saw Graham in 2013 when he was a Saint … I can’t tell you. Here’s the thing – not only was Aqib Talib their best cover guy he was their biggest cover guy. Now their biggest cover guy is Eric Rowe followed by Logan Ryan. But the smaller Patrick Chung is very good at getting after tight ends. Meanwhile, their best cover guy is Malcolm Butler. I can see Doug Baldwin getting specific attention from Butler and then combo work on Graham with a safety over the top.

TC: I don’t think this will be a run-heavy game plan. More than the Super Bowl because the Patriots have a better identity in the running game this time but still plenty of sub-offense with James White on the field first and then Lewis getting some spot duty as he eases back in.

TC: I’m going off the board here Conor with Rob Ninkovich. Missing the first four games and coming back from the triceps injury had him playing at less than what he usually does. And he was outstanding during training camp. If he gets back to that level and chips in at both defensive end and at the linebacker level, I think he can be a real key. Also, Jabaal Sheard needs to make more steady impact. Not sure if it’s scheme, deployment, playing time or performance that’s holding him back from being the impact player that I imagined he’d be.

TC: Jason, tough one. It really depends on how much wood is at said woodchuck’s disposal when he starts chucking. Sky’s the limit, really.

TC: Ed, I’m going off the board this week and saying … no.

TC: Game plan will dictate it and if defenses are going to spend more time bodying up Edelman or concentrating on Gronk and Martellus Bennett, you could see the numbers rise. But it’s really dependent on what defenses do as opposed to the Patriots coming into a game and saying, “Let’s get it to Hogan a ton today.”

TC: I don’t think the offensive scheme will be altered too often. When it’s two backs, those are normally going to be fullback James Develin and running back LeGarrette Blount. If Blount’s on the field with a sub back like White or Lewis I’d expect them to be lined up on the perimeter as opposed to a classic two-back set.

TC: Hey Tommy, I hit this a little earlier but just to circle back, Collins wasn’t usually a guy that was devoted to checking one player all over the field. That is – in the rare instances it’s used – Malcolm Butler.  

TC: Two things. Stop Doug Baldwin. Don’t let the rush go past Russell Wilson. Nobody past him creating opportunities for him to step up or scramble.

TC: Hey Sarim, it will be a group effort as opposed to spying Wilson, I imagine. I suppose Barkevious Mingo would be the best answer if there were to be a second-level guy devoted to Wilson but the more likely scenario is nobody spying but the entire front-seven responsible for keeping his running lanes covered up.

TC: The Jamie Collins that was a Pro Bowler? They missed him all year. The guy who played against Houston? They’ll miss him. The Jamie Collins they got so often this year? They won’t miss too badly because he was an average player prone to breakdowns and big plays.

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...