Patriots

AFC's murky QB situation a major plus for Patriots

AFC's murky QB situation a major plus for Patriots

The NFL postseason is where quarterbacks’ legacies are built. Though those reputations often become overstated, once you’ve solidified yourself as a “winner” or “loser,” those tags are hard to shake.

By the looks of it, this postseason might see a few guys trying to build their playoff names from scratch, and those guys might have to do it in Foxboro. 

This has been a weird year for quarterbacks. Between the six playoff teams in the AFC, 13 different starting QBs will have been used by the time Oakland’s Matt McGloin starts Week 17 for the injured Derek Carr. Surprisingly, that’s actually as many as were used between last season’s AFC playoff teams. 

None of the AFC playoff teams have had the same quarterback start every game. The Patriots have led the way with three, though that’s partially due to suspension. 

Depending on whether Ryan Tannehill (sprained ACL) is good to go next week for the Dolphins, the AFC’s starting quarterbacks in the postseason could be the following: Tom Brady, Matt Moore, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Savage, Matt McGloin and Alex Smith. Half of those guys have postseason experience. The other three don’t. 

Even if Tannehill does play for the Dolphins, and even if the recently supplanted Brock Osweiler does reclaim his job in Houston, neither of those guys have taken a playoff snap either. If experience under center is as important in the playoffs as everyone makes it out to be, the Patriots, presuming they take the No. 1 seed, could get a crack or two at toying with inexperienced postseason quarterbacks on their home field. 

It’s not like green postseason quarterbacks can’t get far. Tom Brady, Jake Delhomme and Ben Roethlisberger are at least semi-recent examples that they can go to a conference championship (Roethlisberger), the Super Bowl (Jake Delhomme) or even win it all (Brady). 

This might not surprise you, but the Patriots have never lost to a quarterback playing in his first postseason. They’ve played six of them, beaten them all and only allowed a passing touchdown to half of them. 

Here’s a quick run-through: 

  • 2012, Matt Schaub: The Pats may have been more worried about Arian Foster, but Schaub wasn’t bad in his second-career postseason start. He completed 34 of 51 passes for 343 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. The Pats sacked him once. 
  • 2011, Tim Tebow: The divisional round saw the Patriots sack Tebow five times and hold him to 136 yards on 9-of-26 passing with no touchdowns or picks in his second and final postseason game. He’ll always have the previous week’s OT winner against Pittsburgh. 
  • 2006, Philip Rivers: The Patriots went into San Diego and upset the No. 1 seed (and 14-2) Chargers in Rivers’ first career postseason start. Rivers, who was sacked three times, was 14-of-32 for 230 yards with no touchdowns and a pick. He may have yelled a bit about Ellis Hobbs after the game. 
  • 2005, Byron Leftwich: In the lone postseason start of Leftwich’s career, the Patriots sacked the Marshall product four times and held him to 18-of-31 passing for 179 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He did have an 18-yard run, though. Man, Byron Leftwich ruled. 
  • 2004, Ben Roethlisberger: Then a rookie, Roethlisberger had the pleasure of the AFC championship being his second career playoff game. Unfortunately for him, it was against a powerhouse Patriots team and he got picked three times. He also threw a pair of touchdowns on 14-of-24 passing for 226 yards. 
  • 2003, Jake Delhomme: The Pats had their way with most of these other guys, but Jake Delhomme was damn good for the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, throwing for 323 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. This Panthers loss certainly wasn’t on the quarterback (*cough John Kasay cough*). 

Given the landscape of the AFC, it should be smooth sailing for the Patriots as they aim to reach their seventh Super Bowl under Bill Belichick. History says these inexperienced playoff quarterbacks some of their opponents might throw out there won’t make big names for themselves against the Pats. 

Updated 2019 NFL Draft order for second and third round picks on Day 2

Updated 2019 NFL Draft order for second and third round picks on Day 2

The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, and now all 32 teams will turn their attention to the second and third rounds taking place Friday night in Nashville.

The New England Patriots should be among the busier teams on Day 2 with two picks in the second round and three in the third round.

We saw several trades Thursday in which second- and third-round picks were swapped between teams. Here's the updated draft order for the second and third rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.

ROUND 2
33. Arizona
34. Indianapolis (via Jets)
35. Oakland
36. San Francisco
37. Seattle (via Giants)
38. Jacksonville
39. Tampa Bay
40. Buffalo
41. Denver
42. Cincinnati
43. Detroit
44. Green Bay
45. L.A. Rams (via Atlanta)
46. Indianapolis (via Washington)
47. Carolina
48. Miami
49. Cleveland
50. Minnesota
51. Tennessee
52. Denver (via Pittsburgh)
53. Philadelphia (via Baltimore)
54. Houston (via Seattle)
55. Houston
56. New England (via Chicago)
57. Philadelphia
58. Dallas
59. Indianapolis
60. L.A. Chargers
61. Kansas City
62. New Orleans
63. Kansas City (via L.A. Rams)
64. New England

ROUND 3
65. Arizona
66. Pittsburgh (via Oakland)
67. San Francisco
68. N.Y. Jets
69. Jacksonville
70. Tampa Bay
71. Denver
72. Cincinnati
73. New England (via Detroit)
74. Buffalo
75. Green Bay
76. Washington
77. Carolina
78. Miami
79. L.A. Rams (via Atlanta)
80. Cleveland
81. Minnesota
82. Tennessee
83. Pittsburgh
84. Kansas City (via Seattle)
85. Baltimore
86. Houston
87. Chicago
88. Detroit (via Philadelphia)
89. Indianapolis
90. Dallas
91. L.A. Chargers
92. Seattle (via Kansas City)
93. N.Y. Jets (via New Orleans)
94. L.A. Rams
95. N.Y. Giants (via New England, Cleveland)
96. Washington*
97. New England*
98. Jacksonville (via L.A. Rams)*
99. L.A. Rams*
100. Carolina*
101. New England*
102. Baltimore*

*compensatory picks

Click here for a list of all 32 first-round picks>>>

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Here are Patriots' options at tight end with T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant off the board

Here are Patriots' options at tight end with T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant off the board

The two top-tier tight ends in the 2019 NFL Draft are off the board.

Iowa's T.J. Hockenson went eighth overall to the Detroit Lions and his teammate Noah Fant went 20th to the Denver Broncos.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Patriots are SOL in the TE department.

There’s Alabama’s Irv Smith, Dawson Knox from Ole Miss, Jace Sternberger from Texas A&M, Kahale Warring from San Diego State and Foster Moreau from LSU all remaining on the board. Within that group alone there’s a variety of talents the Patriots can target. And all should be on the board at No. 32 and into Friday.

Meanwhile, there’s been no run at all on wide receivers yet. All are still on the board so, with the bottom tier of the first round closing in, we’ll see if Bill Belichick is interested in veering off his “no first-round wideout” philosophy.

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