Patriots

After horrible game, Sam Darnold still can be difference maker for Jets

After horrible game, Sam Darnold still can be difference maker for Jets

The New England Patriots dominated the New York Jets 33-0 Monday night, and Sam Darnold was atrocious. The second-year quarterback finished 11-of-32 for 84 yards, 4 interceptions, and a lost fumble. He posted a quarterback rankings of 3.6.

Tom Curran discussed the Jets quarterback with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, and it sounds like the blame needs to be put on multiple people -- not just Darnold.

"It's partly Gase, partly the offensive line, partly Darnold," Mehta told Curran on Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast. "You're right, Darnold was terrible. He panicked, his footwork was absolutely brutal."

"I'm not going to blame the offensive line coach and then absolve the offensive coordinator because that, in effect, is what Gase does and you need to work in tandem with your offensive line coach to figure out protections and what particular blitz is going to entail. I'm not saying it's all on Gase, because it's clearly not on Gase. But I can't absolve Gase, I think it's a collective effort. Everybody was at fault."

While everyone is to blame, it's easy to acknowledge that Darnold wasn't great on Monday, and Bill Belichick's defense played a role in the Jets QB's misery.

"He didn't see the field well at all. It really, completely the opposite of the week earlier when he saw the field really well against Dallas," Mehta said. "And as you said earlier, this is a great defense. Clearly it's the best defense in the NFL, better than San Francisco. It was a terrible performance, his worst performance in college or the pros. That doesn't mean he's scarred for life. I think the ghost comment will probably stick for a while."

"From what I saw yesterday, they play such smart football," Mehta said. "I don't know how Belichick teaches it or coaches it, but they had that Jets offensive line confused."

While Darnold had one of the worst games of his career, Mehta still thinks Darnold still will have success in the NFL.

"He's shown enough to me that he can still be a very good player. I'm not going to bury a guy after one horrible performance on national TV just because of what I've seen prior to that. I think he'll bounce back. I think he'll play much better and I haven't moved off my stance all along back when he was at USC. I think this guy can be a difference-making player."

Darnold will need to have a huge bounce-back performance for New York against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday if he wants to boost his confidence.

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Cowboys' Leighton Vander Esch out vs. Patriots with neck issue

Cowboys' Leighton Vander Esch out vs. Patriots with neck issue

The Dallas Cowboys will be without one of their best defensive players when they take on the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will miss the Week 12 matchup with a neck issue, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.

Vander Esch has already missed one game this season due to a neck injury. The Boise State product had said he's "been looking forward [to facing Tom Brady] his whole life," but Dallas' 2018 first-round draft pick will have to wait a bit longer for the opportunity.

In nine games this year, Vander Esch has tallied 70 tackles, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and half of a sack.

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Sources: Patriots not interested in bringing back Antonio Brown

Sources: Patriots not interested in bringing back Antonio Brown

Once bitten, twice shy.

Two sources with knowledge of the Patriots thinking scoffed at the idea Antonio Brown would rejoin the Patriots this season.

When one source was asked if there was a chance the wideout – who was with the Patriots for less than two tumultuous weeks in September – might have a chance at rejoining the team, this was the two-word response.

“What’s changed?”

I mentioned Brown’s social media apology to owner Robert Kraft earlier in the week and his meeting last week with the NFL as possibly changing the equation.

I was told that it does not.

At issue aren’t hurt feelings that Brown couldn’t fix with a few keystrokes. It’s the wariness of something else cropping up down the road.

When the Patriots signed Brown, there was no advance notice from Brown’s agent Drew Rosenhaus that Brown was on the cusp of being slapped with a lawsuit by his former trainer Britney Taylor even though the legal wrangling between Brown and Taylor’s attorneys had been going on for months.

And while it was subsequently reported Rosenhaus couldn’t break a confidentiality agreement Brown supposedly had in place, the fact that the Patriots entered into the Brown experience not knowing at all that that bombshell was waiting to explode makes them unwilling to go down the same road again.

Florio: If Patriots don’t sign Antonio Brown, "somebody else will">>>

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