Patriots

Bill Belichick details what areas of Lamar Jackson's game have improved

Bill Belichick details what areas of Lamar Jackson's game have improved

The New England Patriots will face a tough challenge Sunday night in the Baltimore Ravens, the kind of opponent they really haven't had to deal with in their undefeated run through the first eight games of the NFL season.

The biggest obstacle for New England will be the tremendously talented, speedy Lamar Jackson at the helm of the Ravens offense. While the young quarterback had a strong rookie season that saw him elevated to a starting role in 2018, he's shown immense improvement throughout the course of this season -- something Patriots coach Bill Belichick has noticed. 

"I think he's matured and gained experience like any player does from year one to year two and that's generally where you see a big jump," Belichick told his former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and Bob Papa on Sirius XM Radio this week. "I think one of the most impressive things about the Ravens offense in general is they move the ball, score a lot of points and don't turn it over. They don't lose the ball very often, they don't fumble, they don't throw interceptions, they don't have a lot of bad plays. They do a good job of protecting the exchanges and giving the ball to people who do a good job of taking care of the football." 

More from Belichick:

The biggest area for Lamar's improvement would be his ball security, his judgment, decision making and overall execution of the passing game. It's better than what it was last year, I'm not saying it was bad last year, but it has improved and the addition of [Marquise] Brown and the development of [Mark] Andrews and the emergence of [Willie] Snead as a slot receiver, he's been able to take advantage of the other guys he's got on the field with him.

Jackson is a big reason the Ravens aret 5-2 and on top of the AFC North. With 1,650 total yards, 11 touchdowns and 136 completions in 215 attempts, Jackson will surely cause the Patriots "Boogeymen" defense some problems -- especially his 576 yards rushing this season. 

New England's defense has yet to experience anything like Baltimore's offense. Having faced a banged-up Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Rosen, Luke Falk, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Matt Barkley, Colt McCoy, Daniel Jones, and Baker Mayfield, the Patriots defense hasn't had to deal with an elite running QB. 

For more on how the Patriots plan to neutralize Jackson, click here for Phil's Perry's look at possible options.

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Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Patriots DE Chase Winovich pleads for Tom Brady to stay in New England

Chase Winovich is all of New England right about now.

The Patriots defensive end clearly isn't a fan of the idea that Tom Brady may suit up for a new team in 2020. On Wednesday, he took to Instagram to beg Brady to re-sign with the Pats, and he did so in hilarious fashion.

"'To stay or to stay... 🤔' #pleaseDad #NotAllowedtoLeave #goat #shakespeare," Winovich wrote.


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The "Shakespeare" is a nice touch, but history tells us Brady may not be amused. Winovich may be on to something with the "#pleaseDad" hashtag, though.

Winovich, drafted out of Michigan 19 years after his favorite QB and fellow Wolverine, will have to wait impatiently like the rest of us until Brady makes his much-anticipated decision. The 42-year-old officially becomes a free agent March 18 if he and the Patriots can't agree on a contract extension before then.

The Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Las Vegas Raiders each have been named as potential suitors for Brady in free agency.

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Ex-Patriots star Rob Gronkowski reveals where he wanted to go in 2010 NFL Draft

Rob Gronkowski envisioned beginning his NFL career in Arizona.

Gronkowski played two seasons at the University of Arizona and was one of the best tight end prospects entering the 2010 NFL Draft. His initial preference was to make the 2-hour trip from Tuscon to Glendale and play for the Arizona Cardinals. The Kurt Warner era in Arizona had just ended and the team needed a tight end. On paper, the Cardinals and Gronkowski were a perfect match.

“I loved being in the state of Arizona … I was praying that they would take me because I wanted to go there,” Gronkowski said Tuesday on Arizona radio station 98.7 FM's "Doug & Wolf" show. “I felt like they needed a tight end and they brought me in for a little visit.”

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The visit didn't go very well.

“I took a visit there and everything, I could tell they had no interest in me,” Gronkowski said. “I could tell, the people that brought me in, they were just bringing me in to bring me in.”

Concerns over Gronkowski's back played a part in him dropping to the second round, where the Patriots took a chance on him with the 42nd overall pick. Gronkowski played nine years for the Patriots and became arguably the greatest tight end in pro football history.

He also played a part in three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams, including a Super Bowl LIII triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in February of 2019 that turned out to be his last NFL game. He retired in March of last year.

The Cardinals are still searching for an elite tight end 10 years later. The position has been an area of weakness for Arizona throughout the last decade. According to USA TODAY, Gronkowski's 80 career receiving touchdowns are 54 more than every Cardinals tight end combined (26 TDs) from 2010 through 2018. 

The Cardinals did take a tight end in the 2010 draft with the selection of Jim Dray in the seventh round. He played in 56 games (and tallied just two receiving touchdowns) for the Cardinals over a seven-year career that also included time with three other teams.

Gronkowski would've been great for the Cardinals, and he was right in their backyard.

Perry: Vrabel and others tiptoe around Brady buzz at combine