Patriots

This Chase Winovich preseason stat bodes well for his Patriots future

This Chase Winovich preseason stat bodes well for his Patriots future

We know: We shouldn't put too much stock into preseason stats.

After all, defensive end Trent Harris led the New England Patriots in sacks last preseason but didn't even crack the team's 53-man roster.

But Chase Winovich has done enough through his first two preseason games to warrant at least an eyebrow raise.

The Patriots' rookie edge rusher has amassed nine tackles and 2.5 sacks combined against the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans. According to Pro Football Focus, Winovich also has beaten his offensive line counterpart on 40 percent of pass rush snaps.

Since 2015, only Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison and Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Daeshon Hall have higher preseason pass rush grades, as Winovich also beat out Pro Bowler Olivier Vernon.

That's good company to be in, even if it's just the preseason. Addison has blossomed into one of the Panthers' best pass-rushers with 29.5 sacks over the past three seasons, while Vernon has 51 career sacks in seven seasons.

PFF's Zoltan Buday also notes Winovich, the 77th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, is outperforming all rookie pass-rushers in its overall grades -- including fellow Michigan alum Rashan Gary, who went 12th overall to the Green Bay Packers.

"Gary has played 61 snaps and earned an overall grade of 56.5, which ranks 40th among rookie edge defenders, while Winovich’s grade of 92.2 on 66 snaps leads all rookie edge defenders," Buday writes.

Again, it's a small sample size, but Winovich's efforts through two games even drew rare praise from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who usually is hesitant to pump tires.

"Chase is very aggressive, fast. He has a relentless motor," Belichick said Monday in an interview on WEEI''s "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "All those things are good. He lacks some experience and there are some things he definitely needs to work on and can improve on, but he is a hard-working kid."

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NFL Rumors: Dolphins trade Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers

NFL Rumors: Dolphins trade Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers

The Miami Dolphins have reportedly traded Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers, ending any chance the Patriots had to secure their division rival's young star. 

The Steelers will send their 2020 first round pick to the Dolphins for Fitzpatrick, giving Miami three first round picks and six total selections in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft.

Fitzpatrick, a versatile safety with experience playing both safety spots along with slot and outside corner, will help a Steelers secondary that was completely obliterated by the Patriots in Week 1. Ben Roethlisberger is out for the rest of the season, so it will be up to Mason Rudolph to lead the Steeler offense after their defense gets a major upgrade. 

This also takes a potential trade off the table for the Patriots. Our own Phil Perry outlined why it would have made a ton of sense for the Patriots to try and pry Fitzpatrick away from Miami, but it appears the Dolphins will deal their first round selection from 2018 to one of New England's rivals. 

Jalen Ramsey requested a trade from the Jaguars on Monday, so if the Patriots are willing to give up a first round pick for some help in the secondary, there's still an elite option out there. However, New England's corner group has been exceptional during the first two weeks of 2019. 

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New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian injured on Monday Night Football

New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian injured on Monday Night Football

The New York Jets are playing the New England Patriots in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season. And ahead of that game, it looks like they could be down their top two quarterbacks.

The Jets were already without their starting quarterback Sam Darnold as the second-year passer battles mono. But against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football, they may have lost their backup quarterback too.

In the second quarter of the game, Trevor Siemian was hurt after taking a hit from Myles Garrett. On the play, Siemian bent over backward awkwardly and appeared to injure his ankle in the process. While he was able to hobble off the field, he went to the locker room almost immediately. He was a woeful 3 of 6 for just 3 passing yards while being sacked twice before the injury knocked him out. 

If Siemian can't play in Week 3 against the Patriots, they will be still be licking their chops as they look at the resume of his backup. Siemian was replaced by third-string quarterback Luke Falk who has been on three different teams (Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Jets) since being a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He hadn't played an NFL snap before entering Monday night's game.

While the Patriots were likely looking forward to facing Siemian, they'll hardly complain if given a chance to face Falk in what could be his first NFL start. Their defense has been stellar to start the season, so they shouldn't have much of a problem containing a Falk-led Jets attack.

Perhaps they'll be able to build on their historic start to the season as they look to start the season 3-0 with two divisional victories.

Phil Perry's Report Card: Pats D gets straight A's in win>>>

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