Patriots

Falcons RB gives huge endorsement of Mohamed Sanu after Patriots trade

Falcons RB gives huge endorsement of Mohamed Sanu after Patriots trade

Mohamed Sanu is the newest wide receiver on the New England Patriots after Tuesday's trade, and one of his former Atlanta Falcons teammates loves the move from the perspective of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Falcons running back Kenjon Barner gave a ringing endorsement (including some colorful language) of Sanu in a reply to ESPN reporter Adam Schefter's tweet breaking the news of the Patriots-Falcons trade early Tuesday morning.

That message Barner, who played five games for New England in 2018, might make any Patriots fan who is still on the fence about this trade feel a little better.

The Patriots gave up a 2020 second-round draft pick to acquire Sanu, which isn't a small price, but the move was a necessary one given the depth concerns and injuries that have plagued the team's receiving corps through seven games.

Sanu gives the Patriots valuable flexibility on offense with his ability to play outside or in the slot. He also does a tremendous job creating separation from opposing defensive backs and has missed only two games over the past six seasons.

The 30-year-old wideout is signed through the 2021 season, and he tallied 33 receptions for 313 yards and one touchdown in seven games with the Falcons this season.

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Patriots defense must beat Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in this area of the field

Patriots defense must beat Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in this area of the field

One of the key matchups in Sunday's Week 12 game between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys will be passes outside the numbers.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has shredded defenses on throws outside the numbers in 2019. The Patriots are the best team in the league at defending these passes.

NFL Research tweeted a few interesting stats Tuesday that highlight the importance of this matchup:

Prescott is playing at an MVP-level this season, and he's performed at a particularly high level over the last three weeks with 1,202 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions over that span. The Cowboys' success, in a lot of ways, rests on his shoulders.

The Patriots will be Prescott's toughest test of the year so far. Here's where New England's pass defense ranks in several statistical categories:

TD allowed 4 (1st)
Yards allowed/game: 152.6 (2nd)
Interceptions: 19 (1st)
Sacks: 37 (2nd)
Yards/Attempt: 5.3 (1st)
QB Cmp %: 53.6 (1st)
QB rating: 49.2 (1st)

The Cowboys are in a tight race with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title, and they enter Sunday's matchup at Gillette Stadium with a slim 1-game lead over their division rivals. It's hard to imagine the Cowboys leaving Foxboro with an upset win if Prescott doesn't play well, so it'll be exciting to watch how he handles going against the league's best pass defense on the road.

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Rob Gronkowski includes cruel joke in his assessment of 2019 Patriots

Rob Gronkowski includes cruel joke in his assessment of 2019 Patriots

Rob Gronkowski essentially put the kibosh on a return to the New England Patriots in 2019. But he hasn't closed the book on his former team.

Shortly after revealing his latest "big announcement" -- he's hosting a mega beach bash in Miami on Super Bowl weekend -- the retired tight end told ESPN's Mike Reiss he's open to considering an NFL comeback down the road.

"I wouldn't say 'never coming back,' " Gronkowski told Reiss on Tuesday. "I'm 30 years old. I'm young. I still stay fit, still watch the game whenever I can, still enjoy it.

"I'm feeling good, but you know, one year off could possibly be the case. Or maybe two years off, man."

The Patriots have gone 9-1 without him this season, but as Tom Brady will tell you, there are major issues to address on offense.

Gronkowski, who has kept a close eye on New England's games this season as a fan and analyst for NFL on FOX, couldn't resist pointing out one way the Patriots could address those issues in his assessment of the 2019 team.

"The defense is just tremendous, the way they're coming together with the veteran leadership they have there, and the skill set they have," Gronkowski told Reiss. 

"With the offense, they're finding ways to make it work like they've always done, putting guys in the right situation to make plays.

"But man, they're missing some guy who is 6-6, 260 [pounds]. They're missing that guy, for sure."

Gronkowski is referencing himself, of course, which is a cruel joke considering just how much the Patriots could benefit from his presence: New England's tight ends have combined for just 23 catches on the season, with 38-year-old Ben Watson accounting for 11 of them.

It sounds like Gronk misses the Patriots, too, even if 30-year-old has enough business and entertainment irons in the fire to keep him occupied through the end of 2019.

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