Patriots

Point/Counterpoint: Will Sanu or Harry be more valuable to Patriots this season?

Point/Counterpoint: Will Sanu or Harry be more valuable to Patriots this season?

Every week during the NFL season, Tom E. Curran & Phil Perry will go head-to-head and offer their own takes on a Patriots or NFL-related question. Here's this week's topic:

Which receiver will be more valuable to the Patriots the rest of the way, N'Keal Harry or Mohamed Sanu?
 

I can get 1,000 percent behind the idea that the physicality of N’Keal Harry, his YAC ability, his gift for making acrobatic catches in traffic are singular talents he brings to the Patriots offense. 

He is their strongest and most explosive receiver and he’s barely peed a drop in the NFL. So why is Mohamed Sanu more valuable than Harry? You’ll never get the Which way do I go, which way do I go, Tom??” component from Sanu that Harry will bring in his first season in the NFL. I know that the returns from Sanu have been modest since he got here. He had that terrific game against the Ravens, injured his ankle, returned ASAP and hasn’t been the same player since with just 23 catches in seven games (10 of those coming against Baltimore). 

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He’s only catching 54.8 percent of the passes sent his way and on third and fourth-and-short, he’s been a disappointment on three different occasions. But I’m going to bet on two things with Sanu. 

First, he’s still getting back from the ankle and we haven’t seen him unimpeded. Second, he’s too good to go away from. If a defense takes away Julian Edelman – and they will try – Sanu is the only other receiver the Patriots could possibly feel comfortable targeting a dozen times and presuming to get a return on their investment.

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I was told there would be no math. You were told there would be no math. And yet, let's incorporate some math into the discussion. Think about the geometry involved when it comes to defending the Patriots. Think about the number of weapons the Patriots have to stress the short-to-intermediate area of the field: Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, James White, Rex Burkhead. Think of the players who offer real value outside the numbers and down the field.

We haven't seen a significant body of work from Harry to this point, but we've seen enough to know that he is a rarity in this offense. He has the ability to make contested catches outside the numbers. He has the ability to go down the field and use his frame and body control to stress defensive backs for deeper shots. In the red zone, we've seen him execute an indefensible back-shoulder completion for a score.

There simply aren't many others on this team who can do the things he does. That's why the rookie will be the more valuable piece moving forward. Sanu may have more catches the rest of the way. He may end up with more yards. But I'm still willing to bank on the fact that Harry's contributions will be more explosive, and more instrumental in getting points on the board. Plus, at this point, I'm not so sure Sanu has the clear advantage in one area where you do.

At times he's looked like he's gone through some of the same brain cramps Harry had earlier this season. If Sanu being unaware of the timing of two separate fourth-down throws -- and being unaware of his blocking assignment on a fourth-down play last weekend -- isn't an example of, "Which way do I go, which way do I go, Tom??" then what is?

Rob Gronkowski set to compete in virtual beer pong tournament

Rob Gronkowski set to compete in virtual beer pong tournament

Who knew virtual beer pong was a thing? 

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski apparently is set to compete in a virtual beer pong tournament hosted by Post Malone to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts, according to TMZ Sports. The tournament will be live-streamed on the @ballinacup Instagram over eight days and the winners will receive a trophy and wrestling belts. 

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Gronkowski will be partnered with his girlfriend Camille Kostek, and they aren't the only familiar faces in the tournament. Former Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola and former Boston Bruins forward Tyler Seguin also will compete in the competition. 

The first round kicks off on Friday with Gronkowski and Kostek taking on Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and USWNT star Mallory Pugh. Amendola will take on Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Saturday and Seguin will take on New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman on Monday, April 6. 

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It's no surprise Gronkowski signed up to compete in this tournament -- he loves to party after all. 

This definitely is something out of the ordinary, but it should be pretty comical to watch Gronkowski, Amendola and Seguin compete to see who the king of beer pong is. 

 

Patriots have dominated this category since turn of the century

Patriots have dominated this category since turn of the century

The New England Patriots have been an unstoppable force over the course of the past two decades. The team has won six Super Bowls, 17 division titles, and hasn't logged a losing season this century.

One of the reasons for their success? They have been insanely good in one-possession games.

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According to Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf), the Patriots have the best winning percentage in one-score games since the turn of the century. They are one of just two teams that have won greater than 60 percent of those contests. Here's a look at the numbers:

While several teams have more wins than the Patriots in these contests, it's still remarkable that the team has won two-thirds of their one-score games in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. It takes great decision-making on the parts of players and coaches to maintain such a strong record.

With Brady no longer on the Patriots, It looks like we're going to figure out just how much he has mattered to the Patriots' ability to win close games. Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer are the two quarterback options on the roster after Cody Kessler was released on Thursday, so Belichick will have his work cut out for him with either option.

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Meanwhile, Brady's impact on the Buccaneers may be notable depending on how much they improve in this area. The Bucs have the third-worst winning percentage of the century in one-possession games, coming in at 40.2 percent. They have the second-most losses overall with 98.

Last season, the Bucs were 3-6 in nine one-score games with Jameis Winston at the helm. If Brady can help to improve upon that record by making fewer late-game mistakes than the turnover-prone Winston did, then the Bucs may have a chance to progress well as an overall team.

Either way, we'll soon see how Brady's presence impacts the Bucs and if the Patriots can continue their winning ways in close contests.