Patriots

When the Lions have the ball: Patriots D has to play faster

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When the Lions have the ball: Patriots D has to play faster

WHEN THE LIONS HAVE THE BALL


There are two things worth watching here. First, the plague of “my bad”-type mistakes against the Jaguars last week was arresting. It’s a bad angle here, a loss of contain there, loss of leverage, great play by the offense, mental stuff, physical stuff. 

The Patriots need to tighten it up and to do so, I think they need to play faster, which is something Jerod Mayo also said on Quick Slants the Podcast. The other aspect, though, is that this is a more competent contingent of players than the Jaguars brought to the field. Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay are a good complement of wideouts and – if Matt Stafford heats up – he can be as dangerous as any quarterback in the NFL. 

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Jones is the downfield threat, Tate is the underneath, possession, move-the-chains guy, Golladay is the guy who profits when defenses worry too much about the other two. Stafford has thrown the ball 99 times in two games and their leading rusher in each game has had just eight carries. With Patrick Chung likely down, the safety spot alongside Devin McCourty is going to be manned by either Nate Ebner or Jason McCourty for the most part. My suspicion is, Detroit will make some plays.
 

THE KICKING GAME
The Lions kick returner is Jamal Agnew and he had a day last week against the Niners on kickoffs. Their punter is Sam Martin and he’s averaging 45.4 yards per punt but has a horrific net average of 26.5 because the Lions allowed a punt return touchdown in Week 1 against the Jets. Their kicker is veteran Matt Prater. He’s missed once this season. Other than Stephen Gostkowski’s shank last week, the Pats have been solid in the kicking game. Punt returner remains unfinished business, though, as the team will be without Chung (likely) and signed Cyrus Jones back to the active roster.

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Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Devin McCourty avoids fine after personal foul penalty for hit against Dolphins

Saturday is the day the NFL usually passes out fines for hits from the previous Sunday. Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree, for example, was hit with a $21,056 bill for his helmet-to-helmet shot to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, though he wasn't penalized on the play. 

Devin McCourty, however, can rest easy. As can his daughter London, 2, and son Brayden 1.

He wasn't fined for his hit on Dolphins receiver Allen Hurns, though he did draw a personal foul flag for lowering the head to initiate contact. 

Initially, the veteran Patriots safety wasn't happy with the call, but then said he told the officials "it was actually a pretty good call once I saw the replay."

McCourty expressed concern a fine might be coming last Sunday in his postgame press conference. "Hopefully the NFL doesn’t fine me. I don’t think it was fine-worthy. I’ve got too many kids for that,” he said with a smile.

McCourty has only drawn one fine in his career. In December 2010, he was fined $10,000 after a hit on a defenseless receiver, Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.  

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Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

Patriots promote FB Jakob Johnson off practice squad to replace injured James Develin vs Jets

The Patriots promoted fullback Jakob Johnson off their practice squad Saturday to replace the injured James Develin in Week 3 against the Jets. 

Develin missed all three of the Patriots' practices this week with a neck injury and was listed out on Friday. 

Johnson, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Tennessee and former German Football league player, will dress for his first game in the NFL. 

Johnson was originally recruited as a linebacker out of high school, but he made the transition to tight end while with the Volunteers. The Patriots turned him into a fullback, so the 24-year-old has shown a fair share of versatility over the course of his career. 

The Patriots usually find creative ways to utilize Develin in the passing game while sometimes giving him opportunities to punch in touchdowns on the goal line. There's a small chance Johnson gets that chance on Sunday, but who knows since the game will most likely be over by halftime. 

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