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The New England Patriots are sending a message to the league and to their fans this offseason that they are all in on ring number 5. The New England Patriots have arguably been the most active team in the NFL this offseason, making splashes in free agency, the trade market, and restructuring deals with current players. The Patriots entered this offseason with nearly all of their core intact and only a few glaring needs. While the team hasn’t signed a marquee player at an offensive line position, they did bring back well respected O-Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia. Although the team hasn’t made any flashy moves regarding the offensive line, it is almost certainly a position the Patriots will address in the draft. Last season, the New England Patriots’ offense struggled mightily after injuries to several key players such as Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis. Perhaps the most significant signing on the offensive side of the ball was bringing in former Bears tight end Martellus Bennett.
In 3 seasons with Chicago, 29 year old Bennett caught over 200 passes, tallying up 2,114 yards and 14 touchdowns. In addition to signing Martellus Bennett, the New England Patriots also added Wide Receivers Chris Hogan and Nate Washington. Here are some quotes from, and on Chris Hogan that can assure Pats fans he is a good fit in New England. The veteran has put up decent numbers as a number 2 or 3 receiver and in New England he will almost certainly not be a second or third option.  Nate will provide a veteran presence and add some valuable depth at receiver incase of injuries. Staying on the offensive side of the ball, the New England Patriots also added a few players that will certainly see their fair share of snaps as role players. Donald Brown will add some depth at the RB position, and Clay Harbor can play both Tight End and Fullback, giving Bill Belichick some more versatility on offense. If the Patriots key players on offense can stay healthy, this team will be even better on the offensive side of the ball in 2016. In the last 10 years the Patriots have understandably been identified as an offensive team. Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Malcolm Butler established themselves as some of the best young defensive players in the game. While Jones was undoubtedly a key part of the Patriots defense, finishing 5th in the NFL in sacks with 12.5, it was unrealistic that the Patriots would be able to resign Jones, Collins, Hightower, and Butler who all have expiring contracts in 2017.
Despite trading Chandler Jones, the New England Patriots were still able to bolster their front seven this offseason. Long, who remained healthy for each of his first 6 seasons in the league, has found it difficult to stay on the field in the last two seasons.
McClellin, who was drafted 19th overall by the Bears in 2012, will provide some depth and versatility at the linebacker position.
With the NFL Draft around the corner I expect the Patriots to address a few more needs on the defensive side of the ball including the cornerback position. All signs point to New England once again being dominant, and making another run at yet another Lombardi Trophy. While legacies have already been established, the Patriots seem unwilling to stop adding to those legacies. New england patriots news, scores, schedule, stats, roster, Latest new england patriots news, scores, stats, photos & videos on msn sports.
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With an elite talent in the secondary, the results speak to how much that a competent cornerback can impact the outcome of a season.
Yes, this name should sound familiar, and how great would it be to see these brothers working together in the New England secondary.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme (83) scores a touchdown behind Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21).
If the Patriots were looking to add size to their secondary, they may want to look over at San Francisco. Patriots fans shouldn’t hold their breath, the likelihood of Bellichick giving away much of anything from his current squad is slim.
Through ups and downs, Brandon Spikes has still been great value as a late second-round pick. In 2010, the New England Patriots invested a second-round draft pick in Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes. In his initial NFL campaign, the 6’2”, 255-pounder played in 12 contests and started eight of them.
That suspension somewhat tainted what was otherwise a very strong inauguration for the former Gators inside backer. Spikes was inactive for the 2011 season opener before returning to play the next seven contests. When he was finally healthy enough to return for the 2011 playoffs, Spikes made the most of the opportunity.
While his characteristics help him out in some circumstances, they also make him a liability in others. He’s not going to venture sideline to sideline, he’s not going to cover tight ends or running backs, but he can disrupt some passing lanes due to his vision.
After all, there are some quicker-footed linebackers in the fold who can step in and cover. I was glad when the Patriots drafted Spikes and have had high hopes that he would succeed and to some extent he has; the defense is certainly more effective when he is playing well.


I would hate to see spikes go because as every player on defense has said, he brings that intensity & furosity that no one else brings. After Sunday's AFC Championship game, reports indicated the NFL was looking into the possibility that the New England Patriots were using under-inflated footballs during their 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
The league is said to still be investigating how the balls were altered, and if it happened after the referee inspection.
Under-inflating the balls would allow a quarterback and receivers to grip the ball better, especially in cold and wet weather, as it was in Foxboro on Sunday.
The Patriots are said to be fully cooperating with the investigation, but have also repeatedly publically denied any alteration to any of the balls. The Patriots were also found to be violating league rules in 2007 when they were caught filming the defensive signals of the New York Jets during a game. The league has no official comment on the investigation, and the Patriots continue to say they will cooperate with the league.
A signal to their fans and to the other 31 teams across the league that they will once again be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
One aspect of the team that certainly needed to be addressed this offseason was the offensive line. The Patriots also added some depth with former 1st round pick Jonathan Cooper, who was acquired from the Cardinals along with a second round pick in the Chandler Jones trade. On top of that, well established left tackle Nate Solder, who was injured for the majority of last season with torn biceps, should be healthy and back to form entering the 2016 season.
After starting the season 10-0, the Patriots dropped 4 of their last 6 games and handed home field advantage to the Denver Broncos. If the team sees a player like Edelman or Gronkowski go down again in 2016, it seems as if Tom Brady and the offense will have enough weapons to sustain a dynamic offensive gameplan. Bennett, who was originally drafted by the Cowboys in 2008, spent 4 years in Dallas and 1 year with the New York Giants before joining the Bears in 2013. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014 after putting up career highs in receptions (90) yards (916) and touchdowns (6).
While Hogan’s numbers have been less than stellar after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2012, the 27 year old has seen a significant increase in production over the last two seasons. Something that certainly stuck out to coach Bill Belichick while scouting the former Bills receiver.
Nate Washington however, has played 11 seasons in the league and has established himself as a solid 2nd or 3rd option in most offenses he’s been a part of. He and Tom should develop a decent chemistry fairly quick, being that they are both seasoned vets. Running back Donald Brown (a first round pick in 2009) and tight end Clay Harbor were both added to the Patriots offense in free agency. Martellus Bennett gives Brady another legitimate weapon, and the additions of Hogan, Washington, Brown, and Harbor give the Patriots the one thing they lacked on offense in 2015 …depth. When you have the greatest Quarterback of all time that may not be a very hard task to accomplish.
Jamie Collins and Malcolm Butler were both named pro bowlers for the first time in their young careers, and Dont’a Hightower played at a pro bowl level all season.
By trading Jones, the Patriots have allowed themselves the possibility of resigning two of the best young linebackers, and one of the best young cornerbacks in the league to long term contracts.
The team added former 2nd overall pick Chris Long along with Terrance Knighton, Frank Kearse, Shea McClellin, and special teamer Ramon Humber. In 2014 the former Rams defensive end only played in 6 games, and while that number jumped to 12 this past season, Long’s production has been well below expectations.
Knighton has the ability to clog the middle as well as disrupt the passing game with his size and strength. Malcolm Butler solidified himself as a legitimate number one corner this past season, and Logan Ryan proved that when he can stay consistent he is capable of being a solid number two, but I believe the team still needs to add some talented depth at the position and I expect them to do that through the draft. Had the Patriots remained healthy or had the depth in 2015 that they will have in 2016, the team could have made a legitimate run at another undefeated season.
The draft is still around the corner and that is usually where the New England Patriots acquire most of their talent.
It was no coincidence that in a year which Belichick assembled the best defense in a decade, that the Super Bowl was won on a key defensive play. Now, while nobody would expect the Patriots to go out and trade the farm for an elite corner like Joe Haden in Cleveland, there are a few other players which could add much needed help in the secondary.
The Patriots locked up one half of the McCourty twins this offseason in a mega deal which will keep their prized safety roaming the secondary for years to come. Also a former Titan, the Bucs could be looking to free up space and acquire draft assets to help build around their rookie quarterback. Johnson, the second year player out of NC State could bring a much needed physicality and size upgrade to the New England Defense.
For now all we can do is wait and see if Malcolm Butler can perform another football miracle and develop into a big-time talent the Patriots can rely on. Three years have since passed, and the polarizing tackler is now entering the final chapter of his rookie contract. And his unpredictability makes it all the more critical that he finishes his fourth season on a good note.
For the most part, Spikes was able to stay healthy and started 14 of the 15 regular season tilts he took part in.
Spikes is largely considered a two-down linebacker because he’s a little behind the eight ball in regards to coverage. That list includes 26-year-old Dane Fletcher, athletic second-round “Bandit” Jamie Collins, as well as seventh-round middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais.


He also hasn’t turned to Gillette Stadium to work out voluntarily, either, cites Jeff Howe. But he is very inconsistent and I can’t help but think that he is a boarder line head-case.
He is electric while playing on 1st and 2nd down and brings a swagger to the defense that is hasn’t had for quite awhile. According to an ESPN reports from Chris Mortensen, the league has found that 11 of the 12 gameballs used by the Patriots were significantly less inflated than NFL rules require. In this case, the league's findings indicate that the Patriots were using footballs that were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch each, according to Mortensen's report.
The footballs are inspected by the referee 2 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, then are given to the team of attendants who handle the balls throughout the game.
The Colts were said to notice the ball did not feel right after a second quarter D'Qwell Jackson interception of Tom Brady, according to a report earlier this week from Newsday. The league, if they were to find the Patriots guilty of altering the balls, could fine the team and, potentially, take draft picks from the team. Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for that infraction, with the team fined an additional $250,000. Many would argue that had the AFC Championship Game been played in New England, the Patriots may already have ring number 5 in their collection. Bennett, like Gronkowski is known for his freakish athleticism and his ability to run after the catch. In each of the last 6 seasons Washington has had at least 600 yards receiving, including the 2011 season in which he caught 74 passes for 1,023 yards for the Tennessee Titans. Chandler Jones was also a productive pass rusher in 2015, but finds himself as the odd man out and the only key defensive player who will not be starting for the Patriots defense in 2016. There is some optimism however, that Long will be able to resurge his career in New England due to the fact that he will get the chance to play for a contending team that may not have the highest expectations for him. With the additions of both Knighton and Frank Kearse to go along with Malcolm Brown and Dominique Easley, the Patriots seem to be well equipped in the middle of the defensive line. However, injuries once again became a huge factor down the line and exposed the Patriots at positions in which they did not have much depth. That being said, the Patriots are already early favorites to win the Super Bowl and top early NFL Power Rankings.
Last year, with the addition of an elite cornerback, New England made significant jumps in key defensive statistics from previous seasons.
In need of bigger sized corner help, Jason McCourty down in Tennessee could be a great fit. This season has been a bit of a down year for the corner and with the history of trades between the Patriots and Buccaneers it might be a good fit.
With a relatively low cap hit of just about $700,000 each of the next three years, he could add depth and possibly starting potential to the Patriots at little cost.
Spikes finished 2010 fifth on the team with 71 tackles, also adding an interception and three passes defensed.
His second regular season consisted of eight games, six starts, 47 tackles and one pass defensed. Aside from wrapping up ball-carriers, Spikes also forced a fumble, picked off a pass and batted down two more. He amassed 92 tackles — a career high — along with a sack, five forced fumbles and seven pass deflections. He’s an instinctual player can to read the pathways and use his deceptive explosion to break through the wall. Nonetheless, he does not appear to be the favorite to seize nickel coverage responsibilities next to Jerod Mayo. But it will be important to keep tabs on Spikes’s conditioning and overall polish with mini camp looming. He will most likely leave for a bigger pay day but hopefully he will stay to form a young nasty defense like we had during the championship years. Jackson then gave the ball to Colts equipment managers, who then told Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. While he certainly hasn’t put up Gronk like numbers in his career to this point, the two have a similar skill set that should prove valuable to a Patriots offense that strives with two tight ends sets. It appears that will not be the case this season as the Patriots are equipping themselves with talent and depth at all of those positions.
However, the Patriots should not look to give up more than draft  picks for the undersized Verner given their difficulties in matching up with larger receivers down field.
Year one was not without a low point, however, as Spikes was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
A source told Howe that he will not be at organized team activities on May 21, May 29 and June 4, as he prefers to work out on his own. The market could also bring down how much he will make as a 2-down player which could hopefully help out the patriots.
Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson was informed in the press box and he notified NFL Director of Football operations Mike Kensil. With Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans struggling once again this season, the apple may be ripe for the Patriots to pick. BONUS ROUND-The patriots offensive line needs help and with a certain guard down in Tampa who is familiar with the Patriots system, GM Bill Belichick could walk away from this scenario as champion of deadline day.



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