Would Derrick Burgess Solve the Pass Rush Issue?

May 19, 2009

By now, you’ve probably heard the rumors of a Derrick Burgess trade to New England for a second or third round draft pick. However, what would a potential trade for Burgess mean for the Patriots?

For one, it would give the Patriots immediate insurance at outside linebacker.  Burgess, 30, has 47.0 career sacks, most of which have come with the Oakland Raiders since 2005.  He has played defensive end in the 4-3 his entire career, but could presumably make the switch to 3-4 outside linebacker.  The 6’2″, 260 pound end, Burgess has just one year left on his contract at a reasonable price.  However, the Patriots will probably keep in mind that Burgess had just 3.5 sacks in 10 games played last season (although I haven’t watched tape on the Raiders so I’m not really in a position to state that he wasn’t effective.

Currently, the Patriots have Adalius Thomas, Shawn Crable, Pierre Woods, Vince Redd, and Tully Banta-Cain under contract at outside linebacker.  Burgess would certainly add experience, but would also add versatility.  If the Patriots completed a trade for Burgess, and Crable, Woods, or Redd could step up to a certain extent, the Patriots would have the luxury of playing Adalius Thomas at some inside linebacker, where the Patriots need depth following the torn ACL of rookie Tyrone McKenzie.  Worst case scenario?  Both Thomas and Burgess play solely outside linebacker, which would seemingly be an upgrade from the current situation.

The Patriots have been discussing a trade with Burgess since before the draft, so I’m not sure a trade is imminent, although it very well could be close.  My hunch?  The Patriots complete the trade for a 2010 third round pick, as I think that is the middle ground between what the two sides are looking for.

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Burgess to New England Heating Up?

May 19, 2009

From USA Today.com:

Multiple reports say Burgess may be had for a second- or third-round pick, and the Pats accrued many of those on draft weekend. Interesting to note, too, that the Raiders only charged New England a fourth-rounder for WR Randy Moss two years ago.

But back to Burgess. He’s coming off an injury-plagued 2008 season, but he can harass quarterbacks, presumably as a linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4 look (the Raiders play a 4-3 defense). Burgess had 35 sacks between 2005-2007, making two Pro Bowls despite playing for one of the NFL’s worst teams.


Catching Up

May 11, 2009

Sorry for the hiatus guys.   Over the last week, unfortunately, I had been unable to update the website.  However, I’m back, and we’re moving full steam ahead.  I was going to have someone else update the website, but I figured there wouldn’t be much news, and I was wrong, kind of.

A day after introducing Patrick Chung to the media, the Patriots held their annual rookie minicamp.  In attendance were the twelve draft picks, a few tenured players (Ryan Wendell, Angelo Craig, and Brad Listorti), as well as over 10 tryout players.

However the biggest news coming out of rookie camp was the knee injury suffered by rookie inside linebacker and third round pick Tyrone McKenzie.  It has been reported that the injury is a torn ACL and that McKenzie will be done for the year.  McKenzie had been one of my early favorites from the 2009 rookie class, and I’m disappointed to see such a hard worker and charismatic player suffer another setback.

The big question now is who is the fourth inside linebacker?  Is it rookie free agent Antonio Appleby?  Is it veteran and core special teams player Eric Alexander?  The Patriots could also address the position through free agency.  The first name that comes to mind for me is Junior Seau, who is a real hit in the Patriots locker room.  I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see him “finish what we started.”

Soon following Patriots mini-camp, the Patriots signed eight tryout players.  The Patriots signed three Navy rookies: wide receiver Tyree Barnes, receiver/running back Shun White, and fullback/halfback Eric Kettani.  They also signed seventh year veteran Vinny Ciurciu.  Ciurciu is mostly a special teams player, but could possibly earn himself a role in the Patriots rotation.  The only other rookie they signed was Aaron Perez, the punter from UCLA.  However, the also picked up defensive lineman Steve Williams and running back Omar Cuff, two longer shots to make the roster.

The Patriots may have made their biggest signing just a day later when they picked up Brandon McGowan, safety from the Chicago Bears.  McGowan is coming off a season ending injury, but played very well in starting duties in 2007, and should immediately compete for playing time.  The deal is for two years, and that makes it kind of surprising, considering the Patriots already have three slightly undersized safeties in James Sanders, Patrick Chung, and Brandon Meriweather.  They also have rookie free agent Marcus McClinton, as well as veteran strong safety/inside linebacker Tank Williams.

Last but not least, free agent cornerback Ty Law has been “talking” to the Patriots according to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.  I don’t buy it.  Ty Law smacked the Patriots in the face after he returned to the Jets last year.  And frankly, I’m just tired of talking about a possible Law return.  With youngsters Terrence Wheatley, Jonathan Wilhite, and Darius Butler in the fold, and the free agent additions of the phyical Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, would signing Law even help?

That’s all for now, expect more later in the day today.


McKenzie Tears Right ACL, Done for Season

May 6, 2009

Tyrone McKenzie, 3rd round pick of the New England Patriots, suffered a torn right ACL and is now done for the season. This was one pick that I was pretty excited about becasue of the lack of OLBs on the roster, so I thought McKenzie would have a chance to step on the field right away. With him now out, I think this makes the Patriots try that much harder to get Jason Taylor in New England for the season. Hopefully McKenzie can rehab and have no more injuries. Sitting out a year and becoming a sponge to the system isn’t exactly a bad thing.


Patriots Complete Trade for Alex Smith

April 30, 2009

The New England Patriots have completed a trade for Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tight end Alex Smith.  The trade is for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick, according to an announcement by the team.

This trade should be for a later pick, so I like it.  Smith isn’t exactly known for his blocking (although he isn’t particularly bad in this area), but rather for his receiving.  Smith, who went to college at Stanford, joins a tight end group that includes Ben Watson, Chris Baker, David Thomas, Brad Listorti, and Tyson DeVree.  Baker and Watson presumably have their spots locked down, so Smith could compete with David Thomas for the 3rd tight end spot (although DeVree could make the roster as an h-back).

Interestingly, Smith’s contract expires after 2009, as with every other tight end on the Patriots roster minus Chris Baker.  I assume the Patriots want to see if Smith, whose catch total has fallen in each of his four seasons, can show something more than say David Thomas, who has also been a relative disappointment considering his pass-catching ability.


Patriots Trade Ellis Hobbs, Draft Ohrnberger

April 26, 2009

Okay, things really heated up the last few minutes.

To start things off, the Patriots traded cornerback Ellis Hobbs to the Philadelphia Eagles for two fifth round picks, 137th and 141st overall.

However, they quickly traded these picks to the Baltimore Ravens for a fourth rounder, 123rd overall, and a sixth rounder, 198th overall.

With the fourth round pick they acquired through the Ravens, the Patriots selected Rich Ohrnberger, offensive guard from Penn State.  Ohrnberger is a guy I actually like.  Although he is undersized, he plays with a good motor, is quick out of his stance, and is good in pass protection and pulling.  Solid pick who could eventually take over for Stephen Neal at right guard.

As for Hobbs, I am sad to see him go.  Hobbs was an electic returner, and underrated cover man.  I thought he had a great season in 2008.  Still, there was a logjam at cornerback, and Hobbs is an unrestricted free agent after the season.  With Hobbs gone, the Patriots have Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, Jonathan Wilhite, Terrence Wheatley, and Darius Butler at cornerback.  I think any of the five could get a starting spot, so there should be some great competition at the position in training camp.


Patriots’ 2009 Schedule

April 14, 2009

From ESPN.com:

Week 1: vs. Buffalo – Monday, September 14 – 7:00  ESPN

Week 2: @ NY Jets – Sunday, September 20 – 1:00 CBS

Week 3: vs. Atlanta – Sunday, September 27 – 1:00 FOX

Week 4:  vs. Baltimore – Sunday, October 4 – 1:00  CBS

Week 5: @ Denver – Sunday, October 11 – 4:15 CBS

Week 6: vs. Tennessee – Sunday, October 18 – 4:15 CBS

Weeks 7:  @ Tampa Bay (overseas game) – Sunday October 25 – 1:00 CBS

Week 8: BYE WEEK

Week 9: vs. Miami – Sunday, November 8 – 1:00 CBS

Week 10: @ Indianapolis – Sunday, November 15 – 8:20 NBC

Week 11: vs. NY Jets – Sunday, November 22 – 4:15 CBS

Week 12: @ New Orleans – Monday, November 30 – 8:30 ESPN

Week 13: @ Miami – Sunday, December 6 – 8:20 NBC

Week 14: vs. Carolina – Sunday, December 13 – 1:00 FOX

Week 15: @ Buffalo – Sunday, December 20 – 1:00 CBS

Week 16: vs. Jacksonville – Sunday, December 27 – 1:00 CBS

Week 17: @ Houston – Sunday, January 3 – 1:00 CBS