The Squirrel is back!

Define Julian Edelman in one word – Fighter.

Although most of the headlines surrounding the Patriots OTAs were covering the lack of attendance by Brady & Gronk, the only worthwhile headline for Patriots fans was that Julian Edelman is once again playing football (Fangirl Moment… Breath… okay).

Week three of the 2017 preseason was a dark dark day for Patriots fans when their beloved squirrel went down with a season-ending ACL injury. The Patriots seemed to recover but no doubt missed him in the Superbowl. How much was Edelman missed though? Let’s take a look at the statistics.

  1. Since 2009 Bradys win percentage with Edelman is 81.8% and (not counting last season) his win percentage without Edelman drops significantly to only 68.4%.
  2. In Bradys nine games when Edelman was healthy Brady threw for 338.1 yards per game, 24 touchdowns and 3 interceptions by completing 67.8% of his passes. However, when Edelman went down with an injury, Brady threw for 246.7 yards per game, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions by completing 59.4 percent of his passes in the seven games that followed.
  3. In Edelman’s last six playoff games he has topped over 100 yards in four of them!
  4. Edelman is third in NFL history for receptions in playoff games (89) sitting behind only Reggie Wayne and Jerry Rice

Needless to say, our undersized wide receiver is not finished yet, and although Berrios seems to fit the position well we can expect another year at least out of our little guy!

Welcome Back, Jules!

2018 All-Pro Stephon Gilmore (Prove Me Wrong)

Stephon Gilmore – Belichick’s big spend at cornerback, who spent the first part of his season being scrutinised by fans.

However, Gilmore eventually found his rhythm and the scrutinising fans focussed on a new target; Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl benching. With Butler moving on to Tennessee, Gilmore is now the top cornerback in New England and will need to rise to the challenge whilst training rookie Duke Dawson.

Starting Corner is a new role for Gilmore, however, he seems to be feeling good about the new position, and is excited about his next year in New England.

“Yeah, any time you go through something a second time, it’s always better,” Gilmore said, via the Boston Herald. “But, at the end of the day, you still have to go out there and do your job and compete at a high level every year. That’s what it’s about. Obviously, I feel more comfortable being around the guys, being around my teammates. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gilmore finished his 2017 season with 50 tackles, and 2 interceptions, however, was far more active on defence that statistics show (fans will remember his clutch end-game against the Jaguars in the AFC title game).

The Patriots traded for Jason McCourty and drafted two corners to go with Gilmore, Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe. With five active corners (so far) it is fair to say that a fair amount of shuffling is in order before the new season starts. Although it is never easy to predict how the Patriots may choose to align their secondary, it seems likely that Gilmore will be in the centre of whatever they do and this could potentially be the year that the talented corner reaches his full potential.

Michigan Draftees

Although my brother and I usually agree on sports teams we are bitter rivals when it comes to college football. Fraser is a Buckeye loyal, whereas I favour the Big Blue – (which makes for an interesting Saturday once a year).

Michigan set a program record in 2017 when 11 Wolverines were drafted across the seven rounds of the draft, however, this years draft was not as kind to the men in with on only two Wolverines taken.

The Cardinals drafted Center Mason Cole with the 97th overall pick of the draft hoping to take some of the work of 31 years old, ‘A.Q. Shipley.’ The second and final Wolverine off the board was Defensive Tackle Maurice Hurst, who was taken by the Raiders with the 140th pick in the draft.

I believe that Hurst will be a force in the league if his heart problem does not hinder him – which was evidently the reason he fell to the 140th after entering the draft as a potential first-round pick. Hurt obviously was frustrated having to wait so long to hear his name this week,

“It’s tough just going into it thinking that you’re one of the top players in the draft and having good tape and everything like that,” Hurst said Saturday in a conference call. “Just having to wait and see guys that you believe that you’re better than go ahead of you, I mean it’s tough. But I’m just happy to be in the right place and part of a great organization.”

A consensus All-American, Hurst finished the year with 61 tackles (14 1/2 for a loss) and five sacks. One of the most explosive players off the line in college football, Hurst at one point was rated as the top player in America by Pro Football Focus, regardless of position. He will be joining the star-studded Raiders defence, and I truly hope to see him do well in the league.

A further three Wolverines have been signed as UFA’s; O’Korn, McCray, Hill. O’Korn became the latest QB on the Detroit Lions Roster, and it will be interesting to see if he makes the 53 man cut before September.

 

Similarities Spark Rumours

A recent report from ‘Jack Mills’ (Mayfield’s Agent) stated that The New England Patriots were considering taking Mayfield if he dropped to number 2 overall.

“We had another team, which is going to surprise you, another team had said, ‘You may get a big surprise on draft day at No. 2 if he’s available,'” Mills said. “And it was the Patriots.” – Boston Herald

Obviously, these comments are only rumours however, Josh McDaniels did fly to Texas to work out Mayfield prior to the draft which could have been for more than just ‘covering bases.’

Mills continued, “They had 23 and 31 (in the first round) and two seconds. And we thought — I don’t know — that’s going to be a heck of a move to get up that high from where they are. And of course he wasn’t available so we never knew if that was a reality or not.” – Boston Herald

The Patriots are obviously looking for their future GOAT but did not pull the trigger in the 2018 draft, was this because they were hoping for Mayfield? or did they really not value the talent in this draft class?

Currently, the Patriots have Brady, Hoyer and Etling on their roster and could quite easily start in September without altering the depth here. However, there is another quarterback floating around the league who Mayfield has been compared to – Mr Johnny Manziel.

Here at the ‘Hudson Halftime Report’, we have a theory that Belichick and the Patriots organisation were holding off till after the draft to pull the trigger on signing Manziel, in case they got the fresher option of Mayfield. However, now that Mayfield has moved on, the potential signing of Manziel is a no-risk, (potentially high reward) no brainer for New England.

As long as the Patriots can trust Manziel to tone down his ‘off-field’ actions and to not cause locker room problems the $150k base salary for Manziel seems like a dream come true. This signing would also create a battle for QB3/2 that would hopefully push new signing Etling to become his best.

So what do you think? Should the Patriots pull the trigger on Manziel? Would you like to see Johnny Football as a Patriot?

Johnny-Manziel

 

John O’Korn is The Most Confident Man in History

The NFL draft is riddled with QB talent this year, with names like Rosen, Mayfield and Darnold predicted to be taken early in the first round. However, one QB oft-forgotten is former Michigan signal caller John O’Korn who believes he is the most pro-ready option of all.

O’Korn, who is rarely talked about in any mock drafts spent three years playing for the Michigan Wolverines under former NFL head coach Jim Harbaugh and spent much of his time studying the complex playbook.

O’Korn believes that the transition between college and NFL will not be an issue,

“Honestly, I think I’m the most NFL-ready quarterback in this draft just as far as terminology, and knowing what to do on a day-to-day basis, game-planning,” O’Korn said at Michigan’s Pro Day. “I was part of the game-plan meetings with coach Harbaugh, coach (Pep) Hamilton, the whole staff, coach (Tim) Drevno, all last fall, so just on a day-to-day basis what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, I think I would choose myself over any other guy in this draft in that regard.”

O’Korn struggled to win the fight for QB1 status in Ann Arbor but did make five starts as a senior with Wilton Speight getting injured early in the season. Before becoming a Wolverine, O’Kurn played at Houston where he earned the ACC ‘rookie of the year’ award as a true freshman, throwing for 28 touchdowns and 3,117 yards.

Although O’Korn only threw for 1,146 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions with the Wolverines last season, it would be unfair to assume that this was purely his fault as the whole offence struggled last year, with Harbaugh looking a little more distant than usual.

O’Korn performed at the Michigan Pro-bowl and is hoping that his performance will be enough to get noticed by one of the NFL teams,

“At the end of the day, whether it’s 32 teams or one team that like you, you can only go to one camp,” O’Korn said. “That was the goal, to make an NFL roster. That’s going to be the goal from here on out.”

With O’Korn hoping to make the later round picks, or an undrafted signing one of the other stars at Michigan’s Pro Day was potential first-round pick Maurice Hurst, who left the NFL Combine early after being diagnosed with a heart condition.

We will see this week if O’Kurns confidence is enough to buy him a ticket into an NFL roster, but whatever that kid is smoking, I need some.

Interview with @YoungGronk

This week we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the biggest Patriots fan ever @younggronk. Since last season @younggronk has been striking fear in other fan bases and has amassed a group of fanatical followers on Instagram. He also has done some amazing work for local charities, with the support of football stars such as Tedy Bruschi, and Ty Law.

Check out the interview below to see what makes @younggronk such a star, and what is in store for the future. Also, Follow his page @younggronk for a chance to win one of his brand new exclusive young Gronk tees courtesy of the Hudson Halftime Report.

Hey YG, Thanks so much for agreeing to do an interview for The Hudson Halftime Report. For guys that don’t know you can you introduce yourself real quick? Who is the man behind Young Gronk?

First off, I want to thank The Hudson Halftime Report to reach out to me to do a little one-on-one interview with the man behind Young Gronk.

YG and Brian (my real name) are the same exact person. I’m just that out-going, here to have fun, be loud and exciting personality. The Young Gronk persona really started back after the Patriots lost the 2015 AFC title game to the Denver Broncos. At first, YG was more of an inside joke between my friends. Between 2013-2015 I had a major weight loss (From 300lbs to 195lbs) and people started to say that I looked like Rob Gronkowski. What ended up solidifying the name Young Gronk was when I had an interview with NESN before a Bruins game on February 9th, 2016 and a reporter called me “Young Gronk”. After that, I started to roll with that name.

I did most of my shenanigans via Snapchat in the 2016-2017 season before taking it onto Instagram. During my time on Snapchat, I went to the White House for the Patriots Super Bowl Celebration, the NBA Finals in Cleveland, and a few Patriots practices. These snaps made the main stories a few times in which each one would have over 500k views! I felt that I knew what I could do could go viral but I was gaining nothing out of it.

My real breakout was travelling to Pittsburgh for the Steelers vs Patriots in December of last season. After the Patriots beat them in that wild finish, I posted a video on Instagram which got 60,000 views! At the time, I only had roughly 300 followers. After talking with my best friend @GreenRunsDeep, he said you need to get yourself on Instagram more often for content purposes. From there on out I’ve been trying to be more outgoing and post more content than ever!

At the end of the day, I’m just being me and not trying to be someone I’m not. I love that my page can take a persona and maybe turn it up a notch but at the end of the day, what you see on the Young Gronk page is Brian. I was recently in New Orleans for Wrestlemania 34 and even GRD said to one of my buddies how it’s funny that the stuff that I posted is just Brian being Brian. Even if I had 50 followers, I would still be doing the same thing, just having fun!

So, we here at the Halftime Report love your Instagram page @younggronk and have been following you for a while. One of the things that really boosted your following was your support of Tom Brady’s Best Buddies charity, can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to get involved with the charity and what you have done to support it?

After the Super Bowl loss it was sort of a moment of, “where do I go from here?”. One of my big things was doing giveaways to the supporters that follow me from Day 1 (which I still do here and there). One of the first steps that helped with the Gronk Spike Challenge was gaining the following from both Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law. Both were very new to Instagram and I helped promote their pages with the help of other Patriots fan pages (TomFckinBrady, PatsPerfect, Foxboro_Faithful87, Nation.Pats, etc). What was awesome with Tedy Bruschi is that his page went from 1700 to 10k followers in a 24-hour span! Ty Law doubled his follower count but is not as active on it as Tedy.

I was at work one night and one of my co-workers, Dan Joly, was helping me pitch ideas for the next project I could work on during the off-season. He said, “You have Tedy and Ty following you, it would be great if you could get those two together to do something bigger.” We both agreed that I do a lot to give back to the supporters of my page, so we should do something together, as one, to give back to a bigger cause. It then hit us that Best Buddies and the Patriots have a long-standing relationship with one another. Dan said, “Your YG, you should do something with a Gronk Spike and call it the ‘Gronk Spike Challenge’”.

Taking his advice and brainstorming the idea, it finally came to life. At the time while this was going on, I started to partner up with Time_ism0ney as we both had people directly message us that we should pair up on a project. He’s had some viral videos in the past and has that similar out-going, over the top personality as me. After some talks, we both filmed our videos and both actually donated to Best Buddies. Our goal was to hopefully get both Ty Law and Bruschi involved. Within one week they responded and the whole month of March became one of the busiest times in both our lives.

It’s awesome to now work with Best Buddies directly and hopefully do future projects together. For time_ism0ney, it hits close to home as one of his family members has a developmental disability. For myself, in the line of work that I do and I was in Boy Scouts growing up, I’ve worked closely with children that have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For both of us, this will not be some onetime thing that we do. I’ve enjoyed the time working with Best Buddies thus far and hope to continue working with the organization for years to come. They’ve invited both of us to come out for the Walk Run and Ride on June 1st and 2nd to participate in the event. We have so much behind the scenes as well with them and I just can’t wait to keep working with it moving forward!

You gotta tell us a little bit more about your signature outfit? What inspired the cargo shorts and war paint? And more importantly, will there eventually be Young Gronk signature cargos? haha

hahaha. So I’m the type of guy who will wear the same outfit every day. I rarely buy new clothes. I just love the cargo shorts because I’m always on the go and having the extra pockets help out when you’re carrying a bunch of things at once.

My original cargos lasted from 2013 to 2018. Here’s a YG Exclusive about that pair; after the Super Bowl 52 loss, I had a video in mind that I would burn the cargos to move on. GRD told me I couldn’t do such a thing because they were part of my signature look! Unfortunately, I was at Launch Trampoline Park and totally ripped them in the crotch! It was time to let go.

Anytime I take a loss, I see it as a chance to change things up and move forward. It was finally time because YG needed an updated look. I needed a brand new pair of cargos. On top of that change, we now have Young Gronk Nation t-shirts (limited edition as only 30 were made and are for sale). In addition, I have a SPECIAL SURPRISE that I will unveil down in Dallas at the NFL Draft that I will be rocking for the entire 2018 season! Keep your eyes out on April 26th!

I will say this, I get a lot of laughter about wearing cargos. People say its out of style. BUT. When I was in New Orleans for Wrestlemania 34 I saw at least 10% of people rocking the cargos. I felt at home hahaha.

One of our favourite things from last season was when you travelled to Philly and called out fans before the Super Bowl – this took a lot of balls but was hilarious to watch, what was the thought behind the trip? What were you aiming to do in Philly?

To answer this question in the shortest possible way, the idea was to Troll the entire fanbase of Philly. The whole Philly trip could be a novel on its own!

Going into the AFC/NFC title weekend, myself, @GreenRunsDeep, and @TGunz_ all had the idea if we got a Patriots/Eagles matchup we would drive down to Philly in the very early morning, film 5 videos, and release one each day to make it seem like I was down there for the entire week. I knew some out catch on right away but others wouldn’t…..which happened hahaha.

As I stated before, I did a lot of my videos via Snapchat and was featured in the main story several times throughout the year which gained a lot of views. I felt like I could get something that would go viral. I wrote out 5 scripts for the videos hoping one would gain viewers and go viral.

When the cheesesteak video got released, I got a lot of heat from it, from both Eagles and Patriots fans (Which I will mention in a bit). Yet, I hit my goal. Laces out (Barstool Sports Football Page) shared the video on both IG and Twitter which had over 1.5 million views. I even had the NBC Philly Affiliate write an article about me as well as Barstool Sports Philly (Google: Gronk Spike Cheesesteak). Funny enough, ESPN and Bleacher Report were going to share the video, BUT, I made Barstool reference in the video “One Bite, Everyone Knows the Rules”, so none of those outlets shared it. It was a good learning lesson to make sure you cover all corners if you want something to go viral.

I knew in the back of my mind if we lost that this will blow up in my face. Yet, in my mind, it’s all about how you can bounce back from the loss. If you’re a Pats fan and you say to me “that’s not the Patriot way! You need to be Humble” I say GTFO. We’re fans of the game. Not players. Belichick isn’t my coach or my dad. The Pats won 5 Super Bowls. You SHOULD have a little chip on your shoulder. And what the biggest thing is ACCEPTING DEFEAT. I was first in line to come out and take that L. I posted a picture of me even holding an L instead of the cheesesteak! Its funny to see the same Pats fans who say I wasn’t humble be the first in line to find any excuse to cry over the loss.

I had a lot of fun doing it and it won’t be my last time in Philly for sure. I never knew that throwing food on the ground would have the same effect as if I punched a newborn baby. People take things too seriously. I reply to anyone who DMs me. I think what’s funny is after the whole debacle and loss, I actually made a few friends that were born and raised Eagles fans and understood where I’m coming from in terms of making the videos. I set the bar high for myself before the Super Bowl so we will see what’s next when the 2018 season comes.

 What is the future for @younggronk? What can fans expect to see in the upcoming season from your page? Despite your new merchandise that is, a sample of which we will be giving away to one of your followers!

I feel that I have my hands on a lot of things right now. Right now I’m working with both Best Buddies and Launch Trampoline Park. As that is going on, I’m working on promoting Tedys Team Touch Football Game on May 19th in Cranston Rhode Island. Tedy Bruschi was diagnosed with a mild stroke in 2005 and was able to recover and make it back on the field to play for a few more seasons, including another Super Bowl Appearance. This May will be his second annual Touch Football Game where proceeds to the event go to the American Stroke Association. I have donated $1000 to this event and will be participating by playing in the game which I am ecstatic for. Who knows what former or current players will show up to the event! Last year Jacoby Brissett was the QB for the event on both sides but I feel like Tedy has a little something extra up his sleeve this year!

As for the summertime, I plan on gearing up for the upcoming 2018 season. Maybe go to a few practices. Start brainstorming some content. Plan out dates for my away games next year. I keep a notebook at home where I jot down ideas of what I would like to do and hopefully make those a reality.

For sure, I will be doing some extensive travelling next season. I already have the Tennessee Titans circled on the calendar as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, and Detriot Lions. Those 4 games I hope I will be able to attend on the road. The schedule comes out Mid-April and I will be buying my plane tickets right away!

The future is always changing though. Things come up as I move forward. Its one of those things where you just need to tune in and see what YG does next!

 

Okay, let’s get two last questions from you before you go –  Which one player would you like to see the Patriots take in the upcoming draft? What is your season prediction for our Patriots next year?

I will be at the NFL Draft this year in Dallas and it’s very interesting going to it as the Patriots hold TWO first round draft picks. Our obvious need is a new offensive lineman. I’ve said it numerous times I’m not much of a college football guy so I can’t get into too much about who is better than who. BUT, one of the first-round picks should be spent on O-line as we just lost both Solider AND Fleming. There’s a huge hole to fill.

There’s been a lot of talk about finding Brady’s replacement. Drafting a QB is a MUST. Not only to keep pushing Brady to his top level to know he can be replaced but at the same time, McDaniels needs to develop a guy for his future. Could Brady outlast the draft pick for the next 4 seasons like Jimmy G? Sure. But we always need to plan forward. I know it’s a super longshot, but I would LOVE to get Baker Mayfield. I love his passion for the game and he could learn a hell of a lot playing under Brady and company. Another name being tossed around is Lamar Jackson. The guy is an absolute stud. Belichick could see the QB game-changing a bit. Look what DeShaun Watson did last year before getting hurt. I would love to just see a very mobile QB playmaker in this offence.

The top pick that I WANT but I know we won’t get….Derrius Guice. The Patriots are loaded at the RB position with Burkhead/Hill/White/Bolden/Gillislee. I actually love the Jeremy Hill pick up as I think he will be an absolute stud this year. I just have this GUT feeling Guice will be the rookie RB of the year. Maybe even drafting him and slowly build him for the future would be great. He’s got a lot of wear and tear from college. Look at a guy like Derrick Henry. He played behind Demarco for two seasons to learn the system, rest up, and be ready. Now heading into 2018 Henry is ready to be the bell cow. I could see Guice in a similar role for that as Hill has a 1-year deal and Burkhead has an Opt Out in 2020.

As for the prediction for the upcoming season, that’s easy! 12-4!!! Hahaha. Some say the schedule isn’t that easy but look at some of the Road Games they have; AFC East-Titians-Steelers-Bears-Lions-Jaguars. Not that scary of a road trip as people think. I’m happy Minnesota and Green Bay are coming to New England which gives the Patriots the Advantage. End of the day….who are we even worried about in the AFC? There’s going to be one or two teams that make that run at the end of the season but the road to Super Bowl 53 will go through New England. The Patriots will be down in Atlanta February 4th, 2019 and so will Young Gronk as Brady and company celebrate their 6th Super Bowl Championship!

Possible But Not Probable #2

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This weeks edition of PBNP is looking at the up and coming draft and the possibilities within it that may make NFL headlines, even though there are no facts or rumours suggesting they are likely to happen. The first team on the list is the new and improved Cleveland Browns.8bb4152bfebce10e85c442e0362ce87b

Okay, so this offseason the Cleveland Browns have shocked the NFL making move after move and forming what looks to be a legitimate contender for the upcoming season; not to mention having the first and fourth pick in the draft. However, unlike some around the league, I am not buying it. The Browns are still the Browns, and unless they took that crazy pill from Limitless they are still destined to make a stupid move at some point this offseason. My PBNP prediction is that the Browns will screw up their draft, by drafting a college only QB, and will miss out on the ridiculous talent that is Saquon Barkley. I think the Browns will select Josh Rosen, and that will be all she wrote on his career in the NFL and we will all rest easier knowing that the only Browns heading to the Bowl are the ones we make after Taco Tuesdays.

My Second PBNP prediction involves the Miami Dolphins and their superstar QB, Brock ‘the flop’ Osweiler.

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So either the Dolphins suffering a major Thad Castle concussion, or they are going to make a move in the draft. Surely the fact that the Browns cut the Edward from Twilight look-a-like should tell the Dolphins he sucks, and will not be able to lead the team; and with Tannehill being made out of glass, they need someone new. My PBNP prediction is that Miami will trade for the fourth overall pick in the draft, trading with Cleveland. In this trade, I can see the Browns receiving wide-out Kenny Stills and the original Miami pick – which would add another receiver to the all-star Browns. With their newly acquired fourth pick, the Dolphins will select either Baker Mayfield, or Josh Rosen – dependant on how the draft goes. To be honest, if this happened, it would be a good move for both teams, and is potentially more probable than just possible.

The next edition of PBNP will include more ridiculous statements, without any attempt to back them up – because sports blogging is more fun without rules.