Kenny Britt: The Breakout WR?

There is still SO much time between now and the start of the Patriots season (we haven’t even hit training camp yet) but Patriots nation is already scrambling trying to figure out who will be the next man up at wide receiver (nothing new, we do the same thing every year at the running back position). However, this offseason, in particular, hasn’t been great for the WR position; the Pats lost Dola to Miami, Cooks to the Rams, and Edelman has been suspended 4 games for ‘PEDs’ (F*ck Goodell).  So the big question on everyone’s mind is, who will be the man to step up? The Spike Kings pick? Kenny Britt.

I’ll admit, this isn’t just me pulling something out of thin air, this thought came to me at the end of May when I attended the ‘Tedy’s Team’ Football game. Brian Hoyer was the QB for both teams and threw a nice dime down the sidelines, to which someone said to him,

“Wow, that was a great catch, just like Chris Hogan!”

Hoyer’s reply go me thinking as he looked back at the guy and said,

“Yeah that was nice, but I’m a big fan of Britt from Cleveland. He’s fast. Reminded me more of him.”

This had me intrigued as Hoyer has been working with Britt last season during practice. I had to rush home and gather some stats to see how he compares to the rest of the crew.

I think we can all pretty much agree that Chris Hogan becomes the major player to step up with Jules out the first 4 games. Last year he had 34 Rec, 439 yards and 5 touchdowns and has been pretty consistent in crucial moments. It’s a no-brainer that he will start, but will he become the ‘Edelman’ the team needs during the first four games? I’m not sold.

Kenny Britt is the tallest WR on the depth chart standing in at 6ft3 and weighs in around 223lbs making him two inches taller and 10lbs heavier than Hogan for a start. In addition, Britt has the same explosive speed as Hogan, (both logging 4.5 in the 45-yard dash) so on paper, Britt seems the better option.

However here is my take. Brandin Cooks last season had 1082 yards and 7 Touchdowns, which led the Patriots receiving core (Gronk is a TE for you sticklers). In comparison two seasons ago with the Rams, (with Goff/Keenum as QB) Britt had 1002 yards and 5 Touchdowns making him only 80 yards and 2 touchdowns short of Cooks production but without having the GOAT Brady to throw at him. His quiet year last year could easily be a ‘warming up’ period as he gets used to the new playbook.

Also, one thing not to forget out of all this, Britt is a Rutgers Alumn & a former first-round pick. Both traits that make Belichick salivate.


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What about Malcolm Mitchell? Isn’t he meant to be our WR prodigy?

Everybody fell in love with Malcolm two years ago due to his shown potential in such a short amount of time (Mitchell started 6 games, with 401 yards at 4 touchdowns). However, the big question is, can he stay healthy? He seems to be battling a hamstring problem already this year. I believe that the longer he has a nagging injury, the likely it is that Britt takes over the starting role. Hogan is already locked in due to the Edelman suspension so Patriots fans can expect a battle between Britt and Mitchell for the other starting position.

With one year left on his contract before becoming UFA, Britt has to shine in order to earn an extra payday. I believe that the talent is there and Britt can execute however it is still too early to tell what will happenn. My advice though, keep a close eye on Britt. #TrustHoyer

Performance Enhancing Edelman…?

Patriots fans had the excitement of seeing Edelman tearing up OTAs last week – a promising sign of his recovery and the return of Bradys go-to receiver. However, that excitement may be short-lived as reports surfaced today that Edelman will be facing a 4-game ban as a result of ‘supposedly testing positive for PEDs’

If this report is true and Edelman does not win his appeal he will miss the first four games of the Patriots 2018 season. The Patriots schedule shows that they will host the Texans in the season opener before going on the road to Jacksonville in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship. In Week 3 the Patriots will once again be on the road against their former coach’s Lions and in Week 4 will return home to Gilette to host the Dolphins.

Edelman has already been reported as appealing this suspension and Patriots fans can only hope that this situation is similar to when Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and was wrongfully accused on PEDs. During the medical process of an ACL repair, multiple steroid shots are given throughout, which is what showed up on Peterson’s screening, making it seem like he had used PEDs. However on appeal, and the second review the suspension was dropped and Peterson was exonerated; a fate that Patriots fan hope Julian will also incur.

We will keep you updated as the story develops.

Interview with the Patriots 7th Round Pick – Keion Crossen

Over the next few weeks, The Hudson Halftime Report is running a series on NFL rookies that we believe will thrive in the NFL environment. The first of these rookies is Keion Crossen, OTAs standout and the Patriots 243rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft who agreed to do an exclusive interview with us.

1: First off, Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us, I can imagine life is a little crazy right now. Congratulations on being drafted by our Patriots, can you tell us a little about what it felt like when you heard your name called?

‘The moment I heard my name called I instantly thought of it as a blessing. It was such a humbling experience and I am forever grateful to be on such an amazing team such as the Patriots

2: You are from Western Carolina, which is a relatively small school, what lessons did you learn there that would translate to the NFL?

‘Western is a smaller school compared to other D1 schools, but I appreciate the opportunity to have attended Western and even more grateful to be around such a hardworking group of players. Attributes I would bring [from Western] is a willingness to learn, to work hard and to do whatever the coaches ask.’

3: You were drafted in the 7th round but reports have detailed that you are already turning heads at OTAs, what drives you on a daily basis to be the best you can be?

‘I’m not sure about any reports, however, I am working hard at being a great understudy, learning from all the vets and doing whatever I am asked to do for the bettering of the team.’

4: We here at the Hudson Halftime Report are massive fans of you, and any player attempting to better our home team is a star in our books. Can you reflect on any moment in your life that shaped who you are today? Who were some of the key people in making you, you?

‘Thanks. Any moment that God has put in my life has shaped me to be the man I am today. There is no specific person, but God deserves the credit for allowing me to be the person he wants me to be.’

5: Okay, let’s talk Patriots. How is it training with the New England Patriots? Is there a massive amount of pressure from day one? Or do you already feel part of the culture? How is the Atmosphere? What makes Keion Crossen different to other Cornerbacks on the roster?

‘I’m out here presently learning, working hard and doing my best to do what is best for the team. Also, [As for how I am different] I’m not into comparison – I’m here to do my job, learn from the vets and get better as a football player.’ 

6: What NFL player do you look up to at your position?

‘All corners in the NFL are good players, so there’s not a specific one I truly look up too, but I do look to learn and grow to be a well-rounded player.’

7: On a scale from one to ten, how excited are you about having the opportunity to pick off Tom Brady in practice? I mean, surely it’s got to be pretty high on your list of things-to-do haha!

‘I am honoured to be on a team with such great players as Tom Brady and others, but as I have stated before I am here to do my job, learn from the vets and make the best out of the opportunity.’

8: Once again Keion thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you. We here at Hudson Halftime Report wish you every success for the future and we are looking forward to seeing you at Gillette sometime soon, (save us a seat). Is there anything you want to say before signing off today, any last comments for your fans in the UK?

‘Thanks for having me on it’s my pleasure. Also, follow me on Twitter @keioncrossen and Instagram @Keion_Crossen

Throughout the interview, Keion seemed more focussed on ‘doing his job’ and ‘bettering the team’ than bigging himself up – an attitude that is much needed at the Cornerback position in New England currently. We look forward to hearing more about his progress and will be rooting for him come September.

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.

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

 

Patriots Draft Analysis

The past 3 days have been FILLED with sports news thanks to the NBA playoffs and the annual NFL draft. However, this time it’s Bill Belichick crazy draft antics that get priority over ‘Scary Terrys’ Celtics run.

The New England Bulldogs

The Pats had two first round picks and which they used to select Offensive Tackle ‘Isaiah Wynn’ (23rd overall) and Running Back ‘Sony Michel’ (31st overall). Going into the draft The Patriots needed to fill multiple holes, (drafting the future GOAT) and two of them could potentially be filled with these picks. Isaiah Wynn will replace Brady’s blindside after the departure of the stud, Nate Solder and after picking up Georgias best tackle what do you do? You pick up their best Running Back. Here at The Hudson Halftime Report, we believe Michel is the second coming of Alvin Kamara, who as you know is the current reigning ‘offensive rookie of the year.

Michel and Wynn have both shown great attitude and leadership on an off the field, which could have potentially increased their draft stock with New England. They also have a huge amount of chemistry, with Michel totalling huge yards whilst running behind Wynn, this could be due to them being roommates for the last few years. These picks were obvious needed replacements for Lewis and Solder and The Georgia stars will be joining former teammates David Andrews (Starting center) and Malcolm Mitchell (2nd-year receiver).

Heir to the Throne

Many fans and critics thought the Patriots were going to select Lamar Jackson after meeting with him on multiple occasions. However when Jackson was still on the board at pick 31, Bill passed on the mobile-QB. Once Jackson passed by, the Hudson brothers thought Kyle Laulleta (Richmond) was a sure-fire lock for the Patriots, however once again another round passed without a QB.

Instead of the analyst picks, Bill selected Danny Etling (LSU) who dropped to 219th overall. After Googling this guy, and figuring out who the hell he is, we can safely say that Etling is not ready to start in the NFL, but looking at his tape shows a potentially bright future. Etling has a 120.9 passer rating when throwing deep which is 4th overall compared the rest of the Qbs in the Draft. Etling’s accuracy still needs work but with a year or two behind the GOAT, there is a chance he develops into a starter in the NFL, and potentially more. Let’s be honest at least it isn’t Hoyer.

Bill Has a Type…

Small, good-looking, white, wide receivers (that should be the Patriots slogan).

Braxton Berrios (standing at just 5,8″ and weighing 184 pounds) is a slot receiver who sounds just like a clone of Danny Amendola and a prototype Brady target. The Miami prospect was drafted 210th overall which in my opinion was a steal for one of Miami’s leading receivers and team captain.

What else does Bill like? Versatility. Another feature that will have attracted Bill is that Berrios is lethal when returning kicks/punts, a position that’s been fumble-worthy for the Patriots after since Edelman stopped fielding kicks. (Does anyone else get PTSD remembering Cyrus Jones fielding kicks?) Braxton joins a very deep receiver depth chart, but hey a small, white dude always will find a spot on the roster; get ready to see this guy used often.

The Pats also added some big defensive players in the late-round that should help lighten the load for Donte Hightower who is coming of injury this season.

The Patriots were very active in the NFL draft with more trade downs than picks but filled much-needed positions and are finally beginning to take shape for the upcoming season. It will be nice to see some old faces returning from injury also, providing an automatic lift to the roster. We can expect Belichick to make some more moves before the regular season starts, and we will keep you up to date with all our thoughts and analysis on future moves.