The Patriots offseason goals

What a crazy season especially for the Patriots, the apparent end of their dynasty to then go on and win the Super Bowl is just typical Patriots. But even I won’t deny the Patriots struggled at times and are going to have to make some off season moves to get to Miami on February. The Patriots go into free agency with $12 million in cap space after the signing of Michael Bennett.

Wide Receiver depth

With the suspension of Julian Edelman the loss of Josh Gordon halfway through the season and the injury prone Gronkowski at times Brady struggled to move the ball through the air. Hogan and Dorsett struggled to provide separation and it looked like Brady just didn’t trust them. My favourite fit for the Patriots right now would be Cole Beasley. Cole is a Patriots type of receiver standing at only 5 foot 8 and 180 pounds Cole gets open thanks to his superb route running and is fantastic in the slot he had 65 receptions for only 672 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cole is no superstar but should fit right into the Patriots system alongside Edelman

Re-Signing Vital players

The Patriots have a scarily long list of players that are free agents. But for me there is 3 vital players we need to keep. While I would’ve loved to keep Trent Brown and Trey Flowers I cant justify paying them the money that they want. The three players are Cordarrelle Patterson, Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones. Cordarrelle as we know was explosive last season and on both offence and special teams. He’s got the versatility that Bill loves and can use so unbelievably well. Jason McCourty had a tough start to the season playing under Eric Rowe but by the end of the season was a guaranteed starter and solid number 2 cornerback that makes big plays as we know thanks to Super Bowl 53. And finally Jonathan Jones, one of the Patriots most underrated player Jordan made some big plays this year on defence including a one handed interception against the Bears. But he’s also a fantastic special teams player than can make fantastic open field tackles. For me he’s a great player for the future because he can play both special teams and defence well and is only 25

Signing a solid back up quarterback

This was one of my concerns last season and even though Brady showed us he’s still (somehow) got it but we all know that Brian Hoyer is no long pole Foles and isn’t going to win us a Super Bowl. Danny Etling has finished his 1 year of practice squad but sadly I do not know how his progress is. For me there is only really 2 options in a limited quarterback free agency and one of them isn’t even a free agent. The first player is Tyrod Taylor, I am a big fan of Tyrod who showed a lot of bright spots in Buffalo (who knew that was possible) but struggled to out play Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, Tyrod is a great veteran but I would be hesitant because his mobility and bad short accuracy doesn’t fit into the Patriots system. The other viable option that isn’t in this years draft is Josh Rosen who after a year has struggled to find his place in Arizona and there is now talks of the Cardinals drafting Kyler Murray first overall. Rosen who was drafted 10th overall in last years draft threw for 2278 yards and 11 touchdowns but 14 interceptions. The Patriots could trade their first round pick to acquire Rosen if the Cardinals draft Murray and he could sit under Brady for 3 to 4 years.

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PATRIOTS NATION AND HATERS REMAIN CALM

Yes, the patriots lost in week 2… and week 3. The Brady led Patriots lost to the Bortles led Jags and the Stafford led Lions – Hard to believe I know… or is it?

The Patriots never open a season well in fact they’re pretty horrendous. Since 2014 they’re 0-3 which includes that infamous blowout against Kansas City that we found out Brady was ‘done’. This is no coincidence because in the Patriots this is apple picking season this is when Bill decides who needs to leave and what needs to change

This is not to take away from our dreadful performance and the Jaguars fantastic performance. The biggest letdown for the patriots was our defence… again. But if I were to single anyone out it would be Eric Rowe who had to be benched during the game. Rowe kept being beat by wide receiver Keenan Cole who had 7 receptions or 116 yards and a touchdown which includes his crazy ass circus catch. Once Rowe was Benched Cole was almost shut out. We could maybe see Jason McCourty take his spot or one of the rookies in Keoin Crossen and JC Jackson who shone in pre season.

Now one of the most over used reasons that the Patriots are having a bad start is of course “Brady is washed up” and my answer to that is don’t you guys ever learn. Brady never has the biggest stat line because of the way the Patriots play but that doesn’t make him washed up. Brady is the smartest and safe quarterback in the league, while missing his starting right tackle Marcus Cannon he was under a lot of fire from ‘Sacksonville’ and took a lot of shots. Now we can’t deny that Brady is 41 and needs to protect himself so he didn’t make his best throws on Sunday but that does not make him washed up, he just understands that being healthy for a whole season is more important than winning one game.

Now this last point might be a little petty and silly but Brady and the Patriots played in 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Brady has only played 4 other games in above 90 degrees and has a record of 1-3. The Jacksonville Jags will have trained in this type of heat all week long and throughout their career in Jacksonville so will be used to it. Just be ready for winter Brady

There are other factors into losing the games these are just some of the main. For example our Wide receiver depth was very thin ( Not now thanks to Joshy Gordon), also some injuries to key defensive players in Chung and Flowers made an impact especially in the pass rush. But it was good to see Sony Michel on the field while many think it was a bad performance he looked quick and agile up against a difficult defence. Patriots fans don’t panic we’ll be back in the playoffs in January as usual

Are the Celtics the Team To Beat?

The Boston Celtics have been a Championship based team since their formation in 1946. Since 1946, the Celtics have been able to win a, League leading, 17 championships. The Celtics have not won a championship in a decade, but have shown glimpses of a very promising future. The Celticelticscs, not only are known for their championship success, but they are also known for making blockbuster moves.

Last season, the Celtics would land big names like Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving, and draft Jayson Tatum. The Celtics looked unstoppable on paper but the injury bug held them back. During the opening minutes of the season opener, Gordon Hayward was taken out on a stretcher with gruesome, fractured ankle. That ankle injury, despite possible return rumors, would sadly keep Hayward out for the season. The season goes on looking pretty good for Boston. Winning games, Game winners, until it all pretty much went down hill late in the season. Kyrie addressed soreness in his knee from a former injury a few years back. Kyrie got the surgery and was estimated to be back before playoffs. Weeks past and Kyrie still felt uncomfortable. Irving thought it would be best to get another surgery to fix his knee. That (Very smart) decision just so happen to shut him down for the remainder of the season, including playoffs. The Celtics were able to cope with the injury bug as bench players like Rozier and Smart stepped up, the Celtics would go on to shock the world and were just 9 points away from a finals appearance. The Celtics would lose to the Cavaliers in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals.

Now, I am sitting here typing this article with many predictions with this upcoming Celtics team. Last season was a one for the books, but what will it take to go further than the Eastern Conference Finals?

The Celtics are most likely the team to beat in the east. Although the Raptors acquired superstar Kawhi Leonard, I still do not see the Raptors making it past Boston. Here is why: For the past three years, the Toronto Raptors have been the top three seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. Twice, LeBron James and the Cavaliers have cleanly swept the Raptors. Yes, LeBron is out west, and that might help to everyone’s advantage in the East, but Toronto just has not figured out their playoff plans. You have to earn the wins in the regular season, Toronto does that just well, but it always seems to shut down after the regular season. The Raptors destroyed their team chemistry between Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan. That combo might have had the best team chemistry in the game, and with Derozan exiting due to a blockbuster trade, it’s not there anymore. Don’t forget Toronto lost their “Coach of the Year” Dwayne Casey to the Pistons. Another down for the Raptors, In my Opinion, was the acquisition of Greg Monroe. Maybe the biggest reason the Celtics did not offer Monroe to a deal was the fact that he was just too slow for the Celtics style of play. The Celtics are a fast break team, and Monroe just was not fit in that role. Monroe also lacks shooting, he has a very weak ability to stretch the floor, and that could possibly hurt Toronto.

The Philadelphia 76’ers are closing in on a potential Conference finals run, and could be the team that’s most threatening to the Boston Celtics. The Sixers have been one of the most impressive teams in basketball these past couple of seasons. Although from going 28-54 in 2017, the Sixers and their young talent shot up to a top three seeded team in 2018. The Sixers have been injected with the injury bug since the start of the process. With Joel Embiid playing and Ben Simmons finally playing his first season, winning rookie of the year, they seem to finally get things going. Last season, the Injury prone Celtics were able to defeat the healthy 76’ers 4-1 in the semi-finals. We will all be able to see this classic rivalry opening night in the Garden!

Although the Celtics have a roster that can seriously compete. Will Kyrie and Gordon coming back potentially put a dent into the team chemistry? With the two stars being out late in the season and the whole playoffs, the Celtics young bench players were able to step up huge, and create such a memorable run. The with Rozier and Baynes filling in the starting lineup late in the season, the Celtics were nearly unstoppable with Smart and Morris coming off the bench down the stretch. It will surely be an interesting season for the Celtics, as they will look to come out on top, and represent the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA finals! The best part of it all if you’re a Celtics fan is that this is only the beginning!

Until Next Time, I am Justin Lowe.

@celticsrising

Patriots v Redskins preview

FOOTBALL IS BACK. The Patriots pre-season kicks off on Thursday against the Washington Redskins. Although the pre-season means nothing statistically there is a lot to watch for as our Patriots take the field once again.

Who to watch

The quarterbacks- It has been rumoured that Bill isn’t happy about his quarterback situation, (Brady excluded). In this game we will look at how both Quarterbacks are playing, plays bill will call and play time for each our out back ups – because we believe we could see a switch up before the regular season kicks off.

Mike Gillislie- The former Buffalo Bills running back is going into his second season as a Patriot after a sub par first season. Gillislie missed 9 games last season; never making it back on the field after being labelled as a healthy scratch following a previous injury. The Patriots added veteran running back Jeremy Hill and first round pick Sony Michel – is there a place for this ex-Bills powerhouse? Keep an eye on Gillislies performance and his frequency of carries.

Harvey Langi- Last year we signed Langi as an undrafted free agent from BYU. However, Langi sustained season ending injuries early on in a motor vehicle accident. Now he’s full recovered he’s fighting for his place on the 52 man roster, and I believe he could be a big part of the Patriots this season.

The training camp stand outs

Jacob Hollister- Jacob was another undrafted free agent last year that made it to the 52 man roster. The Tight end was our third string so naturally didn’t get very many snaps. However, this year he’s been lightning at training camp and might just sneak up past Allen to second string. Although he might not play on Friday, Hollister is certainly someone to watch over the rest of preseason.

Deatrich Wise- Wise was drafted in the 4th round last year and had a mediocre 1st season with the patriots, getting only 5 sacks on a struggling defence. However, this year he seems to have a point to prove, and Belichick has noticed. When speaking about Wise and teammate Derick Rivers Bill said,

“Nobody works harder than those two guys, Nobody”

Deatrich will be competing for the starting job this season and therefore may have limited playing time in the first game of pre-season.

The game kicks off at 7:30 (ET) in Gillette stadium. Keep an eye out for our Post game analysis as well

The Edelman Witch Hunt

The verdict arrived; Julian Edelman was found guilty and his suspension was final. The crime? No one actually knows the test results were inconclusive but the suspension was still put forth. Now as Patriots fans, we are used to dealing with some shitty, unclear and pretty ambiguous suspensions;

Ref: ‘Umm.. these balls seem a little deflated’

Goodell: ‘Suspend Brady, it was him, I saw him do it. SUSPEND HIM’

Science: ‘The cold air was 100% a factor for the deflation’

Goodell: ‘Nope. Fake news. It was Brady. SUSPEND HIM.

Sound Familiar? Well, its happened again.

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Here at The Hudson Halftime Report, we aren’t scientists – hell the closest we get to science is watching the Big Bang theory after too many Bud Lights – however, we are pretty freaking good at calling out bull crap; so below is a list of crimes that received a lesser suspension that Edelman, we will let you decide whether they are worse than ‘unidentified substances’ and are worth a larger suspension than they received.

 

Ben_Roethlisberger_2016First, on the list, we have Pittsburgh QB, Ben Roethlisberger, a bitter rival of the New England Patriots. In 2010 Big Ben received a 6-game suspension for ‘accused sexual assault’ which was then reduced by Goodell to a 4-game break.

Remember kids – accidentally taking an unidentified substance is the same a beating up women kids. Crazy.

 

 

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Next, on our list, we have the world worst bell-boy Ray Rice who was suspended in 2014 after a video emerged of him knocking his fiancee out, and dragging her unconscious body from the elevator back to his room. Damn, son.

Rice was suspended two games for this act and was back on the field in no time – not so sure about his fiancee’s recovery time, however.

 
nfl_a_hardy_mb_600x600Last, on our list, is everyone’s favourite psychopath Greg Hardy who was suspended for 10 games in 2014 after hospitalising his girlfriend Nicole Holder. Although we believe that players should be banned from football for acts like this, a 10 game suspension seemed to fit with league protocol at the time and we were reasonably content with the sentence. However, after a couple of weeks, Hardy got bored sitting on the sidelines and asked good old Goodell if he could be reinstated, to which Goodell agreed meaning Hardy only served a 4-week suspension for his crimes.

 

Honestly, the retirement of Goodell may be one of the happiest days of my life and I think I’ll throw a party to which all are invited. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Edelman suspension and if there are any other ridiculous suspensions you can remember.

 

Far too early NFL award predictions.

At the end of each season the NFL gives out awards for, Defensive MVP, Offensive MVP, Offensive Rookie of the season and defensive Rookie of the season, comeback player of the season and the much chased after all round MVP. I will look at Offensive and Defensive MVP, Rookie of the year as a general term, Comeback player of the year and MVP

Offensive MVP- Antonio Brown (Steelers)

This is one of the hardest collums to predict but over the last 3 seasons AB has shown that he has what it takes for at least Offensive MVP. Brown had a magnificent season last year and was a strong MVP candidate but an injury in the last few games and an on fire Tom Brady stopped that. That still didn’t stop Brown from having 1533 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. The only thing stopping Brown from having an MVP season is Big Ben, who has caused a stir in the steelers camp which might hurt Browns production.

Defensive MVP- Chandler Jones

Chandler Jones productivity has went unnoticed the past 2 seasons leading the league in sacks last year. The former Patriot is a consistent injury free player who last years put up 17 sacks and 59 tackles. Jones will be the leader on the Cardinals front four and if their offensive improves with the drafting of Josh Rosen the Cardinals could have a very strong playoff run.

Rookie of the year- Sony Michel

No I’m not biased, well maybe a little. But the Georgia running back will not be a flop. After the departure of Dion Lewis, the 31st overall pick should be in challenge of the 1st spot on the depth chart against James White. With the Patriots strengthening their offensive line Michel should get enough space to run. The only thing that might stop him will be how well Saqoun Barkley can play behind a useless Giants offensive line.

Comeback player of the year- Deshaun Watson

Watson had a fantastic rookie despite starting on the bench and finishing on IR on the depth chart. Watson threw for 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns in only 7 games. I fully believe that hype around Deshaun is deserved as does Brady who last season said

Heck of a game – keep grinding,’ keep doing what I’m doing. We’ll probably see them again.”

If Watson can recover in time for the start of the season I truly believe he will beat Carson Wentz to this award.

MVP- Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley was electric last season and was a huge reason for the Rams regular season success (if only that correlated with the playoffs) after a sophomore slump in his second year Todd put up 2098 all purpose yards and 19 touchdowns. If Todd Gurley can maintain that consistency I would be shocked if last years offensive MVP doesn’t win all round MVP this year. He certainly wants to help out those that own him on fantasy football

Fantasy owners you’re welcome now leave us alone. Merry Christmas!

These are very early predictions and will probably change but I’d love to hear your thoughts

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.