New England Patriots Skill Position Guys: Extremely White

rob gronkowski_bibi jones

The New England Patriots and Duke Blue Devils have a lot in common- east coast powerhouse, dynastic programs. Both are a very popular/polarizing brand; best embodied by their Mt. Rushmore level Coach (Bill Belichick and Mike Krzyzewski) who inspires both admiration and hatred. They sit in similar pedestals in their respective worlds of college basketball and the NFL.

This year, the Pats have yet another trait in common with Duke: white players everywhere, in places you don’t often see Caucasians. If you’re a white, blue-chip hoops recruit, you’re most likely going to Duke. If you’re white and good, but not elite, you might be headed to Wisconsin, Butler or Notre Dame.

And in 2012-13, if you’re a white receiver or tailback, you might be a Patriot.

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Patriots officially franchise tag Wes Welker today

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The New England Patriots are expected to place the franchise tag on wide receiver Wes Welker today.

The one-year tag is worth $9.5 million to the NFL’s leading receiver, and give the Pats more flexibility to work out a long-term deal with the wideout before the 2012 season. Franchise-tagging Welker would keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent next month.

You do recall the Butterfingers publicity stunt in Boston right after the Super Bowl? Which made Welker the comedic foil? Well, at worst Welker is getting 9.5 million reasons to forget about it.

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Wes Welker “honored” with 8,000 Butterfingers in Boston town square

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No doubt the biggest turning point in Super Bowl XLVI was the embarrassing drop by Wes Welker on what would’ve been at least a 30 yard gain, possibly a touchdown, on the final drive in which New England held the lead. Sure, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch made some drops, but Hernandez is still developing his game and Branch is extremely mediocre.

Welker on the other hand, had 22 catches more than anyone in the NFL this season, and he’s developed a reputation as the greatest slot receiver in the game’s history. So for him to blow such an easy catch like that, a grab he’s made 100s of time…kind of looked like what you’d see when someone’s point-shaving.

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Chicago Bears-New England Patriots: Brutally Honest Game Preview

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Super Bowl XX Redux and a prospective glimpse into this year’s Super Bowl, Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots is one of the most important regular season NFL games to happen here in a long time. And the biggest regular season football game since…well last week when the Pats thrashed their sub-rival New York Jets 45-3. I say “sub-rival” because NYJ is on a level far beneath the Pats yet still an AFC East Division rival.

And this monster game will be played in monstrous conditions: high temperature in the teens, snow, 40 mph winds and very little daylight. If frostbite, hypothermia and absurd ticket prices didn’t all exist, I would certainly be there.

But since I won’t, you can join the discussion at 3:15 CT Sunday as I live blog the game here

Since January 26, 1986, when Richard Dent and company made Champaign Tony Eason and Steve Grogan their cellmates, the Patriots have won 5 of 6 against the Bears.

Will it be six of seven?

tom-brady

By Paul M. Banks

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Patriots can be Awesome with W-E-S (Welker) now Returning

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Each year, the NFL becomes a more pass-happy league. And the team that dominated the last decade, the New England Patriots, are currently among the most pass-oriented, if not the most pass-oriented team in the league. In order to make their high powered air attack work, the Patriots need wide receiver Wes Welker to be back to his usual self. The fact that he actually played and caught a couple passes in tonight’s exhibition game with Atlanta is a great sign.

In a Week 17 game against the Houston Texans last season, Welker injured his left knee, forcing him to undergo ACL and MCL surgery this offseason. The original timeline for his return was Thanksgiving, but due to rapid advances in medicine, and Welker’s strong work ethic, he’s back now! Apparently, ACL injuries are not as career-threatening as they once were.

To further assess the state of the Patriots‘ passing game, I enlisted the help of New England‘s all-time leader in receptions, 15 year NFL veteran (all with New England) Troy Brown.

I recently had an exclusive with Brown on the day of his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

By Paul M. Banks

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