How many young quarterbacks, specifically in the AFC East, have the Patriots broken? Remember when Mark Sanchez was the San-chise? The Butt Fumble pretty much closed him down. Hell, New England has banished Ryan Fitzpatrick from more cities than plastic straws. Now it’s happened to Sam Darnold.
I’ll never forget watching the Ravens-Chargers playoff game last year with Mike DeVito. The Chargers brought heavy pressure against Lamar Jackson the entire first half. DeVito arrived, saw 3 plays and immediately said “Jackson is seeing ghosts out there.” It was amazing that he identified the rookie’s problem after 3 plays. Jackson finished the game 14/29 passing.
What was most staggering on Monday night was to actually hear a quarterback admit that they’re seeing ghosts. That’s something you just don’t hear. It’s like a golfer saying they have the shanks off the tee or a second basemen saying they have the yips throwing the ball to first. These are things that you just don’t say. As if saying it out loud would make it true.
Jets’ fans can’t be confident about Darnold being the guy to take them to their first Super Bowl in 51 years after admitting what we’ve all believed for years that to the rest of the AFC East, the Patriots are Michael Myers, Freddie Kruger and Jason Voorhees all rolled into one.
Tight end is an issue.
Tomlinson will probably be cut by the time you’re reading this. It was great to see Ben Watson out on the field again, until Brady’s first pass struck him in the face mask. Even if it proves just to be a little bit of rust, the Patriots are going to need another reliable piece at the position. With the trade deadline looking, I expect the Patriots to add a piece or two to the offense. I could see a deal happening with the Bengals, Tyler Eifert if healthy would be a solid TE option, but the real prize would be AJ Green. (Imagine me telling you 3 years ago that in 2019 the Patriots would have Antonio Brown and AJ Green on their roster at different times. That would be a ridiculous notion, even for Fantasy Football.
How many ways can I say that this defense is really nasty?
This week it was all about the pressure that the Patriots brought against Darnold. New England brought extra rushers deep into the 4th quarter. If the second year passers’ spleen wasn’t swollen before this game, it surely was afterwards. The key to the Patriots “bend but don’t break defenses” over the years has been that they try and get pressure out of their base defense without sending extra rushers. It’s never been sexy, but it’s been successful. Through 7 weeks, the 2019 Patriots defense has been both.
Speaking of second year quarterbacks, the Patriots will face two more in the next two weeks when they face Baker Mayfield this Sunday and Lamar Jackson the week after.
Mayfield’s struggle has been completing passes to the opposite team (which he’s done far too much) while Jackson poses a unique challenge as a dual threat. You wonder though, in seeing the Patriots defense confound fellow sophomore passers Josh Allen and Sam Darnold if New England could do something similar to Mayfield and Jackson.
With both being highly mobile, I wouldn’t expect Bill Belichick to dial up as much added pressure as he did last night against the Jets, because making both beat you from the pocket will be the general idea. And if you can show them a few ghosts before Halloween while we’re at it, the Patriots could be undefeated heading into their week 10 bye week.
By Sterling Pingree