Who says you can’t go home and be welcomed back like a prodigal son ?
As an ardent and passionate New England Patriots’ fan, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see the team playing at their very best ! Granted , while the offense seems to be clicking on all cylinders , the defense remains a work in progress , leaving a great deal to be desired . For all of the audaciousness and brilliance of head coach, Bill Belichick , he can at times be ever so , conceited . Perhaps , that is the reason behind his brilliance after-all ? The Patriots’ defense is now giving up an astonishing 380 yards per game , ranking the franchise well below the bottom-half of the franchises within the NFL . This lone issue of a porous defense , has remained a sore point , not just with myself , but with the vast majority of Patriots’ fans up and down the country .
Now while the defense remains an eyesore each week , the offense of the Patriots seems to be as explosive as ever , with veteran quarterback Tom Brady leading the way for the team. However, without that arsenal of receivers and backs , Brady in terms of his performances would be somewhat pedestrian , by comparison to a number of his peers within the league and AFC , this season. Brady , has been joined by his one-time nemesis , Peyton Manning , who himself , has been having an exceptional season , even by his own lofty standards, in putting together a string of superlative performances. And if you doubt my word , simply look at Manning’s escapades this season for the Denver Broncos , as they now seem to be marching towards a successful defense of their AFC West divisional title with consummate ease . . Kind of makes you wonder , if Tim Tebow had remained in Denver , rather than being traded , and now being ridiculed en-mass for his lack play , and the messiness of the going drama with the Jets . One now has to wonder what predicament might the Denver Broncos now find themselves in , had the player remained with the franchise ? Care to answer that very question , at this juncture ?
With injuries now plaguing teams at this point of the season, as they seek to set themselves for the final stretch run of the schedule , franchises around the league are now seeking out unrestricted free agents , or assessing their needs by looking at their practice squads to see if they can find themselves “ a diamond in the rough” . Bill Belichick , and his coaching staff , having seen Wes Welker , Rob Gronkowski , Stevan Ridley and Aaron Hernandez, amongst the Patriots’ frontline players to have gone down injured over the course of the season , the head coach sought out former player , Donte` Stallworth , and signed the wide receiver for the remainder of the New England’s perceived schedule . Having overcome his own personal issues and professional struggles in recent years , and laboring with several teams during that time-span, since he was last in a Patriots’ uniform . It has to be said that this decision by Belichick should not have come as a surprise , given his past propensity in dealing with reclamations projects , such as Corey Dillon ,Randy Moss, and Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) . The most least successful of the triumvirate being , Johnson, whose one season in New England , proved to be counterproductive , rather than being enlightening and to the franchise’s benefit . What might have been more hideous was Chad Johnson’s lack of effort during the postseason and in particular during last season’s Superbowl (SBXLVI) and the New England’ Patriots’ defeat , suffered at the hands of the New York Giants , in their second such meeting , in the NFL’s showcase event .
With the acquisition of Donte` Stallworth , it doesn’t bode well for Justin Edelman , who is at present the Patriots’ injured reserve list having suffered a right foot injury. It is hoped that Edelman will be able to make a speedy recovery in time for the Patriots anticipated push for the playoffs. The team (9-3) has a comfortable lead within the AFC East over their closest rivals , the New York Jets( 5-7), Buffalo Bills (5-7) and the Miami Dolphins (5-7), all of whom share the same record.
New England, coming off what was a hard-fought 23-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins in week thirteen .. The Patriots will face the Houston Texans (11-1) in a highly anticipated game in week fourteen, on Monday night , in a conference match-up between a pair of teams with the best records in the AFC . With that being said, it is quite clear that the Texans will end up with the number one seed within the conference and thereby foregoing the wildcard round of the postseason , in gaining a bye in the opening round. For Gary Kubiak , as the head coach of the Texans , this might well be a blessing in disguise , for his team , as they prepare themselves for their second successive appearance in the NFL postseason in two years. As to whether or not this Texans’ franchise can make a deep playoff run this postseason, will be predicated upon the play of the team’s quarterback , Matt Schaub , and their explosive offense led by wide receiver , Andre Johnson , and running back, Arian Foster . And what has been markedly noticeable concerning the Texans , has been the improvement in the team’s defense in 2012 , in comparison to last season , and in all likelihood one of the primary reasons behind the Houston Texans’ results this season.
Courtesy of NFL.com (New England Patrtiots news’ page)
By Gregg Rosenthal , NFL.com
The New England Patriots are going back to an old friend to help fill a hole on the wide receiver depth chart. And it’s not Deion Branch this time.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported the Patriots will sign Donte’ Stallworth on Tuesday, according to a source who spoke with player. Stallworth, 31, has tried out for a few teams since the Patriots cut him in August, but he hasn’t been on a roster this season.
Stallworth’s anticipated signing doesn’t bode well for Julian Edelman, who injured his foot during Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. He was seen on crutches after the game. The Patriots are lacking depth after cutting Branch last month and losing practice-squad player Greg Salas to the Philadelphia Eagles on waivers.
Stallworth was with the Patriots for their 2007 run to the Super Bowl, and this could give him one last chance to be part of a championship team.
Looking beyond Monday night’s game , the remainder of the Patriots’ regular season schedule does seem amenable for the team to pull off three consecutive victories . With those upcoming games against the San Francisco 49ers — (week15), Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins , to close out their season in 2012. Not necessarily a daunting task , but one, which I believe that Belichick and the coaching staff will emphasize to his players ! That feat , has to be utmost on the minds of the fans’ who will be in attendance at two of the three remaining games that will be played at Gillette Stadium , in Foxborough , Massachusetts , home to the New England Patriots. .
For Donte` Stallworth , I would like to believe, that his return to the Patriots will be viewed as the “return of a long lost , prodigal son” . And while his resume` has never been looked upon as one of the more illustrious careers in the NFL , as that of a prolific wide receiver , who was taken in the 2002 NFL Draft as the thirteenth overall pick in the first round by the New Orleans Saints of that season . Stallworth , as a rookie , had 42 receptions , for 542 yards and 8 touchdowns . If the veteran can be even remotely productive in assisting the team and the plethora of wide receivers on the Patriots’ roster , then it could very well lead to Donte` Stallworth achieving his greatest wish, and to bow out with that much cherished Superbowl ring. However, great deal of that will have to be predicated upon the improved play of the Patriots’ defense , which if anything, has been unimpressive and erratic throughout much the regular season, giving up on average 380 yards per game and ranking the team twenty-sixth overall of the NFL’s 32 teams in 2012 . So for the members on the Patriots’ secondary , such as Jerod Mayo , Vince Wilfork , Kyle Arrington , Chandler Jones , Dont’a Hightower , and Brandon Spikes , as they are expected to raise the level of their play over the remainder of the regular and postseason .
Whether or not you’re a fan of the New England Patriots , do believe that the team can be seen as one of the justifiable favorites within the AFC for the Superbowl ? Or are you of the opinion that the sole reason for their perceived dominance , can be put down to the fact that the Patriots possess one of the most productive offense in the NFL , along with leadership qualities of Tom Brady ? And how do you view the acquisition of Donte` Stallworth by the team , do you believe it to be a prudent decision ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit , on the subject matter in question and anything else you believe to pertinent on the subject matter in question.
Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal.
(1) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady enters a media availability at the NFL football team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …
(2) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick listens to a reporter’s question during a media availability at the NFL football team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick listens to a reporter’s question during a media availability at the NFL football team’s facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Belichick is seeking to take the Patriots to their sixth Superbowl appearance during his tenure with the franchise . AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …
(3) New England Patriots wide receiver Donte` Stallworth catches a ball before a walk through at the team’s NFL football training facility in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Stallworth was released from the team during preseason and was picked up again this week after wide receiver Julian Edelman was placed on injured reserve . AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …
(4) Houston Texans running back Arian Foster waves to fans as he leaves the field after their 24-10 win over the Tennessee Titans in an NFL football game , Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. With the win , the Texans clinched their second straight playoff berth, a franchise-record 11th win this season, and their first season sweep of the Titans. AP Photo/Wade Payne …..
(5) New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (83) gestures to fans as he leaves the field after their 23-16 win in an NFL football game , Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in Miami. Welker tied Jerry Rice’s NFL record by making at least 10 receptions for the 17th time . He had 12 catches for 103 yards and a score . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …
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