..how about that Week 3 [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-stephen-gostkowski-jersey]Authentic Stephen Gostkowski Jersey[/url] , eh?Not going to lie - I straight up fell asleep last night during the game. I watched the first half, then I figured I’d rest my eyes for a few minutes during halftime, and when I opened them up again Brian Hoyer was overthrowing Cordarrelle Patterson late in the fourth quarter. Now this is pathetic for two reasons. One, I should never fall asleep during a Pats game. And two, it was Friday night, pre-10PM, and I was out like a light. Getting old sucks.But the good news is it doesn’t seem like I missed anything at all. Of all the preseason games I’ve watched over the years, that one was undoubtedly one of the preseasoniest. So you’ll forgive me for putting as much effort into today’s Fan Notes as the Patriots put into last night’s matchup.Rob Gronkowski played, last night. Screw Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, and Malcolm Butler...that was the single most controversial coaching decision of Belichick’s career.The highlight of last night’s game was New England winning the coin toss and deferring for the third straight week. Not too shabby.The more I watch this defensive line, the more excited I get. There’s a lot of versatility, different body types, and each has his own unique skillset to bring to the table. If our D line was Tinder, there’d be something for everyone to swipe right on.That said...absolutely nobody could set the edge last night, from the starters all the way on down. Cam Newton represents a very unique quarterback challenge, but New England has a lot of mobile quarterbacks on the schedule this season [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-matthew-slater-jersey]Matthew Slater Jersey Salute to Service[/url] , all of whom are very capable of rolling out.If any of you have experience coaching, I’d love to know: you’re a linebacker covering a back/fullback/tight end in the shallow middle zone. A quarterback rolls out of contain and starts to move upfield, with space in front of him. Is the right move abandoning your man and going for the QB, knowing full well he’s just going to lob it over your head and connect with the now open receiver you were supposed to be covering? I guess that makes sense, as it’s guaranteed rushing yards as opposed to a possible drop/another teammate picks up the slack. But man is that frustrating to watch.Glad to see Cam Newton still leading with his face. Diving headfirst into the ground is only a good idea..well, it’s never a good idea.There are still few things more intimidating than watching that blue tent engulf a key player on your team. Every time it happens, this is all I can think of.My personal highlight of the night? This was my last Zolak-called Patriots game. I get to watch the New York feed for the Giants game, and as much as I can’t believe I’m saying it, Carl Banks is millions of times better than Zolak.Last thing I’ll say about him before moving on for good: I genuinely do appreciate him trying to keep it light, making some jokes, and finding ways to make a very boring game more interesting to the casual fan. But the reality is that if you’re watching a Patriots preseason game, especially the second half of one, you aren’t a casual fan. You’re a diehard fan. You’re interested in the guys on the back end of the roster fighting for a spot. You’re curious as to various combination and schemes and looking for some sleeper picks to make the team. So if we’re taking it seriously, you should as well.Carolina’s opening drive was exactly the kind of thing that ruined the Patriots early last season. The read-option gave this team a ton of trouble last year, and it gave them trouble last night. And, just like last season, it ended in a field goal instead of a TD.The good things about long scoring drives are a) it keeps the defense on the field for an extended period and thus represents a good test of fitness at this point in the preseason, and b) gives the coaching staff more film to go over next week.The bad thing about long scoring drives like that Panthers first one is is reminded me how glacially slow football games move now. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize/come to grips with this...but I was a sophomore in high school when most of New England’s 2018 draft picks were born. I guess I won’t be getting selected in a supplemental draft after all.Good for the Panthers fans for loudly booing Tommy B when he first came out. Hmmm...Cam Newton has all day to throw [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-ryan-allen-jersey]Ryan Allen Jersey[/url] , Panthers receivers wide open, offense has no problem moving down the field. I feel like I’ve seen this Carolina/New England game before.New England’s second drive of the game, which stalled due to a stupid LaAdrian Waddle penalty, was what I believe will be how the Patriots will move the ball a lot this season. Runs to the outside, screens, short passes that rely on receivers to generate yards after the catch, and multilayers receiving routes that help to open up the middle of the field.And the legend of Ja’Whaun Bentley grows. What I like most about him is his lateral movement. Very quick to diagnose run vs. pass and react accordingly.I don’t think I saw any of those stupid helmet rule penalties before I fell asleep, which is nice.If this was the regular season, I’d watch the replay of this game and see what happened on A-gap runs that caused the back to get blown up two yards behind the line every single time. Runs up the middle are the beating heart of any playaction-based scheme. But since it’s preseason, who cares.Edelman looked like a 32 year old receiver coming off an AC injury who missed an entire season last night.Philip Dorsett, on the other hand, looked like he was drafted in the first round by a team that made it all the way to the AFC Finals!I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping that the whole Bud Light Dilly Dilly thing was kind of a 2017 fad...but I guess not.I’d also be lying if I said I thought that Will Tye has any real shot of making this squad.The highlight of Eric Decker’s night was late in the first half when he sprinted out into the huddle, but was promptly told to head back the way he came. For some reason, it gave me flashbacks to ever high school party I ever attended.Was Cyrus Jones always #41? I know that’s a question that can be answered in a Google search that would take less time than it takes me to write this sentence, but at this point Ive already written all these words and the longer this sentence goes on, the more I have to commit to writing it rather than do that Google search.I don’t know if it’s time to officially pull the plug on...oh who am I kidding. Yes I am. So long, Cyrus. Nobody makes the team just because they might possibly regain their value as a return man.So...Patterson is a roster lock, right? He just keeps playing deep into these preseason games [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-kyle-van-noy-jersey]Kyle Van Noy Jersey[/url] , which has me worried that he’s going to be that surprise cut that nobody sees coming. The good news is that, if Patterson does get cut, there is plenty of wide receiver depth behind him so that it won’t be a problem.Beyond all this, the only think I can really remember from what little I saw of the second half was Hoyer looking a little sharper on his throws, and Riley McCarron having what looked like a nice day. Anything good happen with Ryan Izzo? I’ve always liked that kid.Just one more to go. Then we can all start to care again. As two of the best players at their position in their generation, San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman and Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers have formed a relationship built on deep respect.They have nothing but praise for each other's games and will exchange texts after one of them does something special. With all that they have accomplished that can happen often."Just checking if he has a great game or I see something on tape where he's in his bag and doing something crazy like some of the Hail Mary's that he's thrown," Sherman said. "I text him like, 'Man, that's crazy. I don't know what you were thinking right there.' He's a good dude."Sherman hopes Rodgers doesn't pull off any of those crazy plays he's known for on Monday night when the 49ers (1-4) visit the Packers (2-2-1) in the seventh meeting between the two megastars, including one in the postseason.The two split the previous six meetings when Sherman was in Seattle, although the Seahawks won the most important in the NFC title game in January 2015. But any success Rodgers had didn't come because he found some weakness in Sherman's game. Instead, he approached it like most quarterbacks do, throwing as few passes to his right as possible, knowing Sherman will shut down that side of the field.Rodgers has completed only nine passes for 90 yards against Sherman in those six games, according to SportRadar, targeting him just 13 times and throwing one interception. Almost half of that production came in the first meeting in 2012 when Rodgers went 4-for-5 for 44 yards. He has avoided him almost completely since then as Sherman has allowed just five catches for 46 yards in the past five games."When he's on the field, you have to be smart throwing the ball his way," Rodgers said. "That's just the type of player he is. I mean [url=http://www.officialpatriotslockerroom.com/elite-stephon-gilmore-jersey]Limited Stephon Gilmore Jersey[/url] , he's a super-intelligent guy, he's got incredible football instincts and he can still impact the game in a number of different ways."Sherman is still striking fear in quarterbacks at age 30 despite coming off major surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon and nursing a calf injury that sidelined him for one game this season.Sherman has been targeted just 10 times on 145 pass plays this season, the second-lowest rate in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just two of those passes for 28 yards as Sherman has been a rare bright spot for a struggling San Francisco team."People aren't targeting him. That always tells you a lot there about Richard," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Especially where he is in his career, he diagnosis routes extremely well. I've always felt he was so strong at the breaking points of routes and really does a great job of playing toward his length. He's an excellent player, always has been. I think he looks good."Rodgers has also been slowed by an injury at age 34, as he hurt his knee in the first half of the opener against Chicago before returning to lead a memorable comeback.He has shown more mobility each week and is coming off a 442-yard, three TD performance in a loss at Detroit last week. Rodgers has 10 touchdown passes and just one interception all season and has the highest passer rating (103.5) of any quarterback with at least 1,000 attempts."He's still the best or is tied for the best on the planet," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He always has been. He's the man. I know he's not 100 percent, everyone knows that, but he seems to be a little bit better each week. He's still the best. Good player."One aspect that makes Rodgers even tougher to defend than other top quarterbacks such as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning during his heyday is the ability to scramble. Rodgers is an elite athlete and can extend plays with his feet and then expose defenses downfield with his laser-like arm when the cornerbacks can't stick with the receivers for that extra time.Sherman knows that's one of the hardest things to prepare for against Rodgers and the Packers."You're going to have to run, you're going to have to cover for a long period of time," he said. "You'll have to be ready for the backyard football. He's a great passer, he can throw the ball anywhere. He can be on his back foot and throw the ball 75 yards."
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