Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots – First Half Notes

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images North America
Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images North America

Here are a couple thoughts from the Patriots – Chiefs divisional playoff game.

Three safeties involved

As expected, the Patriots use three safeties on almost all snaps with Patrick Chung lining up in the box close to the line of scrimmage. He is charged with covering tight end Travis Kelce and usually gets help from either Duron Harmon or Devin McCourty. Kelce has been limited to 4 receptions and 10 yards in the first half.

Quick passing game is back

The Patriots have made the Chiefs’ pass rush almost insignificant in the first half and while the offensive line played solid, this is not only their work’s result. With Julian Edelman returning from injury, quarterback Tom Brady trusts his receivers to get open more quickly and therefore does not hang on to the ball long enough for the pass rush to get there.

Tight downfield coverage

While the Patriots may have struggled on intermediate and short play action passes, with the exception of a late Jason Avant reception, their coverage downfield has been excellent. Justin Coleman and Malcolm Butler both had plays where even though the pass was overthrown, they ran stride for stride with the wide receiver they were covering. As a result, Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith threw for only 65 yards in the first half and averaged 3.1 yards per attempt.

 

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots – Instant Preview

Source: Inside Handoff
Source: Inside Handoff

Here are a couple notes before the Divisional Playoff matchup between the Chiefs and the Patriots

Distractions

It is well documented that the Patriots can handle external distractions, as it was shown during Deflategate and Spygate. However, they did not have to deal with self-inflicted wounds and internal distractions frequently in the past. The Patriots provided a lot more stories for the local media this week than they were used to. Chandler Jones’ hospitalization, Rob Gronkowski’s mysterious absence from practice and Bill Belichick’s black eye all raised questions and got attention away from what may happen on the field. It will be worth watching whether this will have any impact on the game and if Jones’ is punished by being benched for a drive or two today. Continue reading

Coach’s View: Kevin White

Chris Jackson / AP Photo
Chris Jackson / AP Photo

Teams and fans want to know as much as possible about draft prospects. I joined them in this quest and caught up with the people who know the most about these players, their coaches.

Player: Kevin White

Position: Wide Receiver

School: West Virginia

Coach: Lonnie Galloway

What are Kevin’s three key strengths?

“First I’d say that he is physical. Also, I think he is very explosive. Finally, I’d combine the two and say that he has great size and speed.”

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Coach’s View: Vic Beasley

Tyler Smith / Getty Images North America
Tyler Smith / Getty Images North America

Teams and fans want to know as much as possible about draft prospects. I joined them in this quest and caught up with the people who know the most about these players, their coaches.

Player: Vic Beasley

Position: Edge

School: Clemson

Coach: Marion Hobby

What are Vic’s three key strengths?

“First I would say his natural athletic ability. When Vic came to Clemson we weren’t really sure what position he would play. He played running back in high school. When we prepared to play Georgia Tech in 2010 when he was a true freshman, we used him as the scout team quarterback to run the option. We won the game.

Second, he has football intelligence. Perhaps this is because he has played different positions over his career, but he has a sense about what all the players are supposed to do and as a result he is a very smart player.

Third is his combination of speed and strength. He had the top 40 time and the top bench press at the combine. He is the first linebacker to have the best in both categories. I can’t think of another example that documents a person’s strength and quickness.”

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Coach’s View: Brandon Scherff

Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

Teams and fans want to know as much as possible about draft prospects. I joined them in this quest and caught up with the people who know the most about these players, their coaches.

Player: Brandon Scherff

Position: Offensive tackle / Offensive guard

School: Iowa

Coach: Brian Ferentz

What are Brandon’s three key strengths?

“Number one is that he is an excellent athlete, he is very explosive. So he has got all the physical tools that you’d want at that position. The second thing is that he’s an excellent technician – he’s very good at what he does and he has mastered the fundamentals. He has all those physical tools but he also knows how to use them very well. Finally, he is very aggressive, the word we like to use is nasty. He plays with violence.”

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Coach’s View: Jaelen Strong

Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America
Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America

Teams and fans want to know as much as possible about draft prospects. I joined them in this quest and caught up with the people who know the most about these players, their coaches.

Player: Jaelen Strong

Position: Wide receiver

School: Arizona State

Coach: DelVaughn Alexander

What are Jaelen’s three key strengths?

“It would be his overall strength, his size and his ability to go up and attack the ball and take it away from defenders.”

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Coach’s View: Leonard Williams

USA TODAY Sports Images
USA TODAY Sports Images

Teams and fans want to know as much as possible about draft prospects. I joined them in this quest and caught up with the people who know the most about these players, their coaches.

Player: Leonard Williams

Position: Defensive lineman

School: USC

Coach: Chris Wilson

What are Leonard’s three key strengths?

“I would say his main strength is his athleticism. Also, I’d highlight his toughness as well. Finally, I’d say his third key strength is his intelligence.”

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