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News » New England Patriots Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-24


New England Patriots Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-24


New England Patriots Strategy and Personnel 2008-12-24
PLAYER NOTES


--DE Richard Seymour suffered a back injury in Sunday's win against Arizona, and according to various reports, is doubtful for this weekend's regular-season finale in Buffalo.

--K Stephen Gostkowski showed why Sunday why he's heading to the Pro Bowl, kicking four field goals in snowy and rainy conditions, which left the ball heavy and made for difficult terrain on the field.

--WR Jabar Gaffney continues to be a dangerous weapon in December, catching five passes for 90 yards Sunday against Arizona.

--LT Matt Light started the game despite separating his shoulder last week, but he left by halftime and was replaced by backup Mark LeVoir. His status for this weekend is uncertain.

--RB Kevin Faulk set a career high in single-season receiving yards with 478 after hauling in three passes for 27 yards against Arizona, including a touchdown.

REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALS

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- You can't do much better than Matt Cassel did Sunday on a snowy day. Cassel completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns -- another outstanding performance as he inches closer toward a big payday in the offseason. He called his 76-yard touchdown bomb to Moss the best throw of his career, which shows he keeps getting better on a weekly basis.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Sammy Morris had another efficient game, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and finishing with a total of 88 yards on 15 carries. The Patriots established the run early against a terrible Arizona defense, which set up Cassel for several big plays in the passing game. LaMont Jordan chipped in with 78 yards and excelled near the goal line with two touchdown runs.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The Cardinals weren't built for these conditions and it showed as Kurt Warner completed just six of 18 passes and backup Matt Leinart finished six of 14 for 138 yards. The only downside was a big day by Larry Fitzgerald, who caught three passes for 101 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Patriots beefed up against a bad running team and didn't allow the Cardinals to do anything on the ground in snowy conditions. Arizona tried to establish the run early, but Edgerrin James finished with only 19 yards on four carries, and Tim Hightower did even less with 17 yards on 10 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- The Patriots were again near flawless as they limited the big plays in the kicking game and watched Pro Bowler Stephen Gostkowski drill four field goals. Given the score, special teams weren't a factor at all, nor was the field-position battle. The Patriots only punted three times, and Chris Hanson averaged 47.0 yards per boot, which is pretty good in lousy weather.

COACHING: A -- Again, the game featured no drama, so there were no critical coaching decisions to be made. Give Bill Belichick credit for having the team mentally prepared and once again playing its best football in December. The Patriots never took their foot off the pedal, and that may provide for a nice carryover into this weekend's crucial regular-season finale at Buffalo.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 24, 2008

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Dan Koppen Name: Dan Koppen
#67
Position: C
Age: 28
Experience: 6 years
College: Boston College
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