It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘Mark Anderson’
Pressure Points: Which New England defenders did the best job of getting after the quarterback in the postseason? 02.09.12 at 2:23 pm ET
By   |  2 Comments

This postseason, according to official NFL gamebooks, the Patriots had 21 hits and 11 sacks during the 2011 playoffs. When it came to who did the best job getting after the quarterback, we already gave you the regular-season breakdown. Now, here’€™s a look of who did the best job during the 2011 postseason:

Quarterback hits
Defensive end Mark Anderson: 4
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: 4
Defenisve lineman Vince Wilfork: 3
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: 2
Cornerback Kyle Arrington: 1
Defensive end Brandon Deaderick: 1
Safety James Ihedigbo: 1
Linebacker Jerod Mayo: 1
Defensive tackle Kyle Love: 1
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: 1
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis: 1
Linebacker Niko Koutouvides: 1

Sacks:
Anderson: 2.5 (16 yards)
Wilfork 2.5 (14.5 yards)
Ninkovich: 2 (12.5 yards)
Deaderick: 1 (2 yards)
Ihedigbo: 1 (12 yards)
Spikes: 1 (4 yards)
Ellis: 1 (5 yards)

Read More: Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, James Ihedigbo
Why don’t Patriots draft players like Jason Pierre-Paul? Different draft strategies led Patriots, Giants to Super Bowl 01.27.12 at 1:15 am ET
By   |  16 Comments

Jason Pierre-Paul has become one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL, a key component of a Giants team that is relentless in its effort to beat quarterbacks senseless. Yet the difference-making defensive end represents precisely the type of player whom the Patriots wouldn’t touch in the draft.

Why?

The answer helps to illustrate how the Giants and Patriots have rebuilt their rosters to make their respective runs to Super Bowl XLVI. There’€™s a reason why the NFL draft gets so much attention each year. Champions are built in the draft, and next Sunday will feature a matchup of two previously championship-caliber teams that have used the draft in drastically different ways to get back to the Super Bowl.

The cogs — Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker, Eli Manning and Osi Umenyiora, among others — are still there, but the Patriots and Giants have reloaded in the draft over the last four years. Both teams have done well, though they’€™ve done so with different philosophies and different results.

The Patriots have drafted 41 players since 2008 (the first draft after Super Bowl XLII), and 24 are still with the team. The Giants have drafted 31 players since 2008 and have kept 23 of them. The highest Giants pick not currently with the team from the last four drafts? That would be 2008 fourth-round pick Bryan Kehl. The Pats, meanwhile, have parted ways with seven players taken in the first three rounds of the last four drafts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Andre Carter, Brandon Spikes, Devin McCourty
Patriots Positional Playoff Preview: Linebackers 01.10.12 at 12:23 am ET
By   |  1 Comment

With the Patriots off this weekend and the postseason ready to begin, we’€™ve got the Patriots Positional Playoff Preview, a weeklong, position-by-position look at the Patriots and how they look heading into the postseason. We’€™ve already looked at the offensive side of the ball, as well as the defensive line. Now, it’€™s the linebackers:

Depth chart (stats from coaches film review): Rob Ninkovich (62 tackles, 46 solo, 6.5 sacks, 9 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions), Gary Guyton (46 tackles, 33 solo, 1 interception), Jerod Mayo (103 tackles, 67 solo, 1 sack, 6 quarterback hits, 2 interceptions), Dane Fletcher (37 tackles, 25 solo, 6 quarterback hits), Brandon Spikes (51 tackles, 36 solo, 1 quarterback hit), Tracy White (25 tackles, 19 solo). Jeff Tarpinian and Jermaine Cunningham are on injured reserve.

Overview: It was a rocky year for the New England linebackers, who, in truth, have been asked to do a lot. There have been shifts from a three-man front to a four-man front and back again over the course of the year. Mayo, Fletcher and Spikes were all sidelined at one time or another for multiple weeks with injuries. And the Patriots defense hasn’€™t played all that well for large chunks of the season. But now, with the postseason looming, they appear to be healthy, and while the stats aren’€™t where they should be, they remain a key part to the success of the New England defense.

One of the most intriguing members of the New England linebacking corps is Ninkovich. In my mind, he was most affected by the move from a three-man front to a four-man front at the start of the season, and appeared to struggle at times with the change in responsibilities. However, over the second half of the season, his numbers have improved, particularly when it came to setting the edge against the run and rushing the passer. (He had 14 quarterback pressures and four sacks over one five-game stretch toward the end of the season, and was third on the team behind Andre Carter and Mark Anderson in both sacks with 6.5 and quarterback hits with nine.) He has lined up as a down lineman on occasion, as well as an outside linebacker, and his versatility and smarts make him one of the most important parts of the New England defense.

One opposing scouts take on the Patriots’€™ wide receivers heading into the postseason: ‘€œGetting Mayo back is huge while other guys filled in and got reps. The all seem to execute and know what they are supposed to be doing. Lack a great playmaker, but Ninkovich is a productive guy run and pass. All play with great motor and instincts. Benefit from beef in front of them on the inside running game. Can be tested if blockers can get on them.’€
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Andre Carter, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher, Gary Guyton
Patriots positional playoff preview: Defensive line 01.08.12 at 1:32 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Patriots positional playoff preview: Defensive line

With the Patriots off this weekend and the postseason ready to begin, we’€™ve got the Patriots Positional Playoff Preview, a weeklong, position-by-position look at the Patriots and how they look heading into the postseason. We’€™ve already looked at the offensive side of the ball. Now, we take a look at the defense, starting with the defensive line.

Depth chart: Shaun Ellis, Vince Wilfork, Kyle Love, Gerard Warren, Mark Anderson, Brandon Deaderick. (Myron Pryor, Andre Carter and Mike Wright have all landed on season-ending injured reserve.)

Overview: It’€™s been an eventful season for the New England defensive line, which has run several new bodies through the system. Some have worked (Carter), while some haven’€™t (Albert Haynesworth).

In the end, even though the numbers may not suggest it, the New England defensive line was able to have a relatively productive season in 2011, thanks in large part to the work of Wilfork. The 30-year-old had one of the finest seasons of his already impressive career, finishing with a career-high in total snaps played and doing his best to hold together an occasionally unsteady defensive line that spent most of the first half of the season learning how to play together. His Pro Bowl nod — the fourth of his career — was well deserved. (In addition to his traditional work in the trenches, he’€™s added a pair of interceptions this season.)

As for the rest of the defensive line, Ellis has struggled with age and injury, while Warren has been a relatively solid presence as a rotational player along the interior of the defensive line. When it comes to the young guys, Love has flashed some talent (he appears to be a very good complementary piece at defensive tackle next to Wilfork). It also appears that Deaderick (who has some good positional versatility) will bear watching over the course of the next year.

Carter suffered a quad injury in a win last month over the Broncos, and with him on injured reserve, the Patriots have struggled to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Anderson (who finished tied with Carter in quarterback sacks with 10 and second to Carter in quarterback hits, 22 to 14) continues to get lots of reps as a situational pass rusher, but those pass-rushing numbers must improve if the New England defense wants to slow down opposing offenses in the postseason.

An opposing scout’€™s take on the New England defensive line heading into the postseason: ‘€œBig and hard to move inside, which may bode well in cold weather games against running teams. Don’€™t create a lot of pressure on the passer, but can push the pocket inside. Will miss the steady play of Andre Carter against the run and pass. Mark Anderson will flash some ability to create some pressure. They struggle to get pressure when rushing four, and will leave secondary on an island.’€
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Brandon Deaderick, Dan Orlovsky
Pressure Points: Which New England defenders did the best job of getting after the quarterback this season? 01.03.12 at 4:05 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Pressure Points: Which New England defenders did the best job of getting after the quarterback this season?

According to official NFL gamebooks, opposing quarterbacks had 620 dropbacks against the Patriots this season, and were hit by New England defenders a total of 88 times, to go along with 40 sacks (14th in the league) for 274 yards. Here’€™s a breakdown of who did the best job of getting after the quarterback this year:

Quarterback hits:
Defensive end Andre Carter: 22
Defensive end/linebacker Mark Anderson: 14
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: 9
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: 8
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: 6
Linebacker Jerod Mayo: 6
Defensive lineman Kyle Love: 5
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis: 3
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor: 3
Defensive lineman Gerard Warren: 3
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth: 2
Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick: 2
Safety Pat Chung: 2
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: 1
Cornerback Phillip Adams: 1
Defensive lineman Mike Wright: 1

Sacks:
Anderson: 10 (75 yards)
Carter: 10 (70 yards)
Ninkovich: 6.5 (54 yards)
Wilfork: 3.5 (17.5 yards)
Love: 3 (14 yards)
Deaderick: 2 (13 yards)
Mayo 1 (5.0 yards)
Warren: 1 (7 yards)
Ellis 1 (7 yards)
Chung: 1 (3 yards)
Pryor: 0.5 (4.5 yards)
Wright: 0.5 (4 yards)

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes
Pressure Points: Which New England defenders have done the best job of getting after the quarterback through 15 games? 12.29.11 at 4:38 pm ET
By   |  1 Comment

According to official NFL gamebooks, opposing quarterbacks have 574 dropbacks against the Patriots through 15 games this season, and have been hit by New England defenders a total of 85 times, to go along with 38 sacks (tied for 13th in the league) for 262.5 yards. Here’€™s a breakdown of who has been getting to the quarterback for the Patriots through 15 games:

Quarterback hits:
Defensive end Andre Carter: 22
Defensive end/linebacker Mark Anderson: 13
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: 9
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: 7
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: 6
Linebacker Jerod Mayo: 6
Defensive lineman Kyle Love: 5
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis: 3
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor: 3
Defensive lineman Gerard Warren: 3
Defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth: 2
Defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick: 2
Safety Pat Chung: 1
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: 1
Cornerback Phillip Adams: 1
Defensive lineman Mike Wright: 1

Sacks:
Carter: 10 (70 yards)
Anderson: 9 (67 yards)
Ninkovich: 6.5 (54 yards)
Wilfork: 2.5 (17 yards)
Love: 2 (11 yards)
Mayo 2 (5.0 yards)
Deaderick: 2 (13 yards)
Warren: 1 (7 yards)
Ellis 1 (7 yards)
Chung: 1 (3 yards)
Pryor: 0.5 (4.5 yards)
Wright: 0.5 (4 yards)

Read More: Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Spikes
Meet the new guy … No. 36, Lousaka Polite 12.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Meet the new guy … No. 36, Lousaka Polite

FOXBORO — The Patriots have steered clear from employing a traditional fullback the last few seasons — Heath Evans was the last full-time fullback on the roster. After he departed in free agency following the 2008 season, they would occasionally lean on Sammy Morris in that role, but they never had that traditional thick-necked, straight-ahead blocking back on the roster.

While the additional of Lousaka Polite may not dramatically change the look of the New England offense, it will also presumably give them some more versatility on the offensive side of the ball. The 30-year-old Polite is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with Dallas (2004-06), Chicago (2007) and Miami (2008-10).

At 6 feet and 245 pounds, Polite fits into that traditional fullback skill set — lots of snaps, but few carries. He has played in 75 NFL games with 27 starts and has 95 rushing attempts for 296 yards with one touchdown and 41 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown. Polite has also played in two postseasons games, one with Dallas in 2006 and one with Miami in 2008.

Polite went to training camp with the Dolphins this past summer but was released on Sept. 3. Since then, he’s been waiting by the phone, working out and being a full-time father to his nine-year-old daughter, Anya.

“I was full-time with being a father,” he said. “Normally, during the season, I don’t have that time to spend with her, taking her to dance class and doing things like that was something that was new for me during the season. I was happy to have that opportunity.”

It’s been a long year for Polite, who was nearly out of the game for a full season after getting cut loose by Miami.

“You just never know,” he said. “As the weeks go by, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s always a little, tiny bit of doubt because you don’t know what to expect. You just need to stay ready and stay in shape. And luckily, I just got the call.”

Polite has been able to lean on a few former teammates who he has reunited with in New England, including Nate Jones (who he played with in Miami and Dallas), Mark Anderson (in Chicago) and Donald Thomas (in Miami). He’s still not sure what his role will be going forward — he does have special teams experience in addition to his work on offense — but said before practice on Wednesday that he’s “willing to do anything” to get on the field.

“I’m just learning, learning as much as I can. Everything is new to me, so I’m just trying to learn and we’ll just go from there,” he said. “I’m willing to do anything. I’ve played special teams, and I’m just willing to do whatever it takes to contribute to the team.

“I’m in pretty good shape, but you can never duplicate that game experience. But I’ll be fine. I’ll push through it. That’s part of football … staying ready and adjusting to the changes.”

Read More: Anya Polite, Donald Thomas, Heath Evans, Lousaka Polite
Latest on Twitter
Mercedes-Benz
Player News
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify