Tag:Patrick Chung
Posted on: January 18, 2012 2:20 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 12:16 pm

Film Room: Patriots vs. Ravens AFC CG preview

Brady and Lewis will match wits in the AFC Championship Game. (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Tom Brady is right: the Ravens are the best team the Patriots have faced this season.

Cam Cameron’s offense poses problems for Bill Belichick’s defense, while Ray Lewis’ defense actually has a fighting chance against Brady’s offense. Here’s the breakdown.

1. Patriots formation versatility
Keep in mind, the Patriots, at least offensively, are also the best team the Ravens have faced all season. Their versatility is like nothing we’ve seen before.

Last Saturday they spent a bulk of the game in a no-huddle that featured tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and wideouts Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Julian Edelman. Remarkably, they were able to run effectively out of this personnel grouping, as Hernandez carried the ball five times out of the backfield for 61 yards.

Those runs are almost just gravy – something the defense must now respect. The real purpose of putting Hernandez in the backfield is the same purpose as all of New England’s other alignments: to get a potent pass catcher matched up on a linebacker. Even safeties have major trouble covering Hernandez and Gronkowski.

This game will be no exception, as Baltimore’s strong safety Bernard Pollard is simply not capable of doing it, and the Ravens are unlikely to remove Ed Reed from centerfield. Brady rarely throws in the direction of starting cornerbacks. Even when he goes to Wes Welker, it’s often when Welker has drawn a matchup against a backup slot corner or non-cornerback.

Because the Patriots don’t try to confuse defenses so much as force them into bad matchups, HOW the Patriots line up to play is almost more important than how they actually play. Most of the damage is done through crafty presnap alignment. (This is one reason so many of Brady’s throws come off three-and five-step drops; the decision of where to go with the ball is made prior to the snap.)

The Patriots frequently go up-tempo to prevent defenses from having enough time to regroup or alter matchups before the snap. The only sure way to take the chess match element out of the equations and force the Patriots to win with execution is to play press-man coverage across the board. Problem is, no defense, including Baltimore’s, has enough quality cover artists to do this.

After a win over the Texans last week, Joe Flacco and the Ravens will take on Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan preview this game. Watch the game on CBS at 3 PM ET. 

2. Baltimore’s response
The Ravens may not have enough cover artists to play the Patriots man-to-man, but they might be the one team capable of matching wits with them. Ray Lewis is arguably the smartest front seven defender in the league, while Ed Reed is arguably the smartest back four defender. Those two are capable of recognizing New England’s subtle tendencies and getting their teammates into the proper defensive play-call.

Of course, Brady and Bill O’Brien know this and will likely inject a few tendency-breaking wrinkles into the gameplan. Of course, the Ravens know that the Patriots know that they know this, and the Patriots know that the Ravens know that they know and ... you get the idea – this has the potential to be one heck of a chess match.

Look for the Ravens to do plenty of presnap communicating and disguising at the line of scrimmage. It helps that they’re comfortable playing a plethora of different coverages. The outcome may be decided by which side can bully the other into a reactionary position. The Patriots can do that by going hurry-up; the Ravens can do it by blitzing fervidly up the middle.

3. Ravens pass-rush
To beat Tom Brady, you have to rob him of the trust he has in his pass protection. Brady – like any quarterback – does not like pressure directly in his face. And though he’s as tough in the pocket as anyone in the game, he has a tendency to get just a tad jumpy after taking a few hits from edge-rushers.

Recent playoff history shows that if a defense can create pressure and doubt, Brady will eventually start eating up the play clock worrying about protections. That makes him a significantly less dangerous player versus when he’s hurrying things up and concentrating on his receivers’ routes.

The question is, can the Ravens generate a pass-rush? If they blitz, they likely can. But one of the best kept secrets in football is that this is generally a four-man rushing defense. Because the Ravens use so many 3-4 or 2-5 fronts, their four pass-rushers come from a variety of different spots, thus creating the illusion of a blitz:

The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

Above (click image to enlarge): Upon first glance, this appears to be a blitz featuring five, possibly six pass-rushers.

Below: The Ravens use a lot of zone exchange concepts in their pass-rush. A zone exchange is essentially a four-man pass-rush where linebackers or safeties rush the quarterback, while a defensive lineman or another linebacker drops back into coverage. It can be confusing, often creating the illusion of a heavy blitz. The Thanksgiving night game – in which Baltimore had nine sacks – provided a good example.

The Ravens’ four-man rush has seemingly evaporated over the last month. It registered a quiet five sacks over the final three weeks of the regular season and then got zero pressure on T.J. Yates in the divisional round. With talents like Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee, it’s imprudent to assume the pressure can’t suddenly return.

But worth noting is that the Patriots’ pass protection in the last month has also been as sharp as the Ravens’ pass-rush has been dull.

4. Dialing in on Ray Rice
Bill Belichick always builds his defensive gameplan around eliminating the opponents’ greatest strength. This season, no man has done a better job at eliminating Ray Rice than Cam Cameron. (Rice averaged less than 10 carries a game in Baltimore’s four losses.)

To be fair, Cameron has featured Rice most of the season, and the results thus far speak for themselves: 13 wins and Rice leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage.

But if Belichick has inside linebackers Brandon Spikes and Jerod Mayo shadow Rice, or if he brings safety Patrick Chung down in the box every play or has his linebackers sellout against the run, will Cameron have enough patience to stay with his superstar?

The Patriots run defense is coming together, while their secondary can be tempting to attack.

5. Baltimore’s passing game
It was virtually nonexistent against Houston, mainly because deep threat Torrey Smith was nullified by Johnathan Joseph. The Patriots don’t have a corner on Joseph’s level (or even in Joseph’s stratosphere).

If the Ravens want to take their deep shots with Smith, all they’ll have to do is block a mundane Patriots pass-rush (last week’s performance at Foxboro notwithstanding). Devin McCourty was serviceable as a nickel free safety against Denver, but it remains to be seen whether the struggling corner can suddenly play a new position when facing a strong-armed quarterback and polished play-action passing game.

In other matchups, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson were quiet against Houston but should be able to work the seams against New England. Anquan Boldin will be extremely problematic for the Pats. The thought of him working outside against Kyle Arrington seems patently unfair; inside is even worse, as the Patriots don’t have a true slot corner.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all the Championship games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 7:55 pm

Patriots' Mankins, Chung active vs. Broncos

After an impressive overtime win over the Steelers last week, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos will face off against the New England Patriots on Saturday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan have the preview. Watch the game on CBS at 8 PM ET. 

By Ryan Wilson

One of the benefits to having a first-round bye: injured players have two weeks to get healthy, and for the Patriots, that means left guard Logan Mankins and safety Patrick Chung will be available Saturday against the Broncos. Both players have been declared active, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard who adds that "Chung is more of a key to the team's success in this game because of the weakness of the defense. The Patriots could get by without Mankins [because] the Broncos don't have much of an interior line."

Which might explain why tackle Sebastian Vollmer is down. Rookie Nate Solder will start in his place.

In addition to Mankins and Chung, wide receiver Wes Welker (questionable) and linebacker Brandon Spikes also will play.

Other New England inactives: Ryan Mallett, Nate Jones, Shane Vereen, Gary Guyton, Donald Thomas and Ron Brace.

And for the Broncos, the inactives include: Eric Decker, Brian Dawkins, Lonie Paxton, Julius Thomas, Ryan Harris, Derrick Harvey, and Mike Mohamed.

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Posted on: September 24, 2011 9:27 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 9:27 pm

Chung, Haynesworth, Hernandez all out vs. Bills

Is this the week the Bills snap their 0-15 losing streak to the Pats? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Most reasonable people would agree that Tom Brady is the most important player on the Patriots roster. But despite the mythologizing, he can't beat you by himself. It hasn't come to that just yet for New England, but when the Pats face the Bills Sunday, they'll do so without many of their key players.

Second-year tight end Aaron Hernandez is out with a sprained MCL, and he'll be joined on the sidelines by strong safety Patrick Chung (thumb), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (back), wide receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (back), and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion).

New England signed safety Ross Ventrone from the practice squad to replace Chung, and Price's absence could mean that this is the week that Chad Ochocinco finally gets on track (he has just three catches in two games). But it appears that against the Bills the team will go with just one healthy tight end: Rob Gronkowski.

While Brady has proven that he can win without big-play wide receivers (look no further than the 2006 season when the Pats' No. 1 wide receiver was Reche Caldwell), New England's already-shaky defense could be in trouble against the suddenly potent Bills offense.

Patriots.com breaks down the concerns about the secondary:
With Chung out, the Patriots are dangerously thin and inexperienced at safety. Josh Barrett has started the first two games of the season – his first two games in a Patriots uniform. Sergio Brown has also gotten playing time in the first two weeks, in just his second season since joining the team as an undrafted rookie out of Notre Dame off the practice squad midway through last year. James Ihedigbo also has seen some run in the early going. Ross Ventrone was promoted from the practice squad this weekend. But none of the mix could be considered a known commodity or proven playmaker. Barrett seems to have the most potential of the group, but let’s not forget he’s already playing with a cast on his right hand, while Ihedigbo is more experience on special teams than defense in his career.
The Bills, who Vegas pegged as 8.5-point home underdogs earlier in the week, might have their best chance in years to beat the Patriots. It certainly helps that some of New England's best players will be in their civvies at kickoff. That said, history favors Brady and Belichick. In the last 15 matchups between the two teams, New England is 15-0.

The New England Patriots are prepared to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Who will come out on top? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz go inside the numbers to preview this game. Watch the game on CBS at 1 PM ET.

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Posted on: November 6, 2010 1:34 pm

Week 9 injury report analysis Part I

Posted by Andy Benoit

Jets @ Lions

Everyone is healthy and had full practice participation this week for the Jets. (How often does that happen for a team in November?) The only starter missing from the Lions this Sunday will be safety C.C. Brown. Third-round rookie Amari Spievey (a converted corner) will make his first NFL start in Brown’s place.
D. Stallworth (US Presswire)
Detroit’s two most athletic offensive players, Calvin Johnson (shoulder) and Jahvid Best (knee) are both probable. So are the two most athletic defensive players, LB DeAndre Levy (ankle) and S Louis Delmas (ankle).

Dolphins @ Ravens

Veteran safety Yeremiah Bell, one of the sounder open-field tacklers in the NFL outside the numbers, is questionable with a toe injury. If he can’t play, either Tyrone Culver or Reshad Jones will start.

The Ravens will be missing a safety of their own – Tom Zbikowski (out with a foot). Fortunately, they recently got Ed Reed – the 88th best player of all-time, according to the NFL Films Top 100 – back. Making his season debut for Baltimore will be wideout Donte’ Stallworth, who has been out with a foot. Of course, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh having come aboard, it’s hard to imagine Stallworth getting many balls thrown his way.

Patriots @ Browns

Are there two coaches more deceptive with injury news than Belichick and Mangini? Belichick is telling us this week that S Patrick Chung (knee) and WR Deion Branch (hamstring) are both questionable. He told us the same thing last week. Chung sat in Week 8 while Branch played. Both guys were in full pads for Friday’s practice.

LB Brandon Spikes was limited in practice with a knee injury, though he’s probable. Spikes has been a very solid first and second down player in his first NFL season thus far. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out again.

Both of Mangini’s veteran quarterbacks continue to nurse high ankle sprains (Seneca Wallace is questionable; Jake Delhomme is doubtful). Three of the team’s best run-defending front seven players were limited in practice and are questionable: LB Matt Roth (hamstring), DL Shaun Rogers (ankle) and DE Kenyon Coleman (knee).

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Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:25 pm

Week 8 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Vikings @ Patriots

You may have heard that there is some question as to whether Brett Favre will play on his fractured ankle. With the exception of a few limited drills on Friday, Favre did not practice all week. But he expects to play. The only other Vikings who are classified as anything worse than “probable” are CB Lito Sheppard and G Chris DeGeare. But nobody cares about either of those guys because they’re not Brett Favre.

Read into the Patriots injury report what you will. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out. WR Deion Branch (hamstring), S Patrick Chung (knee) and DE Mike Wright (knee) are questionable. Expect Branch and Chung to play. Also, in true Patriot spirit, QB Tom Brady is probable with a right shoulder.

Seahawks @ Raiders

Five of Seattle’s questionable players did not participate in practice: OT Russell Okung (ankle), CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring), DT Brandon Mebane (calf), RB Michael Robinson (hamstring) and CB Walter Thurmond (head). The Jennings and Thurmond injuries catch your eye because it could mean Seattle has to rely heavily on undrafted second-year pros Roy Lewis and Nate Ness. Expect backup safety Jordan Babineaux to get work at corner (Babineaux has been very effective in this role before).

The injuries at cornerback may actually be offset by Oakland’s injuries at wide receiver. Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) are both out. Backup wideout Nick Miller (ankle) and go-to guy Zach Miller are also questionable (foot). Both were limited in practice this week. The man in charge of throwing these players the ball, QB Bruce Gradkowski, is questionable with the shoulder problem that has sidelined him the past few weeks.

Steelers @ Saints

Saints running backs Reggie Bush (fibula) and Pierre Thomas (ankle) are both out. Both players are frustrated, as they originally expected to be back by now. An X-ray last.

Saturday revealed that Bush’s fibula still had a visible fracture; Thomas is currently on crutches.

The Saints do not expect to get star cornerback Jabari Greer back this week. He’s listed as doubtful after sitting out Week 7 with a shoulder injury. The good news is No. 2 corner Tracy Porter IS expected to return after missing the last three games with a knee injury.
Aside from starting defensive ends Brett Keisel (hamstring) and Aaron Smith (triceps), the Steelers are healthy. Keisel and Smith may not be household names, but they’re significant pieces in Dick LeBeau’s defense. This will be the first time that Pittsburgh truly leans on first-round pick Ziggy Hood.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 9:11 pm

Hatin' on Josh Scobee

Posted by Andy Benoit

Has there ever been so much backlash about an AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award? Has there ever been any backlash about any Special Teams Player of the Week awards?

The football world seems to be up in arms about Scobee’s 59-yard game-winning field goal beating out Patrick Chung’s blocked punt that led to a quick touchdown and blocked field goal that led to an even quicker touchdown.
J. Scobee
Look at some of these critical tweets:

@NYPost_Hubbuch: Yes, Josh Scobee winning AFC STPOW is a complete travesty. Everyone knows 59-yard, game-winning FGs at the gun happen all the time ...

@SI_PeterKing: Patrick Chung had one of the best special teams performances in recent history and lost POTW to Josh Scobee. That’s real smart.
@cbssports: Chung was robbed. Maybe Pats blamed Moss...

@ kjpmacdonald: Absolute crime for Josh Scobee to win AFC Special Teams award over Patrick Chung. Made kicks happen every game. Blocked kicks and punts don’t

@BenVolinPBP: Josh Scobee's GW 59 yard field goal was amazing, but how does Patrick Chung not get AFC Special Teams Player of the Week?

@shalisemyoung: Jags K Josh Scobee, he of 59yd game-winner, beats out Patrick Chung for AFC special teams POTW. not cool.

@hugesunglasses: Josh Scobee, NOT Patrick Chung was named AFC Special Teams Player of the week. LOL

Josh Scobee was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the fifth time in his career.

(Okay, that last one isn’t really critical, it’s from the Jaguars after all, but isn’t it interesting that Scobee has wont he award five times? Sorta interesting, at least?)

All these came from a simple Twitter search of Josh Scobee. And it’s not like we skipped over the pro-Scobee tweets. That one from the Jaguars was pretty much it.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 10:29 am

Hot Routes 10.05.10: Everybody Pat Chung Tonight

Posted by Will Brinson

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • Albert Breer of the Boston Globe page/NE">Patriots+news">thinks that the defensive system is "taking shape." And it is the shape of Patrick Chung. Okay, he didn't write that -- but that was a critical bounceback game for a Pats D.
  • Perhaps it started, as Ian Rapoport notes in today's Boston Herald , from Bill Belichick's speech to the team -- a classic "you are the underdogs" rant that we all really want, since, you know, there's nothing better than a bunch of Bostonians still trying to pretend they're the scrappy fellas.
  • Matty at The Phinsider calls the Dolphins' loss lots of mean names, but when reality replaces anger for him, it sounds pretty clear that he's concerned for the future, even though it's only Week 6.
  • Armando Salguero writes in the Miami Herald that no one on the special teams unit should be safe . Of course, he also writes that they've been "flirting with disaster for three years" (cue the Molly Hatchet and head to the archives for some scrutiny!). But yeah, when you suck at your job you can totally be fired.
  • A bunch of San Diego restaurants are showing Chargers games even though the games are supposed to be blacked out. The NFL, predictably, is not happy about this. And the restaurants don't care . It's a rebel state that California.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:36 am

'Special' performance by New England

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

P. Chung blocks a FG that New England would return for a TD (AP).

Tom Brady was efficient but not electric Monday night. Randy Moss didn’t make a catch. New England’s running game was adequate. And the Patriots were outgained 412-272.

Sure Miami’s offense in the second half was terrible, but how in the hell did New England pull out the 41-14 victory when the team was good but not great?

Easy: special teams. 

Going into the second half behind 7-6, New England responded immediately as Brandon Tate scorched the Dolphins with a 103-yard kick return, his second special teams score of the season. Then, it was Patrick Chung’s turn. He blocked a punt and then blocked a field goal (not to mention the pick-6 he had against Miami QB Chad Henne).

For the Patriots, special teams were the way to break open a game that was shaping up to be a close one.

“We’ve talked a lot about the second half this week,” Brady said in his postgame news conference. “That’s a great way to start it. You’re getting hyped and throwing the ball around and ready to start, and then you see Brandon Tate run by and you take a seat on the bench. I’ll take it every time.”

Said Bill Belichick in his meeting with the media: “We got a great block from Sammy Morris, Tate turned it on and he split it. Other than the one vs. Cincinnati, Brandon has been close several times this year. He didn’t need much room. Those guys did a great job of blocking, and Tate hit it.”

Even more impressive, though, was Chung. It’s only his second year in the league, and in 19 career games coming into tonight, he had accumulated two INTs and 41 tackles. Safe to say that tonight was the highlight of his career.

“Great performance,” Brady said during an ESPN interview. “He’s been ready to break out. He’s worked his butt off all of season. He really showed tonight what he’s capable of. We need more of it. It’s the fourth week of the year, and we have a lot more football to go.”

Naturally, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano wasn’t nearly as impressed with his team.

“What we put out there on film on special teams, it was a mess,” he said. “It’s embarrassing and these fans deserve better than that.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com