Game Ball of the Week: Aaron Hernandez

Attention NFL, pick your poison: Let Aaron Hernandez dominate... or go back to zone coverages.

In a game where there weren't really a lot of stand-out players, Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez certainly made his impact felt with a four catch, two touchdown game (and a sixteen yard run on a reverse to go along with it).  While players like Matt Light, Tom Brady, Danny Woodhead, Vince Wilfork, and Jerod Mayo were all in consideration, I ultimately felt that Hernandez deserved the game ball, I'll explain why below.

Dom Capers attempted to slow down the Patriots' pass attack by moving to a lot of tight press coverages.  For the most part, it worked.  Tom wasn't able to pick apart the zone as easily.  And there's no question, this is a copy-cat league, so I would expect a lot of teams to try and copy what the Packers did.

So what is the Patriots answer to those coverages?  In my opinion, the best option the Patriots have is Aaron Hernandez.  When other teams are in man, Hernandez is often matched against linebackers and safeties, players who he can easily beat.  Even when he gets a top cornerback on him, he can still be effective in man coverage with his combination of size, quickness, and speed.  I don't think this was more evident than his touchdown catch in the 2nd quarter, with Packers' all-world cornerback Charles Woodson in man coverage.  

Eventually, teams may have to return to the zone to deal with Hernandez... which will open everything else up for the Patriots.  If the Bills try to go to man on Sunday, look for Aaron Hernandez to get favorable match-ups, and exploit the Bills' defense.

Teams will have to pick their poison.

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