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New England Patriots Links 12/16/11 - AFC Scout: Pats Defense Must Maintain Gap Discipline

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Christopher Price gets one AFC scout's breakdown of Patriots-Broncos.

What makes Tim Tebow unique is his ability to run the football naturally -- but not in an elusive sense. When he does run it, it comes from non-traditional sets and actions, non-pro style actions in the backfield and other things you don’t traditionally see. In addition, he is not easy to bring down. He’s a big athlete who is strong. That presents big challenges for defenders, who must maintain gap discipline and not overrun the play when getting after the ballcarrier.

Danny Picard reports veteran CB Nate Jones said Tim Tebow's mobility will be a challenge for the Patriots' defense.

"He scrambles around, he extends plays, he makes it a very challenging game to prepare for," said Jones. "You don't want to blow it out of proportion, but you want to take it in stride and prepare how you do every week."

"We know what his strengths are, we know what his weaknesses are. But any time you have a quarterback that's mobile, it definitely is a challenge for a defense."

"... it just comes down to, when you have scrambling quarterback, somebody has to be responsible for him," said Jones. "You can't just let him run all over the field. It presents definitely a different challenge, than when you've got a guy who just sits in the pocket."

"He's a big, strong guy," added Jones. "That's one of his strengths. He's fearless, and he's a competitor. They're hot right now. They're playing well. So, again, we don't want to blow it out of proportion, but that's what we're getting ready for."

Mike Petraglia notes Matthew Slater prays for Tim Tebow because 'he's putting himself out there on a limb.'

"I truly have a lot of respect for him," Slater told on Thursday. "I think he’s a great ambassador for Christ and for the faith. I know he’s taken some criticism for how outspoken he is but I feel like, as Christians, we’re all called to be outspoken for Christ and take a stand and he’s definitely done that. I have a ton of respect for him."

"I definitely pray for the guy because he’s putting himself out there on a limb. But he’s doing it for the faith and I can relate. I understand his beliefs and where he’s coming from. So, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him."



  • Ian Rapoport reports teams that play the Broncos have to adjust on defense when the offense gains a player but the defense doesn't.
  • Mark Farinella says DB Nate Jones knows Tebow best.
  • Jeff Howe thinks Tim Tebow and the Broncos can be contained if the Patriots stay disciplined on defense.
  • Dan Duggan mentions the problems of dedicating a player to spy Tim Tebow and thinks it's unlikely the Patriots will use that strategy.
  • Paul Kenyon looks at whether the Patriots will put a spy on Tim Tebow or play him straight.
  • Michael Whitmer reports the Patriots have to figure out how to play for 60 minutes, to keep Tebow from working his magic.
  • Mike Reiss shares some soundbites from CBS analysts Boomer Esiason and Shannon Sharpe on Sunday's Patriots-Broncos matchup.
  • Gary Dzen discovers 'Gronking' is better than 'Tebowing'.
  • Mike Reiss offers some quick hits from the media-access period in the Patriots' locker room. There has been a faster tempo at practice.
  • Mike Reiss takes a closer look at Tim Tebow and some key stats.
  • Dan Duggan notes Tracy White's play at LB has improved with four tackles in each of the last five games, since his not-so-good first game at against the Giants.
  • Kirk Mnihane answers his Patriots mailbag: All Tim Tebow, all the time.
  • Mike Reiss posts the transcript of his weekly online chat.
  • Greg A. Bedard takes an in depth look at Tom Brady's end zone interception against the Redskins to see if he had a right to be mad. (3.40 min. video)
  • Mike Reiss offers a game-by-game breakdown of base vs. sub defense.
  • Mike Reiss highlights Bill Belichick's breakdown of last week's win over the Redskins.
  • Ian Rapoport Patriots Notebook: Nate Solder will be going home to play the Broncos Sunday, but he's rooting for the Patriots this time; Sterling Moore is back with the Patriots after getting cut last week; Malcolm Williams was released which may signal a Ross Ventrone return; Patriots are bracing for the run; Defense is excited about facing a run-first team; Pats plan to leave for Denver after practice today, a day earlier than usual for road trips; Welker doesn't attribute Tebow's comebacks to luck, but to skill - the same skill and confidence the Patriots get from Brady.
  • Julian Benbow Patriots Notebook: Forget Tebow, Pats need to be on the lookout for QB-eating LB Von Miller; Panthers have OL guru Dave Magazu who's one of the best in the business; Aaron Hernandez joked he has some work to do to catch up with Rob Gronkowski's TDs; Practice and injury updates.
  • Jim Lazar suggests Belichick's strategy should be to let Tebow have the lead going into the 4th quarter, and makes his Week 15 picks. Patriots 31-17.
  • Globe Staff make their Week 15 picks. Greg A. Bedard and Shalise Manza Young pick New England to win, Chris Gasper and Jim McBride pick Denver.


  • Andy Benoit (CBS Sports) Film Room: Broncos vs. Patriots preview.
  • Clifton Brown (Sporting News) Dynamic duel: Look for three issues to determine winner of Brady-Tebow matchup.
  • Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Patriots-Broncos matchup of the day: RB Willis McGahee vs. Patriots run defense.
  • Ian Rapoport (Sporting News) Vince Wilfork coming on strong down the stretch.
  • Kevin Fishbain (Pro Football Weekly) Ochocinco remains odd man out in Patriots offense.
  • Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) After further review: Broncos rush benefiting from Allen's creativity.
  • Lee Rasizer (Sporting News) Denver defense better-equipped to deal with Brady.
  • Les Carpenter (Yahoo! Sports) Debunking the myths of Tim Tebow.
  • Marc Sessler ( Matt Damon lauds Brady: "We'll never see anybody like him again."
  • Troy Aikman (Sporting News) Hot Reads: Even elite players like Tom Brady need coaching.
  • James Walker (ESPN) Scouts Inc. on Devin McCourty.
  • Prim Siripipat (ESPN) AccuScore for Pats-Broncos.
  • ESPN Sports Science play of the week: The science behind Gronk's rumble. (2.25 min. video)
  • Report (Nat'l Football Post) NFP Friday forecast.
  • Mark Wald (Cold Hard Football Facts) Gut instinct: Week 15.