Patriots: Mixed grades on midseason report card

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Date sent: 2017/11/06 06:56:46
The Patriots have been far from perfect <a href=""></a> over the first half of the season, starting with a stunning, season-opening setback to the Kansas City Chiefs that quickly quelled that preposterous pigskin prediction of them going 19-0.
What they have been is pretty resilient when it comes to dealing with adversity, be it a lack of communication on defense or a lack of continuity on offense. That has them sitting at 6-2 during their bye week, good for first place in the AFC East and tied for tops in the conference.
But it’s not a stretch to think they could be anywhere from 2-6 to 5-3.
Perhaps Brandin Cooks doesn’t make that phenomenal, winning catch against the Houston Texans. Maybe the New York Jets are the recipient of a favorable call rather than the Patriots. Or the Atlanta Falcons or Los Angeles Chargers don’t take themselves down with self-inflicted wounds.
With that in mind, let’s hand out the midseason grades:
Quarterbacks (B+)
Tom Brady leads the league in attempts (309), completions (206) and yards (2,541). He’s tied for second in fewest interceptions (2), tied for third in touchdowns (16) and is fifth in completion percentage (66.7). Those are super stats. But Brady stunk against the Chiefs and was so-so against the Jets and Chargers with under- and overthrown passes. For some reason, he has frequently hung Chris Hogan out to dry with high balls, and were it not for inept defensive backs, he’d have another three or four picks.
Running backs (B)
James White leads the team and ranks second among the league’s running backs with 43 receptions. He has also excelled in pass protection. Dion Lewis hardly played in the first four games, but has since emerged as the <a href=""></a> lead back and is averaging a robust 4.7 yards a carry. Rex Burkhead missed four games with injured ribs, but nonetheless has 12 receptions and looks like a keeper. Not so for fellow newcomer Mike Gillislee, who has been undependable in short-yardage situations despite rushing for four touchdowns.

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