Tag Archives: Brian Tyms

New England Patriots: Chris Harper moving up Wide Receiver Depth Chart

With injuries tearing down the Patriots wide receiver depth chart undrafted rookie free agent Chris Harper has been working his way up the depth chart. Harper has played well so far this season not only as a receiver but also as a return man on special teams. We all know Bill Belichick loves versatility in his players and with Harper showing his ability to do multiple things on the field

via www.heraldnews.com
via http://www.heraldnews.com

Harper has been receiving a lot of snaps with injuries to Edelman, LaFell, Dobson and Tyms and so far has made the most of his opportunities. It seems very likely that Brian Tyms is going to end up on the season ending injured reserve and Brandon LaFell possibly starting the year on the physically unable to perform list and Aaron Dobson battling yet another injury the Patriots receiver depth chart would take a hit and need players to step up, and Harper could be that player. Through two preseason games Harper has tallied 12 receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown as well as averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 23.8 yards per kickoff return.

via blog.masslive.com
via blog.masslive.com

Though it is just preseason and can never take anything into full effect Harper has gained the attention of coaches and players with his increase of snaps and production. The first preseason game third year man Josh Boyce was the main target for Jimmy Garoppolo, week two it was Harper who edged out Boyce on both offense and special teams. Boyce was not targeted at all on offense and didn’t receive any returns on special teams and I believe didn’t see a single snap in Friday’s win against the Saints. With the lack of depth the Patriots currently have at wide receiver the fact that Boyce didn’t receive a snap goes to show that New England doesn’t see him in their plans for 2015 and maybe the future. Harper seemed to have taken Boyce’s shot at the 53rd roster spot and will continue to fight for his spot over the next few weeks of practice and preseason. I would love to see Harper make the final 53 man roster with how he has played so far this preseason and wouldn’t want to risk losing him by placing him on the practice squad. I think the Patriots receiving corps should look like Edelman LaFell, Amendola, Dobson, and Harper, if all are healthy. Harper may not always be active or see a lot of playing time but keeping him on the roster would get him experience and playing time in practice as well as not risk losing him to another team by placing him on the practice squad.

New England Patriots: Lots Of Questions, Few Answers

We’ve now reached the halfway point in the pre-season (1-1) after the Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-24 Saturday night behind Jimmy Garoppolo…and few of the Patriots questions have been answered. Let’s take a quick look at where the team stands as regular season quickly (yes, I’m smiling) approaches.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo leads Pats to comeback win vs The Saint (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/NewEnglandPatriots.Com)
Jimmy Garoppolo leads Pats to comeback 26-24 win vs The Saint (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.Com)

The jury is still out (oops, bad choice of words there) on Jimmy G. At times he looks like the QB of the future. Saturday night’s scramble leading to a TD pass as the 1st half wound down is an example of him at his best. Unfortunately, in the same game, his interception was an obvious mistake that hopefully he will learn from. As highlighted in the Patriots.com post game Game Notes– “When he came in to replace Tom Brady he executed a two-minute drill prior to halftime and completed 5-of-5 passes for 65 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to WR Chris Harper.

Patriot fans need to take a step away from the immediacy of the team need (re: Brady possible suspension) and realize this is just his second year in the NFL. Very few QBs are instant successes and the growing pains can be frustrating for both the player and the rabid team followers.

“Last week the pressure got to me a little bit, and it’s never good to get sacked or hit that many times,”

Defensive Secondary

The only things that seem certain at this stage are:

  • All the worry when the Patriots lost Revis Island, Kyle Arrington and Brandon Browner was justified
  • Malcolm Butler still seems like the real thing. His limited play in the pre-season games is an indication Head Coach Bill Belichick has seen enough of him in practice to feel confident in him and needs to look at others in game situations. How things have changed for Butler since “the play”, going from a question mark that others gave up on to the Patriots best corner!
  • CB Tarell Brown made his Patriots debut after missing the first preseason game against Green Bay with mixed results
  • Devin McCourty, an above average safety, is a below average CB. He has acknowledged he isn’t comfortable at his old position.

Commenting on his play Saturday night in New Orleans he was honest (tsk, tsk, a Patriot player actually saying something) when he said “It didn’t feel great and I don’t think it looked great.” He also acknowledged he doesn’t have much say in where he plays “You can’t control where you play. Everyone’s playing a position for the team, and overall, what’s best for the team. I don’t think what you think or feel matters.”

Devin McCourty breaks up a pass intended for Brandon Coleman in the first half of Pats win (Bill Feig-AP)

Offensive Line

  • Like last season at this time, the offensive line is still a work in progress. The return of Sebastion Volmer and Nate Solder to game shape will give rookies Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson a chance to breathe as they adapt to the speed of the NFL.  Neither Mason nor Jackson has yet made that step-up expected of them, but give them time as both show promise and are still learning the game at a whole new level. The hope is that the unit jells as the season progresses, as they did in 2014.
  • Saturday night rookie free agent David Andrews made his second straight start at center

Receiving Depth

Chris Harper against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com)
Chris Harper against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com)
  • With wide receivers dropping like flies my early optimism for this year is quickly getting clouded with question marks. Brandon LaFell still hasn’t played a down, Brian Tyms may be out for the season with a foot injury, Aaron Dobson’s return to health was an illusion, Josh Boyce continues to shine in practice and disappear at game time. Key players (Julian Edelman-injury/Rob Gronkowski/Scott Chandler-injury) continue to watch from the sidelines, so it is hard to have a true evaluation of just how strong/weak the Pats are, but rookie Chris Harper has taken the ball and run with it in their absence. Seven year veteran Brandon Gibson has looked good, but also was injured late in the game.

The depth looks so bad now that Mike Reiss wrote in his Sunday columnIf (Kenbrell)Thompkins doesn’t stick with the Raiders, I could see the Patriots having interest in his return” In addition the Pats reportedly brought Reggie Wayne in for a physical (read my Reggie Wayne article written just before Training Camp)

There’s more, but that’s enough for now to keep fans thinking. No panic, but concern, is in the air. Just keep thinking, Bill Belichick is the best Head Coach in the NFL and he finds ways to win. That’s a fact that can’t be denied.

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

New England Patriots: The Battle For Fourth Wide Receiver Is Heating Up In Foxborough


Going into training camp this year, the New England Patriots were set to have a battle for the number four wide receiver spot between Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms. Now that the team is almost three weeks into training camp, the battle has turned into a multiple player fight for that ever so important roster spot. A multitude of players have emerged and some have re-established themselves as candidates for the roster.

Throughout the first stretch of training camp, Aaron Dobson was one player that raised eyebrows. After finally having a healthy offseason, Dobson showed how healthy he was by making diving catches and jumping over defenders for the ball. It helps that fellow receiver Brandon LaFell has started camp on the physically unable to perform list, giving a lot of the reps with Tom Brady and company to Dobson. However, Dobson has yet again been slowed down by the injury bug as of late. He has since returned to practice, but other players have now established themselves as candidates for the job.

Brian Tyms has also fought the injury bug so far in camp, but he has also come back and continued to fight for his job. Early on in camp, Tyms saw most of his reps come with Jimmy Garoppolo and the second team offense. Now, he is seeing time with Tom Brady and the starters from time to time. Tyms looks like he has worked on his ability to be a more diverse route runner, as opposed to being able to just run go routes. At times however, he has looked a bit sluggish.

during the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

For example, on Monday he was not looking for the ball on a short crossing pattern when Tom Brady fired the ball right into his chest. The ball bounced out of his hands and into the arms of Dont’a Hightower. He is sporting the red non-contact jersey so I wouldn’t expect to see him in action on Thursday’s game against the Packers.

Josh Boyce has to be the biggest surprise of training camp thus far. After spending his second season on the practice squad, not many thought that Boyce would have much of a chance of making the roster. Nevertheless, the 2013 fourth-round pick is proving the doubters wrong and showing that he belongs in the National Football League.

He has never been able to gain the trust of Tom Brady, however slowly but surely it looks as if Brady is becoming more and more comfortable with him. This was never more evident than on Monday when Boyce toasted rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts for a sixty-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady. Boyce has consistently beat Roberts this summer. We will truly see how much Boyce has progressed in preseason games when the bright lights come on.

Furthermore, unknowns such as Jonathan Krause and un-drafted rookie Chris Harper have tried to make a name for themselves with the injuries in camp. Krause has had his fair share of troubles, but he has pro-level experience and more experience in the Patriots system.

Harper is a small wide receiver at 5-11, 185 pounds, however he can fly down the field and runs crisp routes. At times last week when Dobson, Edelman, and Tyms were all out of practice Harper saw plenty of time with the first team offense, and he was fairly impressive. He wasn’t intimidated by playing along side of Tom Brady.

In conclusion, the fourth wide receiver spot on the New England Patriots is for sure one of the most competitive battles in training camp this summer. Multiple players are fighting for jobs on the roster, therefore those players will need to prevail during preseason competitions and during joint practices next week against the Saints. In the end, I still believe that Aaron Dobson will win the job because he has the highest ceiling and he is finally starting to show it.