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Posts tagged with "Houston Texans"

When the light is on, Adam Butler has shown what the Patriots saw in him.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Few rookies are consistent. Even fewer undrafted rookies are.

Adam Butler isn’t an exception.

There are series where you don’t see No. 70 even though he’s present. There are snaps where the jump off the ball isn’t there, or the containment slips away. But when the free-agent defensive lineman out of Vanderbilt has the light switch flipped towards the ceiling, he’s hard to mark as absent. He’s hard to stop.

Butler can be 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds worth of power, quickness and positional flexibility when the wires are fastened tight. And in the second half against the Houston Texans on Saturday night, they were. The Vanderbilt product hit on all three filaments. He hit hard.

Butler lined up between three-technique defensive tackle and seven-technique defensive end as the New England Patriots’ second preseason game wore on at NRG Stadium. For a former offensive lineman, and one who went on to lead the Commodores’ defense in sacks last fall, that’s notable.

Also notable was the way he shouldered into the B-gap opposite Texans guard David Quessenberry in the third quarter. From there, Butler halted third-round Texas running back D’Onta Foreman after a gain of two, slowing traffic as veterans Alan Branch and David Harris closed in.

That kept Houston out of the end zone, at least for the time being.

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The Cardinals roster continues to churn.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver room was warned. They were the ones on the chopping block, although we all assumed it would be for a newer, shinier wide receiver.

Well, for Marquis Bundy, his time with the team in camp is over, but it wasn’t a wide receiver brought in.

Instead the Arizona Cardinals continue to bring in healthy bodies to fill their void at inside linebacker.

This time, it is 2016 undrafted rookie Ryan Langford.

From the team:

“Langford (6-4, 235) was with the Houston Texans during training camp and the preseason in 2016 after signing with the team as an undrafted rookie free agent from New Mexico. He was released by Houston on August 30. Langford played his final two collegiate seasons at New Mexico (2014-15) after beginning his career at Iowa Western where he earned All-Midwest Football Conference honors in 2013. He played in 13 games as a senior at New Mexico in 2015 and had 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three passes defensed and an interception.”

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The Packers know they haven’t had the same success as the New England Patriots and they need homefield advantage.

GREEN BAY, WI – NOVEMBER 30: Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shake hands following the NFL game at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

There are just six teams in the NFL that have active postseason streaks extending two or more seasons.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans have made the playoffs the past two seasons and neither have made it past the divisional round. The Pittsburgh Steelers have reached the playoffs the past three seasons, moving one additional round each season before elimination (wild card in 2014, divisional in 2015, conference championship in 2016). The Seattle Seahawks have made five consecutive postseasons, reaching two Super Bowls with one victory and three divisional round exits.

The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are tied for the active lead with eight consecutive postseason appearances, but they’ve gone in vastly different directions. The longest postseason streaks in history are nine consecutive years by the 1975-83 Dallas Cowboys and the 2002-10 Indianapolis Colts.

Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 2010 and lost two additional conference title games in 2014 and 2016 to go with two wild card round exits and three divisional round losses. After losing in the wild card round in 2009 and in the divisional round in 2010, the Patriots have reached six straight conference title games with three Super Bowl appearances.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows the Patriots’ success looms large over the collective head of the Packers according to his interview with Monday Morning Quarterback.

“Of course you hear about it,” Rodgers said. “I get asked about it, I got asked about it last week—this idea that the Packers embrace mediocrity. I think what we’ve done the last eight years`making the playoffs, there’s only a couple other teams that have ever done that. New England, actually, currently is on the same streak as us, making the playoff for eight straight years. That’s tough to do, especially with the parity of this league and how they pair up division champions each year to play each other in the same conference. We’ve sustained success, we just haven’t sustained it on the top level. We haven’t won more than one Super Bowl. We’ve also been to three NFC championship games and none of them home. So that’s how we look at it. We’ve got to get one of those at home, because we are tough to beat at home.

“I don’t feel like our window is closing here. I feel like this window is going to be open for a while. And in order for some of that stuff to go away, the outside noise, we’re going to have to win another Super Bowl. It would be disappointing if we were only able to win one in my time here. Hopefully we can get one of those done.”

The Patriots serve as the benchmark for every NFL team over the past twenty seasons and it’s pretty unfair for all of the other successful squads during that time. Not only do they have to face the Patriots on the field, but they also have to compete with them from a legacy standpoint.

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Our offseason countdown continues with the Number 5 Most Memorable Moment of the 2016 season.

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are at last. The coveted Top 5. The Creme de la Creme. All places I have never finished in any contest that wasn’t eating related. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this part of my countdown of the Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2016 since February, and I’m incredibly stoked that it’s finally here.

But before we dive in, the list so far:

20. The New England Patriots trade Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a bag of peanuts.
19. LeGarrette Blount runs through the entire Seahawks line on his way to the end zone.
18. A Chris Long strip sack helps to ice the game against the New York Jets.
17. The Patriots defense shuts down Trevor Siemian and the Denver Broncos on the road.
16. LeGarrette Blount owns Byron Maxwell with an epic hurdle.
15. A different kind of Malcolm Go highlights a convincing road win against the San Francisco 49ers.
14. Chris Hogan finds some nice redemption against his old team in the form of a beautiful 53 yard TD.
13. Shea McClellin leaps the line to block a FG against the Baltimore Ravens.
12. LeGarrette Blount sets a franchise record with his 15th rushing TD of the year against the Denver Broncos.
11. Tom Brady hits Chris Hogan for a 79 yard TD to ice the game against the Baltimore Ravens.
10. Rob Gronkowski sets a Patriots All-Time receiving TD record by notching his 69th against the Buffalo Bills.
9. A kickoff return for a TD highlights a historic night for Dion Lewis in the AFC Divisional Round against the Houston Texans.
8. Dont’a Hightower blows up Andy Dalton for a safety to give the Patriots some much-needed momentum against the Cincinnati Bengals.
7. Michael Floyd decapitates Tony Lippett to spring Julian Edelman for a 77 yard touchdown.
6. A Jacoby Brissett naked bootleg highlights a Thursday night shutout of the Houston Texans.

To kick off the Top 5, we go to Week 5, and the return of the Top One.

5. Tom Brady returns from suspension to the tune of 406 yards and 3 TDs in an absolute beatdown of the Cleveland Browns.

Usually, a 1 PM matchup between a perennial AFC Powerhouse and a perennial AFC bottom dweller is about as far as it gets from must-see TV. However, when the New England Patriots traveled to Cleveland on October 9th, 2016 to play the Browns, there were way more eyes on the game than anyone had any business having. It was, after all, Tom Brady’s first game back from his Deflategate suspension. A two year long saga of the utmost absurdity was finally reaching its pitiful conclusion. The world had waited with bated breath for the Pats to stumble, but New England had gone a remarkable 3-1 without Brady under center. Now he was back, healthy, rested, and ready to roll.

Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes (5) scrambles in the pocket before passing in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

With Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer entering his 14th season in the NFL at 37 years old, many around the Cardinals’ organization have alluded to finding a potential successor sooner rather than later.

That’s why ESPN writer Dan Graziano believes Arizona’s “dream scenario” for the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft would be to find a quarterback of the future.

Arizona probably would have taken Paxton Lynch in the first round last year if he’d fallen to them, and they’re in position this year to find a guy they like and can groom behind Carson Palmer for a year or two. Let’s say it’s Patrick Mahomes — a project quarterback who’s going to need time before he’s ready. The Cardinals believe they have that time and need someone to follow Palmer whenever he’s done. The second key part of the Cardinals’ dream is that Palmer stays healthy and has one more really big year left in him. But that feels like the part of the dream that you’re just about to get to when you wake up to use the bathroom, and then by the time you get back to bed you can’t remember what you were dreaming about even though you know it was good and you were desperate to find out what was about to happen next. Hate that.

The Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers’ dream scenarios also involve taking a quarterback in the first round.

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HOUSTON (AP) — Benardrick McKinney is often overshadowed on a Houston defense filled with first-round picks.

But this season it’s been hard to ignore the work of the linebacker, who leads the team and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 101 tackles, helping the defense remain the strongest part of the team despite the loss of J.J. Watt.

McKinney is in his second year in Houston after the Texans drafted him from Mississippi State in the second round. He had a solid rookie season, appearing in 14 games with 11 starts and finishing with 63 tackles.

This year he moved into a full-time role as starter and has thrived. He has four games with 10 or more tackles, including a career-high 16 against New England in Week 3. He also has four sacks to be the only player in the NFL this year — and just the third player in franchise history — with at least 100 tackles and four sacks in a season.

“He started last year growing and developing toward the last part of the season,” defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “He understood the defense. He understood how he has to play the game and puts himself in good position. He gets around the ball quite a bit.”

McKinney , who had 12 tackles last week against San Diego, believes his improvement this season is simply a product of him being more comfortable.

“Last year I was too worried about messing up and stuff … it comes easy now,” he said. “When you understand the defense you don’t have to think a lot, just go out there and play.”

That understanding has been helped by his relationship with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, who had a distinguished 14-year NFL career and won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. McKinney raves about Vrabel and brings him up constantly when asked about his work this season.

“Coach Vrabel does an unbelievable job of just putting me in a great position to make plays,” McKinney said. “I’m just trying to help the defense out, force three-and-outs, get the defense lined up, play my style of football and just try to help us win games.”

Vrabel thinks McKinney’s health this season is another reason for his success after he struggled through a knee injury and a concussion early last year that set him back a bit.

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