W2W4: New England Patriots – ESPN (blog)
Better protection up front; any O-line personnel changes? It is obvious that the status quo won’t be good enough for the Patriots when it comes to their pass protection. The first question is if we will see any personnel changes. One would think tackles Nate Solder (left) and Sebastian Vollmer (right) will keep their spots, so the focus will be on the interior, where guards Marcus Cannon (left) and Jordan Devey (right) have struggled at times (Devey was benched in the fourth quarter last Sunday). The Chiefs rank fourth in the NFL in sacks per pass play, as outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, along with defensive tackle Dontari Poe, represent as tough of a challenge as the team has seen this year. And that doesn’t even factor in what should be an ear-splitting environment at Arrowhead Stadium.
More time for Gronkowski. It took tight end Rob Gronkowski five games last season before he was playing every snap once he returned from his injured forearm. This year, Gronkowski has been used on a part-time basis as he comes back from his torn ACL — 38 snaps in the season opener, 28 snaps in Week 2 against Minnesota, and 42 snaps last week against Oakland. Gronkowski said this week that he’s ready to start rolling more, and his expected rising playing time should have a significant trickle-down effect on the offense, because outside of Julian Edelman, there hasn’t been much consistency.