Patriots Mailbag ‘The Barth Bag’ Week 9

Answering all of your weekly Patriots questions


Welcome to Week 9 of The Barth Bag. Great mix of questions this week, from gameplan specifics to Patriots nostalgia. Of course, if you want more Patriots-Ravens coverage, be sure to click that ‘NFL’ tab above for all of our video and written content from Gillette this week. Before you jump to that though, here’s some questions…

Brown missed practice Friday, and his status is very important going forward as he’s the Ravens best receiver by far. I think Jones is fast enough to stick with him, as long as there is help over the top, which there should be with the Pats playing zone. What’s tricky about Brown is he runs 40% of his snaps out of the slot, which allows the Ravens to disguise him pre-snap more than a normal number one wide receiver. Shutting him down and forcing Lamar Jackson to look at second and third reads is a huge key to stopping the Baltimore offense.

Great question. No he won’t for two reasons. First, it’s all about winning the game on Sunday. I’m sure Bill would say something along the lines of ‘If you’re not trying your best to win each week, what’s the point?’ The other, perhaps more impactful thing, is that there is still a lot of football left to be played between how and a hypothetical playoff matchup. Both of these teams will evolve and change what they do between now and then. Things that may help the Patriots on Sunday may not be relevant if the teams meet again in January. So if there is an angle they think they can exploit, why shelve it and possibly waste it now?

Honestly, not too much. Bill Belichick told us he’d almost exclusively been practicing with the scout team before this week, so he hasn’t had much/any work with Brady and the starting offense since training camp. I think he may get 10-20 plays, but I’m not expecting a breakout game for him just yet. That being said, the bye week comes at almost the perfect time for him as it will give the Pats two weeks to get him fully immersed in the offense. Coming out of the bye, I think we could see his numbers pop. By the way, all of that goes for Mohamed Sanu as well. This offense could look completely revolutionized when we see them in Philly in a few weeks.

This is just an educated guess (no sources or anything), but I believe the Patriots traded for Sanu to keep him here long term. Numerous reports show the Pats have coveted him for some time, and his skillset is a perfect match for what they like their wide receivers to do. Next season will be a contract year for Sanu, with a cap hit of $6.5 million. I wouldn’t be shocked if this offseason, or even during training camp, the Patriots give him a few more years (with more money) and knock a couple million off that cap hit. Something in the ballpark of 3 years/$30 million, backloaded.

Last I heard (and this was more than a month ago), he’s still rehabbing from an injury. Given the state of their offensive line, you have to think if the Patriots could have brought Allen in so far this year, they already would have. There just may not be a reunion in the cards for 2019.

The Ravens? No. Their fans? Oh, they hate me. If you’ve been following CLNS since last season, you’ll remember why. Evan and I previewed the Ravens playoff matchup with the Chargers last season. In the video I am less than optimistic about the Ravens chances, specifically citing their quarterback as the reason. Well, the Ravens fans found it, and it is still our most commented on Patriots video of all-time. If you have a chance, go through and look at some of these comments. They’re even funnier now that we know what ended up happening in that game.

I’m normally the Patriots nostalgia guy, so I’m a little disappointed in myself for not having a great answer to this question. They just haven’t had that many nicknames. Boomtower is pretty cool…Sweet Feet has always been a personal favorite, but none really stand out. This isn’t just a Patriots problem though, sports as a whole has gotten lazy with nicknames. Shortening somebody’s name (ex. Gronk) doesn’t count as a real nickname for me. Neither do initials/numbers (AB). Does ‘The Hoodie’ count?

If you have a nickname I missed, and/or want to get your questions in for next week, you can find me on Twitter @RealAlexBarth. And as always, make sure you’re following along with @PatriotsCLNS on Twitter for complete Pats coverage from Baltimore!