Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fixing a Hole

The Patriots were handed their first loss of the young season on Sunday. On Monday, they traded for Josh Gordon.

They fixed a hole.

The question is, which hole did they fix? From where I sit, there are two reasons for the Patriots make this trade. One, the deal was just too good to pass up and they would have made the trade under any circumstances. The other is that they saw a hole in their offense exposed by the Jaguars on Sunday.

My guess is it’s the second one. The Patriots probably felt that Gronk and Hogan were just a bit too easy to cover without any other big receiver weapons. Especially without Edelman. Moving forward, that wouldn’t work. So, the Pats made a move.

It’s a risky move. Gordan has severe substance abuse issues, which have caused him to miss most of the last couple seasons due to suspensions and rehab. So, can he hold it together long enough to stay on the field? That’s a pretty big “if”. On the bright side, as opposed to an injury risk, there’s an assumption that if he is on the field he’ll be performing well. There is also always the question of picking up the complicated Patriots offense. How fluid will he be with only a couple days of practice under his belt? Some receivers pick it up quickly, some never seem to. That’s a lot of questions about a guy who will be your number one reciever on a team hoping for a title.

Unless, that’s not what he is.

What if the “hole” that needs to be filled is the one Edelman is expecting to fill. What if the Patriots aren’t looking for a deep threat in the Super Bowl? What if they’re looking for a number three receiver for the next two weeks? Or, even a decoy for the next two weeks? Just someone that the other defenses have to react to enough to free up Gronk and Hogan. Then, by the time they realize he’s not figuring out the offense or by the time he is off the field again, Edelman is back and they don’t need him anymore.

Asking Josh Gordan to lead your receiving corps for the season is a big risk. Asking him to take some pressure off Gronk and Hogan the next two games? That’s practically a guarantee.

So, that’s the risk-reward the Pats have righht now. It’s also a win-win. Risk? He only makes is two weeks, and is completely ineffective before you need to move on from him for any number of reasons. Well, that’s a win. He was the stopgap you needed. Reward? He shapes up. He stays clean. He’s an all pro wide receiver and helps bring you to a title. Anither win. A win-win, risk-reward is practically unheard of.

Belichick did it again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

One Win Down!

So, not sure what you were expecting out of an opening week game. But, that’s about what it should have been.

The Patriots seem to really hold onto the concept of feeling things out for the beginning of the season, and then fine tuning things once they know what they’ve got. So thats what I felt was going on this weekend. Lots of wondering who can do what, and who can’t do what.

What worked? The offense seemed to have things figured out. Brady was able to hit multiple targets, multiple times. The only concern I’d have in that area is how often he seemed to force it into Gronk. There were a couple times, including the first touchdown, where Gronk was expected to just beat the double coverage on him and make the catch. I understand that he usually makes catches in those situations, and as I said it did result in a score. But moving forward, I hope he doesn’t start feeling like Gronk in the only option, even in good coverage. I hope the other guys can show they can make the catch when needed. Otherwise Gronk is going to have five guys covering him on every third down.

The defense also looked like they had their stuff together. It’s always tough, especially after just one game, to know whether your defense is that good, or their offense is that bad. But I tend to think it was the defense controlling the game, which is a great sign.

It was also a great sign that the announcers were practically begging to call JJ Watt’s name, but didn’t have the chance for a long time. The fact that they kept him off of Brady for so long is another great sign going forward. Even if the Patriots always seem to do a good job controlling him.

Bad stuff? Turnovers. I know the Brady interception was on a tip, and Gronk hasn’t lost a fumble in the last six years or so, and fumbling on a kick return obviously gets you cut the next day. But, that’s clearly an area they should, and will, clean up moving forward.

They’ll need to against Jacksonville.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

It's Opening Day!

It's the day we've all been waiting so long for! The Patriots open their season today against the Texans. And, you know what that means!

It's your first chance to see the New England Patriots Cheerleaders!

Here's at Section 36 we're especially excited to see two rookie cheerleaders finally be able to perform on the big stage. Yes, we may be a bit biased, but they're definitely two of the best on the team.



You probably remember Jonét's wonderful interview with Section 36 a few months ago. She did a wonderful job as we discussed her new NEPC role, and her time as Miss Litchfield County.



Nicolette visited Section 36 during her time as Miss Rhode Island, before making the NEPC squad. When she visited, we discussed her time with that crown, her upcoming appearance at Miss America, and her work with "Be the Match" and bone marrow donations. We'll have to see if she can visit again sometime to ask her about her time as a NEPC rookie!

So, while you're watching Brady and Gronk do their thing against the Texans today, be sure to keep your eye out for Jonét and Nicolette!

I know I will! 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Jonét Nichelle Visits Section 36!

Photo Credit: Robert Hare Photography
Section 36 Patriots has its first visitor! I'm sure you're aware of all the MAO titleholders who have visited with Section 36 to discuss the Red Sox. But, it made much more sense to post this visit here. Jonét Nichelle is the current Miss Litchfield County (CT). She is also in her rookie season as a member of the New England Patriots Cheerleaders! I’m so excited that she was willing to take the time out of her schedule to talk about those topics, and a few more. I'm sure you'll love reading everything she had to say!

So, let’s see what happens when Jonét Nichelle visits Section 36!

Why did you decide to try out for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders team?
I’ve always been part of a team. I began dancing at the age of two and at the age of five, I was competing at dance competitions. By middle school I  became a student athlete and continued running track on the collegiate level as well. As my track and field career was coming to an end, my mom and I began researching other routes for me to take and we came across the New England Patriots Cheerleaders Auditions. It was from that simple google search that I became determined to earn a spot on the team.


How did it feel the first time you all got together as a team?
During bootcamp, I  had the pleasure of become extremely close with just about each and every young lady vying for a spot on the squad; so much so it already felt like we were already on the team! The first time we were all together (vets and rookies) I felt beyond welcomed – as if every woman in that room was more than a teammate.      

What are you most looking forward to about your rookie season?
There’s honestly so much to look forward to.  Just putting on the uniform is an exciting feeling! I’m especially excited to travel to St. Maarten for our calendar trip and video shoot this July. 

What is your personal fitness routine? 
I  am a personal trainer and as my mom calls me, “a gym rat”.  I always begin, or try to incorporate, some sort of cardio into my workouts. Lately I have a newfound interest in the stair master. 
Photo Credit: Catherine Fiehn Photography

You were crowned Miss Litchfield County earlier this year. How did you celebrate winning that title?
I  won my title back in January. It was a last minute decision to compete, so when I  actually won I couldn't believe it. I  didn’t invite many people. Just my mom, godfather and best friend attended. After the pageant, we went to a diner and had a huge feast and discussed my goals and plans to prepare for Miss Connecticut. 

What has surprised you about your time as Miss Litchfield County?
I  can’t say anything has really surprised me during my reign, however I always love to watch a little girl’s face light up with I let her try on my crown and sash!  

How did you select your platform?
My platform is something that is extremely near and dear to my heart; something that I plan to continue to develop and work on even after my “crown days” are over. My platform is “This is Her, She Is ME - finding the strength to walk away” came about after I was fortunate enough to leave a domestic violence relationship. Through my recovery period, I  became more open to sharing my story and trying to help other victims while volunteering with different programs. I  believe your platform should be something you're very passionate about and for me I  wanted to use my voice to reach a bigger audience and help those going through something similar to myself find the proper resources. 

What’s the best part about performing your talent on stage?
My talent for Miss Connecticut was a tap dance to “Don Quixote,
Photo Credit: Dwight Darian
Man Of La Mancha”. I loved my costume but I  think the best part of my talent was getting into character. I’ve performed this dance before,but this year I  really got into character. To me, the song is about overcoming obstacles and conquering the day. When I put my tap shoes on and put the rose in my hair, I  became “Don”, a strong woman who has no fears. 

How did the Miss Connecticut competition compare to NEPC tryouts?
I  went in to Miss Connecticut and NEPC tryouts with the same mindset. I  was going to give my blood, sweat, and tears, but also keep in mind that if the journey is meant for me, it will not pass me up. While there was only one crown at the end of the week and only 34 spots on the team, I  learned so much about myself during Miss CT week as I did during tryouts with the Patriots. I  learned that I was more than capable to achieve every dream I have. 



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That is a great lesson to learn!

As always, I want to give huge thanks to Jonét for doing this interview. As I mentioned, she was the first NEPC to visit Section 36, and I'm flattered that she agreed. I also want to thank her for providing so many amazing pictures to accompany the interview. They went along perfectly with the interview.

As Jonét continues her time as Miss Litchfield County, I encourage you to follow her on the official Miss Litchfield County Facebook page. 

And, as the Patriots start the 2018 season, be sure to check out the New England Patriots Cheerleaders website, and Jonét's own NEPC bio page, and follow her as she cheers on the best team in football!


Thanks again Jonét!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Patriot Pride - by Troy Brown with Mike Reiss

Troy Brown needs no introduction. The Patriot Hall of Famer is pretty much the blueprint for the ideal Patriot. On over-achieving
late round draft pick. He played well at all phases of the game, whatever the coach needed from him. he was a star receiver. He played on special teams. He even played on defense when the team needed him to. His story covers the end of the pre-Brady years, and the beginning of the Patriots dynasty. It was an interesting period for the team, and Brown looked to cover it from the inside.

This was a good book, but a bit more limited than I was hoping for. There was some great insight into his early years. Growing up, and moving on to college. You can see the formations of the player he would come. The Patriots years, though, felt more like a retelling of newspaper reports than any real behind the scenes information. I heard myself saying "Oh yeah, I remember that" more than I said "oh really". It's the sort of book I would expect from a reporter, or someone outside the team. A collection of the Patriots records over the years, and the game by game retelling. It still made for a fun read, but I expected more from an autobiography. If Mike Reiss had written this on his own, I feel like I would have enjoyed it more because my expectations would have been different. But, you should feel free to give it a try and see if you feel the same way. You will still enjoy the book.

Rating: 3 quarters.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Luck Nicolette!

If you're a loyal fan of Section 36, you probably remember Miss Rhode Island Nicolette Peloquin's visit. It was so much fun, and one of the most popular visits so far.

You also know that Nicolette has generously provided Section 36 with some incredible pictures. One of my favorites is this one, taken by fellow visitor Kelsey Garcia.


You also know that a Section 36 t-shirt looks absolutely amazing on her!


Why am I telling you all this? Because right now, Nicolette has the chance to earn the right to wear an outfit that will look even better on her than this shirt does.

Last weekend, Nicolette made it through final auditions to be a New England Patriots Cheerleader! She is currently going through boot camp as a last hurdle in order to make the team! 

We couldn't be prouder of Nicolette and wish her luck as she tries to fulfill her dream! Hopefully she'll remember Section 36 after she hits it big!

Good luck Nicolette!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Brady vs. Manning: The Untold Story of the Rivalry That Transformed the NFL, by Gary Myers

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are two of the best quarterbacks to
ever play the game. But, they reached the top of their profession by following different paths. One destined to greatness through a first round draft choice. The other almost forgotten, starting from the bottom of the draft. But, as much as they are different, there is so much the same about them. This book explores both sets of qualities to show that greatness can be found anywhere.

The book certainly does that. It's the couple things that it doesn't do that are really the problem. I'm not sure the author was aware of the title when he was writing the book. The "vs" part never really shows up. It's just a collection of facts about both of them, presented in themed chapters. Which actually brings up the other problem, the organization. It's not really there. It seems like the author interviewed a bunch of people, got a bunch of great stories, and then had to figure out how to make that into a book. So, there wasn't a chronological order to the facts. Or, a numerical order. The stories weren't told in the process of recounting one of there many match-ups. They were just sort of told. As such, there was a bunch of jumping around, and even some retelling of stories that fit into more than one grouping. So, while many of the stories were interesting, and new to me, I found it difficult to follow. Overall, that didn't completely take away from the amount of information provided. I just wish it was formatted better. What did you think?

Rating: 3 Quarters.

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