Five Patriots in Need of a Bounce-Back Performance Against Vikings


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The New England Patriots had an array of things go wrong for them last Sunday in Miami. Many of the regulars turned in sub-par efforts and the 33-20 final score was indicative of just that. A new weekend brings a new opponent and a chance to make good on everything that previously failed them.

It wouldn’t be farfetched to say each and every Patriot, including the members of the coaching staff, are in need of a bounce-back performance against the Minnesota Vikings. I narrowed down the list to five guys who will be in focus after closely examining the season-opening loss.

Here’s who needs to step it up against the Peterson-less Vikings:

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1. Dont’a Hightower

Hightower struggled mightily in the run game a week ago. Granted many members of the front seven struggled, Hightower notched just one tackle as Knowshon Moreno tallied 134 yards and a score. He also was flagged for a costly roughing the passer penalty.

2. Chandler Jones

Jones was one who everybody said would benefit from the revamped secondary. He failed to record a sack on Ryan Tannehill and was kept in check. He was also flagged for two roughing the passer penalties. The Patriots need Jones to provide consistent pressure in a legal manner.

3. Michael Hoomanawanui 

The Hoo-man was eaten alive by Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. He couldn’t find a way to block Wake and the pocket broke down numerous times as a result. Wake presents a tough matchup for anybody, but for a block-first tight end, he’s got to find a way to do a better job. He’ll be relied upon until Rob Gronkowski retakes full-time duties.

4. Brandon LaFell

LaFell was expected to be a key target in the passing game when the Patriots signed him this past offseason. His size keyed him as a prime red zone threat. Tom Brady targeted him six times against the Dolphins. He looked disconnected and out of sorts. He needs to find himself or a trip down the depth chart could be in order.

5. Bill Belichick

The Patriots didn’t looked prepared heading into Week 1. Their offense was a mess with the shuffling of the offensive line. Belichick needs to pick a group and role with it. They’ll never develop any chemistry otherwise. Then the defense was a mix between a 3-4 and 4-3 front. The constant mixing of personnel worked against the team in the second half. Flip-flipping between two fronts seems a bit much.