The Patriots have had a knack for getting sometimes unexpected production out of late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents during Bill Belichick’s tenure.
From Tom Brady to Julian Edelman to Danny Amendola to last season’s Super Bowl star James White [url=http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-antonio-callaway-jersey]http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-antonio-callaway-jersey[/url] , the list is long and lauded.
This season has been no exception with 2011 seventh-round draft pick Lawrence Guy and Ricky Jean Francois, a seventh-round pick in 2009, each providing contributions that have helped solidify New England’s defensive line that has thrived during the second half of 2017.
The Patriots want to make life as miserable as possible for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
It puts the spotlight on Guy and Jean Francois, with Deatrich Wise (concussion) and Malcolm Brown (foot) both dealing with injuries.
Guy said experiencing his first Super Bowl has validated the path he took to get here.
”My journey’s still going,” he said. ”I wasn’t thinking about this a couple of years ago. I was just thinking about doing what I could do to play harder and harder, study film and stay on the team and contribute. But now I’m blessed to be here.”
Guy started 15 games during the regular season at either defensive tackle or defensive end, and he’s started both playoff games.
Jean Francois appeared in six games after signing with the Patriots in early November and started New England’s AFC championship game win while playing defensive end.
”My appreciation is high for this,” said Jean Francois, 31, who came to the Patriots following stops in San Francisco [url=http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-breeland-speaks-jersey]http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-breeland-speaks-jersey[/url] , Indianapolis, Washington and Green Bay. ”I’m having fun. Clowning around with my teammates. Sitting down, watching film. Just appreciating the moment.”
Jean Francois will be getting his second shot at a Super Bowl. He was on the 49ers team that lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl to cap the 2012 season. It’s an opportunity he acknowledged he wasn’t sure he’d get again.
”It’s crazy. I never thought there’d be a point when I’d be starting in the AFC championship game again,” Jean Francois said.
”I started in one for the Colts (2014 season), but the next year I was gone. But to be on a team like this and be able to start again in a short period of time. That shows you how much trust and how much I had to do to be in that position.”
Since starting with Green Bay in 2011, each of Guy’s subsequent stops in Indianapolis and San Diego ended with him getting waived. He had his longest run after being picked up by Baltimore in 2014. He played 11 games for the Ravens in 2014, and appeared in every game over the next two seasons.
The Patriots grabbed him in free agency last March, signing him to a four-year, $20 million deal. He’s had one of his best seasons so far, starting 15 games and finishing with a career-best 34 tackles and a sack.
Guy said he’s never been deterred by the ”ups and downs” he’s experienced.
”It can happen at the beginning of your career [url=http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-derrick-nnadi-jersey]http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-derrick-nnadi-jersey[/url] , it can happen at the end of your career. But sooner or later you’re probably gonna get waived here and there,” he said.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia says Guy’s attention to detail has allowed him to play several different positions in the Patriots’ system. Patricia said Guy’s been able to help not only against the run, but he’s been able to transition ”into a little bit more pass rush into the pocket and push and be up in the quarterback’s face.”
Even in his sixth season, Guy said he’s tried to keep learning from older players around him.
”Everything I’ve gone through made me more of a man and made me better as a player,” Guy said.
”To experience this type of week is great. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation that you can never get back.”
Nick Pivetta is hoping to get back on track as the Philadelphia Phillies go for their first series win in three weeks.
Pivetta will take the mound to face left-hander Tyler Anderson and the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
A right-hander, Pivetta (4-5, 3.76 ERA) has a 5.79 ERA over his last three starts and opponents are hitting .294 against him in those games. Pivetta picked up a loss in all three of those outings, including last Thursday when he gave up four earned runs on six hits in five innings against the Cubs.
Pivetta made one start against the Rockies in his two-year major league career, and it did not go well. He allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings on Aug. 5, 2017 at Coors Field.
The Phillies held on for a 5-4 win in the series opener against the Rockies on Tuesday night and got a 10-strikeout performance from right-hander Aaron Nola and a four-RBI night from Scott Kingery. The win was the second in a row for the Phillies (34-30) [url=http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dorian-o_daniel-jersey]http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-dorian-o_daniel-jersey[/url] , marking the first time since May 16-17 that they won back-to-back games.
If they win one of the next two against the Rockies, the Phillies will have their first series win since taking two of three from the Braves on May 21-23.
The Rockies, meanwhile, are on a five-game losing streak. It’s their longest skid of 2018 and the worst losing streak the team has had since it lost eight straight games from June 21-28 in 2017.
The Rockies have been outscored 41-24 during their last five games and, at 32-34, are two games below .500 for the first time since they were 5-7 on April 10.
Anderson (3-1, 4.81 ERA) is coming off one of his best starts of the year. He matched his season best with seven innings and gave up just two runs on five hits to the Reds while striking out five.
“That was a very solid outing,” Rockies manager Bud Black told MLB.com of Anderson after the start. “I thought the changeup was really effective. He commanded the fastball well.”
Anderson has previously faced the Phillies three times in his career and is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.313 WHIP.
Anderson will face Kingery, a rookie, for the first time in his career. Kingery has been the Phillies’ everyday shortstop for the past two weeks and his four RBIs on Tuesday night tied a career high.
Kingery’s batting average is only at .215 through 200 at-bats this season [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-albert-wilson-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-albert-wilson-jersey[/url] , but he’s had multi-RBI games twice in his last five contests.
“That’s how you want to start a series, especially against a good team like this,” Kingery, who hit a three-run homer in the first inning, told NBC Sports Philadelphia after the win. “You want to be the first team to score. Nola did a great job right before that. This kind of gives us some momentum.”