Great Boyce analysis

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    Great Boyce analysis

    NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

    Josh Boyce has been finding space dating back to his days at Copperas Cove High School, where he amassed 42 receptions for 837 yards as a senior target for current Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

    That penchant followed Boyce to nearby Texas Christian University, where the 5’11”, 205-pound wide receiver accumulated 161 catches for 2,535 yards and a school record 22 touchdowns on his way to becoming a New England Patriots fourth-round draft choice last April.

    Yet as a rookie in Foxborough, Mass., this season, finding space of another sort has been a challenge for Boyce. No. 82 has been confined behind the likes of Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman on the wideout depth chart. In turn, his chances to carve a role have been limited.

    Over the first 13 weeks of New England’s regular season, Boyce played in seven games and was inactive for five. He stood in the offensive huddle for a total of 74 plays, according to Pro Football Focus, recording two catches for 30 yards on five targets while also returning six kicks for 149 yards on special teams.

    But against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, injuries to fellow rookies Dobson and Thompkins thrust Boyce into an extended moment.

    Boyce fielded two kicks for a 23-yard average, and he also fielded first-string reps in the Patriots offense. Filtering between the “X,” the “Z” and slot receiver spots, the 22-year-old tallied 72 offensive snaps in New England’s 27-26 comeback win.

    And with those snaps, he was able to illustrate his strong suit.

    15-Yard Dig Route

    On a 2nd-and-10 at the 8:10 mark of the second quarter, the Patriots offense employed “11” personnel with running back Shane Vereen in the backfield and tight end Rob Gronkowski inline. In the outskirts, Edelman loomed near the right sideline; Amendola motioned into the seam, and Boyce stood at the opposite numbers over left.

    The ensuing play call from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a play-action fake. If effective, the varying levels of Edelman’s curl, Amendola’s quick out or Boyce’s dig would divide Cleveland’s single-high zone approach.

    Rookie cornerback Leon McFadden played an off-zone technique at the left boundary. Cornerback Jordan Poyer aligned as a centerfield safety. Free safety Tashaun Gipson played underneath zone across from Gronkowski. And weak-side linebacker D’Qwell Jackson played the middle.

    All four would be in proximity to Boyce’s route through the midfield hashes.

    As quarterback Tom Brady handled the snap and extended the handoff to Vereen, Edelman, Amendola and Boyce broke off on their respective patterns. Cleveland’s secondary didn’t bite on the run. With that being said, the subtle lure forced Gipson and Jackson to hesitate, allowing Boyce a second to slide around them.

    And with McFadden and Poyer shadowing deep, that created a gap in the second level.

    Boyce sprinted low and with lean up through the 40-yard line. At that juncture, he used his right foot to pivot and propel inward. It was a cut that caught McFadden off guard. The rookie third-round draft choice had overran deep with his back to the sideline, all while the seventh-round rookie, Poyer, had backpedaled past the 50.

    Brady saw the void and fired the football in Boyce’s direction.

    The pass hit Boyce angling back towards the line of scrimmage. The receiver cut his strides and bent down to inhale the ball just before McFadden closed in behind for the tackle.

    With the run fake and Boyce’s deep speed creating deception, the play veered into the soft spot of Cleveland’s zone. It netted a 12-yard gain and a first down.

    12-Yard Drag Route

    On a 1st-and-10 in the waning minutes before halftime, New England’s offense incorporated the three-wide receiver set once again. Edelman stood on the line out left, Amendola stood in the slot, Gronkowski stood off the right tackle and Boyce stood inside the digits abutting him.

    Patriots aimed to split the defense into four tiers by running four tiers of routes. Brady manned shotgun with Vereen prepped to run to the left flat. Outward, Edelman was gearing up to run a dig, Amendola was readying a skinny deep post, and Gronkowski was sugaring to block.

    Boyce was waiting for the short field to alleviate on a drag.

    On the other side of the ball, Cleveland was equipped with two down linemen and three linebackers. Strong safety T.J. Ward lingered down into the box to face Gronkowski, and five extra defensive backs blanketed behind him.

    But if the Patriots could spread the field, the Browns’ predominantly zone look would have to cover more ground – a difficult task when playing help.

    As Brady harnessed the snap, Cleveland’s back three defenders dispersed. McFadden cautiously stepped back at left cornerback. And safeties Poyer and Gipson shifted rightward to shield the vertical and deep dig routes of Amendola and Edelman,

    Consequently, Boyce had a free release off the line and veered passed Cleveland’s four-man rush. He was met by the five-yard bump of Ward, but the interim linebacker retreated to his respective assignment once the contact departed.

    Boyce, disheveled by the push, redirected parallel to the lines and snared a pass from Brady in the process. Boyce kept his feet churning despite a bobble of the ball, but secured it and began to bend diagonally towards the left edge.

    As he did so, he met cornerback Buster Skrine. Boyce stepped his right foot into Skrine’s foreground, causing the 2011 fifth-rounder to dip towards the Horned Frog’s legs.

    That reaction gave way to Boyce hopping around him. And from there, a block by Vereen expanded the ball-carrier’s runway.

    Boyce’s broken tackle and Vereen’s block sent New England up to the 45. The catch and run was good for 12 yards and a first down.

    22-Yard Bubble Screen

    With less than five minutes to go in the third quarter, the Patriots offense orchestrated trips left for a 2nd-and-10 at the New England 16.

    Backup tight end Matthew Mulligan hunched in a three-point stance over right, while 6’0”, 250-pound running back LeGarrette Blount hunched next to Brady in shotgun. The utilization of the big back insinuated a power run for Blount.

    Nevertheless, Blount was not the designed recipient of the play.

    In actuality, what exuded run would see Mulligan pass-blocking, and left guard Logan Mankins pulling right as if the strong-side power was truthful.

    It was a bubble screen for the inside receiver, Boyce.

    If the elongated blocks of Amendola and Edelman could keep the left side of Cleveland’s nickel defense at bay, then there would be real estate for Boyce to run through.

    Brady took the snap and lowered for the misdirection transfer to Blount, while Mankins left his post to join the play side. Those ingredients attracted the Cleveland linebackers and cleared out New England’s true intentions.

    Brady checked down to Boyce just after the coast of Skrine and 2010 first-round cornerback Joe Haden had been cleared by Amendola’s low block and Edelman’s detraction.

    Boyce caught the ball above his head and tucked it in his outside arm as he maneuvered the clearing. He raced past the 20-yard line and bounced outside of Skrine. And as Ward zeroed in from deep-shell safety to bring him down, the compact route-runner embedded a stiff-arm.

    He curved back into contact, shedding the lunging arm of 6’2”, 255-pound outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard.

    After evading two stops, Boyce was finally taken down by the hands of four Browns at the 39-yard line. The screen acquired 22 yards and a first down.

    Now Boyce’s three receptions for 49 yards did not reverberate in the box score, but he served as a catalyst in the absence of Dobson and Thompkins. Although he garnered only five pass attempts – including one drop and one interception – he was impactful.

    Boyce tested the Cleveland secondary by drawing two defensive pass interference penalties and producing 38 yards after the catch. When accounting for both of those elements, he moved the sticks on five occasions.

    The Texas native’s route tree reflected his adept qualities of quickness and vision. He was targeted in the short-to-intermediate passing game, in addition to downfield. He was diversified in his patterns as well, running 10 digs, seven streaks, five curls, four drags, four outs, three crossers, two quick screens, corners, fades, out-and-ups and comebacks, and also one post.

    Now despite his display of efficiency, athletic ability and versatility, Boyce may soon be back as the fifth receiver in the Patriots offense. But he gained trust, experience and space in the Dec. 8 tilt.

    And all three components are hard to come by.

    “You can see him getting better on the practice field, which has eventually here led to some playing time in the kicking game first and then offensively,” head coach Bill Belichick said in his Dec. 11 press conference. “He’s been able to, to a certain degree, take the ball and run with it. Again, I think there’s a long way to go here, but certainly progress and he’s gotten positive results that have shown up now for a couple weeks.”

    Tags: Cleveland BrownsFilm BreakdownJosh Boyce

     

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from TripleOG. Show TripleOG's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    Thats a nice article and breakdown. Lets hope the other 2 rooks can make it back soon so he can be a complimentary peice. He is still a little raw and drops passes but he will be needed down the stretch to make plays. Good to have other options but im not sure how much Brady looks his way once Dobson comes back.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from tcal2-. Show tcal2-'s posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I'm sure, if not for all the injuries, BB would still have him on the inactive list.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    Great breakdown, thanks for posting.

    boyce could be a key cog in the offense going forward. I hope the Cleveland game was a watershed moment for him, and now he is ready to contribute like most of us could see based on his potential. 

    If thompkins and Dobson are ready, where do you think that leaves Boyce? Does bb ride the kid, or does he drop back on the depth chart? He clearly offers a different skill set than thompkins and Dobson. I see him, his skill closer to Edelman in that he is quick and dangerous in the open field.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I have said many times, if all are healthy Thompkins is the odd man out. 

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from CHAMPSXLVIII. Show CHAMPSXLVIII's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I think all the rookie receivers have improved.- which has been rare around here. Who knows maybe next year Brady has three really good young receivers to throw to

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    Good article and I hope it's right but I have to argee with TCal, Boyce has been on the inactive roster because he simply hasn't been ready. Now I hope he takes advantage of this chance he's been given because of injures but he might need some seasoning. Though a couple of flashes he has show something special. Lets hope he can do it consistently moving forward

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Fidd. Show Fidd's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to rkarp's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I have said many times, if all are healthy Thompkins is the odd man out. 

    [/QUOTE]


    Agreed.

    I like K.T. but I think we've seen what he is.

    It's a tough transition from college to pro to begin with. That transition is more difficult for WR's, DB's, projected OLB's imo. You have teams that run a "pro style offense" or varistions of it and then you have teams that will run the same 10 plays all year.(obviously a joke. Although teams like the 'Skins and Texans, who basically run the same system, seem to think its ok to do just that in 2013 lol. Go figure their in the lottery)

     D.Thomas is a good example of someone who didnt even approach running the route tree in college. It took until his 2nd year in the NFL to show signs of becoming a legit WR. Now he's one of the most dangerous, versatile WR's in the league. Running slants, post and comebacks, go's etc with ease. He can take a bubble screen (which he has become one of the best in the league at) 50-60 yards like Randy Moss used to. Point is it takes time, coaching, reps at practice and a bit of luck to make it. Its not easy.

    On to Boyce. The biggest problem I saw him having was his speed believe it or not. Or how he didn't/couldn't utilize in the short/intermediate passing game. Which rules the day in a Pats or Broncos offense. Also the Pats pride themselves on having smart WR's who can not only run every route, but be able to break away and adjust if a play doesnt develop as according to plan. Boyce has stuggled with both in the past. Its obvious he's improved in not only that area but his overall game. I'd love to see him play a bigger role going foward, taking reps away from K.T.

     

     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from 49Patriots. Show 49Patriots's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I'm just here to say Thompkins sucks

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from oklahomapatriot. Show oklahomapatriot's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis


    BB did a pretty decent job with these young WRs, like them all. Boyce really looked great Sunday.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from CHAMPSXLVIII. Show CHAMPSXLVIII's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to 49Patriots' comment:

    I'm just here to say Thompkins sucks



    The last two games he played in he excelled in a limited role. You can't say a rookie sucks when they are forced by circumstance to do more than they are capable of

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from oklahomapatriot. Show oklahomapatriot's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to CHAMPSXLVIII's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to 49Patriots' comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

    I'm just here to say Thompkins sucks

     

    [/QUOTE]

    The last two games he played in he excelled in a limited role. You can't say a rookie sucks when they are forced by circumstance to do more than they are capable of

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Actually KT has shown alot of capability this season.  Winning catch

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from CHAMPSXLVIII. Show CHAMPSXLVIII's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    He has shown more than Taylor price or Brandon Tate or... The list goes on

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from seawolfxs. Show seawolfxs's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    There are roles for all of the wrs. Especially without Gronk.

     

    you cannot teach speed

    These guys all have shown some skills, are they the total package?

     Nope

    It's McDs job to scheme plays and call plays that put these guys in the 

    Right position to make plays, any of them can make a game changer. None of them have to carry the load.

    Along with da, JE and vereen, and a few spot plays from mulligan and the fb we have a chance

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to CHAMPSXLVIII's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    He has shown more than Taylor price or Brandon Tate or... The list goes on

    [/QUOTE]

    Thank god. 

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from joepatsfan111111. Show joepatsfan111111's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to kansaspatriot's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to CHAMPSXLVIII's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to 49Patriots' comment:
    [QUOTE]

     

    I'm just here to say Thompkins sucks

     

    [/QUOTE]

    The last two games he played in he excelled in a limited role. You can't say a rookie sucks when they are forced by circumstance to do more than they are capable of

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Actually KT has shown alot of capability this season.  Winning catch

    [/QUOTE]


    it helps when Tom puts the ball right in the perfect spot! but i do actually like Kt for a udfa he's a STEAL right now

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to DeadAhead's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to rkarp's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I have said many times, if all are healthy Thompkins is the odd man out. 

    [/QUOTE]

    Dude, you're such a liar. I apologize in the spirit of the honor system within the "Namecalling Challenge", but I refuse to let this one go.

    Back this summer you had Boyce off the roster entirely saying he would be cut as a troll tactic.

    I am sure many here remember this because I called you out on it back then due to the level of trollishness it was.  Do not deny it because I will go back and find that.

    You try to sneak in these little things in your posts hoping no one will notice, as you put the bag over their head and whack them with a hammer.

    You're not fooling anyone. You know nothing about what BB wants. Nothing.

    BB wanted to get younger at this position and they wanted to commit to some serious WR on the job training.  Boyce was never going to be cut.

    And, don't think you can get away with saying stuff above like you just did either.

    I have no idea why people run around here kissing you behind.  I've never seen such a fraud in my life.

    [/QUOTE]

    That is 100% false. I have many, many times said Thompkins is at his ceiling now, but Dobson and Boyce are scratching their surface. I also said Thompkins was on the roster bubble...

    I will look back and repost exactly what I said....

    why do you hang on my every word, stalking me, and challenging me, only to have me beat you down again and again? 

    I am starting to think you have a blow up doll of me in your basement right beside that blowup doll with the sweatshirt and cut off sleeves you call Hallowed Hoodie......eeeeesh! Creepy! 

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I think Edelman has played himself onto another team next year. Obviously Amendola will be here, but there is unfortunately always the issue of how much will he contribute due to missed games. So the pats will be looking for Boyce/Thompkins and a Collie like player to step up next year and fill that void Of Edelman plus Amendola missed games. I could see down the road Dobson and Boyce as the 1 and 2 with Amendola in that 3rd WR role to manage his snaps/health. 

    There are some here who saw the Wes-Amendola-Edelman as genius ( well one guy did, and he is always wrong). There are always 2 sides to Every decision. The number 1 trait BB treasures is reliability. Let's face it, that is not Amendola. The number 1 trait Brady treasures is familiarity. It has taken him 3-4 games to get back in sync with Amendola. In addition, I realize it takes 2 to tango, but think BB is kicking himself for not going 2-3 years on Edelman? 

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from theshinez. Show theshinez's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    I pray to God that Incredelman will re-sign (fingers crossed).  We need him for his PR alone!!

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from coolade2. Show coolade2's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    In response to rkarp's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    I think Edelman has played himself onto another team next year. Obviously Amendola will be here, but there is unfortunately always the issue of how much will he contribute due to missed games. So the pats will be looking for Boyce/Thompkins and a Collie like player to step up next year and fill that void Of Edelman plus Amendola missed games. I could see down the road Dobson and Boyce as the 1 and 2 with Amendola in that 3rd WR role to manage his snaps/health. 

    There are some here who saw the Wes-Amendola-Edelman as genius ( well one guy did, and he is always wrong). There are always 2 sides to Every decision. The number 1 trait BB treasures is reliability. Let's face it, that is not Amendola. The number 1 trait Brady treasures is familiarity. It has taken him 3-4 games to get back in sync with Amendola. In addition, I realize it takes 2 to tango, but think BB is kicking himself for not going 2-3 years on Edelman? 

    [/QUOTE]


    Hopefully it's not too late to extend him at some point.  YOu gotta give the guy a raise.  He hopefully will take it.  He has shown some durability this year  (knock on wood).

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from murghkhor. Show murghkhor's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    Dobson is solid for a 2nd rounder.

    Boyce is looking good for a 4th rounder.

    Thompkins looks like a steal for a UDFA.

    Edelman looks like the best FA pickup in the league at $1m.

    Amendola looks like a bust for $6m. If he's injured, it would mean he'll need to prove himself next year. If he's not injured, he needs to restructure contract or be released. 

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    The shake Boyce gave the corner on the third drag route was sick, I'm glad he's finally able to see the field, as Rusty says it had a lot to do with him being injured to start the season.  He fills a huge hole at the kick return spot as well.

    Dobson, Thompkins, Boyce, Edelmen... I thought BB couldn't draft WR's?

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from msteven. Show msteven's posts

    Re: Great Boyce analysis

    Amendola is doing fine.  He will get better as he devlops a connection with Brady. Edelman will be gone next year.  No way they spend money on the WR position. 
    Boyce will be his replacement.  Thompkins scares me when he catches the ball.  Seems to catch on his hands and juggles it.  Needs to let it lead into his body.  Dobson will be good once he can stay healthy

     
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