Patriots stock report: Week Five

Posted Oct. 10, 2011 @ 6:39 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Every week, PFW associate editor and Patriots writer Kevin Fishbain will identify three up-and-comers and three players/units going in the opposite direction in the Patriots stock report.

Rising

1. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: Yes, the O-line created some big holes for him, but it also looks like "The Law Firm" is back in his 2010 form after a career day of 136 yards rushing. He had two touchdowns and milked the clock for the Patriots on the team's final drive. The Patriots rarely give one back the rock over and over again, but with Danny Woodhead out, Green-Ellis had 27 of the Patriots' 35 carries and looked like a workhorse back in between the tackles.

2. ILB Gary Guyton: It's not easy to replace arguably the most irreplaceable player on your unit, but Guyton did so admirably on Sunday, filling in for Pro Bowler Jerod Mayo. He tied for the team lead with nine tackles and had a pair of tackles for no gain. Guyton was in on all 54 snaps on defense, according to ESPN Boston. He also helped the Patriots avoid giving up big plays to the Jets' backs catching passes in the flat.

3. FS James Ihedigbo: Ihedigbo got his first start as a Patriot, against his former team, no less, and helped the defense hold Mark Sanchez to 166 yards. Ihedigbo had six tackles and got high praise from a guy that doesn't throw that around, Bill Belichick: "James did a great job for us today in his overall communication and of course he was pretty familiar with the team we were playing. He's a smart guy that really works hard, communicates well and practiced well this week. I thought he did a good job when he was in there, delivered a couple big hits and played well."

Falling

1. S Sergio Brown: Brown, the second-year player out of Notre Dame, makes this list for the second week in a row. Even with Josh Barrett out, Brown played in only three snaps on defense, according to ESPN Boston, as Ihedigbo appears to be the team's answer at free safety. Brown might be more of a situational player on defense and a guy who will focus on special teams.

2. Red-zone offense: It was noteworthy that Bill Belichick pointed out the team's play in the red zone as something to improve. The Patriots are never ones to be satisfied, and scoring touchdowns in 3-of-6 red-zone opportunities is something that certainly can get better. The Jets kept TE Rob Gronkowski in check near the goal line, meaning another receiver needs to step up. Aaron Hernandez dropped a sure touchdown pass at the end of the first half that was intercepted.

3. Kickoff coverage: This was a unit that periodically struggled last season. Joe McKnight ripped off an 88-yard return that set up a Jets touchdown. He also had a 43-yard kickoff return. It wasn't because of Stephen Gostkowski's kicks, either. The Patriots will be favored most of the time, and giving up big plays on special teams is exactly what makes them ripe for upsets.