Archive for October, 2011

Reality shows its ugly head

Where do I start? The offensive line was horrible, the secondary tested our faith, special teams were certainly special, and the coaches were out coached. The only upside to this game is that it can’t get possibly worse.

My biggest issue with this game was the offense. First off, the line was horrible. I’ve never seen Logan Mankins and Sebastian Vollmer play as bad as that. Tom Brady had no time to wait for a play to develop. Secondly, the wide receivers where not getting any separation from the corners. The corners were all over them. Thirdly, the play calling was terrible. Why was Stevan Ridley not ran? I love Kevin Faulk, but why did he have more carries than Ridley and Green-Ellis combined (he had 6 carries while Green-Ellis had 5)?

With the constant 3 and outs, the defense could never get a break the entire game. The secondary was worse than chopped liver. Can someone call Asante Samuel and beg him to come back? The pressure was too sporadic. Its great that Andre Carter get two sacks, but Big Ben had all day. Oh, and the fact that 3rd downs are apparently first downs now is also a problem.

Don’t even get me started on special teams. Stephan Gostkowski missed a field goal and absolutely botched two onside kicks. Danny Woodhead seemed to dive for the 20 yard line everytime and in my current state I want to trade him and Gostkowski for a pair of competent people. Zoltan Mesko however looked great with booming punts.

The problem with this team is that fundamentals are missing and the scheme/players no longer works. Devin McCourty missed so many tackles he looked like Darius Butler. The offense missed too many blocks. 4-3 is not working, but nothing will work until we get a #1 corner like Asante Samuel or a legit, young pass rusher like Brian Orakpo.

All of the problems start off with the top. Belichick the general manager is failing Belichick the coach. We need a true defensive coordinator like Romeo Cornell or Rob Ryan (before last night’s Cowboys game). We no longer have the talent for Belichick to have all the roles. While we have drafted better the last 2 years, we cannot trade the high picks for a bunch of lesser guys. The offense has too many holes to hide lack of strong talent beyond Wilfork and Mayo on the defense.

Beasts:

  • Andre Carter
    • Carter had 2 sacks on the day and looked like the reason we got him. Unfortunately for him though the rest of the defense didn’t show up.

Bums:

  • Patriots Offensive Line
    • I can’t begin to start. False starts, missed blocks, and no time happened too much
  • Patriots Offense
    • A 30% 3rd down efficiency… Come on!
  • Patriots Secondary and Linebackers
    • Slow, horrible, and could not cover was the story of the day
  • Patriot Coaching
    • There is no way Bodden looked as bad as Molden. The changes at halftime didn’t work and the Gronk TD was not challenged (I realize BB didn’t get a good view, but please…)
  • Patriots Special Teams
    • A missed field goal and 2 botched onside kicks

Answers:

  • Does McCourty shutdown Mike Wallace?
    • Nope
  • Do the Patriots run all over the Steelers?
    • The Steelers turned the Patriots into roadkill
  • How does the cutting of Leigh Bodden effect the defense?
    • Molden, his replacement, looked like a chicken with his head cut off
  • Jerod Mayo and Sebastian Vollmer are back. Is their impact felt?
    • Vollmer’s impact was felt negatively
  • Chung, Ihedigbo, McCourty, Arrington, Molden, Adams, and Ventrone. Does Big Ben burn these guys?
    • Big Ben took them to the house and back again

Thoughts:

  • I’ve never been so wrong in my life with my prediction
  • Heinz Field was booming the entire game
  • This was a wake up call
  • Why was Gronk a non-factor the first half?
  • Brady looked flustered all day
  • I really want the Pats to draft a WR and CB  without injury problems

Tweets:

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Pregame Post: Sticking it to the Steelers

Anytime the Patriots and Steelers play, it’s like two giants colliding head to head. Granted this is a Steeler team missing Hines Ward, James Farrior, and James Harrison, but this is a Patriot team with a depleted secondary and a pass rush that rushes like an old lady. But for the sake of today’s game, it’s two giants colliding.

I’m not too worried about Mike Wallace. His size is perfect for Devin McCourty. Rashard Mendenhall doesn’t scare me at all. In fact, the only thing that scares me about this game is Big Ben making plays.

The Patriots are still having defense issues, but the things are starting to click. The offense is a Tom Brady offense – smart and efficient. We get Kevin Faulk back so it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in. Taylor Price is back too and a few Patriot Twitters out there are saying he’ll have a major game.

Game Info:

  • Played at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Starts at 4:15, Sunday October 30, 2011
  • On CBS

Pats Injury Report:

  • Julian Edelman
  • Ryan Mallett
  • Josh Barrett
  • Shane Vereen
  • Dane Fletcher
  • Donald Thomas
  • Jermaine Cunningham

Key Matchups:

  • Mike Wallace vs Devin McCourty
    • McCourty hasn’t had the worst of seasons, but he hasn’t been that good against #1 wide receivers. The good thing about Wallace though is that he is 6-0 so McCourty has an easier time covering him.
  • Steelers DLine vs BJGE, Ridley, Faulk
    • Faulk is back in the lineup and BJGE/Ridley each are having great games. The Steeler defensive line is old and has had injuries all season long.

Questions:

  • Does McCourty shutdown Mike Wallace?
  • Do the Patriots run all over the Steelers?
  • How does the cutting of Leigh Bodden effect the defense?
  • Jerod Mayo and Sebastian Vollmer are back. Is their impact felt?
  • Chung, Ihedigbo, McCourty, Arrington, Molden, Adams, and Ventrone. Does Big Ben burn these guys?

Predictions:

  • Mike Wallace has an average day
  • Ridley will have a monster game
  • Haynesworth gets a sack
  • We don’t have to put Wilfork in coverage
  • Phillip Adams shows up
  • Big Ben throws 2 interceptions
  • Patriots 27, Steelers 24
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Defense saves the Pats

First off, let me say sorry for the lateness of this post. I thought I clicked ‘Publish’, but apparently I didn’t. Anyways…

This game had all the markings of an early 2000s game where the defense had to bail out the offense. If you told me that I’d be saying this before the game, I’d tell you your crazy. There still needs to be a lot done with defense though. Tackling was poor and long balls where still killing us.

The offense seemed out of rhythm at times and Tom Brady was out of rhythm the second half until the game winning drive.

Beasts:

  • Kyle Arrington
    • Relatively our best corner right now, Arrington showed up by intercepting Tony Romo’s pass in the first quarter
  • Brandon Spikes
    • Spikes was all over the field and was doing great with the blitzes
  • Andre Carter
    • Carter is developing, well turning into, the pass rusher we want. With two sacks on Romo, Carter is finally getting it. Now if only Haynesworth can get it….

Bums:

  • Ochocinco
    • When you run the wrong route after 6 weeks of being here, your a bum
  • Mathew Slater
    • Slater lost a fumble off of a return. I could understand if the ball was stripped out like a Ray Lewis strip but it was punched out and Slater’s poor ball security allowed for that

Answers:

  • Did Phil Costa bring on the wrath of Vince Wilfork upon himself?
    • Yes
  • Will the Patriots be able to stop Jason Witten?
    • 4 catches for 48 yards
  • Does Dez Bryant torch the Patriots secondary?
    • With only 78 yards on the day, I’d say no
  • Will Mark Anderson get another sack today?
    • No, but Andre Carter and Kyle Love did
  • Does the offensive line allow any sacks?
    • They allowed 3

Thoughts:

  • Kyle Arrington continues to show why he got paid
  • Whats wrong with Logan Mankins?
  • Brandon Spikes is looking really good
  • Big plays are still killing us
  • We need to tackle better
  • The Pats are still Straight Out of Foxborro

Tweets:

Other:

  • After every game I start a post game discussion on the Patriots subreddit on Reddit.com. The current one is here so go ahead and check it out for some other thoughts
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PreGame Post: A shootout in Foxboro

Coming off of a hard fought win against the Jets, the Patriots play the Cowboys at home in a matchup that either results in a blowout or a nail biter. Will Devin McCourty and company be able to stop the talented but troubled Dez Bryant and Miles Austin? Does Jason Witten become a zero factor like Antonio Gates did in the San Diego game earlier this year?

I predict that this will be a battle of defenses and one the Patriots will win. Tony Romo is overrated and is protected by a young offensive line that can’t protect a rock much less a quarterback.

Game Info:

  • Played at Gillette Stadium
  • Starts on Sunday, Oct 16, 2011 at 4:15PM EDT
  • On Fox

Pats Injury Report:

  • Josh Barrett, thumb
  • Jerod Mayo, knee
There are a few injuries that will be determined at the start of the game..

Key Matchups:

  • Dez Bryant and Miles Austin vs Pats Secondary
    • I’m torn on how the secondary will play against these guys. They’re not better than Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burres who where shutdown last week, but they do have a better quarterback in Romo throwing to them. The secondary’s success will live and die with the pressure on Romo
  • Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware vs Pats OLine
    • Tom Brady was sacked four times and hit five times by a weak group of Jets lineman that don’t compare to DeMarcus Ware or Anthony Spencer. To say I’m worried is an understatement
  • Sean Lee vs Green-Ellis/Gronk
    • I’m not familier with who will cover Gronk or shadow Green-Ellis on the Cowboys, so I’ll just stick with Sean Lee with the worst task on the Cowboys. Gronk should be over his flu by now and Green-Ellis is playing like no tomorrow 
  • Phil Costa vs Vince Wilfork
    • Earlier this week Costa said that Wilfork is just a ‘speed bump’. Wilfork responded with ‘I’ll be there Sunday. He can tell me that then’. He will be there in full force

Questions:

  • Did Phil Costa bring on the wrath of Vince Wilfork upon himself?
  • Will the Patriots be able to stop Jason Witten?
  • Does Dez Bryant torch the Patriots secondary?
  • Will Mark Anderson get another sack today?
  • Does the offensive line allow any sacks?

Predictions:

  • Tony Romo will come on strong first quarter but will be flustered in the second half
  • Deion Branch will show up
  • The Pats will bring the rush
  • Tony Romo gets sacked at least 2 times

Patriots 34, Cowboys 27

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Pats outplay the Jets to a high flying win

The defense showed up today and kept the New York Jets and their big mouths out of it. The offense need to be bailed out a few times by the defense but overall it was a great Sunday.

Beasts:

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    • He had 136 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day. Green-Ellis really was the difference maker today.
  • The Defense
    • Even though the defense was night and day at times, as a unit they were levels better in terms of pressure than they’ve been in a while. In fact, they forced seven 3 and outs. I feel like the defense really progressed today. Oh, and Mark Anderson has what now, 3 sacks?
  • The Crowd
    • At different times in the game today the crowd noise was really a difference. There are many things I could say about the Patriots crowd, but today they where good.

Bums:

  • Logan Mankins
    • Mankins was getting beat by Mark Devito. That shouldn’t happen
  • Aaron Hernandez
    • Anytime you cause an interception, then you’re on this list

Answers:

  • Will the Pats secondary shut down Mark Sanchez and his wide receivers?
    • The Jets top receiver had 60 yards and Sanchez was 16 for 166 yards on the day. Job well done by McCourty, Bodden, and co
  • Does Stevan Ridley get more touches than Green-Ellis today?
    • Ridley had 7 runs for 13 yards. Green-Ellis on the other hand was really good today
  • Will Welker stay red hot?
    • Revis did have an impact on Welker, but Welker remained the threat he’s been the past four games in more ways than one
  • Does Dustin Keller have a big game or will he stay forgotten?
    • Keller was a ghost most of the game thanks to Patrick Chung
  • Will Ochocinco have his breakout game?
    • Well, he did have two catches

Thoughts:

  • Gronkowski was sick for the game so that would answer my thoughts on why he wasn’t being targeted as much as he should of been
  • Pat Chung is on the edge of becoming elite
  • Where was Derrick Mason?
  • Tom Brady was sacked four times and hit five times
  • I had Stevan Ridley in today on my fantasy team… I got three points from him
  • The cheerleaders looked good today…

Tweets:




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PreGame Post: Breaking the Jets

 

There is so much we could say about the Jets. Mark Sanchez is overrated, their offense is sputtering, Rex Ryan needs to shut his mouth, and their offensive line is horrid. There is much we could say about the Patriots defense too, but in this case, I think the Jets offense is worse than the Patriots defense (which is saying alot).

Game Info:

  • Played at Gillette Stadium
  • Starts on Sunday October 9th, 2011 4:15PM EST
  • On CBS

Pats Injury Report:

  • Julian Edelman, ankle
  • Jerod Mayo, knee
  • Danny Woodhead, ankle
  • Sebastian Vollmer, back

Key Matchups:

  • Darrell Revis vs Wes Welker
    • The best CB in the league against one of the best WR in the league always is a key factor
  • Nick Mangold vs Vince Wilfork
  • Kyle Wilson vs Gronk
    • With Welker out on Revis Island, that leaves Kyle Wilson to try to stop Mt. Gronk

Questions:

  • Will the Pats secondary shut down Mark Sanchez and his wide receivers?
  • Does Stevan Ridley get more touches than Green-Ellis today?
  • Will Welker stay red hot?
  • Does Dustin Keller have a big game or will he stay forgotten?
  • Will Ochocinco have his breakout game?

Predictions:

  • We kept Darren McFadden in check so there is no reason we can’t keep Shonn Greene in check
  • Haynesworth will have a massive quiet game (drawing blockers and allowing for other guys to get sacks)
  • Wilfork won’t have another interception today, but he will have a sack or two
  • The Jets show up in the 4th quarter, but by then its garbage points
  • Gary Guyton will make us miss Jerod Mayo
  • Patriots 34, Jets 21
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Pats win but at huge loss

NEPatriotsDraft.com’s Doug Kyed said it best with “a win that presented more questions than answers”. This win was a huge one for the newly balanced offense but left us with an injured Jerod Mayo and a defense that couldn’t stop my grandma.

Beasts:

  • Stevan Ridley
    • Ridley ran 97 yards and one touchdown. He provides the team with a spark and has a much higher ceiling than Law Firm. Initially I hated the Ridley pick, but this kid has turned me into a fan
  • Wes Welker
    • Welker had 158 yards and a touchdown. He is the team’s top target once again
  • Pat Chung
    • Chung made a crucial interception in the endzone with a cast on his hand
  • Bill O’Brian
    • A balanced play calling was key to winning this game and that’s just what Bill O’Brian did, so props to him

Bums:

  • Shaun Ellis
    • Why are we paying this man money? Today he showed up for the wrong reason; missed tackles
  • Sergio Brown
    • Brown played the horrible angle game

Answers:

  • Can the Patriots stop the Raider’s running game?
    • Darren McFadden was held to 75 yards, so yes, the Pats stopped the Raider’s running game
  • Will the Patriots run the ball efficiently?
    • I would of liked the Pats to run Ridley a little bit more, but overall, yes the Pats ran it efficiently
  • How many touches will Stevan Ridley get?
    • Ridley had 10 carries for 97 yards and one TD
  • Will Tom throw an interception?
    • To answer the question, nope, but for most of the day Tom looked great
  • Will the Patriots start out in a 3-4 or a 4-3?
    • It was a mix, but it seemed that the 4-3 was working

Thoughts:

  • Even though we won, this game left a bad taste in my mouth
  • Jerod Mayo is going to be out 4 -6 weeks
  • I heard Seattle was shopping Aaron Curry for a 7th round pick. I would give a 6th round pick for him right now
  • I know this post game recap is a bit short, but I’m a bit burned out right now due to other things right now (cough  Android App for PatsFans  cough)

Favorite Tweets:
During the game I read hundreds of tweets and there are some good ones out there…

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Pre Game Post: Venturing into the Black Hole

The performance against the Bills showed that the Patriots where indeed mortal and that our offense had to score more points than our defense could allow (which reminds me of the Colts). With the Raiders there are two major obstacles: Darren McFadden and the Raider Mentality. We all know what McFadden can do to a defense when he’s healthy and right now the Raider Mentality is not something to mess with.

Game Info:

  • Played at the Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
  • Starts at Sunday, October 2rd, 4:15 PM EST
  • On CBS

Pats Injury Report:

  • Leigh Bodden, groin
  • Ras-I Dowling, hip
  • Albert Haynesworth, back
  • Aaron Hernandez, MCL sprain
  • Sebastian Vollmer, back
  • Mike Wright, concussion

Key Matchups:

  • Denarius Moore vs Pats secondary
    • With Dowling and Bodden out, it leaves McCourty, Arrington, and Antwaun Molden to cover Oakland’s receiving threats highlighted by Moore
  • Richard Seymour vs Pats o-line
    • Seymour won’t say it, but this game is the game he has been waiting for since the trade
  • Darren McFadden vs Pats d-line
    • McFadden is the NFL’s leading rusher averaging 6.4 yards per carry with a total of 393 yards. Last Sunday against the Jets he had 171 yards, so its not just yards racked up against bad teams

Questions:

  • Can the Patriots stop the Raider’s running game?
  • Will the Patriots run the ball efficiently?
  • How many touches will Stevan Ridley get?
  • Will Tom throw an interception?
  • Will the Patriots start out in a 3-4 or a 4-3?

Predictions:

  • The Raider’s will come out like a rocket 1st half, but drop 2rd half
  • Andre Carter will feast on Jason Campbell
  • McFadden will hit at least two 40+ yard plays
  • Tom Brady will not throw an interception
  • Ochocinco will still suck
  • Patriots 34, Raiders 28
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