By: Russ Goldman
After an unfortunate loss on the road for the Patriots against they Bills, they are on the road once again this Sunday to face the Oakland Raiders.
There’s certainly plenty to talk about, so here are some thoughts for this week ranging from comments on some of the players performances against the Bills, along with my thoughts on the upcoming game in Oakland.
1. The Bills have had an impressive start to the season, but are not built for the long haul. They have had struggled for several seasons, so part of me is happy for their recent success. The team certainly knows how to come from behind as they showed in their victories against the Raiders and the Patriots.
However, the Bills defense is not ready for prime time, and that will ultimately be their demise. Let’s be honest here, the Patriots offense beat themselves with some of their turnovers, along with some costly penalties against the Bills.
The Bills did make a few plays, but that defense is just not ready yet. The offense is good, but I don’t see it at the same level as the Patriots. Eventually, teams are going to figure out how to really stop Ryan Fitzpatrick.
If you are a Bills fan, I would enjoy the beginning of the season, because the second half of the campaign could be rough. They are pointing in the right direction, but it will take some time before they are legitimate contenders in the AFC East.
2. How many of the four interceptions were Tom Brady’s fault? I would say at least one and possibly two should go on the shoulders of Brady. That was a poor decision, forcing the ball into Rob Gronkowski.
I think the Chad Ochocinco interception could be placed on both of the players. The other two picks, I don’t think were Brady’s fault at all.
3. Kyle Love has played pretty well so far. I thought he did a nice job in the Buffalo game. He plays a tough position at defensive tackle, and when he has played, I have not seen a huge drop-off on the line.
Against Buffalo, he was called for roughing the passer, but the fact that he got to the quarterback is significant. He has 3 tackles in 3 games, but he picked up some slack with the injuries on the line on Sunday. He might be more valuable this season than originally thought. Keep an eye on Mr. Love.
4. Leigh Bodden had a terrible game against Buffalo. Many media members and fans have been focused on the poor play Devin McCourty. However, Leigh Bodden has been just as bad at the cornerback position.
He was burned often against the receiver he was covering in Buffalo, and has not performed well at all this season. This is a very scary thought that the Patriots top 2 cornerbacks could have bad years. If they both continue to play poorly, the Patriots defense will have a tough season overall.
Albert Haynesworth could be a big key in stopping the Raiders’ running game. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
5. Albert Haynesworth and Mike Wright both being out on Sunday really hurt the defensive line. Say what you want about the defense, but in the first two games the line was playing well. The rotation I believe was a huge help in keeping players fresh.
However, with both Haynesworth and Mike Wright being out I think hurt the defensive line’s performance on Sunday. Myron Pryor was also put on injured reserve so you were actually down another member as well. Moving forward, the health of the defensive line could play a huge role in the overall performance of this unit.
6. I am glad to see Gerard Warren back with Patriots. Having Warren back on the defensive line, certainly helps my discussion on the 5th topic. I was surprised that he was not brought back a week earlier when the Patriots put Pryor on injured reserve.
Instead, the Patriots went with Landon Cohen, and that was probably because he is younger. However, Warren gives you experience and was rock solid last season for the Patriots. I think he will help stabilize the line.
7. Rob Gronkowski really reminds me of Russ Francis. Many fans and media members are putting their focus on Aaron Hernandez at the tight end position.
However, Gronkowski I think has the potential to be an even bigger overall threat at tight end. He can block, catch, and score touchdowns in the red-zone. Against Buffalo, they had him lined up on many occasions farther outside than normal. He had 7 receptions for 109 yards, and 2 touchdowns.
Hernandez is more of your Dallas Clark style of tight end, but Gronkowski is your throwback do it everything player at that position. I wouldn’t be shocked that in a season or two he is thought of as the best tight end in the game.
8. Reportedly Brady forgot who his opponent was in his first start 10 years ago. Brady recently was asked by the media his thoughts on the 10 year anniversary of his first start for the Patriots. Supposedly Brady thought it was against the Chargers.
However, since I was at this game, I can tell you that it was against the Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts 44-13, and it was a very impressive starting debut for Mr. Brady. I wish he remembered the game, because I certainly did not forget it.
9. If Albert Haynesworth plays I am not worried about the Raiders running game. I have been hearing so much about Darren McFadden, and Michael Bush this week. They are very good running backs, but I think the Patriots will contain them.
If Haynesworth does play, the Raiders running backs I think will have a tough time running the ball. The Patriots are also bringing back Warren who can stop the run as well. I will be surprised if the Raiders run wild on the Patriots.
10. This is the game to play a one gap attacking style of defense against Jason Campbell and the Raiders offense. The Patriots have been a very conservative defense so far this season.
They now have the personnel to attack, and I hope we see that on Sunday. Campbell tends to hold on to the ball for a long time, and is afraid to make a mistake with a bad pass.
This is the time to let Jerod Mayo shoot gaps and be very aggressive. I would blitz him very often in this game, and would also send safeties as well to get after Campbell.
There is no excuse in this game. This quarterback is tailor made to be blitzed and attacked. I hope we see it on Sunday. If we don’t see this style of defense on Sunday, I am convinced we will not see an aggressive defense at all this season.
Those are my 10 thoughts for week 4, but feel free to leave some of your thoughts or concerns on this upcoming game in the comment section below.