Just some miscellaneous thoughts about this afternoon.
1. Wes Welker is the most unlikely superstar WR you can imagine. He is so OPPOSITE what you'd expect a dominant WR to look like, its almost mind numbing. Just picture a police line up of the elite WRs in the league. CJohnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitcgerald,, etc ....and then Wes Welker
b. Its interesting, that despite the fact that he's 30, and slight of stature, and takes a wicked beating every game; he is defining common wisdom by having what amounts to a break out season. He seems quicker, faster (and they are not the same thing) and more sure handed. But this is really the first year in his career, despite all his prior catvches, that Wes is playing more than just a slot possession WR role. THIS season he is running all the routes
c. Generally guys who enter their 30's and are in their NINTH season, do not improve their ypc by over 50% Welker in his previous 4 seasons only averaged just over 10 ypc He is currently averaging over 15 yp
d. The bad news is, what do the Pats do about his contract. On one hand how can you NOT reward a player who has been so consistently good for everyone of the 5 years he's been here, especially when he havng a record breaking season in his contract year.
On the other hand is it REALLY the wisest decision to pay him the going rate for his kind of production. Do you really want to pay a 31 year old WR over $10+MM for the next 3-4 years, especially one of his stature.
The problem with guys his size, is that went it starts to go south, it goes south very quickly. Troy Brown had his most productive seasons in his 9th and 10th years with about 100 receptions in those years. IN his last 4 season with the Pats he never topped 43 catches, which is ironic since it was in those years that the Pats offense was morphing into the passing juggernaut its become.s
The point being that while it seems like a no brainer to just pay him what ti takes, its really not that simple
2. Nat Solder- Image where the OL would have been if we haven't drafted this kid. His play has been so consistently good, its scary. You only have to watch what happened to the Jets when they had to replace just one key player on its OL;. Meanwhile the Pats have had to replace TWO, and have done so seamlessly.
All I heard today was how banged up the Steeler OL is, and how banged up the Jets OL is, and How banged up their Bears OL is. What we never hear is how banged up the Pats OL is. Why? Because we've managed to carry on without a hitch.
3. THe thought that Gronk and Nate are going to line up next to each other for most of the decade, not only sends shivers down MY spine, imaging how Ridley and Vareen feel. Don't forget that Gronk is one of the better rum blockers among TE's
4. I can't believe what a great pick up Brian Waters turned out to be. He's been here just over a month and it seems like he's been a Patriot forever.
5 I think people should better appreciate what the defense accomplished today. They controlled the league's best rushing offense. They went on the road and allowed a team which had averaged 35 points the last 2 game to only 13 non garbage time points. And they did it WITHOUT 2 key DL men (Wright and Haynesworth) without 2 of the top 3 CBs.AND without their defensive MVP. Not to mention that aside from an impaired Patrick Chung, an almost invisible Safety group
6, While it would be nice to see a defensive performance like we saw last night by the Ravens D, we shouldn't focus so much on the total yds the defense allows. Its STILL about the points, and the Pats performance in the Red Zone this year gives me hope that things will improve, much like they did last season.;
I would also point out that the 2001 and 2003 Pats defenses ranked 26th and 24th respectively in those Superbowl years
7. I'm not one of those people who believe that the Pats have made a radial shift to the 4-3, it still looks to me that the Pats DL is stll predominately looking to control the DLman as they rush the passer, like in the 2 gap, instead of just trying to get past them in a one gap.
Now this is just an impression. Hopefully one of you guys who tape the game and analyze it can confirm or deny that impression.
8. Hopefully we will at least get back Dowling, Boddin and Haynesworth for next week and we will start to see some impact plays from the Safeties no named Chung. I'd settle for at least hearing their names called for some positive results.
Hard to evaluate the D, with so many key parts missing or playing impaired.
9. With Haynesworth and Wright out and Love getting hurt, it looks like having Brace and Deadrick waiting in the wings wasn't such a bad situation. Now its begining to look more like perfect timing. BTW can someone remind me of when these guys can start to practice with the team and how long do we have before we have to activate them or send them to IR.
10. Among the comments I heard by commentators that rang true was concerning the negative effect the lack of padded practices are having on certain aspects of the game like run offense - run defenee - pass rush and Tackling. I would really hope that the league and NFLPA would look to amend these rules after the season. I understand what they were trying to do, but they went too far and its affecting the game
11. And now its on to JETS WEEK!!!!!. The bad news is the Pats don't play defense as well as the Ravens do currently. The good news is, our QB isn't going to have a 33% completion rate.
Let the games begin. Go find me Gunnails