I didn't see much on Friday that either got me excited or sent me in fear from the room. But this has become a habit. I hope it isn't too bad.
Disclaimer - I have to admit I only watched the first 2 quarters and a half closely. After that circumstances forced me to be an occasional watcher for the last quarter and a half where I just got to watch a few plays now and again. So nothing real special about these observations tonight. More like gut feelings than astute observations
1. Still very sloppy ,disjointed and otherwise uncoordinated. You can see the potential, but its like a jig saw puzzle without quite all the pieces put together.
2. RB's Ridely is going to give us a very solid running game. This is a 2nd game out of 3 where he averaged over 5 ypc. The 2nd game out of 3 where he broke off at least 20+ yd run
We know what we will get from Woodhead. Its a shame that Vareen got hurt again. I hope its not long term. And while I would caution against any overdue excitement about Demps vs the TB scrubs. its hard not to get a jolt watching him run, and will look forward to seeing him take some kickoffs in a few days
3. WR's - 3 exhibition games and still waiting for a serious WR sighting. Still I want them to keep working on that back shoulder throw to Lloyd and I don't care if they never complete it now...or in September. I want them to keep working on it until they get it down. THIS is the kind of pass wins games in the playoffs. Its the kind of pass that simply has no defense other than a straight visible front and back double team. It might take a while to get down, but in the end (the playoffs) it will be worth the wait.
So thus far we have a little from Branch, a little lessl from Lloyd and Edleman, and nothing from Gaffney, Welker, and Stallowrth. Lots of good reasons why. Nothing to get worried about. BUT......I didn't want to have to wait until the first game before I saw a concerted and consistent passing offense offense. Too bad for me.
I case you didn't notice - No "no huddle" No real direction or meaning in the play calling. They weren't game planing the Tampa D, or calling plays in a progression. It looked to me that they were calling the game with other purposes beyond moving the ball. ie. how a play looks. How different players look running a play. They might run a play in a certain situation they might ordinarily pass, etc
I've said in previous posts that losing about 40% of their practices so far has put our offense behind. Its a high precision offense with a lot of small pieces and delicate parts. In other words, "it ain't the ground and pound", so it WILL take time to see the kind of offense we have been used to seeing the past several years. It will get there.
4 TE's They're back and bad.. with even a Daniel Fells sighting.
Don't you ever get the feeling that if they wanted to, the Pats could pass to Gronk or Hernandez EVERY play. They don't just because it isn't fair to the other kids and want to share the ball.;'
What I DON'T want to see is that 3rd hand 6 where we throw a 3 yd pass to someone who's totally covered. Or watch a receiver with his back to the endzone catch a ball short of the yard markers. Receivers have to make sure they have a first down, and QB's have to make sure that when they throw to a guy short of a first down, he has at least a fighting chance to make on YAC. Brady is usually very good at this....just not tonight.
5. The OL - Not good enough, but a lot than last week. I saw a lot of improvement from Solder who was left out on a island a lot. I saw less from Cannon but some.....I guess The point is that they built on the previous week and are on an upswing. After tonight I'm not worried too much about Solder, but I would like to see Volmer get a bunch of reps against the Giants.
Good to see Connolly back at C quite frankly. I'll be interested in seeing how BB uses the other OLman in the Giants game. IIRC he kept Solder and Cannon out there the entire game. REPS REPS REPS.
On the 2 sacks - the first one was partially on Brady. He held the ball a bit too long. imo but it still wasn't good enough by Cannon. He was beaten wide and deep, but normally it wouldn't have mattered...but this time it did.. BTW- on a second notice from the NFL.com feed, Spencer Larsen also didn't cover himself with glory that play
The other sack was well designed blitz or a blown assignment that wasn't picked up. It happens. Better now than then. It only goes to prove that when a D lineman is unblocked....he's a hell of a pass rusher.
The run blocking seemed to pick up again a bit. Several creases that the running backs turned into bigger gains. Something to build on.
Very strong and consistent run defense (at least from what I watched) Good tackling. Good edge setting. Strong in the Middle. Another good game from Ron Brace. I didn't watch him every play, but those that I did I found myself noticing that he was usually the first guy off the ball and into the OL showing a quickness I hadn't noticed since his first TC.
Aside from the first drive (only 51 yds) and into a soft zone, I thought the 2ndary continued to play well. Most of the completed passes were highly contested, and Safety help was again conspicuous.
Marquise Cole for some reason stood out to me in the 2nd half. He made a case for himself to be more than just a special teamer. Anyone else see this too?
I thought I saw Stevenr Gregory on the ground in the 2nd half in a cutaway I saw. Please tell me it was someone else....and NOT a safety.....again.
If I was disappointed in anything by the defense it was an absence of a good 4 man rush. Even Jones didn't make much of a headway until he got his sack on a great rip move. Personally I thought he was playing it very carefully in controlling his rush, respecting Freeman's scrambling capabilities. In fact I thought the entire defense did that too much.
Also it was clear that blitzing (unlike TB) wasn't something that was in the Pats "game plan" for this scrimmage. I'm sure Locker will see more, though he too is a excellent athlete/runner
Special teams coverage was once again excellent. KO return blocking....not so much. For example on that first TB KO, there was a clear gap that had been blocked out by the TB KO blocking team. All the TB runner did was run up that crease until it disappeared. I'm not seeing any "creases" like that from the Pats. I know its real hard to practices, since the only time you see it live in in a game, but (I hate to say it) the Jets do it as well as anyone. I'd like to see us do it more....especially since we have someone who can take REAL advantage of that crease....should he get one.
OK guys - I can't wait to get up and see which of our guys you have elevated to Gods, and which have be cast down.
In the meantime I'm calling it a night, and hope sometime soon we can get at least an afternoon game so I can write one of these without being sleep deprived.
BTW- is there a way you can email or send a DVR recording to someone. I would think that kind of technology is around, or at least something like it. I don't have access to game replays and I'd love to be able to get games from those who do. Just a thought....if possible.....maybe.....