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10 most important x-factors who will impact the 2012 season

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, May 8, 2012.

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  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    This is for players whose level of play is yet to be determined. Here is my list, in order. I'm interested to hear yours:

    1. Devin McCourty- If he returns to his 2011 level of play, this could be a top 5 defense. If he plays like last year, this could be another big problem.

    2. Nate Solder. For obvious reasons, his development is huge. He needs to learn at a very fast pace because a few mistakes could have disastrous consequences.

    3. Ras-I Dowling. Ras-I was a huge loss for us last year, as he had cracked the starting lineup on just one month of practice with the team. If he can stay healthy, I think this changes the defense dramatically.

    4. Brandon Lloyd. I am concerned that Lloyd's acrobatic jump-ball skills will be wasted in our system, as that is not Brady's style of play. I hope I'm wrong; if Lloyd can be a reliable downfield threat, our offense will add another dimension.

    5. Stevan Ridley. If Ridley can hold on to the football, I think we have our most talented running back since Corey Dillon. If he can't, expect to see the offense rotate between a spread and 2 TE.

    6. Brandon Spikes. When healthy, the defense goes from soft to nasty. Really hoping he can keep that killer edge and make the Patriots a physical team.

    7. Pat Chung. A good safety who could be on the verge of being great. I think this is the year we find out if Chung is a solid starter or pro-bowl safety. His leadership and playmaking abilities need to stand out.

    8. Chandler Jones. Although some have called him a project, the articles I've read suggest he is ready to step in immediately. Would be a huge bonus if he can come around by December.

    9. Danny Woodhead. The one thing the Pats lacked last year was that third-down greatness they had in 2010, where screens and draws often got scores of yards. Hoping Woodhead is healthy enough for that extra burst that is crucial.

    10. Rob Gronkowski. Maybe it's surprising to see him on this list, but it's more a compliment to just how great he was last year. It will be difficult to continue at such a tremendous level of play, and I'm hoping the injury, off-field distractions and celebrity life will not bring him down to the level of mere mortals. He can't go much further up, but he could go pretty far down if he doesn't continue focusing on the game.

    *Note: Although the defensive linemen are very important, I did not see much potential variation from guys like Love and Deadrick. I think we know who they are and what to expect.
  2. TyronePoole

    TyronePoole Banned

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    wilson/gregory is a pretty big one too
  3. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    tom brady - how many QB's his age have won the SB?
  4. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    True, but throughout his career, how many times can you say:

    Tom Brady- how many QBs <insert criteria here> have accomplished <insert achievment here>?

    And usually, Tom is one of the few, if not the only one.
  5. TyronePoole

    TyronePoole Banned

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    how many QBs his age have been to five SBs?
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    generally speaking?
    john elway
    troy aikman
    joe montana
    terry bradshaw

    still TBD:
    eli manning
    ben roethlisberger

    still......what brady has already done has nothing to do with his prospects for the upcoming year
  7. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    and in what way is this relevant to the upcoming season?
  8. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Ummm... yes it does.

    What other QBs have done at this age and this point in their career have nothing to do with Tom Brady.

    What Brady has done previously is far more relevant for what to expect than a list of past players who were in their mid-30s. How many players were playing at an MVP-level at this age?

    This reminds me of that group of people saying the Giants "couldn't" win the SB last year because they were outscored during the regular season. Correlation and causation are two different things, my friend. The Patriots probably won't win the Super Bowl simply because the odds are stacked against any team, but there's no reason to expect Brady to decline until you start seeing signs of decline.

    John Elway won two SBs past this age, and Brett Favre was a field goal away from playing in one just two seasons ago. The fact is most quarterbacks aren't even playing at this age, let alone at a very high level.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  9. Big-T

    Big-T On the Roster

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    #51 Jersey

    1. Tavon Wilson/Steve Gregory
    Whichever one starts next to Chung at safety, an improvement at safety means improved play everywhere else in the secondary, a number of McCourty's "bad plays" last year were down to the safety being in the wrong position.

    2. Ras-I Dowling
    Looked good @ Miami, if he can stay healthy the team has 2 legit "#1" CB's and with Arrington in the slot, the secondary looks good.

    3. Shane Vereen
    Great pass catcher, home run threat with his speed - if he can stay healthy he's the middle ground between Ridley and Woodhead and will make plays, especially when defenses are in nickel packages trying to slow down the passing game.

    4. Chandler Jones
    Long arms, good initial burst - if he can perform to the level his physical attributes he's been given will allow him, he will be a beast - if he can put up consistent play and replace Mark Anderson competently in his rookie season it will be a great start to his career.

    5. Markell Carter
    Practice player of the week a number of times last year, bulked up a fair amount too. If he can flash pass rush ability he could be this years unknown who surprises the league.

    6. Brandon Lloyd
    Known commodity and excels in the McDaniels system but will he be able to get a connection with Brady? Will he be happy with seeing less touches because of the other weapons on the offense? If he can keep defenses honest and can be a legit deep threat, he will help.

    7. Jabar Gaffney
    If he can come in and make a living running intermediate routes, he will be freeing up the stuff underneath for Welker & the RB's, again helping the offense even if he isn't receiving the ball.

    8. Dont'a Hightower
    Where will he play? Well that's the brilliant thing about having Hightower in the team - inside & outside linebacker and even some defensive end, if he can show some pass rush skill as well as solid zone coverage play like in college, he will be yet another piece of the puzzle to fix the defense.

    9. Nate Solder
    Had a great rookie year, but how will he handle being the full time LT protecting the franchise?

    10. Marquice Cole
    Not exactly someone you'd expect to make an impact but he's a great ST'er and a good #4 CB, if he can take Sergio Brown's spot on the roster he contribute the same on special teams, and more on defense due to his better awareness and coverage ability.
  10. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    Ummmmm.......
    Ummmmm.......
    Ummmmm.......
    Ummmmm.......No it doesn't

    But the fact that only 1 QB has achieved the goal at Tom Brady's age

    I'm not going to stop you from trying to will it through mental energy, but it is what it is


  11. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    Not sure where you're getting this from.
  12. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    It's a smart answer to your ignorant question.
  13. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    I cannot believe that you don't understand this.

    What has happened with previous quarterbacks has nothing to do with Tom Brady. I understand that the inevitable decline of a quarterback will come, as father time stops for no one. But again, just by citing an out-of-context stat means very, very little. This is what you are not able to comprehend.

    I'd like you to make a list of all the quarterbacks that were playing at an MVP-level at the age of 35 and then explain to me why they "couldn't" win a Super Bowl simply because they were 35. I won't even bring up the fact that the NFL is very different now with the protection of QBs, but just for the sake of argument, please list for me the QBs that failed to win a Super Bowl because of their age and not their level of play.



    Rich Gannon won an MVP during the 2002 regular season and took the Raiders to the big game. But according to you, he lost because he was 36, and not because he played poorly in that game. It was because of his age, according to your reasoning.

    Kurt Warner, at the age of 36, took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008, but he lost, not because the Cardinals defense allowed a TD in the last minute, but because he was 36, that was the reason he did not win a Super Bowl, according to your reasoning.

    John Elway won two Super Bowls past age 35, but that was already mentioned. I'm not sure how this can even be overlooked.

    Brett Favre was within a minute of going to the Super Bowl in 2007 AND 2009, but again, according to your reasoning, the curse of being over 35 cost him going to the Super Bowl- nothing to do with his boneheaded INTs, but because he was over 35.

    Peyton Manning, at 34 (or within two months of that) was within a quarter of winning his second Super Bowl with the Colts in 2009. That is a grand total of one year younger than Brady.

    So, to recap, just in recent memory there have been two Super Bowl championships by quarterbacks over 35 (both by Elway), two Super Bowl participants that were 34 (Manning, Brady), and two more Super Bowl participants that were over 35 (Warner, Gannon), and Manning, Brady, and Warner all had a 4th quarter lead in the Super Bowl. Plus Favre's two well-documented loss in the NFCCG after he had MVP-type seasons.

    After looking at this, you might even make an argument that older quarterbacks give you a better chance of winning, since they are generally smarter and better in the playoffs. The fact they haven't won as many SBs is because 95% of the QBs in the league are under 35; you only get a 35+ QB if he is elite.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  14. conway

    conway Rookie

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    Good list. I might include Fanene, Black, and Andre Carter. I'm less worried about Solder, Lloyd, and Gaffney. I think those 3 will more or less meet expectations.

    I'm really looking forward to camp. Can't wait to hear about some of the guys I'm rooting for like Markell Carter and Marcus Cannon, as well as others I'm curious about, like Vareen and even Cunningham. We only need a handful of the question marks to come through and we should be right back in the thick of things.

  15. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    This is what's concerned me about Lloyd, and why I didn't really want us to sign him. How many times have you seen a Pats receiver on the highlight reel on Sportscenter making a spectacular catch from Brady? Very, very rarely, because those catches usually imply that the receiver is not really open and needs to make an incredible adjustment to get to the ball.

    Brady almost never throws jump balls based on thinking he has a matchup advantage- the only exception with Randy Moss in '07. He throws to receivers who have separated from defenders and are open by putting the ball where only his player can get it. This is a big difference from guys like Flacco and to some degree Eli Manning who use their receivers' athleticism to win jump balls when the coverage is tight.

    So where does Lloyd fit in? I'll admit I did not see him much last year, but in Denver it was Lloyd who broke Orton away from his safe, high-percentage passing game into more of an acrobatic aerial show that resulted in lots of highlight catches but also lots of turnovers.

    This is why the Patriots generally go with smaller, quicker receivers like Branch, Welker, etc., and usually do not go with bigger receivers. They want guys that don't put them in the position of throwing the ball up for grabs.

    This is why Ochocinco did not fit in, and to some degree, Galloway.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  16. conway

    conway Rookie

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    I understand what you're saying about Lloyd. He doesn't seem to get as open as other receivers. Instead, he seems to out-maneuver and out-muscle them when the ball is in the air. I think Larry Fitzgerald does it a lot as well, but maybe it's just my perception. I don't have any numbers to back it up.
  17. Ivan

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    It's relevant because there have been few if any QB's have ever been as good as Brady over the course of their careers and none has ever had a better year than he did last season, and where he is at as a QB is much more important than his age.

    Tell you what, Sanchez and Tebow are younger, you can go with them, they have a much better chance than Brady does, and you just outlined why, they are younger.


    It never ceases to amaze me that people can try so hard to really stretch and find something to be negative about. When Brady starts to decline people can start invoking his age and the obvious slippage, until then it is just wishful thinking for the nation of negativity.
  18. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    During a period where good topics are hard to find, this is a good one.
    I think we are all going to be very happy with McCourty. As with the rest of the defense, his play was on the upswing at the end of the season. It should continue on thru this one.

    I have no worries about Solder at all. He will be more than an adequate replacement for a very good Matt Light. OTOH. I think Volmer's health is a bigger issue. If he is healthy and playing well, the Pats OL gets better at a lot of places. If not, then we have to start scrambling.

    Dowling's return will have the single biggest impact to the defense. More than Jones OR Hightower. A healthy Dowling not only opens up BB's playbook to new chapters because he can play press coverage well, but allows others like Moore and Arrington to play more to their skill set in sub packages

    Lloyd can catch balls against physical press coverage down field. That is a skill set that no other Pats WR could do. But the bottom line is that Lloyd is better than Branch, so an offense that had over 5200 passing yds is upgraded. Can't hurt. ;)

    Don't sell Vareen short. The Pats didn't draft him in the 2nd round to be simply a "3rd down back" Ridley showed great promise, and his ONE fumble in the regular season shouldn't spark such a panicked backlash about his ball security. I guess we've been spoiled by BJGE. This will be a great RB one two punch. Addai is here only as insurance.

    I don't disagree, but I think Hightower's speed, explosiveness, and versatility will have a bigger impact next season.

    Good observation.

    Personally I think Hightower is going to have the bigger immediate impact, but Jones will be someone to watch. BTW- I'd rather NOT hear him compared with Willie McGinest. Quite frankly, I'm expecting more, when he's a finished product. I'm not going to be happy until I hear him compared to Demarcus Ware, not Wilie McGinest.

    I think that its less about Danny Woodhead, and more about whether the offense will start to utilize ALL of its RBs more in the passing game. Too often I saw Brady making "hard" throws into coverage, when he had RB's wide open.

    I'm not worried about Gronk's focus, though I don't think he'll match last season's numbers. Gronk's number will be more affected by him getting fewer looks because of an increased emphasis on the running game, and a more even distribution of the ball.

    I think the DL is what it is. More a group of solid players whose main goal is to stop the run and allow others to pressure the QB. The biggest question marks in this group are whether Andre Carter will be resigned, and if Ron Brace makes the team.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  19. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Thanks for the feedback. And just as a sidenote, the reason I didn't include Hightower is because I am so confident he'll fit it immediately as an impact player. I see him as more of a reliable upgrade than an unknown x-factor.
  20. JackBauer

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    I think this is based more on the fact that we haven't had wide receivers capable of exploiting said matchup advantage more than Brady's stylistic preferences.
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