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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, May 31, 2007.

  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Comparing units of 2007 vs past Pats team, particularly champions kind of illustrates what the expectations should be this year.

    QB. I'd say we are better in 2007 than ever, only because its fair to say Brady improves at least a bit each year.

    WR
    2007 Moss, Stallworth, Welker, Caldwell, Jackson, Gaffney, Brown
    Best to date
    Probably 2004 with Branch, Givens, Patten, Brown
    Clearly this is the best group we have ever had

    OL
    2007 Light, Mankins, Koppen, Neal, OCallahan/Kaczur
    Best to date
    2004 Light, Andruzzi, Koppen, Neal, Gorin/Ashworth
    Clearly this is the best group yet, with younger guys a year better than last year.

    LB
    2007 Thomas, Bruschi, Colvin, Vrabel, Seau
    Best to date
    2004 mcGinest, Bruschi, Colvin, Vrabel, Ted Johnson
    Better IMO, if only because the best 4 will be on the field almost all the time, as opposed to a 3man rotation outside with TJ inside

    DB
    2007 Samuel, Hobbs, Scott/James/Gay, Harrison, Wilson, Meriweather
    Best to date
    2003 Law, Poole, Samuel, Harrison, Wilson, Harris
    No Law here, and Poole was great in 2003. Depth is probably better at corner. Safety is better if Rodney is what he was and worse if he declines.
    Overall, not as good as 2003, but not that far behind

    DL
    2007 Warren, Wilfork, Seymour, Green, Wright
    Best to date
    2003 Hamilton, Washington, Seymour, Warren, Green
    I think we are better now. Wilfork if playing a full season is better than Washington playing half of one, Warren is a big upgrade to Hamilton.

    TE
    2007 Watson, Brady, Thomas
    Best to date
    2006 Watson, Graham, Thomas
    As much as Graham was injured and as little as he was used in the passing game, Watson taking the next step and improving as he probably should in his 2nd full season would make this unit better than 2006. If Watson is the same in 07 as 06, then there is a dropoff.

    RB
    2007 Maroney, Faulk, Morris
    Best to date
    2004 Dillon, Faulk, Pass
    Dillon was excellent that year. Maroney has a chance to be just as good this year. Faulk is Faulk, Morris is an upgrade. Maroney can have a tremendous year and still not be as good as Dillon was in 04. We are not as good this year as that year as of now, but we aren't a long way behind, depending on Maroney's development. (It will probably be more different than better or worse, since I don't see us, with this current offensive roster, being a sheavily run oriented as in 2004. I think we will rely less on the running game, but probably end up with more big plays from it. If the passing game is what I expect, the running game will look less than in 2004, but may be just as productive for the chosen role)

    When I step back and look at this, I see a long term project of BB trying to consistently improve this team. Without question there are bumps in the road, mostly due to salary cap issues (when you are the best team, you have the best players, and keeping them all isn't an option under the cap, so you must in some cases replace excellent players with cheaper ones in order to keep the key guys) but it would be very hard to convince me that this isnt the best team BB has fielded, and that the trend isnt that he continues to make the team better and better, with some ups and downs along the way.

    Being the best team doesn't mean we win the SB because winning the SB means you are the best team for 60 minutes on 19 different Sundays, and coaching, reacting to pressure situations, making plays when it matters most, outweighs having the best talent, but I tend to believe that these things are qualities possessed by coaches and players (some have it sonme dont) and that our core is proven to have it.

    I'm probably not the first to say it, but moreson than any season to date, including 2004, I would be very disappointed with anything short of a SB Championship. That should be the standard of success for this team.
  2. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Do you really have to toss raw meat to the lions?
  3. 3 to be 4

    3 to be 4 Rookie

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    I remember Kraft saying years ago he wanted to build what the 49ers had ( 1981 thru 1998). We are getting close. the key to that though was the transistion they made from Montana to Young. The Patriots have it built where they can take it as far with Brady as Montana did with the 49ers, but to get from 12 years to 18, that will take Cassell or somebody else becoming great.
  4. zarakotas5

    zarakotas5 Rookie

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    Especially after the Schaub debacle, I doubt the stashing of future HOFers is possible. NFL success revolves around the QB and defense. QB is becoming increasingly elite. Even stashing solid technicians will become difficult.
  5. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice assessment and there is little disagreement, the only concern I have is RB, while it seems that Maroney can be a very good if not great back, he hasn't had one season of experience. There is no reason to believe he cannot hold up under the rigors and pounding of the NFL, I wish we had more to base it on. Our much improved receiving corps will not allow opposing D to stuff the box as much, will enhance the running game. As much as I wanted to believe this, last receiving corps were not all that good or threatening.

    On paper this is the best team we have ever fielded and this could be an incredible year... but this is June 1 and there is a long way to go. The stability and maturation of the coaching staff is also very significant. Josh and Dean have had a year to review what they did, others did and both have significant new weapons. Not sure if my expectations were ever higher then they are right now.
  6. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    I agree with your sentiments, but let's remember as we make unit by unit comparisons that what we are talking about for 2007 is POTENTIAL. We can say, for example, that the 2007 WR corps is POTENTIALLY the best we've ever had. But until they play the games, we don't really know how good they are going to be.
  7. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Of course, but thats all we have to go on.
    It will be easy to assess the 2007 season in March of 2008.
    In June of 2007 all we can do is assess what we expect.
  8. Brady to Brown

    Brady to Brown Rookie

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    The team looks like the best team Belichick has ever had. If Brady remains healthy and Maroney stays on the field all year yhey look very good.
  9. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    I think Brady regressed slightly last year. Yes, he had a patchwork receiving corp which is largely to blame for his struggles, but I recall Brady missing open receivers far more frequently than in previous years. Surprisingly to me, looking at the numbers, it seems his completion percentage for last year was in line with previous seasons.

    +---------------------------------------+-----------------+
    | Passing | Rushing |
    +----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
    | Year TM | G | Comp Att PCT YD Y/A TD INT | Att Yards TD |
    +----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
    | 2000 nwe | 1 | 1 3 33.3 6 2.0 0 0 | 0 0 0 |
    | 2001 nwe | 15 | 264 413 63.9 2843 6.9 18 12 | 36 43 0 |
    | 2002 nwe | 16 | 373 601 62.1 3764 6.3 28 14 | 42 110 1 |
    | 2003 nwe | 16 | 317 527 60.2 3620 6.9 23 12 | 42 63 1 |
    | 2004 nwe | 16 | 288 474 60.8 3692 7.8 28 14 | 43 28 0 |
    | 2005 nwe | 16 | 334 530 63.0 4110 7.8 26 14 | 27 89 1 |
    | 2006 nwe | 16 | 319 516 61.8 3529 6.8 24 12 | 49 102 0 |
    +----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
    | TOTAL | 96 | 1896 3064 61.9 21564 7.0 147 78 | 239 435 3 |
    +----------+-----+---------------------------------------+-----------------+
  10. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    On the WRs I think we can go a little farther than that. Obviously, last year's WR corps was thin on talent. But more than that, it was thin on reps and timing. The passing game looked far more functional by week 16. Now here we go again with a whole new set of starting receivers. On sheer talent, as Andy said, "Clearly this is the best group we have ever had." But taking into accout the learning curve I expect them to be well behind the 2004 group for the full season. I just want them to get where they're going by playoff time!
  11. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    Good post on the rankings. Obviously, everything is based on expectations, that being said, I expect our secondary to be "lights out" this year. If Samuel plays under the tag, everyone remains relatively healthy, and playing behind our front seven this will be the best the Pats have ever put together.

    If Harrison stays healthy enough to play all season, then who will get most starts at the other safety spot....Merriweather, Wilson, or someone else? My gut tells me Randall Gay will make huge contributions this year.
  12. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    That applies to everyone every year. Seymour has proven nothing in 2007, but has the potential to be great. He could have an off year, but you hae to look at what is likely.

    For wide receivers, in evaluating whether or not you think we improved, simply say out loud: "I wish we had not signed Moss, Stallworth and Welker. I would prefer to go with the WRs we had last year."

    That should give you a clue as to how you compare this year to last :D
  13. Frezo

    Frezo Rookie

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    Should Samuel be on the list? He's not on the team. Many may feel that he signs the tender, but it's not written in stone. We've seen people do stupid things regarding money and anybody willing to get a tatoo that says GET PAID isn't showing remarkable intelligence.

    If he stays out won't Belichick do what's best for the team and trade him for a player of comparable talent? What's best is not having a soft Samuel come back for week 10 and playing soft to avoid injury for his next big windfall. He knows this. He can sign and sit out looking for a trade to a big signing bonus and a lucrative 4 or 5 year contract.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  14. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Rookie

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    I think Brady regressed a little cause he didnt win it all other than that he was pretty damn good. When saying he missed open wideouts you have to ask were they open and in the right place because if you got open doing an out and you should done a curl it wont matter that your open because brady may not see you cause you are not where he thinks you should be. which brings up concern about this season which is that brady has to rush to get on the same page with a whole new crew....at least this year they are or all seem(you never know how is still to come) to be here before training camp.
  15. BB_dynasty

    BB_dynasty Rookie

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    Smartest move by BB(one of them): Putting Moss next to Brady's locker. I think if Brady and moss have a connection, then other teams might as well just give up. And I hope samuel resigns. He is important to the team, and is still progressing. I am hoping the Patriots can resign him to a long deal. But I just hope the Patriots make it to the playoffs, because by then Brady will know his receivers.
  16. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    This is going to be the challenge of next season in that the expectations are so high... last season we very much over-achieved... the early losses were generally written off as Brady and his receivers needed to get in sync etc... (

    In other words it was all about simply weathering any losses or close games enough to make the playoffs and have everything come together then.

    This season, given the team on paper, I question whether the fan base will have the same patience if there's some surprising losses. Aren't people expecting Stallworth, Moss, Welker & Washington to be out of sync with Brady in the early season just as they made an excuse for Caldwell last year? I doubt we'll hear much of that - the expectation is very different.

    But all that being said, I have no problem with anything short of a Super Bowl victory being a disappointment... that's the way I feel every year.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  17. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    San Diego is lucky in getting the Pats in game 2 presumably when Brady and the newcomers are getting introduced.

    BOTOH.. San Diego players will only just be meeting their new coaches and not fully in lockstep there either.

    Net - Net??

    I think the newness factor hurts the Pats a lot less, as Reche and Jabbar and perhaps Troy are carryovers needing no intro. This game will be hard to forecast but I'll go with the home club, as that is usually what prevails...
  18. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 Rookie

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    I guess this means the Patriots have won the 2007 On-Paper Bowl -:)
  19. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    Actually, I totally agree that the WR's have the potential to be the best we've ever had, and will almost certainly be far better than last season's crew. I am just trying to temper the optimism with a little realism - I can wait until the games get played to make my judgments!
  20. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson Rookie

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    My memory is terrible, but I distinctly recall several occaisons where Brady over threw guys who were wide open. I forget which game it was, but he missed a wide-open Watson on a play that would have been a sure touch down.
  21. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's because he didn't regress, his weapons (which have never been spectacular to begin with) did.

    And incredible as it may seem, occasionally HOF QB's miss wide open receivers. Although when proficient QB's like Brady miss what appear on TV to be open targets, it's usually because they weren't open on time. Coaches tape will show that while broadcast feeds simply can't.

    Last year's WR core struggled to get open period, and when they did it was often too late for the throw that Brady would have had to make a few seconds earlier. If they aren't open when he reads them in his progression, he has to move on in search of another option in his progression or be guilty of staring them down - which tends to lead to picks. If he has the time to return to a receiver who is coming open late his split second choices are still usually to ignore that and throw it away or try to put the ball up in an area where only his receiver (and not fast closing coverage who sees the same thing) has a shot at it. Sometimes that means leading the receiver and sometimes it means trusting him to adjust and come back for the throw (as opposed to hitting him flatfooted which an open Watson often unfortunately is). The only receiver he truly had that kind of rapore with in 2006 was a 35 year old slot receiver who unfortunately has lost a step over the last 2-3 seasons and isn't always quick enough to make the physical adjustment he is still mentally in synch with.

    Tom's never consistently had the kind of receivers who due to a combination of size, speed and hands can be trusted to just go up and get throws even against tight coverage, which is a role Moss and Stallworth have both excelled at in their past. Guys who can be a little less precise in working an area because they have the physical talent to compensate for that. Those are the kind of guys whose mere presence allows a QB to make the kinds of plays that break a defeses back while opening up all sorts of opportunities for guys working underneath and across the middle as well as the RB's. This year will be interesting to say the least as a result.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2007
  22. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    We have to get past this idea that the Patriots receiving playbook is tougher than astrophysics. We're talking about adding 3 quality receivers to the mix, the learning curve is going to be a whole lot shorter.
  23. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 Rookie

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    * He's missed open recievers every year, usually most early in games. I don't know who does this for snap.stats.com but if it's the same guy(s) each year it gives some idea on how Tom does each year and how many poor throws they attribute to him:

    2006 79
    2005 88
    2004 81
    2003 79
    2002 97

    If they are correct, he tied with 2003 for the fewest porr throws last year.
  24. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This isn't about the playbook, it's about timing and understanding between the QB and his receivers. When Steve Young became the 49ers QB, at first Jerry Rice groused a lot that Young didn't get him the ball just-so the way he liked it, like Joe had. It took a while for them to become the Young-to-Rice combo we remember. So while I'd love to see instant lightning from Moss & co, I expect a more typical learning curve.
  25. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I used to think like you on this issue, but if Belichick and co. put such a high value on experience in the system, then they would've overpaid for Branch & Givens, and they wouldn't have bothered to go out and get Moss, Stallworth and Welker (2 of those MIGHT be one year rentals, though I doubt that) pushing Caldwell and Gaffney - who have experience with Brady under their belt - down on the depth charts.

    Based on BB's actions, you have to acknowledge he clearly values talent over experience in the system and he has confidence these guys will play well in the system and do it in 07, b/c that might be their only season here.
  26. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, on signing Moss, Stallworth and Welker...I never, ever suggested that talented receivers aren't necessary, just that they aren't sufficient. It takes a combination of talent with hard-earned chemistry to create a Young-to-Rice, a Manning-to-Harrison, etc.

    As for the argument that if BB valued experience he would have paid for it, then does it follow that he values nothing because he never overpays for anything? :)


    No I don't. :D Seriously, the Patriots made a strong offer to Givens, but Tennessee blew him away with a ridiculous offer they now regret. Branch wasn't just asking for $$$, which the Pats DID offer, he was asking to rip up a year of his existing contract. I don't see how declining those two demands demonstrates anything about valuing talent over experience. Besides, Branch had plenty of talent AND experience, so what lesson does it really teach?
  27. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Right, but it wouldn't be truly be overpaying b/c both Givens and Branch would have a value for the Pats which would be greater than their value to any other team.

    Maybe Brady-Moss in 07 isn't Manning-Harrison or Young-Rice overnight, but BB seems to think it will be better than Brady-Caldwell. You're talking to a guy who thought Caldwell, Gaffney, (healthy) Jackson would be perfectly suitable for the Pats next season - I've since realized that BB has decidely put a premium on pure talent/ability at the wide receiving position this offseason, and that the year of experience and chemistry Caldwell & Gaffney gained with Brady is far outweighed by the fact that Moss and Stallworth are more talented receivers....Plus, I think the assumption is that the talent and experience Moss and Stallworth have will allow them to gain chemistry with TB much faster.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  28. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I do agree with this, and fervently hope it comes to pass!

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