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2012: A Very Good Year for the Pats

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, Jan 1, 2013.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Some things that the Pats have accomplished in the past 12 months:

    1. Another Super Bowl appearance, albeit a heartbreaking loss
    2. Finishing the 2012 season 12-4 with the #2 seed, poised for yet another Super Bowl run
    3. One of the most prolific offensive performances in history, with 557 points scored, 7028 yards, and season records for 1st downs and plays
    4. The development of perhaps the best young RBBC group in the league, at very low cost for the next 2 years.
    5. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both locked up for the next 7 years.
    6. The apparent advent of a long term foundation at defensive end in Chandler Jones, who showed signs of becoming a Pro Bowl talent down the road before getting injured.
    7. The possibility of stability in the secondary with Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard outside and Devin McCourty moving to FS, where he flourished. This will be dependent on whether the team can extend Talib.
    8. Significantly upgraded the talent level on defense with the additions of Jones, Talib, Dennard and Dont'a Hightower.

    Although the Pats were a SB team last year, this year's team seems much stronger and more balanced in terms of the running game and the talent on defense, and appears built for a nice run for the next several years if the team can maneuver the cap and re-sign its key players.

    The 2013 team will have had the benefit of several things:

    - The experience of a playoff run (and hopefully a Super Bowl) under their belts
    - A season's experience learning to work together; both the offense and defense had a significant learning curve with new personnel in 2012, which will hopefully not be so much the case in 2013
    - Hopefully much less significant personnel change than in 2012, assuming the Pats sign their key FAs
    - A full offseason with the basic position groups set
    - A second season for coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia

    It all depends on how the FO is able to deal with the offseason and the cap situation, but they've been pretty good about managing to fill holes in the past.
     
  2. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    A very good year indeed.
     
  3. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Savor 2012 folks and the coming year as well. The # of remaining Brady years is sadly dwindling. We're spoiled, taking for granite (sic) the constant post season as the Giants again hit the golf course and their fans have to follow surrogates if they want football.

    I remember the all too rare excitement in past decades of the prospect of the Patriots having a post season game.

    What's wonderful as the OP mentions is the strong rebuilt relatively young core of this team, making 2013 an anticipated treasure.
     
  4. The_Riddler

    The_Riddler 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    It is critical that we ink up Talib, he has been the missing piece. We can survive Chung moving on, but I would like BB to get a safety early in the draft or thru FA as Wilson to me appears to be more of a rotational guy.

    Offensively as is usually the case, we need a true tall stud WR to play on the other side of Lloyd. A Dez Bryant type, a big, physical, playmaker that TB can depend on.
     
  5. bostonia3333

    bostonia3333 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I agree, savor every minute of this, because it can come crashing down when you least expect it. I don't know how long Brady can keep up this insanely amazing level of play. He's always gonna be the key regardless of who we sign in 2013

    Brady's in the twilight of his prime and the real issue with this team going forward in 2013 is gearing the offense to where we aren't overutilizing Brady. He's the queen on the checkboard that we have simply left unprotected this year. I don't remember a year where he took this many hits. Plus look at how many times he's throwing the ball lately--If he has 40 attempts in a game, that's considered a rather low number. He threw the rock 59 times at Seattle and over 60 times against SF. Those are alarming numbers and it's quite concerning when you think about rotator cuff and related shoulder injuries.

    I know it's been said a zillion times here, but I would love to see the running game become a more pivotal part of this offense kind of like Dallas in the 90s where Aikman would be used moderately. I know the run stats for the Pats this year are good, but it seems like the pass sets up the run rather than the other way around. Against bad teams like JAX, NYJ, BUF, we should be more efficient with the way we use Brady(20-25 attempts). We don't need to stat pad like we did in the past, we only need this guy for the playoffs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  6. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Pro Bowl Player

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    For those like me as a fan who endured years like 1990 and 1991 know there is always going to be up and down years for your favorite team....it may take over a decade,but you know double digit wins and constant division titles can't last forever so enjoy the playoffs win or lose,it ain't easy getting there.

    I want the team to start focusing on whether Mallett has what it takes or to start finding the heir apparent to Brady in the draft......it has to start in 2013 because Brady is less than 4 years from hanging it up and we need someone at least half as talented as Tom to continue another winning decade like the last one.

    Brady will NEVER be replaced by another QB like him,it's not possible,but we need a guy whose heart and desire is as big as Tom if the talent is on a lower level which guaranteed,will be.
     
  7. Poker

    Poker Practice Squad Player

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    Good post Mayo. Nice to keep perspective on the progress beyond day to day.

    One other accomplishment in 2012 that you didn't highlight: The offensive line.

    The OL was a source of major angst through the summer, and has been significantly rebuilt compared to last season. Vastly improved rushing attack now. And while there have been some breakdowns in pass protection, the Pats remain at the top end of the league there, mostly because of our short range air attack, and that Brady is the only QB in the league averaging under 2.5 seconds time to throw-- https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/11/07/signature-stat-snapshot-time-to-throw/
     
  8. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    The only negative for 2012 is that the Pats went 1-4 vs NFC teams...teams that had success collapsing the pocket and minimizing the Patriots running game....89 rushing yds/game vs the 2012 average of 136 ypg. This off season, the team might want to address this issue first and foremost. Adding a stud interior O lineman can only help
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  9. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It will be interesting to see what the FO does over the next 4 months, through FA and the draft. Keep the nucleus of the team intact and add a few pieces. Round out the defense. Stability in the secondary, some youth at OL, and some long term security at WR would all be nice.

    If the core of this team is relatively intact for 2013, with a year of experience , a playoff run, and a full off-season, plus some returning guys, things should look very good indeed.
     
  10. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    They have a pro bowl RG still under contract and unfortunately well rested... They came within a game of securing HFA throughout. It would be sad if it turns out that a combination of experimenting with their WR core (seemingly to force the assimilation of Lloyd and test the we can live without Welker because Edelman exists theory) and dicking with Waters over a contract restructure that would net them zero cap relief when in the end they admitted he was worth 4 times what they were scheduled to pay him, cost them that game or ultimately more. Hopefully it won't and they will be healthy and peak as they enter the post season.
     
  11. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    "It" doesn't have to start by 2013 because there are no indications Brady is less than 4 years from hanging it up and you don't want that guy riding the pine for 4 or more seasons behind a durable QB still playing at MVP levels. How do you start focusing on whether or not Mallett has it? And at what expense? Mallett is here for another year or two at best unless Brady is suddenly and abruptly lost forever in which case we will learn the hard way because Bill has chosen to roll the dice and carry only 2 QB's again since he chose to carry a boatload of TE's and rookie defenders...

    What would be ideal would be to have a solid if unspectacular game manager behind Brady for the duration whether he eventually replaces him or bridges the gap to whomever eventually does. Because barring injury nobody is going to push Brady to the bench any time soon. And that is the only way he's gone absent catestrophic injury in less than 4 years...

    I will never understand the rush to replace Brady that consumes some here...
     
  12. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    A very good year indeed and hoping for the cherry on top in February.

    Looking ahead, Talib is a must sign. For the first time in awhile I feel really good about the 2ndary going into next season if that happens. McCourty is a shoe in at safety, Gregory has stepped up his game big time and I can now say I feel good about the signing. Dennard excelled beyond anyone's expectations and is only going to get better. I am open to a friendly contract with Ed Reed if he is into winning a championship and will take less realizing he is a little old in the tooth. Still a great football mind with instincts above all.

    Need to draft a DT to eventually replace Wilfork. Easier said then done.

    Line backing crew has never been better. Their a good group now, but wait until they have a few years under their belt. That's when you will see greatness.

    I think the biggest improvement this team could make on offense is draft Guard Jonathan Cooper from UNC. Dante helps mold undrafted and late round picks into serviceable football players. When he gets first and second round talent to work with he turns them into probowl caliber players. The results are factual. See Light,Vollmer,Mankins and Solder. To me Cooper is the safest pick in this years draft and would improve the running game immensely. Twofold he would prolong Brady's career, help Ridley become ultra elite and enable the Pats perfect balance in their offense. Dante IMO would help Cooper establish a Steve Hutchinson type career and be the eventual replacement for Mankins.
     
  13. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yup, good stuff. You know, everybody talks about Brady's age, which I understand will be an issue. But on the flip side, what is exciting to me is that Belichick shows zero signs of slowing down. He's got this process down so well, that (as far as I know) there's none of that "coach sleeping in the film room at 4 in the morning" burn-out stuff going on either.

    Point being, if the Pats are able to get that next great QB over the next few years (I assume he's not on the roster yet)--like GB did w/Rogers--then there's no real reason this run has to end in five years, or ten. Now how cool is that?
     
  14. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    Whether we reach our goal or not this year was a huge step in the proper direction. I thought 2011 although it was great result wise it was disappointing to see the defense downgrade after the 2nd half of 2010 showed so much promise and improvement. This year post-Talib trade the D looks like it's for real and good enough to rely upon in January, instead of hoping to draw weak to mediocre QB's in the AFC playoffs and a kicker shanking a gimme. Ideally, one more good offseason of adding a legit S and/or CB could make this an elite d in which case we may see another run at perfection.

    We probably should be the #1 seed if not for some blown calls/poor execution in key moments but I'll gladly take our position right now.
     
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What's interesting to me about the 2012 Patriots is that no one has seen them at full force yet. No one.

    The offense started out the year with OL injuries (Mankins wasn't recovered, Vollmer's back), with Lloyd not on the same page with Brady, with Vereen injured, and Brady not yet in sync with his new weapons, and with McDaniels obviously not sure how to use everyone. Then Hernandez got hurt. Then the OL injuries kicked in. Then Gronk got hurt before Hernandez was fully recovered. Then Edelman got hurt. Bolden became a major part of RBBC and got suspended for 4 games, and has just begun to work his way back in. Edelman's gone for the season, but going into the playoffs the offense is closer to operating with a full deck than at any point this season. We've set NFL records for most plays and 1st downs and scored the 3rd most points in the SB era, all while shuffling players in and out and working with a patchwork OL.

    The defense started out with 2 rookie starters in Jones and Hightower, plus a new starter in Steve Gregory. Jones was arguably our best defensive player over the first 8-10 games. Hightower got hurt and took a while to get back on track, and before he did Jones got hurt and is just beginning to regain his form. Ninkovich started the season with a position change and struggled (remember all the Ninkovich bashing posts early in the year), but then became a very solid player for us. Cunningham stepped up, and then got suspended 4 games. Brandon Spikes got banged up, and Tracy White had to step in as a starter. The secondary situation was far worse. Ras-I Dowling played hurt and then got put on IR. The secondary fell apart and slowed down the development of the defense, with injuries to Gregory and Chung leading to rookies Wilson and Ebner starting at one point. Things only started to improve once Alfonzo Dennard was inserted into the starting rotation and Devin McCourty got moved to FS. The Aqib Talib trade solidified things, moved Kyle Arrington to the slot, and offered glimpses of what the defense could do with a solid secondary, but injuries slowed that down and required more shifting of players around. And that's not mentioning that Dane Fletcher was lost for the season during training camp, which cost us arguably our best coverage LB, an area that's hurt us all season. And in spite of all that the defense continually improved, finished 9th in points allowed, and was one of the better defenses in the NFL over the last 6 games.

    Going into the playoffs, we're the closest to seeing what the "2012 Patriots" are really like. A team with Brady at QB behind a fairly healthy OL, Gronk and Hernandez at TE, Welker and Lloyd at receiver, and the RBBC in full force. The defense with Talib/Dennard outside and Arrington in the slot, McCourty and Gregory at safety, Jones back to full strength, Cunningham back, Spikes health, and Hightower rounding into form.

    No one in the NFL has played that team yet. Yet the patch-work Patriots managed to go 12-4 and were a hair's breadth from 15-1, in spite of all those struggles. And that's the team that should form the foundation for 2013, if the FO can keep the key players in the offseason.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  16. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Well, I'm sold. ;) Nicely summarized.

    All that being said, let's win it this year!
     
  17. Skeeter712

    Skeeter712 Practice Squad Player

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    A very enjoyable year to watch as a fan. Hopefully many more to come.
     
  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This season kind of reminded me of a TV show like "24", where the protagonist starts off getting put on the defensive, and is on the run for most of the season. We've been held hostage to OL injuries, Hernandez being out, Gronk being out, the secondary situation, injuries to Talib and Dennard, suspensions to Cunningham and Bolden, Hightower and Jones getting banged up, etc. No sooner does the secondary appear settled than Talib and Dennard get banged up. No sooner does Hernandez come back than Gronk gets hurt. No sooner does Julian Edelman appear to become an impact player then he goes on IR. Donte Stallworth steps up and makes a huge play, and is on IR a day later. It just seemed like we could never catch up and get everyone healthy and together. It just feels to me like this is the part of the series where the protagonist figures out what's going on and starts to go on the offensive, and starts kicking *ss big time. Maybe it won't happen, but I'm itching to see what this team can do if we can actually get our players on the field healthy at the same time.
     
  19. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    ....And for those worried about the inevitable decline of Brady's skills think about this. Over the next 3-5 years as Brady devolves from being the best QB into the league into "merely" a very good one, the DEFENSE will be evolving into a much better version of what it is now (I can't get myself to say "dominant", since I've never seen one here.....but I'm hoping).

    It might not be a "dominant" defense, but starting next year, I believe that we will start to see a Patriots team where the offense doesn't have to carry the defense for most of the season. Now THAT has got to be a scary thought for the rest of the league.
     
  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not to mention a running game to complement the passing attack. John Elway won his only 2 SBs at age 37 and 38. Brady would have to drop off quite a bit to be at the level that Elway was in those 2 years. I think it's fair to assume that we have at least 5 years of SB contention left.
     
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