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A theory about our WR love fest

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by spacecrime, May 1, 2007.

  1. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    I think the large numbers of WRs signed is not a blip on the radar, but a fundamental shift in offensive philosophy.

    Three years ago when Polian had the NFL "emphasize" letting receivers run free, it changed the game. Passing is now a better way, more certain way to get yards than with the run or a run-pass balanced offense.

    That his how the COlts got back in the game in the AFCCG. pass for yardage and check off to the run when the QB sees the defense cheating toward the pass.

    BB isn't stupid, and sees that the game has changed irrevocably.

    Running is still important, but the emphasis has to shift to the passing game because that is what the rules give you. Fighting the rules is stupid and puts you at a disadvantage.

    I think the Colts are also aware of this. In a game where receivers must be allowed to run free, defenders are at a disadvantage. Since a defender cannot do certain things anymore and must avoid pretty much all contact, the difference between a super CB and an adequate CB is lessened. It is still better to have a better CB, of course, but a greater advantage is to be had by having better WRs, who are allowed to use their talents to the utmost.

    That is why, after losing both starting CBs, the Colts used their #1 pick on a slot WR. They would have upgraded their defensive backfield more by grabbing Chris Houston, but they improved their team more by getting a better receiver to take advantage of harrison/wayne's ability to stretch the field. A superior slot receiver, coupled with a superior pass catching TE (Clark) gives them more value that improving the backfield. If the Colts case, Houston could not have helped a whole lot more than Hughes could, and Gonzales will help more than whoever they would replace Stokely with.

    BB is doing the same thing, making the NFL rules work for him instead of against him. Look for our WRs (and the Colts WRs) to haul in passes next year or collect yellow flags. Either way, it's a first down and the chains move.
  2. Bobs My Uncle

    Bobs My Uncle PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Seems plausible to me, space.
  3. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    It's what the league wants.
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Interesting post, very interesting idea. Makes sense.

    I think the Moss move was about grabbing a guy that can dominate the game at his position like few can - and as a result, draw the attention of more double coverage than anyone, as BB spoke about on EEI. That in and of itself seems to change our offensive philosophy or execution.
  5. Handel

    Handel Rookie

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    And I think too Pats offensive philosophy changed with the departure of Charlie Weis. They seem now more willing to implement more vertical passing in their game.
  6. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    It is no coincidence that 3 offensive scoring records have been broken in the 3 seasons since the new "re-emphasis" on the PI rules. First there was Peyton Manning breaking the record for touchdown passes, then Shaun Alexander broke the record for total TDs and then Tomlinson broke the same record last year.
  7. PatsFanInVa

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    I think we'd be better off considering this an example of convergence theory. NE has never emphasized WRs in the past -- but we could appreciate them at a distance certainly.

    The problem was not that we were dead set against monstrously talented wideouts. The problem was that we could not take the hefty salary demands, expectations, and antics that came with them.

    While you are correct, that the "point of emphasis" and the Kimo Rule pump up the passing game; and it is also true that playing on turf gives a speedier team the edge; the more pronounced point in this year's configuration, is that players have been willing to check their egos and salary expectations at the door to an unprecedented extent.

    So, the Pats were motivated to make the deals because they represented value, and, because of the 1-year assumptions, involved lower team risk. The players were motivated by rings, and in Moss' case, a need to move on to being considered the "new mature Randy." I think they're all legitimately psyched because of the critical mass this has reached. It's the Seau Graduate School hypothesis going wild.

    Were Randy still asking 19-20M guaranteed over the next 2 years, I do not think there is a "trend" to talk about -- though he might have gotten at least close to that in Green Bay.

    Here's your trend: WRs saw that we told Branch, eh, we can take you or leave you. It became clear that playing for the Pats was a priveledge not a right, especially at the (typically overpriced) WR position. And they saw we had a vacuum at that position (and still went to the AFCC).

    Players respected that it was about the team, the cap, and not the individual. And they bought in.

    I do not think this will be sustained. I think biting the bullet is a sort of snowball rolling downhill phenomenon. It's trendy and hip in the NFL to say, WTF, I'm already rich. I'm going to use my skills where they can make a difference. That's this year's flavor.

    If that goes away, and primo wideouts are only available at market rates, in front-loaded, risk-enhanced packages, either the league can further Belichickize, or we will spend those monies elsewhere, as in the past.

    PFnV
  8. Nordberg

    Nordberg Rookie

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    To sum it up....Polian has ruined the league for being a f'n cry baby.....and to tailor the rules to fit his teams strength.

    I can't wait to kick the crap out of them next year.
  9. PatsFanInVa

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    PS, but in support of/corrolary to your theory:

    The league currently is moving toward a running game involving having 2-3 backs handling different duties, none of them the "featured" back. Even LT has Turner to spell him.

    Point is, that dilutes the "specialness" of the NFL featured back, since he is only doing his job 50%-75% of what we're used to. This, too, makes the "great back" less important, adding to the Hunt For the Great Receiver Corps.

    I personally don't buy it, as a paradigm shift. I DO buy that with new turf and new "points of emphasis" favoring aerial attacks, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth when Randy Moss basically falls in your lap.

    PFnV
  10. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Umm, but I didn't mean just Randy Moss. We spent a second round pick on a slot receiver, signed the top FA WR avaialble (Stallworth) and took a flyer on Washington.

    It is more than Moss, it is all those WRs coming in.

    We could have had Stallworth last year instead of Philly, but it took another year of the new NFL for BB to realize it was not a blip but a paradigm shift.

    The days of three yards and a cloud of dust were long gone already, but I think we will see more and more scoring in the years to come. In order to score, you have to move the ball. A good day's running is 100 yards. A good day's passing is 300 yards. And now the rules favor passing.

    I don't mean running is not important. It is still the way to run out the clock. Without the threat of a run, the passing game is less advantageous.

    But I think it is getting to be more important to acquire WRs who can catch a ball thrown in their vacinity. The Pats haven't had one of those since Terry Glenn.

    We'll see what happens.
  11. braveht

    braveht Rookie

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    I think these two,somewhat competing, trends are both happening, but on different teams.
    a) Run 1st teams have gone to 2 semi-featured RBs to keep them fresh and healthy for the season. e.g. The chargers . Pats w/ Dillon and Maroney last year.
    b) The pass oriented offense w/ multi WR sets. Cincy and Indy, and now us. No attempt to keep Dillon or draft a RB. Faulk as a 3rd down back.

    I think BB tried to stay balanced with emphasis on TE's. But he came up short with Givens leaving, Branch's hold-up, and Jackson's injuries. Maybe he's overcompensating, akin to the overstocking of DBs after coming up short in 05 and getting Poteat off the street.
  12. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rookie

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    Good post, i agree with a lot of what you are saying here.

    I would add that I think that Brady has a lot of pull in this situation, and he wasn't pleased with the crop we put out last year. He made it work, he used what he had, but I think at the end of the season, something happened, and he and BB/SP had a little sit down to discuss the WR position.
  13. PatsFanInVa

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    Eh, the 300/100 compares a QB and a RB, not a WR and a RB. A good day for a given wideout is 100, a good day for a given back is 100, and you rarely get two of either getting 100.

    Trading a 2 in a draft we've seen characterized - by BB - as weak? When you knew you definitely improved the team with the move? I don't see that as necessarily a paradigm shift.

    Stallworth? I believe you, if you show me that any deal under discussion last year loaded the risk the same way, and had roughly the same dollar value.

    I like this, but as you say, "we'll see what happens." I'm not too crazy about reading too much into the rules/points of emphasis. It's had a marginal effect if I recall correctly on average scoring per game - I think it's up like a couple points since 2004, though I might be wrong. Show me that number being more like a TD/game, and I might buy it.

    BUT, I do see the league trending a bit in that direction, especially since the RBBC approach to the running game is in vogue. I just think the factors stack up in this order:

    1) Deals available in structures and at prices the Pats view as in-line with their value approach;
    2) Adjustment to the team philosophy based on the move to Field Turf;
    3) Possible reaction to an overcautious 2007, in which deals were tried at but not consummated; and only then,
    4) Adjustment to rules changes/point of emphasis

    I remember reading an article in USA Today that the league is right where it wants to be in terms of average scoring, but again, I can not source that, so I am open to an explanation of "misremembering" on that one as well.

    It looks to me like you've got an explanation consistent with what we've been seeing, but I don't buy your arrow of causation here. BB does have the experience of a frustrating 2006 offseason to look back on (deals were proposed but not consummated,) and he stuck to his guns. "Free Agency" blinked first, it appears, in the staring contest between BB and FA Wideouts.

    Again -- if you know where to get details of Stallworth's proposed or even final deal from 2006 versus 2007, that could help flesh out whether that aspect is a constant (though Moss clearly is not.)

    PFnV
  14. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    Let me just add this to your theory. I think the main reason BB went on a WR jag is that he realized that we couldn't have an effective run game if teams were constantly putting 8-9 men in the box. The Colts effectively shut down the run game even with their crappy run defense in the second half, because they knew we'd try to run out the clock with our lead. They played russian roullette with thier first and second down defenses and won. That will be a lot more difficult with TWO more than legitimate deep threats out wide.

    How will the Colt try and defend 2 TE's and 2 WRs when the 2 WRs are Stallworth and Moss. In that scenerio we have 2 OTs on their midget DE's and 2 TEs on their midget OLBs. Where do they play the safeties now. They miss on a PAP (play action pass) and they are done. Nothing against Caldwell and Gaffney, but NEITHER of them present that kind of threat.

    Believe me, I've been a DC. That WR tandem is going to cause a lot of headaches scheme wise, especially when you go 2 TEs. Now the Pats will have TWO guy who can go up and GET the ball, even when they are 'covered' well
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  15. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    While your theory makes logical sense, I'm not sure that the passing-game friendly rules changes would measure up as that significant in relation to all the other factors that go into the Pats' personnel decisions.

    First of all, I think the very premise that the Pats' additions at WR this offseason represent a change of philosophy is incorrect. BB & SP have drafted three wideouts in the 2nd round, and gone after multiple WRs in FA, just not as successfully. Aside from the Donald Hayes debacle, the Pats' FO went after Derrick Mason aggressively in the 2005 off-season, and thought we had him signed, until his wife decided she preferred the city of Baltimore, and last season, when the Pats discussed trading for Stallworth, but lost out because the Eagles had a LB to spare, and that's what the Saints needed.

    I think the Pats just ended up acquiring a bunch of receivers this year through a combination of opportunity and need. After losing two WRs last year, the better of them quite unexpectedly, the Pats were put in a position this year where there was a lot of room at the top of the WR depth chart. Chad Jackson's injuries certainly didn't help. So obviously we were going to be looking at WRs, and unlike previous years, this year, just about every WR we approached was willing/interested in taking a short term deal for less money to have their profile enhanced by playing with Brady for a season.

    I mean, do you think that in previous years, BB would pass up the opportunity to get a guy like Stallworth for $3 million? Or a guy with Kelley Washington's potential for $900,000!? Or RANDY MOSS for $3 million and a 4th rounder?

    Heck no. I imagine BB would have jumped on those deals in just about any year -- this just happens to be the year they all panned out.
  16. Dragda

    Dragda Yes, it's really me... PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have a different theory. Much more simplistic. I like yours better. This isn't the first time we brought in a plethora of wideouts. Look back at the the list (if there is such a list somewhere) of WRs we have brought in from free agency since 2000. It's quite a list. BB is simply trying to find someone who can play in the Patriots system.

    The Patriots have sucked when it comes to bringing in WR talent. Really sucked. Randy Moss, Kelley Washington, Welker, and Donte Stallworth probably won't all have an impact. A couple of these will be completely horrible, if the track record holds.
  17. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    PFnV,

    I just want to express my, um, bemusement at this:

    "I think biting the bullet is a sort of snowball rolling downhill phenomenon."

    Makes for an interesting visual.
  18. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale Rookie

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    I think it's real simple: The Pats needed upgrading at WR and with the huge increase in salary caps, they could afford to go after some big guns.

    If you want to pick on an opponent the Pats were boning up for with these WRs, I'd pick San Diego, not Indy. Laugh at Norv Turner all you want, but even he would have coached a better game than Marty did in that playoff loss. The Pats can't expect to win another game like that 24-21 victory. With Merriman, Philips and Castillo bringing the heat, the Pats need WRs who can quickly get separation from those CBs if Brady needs to get rid of the ball quickly. Cincy lit up SD for 40+ pts last year with CJ, TJ Housh and company. BB saw that and wanted to make sure if the Pats run into SD in January, he won't have to rely on Troy Brown making a play for the ages.

    Regards,
    Chris
  19. PatsFanInVa

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    Bartender, mix me another metaphor.

    :eat3:
  20. He Ban Me

    He Ban Me Banned

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    Sounds a little paranoid:eek:
  21. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    It's not paranoia if everyone really is out to get me...
  22. Patriot Missile

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    BB was in his mad scientist laboaratory one night and thought to himself. "What would happen if I created a offense that was as good as my defense? It's alive!!!"
  23. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Let me play devil's advocate - which I can do since I was lambasted by so many last season for expressing concern about WR depth and the impact the lack of a deep game had on our entire offense.

    BB game plans - he doesn't have one offensive strategy - it changes week to week.

    Deep passes primarilly are used as a threat - its a high risk throw - shorter passes (mid range) or running the ball is much safer.

    If indeed the Pats can use the passing game to build a lead they will revert to a safe run oriented game. The running game should also benefit from having safeties held back to prevent the deep pass threat - making the run offense that much more preferable.

    So in the end, if things go as we'd like you're going to see a whole lot more of the running game than you're thinking right now.
  24. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Rookie

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    Interesting theory, but the stockpiling of WR reminds me of a couple years back when we had Branch, Givens, Troy and Bethel on the roster, but still brought in Dwight, Andre Davis and David Terrell. On paper at least, this year's edition is far more talented especially with the addition of a potential HOF receiver.

    I also think that had BB been overly concerned about the Polian instigated rule change, a reaction from the defensive side of the ball both in the players brought in and in the formations revised would have occurred concurrently if not first.
  25. willdeespats

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    I agree with this. Look how tired our defense got in the AFCCG trying keep up with the Colts 'run-free' offense. So maybe BB stocking up on WRs is to be able to have 3 WR/1 TE sets on the field predominently, have two interchangeable platoons of them, run no huddle as the norm and simply run and run and run the defense into the ground. By the 4th quarter, the defense should be quite tired or playing their practice squad! While our offense is just getting warmed up.

    How many WRs does it take to do this? I see a minimum of 6 and given a reserve for injuries, likely more. And Thomas fills a key role in one of the platoons.
  26. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    That's kinda what I was thinking. I see Moss and Stallworth plattooning alot. even if they don't get tons of balls thrown at them, just jumping off the line and moving it gonna wear out the opposing D late in games. Alternating is gonna keep our guys somewhat fresh and D's are gonna have to scheme for it. It's gonna create some torched Defenses late in games. There is not gonna be much relief to shift over either, not with the rest of the talent we'll be putting out there.

    Not many teams have the ability to put up a "reasonably fresh" BLAZER at WR on 100% of the offense plays, let alone 2 on occasion. Not when there is so much pressure elsewhere from the rest of the guys.
    Last edited: May 3, 2007
  27. PatsWickedPissah

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    Bingo!
    Marty characteristically made several bad coaching decisions which cost his team a close game. We cannot rely on Norv suddenly choking as a playoff coach. Had the Patriots stood 'pat' we'd face certain elimination by SD in Jan '08. Note that these same BB moves should also work well against Denvah's super DB corps should we face them in the playoffs.

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