A under-discussed topic: Struggles on the offensive line

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by fumbrunner, Dec 6, 2009.

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  1. fumbrunner

    fumbrunner In the Starting Line-Up

    There has been a ton of discussion about the poor play-calling, poor decisions by Brady, etc. Am I the only one that sees that Brady seems to be under constant pressure even when teams rush four? The Dolphins had one play where they rushed 3 and got to Brady. Don't they have to be as much to blame as the playcalling and poor decisions?

    I hope Vollmer gets healthy enough to get in there. He certainly played well.
  2. parthasas

    parthasas Patriots Nation PatsFans.com Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    whassup with this line not able to handle a 3 or 4 man rush :eek: Something is seriously wrong here. This line went to probowl just 2 seasons back . I don't get it
  3. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    We are banged up

    Koppen is playing through a knee injury
    neal who was our best OL in the first week is out and been in and out
    Levoir came from pup and is in rotation as light is also has come from injury
    Vollmer has a concussion and even when he is back you need to rotate him.

    Bright spot is nothing is too serious and not in IR .
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I don't think this has been under-discussed. We've had extension discussions about the OL and it's performance over the past few weeks.

    I attribute some of the issues to injury. The loss of Vollmer has been particularly key, as he was a major upgrade to our OL. The loss of Neal has also hurt at times.

    I attribute the other issues to poor performance by Koppen and Kaczur. I've suggested that we need to keep Vollmer at LT, re-sign Mankins, and upgrade the right side of our OL for 2010. Others don't agree with this assessment and see the need only for an OG in the offseason. We've discussed the issues around this in quite a bit of detail in other threads.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    When all your succesful plays are at least 20 yards down the field you are going to have problems. The solution to a banged up line is a short passing game, screens and quick dumps to running backs and tight ends.
  6. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Or, perhaps, tacking the best offensive tackles in the draft... ;)
  7. SidelineSid

    SidelineSid Practice Squad Player

    Mayo, you've won me over. Before I was in the camp that would have only gone after a OG. This was because we have so much money invested in the OT position. However, we have to trade Kaczur and draft someone to protect the right side. Koppen may not play great, but he's injured and at least conveys to the other linemen , who they should block. I'm tired of the ugly side of Kaczur coming out in the worst way. He caused that final interception because he came out of his break way too late. I don't think we would get more than a fourth round pick for Kaczur. Let's hope that's it's enough.
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    So much money invested in the OT position?

    Consider Philadelphia:

    1. They traded a 1st round pick last year for LT Jason Peters, who they signed to a 6 year $60M contract. Peters has underperformed this year, as he did his last year with Buffalo.

    2. They signed FA Stacey Andrews to a 6 year $38.9M contract last year, despite Andrews coming off knee surgery. He has been injured and replaced at RT.

    3. They signed Winston Justice (currently starting at RT and performing reasonably well, though in the past he has been a turnstyle) to a 4 year $18.7M contract.

    4. They signed OG Shawn Andrews in 2006 to a 7 year $40M extension.

    Now that's a lot of money tied up in the OL.
  9. SoonerPatriot

    SoonerPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

    With that fat contract and his age I don't see how they could possibly get a four for the guy. He's essentially worthless to anyone but us.
  10. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For about 2 years now (Clady/Oher drafts), I've been floating the idea of converting Kaczur to guard and having Light and the draftee playing the OT spots. With Neal getting older and Kaczur under contract, I still think that's a smart way to go. Instead of Clady/Oher, I'll settle for Vollmer, if he learns to get his ass moving and his body into position faster off the snap.
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter


    Actually, I think we would have gained more improvement with a top interior lineman than a top tackle. When Neal or Koppen is injured, there is a major downgrade.

    If you want hindsight. We could have Eric Wood at 26.

  12. BennyBledsoe

    BennyBledsoe Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #11 Jersey

    Yeah, it's weird how they draft offensive linemen sometimes. I mean, getting Vollmer was great and all but...sometimes it seems like they ignore obvious players...I mean, what did they know about guys like Clady, John Sullivan (who seems to be playing well for the Vikings) that I didn't from reading up on the offensive line prospects each year.

    They've got to do a better job getting some starter quality rookies (I mean, immediate, not developmental) if they want to take advantage of the closing window of Brady's prime.

    I'd hit the offensive line early and often with all the picks next year.

    WARNING : Kinda grumbly/stunned from the loss today so due apologies if I sound incoherent.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  13. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We've had injuries on the line, but what's up with Mankins? He's been pretty awful at times this season, and I can't think of one game where he played great. He was a Pro Bowler last season, but is second on the team in penalties this year with 6. As far as I know, he hasn't been injured, so not sure what the reason is for the drop-off in play.
  14. pats_premi

    pats_premi On the Game Day Roster

    To me it appears as if the Patriots O-Line wears down towards the end of third and fourth quarter instead of the opposing D-Line. They can't open holes for the running game and can't protect Brady in the third and fourth quarter. I wonder if this is due to the Patriots being mainly passing team and therefore they get tired from trying to prevent pass rush that is dictated by the defence.
  15. Spiral

    Spiral PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I agree. Kaczur's feet are way too slow for a tackle, even a RT.
  16. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

    Seabass may prove to be just that. He certainly has the athletic ability and smarts. Shouldn't you be out seeing Blindside for the 5th time?
  17. Ichiro

    Ichiro On the Game Day Roster

    I hate to blame a backup, but Connolly was consistently abused yesterday. He is not ready for the speed of the NFL yet.

    I think our offensive line, unlike the pass rush, has the potential to get better. Fully healthy, it is the same lineup as '07.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've never seen the movie and I've never read the book. I just happen to prefer that my favorite teams take the best players available to them, particularly when that player has fallen to them in a fortuitous occurrence. They could still have taken Vollmer even with Oher, by the way. That might have helped make up for passing on Clady the previous year.
  19. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    The old adage that games are won and lost in the trenches has never been truer and has really bitten the Patriots in the ass over the last three seasons. This is because more teams are finding ways to get QB's at least to the functional level when not heavily pressured at the same time more teams are focused on finding ways to frustrate Brady. Elite pressure off the edge used to be the only option but the OL was able to scheme to counter that for the most part and few teams we faced had the talent to force the issue. Blitzes used to be something he dissected for the sheer joy of it because he had multiple viable options with which to attack it. Pressure up the middle they cannot seem to counter and more teams seem to have the personnel to bring that including in some cases in conjunction with selective blitzing. Couple this with the fact that Brady has a $9M #1 WR who has to be kept involved deep or short and and not much more than a slot WR and scat back to counter with these days and you have a prescription for frustration and worse...

    People scoffed at the concept of a "blueprint" developing down the stretch in 2007. Some still appear to be in denial about it even as more and more teams employ and refine it's use against us. If you can get pressure with 3 and 4 you can get 7 or 8 in coverage and that's sufficient for more teams to impact the short passing game as well as the deep passing game because it is fairly dependent on YAC to succceed. And when you bring Moss into the mix to keep him involved you end up just clogging the middle and shortening the field for defenders. Blocking is stressed here to the point it takes the TE's out of the pattern more often than not and that effects their ability to establish any kind of rhythm within the offense. You can try and run your way out of being pidgeon holed, but we seem to be unable or unwilling to commit to doing that. Injuries to the top 3 backs we augment annually are a recurring theme and one aspect of that problem, although inconsistent blocking and the decision to go without a true FB just exacerbate that situation.

    I think the root problem is Bill's inability to accept the fact that sometimes you just can't scheme around your problems sufficiently to make the value talent you have work. While three rings is insufficient for some here I think their record in doing so via scheme by and large just reinforced that conviction to the point it may take something like this season to seriously re-think that philosophy. Borges is crowing today because as he so gleefully puts it the jimmy's and joes finally appear to have impacted the ability of his schemes to x's and o's their way around opponents. Albeit after an eight season run in which it was hard to make a compelling case for that argument.

    This is the first time we've failed to see Bill get a bead on his team and coach them up to the point they are legit contenders come December barring unforseen additional illness or injury once the second season arrives. Even in 2002 they were rounding into form late. In 2005 they were worn out but still capable of a stretch run had the pressure to perform at altitude not derailed them in a series of uncharacteristic turnovers that altered momentum and then just snowballed. In 2006 despite glaring deficiencies at WR and Dillon's total demise they were poised for another Superbowl against a team they had already handled had not the loss of Colvin coupled with a flu bug and a bug eyed WR not undone them a half too soon.

    In 2007 they were an offensive juggernaut that caught the rest of the league by surprise for 12 weeks and they even managed to counter it's best attempts to ultimately contain them until the last week of the post season, with the help of some frustrating reffing and a once in a lifetime catch. 2008 might have told them some things were not flukes had Brady not been lost and Cassel provided a convenient cover and in some sense scapegoat for many of the continuing deficiencies.

    Since week one this season everything else on the team save Brady and Welker has been taking one step forward and two steps back - including the HC and his staff and a defense in transition. Good week, bad week. Gutsy decision, foolhardy decision. Stepping up, disappearing. Making impact plays, making boneheaded mistakes. It's not that they lack any talent at all. They have lots of young players who can emerge over time, they just aren't nearly there yet to play well consistently on a contender and the team lacks sufficient veteran talent playing at a high level to cover either their learning curves or positional talent deficiencies.

    Aside from Welker receivers aren't getting open enough or getting open quickly enough and the OL can't give Brady time remotely consistently to find the open guy beyond Welker if there were one. He's lucky to get two reads before defenders other than the dregs are teeing off on him, and that will take a toll as it has in so many seasons and I just hope this time we don't choose to sweep it under the rug because some of them went to a pro bowl by default. Neal is always injured, Kaczur struggles in his absence moreso than in his presence, Koppen is as small as he is smart, and there is nothing you can do about that against middle pressure overmatches, Mankins is talented but oddly inconsistent, Light is what he is which has never been elite although often sufficient. As a unit they wear down over time in games and in season because of the size differential and reliance on technique, and they can't compensate for each others deficiencies once that happens. They are technique and scheme driven and their ability to execute wanes as they wear down or when they battle injuries. Vollmer appears to have the size and athleticism to develop with coaching into potentially more than a functional LT, perhaps even a dominant one, so that's a start. But they need to turn over the rest this line with upgrades at one or more spots in the offseason so Brady can either again dictate on offense or take what he's given. Right now all he can do is battle to remain upright long enough to try and locate an open target or make a play in tight coverage in like all QB's are forced to between what here are increasingly intermittent handoffs. They are taking away almost everything down the stretch and there is nothing he can do in that situation. Manning used to have the same problems when he faced the old us.

    I appreciate why Belichick refuses to ascribe to the windows theory because it is so short sighted. But at the same time each player has a window and Brady's isn't getting any bigger. None of them do and he is in his prime and we appear to be squandering it to some extent in the persuit of value and in defense of scheme. Although in extending at Moss top dollar that theory went out the window to a large extent IMHO because while he represented tremendous value for a 4th rounder and $4-5M with incentives he has not provided tremendous value at 3 years of top tier salary on a team that struggles to pass block for the deep ball while he plays the lull them into submission card. Just not enough bang for that buck if he can't routinely get open or make crucial plays against tight coverage deep. Not on a team that can't run the ball consistently and struggles to pass protect the QB or field more than one or two options in the short passing game or more than one option deep. It doesn't take a genius to grasp you can't successfully run the spread given those circumstances unless everyone executes to perfection on every snap, and maybe not even then.

    And you can't win fielding an inexperienced or inconsistent transitioning defense unless your offense is built to outscore their opponents. And either way that all starts and ends in the trenches with teams built to win the battle at the LOS. Having playmakers behind them helps, but they can't even begin to be effective if they consistently have no shot. We would have learned that lesson in 2007-08 if folks hadn't been so quick to dismiss what hapened as an anomoly or spent inordinate hours and days and weeks and even another entire season blaming the wrong people because it was easier to scapegoat them.
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