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All things considered…

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Oct 6, 2008.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    ….this was not a significant win for the Pats. Not that ANY win isn’t significant, but it still doesn’t give us, the fans, a real clue as to how good or bad this team will end up being. Just like the preseason, this team is pretty much still a mystery. Based on yesterday’s performance we can just a easily see this as a serious playoff contender, or a team that could run off 3 or 4 losses in a row. Here are some of my specific thoughts

    1. Here’s what I think I KNOW about Matt Cassell:
    a. He has a major league arm that opens up the entire field to him
    b. He is more than willing to stand in there against a hard pass rush
    c. He’s a good tough athletic QB who has some relative speed for the position
    d. ….and here’s the rub….he has absolutely NO pocket presence when he drops back.
    2. On of the things that make Brady the QB that he became was his ability to move within the pocket to by an extra few seconds to find the open receiver. Now Brady was elite in this. There hasn’t been a QB with his pure pocket presence since Dan Marino. I never expected Cassell to match Brady’s gift in the pocket, but I had hoped he’d approach it. Too often we are seeing replays where just a Cassell is starting to scramble, receivers are coming open in the secondary and he’s missing them. There was one involving Moss in the end zone in the first half that was particularly galling.
    3. That being said, how in the world could we possibly expect Matt to HAVE any pocket presence when he started a grand total of 3 games in the last 8+ years. Pocket Presence isn’t something you can coach, though it can be developed by coaching or making the player aware of what might be happening around him so he can anticipate where attackers might be. However that will take you only so far. Beyond that there is only instinct and EXPERIENCE that will allow a QB have pocket presence. And how in good faith could we fans expect Matt Cassell to be anything but what he’s show after just 3+ games at this level The fact he’s done as well as he has, is to his great credit.
    4. The good news is that we should have every reason to believe that over the next several games that Lack of pocket presence CAN BE improved, as be becomes more experienced
    5. Now in view of that I think there are several things that the Coaching staff can do that will help him.
    a. Limit the number of short drops that he takes. Its my feeling that most of his sacks come when he makes a 3 step drop and his first read doesn’t come open right away. He then gets stuck trying to scramble at that point and rarely finds any room. The 3 step drop also reduces the margin for error from the offensive line. The result is Matt ending up trying to get back to the LOS, and ultimately a botched pass play and a 3 yd loss.
    b. He seems to fair better when he drops back the full 5 steps and creates more space between himself and the rushers
    c. I’d like to see us use more crossing patterns that I see being used so effectively AGAINST US! We never seem to use that kind of patterns.
    d. I would like to see the OC get Cassell moving in the pocket with half roles and the occasional bootleg to take advantage of his relative foot speed, add to his protection and create a little misdirection in the Pats offense

    6. It was good to see Randy break out. His TD was a thing of beauty, but there was another play were he was just starting to get separation and Cassell under threw him. However the very fact that the TD pass occurred will bode well for the rest of the Pats offense
    7. Other things I’d like to see from the offense:
    a. The TE getting involved with the passing game. We have 2 good receiving TE’s. I would think that there would be some space down field in the middle of the field with Moss getting the attention he’ll get……and not just deep seam passes. I want to see 12 yd hooks and crossing routes BEHIND the LBs that by all rights should be open.
    b. I’d like to see better offensive blocking for the run game. Do we miss Steven Neal SO much that the running game has gone off the radar. Its been VERY RARE that there have been any holes for the RBs to exploit.
    c. Better play calling: More PAPs on first down. I don’t want to see Randy Moss running 5 yd outs when 12 yd outs, hooks and ins would be just as open and more productive.
    d. Whatever happened to the toss sweep. We have some speed in the backfield yet we never seem to threaten the edges of the defense with sweeps or stretch plays. The swing pass is another way to to get a RB out on the edges. IMO, this would help Moroney.

    8. The defense clearly played better than the 21 points they gave up indicated. The PI call against Mayweather was a JOKE IMO. It looked to me that it was the RECEIVER who had a hold of Brandon’s arm as they went for the ball, not the other way around. Granted, I only got 2 looks at the replay. If anyone TIVO’ed it and saw something different, feel free to correct me
    9. The LBs had a particularly good game with Thomas and Mayo standing out IMHO
    10. MSC. THOUGHTS:
    a. Yes it was a penalty when Cassell was hit in the head on that pass to the 2 yd line….and YES I was glad that the refs didn’t call it. It wasn’t intentioinal, It wasn’t hard, and its WHY they give the QBs helmets too. Defensive player have a right to keep their hands up as they rush. Incidental contact to the helmet SHOULDN’T be a penalty. I thought they were going to be more flexible on that this year and clearly they were in this play.
    b. Watching the Houston game was particularly painful. That was a MUCH worse loss than the one the Pats suffered vs Miami. Indy is SO damned lucky.
    c. Hey how about those Dolphins. The AFCE is going to be very competitive this year.
    d. File under "this is sort of Ironic: Lots of surprises EVERY week. It seem EVERY team looks vulnerable at times….except the Champion NY FOOTBAL GIANTS. But its still early. ;)
     
  2. BradyFTW!

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    Re: All things considered….

    Great post, as always. Re: Cassel, I guess the major question becomes "do you expect that he will have developed sufficient pocket presence by playoff-time?" If the answer to that is yes, and I think that it's an optimistic maybe, then all's good.
     
  3. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Re: All things considered….

    When I was watching the 49ers game, it seemed like the games of old. The game being very much in doubt for the first quarter, then something happens and the Patriots get a little separation, then it gets a little wider and a little wider.

    My biggest negative for Cassel from last game was the INTs. Two in a postseason game and you are pretty much done unless your defense gets at least that many. He has 12 games to improve so lets see how it goes. I'm excited.
     
  4. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: All things considered….

    I would rather see Cassel on the run and away from the pocket pressure to his left or right and making a pass downfield then see him in a pocket that is closing fast - That spells disaster for most unproven QBs who have no awareness from the backside like Cassel has.
     
  5. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Re: All things considered….

    So what you're saying is that you are afraid Cassel won't detect the backside penetration and end up injured?
     
  6. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Pro Bowl Player

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    Re: All things considered….

    Yep,I still have little confidence in Cassel but I would not be any more confident in a rookie like O'Connell either - Cassel is the best option of a poor QB roster and we won't be any better putting a rookie out there for sure.
     
  7. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Re: All things considered….

    I commend you on not sinking to my level.
     
  8. Mike the Brit

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    Re: All things considered…

    Thanks, Ken
     
  9. DarrylS

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    Re: All things considered…

    While you provide a well thought out analysis of yesterday's game and there is not much to disagree about.. but I question your opening line...

    Not sure I was looking for more than a win and a much better showing than last week.. this happened, after that it is all gravy.. we may know better next week, but after the first quarter the O and D seemed to be playing light years ahead of what they did last week.. the could run off 3 or 4 losses in a row, but I seriously doubt that.
     
  10. Gwedd

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    Re: All things considered…

    Well,

    If my aged memory serves me well, one of those interceptions from Cassel was a result of him being hit as he started to throw, so I give him a "pass" on that one. Pardon the pun.

    I was pleased, overall, with the game. It indeed reminded me of the old days, and kept me glued to my couch. The team looks like it is coming together nicely, and I really think that the first big test will be next week against the Chargers. I expect the Patriots to win that one, as I truly think the 'Bolts are a shell of what THEY think they are, but we'll see.

    Regardless, it's gonna be really interesting to see how the AFC East shakes out this year.
     
  11. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: All things considered…

    Good points re Cassel. I was thinking of something earlier.....going strictly by wins and losses, the Pats would very likely be exactly where they are now even if Brady hadn't gone down.
     
  12. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Re: All things considered…

    Actually, we need to give him a pass on both, imo. The second one was short, granted, but it kept the defense honest and many folks of THIS VERY FORUM assumed he wasn't throwing deep because he was a noodle arm. I distinctly remember people here saying "even if he throws an INT he needs to show he can shoot deep to Moss".

    The distance he showed off with those cannon balls, I'm willing to forgive the long INT too.
     
  13. PatsWickedPissah

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    Re: All things considered….

    I think that in SF the coaches should have expected backside penetration
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  14. MassPats38

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    Re: All things considered…

    I think the game would be classified as developmental for Cassel. He threw the ball downfield while still working the short game, he worked on fakes to help the run, and he worked on reads. There were plenty of mistakes, but he showed promise. I expect the hope is he continues to gain experience and shore up his weak areas. The offense for the most part was clicking and controlled the tempo of the game.

    I saw the second interception as the command to throw the ball up when Moss is double teamed to get the jump ball effect as Brady did last year. The problem was there was no ball to jump to as the pass was short. I would guess many fans thought a little bit more of his potential when he hit that touchdown pass to Moss. That was a thing of beauty, also providing the added bonus of a response to noodle arm cracks in the future.

    I started having a sinking feeling with the defense in the first quarter, although the pass to Gore was perfectly thrown and if O'Sullivan held on to that ball a fraction of a second later he would have been creamed. On the second touchdown, I could not figure out how the receiver was standing 5 yards from anyone in the end zone in what appeared to be a short zone defense (it may have been man-to-man, but the two defenders did not appear to be covering anybody). The pass caught (I believe by Bruce) 10 yards from any defender when Harrison turned away from the receiver (not a dig on Harrison, he was just the last man anywhere near the receiver) was equally unsettling. But they seemed to be the only major breakdowns and the defense seemed to settle down after that bad quarter. I suspect the rookies (veteran additions and actual rookies) will have some growing pains, but those pains will reduce as the season goes on.

    Run defense against Gore was solid. O'Sullivan looked very fast out there but seemed to be chased most of the game. He was compared to Favre in style, which I would call accurate, but he is much quicker. The 49'ers dropped some passes they should have caught, but the defense showed significant improvement.

    In the end, I was was happy with the performance but have accepted there will be no gimme games this year. I expect the team will get a little better each week, provided it stays healthy. Patchwork additions this year will hit harder than it did last year. The Patriots will show up and play to fight for a win or potentially take damage at the hands of teams that were expected blow-out games last year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  15. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Re: All things considered…

    it's good to see Cassel get a strong pass rush thrown against him like that Sunday. It'll help his development in how he reacts to pass rushes. Hopefully he has a quick learning curve, and hopefully the line improves come the post-season (assuming they make it)
     
  16. Mike the Brit

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    Re: All things considered…

    Great post, thanks.
     
  17. Deus Irae

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    Re: All things considered…

    In the interest of space, I'll just look at specific ideas. But thanks for the entire post, Ken. Good stuff, as usual...

    I want slants to Moss and Gaffney on the move. I want Maroney shifting into motion from the backfield and catching a quick slant as a slot receiver. I want to see a trips formation with Moss as the inside receiver who then runs a long corner route.

    I don't think the O-line is playing well enough to do this.

    They should have kept Graham, and I'm guessing BB knows that. I won't be surprised to see a TE drafted in round 1 or 2 this year.

    I think they do miss Neal that much. He was tremendous pulling on run plays, in particular. If O'Callaghan hadn't also go down, things might look better, but I'm just not seeing good line play, especially from center-right.
     
  18. CheerforTom

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    Re: All things considered…

    I think it's a little strong to say Cassel has NO pocket presence. Certainly he's no Brady but I think he showed some pretty good progress in terms of things like moving away from the pressure and staying calm with the ball. His major problem still comes when the pocket breaks down, he still almost always goes deer in the headlights. Unfortunately that tends to happen a lot to this line, though this game was a little better.
     
  19. MoLewisrocks

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    Re: All things considered…

    I think if you're going to critique someone you should first make an effort to spell their name correctly...just sayin'.

    Bill talked about Matt at some length today. Mentioned among other things his accuracy on all the throws. I think Bill assumes all players can improve from week to week in season, even grizzled veterans. He likes what he sees in Cassel. And while it might make sense in hindsight to have him zipping around to avoid the rush, that's not what we want a developing QB to be doing here in a timing offense. Because 99% of them lose accuracy once flushed out of the pocket, not to mention in abandoning the pocket their field is reduced often in half. That's why we succeeded against Martz QB again yesterday even though we only sacked him once - we disrupted the timing of his offense and cut his field of play in half (once the defense figured out aggressive was the best course).

    Ultimately the answer on offense is consistently better run blocking and pass protection. And that may be another draft class or FA signing period away. I think Matt's own pocket presence will develop as well over time...as did Brady's. People forget that Tom didn't come out of the womb a finished product - just capable of developing exponentially. And even he looked like he had no pocket presence last February because when your OL flat out folds pocket presence and 50 cents won't get you a cup of coffee... There were those then who wailed that Brady should have been rolled out - but gimpy ankle aside, he's not comfortable throwing on the fly because he's been developed and is by nature a pocket passer whose mechanics matter and whose accuracy is what makes teams pay.
     
  20. Mike the Brit

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    Re: All things considered….

    " ... and the bear says, 'You're not here to play football, are you?'" :D
     
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