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Bye week thoughts...

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    .... With the focus this week off the Patriots (thank God), I thought it would be a good time to discuss a few broader and less defined topics, while we contemplate who we will see in NE January 12th.

    1. THere has been a great deal of discussion over the course of this season about the running game, or perhaps the lack of a running game by the Pats. A lot of the blame has fallen on to Lawrence Moroney. He's been called everything from a mentally weak and soft, to a down right bust of a first round pick. And while I'm sure Moroney should share SOME of the blame, he shouldn't be taking all of it.

    So, I'm thinking why have the Pats seemingly avoided the run, like we try to avoid the a meter maid coming down the street. Because I think the most accurate slam that can be made on Moroney is that in virtually EVERY big situation the Pats offense have found themselves, the Patriots offensive brain trust has avoided the run like HIV positive blood.

    One aspect of this mystery hasn't been talked about much, though it has been mentioned from time to time, and the issue hasn't gotten much traction. AND IMHO, its really the major reason we havent seen a strong running game from the Pats up to this point of the season. That reason being, the newly instituted zone blocking scheme.

    The Pats did away with their past blocking scheme that designated man responisbilities. In other words, in the past when a Pats OLman got to the LOS he had a specific rule as to who he was going to block (ie On, Over, inside gap.) In other words, for that play, he'd block the man on him in a 3 point stance, over him (LB) or the man to his inside gap. Of course they would be taught to go to the next man if his man stunted away from him, etc, but essentially when the OLman got to the LOS, he pretty much knew who he was going to block and in what direction he wanted to go.

    The Zone blocking scheme is more like today's passing offense. There is a lot of reading the play on the fly involved. Instead of being responsible for a particular MAN, in a zone blocking scheme, the OLman is responsible for a gap, and who ever shows up in that gap, THAT's the guy the OLman is responsible to block.

    On Paper this makes a lot of sense because DLmen often stunt into different gaps, and LB/S can pop up anywhere during given stunts/Blitzes. Theoretically when you have every gap covered by someone between the OL/TEs/RBs, there should be no leakage into the backfield and the RB has the ability to hit the soft spot for anywhere from 3 yds to breaking a big one.

    However just like today's complex passing game it requires a group of 5 OLmen and other players to ALL read the same defense correctly, and get to the right man....all on the fly.

    The bad news is that you only need one guy to make a misread to get the same results you get when the WRs/QBs have a misread, which is one of the reason I think we have seen so many more runing plays go for a loss, compared to other recent years. Also OLmen lose the ability to aggressively fire off the ball, because they are waiting to see who is going to be in their gap, at least until the techniques involved become second nature to them, and clearly they haven't yet.

    We haven't seen the effect of this in the passing game, because of the general nature of pass protection, where a passive first step is the basic technique, whereas in the running game you want an aggressive first step..

    Now I'm not saying we should abandon the zone blocking scheme. Clearly, once a good OL have the techniques down so its second nature, it can lead to a very effective running game. My point here is PERHAPS to explain why THIS year the running game has played a far distant second fiddle to our passing game.

    I'm also not saying this is the only reason, but one that should be discussed, especially during a bye week.

    2. Speaking of bye, I think we should all take this opportunity to say goodbye to Donte Stallworth. He has been an unmitigated success as a FA pick up. He hasn't been a key figure in the offense, which would be difficult give Welker's 112 catchs and Moss's 80+, but he has been effective on the field coming up with big play and a lot of YAC. He's been healthy all season contrary to what we've been lead to expect, and according to all reports he's been an A+ teammate.

    Unfortunately 2 things are going to go against him. The first is his contract. He is making over $3MM this year and has a huge bonus payment due right after the season. Of course the 2 parties COULD renegotiate this bonus, but I can't see Stallworth playing for the same money he made THIS year, and I can't see the Pats paying him anything NEAR what he'd get in the open market.

    The second reason, is the fact that the Pats have a player (Chad Jackson) who has very similar skills as Stallworth, at a much much lower price. The only difference is that Jackson hasn't proven he can do what Stallworth has accomplished, though I think our personel people think that he can....and so do I.

    Most people think that the Pats can only afford to keep EITHER Moss or Stallworth. If that's the choice the only chance that Stallworth has to stay would be if Moss COMPLETELY prices himself out of the market or what the Pats perceive what that market should be. Moss has on several occassion has stated that he has enough money NOW. Money is NOT his motivation. Well, if you take him for his word, the $5MM he's making THIS season SHOULD be the starting point for a new cotract. With Stallworth gone, I think the Pats could stand to pay Moss a 3 year deal of about $21MM with over 10 guaranteed. I DO NOT think the Pats will pay him a TO type $10MM/yr deal, nor do I think Moss will demand one.

    3. Speaking of Moss perhaps one of the most amazing stats to come out of this record breaking season was the one I saw in Mike Reiss's column which stated that Moss was on the field for 88% of the Pats offensive plays this year. Is it any WONDER he took a few plays off this season? :D Not bad for a guy who was all done in Oakland last year.

    Seeing this stat makes me want to find out if there where ANY other WRs who came close to this number? I would be willing to bet that there isn't a single other WR who was even in the 80's, let alone 88%

    4. This would also be a good time for me to put down my annual "If I had control, I would change or add these rules" list Some of these are probably not new to you, and many have aready met with universal derission, but I am persistent and will continue to push them.

    a. In the last 2 minutes of the first half and end of the game, the clock will stop after the offense makes a first down in the field of play, and won't start again until the sticks are set. Too often the offense is penalized for doing what its supposed to do...make first downs. This is especially true when the offense makes a big play at the end of a game. For example 30 seconds left, the offense is on its own 25. They complete a 40 yd pass to the opponents 35 and time runs out before they can snap another play.

    b. The ground CAN cause a fumble. This will eliminate hundreds of replays. It will also make leaping in the air more of risk, and that would cut down on injuries. I have never understood this rule. It is the ball carrier's responsibility to maintain control until the whistle blows. We already require a receiver to maintain control until the whistle blows, why not RB's/QBs

    c. Just having the ball breaking the plane will NO LONGER constitute a TD. The ball must actually be touched down in the endzone, or carried/passed accross. No more judgement calls for officials. The ball is either IN the endzone or not.

    d. I'd emphisize the following on PI calls.
    i. There can be no PI if one or more officials deem the ball uncatchable
    ii. merely incidently touching a receiver will not constitute PI. The official must determine that the contact materially interferred with the receiver's ability to catch the ball

    e. I'd emphasize the following on Defensive holding calls. Incidental contact after 5 yards WILL NOT constitute a holding penalty. the official has to determine that the receiver's ability to run his pattern was materially inhibited by the contact before a holding or illegal contact is called.

    f. If an illegal procedure call is called on the offense and the play starts, the play will be allowed to continue, and the defense will have the right to chose if they want to take the penalty or the result of the play. No longer would the defense be penalized when the offense makes a mistake (ie the Raven game)
     
  2. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    5. I think the Pats caught a break dropping down to the 7th pick in the draft. The current econonmics of the NFL draft has been devaluating the top picks every year. Regardless of how good JRussell turns out to be, the Raiders will NEVER get back the economic value they put into a deal that Guarantees that kid over $30MM. They got zero value this year, and even if in 3 or 4 years the kid develops into a top NFL QB. They'd only have him for a year or two before his contract runs out.

    The gap between college and the NFL seems to grow every year. As offensive and defensive system grow progressively more complex, it is getting harder and harder for rookies to make an impact in their first year, especially if their are playing on good team. So it becomes increasingly more difficult to find teams willing to trade UP to the top 4 picks simpley because of outrageoius guaranteed money team have to pay for top picks.

    The other interesting aspect of this is the fact that AFTER you get past the top 3 or 4 picks the contracts seem to drop precipitously in value. That's not to say that whoever gets picked at #7 is going to do badly. Its still ridiculous money, just not INSANE money, and the Pats will have a better chance of getting a lot more ACTUAL value trading THAT pick than what the Dolphins will get trading the #1. Its a pick that no really wants.

    Even at #7 the Pats are presented with a problem. Lets say Long or Dorsey last til then. How do explain giving one of those 2 kids, who haven't played a down in the NFL, the kind of money that Vince Wilfolk has EARNED busting his ass over the past 4 years. Its not the Patriot way, nor should it be the NFL way. Some sort of new system has to be developed....maybe your's?

    OK that should be enough to start the discussion and keep us busy for a few days. Later this week I'll to another thread for spygate and a few other general topics, I think spygate needs its own thread, dontcha think? :D I look forward to your opinions on all of these topics.
     
  3. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    O'm sorry at this point you can not compare Chad Jackson with Stallworth.

    Stallworth has produced... Jackson has yet to.

    DS breaks tackles....CJ hasn't
     
  4. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    for the love of god people stop saying this. ever heard of trading down?


    the same way you explained it to veterans when Wilfork signed his rookie deal, which he is still on?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2008
  5. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Another factor in the run game seems to be that the linemen don't get much push against good defenses.

    I think we will try to keep Gaffney over Donte, if he is cheaper. They are used about the same amount currently.

    I have not seen Moss take many plays off considering he is always on the field. Haven't seen him miss many blocks either. Seems like he is playing his ass off!

    I don't have a problem with pick #7. It is maybe the start of the value picks where you can still get a Seymour or trade down and get a Warren or a Wilfork. I do have a problem with losing our own first round pick. Goodell is a worthless sh1t. After seeing him blow off the Jets video taping scandal, I will never again think of him as remotely competent to do his job.

    I think everyone has their favorite rule change ideas. I would be happy to start with competent full time officials, and the ability to challenge and review any decision by the refs. We need the game to be accurate, we don't need to 'protect' the refs from doing their f#cking job correctly for once.
     
  6. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    re: full time officials. it just doesn't make logistic sense.

    MLB season is 162 games, NBA and NHL are about 80, NFL is 16. those other leagues need full time guys. lots of NFl refs are successfull lawyers, entreprenuers, etc, who wouldnt want to commit to a full time NFL job, and the league wouldnt want to pay a 12 month salary for 1 month of work
     
  7. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    1--trading down is a moot point when the economics make the pick undesirable to the entire league.

    2--this is nowhere near an apt comparison, as Wilfork has done what few 1st round picks ever do, and that is to be worth more than what his rookie deal paid out. as Wilfork nears free agency, the skewed rookie salaries are creating upheaval across the entire league's salary structure.
     
  8. JoePats

    JoePats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Ken, I also think Spygate needs another thread ;)

    1. I agree w/ the zone blocking scheme problem. I'm in support of LoMo, think he's done a good job, and did a really good job against the Giants, esp on the 2-pt run, that was a huge play.

    Will the Pats running game be able to generate 140 yards against a big run-D in the playoffs? Probably not, but they don't have to. The running game can, however, keep the chains moving and get a few here and a few there without incident.

    4. I do disagree that the clock should stop on first downs inside of 2 minutes. That's just another rule that would favor the offenses and if it's a big problem then teams should start working their 2-min offenses earlier or use their timeouts accordingly. The offense is paid to score, they have 30 minutes to do that.

    4d, I think that's the way the rules read now.

    Edit: I would make PI a 15-yard penalty. I know everyone says that you would just tackle receivers when you get beat on a deep pass, but this NEVER happens in college under the 15 yard PI rule.

    5. As for the draft, if they had to trade down from 2 to 7, I think they could have, even if they just took a 3rd or 4th, well below the trade chart.

    I think we all take that trade value chart too seriously. Fair market value is whatever the highest bidder will pay. Besides, the trade value chart for every team in theory should be different.

    Hypothetically, say the Pats wanted to trade up in 2004 from 21 to get Vince Wilfork, someone they reportedly had a top ten value on. Wouldn't they be willing to give up more to move up 5 spots than the trade value chart says since they value the player much higher?

    At the same time, if the Rams, for example, are at 2, and they value 5 guys on the board the same, wouldn't trading down to 6 for them be ideal? They would take less than the value chart indicates is fair.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2008
  9. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    say what? do you have a link or reference that describes this?

    professional umpires and referees are highly trained, educated and tested before getting to the big leagues--the NFL is a year-round occupation for everyone, from scouts to trainers to the marketing and documentation aspects of the league. NFL officials aren't part-time yahoos like the ones handling the local pop warner games.
     
  10. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    was it moot when the Giants paid a ransom for Eli Manning?

    you mean, except for Troy Polamalu (who the Steelers traded up for), and Ed Reed, and Richard Seymour, and Tommy Harris...should I go on?

    is there any evidence of this?
     
  11. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    you're wrong. Ed Hochuli is an attorney, Mike Carey a business owner, Jeff Tripplete a President and Chief Operating Officer of FNC, Inc, etc etc

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Hochuli#Attorney
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Carey_(American_football_official)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Triplette
     
  12. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    ..........
     
  13. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Ken,

    Titles are not your long suit.

    If there is any time to call a post "idle thoughts", it's during a bye week. :D
     
  14. Patriotic

    Patriotic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Great thoughts, as usual, Ken.

    As to the running game, no doubt the zone blocking is a work in process and Sammie Morris is missed.

    Another huge factor, however, is the effectiveness of the passing game. IIRC it was the Steelers game were the Pats got the ball at their own one and with Brady in the shotgun starting deep in his own endzone moved the offense downfield with great efficiency through the air.

    In the upcoming playoffs, the opposition, weather conditions, clock management, the health of the OL will all play a role in how the running game is used. But with Tom Brady serving as the ultimate maestro, the running game will continue to take a backseat to the passing game.
     
  15. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Eli signed a six-year, $54 million deal - that's not a lot?

    so, your point is that some 1st rounders don't pan out? ok, awesome. but some do. the money is worth is worth it if you draft a productive QB, LT, CB, or DE , b/c those are guys that get paid a ton anyways.
     
  16. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    no, I'm not wrong--again--you are pointing out exceptions to the generality that I refer to--the complexity of the game demands that these officials should be full time employees--and their union should mandate it.
     
  17. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Yes sir.

    And if some moron thinks the NFL can't afford full time refs, I would have to automatically discount any other thing he ever posted as being absurd ramblings.
     
  18. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    no man--my point is that MOST don't pan out in such a way to justify the salary demands--name me the last 5 1st round QBs that earned their rookie contacts
     
  19. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    huh? what exception?

    the fact is that most of these guys have well paying jobs - the others are generally retired, and ref as a part time gig.

    So on the referee side you have guys with lucrative careers OR who dont want full time jobs.

    on the NFL side you have a job that requires 2 or 3 days work maybe 20 times a year, but you would be forced to pay them a full time salary.

    how would you correct the problem, from either end?
     
  20. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Re: Bye week thoughts....

    Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees was the 1st pick of the 2nd round, and you could make the argument that Eli and Rivers are both basically average NFL QB's, and make far less than the top QB's, so their deals aren't bad. ditto for Jay Cutler, and possibly Campbell as well who looked decent
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2008
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