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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AzPatsFan, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    I read so many posts here that are just so utterly... WRONG.:(

    So I'd like to state some of the un wisdom and apply reality to them.;)

    1) We desperately need a Pass Rusher. Reality: the 2014 team posted 48 sacks /season, the highest figure since Ray Berry was coaching the Pats. It did so with all young players, too. Despite Wilfork and Kelly missing most of the season and not having a veteran swing Pass Rusher in place except for the last couple of games, when Andre Carter became available. and the only depth being raw rookies in Buchanan and Collins.:eek:

    2) We can never get the opponent's Offense off the field. Reality: This Defense unlike the several preceding it, had a Top 10 stat for 3-and-outs. The Third down conversion percentages were in the Top 15, despite a lot of Third down running conversions while finding Chris Jones and Silver Siliga to replace Kelly, Wilfork (and possibly Armstead). :eek:

    3) Our Safeties are terrible. Reality: The conversion of McCourty to Safety, went extremely well, unlike most such CB--> S attempts. Using Gregory as a SS, does not suit his size or talents, But he is a cagy veteran, that BB used to align the youngsters in the secondary well. It was the reason he played.

    4) Our Linebackers suck. Reality: The Pats had a group of starting LBs including a couple of worthy reserves for the first time in 5 seasons. Personally, I'd try to resign Spikes, one of the best anti-run LBs in the League. He can be a game changer against the run, with two legs.

    5) We have needs in the secondary. Reality: There is some Truth there; but there is a whole lot more competent players, than any time since 2004.

    6) We should draft nothing but Defense. Reality How can I criticize such a proposition? Except to say this Draft has a surplus of good TEs, Offensive Linemen, and WRs with some 4th rounders available this year, that in other years would be gone in Round 2. If it were me, I'd load up on them and solve all the remaining issues on Offense. I'd pick a TE, a couple of OLs, and a WR. It's like getting 2s for 4s, for free. :cool:

    I also expect the Defense to improve just with a return to health of the vets, and experience from the 4 rookies who played, and more continuity. Matty P showed that the D could get more deceptive & aggressive when experienced guys were playing. :snob:
  2. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    May I suggest reviewing the last Broncos-Patriots game.
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Some of think that the defense might have been better with Talib in for the whole game, and Arrington healthy.

    More to the point at hand, the secondary would have been much better if Mayo, Wilfork and Kelly had been available.

    So, we yes, can conclude that we failed because we didn't have good enough play from our pass rushers and safeties. We can then make the conclusion that the answer is to go out and sign a top free agent at DE and SS. I don't think that this is a reasonable approach.

  4. PatsWickedPissah

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    And there in a nutshell is the quandary.

    Like the early century Colts that guys like me used to piss on, we've become the team that blows through regular season into a great playoff seed only to get exposed by a top quality opponent post season. Watching the vaunted 2007 season you could see the portents of doom in December when top flight DCs figured out how to ramp down the Pats high flying offense that like the old British sports cars needed to have everything tuned just right to run.

    The step from good enough to beat most everybody to being good enough to beat everybody is a tough one. Bottom line: love my Pats but we were not and are not good enough for Denver, Seattle and SF.

    hope BB can fix this in 2014.
  5. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We played Denver twice, won once and lost once. I find it hard to say we are not good enough for them
  6. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Do you believe the same would be true with Wilfork, Kelly, Gronk, and Mayo on the field?

    I believe 2007 was Colts-like to some extent, but I was liking the way the defense was looking when those missing pieces were there this year.
  7. Coach42

    Coach42 Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    Even though all the things you've stated true that does not precluded drafting heavy on defense early. Kelly and Wilfork may return yet they are both on the wrong side of 30 and coming off of MAJOR injuries. If either Ninkovich or Jones was to, god forbid, get injured we have zero quality backups. If Talib is signed we still have to add depth to deal with his annual injury and if you don't think Gregory can be upgraded then, well, I'm not sure what to say. The defense absolutely needs to be upgraded.
  8. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Assuming Talib is re-signed, the positions that are aging, undermanned or both are QB, TE, interior OL, DT and (behind the starters) DE. OT is also a bit shaky, with one starter injury prone, the other starter not signed past his rookie deal, and the top backup ending his rookie deal soon as well, and also being penciled in by some people to move inside.

    And I'd say that none of us knows the DT need, as there are three different guys recovery from injury or other health issues, plus three draft-disrespecting young guys who may or may not develop well from here.
  9. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I would expect the draft, free agency, and the return of health to go a long way towards solving some problems. My main concerns remain in the trenches (physicality-wise), in the secondary yet again, and hopefully improving the receiving targets.

    I find it quite reasonable to believe that these areas will be addressed, can be improved upon, and that we're really only a player/two away on either side of the ball from returning to the SB.

    A little luck and some health would go a long way. It almost seems as though we've been playing with a bit of a stacked deck the past couple/few years just in terms of important injuries at the most inopportune times imaginable.
  10. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It was well known before the AFC Conference game that those players were not going to be on the field for the game. So why did most of the posters here predicted a Patriots victory? Why are we then using their absence for an excuse?

    It is a reality of the game was the Patriots barely pressured Manning during the game.

    It is also a reality of the game that the Broncos moved up down the field at will for most of the game.

    It is also a reality of the game that a Julius Thomas dropped pass in the end zone and the Broncos choosing to run out the clock at the game made the score of the game closer than what happened on the field.

    NFL Players get injured. Reality - the DL depth on the Patriots was not good enough to get the job done in 2013.

    While it is extremely doubtful that the Patriots will suffer the same number of injuries in 2014 as they did in 2013, they will suffer injuries. That is a reality. If one expects and receive ironman efforts from Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich again in 2014, one should then not be surprised that they will barely show up in the Patriots last game of 2014 as they did in the last Patriots game of 2013.
  11. Deus Irae

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

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    Fact v. opinion
    Correlation v. causation
    Cause and effect


    You struggled with all of those in this post.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Fans should have hope. Most understood that we were not the most likely to win. We were actually doing pretty well until Talib was mugged.

    In any case, the undermanned patriots played a team that was much stronger than we were.

  13. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron Rookie

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    #24 Jersey

    Hmmmm....only a handful of teams in the league had worse 3rd down conversion percentages than the Pats. Maybe you meant top 15 in the AFC where we were 13/16. 3 and outs? Third worst in the league.

    2013 NFL Team Downs Stats - National Football League - ESPN

    NFL Football Stats - NFL Team Opponent Third Down Conversion Percentage on TeamRankings.com

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/three-and-out-percentage/2013/
  14. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If we are looking at the Broncos game exclusively, then the Pats clearly lacked the talent on the field to compete. I suspect many predictions were more attributable to Manning's recent playoff history than they were a talent comparison at the time (this is a fan site, so fans are not objective in predicting the games for their own team - experts have been burned by Manning). I believe Manning's history of performances showed up one game later, so the predictions were not unreasonable. Everything possible fell in place for the Broncos (location, wind, weather, etc.), so the talent became critical. But what are you saying - that any NFL team should plan for Armageddon at the end of the year with injuries to that many key pieces? What team in the NFL, with salary cap limitations, is capable of doing so and fielding a starting offense or defense with All Pro caliber backups at, in this case, 4 key positions at the middle of the defense (Wilfork, Mayo, Kelly and very quickly, Talib)?

    At the start of 2013, the Pats brought in Kelly, whom many regarded at the time as a top 10 defensive tackle in the game, and had no major injury history (5 straight seasons without missing a game). He got hurt early. Wilfork has been another ironman, and similarly one of the best (and alone in terms of quality), and he gets hurt. Jerod Mayo, similarly very reliable, then goes down. This is pretty much every major piece that could have pressured Manning, because that pressure has to come from the middle. Outside pressure takes too long. The game got completely out of hand when Talib got knocked out of the game.

    My question was whether these players would have resulted in a defense that would have been credible at the end of the year had they played. Was the actual defense that showed up in the last game credible? No. It was completely depleted and outmatched. But your interest in the salary cap should tell you that no team can lose a high percentage of its best players and still compete with other healthier teams that have not suffered similar losses because no team in the NFL is capable of paying equivalent talent in reserve. The new rookie salary cap structure gives a finite window of opportunity to add cheap yet capable players to the roster with veterans, which means drafting success means much more now than previously and teams like the Niners and Hawks are testaments to that reality.

    And I wasn't suggesting that the Pats stand pat on the defense as is next year. Wilfork and Kelly are now major question marks because of those injuries and age, and the defensive line needs to work better. The Pats have a little more talent and youth at LB now, but LBs cannot do the job of the line, and suffer in performance when it is deficient. When Jones is the only talent on the line in the game, then he will get shut down because he can be double and triple teamed. Any plan that leaves him with the backups he played with in the final game is a bad plan. But those were backups, and they possess the skill of backups. If there are a bunch of All Pros of Jones-caliber players looking to join for peanuts, then I am all for adding them to the roster. I don't believe that is or ever will be the case.

    The Pats cannot plan for Gronk getting an ankle twist in the prior playoff game in 2011. There is no way to have another Gronk on the bench to replace him. 2007 was not a bad plan at all. There were opportunities to put the games away in 2007 and 2011, and it just didn't happen. 2003 had no defense at all for most of the final game because of major secondary injuries in that game. Could the 2003 team have planned with talent to avert the shootout that ensued? I suspect most fans were very worried when the Eagles had the ball for the last drive in 2004, and were pleased when McNabb self-destructed because TO was tearing the Pats a new one that game. 2001 was no masterpiece of personnel either, as many felt the Rams were far more talented and adjusting and would win if the game went into OT. Injuries are a reality, and no team winning any of those titles was capable of weathering critical hits to the degree this one suffered. Titles, for any team, are a combination of planning, skill and luck. The personnel plan has to be solid to start with, but what happens in season is a big question mark for any team.
  15. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As MackHerron showed, the conventional wisdom that the Patriots did a poor job of getting teams off the field on 3rd downs all season is supported by facts. I chose to highlight the Broncos game because the original poster claimed that the conventional wisdom is wrong. I do not know how anyone who watched that game can then say there is nothing wrong with the Patriots pass rush or that the Patriots did not have a problem getting teams off the field.

    My point is that depth matters. For whatever reason, the Patriots' depth superiority that manifested itself in the Super Bowl winning years was not there in 2013.

    The Patriots had about $27 million of their cap on IR. The Broncos had about $25 million. I do not believe that the 2 million difference led to the total domination that I saw.
  16. PatsWickedPissah

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    Every team in the playoffs has missing starters. Imagine Brady playing without his starter at LT providing blindside protection. Manning had to.

    Are you certain that Wilfork will return and be the Wilfork we've known? I hope so. And why will 2014 be the year we're guaranteed to have a healthy Gronk in the winter? I hope he breaks the trend. But you don't win a Lombardi on Hope.

    Point being that the team is the sum of its parts, healthy starters and backups. Were our 2013 IR stats that much of an outlier vs the rest of the league? As an aside I fully concede that the prize is most easily reached by the very good team that has managed thru good fortune to stay healthy in its critical aspects.

    I am saying that this team is very good. But actual results, the only true arbiter, show that we're not quite good enough to beat the very best.
  17. PatsWickedPissah

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    I find it hard to say that were we to play Denver again in January that we would win.
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But you can't take one game and say it would happen the same way every time. As I said, we played twice and won one and lost one. To say we are outclassed because of that is wrong, IMO.
    We would have beat the Denver team that showed up for the SB. We may have beaten them that day if Talib didn't go down, or if we made a couple more plays on offense against their poor defense.
  19. MassPats38

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    Just to make this clear for you and Miguel in the event you read me claiming the team is all set at this point, I was not claiming this defense, as is, does not need work. It does. As does the offense. My question was specifically directed to a hypothetical in which the defense, as drawn up in the beginning of 2013, would have raised the same concerns. I don't believe so, but we will never know because that was not the reality. As stated in my prior post, now both Wilfork and Kelly have to be scrutinized because either or both could be diminished or done and not worth the price tag the Pats have to pay. I was discussing last year's plan, not the upcoming season's plan.

    Wilfork was injured in week 4. Mayo was done in week 6. Kelly was week 5. By 3/8 of the regular season, it was another defense with rookies and plug-ins. Of course the stats for the season suggest that defense didn't work, because it didn't work. 5/8 of the year it was something else.

    Look at the first 6 weeks, the scores and the stats. Realize the offense was absolutely dysfunctional in terms of Brady norms with all the new pieces, and the defense had to operate at a high level to win. All wins, one close loss.

    By your analogy take away Manning's LT, D. Thomas and Decker, and do you believe that team goes very far? That level of attrition is too much when key pieces fall out. Would you say the defensive losses were not comparable to losing all of those players? Are the Pats different in terms of critical losses rather than simply personnel losses? I believe yes. Take out the top 4 defenders for the Hawks and I doubt they are doing a victory lap now.

    The Pats in their title years were not necessarily deeper. They had Troy Brown playing secondary one year (that worked because they could pressure the QB). The core defensive linemen and LBs managed to avoid injuries for much of the season. I remember Colvin's loss as huge, but I recall much of the rest of that team (Bruschi, T. Johnson, Vrabel, etc.) may have missed the occasional game but tended to stay on the field. Continuity was huge, and that is luck (throw in conditioning, sure, but with the age of those defenders that is more luck).

    In the end, you win with what you put on the field. Any plan has to account for the players "as is", not the player in memory. This year's reality bears on that. You need at least one DT that can draw a double team, or the fat boys hit the LBs and make them less effective. The offenses can divert to Jones as well with double teams. A less effective LB may not be the LB alone. It may be ineffective lines. The Pats had the right idea with Kelly. We just never really got to see it in action. That was why I asked about the plan itself, not what the statistics show for the entire season. The relevant metric for that metric is through game 5, not the 16 game season.

    My preference this year is DTs and TEs in the draft and free agency. Whether it is Wilfork, Kelly and/or talented rookies or free agents, I expect much of the pressure issues are cured there. Talib and the rest of the secondary have had to exist without that, and BB's theme early on for the Pats of the diminished value of a great secondary with a solid front 7 is not outdated.

    As an aside, I am not sure if you and Miguel are saying you can plan for all eventualities up through the Super Bowl. The Pats had a great D in 2003, but Delhomme carved it into steaks after both safeties went down. That doesn't mean the personnel plan was lousy. When you have 2 quality DTs at the beginning of the year, do you expect there will be comparable replacements for All Pros on the bench? Wilfork has been a freak, as has Ngata for the Ravens. There is no comparable backup for those losses. Kelly would be a step down, but still good. After that, it's damage control and just competency. I expect every team faces that issue.

    The Pats now have to soul search with the veterans, and don't have to work on the fly mid-season. I liked the plan last year, but that was last year. Whether it is draft or free agency, something needs to be added. I hope the veterans might work next year, but time may have caught up to them and if so it's time to say goodbye. If they play again, there needs to be a backup plan to develop a capable replacement.
  20. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Yes Please Lets do so. :D

    Our C was unable to handle their DT. Our injured/ immature WRs corps didn't provide enough tools for Brady.

    Thank You. This game only reinforces my thesis. ;)

    I know our Defense was beat up, and the absence of Aquib hurt, None the less the Broncs were held under their season average by 10 points or so, Not bad for the walking wounded.
    :bricks:

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