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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brownfan80, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    After going back and forth with NEM for a while now (don't click out yet, this is not an NEM-rant thread) I think I've sort of realized why I'm so happy with this season so far even though we've still got holes:


    My expectation coming into this season was that our offense was going to struggle mightily. We had only Troy Brown coming back, one rookie, and two question marks at WR. We had Corey Dillon who was one year older than last season in which he already looked old and banged up and a Rookie at RB that I wasn't sold on (I grumbled about a RB at 21). And an OL that was either Young or Returning from Injury. Sure, we have Tom Brady, but I felt like the offense team was going to be too green as a group to produce well.

    I thought that last years defense hadn't been upgraded much and in spite of the unit looking good down the stretch I was not sold at all on our D. Afterall those teams that they dominated down the stretch weren't very good teams. I had doubts about Asante Samuel at corner, about Wilson at S, about Harrison's ability to come back from his knee injury. I had doubts about the linebacking corps without Willie and doubts about Seau being able to fill a hole that had existed since Ted Johnson retired.

    I felt good about the DL except at backup NT, but that was the only unit I was really SOLD on besides the QB position.

    I felt that we were going to be in a pretty good dogfight for the AFCE this season against a revamped Miami squad and a Buffalo team that was flying under the radar, not to mention the Patriotized Jets.

    Was I giving in to some of the media hype? Somewhat. Was I listening to my gut after the 2005 Patriots season was an up-and-down rollercoaster that ended in disappointment? Somewhat. Was I listening to some of the naybobs on this site? Somewhat.

    I still held out HOPE for 2006, but I felt that deep down we weren't muc better than the 2005 squad that had given me fits to watch all of last season.

    After the first half of the Buffalo game I felt that my initial doubts of the team were justified. We were having a pretty tough time stopping Buffalo, the offense wasn't really kicking. Nothing was quite looking like a new season. It looked like an extension of 2005.

    The second half of the Buffalo game showed me that I was wrong. Being down didn't mean being OUT. We could still play defense. Our offense could do ENOUGH. I felt like 2006 may in fact hold a different identity than 2005's squad.

    The first half of the Jets game had me soaring. The second half had me doubting all over again. I was in disbelief. But then we stiffened and held on for the win. My first impression after the Jets game was that the D was in fact 2005ish, but after reading much on this board I realized that if not for the couple of big plays that the D had a pretty good day. The 2-0 record helped me still believe in spite of the doubts that kept surfacing.

    Then Denver. I saw a close game spiral out of control as we couldn't run and couldn't slow Denver down with our D. My doubts didn't come fully back, as I knew that the passing offense simply wasn't ready yet for the run to be shut down as Denver was able to do. The pressure on the pass offense was too much too soon. The final score showed it. The Patriots D gave up some more big plays, but still had only given up 17 points.

    The Cincy game came as a shock to me as I'm sure it did to many of you. The defense looked legit. The offense looked absolutely dominant on the ground and the passing game looked competant. It was a huge step in the right direction for the passing game and a huge confidence booster for our great running game. 38-13 was a statement. I heard it loud and clear.

    Then the Dolphins come into town, playing for their season. Our defense for the second straight week comes up with some turnovers. Allows some yards and some 3rd down conversions, but holds the Dolphins to 10 with some help from the turf and the ST unit. The offense stuck with it's gameplan, which the defense allowed them to do. They scored 10 more points than the D and ST allowed, and put the Dolphins into '8-8 is a successful season' mode.

    At the bye week our 4-1 record looks mighty fine next to the second place team in the division at 2-3, and 3-0 in the division is looking mighty fine.

    I've already posted how impressive the stats and figures stack up compared to what we might expect, but that's not what has me so hopeful for this season.

    In all of 2005 I never felt like this team really played TEAM football. One unit or the other was always making mistakes that the other two units had to make up for. The up and down season, I feel, was a result of that team never becoming a TEAM. You never saw all three phases playing complimentary football. You never saw one unit struggle only to have another unit bring them up. You saw one unit struggle and another unit struggle to pull their weight.

    This season we're seeing TEAM football. We're seeing the D help the offense out with turnovers, and the offense help the defense out with a strong running game giving them rest. We're seeing the punt return unit help field position and the punter doing the same. We're seeing great kickoffs set up the D with long fields to defend. We're seeing the passing game play off of the running game in spite of 80% turnover at the WR position.

    This team, when successful in 2001, 2003 and 2004, played TEAM football better than anyone. This 2006 squad seems to have remembered how it's done. It's not perfect yet, but the fact that we're 4-1 while they are learning just sets the team up perfectly for a stretch run out of their bye week. If the guys in that locker room can keep playing complimentary TEAM football, then we'll be just as happy at the end of the season as we are here at the bye week, and the struggles that mar the memory of 2005 will be long forgotten.
     
  2. Jacky Roberts

    Jacky Roberts 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    This team will win the AFC East easily and (hopefully) grab a bye. I think if they can get to the AFCCG, the season will be a success. I think they finish third in the AFC, win a first round game, and lose in the second round just like last year.
     
  3. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    You're setting yourself up for a silly, obvious pat on the back at a later date. OF COURSE things will change with the playcalling. The passing game will not be going backwards with Tom Brady leading those WRs, they will only get better. And of COURSE that will only open up the playbook. It's common sense, not some prophetic vision of yours.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2006
  4. italian pat patriot

    italian pat patriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    #12 Jersey

    NEM: do you 'predict' a Super Bowl between Patriots and Bears ?
     
  5. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Man, this turns into an NEM thread too?

    Aye chimichunga. :confused:
     
  6. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

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    Only if we can win at Denver!
     
  7. italian pat patriot

    italian pat patriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    #12 Jersey

    my best scenario (i would LOVE REALLY LOVE it):

    AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: we beat DEN

    SUPER BOWL: we beat CHI
     
  8. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Please name the two teams you feel will finish above NE in the AFC standings. I can't see a scenario in which the Pats finish third.
     
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    My expectations for the offense were astronomically high. I guess I was just very excited with all the weapons this offense has.

    It hasn't all clicked yet save for the Bengals game - which has led me to believe like many others that BB [and McD] are playing it vanilla in the AFCE games. Every once in a while, you see BB pummell a team & not hesitate to run up a score as if to say "F you for not believing in us". I know a lot of posters think this isn't the case and BB wouldn't do this - but there are other examples of BB showing he does send messages - unfortunately, I can't think of them right now. The fact that we can just turn it on at times leads me to believe that the offenses we ran to beat the Bills, Jets and Dolphins were not offenses designed to score 35 points, but just enough points to beat these teams.

    I guess what I am trying to get at is that the offense has yet to meet expecations for me, but I think it will when a) the new players get used to the system and click with Brady b) Maroney becomes more consistent c) Dillon stays in every game healthy d) BB lets the offense loose.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2006
  10. DisgruntledTunaFan

    DisgruntledTunaFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Wow! How do the Pats just keep doing it?

    Not so much the players they lose, but HOW MANY quality assistants has Bill B lost recently?

    As history has shown, alot of veteran coaches(i.e. Bum, Ditka, Allen, Jimmy J, and now recently Tuna) have eventually lost their edges 'cuz of just that-all of their assistants that they've had loyalty and chemistry with for so many years just eventually dissapear. How does Bill B keep doing it?
     
  11. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Loses all of his assitants and keeps winning - maybe he is BRILLIANT :D

    Sorry couldn't resist the Guiness line. :D
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2006
  12. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    Tom Brady - another coach on the field.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  13. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wonderful and therapeutic confession BF80, nice to know your Patsfan.com therapy is helping you cope with all the negativity you once lived with - now we need to develop your palate for a beverage closer to real beer than Keystone Lite. I wonder if you're ready for green tea...
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  14. Jacky Roberts

    Jacky Roberts 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Indy and Denver.
     
  15. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Indy does not have a prayer of winning 13 games and that is at least what it will take to get a bye. Denver isn't a lock to win its own division but the West winner will be the other bye. Cincy and Baltimore both have very tough schedules that will keep that division winner around the 11-12 win mark.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006
  16. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'm actually quite fond of green tea during the week. :) But the weekends are Keystone Lite time. :D

    When I find another 5 dollar 12 pack that tastes as acceptable (read: not like pee water, at least like beer water) I'll go ahead and change it up. lol ;)
     
  17. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected


    I'm afraid that this may be true. Denver has the Tiebreaker Advantage, and Indy has the Plays-in-the-Worst-Division-in-the-History-of-the-NFL Advantage. And don't overlook the Baltimore Felons, who should be 2-3, if SD and Cleveland didn't choke.

    I really, really hate the Dolts, Donkeys and Felons. I would rather see the Bungles win the SB ahead of those filthy scum.
     
  18. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Indy, Baltimore and the Bengals all have very tough schedules. The Ravens don't have the offense to win consistently against good teams even if their Defense only allows 10 ppg and the Bengals have the same problem as Indy, no run defense. Our schedule is about as easy as it can get in the NFL and we should finish with at least 13 wins (I predict 14) but none of those three teams will win 13 games. Denver and San Diego have favorable schedules and could pull out 13 wins but only one can win the division.
     
  19. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I am not sold on Denver yet. They owned us, but haven't looked incredibly convincing against other teams. I think they have a great defense, but that offense isn't very good unless they're playing against the Patriots (so far this season).

    Indy I'm not sold on either, they have a horrid run defense and a running game that isn't what it once was.

    They've both been finding ways to win though, and that's a sign of a good football team.

    San Diego I know nothing about besides that they have Rivers starting and not playing horrible football. The AFC is once again a tough conference.
     
  20. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Denver isn't very good on Offense but the D is solid (as you said) but the two main differences between Denver and say Baltimore is that Jake can pull out 17-24 points if he doesn't turn the ball over and they have a middle of the road schedule. I don't think they get to the SB or even the AFCC game but they have a good shot at getting the bye, considering Indy's problems and their tough schedule. Along with Cincy's running D, Baltimore's horrible offense and the fact that both teams have tough schedule's. The other variable that may or may not be a factor for Cincy and Baltimore is Pittsburgh, if they can turn it around and win their division games against those teams they could still be in the mix at the end of the year. That will only bring down the win total for the AFC North's division winner.

    It is no secret what I think of Indy, but you are right when you say that finding a way to win is the sign of a good football team. I will even take that one step further and say that is sign of a championship caliber football team, but that woeful run Defense is anything but. They will not be able to overcome it. If they played a weaker schedule or more pass oriented teams during this six game stretch, then I would say they could overcome the run D and possibly get a bye, but would lose in the divisional round. That isn't the case so in all honesty I think they will most likely be the 4th seed or the 6th seed and lose in the first round to a team like San Diego or Baltimore. They could pull out the 3rd seed if the North teams really beat up on each other.



    Rivers played well against the Steelers and that was the first game where they really let him loose. For the first few games they relied on the run and had him manage the game. If he continues to get better over the course of the season the Chargers could win the west and get the bye, because they would have a better offense than Denver and their defense is comparable to Denver.

    Based on the Season thus far and the schedule's the team's face I think it will end up like this in the AFC:

    1. NE
    2. Denver
    3. Cincy
    4. Indy
    5. San Diego
    6. Baltimore

    Teams that will or could make a push for the sixth seed are Jacksonville, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and maybe the Bills because of the weak schedule and their defense.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2006

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