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Goal Line RB options

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JoeSixPat, Aug 6, 2007.

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  1. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Just wondering what people's thoughts are about our Goal Line RB options this season. Although some feel that Dillon was washed up last year he still had a 4.1 ypc average and 13 regular season TDs (15 total).

    Last I checked that was nothing to sneeze at.

    Sammy Morris was brought in for depth but he's more like Faulk than Dillon and reportedly is a little slow to pick up the system.

    Maroney too is not the hard hitting RB to push through a goal line D (at least his shoulders are telling him he's not)

    So who do we see as the Dillon-esque goal line RB specialist? Is Heath Evans ready to improve upon his 27 rushing attempts and 1 TD last year?

    Or do we see Mills as a FB taking a carry on the goal line - improving on his stats from last year (which would be impossible not to do).

    Or, are we on the lookout for a veteran among camp cuts now that Dillon has called it quits, assuming he's not playing coy with yesterday's Globe article where he "left the door open ever so slightly" to returning to the Pats knowing we have a need for a Dillonesque RB, but generally said he's done with football (I'd bet if the price was right he'd get his passion back, but that's just me).

    And if we need veteran depth, is there anyone you'd target as a possible cut that could serve in that goal line role for us?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  2. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    I would look to Evans, but here is a thought--if the blocking scheme is being tweaked (in favor of zone according to some reports)--would the goal-line offense also benefit from these adjustments?
     
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Maroney is our best RB and he's no small guy. He should get most of them. How many of Dillon's TDs required a massive power push ? Probably not too many. Evans might get a few handoffs to the FB as a change up but with the TE and Moss threats down at the goalline I expect Maroney to be the guy and have as good a percentage as Dillon did last year.
     
  4. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    yes of course...and Matoney might be an option wide..with vans or Morris up the middle...
     
  5. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good post. The ability to score in the red zone on the ground is critical for any successful offense.

    The past two years Dillion has looked like a dog, slow, not very physical and always out of breath but... he was simply fantastic inside the 10 yard line and really had a nose for the end zone.

    I went to one practice and they were working on short yardage, Evans was getting a lot of hand-offs. IMO he is not a very good interior runner and I hope he is not used a lot in these situations.

    They have no real bruiser so I think they will play to their strengths, using the TEs, play action to Maroney or Faulk.

    Keep an eye on this, this may be an area they scan the waiver wire or seek a trade for a veteran.
     
  6. Flying Fungi

    Flying Fungi In the Starting Line-Up

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    Evans is 6' 250lbs and not shy of contact by any stretch. He's no Corey Dillon, but I think you could make an argument that he is a bruiser.
     
  7. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He is big but not what I would call a bruiser... my defintion of a bruiser is someone who can lower their shoulder and consistently grind out the really tough yards, especially after contact. I haven't seen Evans bowl anyone over. Near the end zone there isn't very much room. Runners have to create their own space and create positive yardage after contact.

    Evans blocking improved a lot last year, on almost every long run by Dillion Evans sprang him free. He will be aprt of the short yardage formations but hopefully not as the one carrying the ball.

    This shouldn't be an issue as I expect the Patriots to get 4 TDs a game on plays that are over 50+ yards...
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  8. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    reading this thread i am thinking like a goalline rb runs on his own with no help. In most of dillions runs the hole was opened by TE and Evans.The 25 yr rushing TD by dillion and maroney in 2 instances was due to lead blocking by TE and FB ahead.I even saw 2-3 plays where evans opens a hole and dillion does not hit it fast enough .

    from camp we know FB has improved and he a better receiver than dillon with kyle brady the blockign TE is going be a bigger version of graham.also ,last year cb went 1 on 1 with WR and put 8-9 in the box in 3rd/2nd short or redzone that is not going to happen.

    satz
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007
  9. TeamPats

    TeamPats On the Game Day Roster

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    I know Mills has been out for much of the time he has been a Patriot, but have we ever had actual evidence that he has taken handoffs? I hear comparisons to Larry Centers at times and I am intrigued but I don't recall any instances during practice or otherwise where he has. Does anyone have any insight on this?
     
  10. Rob0729

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    I think, although we do not have the smashmouth RB that we had in Dillon, we have far more goalline options. Randy Moss finally gives us a WR who can consistently run a quick fade patter to the back corner of the end zone (something we have been looking for since we signed Donald Hayes in 2002). Welker can go over the middle in a quick slant better than what we had in recent years.

    Heath Evans is certainly big enough to be the bruiser to power through the line.

    One thing to consider is that many teams do not use smashmouth backs in goalline situations. Many teams use lighter RBs to either jump over the pile or quicker backs to go around the pile instead of through the pile like Dillon used to do.

    The Pats are already changing blocking philosophies to accomodate the change in style from Dillon to Maroney. I suspect they will change their goalline philosophy too. I suspect the Pats will throw more on goalline situations too.
     
  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Since we're talking goal line I'd be willing to be that most of Dillon's goaline TD attempts involved a lot of contact... which we all recognize is something Dillon does much better than other RBs. It's just much tougher to open holes when the Defense is stacked up on the goal line.

    I'm just not thinking that the coaches want to put Maroney in such a physical situation where his shoulders will take even more of pounding than normal - but we'll see I guess. I just think Maroney's skills and health are better suited to the open field where there CAN an expectation of open holes, as opposed to the bunching up on the goal line.


    No doubt we do have more air options now with Moss - and I think that although keeping the ball on the ground is a smarter statistical way to go, we'll actually see Moss surpass Dillon's TD's (I'm predicting 15+ Moss TDs).

    But no matter how many talented receivers you have you'll always need a goal line RB to do a good amount of the work. That's just the way football is... and while they might not use the RB to the degree in past years, they will use the RB on the goal line a ton still... Right now I think Health Evans is the best bet, but that we're going to be on the lookout for a goal line bruiser.
     
  12. ctpatsfan77

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    I hope there's a :D involved here . . . because if the Pats are actually doing that, we'll be able to see the opponents giving up right before our eyes. :)
     
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the expectation is that Morris will take that role, as well as that of backup primary running back in case of an injury to Maroney.

    SOME THOUGHTS

    1) Evans is not a very good runner, certainly not a money-in-the-bank goal line runner.

    2) Mills has never run the ball, ever. He may or or may not make the team, and may or may not be active very often, even if he has a chance to develop.

    3) Maroney could be the man. I think it is a mistake.

    4) I would have thought we would learned that running backs get beat up during a long season. Personally, I thought that we needed to add an additional running back.
     
  14. Rob0729

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    I do agree that you need to be able to run the ball at the goalline, but it doesn't neccessarily need to be a smashmouth bruiser back. For years the Falcons used Warrick Dunn and the Giants used Tiki Barber quite a bit in goal line running. I wonder what Morris' leaping abilty is because he might be a guy who can leap over the pile. They won't do that with Maroney initially since he is coming off of shoulder surgery.
     
  15. JaredOfNazareth

    JaredOfNazareth On the Game Day Roster

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    There is no problem. NEs offensive line is so good in power situations that almost any back could do goalline work. Just because Dillon was holding the ball on goalline runs doesn't mean the TDs were his. This isn't fantasy football. All those blockers doing there jobs, even though they faced larger fronts, scored touchdowns. They should be even more effective this year with all the other weapons. However, this is the first year NE has not had a power back.
     
  16. cstjohn17

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    If they are afraid to give the ball to Maroney close to the goal line then the Patriots running game is in big trouble. Maroney is a first round pick and far and away our top RB. They may manage his carries so he stays on the field all season but he should be on the field in the red zone, that is where top players earn their money.
     
  17. Rob0729

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    I am saying they may not have him leaping over the pile at least initially. That is a play that usually leaves the RB open to monster hits to the head and shoulders. There are still plenty of other types of plays you can use Maroney on the goalline including pitches, sweeps, screens, etc.
     
  18. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think I'm willing to give the RB a bit more credit than you might... Antowain Smith did have 12 TDs in 2001 - but then that dropped significantly (3 in 2003), until such time that we brought Dillon in for a consistent 12, 12 & 13 TDs in 2004-2006.

    The team obviously felt RB was an important position and that not just anyone could exploit what the OL did for them by spending some signficant money and a draft pick on Dillon.

    All I'm saying now, is that with Maroney's past health issues, is it wise to expose him to the pounding one can expect on the goal line.

    And if not him, who? Sammy Morris is really not that type of RB - no knock against him meant - he was brought here for other reasons. Maybe Heath Evans.

    The sky's not falling here but I do think its an area worth looking at and it wouldn't surprise me to see the organization scanning camp cuts and available free agents... just slightly ironic to me that if you're just looking for a guy to get you the final 5 yards, Dillon might currently be the best guy available....
     
  19. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    And yet, Maroney's ability to stay healthly continues to be a concern.

    Don't blame the messanger - I'm just telling it like it is.

    And Maroney wouldn't be the first RB to have the speed and cutting ability that makes him a marquee threat in the open field, but not necessarilly best suited to goal line situations, where specialists can play a significant role.
     
  20. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mills comes out of college as a fullback.
    Of course he's run the ball. Plenty.
    He just hasn't done that here.
    Then again he hasn't done much of anything.
    This could be his chance.
     
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