Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by NE39, Jan 11, 2011.
Fantastic article. A must read.
Damn, we are lucky fans!
Great article. Thanks for posting. I really think in terms of offensive firepower, this team is a lot like the 2003/2004 teams, except more efficient and with better talent. It is kinda like those offenses on steroids. I think a lot of this has to do with the progression of Brady from a great QB to a legend. He rarely makes mistakes, and his accuracy is outstanding.
This article really shows how Belichick wins with a good combination of scouting and scheming. Its just amazing to think about how far ahead of other coaches/front offices Belichick is in this regard. In the past he would sign veteran FAs who fit the "Patriots' Way" and could still play (see Harrison, Seau). This way is much easier to evaluation talent, as the player has a whole career to analyze and evaluate. He still does this to some extent for role players (Crumpler) but he has almost gone in the other direction, realizing the need to infuse youth into the team. And he has done this through both the draft and signing undrafted FAs who fit the Patriots' mold. This is what has been so impressive to me. College players and players who weren't considered good enough to even be drafted must be much harder to scout, as they aren't playing against top notch competition. But BB continues to improve this team. It is so impressive.
The take-home message is that high draft picks are fun and exciting but don't help you much at the offensive skill positions if you do not know how to craft a roster. It doesn't speak to other positions, since you need the hogs in the trenches, but even there your draft day resume is not everything.
If you do know how to craft a roster and get the most out of talent that is tailored to your system and works hard, even low picks and UDFAs at the offensive skill positions will help you win.
Now if you are in the enviable position of having lots of high draft picks and you also know how to craft a roster, the whole league is in trouble. That seems to be the current situation, from last year and the next. :singing:
Great article, thanks for sharing...
All 3 SB teams are in the bottom 4 of his list....Amazing.
It's not about collecting talent, it's about building a team......
Also interesting was the analysis shattering the myth that Peyton was playing with nobodies this year. Of the 12 teams in the playoffs this year, the Colts skill position players were the most highly-drafted. Their 2006 championship team had the 3rd-most highly drafted collection of offensive skill position players ever.
Great article, though I have to say, I don't agree with some of his conclusions.
There seems to be this pervasive notion that the Patriots have returned to some purer state this season, as if somehow having a former 1st round WRs in Moss and Stallworth and running a 3WR offense with them was somehow less Belichickian than the present team.
If Larry Fitzgerald wanted to come to the Pats on a good value contract, do you think Belichick would refuse because we're no longer interested in first round talent? Furthermore, if we had Fitzgerald, Branch and Welker, do you think we'd use multiple TE sets quite as often, or do you think maybe we'd start using 3 WR more often, with Welker returning to the slot role he excels in?
I think Stuart assumes a little to much determinism in Belichick's team-building philosophy, that if this is the way the offense has turned out, it must be because this is the way Belichick wanted it. I happen to think that the primary aspect of Belichick's team-building philosophy is adaptability. First you acquire the best players you can get at good value, and then you tailor your offense to match their skill sets.
The last time the Patriots relied on multiple TE sets this much was 2006, not exactly a banner year for the Pats' offense. We'd also added two rookie TE's in that season -- Mills and Thomas, and still had Graham and Watson. We'd also lost Givens and Branch. So the Pats ran the best offense suited for their TE-heavy, WR-light offense.
In '07, Belichick found himself with a wealth of receiver talent, so we used multiple receiver sets, and had, overall, the best offensive season in league history. In '09 the Pats brought in Joey Galloway, and that didn't pan out. This year, we brought in Tory Holt, but he got hurt. These moves may not have worked out, but they show that Belichick wasn't purposefully moving away from former 1st round wideouts.
The reason the Pats offense ended up the way it did this season isn't because Belichick wanted it to, it's because he doesn't have preconceived ideas about what he wants the offense to be like. Unlike in '06, this years crop of rookie TEs panned out well, pushing us towards the two TE sets we've been favoring. If Brandon Tate were having as impressive a debut season, we'd be using a bit more 3WR sets. Who knows what next year will bring? No offense will be inherently more Belichickian than another, it'll just be the best product he can assemble depending on how well his various personnel moves pan out.
Well, here's the thing about that...
In the article, Stuart mentions how he weights the scores by rushing/receiving/passing yards and TDs, and it ended up counting QBs like Brady in '03 and Manning in '06 as almost half their team's offense. Presumedly, Brady isn't off that mark by all that much in '04 or '01.
This mean's that all of the Pats' SB teams are weighted as somewhere around 40% 6th round pick, with only 60% being determined by receivers and backs. That alone will automatically put a team in the bottom half.
I mean, look at he '99 Rams: Holt is the #6 overall pick, Bruce is the first pick of the 2nd round, Marshall Faulk is the #2 overall pick, Ricky Proehl was a 3rd rounder. And yet, just because of Kurt Warner, that stacked offense is well into the bottom half of the list.
Agreed. There is just more talent on this team but the approach is the same as 06. At the TE position, Gronk, A-Hern and Crump are better than Watson (49 catches) and Graham (21) who combined for 878 yds so for 5 Td. WW, Branch and Tate are better than Caldwell, Brown and Gaff. That O scored 24 a game for 7th in the league.
Obviously 2010 is in a whole different stratosphere.
You hit the nail on the head. Great post. If Belichick only look for certain players, then why did he bring in Moss, Welker, Stallworth etc.?
I don't agree with the base premise of the article but I do feel that Belichick does
1) Identify his mistakes in the draft for what they are, admit to them, and is willing to jettison them regardless of their draft position ( I.E. like dumping Kevin O'Connell) I think that's gotta be a tough thing for the "GM Belichick" to do or any GM to do.
2) Use whatever is available to him to build a team, seeking actual market inefficiencies to exploit whenever they present themselves. He felt he could get good value at WR with Welker and Moss, so he did. Later he felt he could at TE, so he did. I think this is the sign of a GM and coach willing to make adjustments if and when needed for the good of trying to win ballgames.
The problem I have with the article is it seems to ignore that Belichick simply does not often use first round picks or very high picks on offensive skill position players. Ben Watson sure. Maroney sure. Chad Jackson was a 2nd rounder I believe. But mostly he appears to love D linemen and help for his secondary. He doesn't have high picks invested in RBs ( well not anymore) because the NFL landscape for RBs has changed. More teams are using RBBC and acknowledging the short shelf life of most backs. The changes in the rules and the advent of the cap has created the 3rd down back and nickel corner into very complex needs/key cogs for teams that might not have been as true 20 years ago. Given what elite D lineman and corners are being paid, Belichick is trying to secure them young before they get to their SECOND CONTRACT, where they are more likely to be paid to market or over it and start to head into their decline phase for production. He can do this because he has a HOF elite QB who can elevate the play of relative castoffs/average players.
The article also fails to account for the fact that, prior to the last two years, I hate to say it, but Belichick didn't have out of this world draft classes. Just like the big 49er and Cowboy dynasties, it's a failure to reload in the draft more effectively that ended the Patriots burst of Superbowl titles. This year was a GREAT draft, the one before that was pretty good, but the ones before that weren't world beaters. Belichick had to use more cast offs and try different things simply because he blew the Maroney and Chad Jackson and, to some degree, the Ben Watson picks.
The article doesn't seem to account for the fact that the Jets are picking up talented players, esp skill players, because some have character concerns that they were willing to take risks on. Also it doesn't account for the Jets routinely spending draft picks to trade up into drafts to get higher rated skill players in earlier rounds. This changes the structure of Jet's bench depth and how well they can survive injuries. ( the Redskins are built this way, or were for a long time, a super thin bench with less depth but bigger name starters) It also doesn't account for the fact that the Jets focused heavy on offense in their drafts, including O linemen, but at the cost of not such a great pass rush. Rex Ryan is a good defensive guy, but that team is even less suited to pummel a QB than the Patriots are.
Two different teams with two different mindsets about talent acquisition and value of certain positions over another. One systems success is not dependent on a contrast from another. The article is taking someone that can be mutually exclusive and saying it's not so.
I think it's great that an article acknowledges Belichick's team building and ability to adjust to his situation/conditions. I just don't think it's a great article ( it's looking for a connection for the sake of a connection in itself)
Bill adjusts great. But it was needed because he did have some poorer drafts. You can't see only the good solutions and not ask yourself how you got into that situation why you needed more solutions in the first place.
"I really think in terms of offensive firepower, this team is a lot like the 2003/2004 teams, except more efficient and with better talent." - the 2004 team's offense was a "punch" you in the face offense with Corey Dillon running like a bull. I would take the 2004 offense over any other offense in Patriot's history. You had to respect both the pass and run in 2004. Since 2004, defenses have only really had to respect our passing game. IF, the Pat's were not to win it all this year I would be willing to guess our running game will be one of the main culprits like in SB 42.
Maybe my bar for what constitutes a "great" article is too low; for me, this one qualifies because it's not just a bunch of hype, a 'personal interest' piece, or just a repackaging of typical NFL conventional wisdom. It's got a hypothesis, an experimental exploration of the issue, and conclusions. I might find problems with the methodology and I might disagree with some of the conclusions, but at least it gives you something to think about and respond to.
Now, as for Belichick's positional draft valuing, it seems to me that BB's predilection for taking defensive linemen early is that it's a lot harder to find quality big men later in the draft than it is w/ other positions. Ngata, Stroud, Henderson, Casey Hampton, Wilfork, Seymour, Warren, Tommie Harris, Kevin Williams, Albert Haynesworth, Suh, etc. All 1st rounders, most of them towards the top. Seems harder to name later-round DTs who went on to be top-shelf players than it does at other positions, even QB.
I imagine this is because the physical freakishness required at the position -- there just aren't that many 300+ pound men with the requisite agility and coordination to play DT in the NFL and if you don't have it, it's pretty obvious.
The Patriots built a favorite out of leftovers
The Patriots built a favorite out of leftovers | ProFootballTalk
even rex made the point in the presser of the playoff exp of his team vs the pats was much more
Re: The Patriots built a favorite out of leftovers
Not at the position it matters most! :rocker:
I consider the Dec 6th game as close to a playoff game as you could possibly get...and those three games they played last year in the playoffs didn't help them much that night.
The article is not quite right. The secret is, broadly speaking, team. Football is a team game. T-E-A-M. Like the old cliches say, there is no "I" in team and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Virtually every player on almost every Patriot team would prefer a ring to a bevy of great individual stats. If they don't, they go elsewhere.
Yes, there are other reasons for Patriot success but this is the main one.
Pretty good rebuilding year so far ...
Winning with less..... What a stupid title. There is no smoke and mirrors. It's not about talent. It's about preparation and execution. Let's give them all credit, players included.
Yeah, don't like how little credit the players get in that piece.
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