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Idle thought...retrospective...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Feb 10, 2010.

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  1. patfanken

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    After stepping away from that horrid end to a disappointing season, I have these assorted thoughts to add to the discussion.

    1. I know its crazy to complain about an offense that was one of the top units in the league, but the following few items bugged the crap out of me all season.

    a. I don't think we utilized our TEs well. Watson might not be an elite receiving TE, but he isn't chopped liver either. He has the speed to threaten the seams, yet we rarely used him in that capacity. Its also no surprise that when we did, it was quite successful.

    b. I also felt that we didn't use our RBs and TEs enough in delay and dump off patterns and overall, it didn't seem like we spread the ball around enough. And what ever happen to the slant pass. The Pats almost NEVER use it.

    c. I know this will come as a surprise to some fans, but the Pats had the 12th best running attack in the league, DESPITE having a dominant passing attack. I'd like the Pats to commit to the run more and use more traditional running formations....and then pass from them. It seemed to me that WHENEVER time we lined up with a FB, we ran the ball.

    To put this into some perspective, there were TWENTY teams in the NFL who ran the ball WORSE than the Pats. This is surprising since EVERYONE knows that the Pats running attack SUCKED :rolleyes:

    d. Finally IMHO there didn't seem to be any "pattern" to our offense. We didn't run the ball to set up the pass, or pass the ball to set up the run. Down an distance rarely seemed to matter. On 3ed and long we'd still throw the same passes that we would if it had been 3rd and 4. It was more we ran running and passing plays in no particular order, for no particular reason. The play calling seemed, to me at least, to be pretty random.

    2. I think we need to stop complaining about our defense for a number of reasons. It seems to me that the NFL has almost legislated dominant defenses out of the league. If you combine the rules interpretations/changes, with the complex offenses, and the size and speed of today's WRs, it is almost impossible to stop any team that has a good QB. Just look at the superbowl. The only time the defense forced a punt, it was more a case of the OFFENSE stopping itself with drops, penalties, etc, than the defense creating chaos.

    And although it sometimes didn't seem like it, IMHO we have the makings of a good solid D here in NE. Its not like this was a defense that was ranked in the 20's (like the 2001 and 2003 superbowl winners) This was the ELEVENTH ranked D in the league, FIFTH in scoring D; yet we b!tch and moan about the D as if we were bottom feeders.

    To me this is a young defense that is deep in the secondary (a must in today's league) and is going to get better with time, and a few additions.

    HOWEVER, as fans we are going to have to get used to the "new reality" of the NFL in this decade. That is that, baring some rules changes, DEFENSES are at a major disadvantage right now. They are NEVER going to to CONSISTENTLY stop even a decent NFL offense. Sorry but it isn't going to happen.

    IMHO, what defenses have to do is to recognize this fact and change with the times. I think the key to defense in today's NFL is not how many yds you give up, but in how many Turn overs you can force or big plays you can make.

    The Saints DC is getting a lot of kudos now, but I didn't notice Peyton having any trouble moving the ball down the field. In fact they ONLY time the Colts were stopped in that game was because of the pick, dropped balls and a bad play call (3rd and short before the half) And to prove my point the ONLY time the Saints were stopped after the first drive was because of dropped balls or penalties. In this league a good offense will ALWAYS move the ball against a good defense. Just look what the Colts did the to the best D in the league in the 2nd half of the AFCCG

    So if that's the case, then we need our defense to improve in ONE critical area. Turnovers.

    So I'm looking for our defense to play tighter all over the field. I WANT them to take more chances. I want them constantly going for the ball...and I will accept the risks that go along with that kind of play.....BECAUSE, we have one of those offenses that can't be stopped either.....and TOs are what turn those game around.

    Off season suggestions:

    a. Forget Brady, the most important guy I want wrapped up early this off season is Leigh Boddin. I thought he was one of the best CBs in the league, and he's the key (IMHO) to the Pats secondary for the forseeable fuure. With Boddin on board to anchor the secondary, Merriweather, McGowen, Chung, Sanders, Butler, Willhite, Wheatly. are all young athletic and fast guys who are only going to get better with time. (and I'm willing to bet that one of those first 4 picks is going to be a DB come April)

    The key with the secondary is numbers. The more guys in the secondary you have to play multple positions, the more flexible and deceiving your defense can be. This doesn't mean you need to have all pros back there, but you need quality athletes who know your system and can play the game. The ability to disguise your D will lead to more TOs than a "
    shut down" CB

    b. The next guy you need to sign is Wilfolk. Once that's done, with Prior, Wright, Warren , Burgess, and Green, we will then be solid on the DL...even if Brace fails to develop, which I doubt will happen

    c. With the necessity to sign Wilfolk and Boddin, I don't see Julius Peppers as a Patriot. First, I can't justify paying ANY non-QB that kind of money. Even if the guy plays well, its STILL not a value signing, because of who you CAN'T keep. And secondly, Peppers has a lot of questions IMHO...too many to take that kind of salary structure risk

    d. AThomas - I don't want to see him playing for the Jets next season. I think he has some legit grievances. He's been moved around a lot. He HASN'T be allowed to go after the passer much. He's been criticized for essentially being a good soldier (up until this year) I'd keep him for this upcoming year...and I'd set him loose more often. (I'd also like him to lose 15 lbs)

    I love our OL, now and for the near future. I think that an OL that is made up of Light, Mankins, Volmer, Kaczar, Koppen, Connolly, LeVoir; is deep and talented. I think its time to part ways with the oft injured Steve Neal...unless he wants to come back on the (relative)cheap and finish his career as a Patriot. I think his shoulder is too much of a liability to risk market money on him.

    I know there will be a lot of calls for Volmer to take over the LT duties for Light. Here's a thought, if that came to pass, I'd love to see Light slide down to the OG spot. I recall reading several reports when he was drafted, which projected him to be a decent NFL LT, but thought he'd be an all pro as G. Well Light has turned out to be MORE than a decent NFL LT, but maybe its time to move him to his "natural" position.

    More likely we will see Light stay at LT while Volmer starts on the right side. Not because Kaczar wasn't adequate, but because Volmer could be just THAT good.

    e. I want to see us keep ALL our RBs...including Moroney....ESPECIALLY Moroney. I thought he ran very well this season, DESPITE the random nature of his opportunities. All RBs have periods where they fumble, and by and large, in the great scheme of things, Moroney DOESN'T fumble that often.

    I like having Taylor and Morris on the team, but BOTH those guys are well past their primes. Also I can see Moroney in the future morphing into the Kevin Faulk role, because Kevin doesn't have much tire on the tread either. Regardless, getting younger at RB is a must, and to that end I can't see BOTH Taylor and Morris on the team next year

    f. The draft: If anyone is hoping that we will miraculously find our pass rush cure in the draft is dreaming. BELIEVE me, but there are 31 OTHER teams in the league whose #1 goal in this draft is to find a legitimate pass rushing threat. IF we DO find this diamond in this draft it will be more because of luck than skill. NONE of the obvious choices are going to be around come the 22nd pick

    g. As for who we draft, I'll just be hoping to find 4 guys in those first 4 picks who can play special teams and be back ups. I'm more looking forward to seeing how Crable, Tate and
    McKennzie come back from IR. I don't expect, NOR do I want to see Wes Welker before November.

    f. Like most I'd like to see a legit WR brought into the fold to fill the role Joey Galloway never filled. The Anquan Boldin rumors for one of our 2nds sounds good EXCEPT for the contract he'd want. It would be a perfect fit talentwise. The Cards AREN'T going to get a better offer, but the contract would seem to be a deal breaker.....too bad.
  2. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    I would not group Burgess with the Wright, Warren, etc. He is an OLB in this defense. Group him with Banta-Cain, Woods, Thomas, etc.

    Green is a free agent. Chances are he's not back.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  3. BradyManny

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    In general, I like your thoughts as always. But - while I like Bodden as much as the next guy, I wouldn't go too far. If we can re-sign him for something reasonable, sure - but he did lose his starting job for few games for his play in the Denver game. This isn't Ty Law or Asante Samuel we're talking about here.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  4. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Rookie

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Nice post

    Completely agree. Not to mention the #1 D in the NFL the previous round getting absolutely lit up by Manning. But yeah we definitely need to get turnovers going in our favor and also better red zone, those are the 2 things we are mostly missing from the SB days. That can be solved by focusing on getting that pass rusher that I think should be our priority in the offseason.
  5. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Personally I really doubt Green is back. I wonder if they will plug Pryor in his place.

    I think Burgess will be given a chance to fight for a roster spot in the fall, based on his performances in the last few games.
  6. BionicPatriot

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    PFK, you yourself are a former coach. You should know level of competition matters, no?

    Yes the Patriots are solid statisticly speaking on defense. But watch the games. They make their names off beating the cinderellas of the NFL then they get pummeled by equal or better competition. The reason the defense stats aren't bad is because they played a lot of games against bad offenses. Every time a playoff caliber offense faced our D, it was torched.

    Green is all but gone probably, I don't mind having Burgess as a backup nothing more. We NEED a pass rusher. Or hey, we'll just keep watching the 3rd and longs given up. I disagree saying defense doesn't matter like it used to. The Steelers and Giants go to/won their super bowls because of those defenses.

    This defense needs tools, to say they don't is delusional.
  7. JSn

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Oh, this defense has some tools on it alright...
  8. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Huh? The only game that they lost by more than a TD to was to the Saints.

    The do need playmakers to close the gap. But to say that they were pummeled is ridiculous. The Lions were pummeled.
  9. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    Good thoughts he one I want to chime on is the mariney idea....we have to keep this kid for his final yr at least, keep him draft a young guy, have faulk and get a FB, 4 rb's should be fine
  10. patfanken

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    If we don't sign Boddin we are back to square one in the secondary, with developing players trying to fill a role that they aren't ready for. Boddin is the real deal, and will only get better in this defense, surrounded by the young talent. I don't say sign him for elite/all pro CB money, but anything short of that should be done. And as far as the comparison's....he's not the pick guy that Samuel is, but he's just as good if not better in pure coverage
  11. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Your probably right, but I can't see him playing OLB on regular basis with this defense. I see him as a pass rush specialist with his hand on the ground. OTOH, give the nature of the offenses these days, you can be a pass rush specialist and be on the field every down ;)
  12. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    Good point, I guess I was showing some lingering loyalty for a good soldier. I don't worry about Green. In the off season he was constantly interning with businesses in the area. That's ONE GUY who will land on his feet.
  13. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    i also have to talk about the TE's...

    i see other teams, and their TE's are amazing, get open for long catches, its great, they are valid recievers in an offense

    we almost played as if tE's can only be used for blocking, and after the heroics at the end of the 1st bills game you would imagine the OC would understand watson can really be used in the passing game, especially in the redzone
  14. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    OK, but that doesn't put him on the same level as Wright, Green, Warren, or any other of the actual DL.
  15. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Re: Idle thought....retrospective...

    You're forgetting Butler who has more athleticism and speed than Bodden does.

    Brady IS our #1 priority. Then Wilfork. As we have seen this season, it doesn't matter if we have the best secondary in the world. If you let a NFL quarterback sit in the pocket all day, he will pick apart ANY secondary.

    I see us making Bodden a reasonable offer. If he takes it, great. If not, we go to Butler.
  16. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    I don't think most expect the 85 Bears or even the 2003 Pats D in today's NFL. Polian legislated that out in hopes he could get his soft, mentally weak QB and team rings.

    That doesn't mean we have to get used to having a defense that can't get a stop it needs with the game on the line or make a big play with the game on the line. All you have heard for 10 years from BB is how important situational football is. That is where the defense fell down this year.

    It was letting Denver go 12 for 98 yds to tie the game in the 4th and then 11 plays to win it in OT. It was letting the Colts put up 2 80 yd 4th quarter drives, each one only taking 2 minutes followed by letting them walk in with such ease on the last drive that they were killing the clock while doing so. It was letting Miami march down and score the winning FG. It was letting Baltimore run out the clock in the first half pinned back at their own 4 when a stop might have gotten you back in the game the same way the Saints stopping the Colts got them back in it Sunday.
  17. ramon

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    a. I don't think we utilized our TEs well. Watson might not be an elite receiving TE, but he isn't chopped liver either. He has the speed to threaten the seams, yet we rarely used him in that capacity. Its also no surprise that when we did, it was quite successful.

    Not worth top dollar he will seek based on what he has shown so far. Jettisoning Dave THomas was mistake. They don't need hyperathletic tight ends only someone who will reliable catch the ball and block...e.g Kevin Boss. This they CAN find in the draft

    b. I also felt that we didn't use our RBs and TEs enough in delay and dump off patterns and overall, it didn't seem like we spread the ball around enough. And what ever happen to the slant pass. The Pats almost NEVER use it.

    Agree 100% which makes it surprising to me thta BB didn't seek out an experienced OC with some fresh ideas to jum start the schemes

    c. I know this will come as a surprise to some fans, but the Pats had the 12th best running attack in the league, DESPITE having a dominant passing attack. I'd like the Pats to commit to the run more and use more traditional running formations....and then pass from them. It seemed to me that WHENEVER time we lined up with a FB, we ran the ball.

    To put this into some perspective, there were TWENTY teams in the NFL who ran the ball WORSE than the Pats. This is surprising since EVERYONE knows that the Pats running attack SUCKED :rolleyes:


    PATS relayed way too much on the PAS and it hurt them. They would benefit from a bigger consistent commitment to the run and take some of the pressure off Brady ..love to see defenses ahve to respect the Play Action Pass again. Part of Saints success was b/o credible run threat

    d. Finally IMHO there didn't seem to be any "pattern" to our offense. We didn't run the ball to set up the pass, or pass the ball to set up the run. Down an distance rarely seemed to matter. On 3ed and long we'd still throw the same passes that we would if it had been 3rd and 4. It was more we ran running and passing plays in no particular order, for no particular reason. The play calling seemed, to me at least, to be pretty random.

    I guess this is why Bill O'Brien was not named OC. Do you really see BB being able to run BOTH the offense and defense?

    2. I think we need to stop complaining about our defense for a number of reasons. It seems to me that the NFL has almost legislated dominant defenses out of the league. If you combine the rules interpretations/changes, with the complex offenses, and the size and speed of today's WRs, it is almost impossible to stop any team that has a good QB. Just look at the superbowl. The only time the defense forced a punt, it was more a case of the OFFENSE stopping itself with drops, penalties, etc, than the defense creating chaos.

    And although it sometimes didn't seem like it, IMHO we have the makings of a good solid D here in NE. Its not like this was a defense that was ranked in the 20's (like the 2001 and 2003 superbowl winners) This was the ELEVENTH ranked D in the league, FIFTH in scoring D; yet we b!tch and moan about the D as if we were bottom feeders.

    To me this is a young defense that is deep in the secondary (a must in today's league) and is going to get better with time, and a few additions.

    HOWEVER, as fans we are going to have to get used to the "new reality" of the NFL in this decade. That is that, baring some rules changes, DEFENSES are at a major disadvantage right now. They are NEVER going to to CONSISTENTLY stop even a decent NFL offense. Sorry but it isn't going to happen.

    IMHO, what defenses have to do is to recognize this fact and change with the times. I think the key to defense in today's NFL is not how many yds you give up, but in how many Turn overs you can force or big plays you can make.

    The Saints DC is getting a lot of kudos now, but I didn't notice Peyton having any trouble moving the ball down the field. In fact they ONLY time the Colts were stopped in that game was because of the pick, dropped balls and a bad play call (3rd and short before the half) And to prove my point the ONLY time the Saints were stopped after the first drive was because of dropped balls or penalties. In this league a good offense will ALWAYS move the ball against a good defense. Just look what the Colts did the to the best D in the league in the 2nd half of the AFCCG

    So if that's the case, then we need our defense to improve in ONE critical area. Turnovers.

    Agree but turnovers to a large extent depend on a decent pass rush..teams that have it get turnovers teams that don't willl not

    So I'm looking for our defense to play tighter all over the field. I WANT them to take more chances. I want them constantly going for the ball...and I will accept the risks that go along with that kind of play.....BECAUSE, we have one of those offenses that can't be stopped either.....and TOs are what turn those game around.

    Off season suggestions:

    a. Forget Brady, the most important guy I want wrapped up early this off season is Leigh Boddin. I thought he was one of the best CBs in the league, and he's the key (IMHO) to the Pats secondary for the forseeable fuure. With Boddin on board to anchor the secondary, Merriweather, McGowen, Chung, Sanders, Butler, Willhite, Wheatly. are all young athletic and fast guys who are only going to get better with time. (and I'm willing to bet that one of those first 4 picks is going to be a DB come April)

    The key with the secondary is numbers. The more guys in the secondary you have to play multple positions, the more flexible and deceiving your defense can be. This doesn't mean you need to have all pros back there, but you need quality athletes who know your system and can play the game. The ability to disguise your D will lead to more TOs than a "
    shut down" CB


    Agree..in my opinion resigning Bodden should be a bigger priority than Wilfork
    b. The next guy you need to sign is Wilfolk. Once that's done, with Prior, Wright, Warren , Burgess, and Green, we will then be solid on the DL...even if Brace fails to develop, which I doubt will happen

    No need to sign Wilfork when you can franchise him

    c. With the necessity to sign Wilfolk and Boddin, I don't see Julius Peppers as a Patriot. First, I can't justify paying ANY non-QB that kind of money. Even if the guy plays well, its STILL not a value signing, because of who you CAN'T keep. And secondly, Peppers has a lot of questions IMHO...too many to take that kind of salary structure risk

    You are spot on here..no way the NEP will pay that kind of money with labor uncertainty and the need to lock up Brady

    d. AThomas - I don't want to see him playing for the Jets next season. I think he has some legit grievances. He's been moved around a lot. He HASN'T be allowed to go after the passer much. He's been criticized for essentially being a good soldier (up until this year) I'd keep him for this upcoming year...and I'd set him loose more often. (I'd also like him to lose 15 lbs)

    I agree, I think he has had a bit of an unfair deal. I also say give him one more chance. would like to see BB be flexible enough to resacue this situation and find a way to utilize ATs talents. I also do NOT want to see him on JETS

    I
    e. I want to see us keep ALL our RBs...including Moroney....ESPECIALLY Moroney. I thought he ran very well this season, DESPITE the random nature of his opportunities. All RBs have periods where they fumble, and by and large, in the great scheme of things, Moroney DOESN'T fumble that often.

    I like having Taylor and Morris on the team, but BOTH those guys are well past their primes. Also I can see Moroney in the future morphing into the Kevin Faulk role, because Kevin doesn't have much tire on the tread either. Regardless, getting younger at RB is a must, and to that end I can't see BOTH Taylor and Morris on the team next year

    This is where the team needs an injection of young dependable legs and fresh air. A strong running back changes the dynamics for this team...remember the Corey Dillon effect...also will protect Brady

    f. The draft: If anyone is hoping that we will miraculously find our pass rush cure in the draft is dreaming. BELIEVE me, but there are 31 OTHER teams in the league whose #1 goal in this draft is to find a legitimate pass rushing threat. IF we DO find this diamond in this draft it will be more because of luck than skill. NONE of the obvious choices are going to be around come the 22nd pick

    g. As for who we draft, I'll just be hoping to find 4 guys in those first 4 picks who can play special teams and be back ups. I'm more looking forward to seeing how Crable, Tate and
    McKennzie come back from IR. I don't expect, NOR do I want to see Wes Welker before November.

    I sure hope that out of those 4 picks we find at least 2 starters. There are a lot of wholes in teh starting units. I don't think yyou can bank on Crable tate or Mckenzie...Other teams are consistently finding starters out of the draft (even top teams)

    f. Like most I'd like to see a legit WR brought into the fold to fill the role Joey Galloway never filled. The Anquan Boldin rumors for one of our 2nds sounds good EXCEPT for the contract he'd want. It would be a perfect fit talentwise. The Cards AREN'T going to get a better offer, but the contract would seem to be a deal breaker.....too bad.[/QUOTE]

    Boldin makes so much sense...
  18. buile

    buile PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks PFK!

    > the following few items bugged the crap out of me

    Agreed on the dumps and slants. Agreed on our run predictability. I don't know if we held back the TEs for protection or not, but would love to see them in the attack. I'm jealous of the couple teams who send theirs up the seams so effectively.

    Lack of play change in the 3rd and 4 or 6 may be reliance on YAC, which Welker was so good at, rather than attacking the target yardage directly? (guard against the 6 yard pass, and we'll make the 4 yard pass with 3 YAC).

    > IMHO we have the makings of a good solid D here in NE.

    Yes, I hope they really gel. The D needs attention just like every team, but it's not a dire situation. I agree with BionicPatriot that we did well against middle-of-the-pack. Elite teams picked the D apart. I cross my fingers it's about experience as a unit, and hope they blossom.

    Posters who know musch more than me say Mayo is not a true Mike. As you said, 31 other teams are looking for a pass rush. So, is it easier to find a real Mike and just do the best we can finding a pass rusher?


    > defense to improve in ONE critical area. Turnovers.

    Yes, I never thought about it that way. My interpretation of NE is "cold and calculating." Taking big risks for big rewards doesn't strike me as the MO. You play your assignment, minimize your mistakes and let the other team make the mistake.


    > AThomas- He HASN'T be allowed to go after the passer much.

    That's my feeling as well. To get to the passer, he has to break discipline, yet's he's expected to maintain assignment discipline. Maybe he feels damned if he does and damned if he doesn't... and that's why "you have to ask the coach. he's got all the answers." ??


    > Moroney DOESN'T fumble that often.

    No, but I thought the fumbles result directly from his increased aggressiveness.

    > I can see Moroney in the future morphing into the Kevin Faulk role

    I can only hope, but do you think the instincts are there? Faulk is smart in protection, sly when releasing out. Consider me a doubter that he can *really* replace what Faulk gives us. Moroney has to bring some other strength to the team. I *would* like to see Moroney catch the ball more often.
  19. lamafist

    lamafist Rookie

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    I think you'll notice that our production from our tight ends declined precipitously with the arrival of one Wes Welker.

    When you have a guy who works out of the slot the way Wes does, that's going to cut down on the number of 2 TE sets we use. Furthermore, you often don't want a TE lined up opposite Wes working the seam or over the middle, as that will draw more coverage into the area Wes works in, and clog throwing lanes to our go to guy.

    Our offense's problem last year was that we had too many guys who could work the seams and the middle of the field, but only one receiver -- Moss -- that teams needed to worry about outside the numbers. And the news about his separated shoulder explains why the Pats seemed hesitant about using him a more than a deep threat to open up the underneath for Welker. It's hard to fight a DB for a contested throw when you have no strength in an arm whenever your bring it over your head.
  20. lamafist

    lamafist Rookie

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    I'm with you. He's been in a frustrating position since he got to NE -- there's been a ton of expectations on him, but various circumstances have led to him being asked to play a role that's outside of his wheelhouse because the other guys on the team aren't able to handle it.

    It's hard to keep going out there and do something that you do kinda well, when you're convinced you could be doing so much more to help the team win if you were allowed to do what you do really well.
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