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Idle thoughts – The final edition

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    It's Tuesday afternoon that pain is still raw, but you can't post all the time in the good times and run away in the bad (or what amounts to bad for a Pats fan). It should be noted that I haven't read anything on the sight since the end of the game. And I won't be watching anything concerning football until at LEAST the start of the Superbowl. (in other words what might be the most productive 2 weeks I've spent since the start of the season. ;) ) So I hope you will indulge me in this exercise in mental health.

    THE GAME -

    1. Sometimes you're wrong, and then there are the times when you are REALLY wrong. And this was one of those times for me. The score didn't surprise me, but the teams that wound up with those scores certainly did. And that wasn't all that surprised me.

    2. I think the game plan surprised me a bit on both sides of the ball – On offense I was surprised we didn't run more and rarely tried to run outside the tackles when we did. I was surprised our passing attack went directly where the Ravens had to be expecting it. To Welker, Hernandez and Lloyd. We rarely dumped it off to open RB's. We didn't try to integrate Fells or Hooman into the attack, and rarely tested the Ravens deep, to try and open up the middle more. The Welker completion in the 4th where he did an out and up was so wide open you have to wonder if it had been there all game....and not just for Welker. The Ravens played us to clog the middle and attack the underneath routes.....and that's pretty much where we threw the ball.

    3. On defense not having Jones and losing Talib hurt, but I was surprised we never did what was necessary to develop some kind of consistent pass rush. I don't know what the final percentage was, but I'm sure it was lower than what we'd be seeing in recent games. And when we did get a blitz it was a pretty straight forward one that was easily picked up.

    4. I was also surprised that it was the usual suspects that continued to plague the D in the 2nd half. RB's releasing from the backfield and TE's in the middle of the field.

    5. Ultimately the team that played most like the Patriots were the Ravens. They didn't give up the ball, while collecting some TO's. They were patient, didn't commit many penalties and were more timely making the big plays. That's how the Pats usually win games. Kudos to the Ravens

    6. I'm sure Ridley was lambasted for the fumble. He shouldn't be. When you are knocked unconscious, you will likely fumble the ball. Credit the hit, don't blame the ball carrier for that one..

    7. Wes Welker made some big plays and had a couple of key drops. I think we've seen enough of that pattern to believe that, it is what it is. Over all the good outweighs the bad... by a lot. But ultimately you have to determine “at what price does it stop being worth it”. I don't know what that price is, but the Pats do. I'm sure it will be the #1 question of the off season until its resolved.....and I hope its one way or the other QUICKLY. (before the draft).

    8. Ultimately the reason for the Pats loss is clear. Red zone efficiency, on both sides of the ball. Think about it. The Pats actually gained more yards, more first downs, 2 more sacks, and only lost the TOP by a minute despite the 2 TO's. So while both teams got into the red zone 4 times, the Pats went 1-4 and the Ravens went 4-4. Reverse the results and you can reverse the score.

    Of course some of the problem can be blamed on not having the greatest red zone threat in the game available, but we WERE the highest scoring team in the league while missing him for 8 games this season. Some of the problems were self inflicted, some were that the Ravens simply played better red zone defense that we did..

    SEASON OVERVIEW

    1. It might not seem like it now, but this WAS a better team than the one we had last season. The defense showed a significant improvement across the board, despite being the 2nd youngest in the league. The offense underwent a major reconstruction on the OL between retirements and injuries and managed the transition well, become a younger more athletic OL, who played well and has a vast upside.

    2. It was unfortunate we never got to see what the 2 TE offense could really do with both guys there

    3. I think the Brandon Lloyd acquisition worked out well. He might not have been the “deep threat” some expected, but he was NEVER a deep threat to start with. In the end he was a fairly effective outside the numbers receiver. Now we need to give him some help.

    4. The QB played well....again. If he's slowing down, its hard to see where. He's certainly not perfect, but no one is (except after they retire) For the next 2 years I wouldn't trade my QB situation with any team.

    THE OFF SEASON -

    Defense -

    1. Of course a lot will depend on if Talib is on the team. But the fact is that by the end of the season, Alphonzo Dennard ended up being a very solid, if unspectacular CB. If he'd been a first round pick, it would have been a good one, but being a 7th round pick, it was spectacular. He's going to be a good starter in the league for a long time, and for us for at least the next 3 years. So with Dennard and Dowling coming back, even if Talib isn't here, the area where I see the need to upgrade is still at the Safety position.

    2. Chung is gone. I think we can all agree on that. His only value would be as solid depth for close to the vet minimum.. I'm probably higher on Gregory than most, but he's limited. I still think he'd be valuable as depth and spot starter. The draft is giving us an opportunity to upgrade him. This is going to be a great draft for safeties. Maybe Wilson is the one who can make a jump next year, but the bottom line is that in order for the defense to continue to progress, I'd rather not meed to have Gregory be the starter.

    3. We need help on the DL – Obviously getting someone who can pressure from the inside is a priority, but its a priority for the OTHER 31 teams as well, and picking 29th in each round greatly mitigates the chances of that happening.

    4. However we might find an impact player in that area of the draft at WR and S. So as much as I'd love to draft a Dlman high, anyone we DO draft is likely to be a 2-3 year project. NOT an immediate impact. If we ARE going to make a big splash on the DL, maybe the way to go is to pay what's necessary to sign this kid Armstead out of the CFL.

    5. Watching other team's big WR's snatching balls away from receivers while covered certainly makes me feel jealous. We need help at WR. Either lets find a Tory Smith type deep threat, or an Anquan Boldin big strong guy.type. Preferably someone who fits both descriptions, but I'll take one of either. Lets get younger, bigger and faster at WR.

    6. Here is a list of the key FA's the Pats have to sign...or not. I'd love to sign them all, but we need them to sign at LEAST 4 of them. Who will remain and who will walk is anyone's guess. I mean REALLY, all we can do now is practice uniformed speculation.

    a. Welker
    b Talib
    c. Volmer
    d. Edelman
    e. Thomas
    f. Arrington

    7. Probably the one accurate thing I said last week in my 2 long posts was that in reality the Pats' roster has been almost completely retooled the last 2 years.(only 5 starters remain from the Jets loss in just 2010.) We've actually have over achieved, IMHO, getting as deep into the playoffs with the flawed teams we've had.

    It's NEXT year that I believe will be the start of a great 3 year run, where I think we will see 2 more Lombardi's added to the Pats HOF. I believe we will start to see a team where the defense will start to pull more of the weight and an offense that isn't going to slack off. There might be teams as strong and balanced as the Pats, but NONE will be better. The Pats aren't going away soon, so the haters just better get used to it. :eek:

    Have a great off season guys. Thanks for all your responses to my missives over this season. I'm off to enjoy my productive 2 weeks and await the start of the draft watch. :D
     
  2. abdul7

    abdul7 On the Game Day Roster

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    #12 Jersey

    Thanks Ken for your post. I really enjoyed reading it and have to agree on the WR side and S to improve for next season. Like you i am staying away from reading or watching until the kickoff of the SB. Sure will love it if Randy gets his ring. Thanks again and take care.
    Abdul.
     
  3. Gronkandez

    Gronkandez Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Amen. The team was better. Although it didn't all up in show up in the end, C Jones looks like a great pick, Dennard should be here to stay, Hightower although slow looks promising, Solder has a very good year, and Ridley made the leap. That's a lot of good young talent.

    Now about the Wide Receiver situation.....
     
  4. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Agree with most of this, including the area of focus in the offseason. I'm not particularly attuned to college players coming out, so glad to hear it'll be safety-heavy. WR & line and away we go.

    On the loss, the failures of the coaching/gameplan are just perplexing to me, honestly. Hopefully it was a fluke--it's not just players who can screw up.
     
  5. AQPE

    AQPE On the Game Day Roster

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    #80 Jersey

    Ken,

    Thanks for another great season of posts, I really look forward to them. I'm pretty much with you in terms of the football talk hiatus. It will be a couple of months before I'm all that fired up about anything relative to the NFL. However, with all due consideration to my passion for the Pats, I have to admit I think this will be a fun Super Bowl to watch as a neutral observer, and we here at the "AQPE" house have a tradition of hosting a nice gathering for folks that we aim to uphold no matter who is in it.

    Regarding the Pats outlook for 2013, the way I personally look at this is definitely in line with yours. We have an excellent team that we root for, one that - as with all teams in the league - has some flaws to address.

    Offense

    • They are obviously set at QB. I think Brady's contract runs through the 2014 season, so we can count on him the next two years. As for Mallett, I don't see them getting a huge offer for him this offseason, so I think he will be here for another year, importantly including the off-season (I think the off-season he had in 2012 is the reason they made the move with Hoyer, which at the time really surprised me). I expect them to draft another QB for development purposes this year.

    • I think they are set at RB. Woodhead and Demps are the "X-factors" here. I would really love them to keep both, but I kind of think that if Demps has shown them anything this year (in spite of his "grevious injury"), they will go with him and let Woody seek his payday elsewhere.

    • I think they are set at TE. I don't buy into the recent agita about Gronk's injuries, I know he missed his senior year at ASU but he was pretty much fine until last year's AFCCG. Both Gronk and Hernandez, however, do have enough of an injury history that it is important to have the right kind of depth. That means 4 TEs on the roster again. I think Ballard comes back and takes Fells' spot, and we keep "Hooman" for TE#4.

    • Regarding the OL, I think signing Vollmer is a must. I can't say it is more important than Talib or Welker, but to me it is very close. To me, the few games he seemed right this year, he was their best OL by far. His injury history is going to give the Pats some heartburn about offering a big deal, but I think it will have to be done and that they should suck it up and sign him. If they get that done, then you have to feel pretty good about Solder, and about Mankins playing better next year than he did this year. That leaves RG and C, and depth. I'm OK with Connolly, Wendell, Thomas, and McDonald, but if they drafted an OL in the middle rounds I won't be throwing a shoe at the TV.

    • WR is a problem, and a first class disaster if they don't get Welker signed. To me, Lloyd is "fine," nothing more, and the rest of those on the roster right now don't do much for me as receivers (all due respect to Slater on ST, of course). Look, I get it with BB, he doesn't put a lot of value on WR, but his track record at this position is poor. He inherited Troy Brown, he made good trades for Gaffney, Moss, and Welker, Lloyd and Patten were good signings, and Stallworth was decent for half a season (plus one game this year). The rest has been pretty poor. To me, the WR position needs to be one of the two focal points for the offseason (the other being cornerback). Maybe this is what Daboll will be doing. They need to get bigger and they need a true stretch the field guy, and they need someone who can return kicks also. I am hoping this is where they go with the #1 pick; I know it is late in the round, but if a Torrey Smith or even a Muhammad Sanu type of talent is taken, it will be a big upgrade for them at this position.

    Defense

    • Regarding the DL, obviously Vince is a stud, and off what I saw I think they can be confident they have something to build on with Jones. I think this group played pretty well all year, and very well at times, and while I would like to see them upgrade talent-wise, to me there are bigger fish to fry in building the 2013 Pats. I hope they stick with Love, Ninkovich, Francis, and Deadrick, but I don't have a strong feeling about the others. I think they are OK here, not great, and that's what I expect from the next year also.

    • I think they are pretty much set at LB. Mayo is an upper-echelon LB, not a star by any means but certainly very good. I am hopeful about Hightower following the off-season, what I saw from him in college gives me confidence he will make the leap next year. As for Spikes, we all know his limitations, but I think when he is healthy he makes a lot of plays, and after watching them struggle a few years trying to replace their inside LBs after Ted Johnson's career waned, I'm more than fine with what Spikes brings to the table. I am a Fletcher fan, so I think he comes back and is productive again, and is their primary backup for the inside spot. For the outside LB backup, I don't think they need a "coverage linebacker," I prefer they go with a safety to cover the FB and TE they will face in certain situations. They do need an upgrade over Niko, Tarp, Rivera, and White, at least one player that can legitimately step in and be productive if and when needed in an injury situation. Maybe a veteran free agent can fill that bill. That leaves two or three spots for the ST types.

    • Relative to S, I know I'm in the minority right now - and yes, I did watch the games this year :) - but if they went into next season with McCourty and Gregory as the starters, Wilson and Ebner as the primary backups, they would be close to where I would feel OK about this group. I would love to see them draft a safety in the first 3 rounds if the right type were there, but if not, then I think they can cobble together something good enough from what they have on the roster, plus maybe another veteran type. Ed Reed ain't walkin' through that door, but history suggests to me that there are some value guys out there, including CB converts, that they can plug in. My biggest issue with this group is coaching, I think they need an upgrade there more than anything else. More on that below.

    • As I said above, CB is also a problem, and a "plane crash" if they don't sign Talib. I'm fine with Dennard and OK with keeping Cole. They can let Arrington walk, and put Dowling into the Hart Lee Dykes "would-a, could-a, should-a" section of the Patriots history book and move on. With what I hope are the signings of Welker, Vollmer, and Talib, I'm guessing they aren't going big for a CB except if one they think could be special (major Dowling/Wheatley alert here!) falls to them in the rounds 1 or 2 (and if it happens, that shoe is heading towards the flat panel). So, what do they do other than get Talib signed? To me, here again they need to get the coaching in order. I'm not going to tell you what I secretly am hoping they do to address the DB coaching, but I will say that using the term "DB" here gives you a bit of a hint. Too many failures these past five or six years to ignore, BB has to accept a change in thinking.

    Special Teams

    • They are set at P and K, and I have no clue about LS. Gostkowski's inconsistency does not trouble me very much, I think his performance is at least average for the NFL. I say it ain't broke, so don't screw with it.

    • PR and KR need an upgrade, but if they don't get that, I'm at least comfortable that they aren't giving games away with turnovers in their return game. Their penalty rate on returns also didn't seem to be a problem.

    • Kick coverage, in spite of the Texans game, was solid this year and I'm comfortable with their outlook for next year with Slater returning and Ebner developing.

    Summary

    So, the outlook seems pretty bright to me, but there will be plenty of work for BB and pals to do, and I only hope they come up with better solutions to these same issues at WR and CB than they have been able to these last 5 years.

    One other thought, which I feel we can never say too often: we should embrace the truly special time we are in as fans of this team. Yes it is frustrating to see them come so close 4 times recently and not get the next Lombardi. It will not get any easier - think about the possible progression of the Colts with Luck, or the Texans coming back with Cushing, and never underestimate those Steelers with Tomlin and Roethlisberger. Can anyone tell me that if they go 12-4 again next year and lose at home in the AFCCG, they wouldn't consider that a special season? If so, then, well, God bless ya' but for this rapidly aging fan, a year like this one sure as hell beats anything I saw from the time Clive Rush was coach through when Pete Carroll was coach.

    :eat3:
     
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    on 3) the defense kept the ravens down for 40 minutes. the offense should have done more over that time.....except it never got out of the foxhole.....punting from the ravens 34 was literally quitting while they were ahead.

    on 4) if the pats are going to stick with the 4-3, then they need to replace spikes in the middle...he's a 2-down guy and there's no room for that......they need a sub 4.6 guy there if they are going to stick with mayo and hightower on the outside......different story if they go back to the 3-4 which they are not far from doing.....

    on 6) ridley got knocked out...can't blame him for anything except maybe putting his head down too soon........I wish our SS could hit like pollard

    on 7) the pats get everything they can out of welker as a #1......but its not enough....like I said in another thread, welker is the wade boggs of NFL recievers lots of numbers that don't always translate. with the TE's and the future of vereen looking bright, we don't need a slot guy as our #1. spend the money on a guy like wallace, and draft a slot guy like ryan swopes

    OVERVIEW:
    on 1) I think the middle of the defense needs work....outside of wilfork, it is either too slow or too small or both......
    - a guy like jessie williams should be available in the first round to put next to wilfork.....deaderick and love are nice guys to have on the bench, but they're liabilities as starters.....i'd also consider making a play fo rterence knighton....having 3 330lb guys who can both anchor and move the pocket should keep opposing QB's from stepping up and get our end closer.
    - a guy like Nico Johnson to replace spikes as our MLB.....245lbs and is better than a 4.6
    - a guy like Laron Landry who will not cost much and will at least make someone think about who's going to pop them.......sick of watching the chungs and gregory's of the world bounce off of 3rd down backs and WR's...dennard, talib, and mccourty provide plenty of coverage to let this guy hammer away

    on 2) Our TE's are counted on for alot......I think the overall workload for AH and RG is a little too big which is why they get hurt. between catching balls and blocking, the risk of injury is greater when they are used so much.....they need 2 effective ones of each type on the roster.

    on 3) agreed

    on 4) I don't think brady's slowing down quite yet, at least not physically. But I do think the years have softened him quite a bit. I think he gives up more easily now.

    THE OFFSEASON:

    on 1) whether it's talib or another vet, there are going to be a ton of them on the market this year......of course the first choice is talib and hopefully he wants to be here, but if not, they should try to replace him with another vet and not a draft pick. as for dowling, I'd count him out until he proves otherwise. 2 years with very little PT make a mediocre player to start with out of a job. if they get real safeties, maybe they'll just move mccourty back

    on 2) chung is gone, and gregory should be......it should not be hard to find a street FA that's better tha neither one of these guys

    on 3) there's plenty of help always available at the end of round 1....grab a guy like jessie williams....as for DE, I'd give these guys a year in the system.....they're pretty athletic. JPP didn't get it going until year 2

    on 4) given brady is 35, I'm not sure that grabbing a WR early will be good value......not many of them get it going their rookie years the way we would hope if that player is to replace welker.

    bottom line: i would not expect any SB wins with the current philosophy in place........some thought processes need to change
     
  7. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'll leave the offense to everyone else. We must upgrade the defense. Regarding point 3, you can't call for a defensive pass rush. You must have pass rushers on your team. We don't have enough of them. You have to draft them. We are paying for not getting front 7 help in that great 2011 draft for that spot. We tried to correct it last year with Chandler Jones. We signed Armond Armstead today. I'd still like a de with our top pick.

    Regarding point 4. We've drafted guys who can't play in space. Why did we draft Hightower to played weakside olb? It's not a good use of assets. 1st and a pick to trade up. We could have had Levonte David instead of Tavon Wilson. In order to cover rb's and te's. Your athletes on defense have to be able to run with them. Most of ours can't.
    We still need a lb who can play in the nickel. I'd like to get one in the third, or sooner if we get anything for dealing Mallett. And, we need a hard-hitting safety if you're going to sit back in coverage and give up the underneath play. You have to make them pay for it. Just like we used to do. And, the Ravens did to us on Sunday.

    Style wise. We don't play an attacking defense. No biggie. Ravens showed us a big, tough, hard-hitting one can work. We can build one like they have. Let's draft some guys who can run and hit.
     
  8. MoneyFX

    MoneyFX On the Game Day Roster

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    I do agree that the team is much better this year than last year, despite last season's team getting a better record and going into the super bowl. I think the injuries did hurt at the end. Gronk would have helped in the red zone, but I didn't see them have that problem against Houston. The Talib injury was a killer. The secondary was just in a house of cards and the Ravens' talented wide receivers just took over.

    But overall, I'm seeing the start of something great in New England. This team needs speed and size at WR, talent and depth at DB, speed at LB and a better interior pass rush. They will bounce back next season, learn from their mistakes and be a better team.

    Terrible end to the season, but I'm still very proud of this team.
     
  9. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    I disagree.......the pats don't push the pocket back at all.......the DE's get around the OT, but when the QB can step up, it negates that rush.

    I think we're fine with who we have at DE.....we need someone beside wilfork who can penetrate....deaderick and lover are just extentisons of wilfork.....

     
  10. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    And the guy who delivered the hit was Pollard. Man that guy is like the anti-patriot. He ended one of Tom Brady's seasons. And I think he took out Gronk's knee too in 2011. Man I hate that guy. And just now he knocked out Ridley cold causing a fumble that pretty much spelled the end of the game. I think he must have made a deal with the devil to hurt the Pats the most out of any team in the NFL.

    The Pollard effect strikes New England again - Sports - The Prospector - University of Texas at El Paso

    As for our WR situation... man Welker drops some big balls. I don't know what's up with him. First the Superbowl last year and now the AFCCG. Is he just a super regular season guy and just an 'okay' postseason guy? If so, is he going to be worth the 10m in cap room per year that he will command? A tough question for Pats management.

    I guess there's the draft to look forward to and the Superbowl halftime show. I really don't care who wins whether it be Ravens or 49ers. I think we need secondary depth and passrush help. Flacco could have made finger sandwiches back there. He had THAT much time to sit back and throw his patented 'moonballs' that our secondary players seemed incapable of covering.
     
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What struck me about the final game was the lack of "playmakers" on both sides of the ball when it really counted. As a team we did not stop Flacco and we did not do anything outstanding on the offensive side either.

    What were there 5 red zone offensive possessions?? 13 points total, something is wrong there. Conversely we could not stop them in the red zone. This combined with two turnovers(will not count the third as that was in garbage time) led to our demise.

    Depth in the defensive backfield is an issue, but depth at WR is equally concerning.. sometimes we just do not have a lot of weapons on the field at one time.. Gronk's injury may have been an equalizer.

    Know this will sound disloyal, but Welker's days may be numbered unless he takes a hometown discount.. not sure who will take his position in the slot if he goes. But we need some bigger, stronger WR's to compete with physical teams.
     
  12. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    #37 Jersey

    Thanks for a season of great posts Ken.

    Did anyone happen to catch Matt Chatam's interview on EEI yesterday around noon? After watching the all 22 tape, he has a very different reaction than most people.

    He thinks the notion that the Pats were out physicalled in the game was BS. It seemed that way to the observer by the shots that Welker took and the Ridley concussion, but in the trenches it wasn't the case. He said that Wendell kick Ray Lewis's ass most of the game on running plays.

    The disturbing part was that he saw a lot of mental mistakes on the part of the Patriots, especially on offense. Brady had check downs that were open, Lloyd botched a few plays, etc. The bottom line is that the Patriots just did not execute well.

    I think that there has been a lot of overreaction in the media. The Pats have the pieces they need to go all the way. They don't need a major overhaul - they just need to make plays when it matters most.
     
  13. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Patriots offense conceded the LOS. They conceded play action, and instead, reverted to their comfort zone: shot gun. The Ravens then could defend just pass knowing five things:
    1) Patriots WRs are slow, eliminating over the top coverage.
    2) Lloyd and his 0.5 YAC requires only single coverage. Defender that covers Lloyd will have a clean jersey because Lloyd tackles himself
    3) Hernandez is a TE in name only and the Patriots don't pass to their LOS TE.
    4) Patriots rarely throw swing passes to RBs, only passes to RBs that release through the line.
    5) Welker is the Patriot's unorthodox deep threat, but Brady must be absolutely perfect to drop the ball into their deep threat's hands because Welker is physically not equipped to hunt down deep balls or win jump balls

    Bottom line....what did Baltimore fear in the Pats pass attack?
    The Pats accepted they lost the LOS battle. Without play action, there was no element of surprise. And without a vertical game or any speed.....Face it , our pass catchers have limitations (either speed or after catch threat, or ability to win 50/50 passes)....but mainly.....Baltimore knew a) the action is in the middle of the field, and b) if Brady passed to the edges, then NE would have to string a dozen plays together and play move the chains. Is it any wonder Pollard feasted near the LOS, because NE was ill-equipped to force the Ravens to respect a broader field of play.
    A TE centric built offense without the focal TE and inadequate personnel for a Plan B. Not having a deep threat on the roster was this offense's achilles, without the TE that the offense is built around.
    As the game moved forward, Baltimore respected the Pats threats less and less. They then brought Pollard forward and the rest is history. Game set match
     
  14. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Guys, the Patriots had no problem moving the football all game long. They racked up 28 first downs and 428 total yards. They even had 108 yards rushing. They averaged more yards per play (5.2) than the Ravens did (5.0). They got inside Baltimore's 35 *EIGHT* times. And in those eight times:

    - Two drives they punted. Normally, under regular weather conditions, they would have kicked field goals. Figure Ghost goes 1-2 on those long, 50 yarders.

    - Two drives ended in interceptions. One was a tipped ball that ricocheted 10 yards right to Ellerbe. Good play to tip the ball, but really lucky as to where it ended up. Bad luck for the Pats. The other was in desperation time at the end.

    - One ended on a missed opportunity on fourth down. Vereen dropped an easy, wide open pass on 2nd down and short that probably would have led to a first down and the drive continues.

    - One was a FG at the end of the first half after Brady's clock mismanagement. They could have had two shots at a TD. Who knows if they would have gotten it in, but we can't give the Ravens credit for Brady's brain fart.

    - One was a FG after the Pats couldn't convert on 3rd and 2 from the 12 yard line. Good D by the Ravens on that one.

    - One was a TD.

    Of these, how many can we give credit to the Ravens defensive game plan? The Pats made all kinds of mistakes:

    - Brady missing a wide open Welker deep early.
    - Brady missing a wide open Hernandez where he had to float the pass over Ngata.
    - Welker's two dropped passes.
    - Vereen's dropped pass.
    - Brady's clock mismanagement.
    - Lucky tipped INT.
    - Coaching decisions to not go for it or try for a FG (I understand not going for the FG, but those should have been 4-down territory instead of punting from the 34 yard line).

    And losing Talib was HUGE...nothing the Ravens did to earn that. It would have been pretty helpful for New England if, say, Reed or Pollard had gone down with an injury in the first quarter.

    The Ravens played well, but holy smokes, the Patriots did themselves in. I don't think the Ravens' game plan shut the Pats' offense down. Unless the Ravens' game plan included Tom Brady brain farts, lots of dropped passes and Brady missing wide open receivers, and bad coaching decisions by Belichick.
     
  15. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    Great post Ken, I agree with all of it.

    I hope we keep ALL the free agents you listed. We need all of them, also Arrington who is a good bench guy to have, certainly better than Marquise Cole or Earthwind Moreland, etc.
     
  16. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    You'd be surprised at how fast Hightower is. That's the thing about him. There are not many players at 260 who can move as fast as he can. In fact, this is one of the main reasons he was drafted highly. Speed.
     
  17. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Ravens owned the LOS. Want proof.........
    The Patriots had 15 3rd down plays. Of the 15 plays, Brady was in shot gun 14 times. The one play Brady was under center, he handed off to Ridley.

    So let me rephrase this, of the fifteen 3rd plays, Brady was under center ONCE.

    THEREFORE, NE attempted ZERO play action passes the entire game on 3rd down......ZERO. If this doesn't tell you they they conceded the LOS to Baltimore, I don't know what else to tell you.
    And it's not like these 3rd downs were long yardage situations. Of the 15, there were two 3rd and one plays, SIX 3rd and two plays, and one 3rd and three play. Of those 9 third and short plays, only three runs (2 from shot gun) which netted one 1st down.

    Give Baltimore credit for something. They owned the LOS and forced NE to show its hand on passing plays via the shot gun. At least to me, they forced NE to string together plays to move down field, essentially a normal NE defensive game plan that waits for an offense to shoot themselves in the foot.....which NE did. But I'm saying, because Baltimore owned the LOS, they dictated to NE what style they had to play (shot gun), and they could afford to be patient sitting on pass the entire time.
    As NE fans, haven't we accepted that moving the ball between the 20's is of minor importance and that games get decided in the redzone. Giving NE props for their big yards misses the reality of what really happened out there. Baltimore forced Brady into shot gun, and the team couldn't execute from 35 yards in. But Baltimore could.

    Edit....I'm going to give props to Tony Masserati who stated before the game that NE would have to score some longer TDs because they couldn't handle Baltimore's squeeze close in. How right was he. Without play action or a big Gronk target, NE was futile in close. And the other problem, NE didn't have the long play personnel to compete vs Balt. either.
     
  18. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    I especially agree with the last paragraph. People tend to forget how young this team really is, probably because of the expectations and sustained success. I feel sorry for the narrow minded media suggesting otherwise. The trenches on both sides are only going to get better with more experience, hell they already have playoff experience that most veterans can only dream of.

    Just signed Armstead which is a good start. They should be able to shore up even more in the draft and free agency. As sad as I am the season is over I do love the offseason building process.
     
  19. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    That's the thing Up, when I saw his college highlights, I saw a very explosive player who made "big plays". I don't know if it was because of the hamstring, or just the learning process, but for the most part, I rarely saw Hightower put into position where he could make an "explosive" play.

    I think he can be was Adalius Thomas was supposed to be when we signed him, and how he played on occasion. A swiss army knife of a player. Someone you can stick at ILB, OLB, DE, DT. Some one who moves around and is let go no make plays. Did he every edge rush, or come from the outside on a blitz. I think he's 270, up, and I don't think THIS year we saw him used to best potential. I hope it was more a matter of developing him slowly, than poor coaching
     
  20. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    I have to agree, Borgy. It drives me NUTS on all those short yardage situations (3yds and under) that we FAIL to get Brady under C and at least THREATEN the run option. We HAVE a good run blocking OL. We HAVE a good set of RB's. We HAVE run the ball successfully all year. Yet for some reason, we haven't really committed to running the ball to win the game. Its like we feel the obligation to pass it.

    I thought we were running the ball fairly successfully. Sure we didn't get a lot of those 10 yd runs we've seen most of the year, but there were a LOT of 4-7 yd runs in this game, .and most of them came right into the teeth of the Raven's D.

    As some have pointed out We DID move the ball. Over 440 yds worth. But we didn't seem to move it with a purpose. As I said in the OP, it was like Brady committed himself to the 3 main receivers and that's all the Ravens had to worry about.
     
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