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idle thoughts.....and so it begins

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    #91 Jersey

    Another season starts a week from today. And just like every season for the past 10 years it begins with the usual combination of great promise and continual anxiety. Here are a few general observations in no particular order for your consideration

    1. We survived the angst of the lockout with the end result that most of us could now probably pass the bar exam. Never as so much been written and discussed about the NFL that had NOTHING to do with football. It wasn't pleasant for anyone. BUT if it means that we don't have to talk about it for the next 10 years then I guess the aggravation was worth it. (not that I'm entirely happy with the end results, but more on that later)

    2. At the start of this TC the Pats seemed STACKED at virtually every position. Yet suddenly at what seems to be the last minute we wind up thin at S, TE, and the OL. That being said we DO have that embarrassment of riches along the DL :rolleyes:

    3.I can't remember a more chaotic cut down day, nor a more disappointing one. With one week to go before the start of the season, we are all are waiting for "the other shoe" to drop", and none of us know what exactly that is. Do we add another S. Do we find a 3rd TE? We all expect SOMETHING to happen.....which probably means.....nothing will

    I'm STILL having a problem with losing BOTH Yeatman and Smith. I cannot understand not keeping one on the roster. There seemed to be SO many guys more likely NOT to get snatched. With so much of our offense seemingly shifting to the TEs, wouldn't a better risk to reach the PS had been someone like Jeff Tarpanian?

    4. The injury situation at G must be worse that we think. I have NO idea how Waters will work out. Clearly on the downside of a great career. He was once considered the best G in the league....but that was a while ago. If he has anything in the tank, he COULD be an upgrade.. But consider that he hasn't been in anyone's camp and will likely start with just 6 practices under his belt. Not exactly a confidence builder for early in the season

    5. BTW- is anyone concerned about our kicking game, given that our long snapper is a cast off from the Bills and ALSO will have JUST 6 practices to create a semblance of timing and coordination with rest of the specialists before the REAL games begin.

    6. Oh, in case you haven't noticed, the BEST offense in the league last season, who returned just about EVERYONE, added some very encouraging pieces, and SHOULD be even more potent that last season........has looked like horse sh!t the last 4 quarters the starters have been on the field.

    7. Here are some possible answers to my own questions and concerns about the Safeties, OL, and TEs

    a. Borgy posted this in another thread and I thought the idea was worth repeating. Since Roster flexibility is one of the hallmarks of this regime, Borg opined this scenario for the seeming lack of the so called "blocking TE", and it makes a lot of sense.

    What if its BBs intention to use Nate Solder at that position. He certainly would be an upgrade on ANYONE for that position as far as run and pass blocking is concerned. Doing it creates another roster spot. It allows you the opportunity to utilize your best players on the OL. Alge participated in 50% of the offensive snaps last season. Using Solder as the blocking TE will certainly help in his development as well as help BB start to get a more immediate return on his draft investment

    The more I think on it (IF it turns out to be reality) the more I like it..

    b. The Safety situation is even MORE curious....and confounding. We release the 2 guys with the most experience, and are now left with just ONE guy who has more than a single year's experience in our system?????? Now BB isn't an idiot. He's at least as smart as we are. :D He has SOMETHING up his sleeve....and here are some guesses

    1. Josh Barret may be the key. Here is a guy that BB liked enough that he paid him to sit for over a to get healthy, so maybe after all is said and done, a combination of Chung and Barrett IS an upgrade over Chung and whatever Merriweather had become.

    2. The S situation hasn't been this muddled since 2003 when Eugene Wilson came out of the blue to give the Pats 2 good years of Safety play after coming into the league as a CB. So maybe the drafting of Dowling and the pick up of a big CB in Molden are precursors to a similar move to making THAT kind of adjustment

    3. Finally maybe our starting S isn't on the roster yet. Maybe that "other shoe" is picking up one of the myriad of FA's who have come and gone the last few weeks (btw, this is the least likely of my scenarios IMHO)

    c. Actually the OL isn't a really a deep concern. Most of the problems are injury related. Plus I have to admit that my binky this preseason was Steve Mareni and I hated losing him because necessity forced us to add Waters. Assuming that Cannon will be back in 6 weeks, I actually like the potential of this OL very much. BUT for the first few weeks I have to worry about the continuity of what is usually a well coordinated unit.

    7. It is interesting to note that LAST year Vince, was the OLDEST DLman running with the likes of Pryor, Brace, and Deadrick and Love. THEN within a single season he becomes the YOUNGEST of the likely DL starters

    With a starting line up of Carter, Vince, Albert, and Ellis, his might be the best DL the Pats have had in a few years, especially when you consider the Pass rushing potential. Its also the oldest. This group has a year, maybe 2 of peak production. I hope we manage to keep enough of the young kids that we can make the inevitable transition smoothly.

    8. I cringe to think that every team in the NFL will have one 14 more padded practices for the REST of this season. The pussification of the NFL continues. What's worse is knowing that it will slowly filter down to the the HS and college.

    For me the beauty of football is the odd mixture of the cerebral nature of the chess game that football is, contrasted by the primitive violent physicality. of the game. It truly reflects the yin and yang of human nature. IMHO the lawyers are taking the contact part out of the mix

    9. I suppose I should feel SOME pride at how quickly seeming all of our so called cast offs IMMEDIATELY found jobs within the league, but somehow I'm not comforted

    10. If you check the Pats secondary roster this season, the one thing you come away with is....."size DOES matter" In the arms race that the league's offensive gurus have started, the average size of an NFL WR has grown rapidly in the past decade. Clearly BB has decided that he has to respond.(finally IMO) In the past it was very rare for the Pats to have ANYONE in the secondary over 6' tall. This season the Pats will start the season with only 4 DBs that are UNDER that mark.

    11. Looking toward Miami. I AM concerned for the following reasons.

    a.Dolphins have the makings of an excellent defense. More than that it is the kind of defense that can be a tough match up for the Pats (at least at this point of the season)_They possess 2 big physical CBs who can cause problems for the wide outs.

    b. They have the guys in Misi Odrick, and Wake who can generate a constant pass rush that will force the Pats to go to short routes that can be anticipated and jumped. All this is even more troubling when you consider how INEFFECTIVE our offense has been the last two scrimmages.

    c. Miami has historically been a house of horrors for the Pats. Its tough to win ANY road games in the NFL. Miami has been a particular problem, especially THIS early in the season Do not underestimate the effect of that heat,even in a night game

    d. Henne has the best passing options he's had since he's been there. For all his problems Brandon Marshall is a match up nightmare and STILL one of the best WRs in the league. Jarvis Best is a productive guy who always has played well against us. He makes the tough catches that would make him a favorite if he were one of ours. And Reggie Bush, say what you will, is an excellent 3rd down back.

    Any QB good enough to start in this league is good enough to beat you. You cannot ASSUME that he's going to throw multiple picks and be inaccurate, because this just MIGHT be the game that he doesn't.. Our defense looks GREAT ....on paper. but it's yet to be proven.

    OTOH, they don't have any likely answers to Hernandez and Gonk either

    BOTTOM LINE: Its a game you would EXPECT to win, but its still terrifying to think about the negative prospects. There aren't many "gimme's" on the schedule this year. This ISN'T one of them. And with SD coming in the next week, its one we CANNOT afford to lose.

    As usual I look forward to your comments
  2. Tippett56

    Tippett56 Rookie

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    Ken

    As ever a great post.

    I am hoping that the main change that we will see this year is more of a controlling offense using a 6 man OL that keeps our defense off the field more than last season. On the defense we would seem to be going for a more attack-minded option rather than the bend-but-dont-break schemes we have seen in the last couple of seasons.

    The main area of weakness apart from those you mentioned? A back-up center in case anything happens to Koppen.

    Here's hoping ..............
  3. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    #91 Jersey

    Just thought of a couple of more comments I'd like to make.

    1. A lot will be said by the mediots about BB's drafting ability with the cutting of so many guys who were relatively high picks (Merrieweather, Tate, etc). AJ posted the definitive answer to the critics from Cold hard football, which rated the Pats as the best drafters in the league over the past 10 years based on the number of players kept, the quality of those players, their contributions, and most importantly the number of wins they produced. Its compelling evidence to counter the negative comments that will arise.

    No matter how they might nitpick, BB has virtually completely overhauled this roster since 2007 without skipping a beat and setting it up for similar successful season (relatively) for the next 5 years. THAT is unprecedented. Period, end of argument.

    2. There was another thread that began "and so it begins" commenting about MORE smack coming from NJ. At what point does all that crap simply become elevator music. Much ado about nothing. The noise in the background that you hear, but doesn't register in your consciousness. None of it is worth of noting or even commenting. Nothing the Jets say matters until the week before their game. I just hope they are relevant enough to make the game interesting ot the time we get to week 5
  4. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    Fun read.

    The signing of Waters has given me confidence that BB is responding to the ravaging Detroit put on our offense. The strategy to force Bradynoff his spot is precisely how the Jets beat us last few years, and is a page out of the Belichick book on how to defeat Peyton Manning. Waters is the equivalent of Haynesworth on the offensive side: on the downside of his career but still elite.

    I think the answer at S is on the roster, but we don't know who, yet. This time last year, DBut was our starting CB and Arrington still unblooded. BB has a few guys who can play the position, or grow into it: Barrett, Dowling, Bodden...and worst case is Sergio, who may bloom with playing time. If BB does at S what he's done at DT, DE, RG, which is to import veteran cast offs, there is only upside. We can play with what we have, but maybe there's someone out there in a Junior Seau mode.

    I love the idea of using Solder as the third TE. That's how you put a 1st round pick to use, when his ultimate position is occupied by an All-Pro. But, the fact we haven't seen him do that in TC makes me wonder if it's a great idea, or reality.
  5. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    The Solder idea isn't completely unfounded. Baltimore stacked 3 OLs in an unbalanced line regularly a few years ago, which was even more extreme than this.

    I'm confused about the safety situation. I mean Meriweather was not the long-term answer, and neither was Sanders. But I'd like to have kept at least one for depth. Sanders probably would have been more reliable though more expensive, but Meriweather really wasn't a huge expense for a team so far under the cap.

    And Miami concerns me as well. For all the Henne haters, he's certainly worthy of that hatred. But the kid's problem isn't a lack of talent so much as it is consistency. He could be great and then lousy and then great, sometimes all within the same game. He is definitely capable of beating us if we take this game lightly.
  6. Funktopus

    Funktopus Rookie

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    As I recall the last few times the pats played the fins, Wilfork would sometimes move to match up with Long. I am curious to see what happens with that this time. IIRC, Wright and Wilfork switched spots because Long was too much for Wright.
  7. shakadave

    shakadave Rookie

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    . .. ... ....
    Edit: I have no idea how my computer just took all the capital letters off the starts of my sentences.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  8. patriot lifer

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    Concerning Miami, they do appear to have a half-decent team, and they were only 7-9 last year afterall (and that was with a quarter of their schedule against the Pats and Jets). With Daboll there as offensive coordinator, it is a bit concerning considering what the Browns did to us. However, the Patriots defense looks to be different this year as compared to last year. The danger of Daboll commanding their offense is in his understanding and familiarity of the Pats defense. Familiarity seems to be a weakness of this team (albeit all teams really). But I don't think BB will be showing the same 'ole look that Daboll's used to. As for the Defense of the Dolphins, I think that our offensive balance may lead to the Dolphins undoing. Starting with the WR's on the outside (Branch, Ocho, Price?), the slot receivers in the middle (Welker, Edelman, Price?, Hernandez), the TE's off the line (Gronk, Hernandez), and ending with the inside runners (Woodhead, Ridley, BJGE, Vereen), we have many options where none of them stick out as commanding double-teams or additional forethought. It sort of reminds me of the Saints offense in '09--many receiving targets (right down to the fullback) and one was always going to be open. However, I think those quality CB's on the Dolphins are going to have to worry more about how they're going to get off their blocks more than anything. We've got some quality players for blocking.

    I seem to recall in '09 that we used Vollmer as an additional blocker at the TE position plenty of times. I don't know if he checked in as an eligible receiver or anything, but the coaches seemed to recognize that with Light at left tackle and Kaczur at right tackle, that they had a very quality player with Vollmer remaining who they wanted to get on the field more due to his size and strength in the running game. I don't know if he was a "TE" per se, but he was lined up next to our tackles at times. So this idea of Solder at TE has merit, Ken.

    As for the not picking up another safety, AJ had his thoughts on Dowling making the conversion. The fact that we didn't even make a waiver wire claim makes me wonder even more what BB's plans are. He isn't clamoring for a solution it seems, he has something in store, which gave him the confidence of letting go both Sanders and BM, who both played a very significant number of snaps last year.

    As for the D-line, this sure is a loaded unit (hmm). I love the fact that we have sooo many experienced D-linemen who have that nice mix of experience and ability. Carter (11th year), Haynesworth (10th year), Ellis (12th year), Wilfork (8th year), Warren (11th year), and Wright (7th year). This has the makings of not only a very capable unit, but one that has the smarts come the playoffs to make the smart plays in different situations. It makes me think of our old linebacking corps back in the early part of last decade.

    And as for Brian Waters, I really do hope he is an upgrade over Connolly, even if only a slight upgrade. It improves the line, puts Connolly into that Russ Hochstein role as primary interior backup, and bumps Wendell down the depth chart with Rich O. going to IR. It could have been the key move to solidify the offensive line. Let's cross our fingers.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  9. italia44

    italia44 Rookie

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    sorry...PFK has proprietary rights to ALL capital letters........Please choose Croatian or Manderin,if you wish to proceed with CAPITAL letters.....That is all......have a nice day:)
  10. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    Henne's problems aren't all of his making. Inconsistent line play. Receivers running the wrong routes. A turnstile at the OC and HC positions. All sorts of little things that just seemed to keep the Dolphins from jelling as a team.

    But in the end, the QB is the one responsible for the offense on the field. HE is supposed to get in the players faces when they miss assignments, blow blitz pick-ups, etc. HE sets the tone and for all his latent talent, I'm not sure he is now, or ever will be, the answer that Miami is looking for. I just don't see it.

    I expect us to win that game. It's away, for sure, but it's also the opening Monday Night Football game and New England ought to be well & truly psyched for it. I do, however, respect Miami. It's entirely possible that they win. I remember watching us go to Buffalo and get gobsmacked 31-0 on opening day. It happens.

    Thing that makes this one important, or more so than any other, is it's a division game. Can Miami win? Sure. Will they? I don't think so.
  11. Gunnails

    Gunnails Rookie

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    Nice read as always ken, the only thing i would disagree with strongly is that it is a must win game.

    It's all about making the playoffs and as a rule you only need 10 wins to do that.
  12. patfanken

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    here is the one thing I truly worry about. TOUGHNESS. As it's been noted on many occasions, some where along the line, our offense suddenly became the Colts....so did the D. Back during the superbowl era, the Pats were a team of extraordinary toughness, both physically, AND mentally, regardless of the various degrees of athletic talent they had on the field.

    When you played the Pats, win or lose, you knew you were in a football game the next day. IIRC there was a stat that showed, that during that period (2001-2005) Teams who played the Pats USUALLY (again, win or lose) did not fair well the next week. I'm not sure of the exact numbers but they were revealing.

    We haven't seen that kind of physical toughness in several years...nor the mental toughness. Too many teams that blew out to a quick lead, and then held on for dear life at the end of the ballgame. No enough overcoming adversity late in games. Too much cruising along all fat and happy and then being smacked down when your in the playoffs and there is NO room for error.

    IMHO in the Playoffs, the talent is pretty even. Usually they are ALL high quality teams. What separates teams on that stage is MENTAL toughness. A quality the Pats haven't shown the last 2 seasons.

    Hopefully BB is building that quality into this team. Building for the PLAYOFFS
  13. Deus Irae

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    Disable Jersey

    I think we could be looking at 11 win wild card teams this year, Nails. Depending upon circumstances (Manning's health, Chiefs fall back possibility), I could see 10 games winning the AFC South and AFC West, though.
  14. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    That WAS a bit hyperbolic, Gunny, especially when you consider the Pats have been to 2 suiperbowls AFTER starting the season 0-2
  15. Gunnails

    Gunnails Rookie

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    Fair enough, I am not ready to predict a win loss record for any team in the NFL yet. It's been a crazy off season. I will say I believe the Pats will make the playoffs.
  16. mrscruff

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    Good to know that I can (sometimes) think alike with great minds, I was going to make this exact point in the "Anyone concerned about Miami?" thread. The Miami D has some good pieces to it and development from Misi and Odrick could really make them really tough. They also have Dansby and Kevin Burnett in the linebacker corps and the corners you mentioned. They were very good against the Pass last year as it was.
    The preseason trip to Tampa Bay has given the team, especially the younger members, an idea of what to expect with the heat. I think Sammy Morris mentioned that he had advised the rookies to start hydrating well before the game at the start of the week and not just the day before.
    Henne has decent options and with their receiving corps should be able to attack all parts of the field. They drafted Edmund Gates to provide the deep threat and with Davone Bess and Marshall, the Dolphins will provide our secondary and linebackers with a stern test especially if our miscommunication issues have not been solved. And Reggie Bush will always present matchup problems.
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Now that it is clear that Connolly and Wendell do not have major injuries, I have exactly zero worries with regard to backup center. Both Connolly and Wendell are as good backups as one can reasonably expect to have. Both are capable of starting, if needed.

    Now that we have upgraded the interior OL by bringing in Waters and putting Ohrnberger on IR, the interior OL is solid with 5 nfl starters, and a future starter on the PUP list.

    [/QUOTE]
  18. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    Not to nit pick but saying solder will take the blocking TE role is a bit missleading. Crumpler was great last year because of the fact he also went out there and caught passes... yes blocking was his strength but you also had to assign someone to cover him or he would catch the easy completion. Now unless you are saying solder might catch some balls this year, he is really just another lineman who would take crumps blocking assignment but is no true threat to ever catch a pass.

    As far as Miami goes, you can't underestimate anyone in the NFL. My hope is the Defense really steps up for this game as i believe Miami's Offense is their achillies heal. I can see us trying to run on miami alot while we try to get everyone on the same page in the passing game. Looking forward to see the TE's and RB's hopefully dominate this game for us.
  19. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    [/QUOTE]

    5 nfl starters with 1st round talent at guard and Tackle in the wings... am very happy with our Oling depth. Now this is predicated on waters being at least an average NFL starting guard
  20. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    The 11-5 Patriots of 2008 say hello.
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