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idle thoughts - first impressions (Pats - Saints preseason game)

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Aug 10, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Disclaimer - The first impressions are just that. They are indications of what MIGHT happen in the future. We only have last season's first preseason game to remind us that first impressions aren't always correct. How can we forget the compete domination of the Buc offense had us dreaming of a dominant defense that turned into a near record breaking disaster.

    But that being said here are my own "first impressions" in no particular order.

    THE GOOD

    1. The biggest positive impression was made by Chandler Jones. Clearly we all underestimated how quickly this first round pick would deliver an impact performance. It wasn't dynamic, but it was easy to see what the Pats saw in him, and the reason they traded up to get him. the thing I liked the best was that he did his work against one of the best LT's in the NFC.

    The play I appreciated the most was the one when he rushed upfield to create the pressure to force the QB to run and then fell back into the play to make the tackle, In just one play he show a good rush and the quickness and motor to get back in a play down field.

    2. The coverage - I saw only one completion that wasn't highly contested with tight coverage in the first half. My 2 favorite plays was a deep pass down the sideline against McCourty who had decent underneath position, but the best part was an actual S sighting, who was actually close enough to be considered in the play. That's was a very rare sight in 20011, and hear we had one on the very first NO drive.

    My second favorite play was actually a completion and also involved a S. On the play before before the Gregory pick, The NO QB threw a laser down the seam that Tavon Wilson read, reacted and looked like he had the pick. Now the fact that the ball slipped through him and was miraculously caught was almost irrelevant because it had been a long time since I've seen that kind of play by a safety on a ball up the middle. Tavon Wilson passed the sniff test.

    The coverage by the outside CBs are more of a inference than direct evidence IRRC There was only one completion outside the numbers in the first half and that one was highly contested and a perfect pass. Other evidence comes from the number of times the NO QB had to bring the ball down and look at his 2ndary targets,

    Bottom line: The coverage was a lot better than what most of us were expecting. Be honest now. Especially after the Tuesday practice when the Saints moved the ball better than the Pats.

    3. Our RB's - Ridley ran hard and decisively for a 5ypc, Vareen completely took over the 3rd quarter and was the main reason we got the 7 points we managed, and averaged 6ypc, albeit against the NO scrubs. He still looked good. Bolden was less successful, but could be a very nice addition to the PS. I liked what Katani showed blocking and catching the ball. Granted he's the only FB left standing, but he is a binky of mine, and if the Pats DO keep a FB this season, he's my pick.

    THE MEDIOCRE

    1. I was less enamored by Hightower even though he had that big hit. He often looked tentative hitting the hole against the RBs, especially early. Its not that he played badly. He just didn't show me "impact". He wasn't explosive or "sudden". On the other hand, he didn't look lost out there or outmatched. Hopefully it will be better next time. God knows he's going to get a lot more snaps with Fletcher out.

    2. Bequette, Scott, and Francis. I didn't see consistent burst or explosiveness from any of them. Scott had that great strip sack in the 4th quarter, but you have to ask who he was playing against. Still it was good he showed that much, because the camp reports haven't been great. I don't think Beguette got in until the 4th quarter. He looked OK, but nothing special. I recall at least one QB hit. Francis was the same. I think I had my expectations raised because of some of the camp reports on him. Again, nothing bad, just nothing consistently good.

    3. The receivers - They didn't have much of a shot last night given the poor play of the QB's (more on this later). LLyod had one drop on a tough catch he usually makes. It was a great throw by Brady to his outside shoulder. Its a throw we will see a lot this season, and with much greater success. I don't think Welker saw a ball in his short stint. I liked what Edelman showed. The rest was just meh. The only real memorable moments for our receiver corps was Davis' miss of the ball in the seam, and his catch in the endzone. But with under 170 yds in passing, its hard to have memorable receiving moments.

    THE BAD

    1. The QB's - Yes ALL of them. Brady missed on a couple of throws and in one instance (I think it was the nice throw to Lloyd that was called back) had a case of happy feet when he reacted to a rush that wasn't there, just before he reset himself and made a nice throw. I don't like to see him do that.

    Hoyer was the best of the lot, but that's not saying much.

    Mallett was so up and down it started to aggravate. He'd make a nice move within the pocket and throw a nice ball for a completion, and then throw 2 balls over the heads of everybody. No rhythm or consistency.

    2. The OL - First my defense of Nate Solder, who wasn't exactly stellar. But he didn't hold when he got called, and Brady's sack wasn't his fault. Solder did his job riding the DE out of the play. By not getting rid of ball and moving outside to his right, Brady brought the DE back into the play. This isn't to say Solder, along with the rest of the OL needs to play al a lot better , but not on those 2 plays.

    The run blocking wasn't bad. and the pass blocking seemed to get somewhat better in the second half (not that it mattered to the QB's)

    Bottom line: when you average 32 ppg last season, and you ADD better skill players to the mix, totaling 7 points is NOT good. People should understand that this is NOT last year's offense. The language might be the same, but the plays and structure isn't. This is the Josh McDaniel offense, and right now the players haven't got it down yet. Its as simple as that.

    3. Dane Fletcher's injury - What a shame. This was his opportunity to shine. He will be missed, both as a back up and on ST's. On the other hand Bobby Carpenter just called his wife to tell her to go house hunting.

    General comments

    a My overall impression is good because the defense was good. Some things were better than others, but after 2 years of watching yds pile up, it was refreshing to see some good solid play.

    b. Frankly I won't worry a moment about the offense until at least the 3rd preseason game. Its just too early.

    c. The two TV announcers were just too horrible to listen to. Its hard to believe the Krafts still bring these two guys back every preseason. The make so many simple logistic mistakes that you wouldn't expect to hear from professionals. Misnaming players. Wrong down and distance, etc, etc.

    d. I wonder if anyone will get BB to tell us what he was complaining about to the officials. who missed some calls, but weren't horrible
  2. OhExaulted1

    OhExaulted1 On the Roster

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    I agree with most of what you say, but my only comeback is it's great to have Patriot football back again and we're 1-0.

    What more could you want? I've been Jonesin'. Goin' to Foxtown in 4 weeks. Highlight of my summah. Patriots Place is pissah! You seen the cheerleadahs? Troy Browns induction, I'm there. Bingo baby. Bringing my 6 yr old. Life is good.
  3. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks, Ken, for another nice write up.

    I admit to not paying too much attention to any single player, except perhaps Edelman. Overall, I had a real hard day and am in a lot of pain, so mostly it was a sit back and go with the flow game. Especially so since it was the first pre-season game.

    I agree that Hightower didn't seem to have that "smack" that we seem to have expected, but he was there and maybe it was just first-time jitters. First time on the big NFL stage, against the Saints, etc.

    Chandler Jones. Wow. Yes, it's the first pre-season game. But still, that young man has a motor that keeps on running through ALL of the play, and his ability to see and react looks very good, especially so for a rookie.

    I've said it for two years now, and I'll say it again: Something is bothering Brady. I don't know what it is, I haven't a clue, but it seems to be either mechanical, or something to do with his eyesight, or maybe both. Who knows? But I believe that there is a problem, probably a minor one, but it's contributing to those "errant" passes we have seen these past two years, and a couple again tonight.

    But all in all, I was entertained. It (the game) helped keep my mind off some nagging pain issues and I have to say that I wasn't dissatisfied with what I saw, mostly because it's the first pre-season game. If things don't get better, then yeah....... I'd start to get worried, but right now it's one game and we haven't a whole lot of data to build on, so it's wait and see time.

    Thanks again for your post. I always enjoy them.

    V/R
  4. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    Good stuff. I mostly agree with it and think that for the most part it's spot on as always.

    Certainly disappointed at the lack of execution on offense, but they will settle this out for sure. Mallet look positively awful in my opinion. He had a few nice plays I suppose, but he is a pro QB and even the bad ones make a play every now and again. Frustrating to watch (as you said). I'm probably lower on him then you were (and you weren't exactly singing his praises either.

    I was pretty excited to see Vareen out there. Yeah, it was against scrubs, but he really looked the part I thought for the first time ever.

    I probably am a little higher on Hightower and thought that he had a pretty good night. Hit's well and while he might not have had any impact plays in this game, I thought we clearly saw enough evidence to know they are coming.

    Outside of Edelperson, wasn't overly impressed with the WR crew either.
  5. UK_Pat37

    UK_Pat37 Rookie

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    I remember a holding call on Solder which was pretty much blatant tbh....had his arm wrapped right around the guy's neck....good job too or Brady would have been mawled. The overall tackle play was poor...Cannon reinforced my opinion that he ISN'T a tackle. Barely able to be a right tackle at this level. He's a guard prospect.

    Hightower I was the most looking forward to see if I'm honest and was pretty disappointed. His highlight was forcing a bad throw and pushing a guy out of bounds. He got blocked out of a few plays but looked pretty disciplined...he's raw, but a good prospect. He looked a little tentative bt maybe that was just a few nerves. spikes when healthy is easily the starter right now. On one play he impressed me to start, he cam across beautifully, attacked the gap, then made me slap my forehead when he failed to wrap the guy up...this ain't college no more kid, shoulder hits aren't going to work.

    I thought the officials were average. One of Bushrod's 'holds' was not a hold...the other he did have his hand inside of Jones' shoulder pad which, by definition is a hold that far outside the numbers of a player...so I can see why it was called. They missed a blatant hold on Love or Wilfork in the first quarter but that's been the case ever since they decided to have both officials in the offensive back field; tackles are getting called more and more and the interior line are getting away with murder at times.

    Overall the defence looked pretty good up against the Saints' first team and I was happy with the pressure and coverage...long may it continue. Safety play looked disciplined and the corners pretty comfortable in zone and man. There were a couple of missed assignments but nothing which we really paid for.

    The offence as a whole was disappointing, but you do have to remember this is the first full speed game they have played since February as a team and practice comes nowhere close to the real thing (you just try and make it as close to as possible). It may take a couple of games to really gel.

    Brady to Lloyd didn't really connect like. Hoped. Lloyd failed to recognise that coverage dictated a back shoulder throw and he and Brady weren't n the same page. Brady under threw the play action pass to him and probably needed more air rather than zip on that pass given the tight coverage. Brady needs to work on that deep ball of his now he has a legit deep threat...that was a play they could have connected on. The one connection I remember was brought back for a flag

    QBs could have been a lot better as a group and I'm sure they'll be told that. Mallett continues to show the odd flash then a big head slapper...still raw but he has time. Hoyer is more than capable...even if he looks a bit raw himself...and Brady is under contract for a while yet! he's going to have to start getting it soon though before we have to start wondering of he's capable of taking the reigns in 3 years time.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  6. DarrylS

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    Listening to Criqui and Cross is painful, they talk incessently about shyt do not even care about.. try to come across as some type of experts, however they do not translate all that well..

    What was most encouraging were the defensive comments you articulated, this D (even though it is very early) looked a lot better than last year, less tentative and more attacking.
  7. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    I really liked the idea of the back to the shoulder throw that Brady made to Lloyd. It seems to eb a type of pass that isn't utilized by Brady very much (and all the Indy receivers did this with Peyton and it always seemed to work). Add in some check downs/screens and it seems we really have the ability to use every weapon and type of pass...should be harder to defend.

    Speaking of Peyton and happy feet. I know he was out a year, but give him some tap shoes and he could have performed fairly well. Brady did have a little bit of happy feel as well, which i guess is an indicator that he did have a little bit of time. Hopefully the o-line gels as the preseason wears on. How long was the first unti offensive line out there (not that we have all that many reserves, but it'd be good to get some additional reps).
  8. goheels22002

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    #50 Jersey

    I have one wish.

    I want to see Tim Tebow in the wildcat for the Jets get through the line cleanly and meet up with Donta Hightower.

    Lord, have mercy!
  9. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Rookie

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    I found it amusing that Chase Daniel looked pretty good out there, at barely 6 feet tall, and Mallett looked like crap, and 6'6 and change.
  10. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rookie

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    I was only disappointed in two things from last night's game. Dane's injury and justin francis looking like a jag. Reports have talked francis up so much that i was expecting to see at least a flash here and there.
  11. nowayback

    nowayback Rookie

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    offence no worries. defence was quite good for preseason, didnt like that 3-4 times saints qb's completed passes to players with no one within 5 yrds of them.
    hightower looked good for 1st game in a difficult position, will need time to aclimatize and react without thinking too much. spikes and him...ouch!

    as someone mentioned before was nice to see safties near wr's!

    o line...seemed to run block pretty good.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  12. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    The Good

    -Chandler Jones
    -Shane Vereen

    The Bad

    -Sterling Moore
    -Offensive line

    The Ugly

    -Ryan Mallett
    -Nate Solder
  13. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    A horrendous QB like Sanchez completes 50-55% of his passes.

    If you are going to get all worked up over a few completions, you are wasting time being a football fan.
  14. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    Didn't get to watch much of the game but did listen for a bit in the car. I thought Gil seemed re-energized. Don't know if it was his recent brush with death or having Zolak, but it was nice to hear. I thought the rapport with Zolak was pretty crisp.

    Oh yeah, Jones looked good. Reminded me of when I first saw rookie Richard Seymour running up and down the field ... like a big golden retriever pup just chasing that stick all day long and loving it.
  15. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    Dane's injury really hurts. The guy has been battling his way into a top of the LB rotation guy and then he goes and blows out his knee on special teams....I hate that!

    I also thought Francis looked very meh, considering all the accolades he was getting in camp.
  16. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    Hightower had some good plays and some average plays. He is still learning the pro-game, he is a rookie playing a tough position, I expect him to get better. One thing he absolutely has to do is start wrapping people up, hitting is nice, but if guys are just bouncing off him, it will burn the defense eventually.
  17. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #91 Jersey

    Wasn't he hurt last year too?
  18. MoLewisrocks

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    To attempt to blame the QB's not named Mallett and absolve the OL and Solder (who flat out sucked donkey balls) you can't have watched the same game as the rest of us. This was the same deal as what has been featured in TC to date, all's well until we get to 11-11. Tough to evaluate anything past the trenches for that reason. Koppen and Solder were the only two starting OLmen playing in position and Koppen got benched after the first series after botching a snap and generally getting manhandled. Solder did indeed hold, his technique was abyssmal. The offense couldn't get into any kind of rhythm even with NO handing them do overs for that reason. The good news is 3/5ths of the starting OL is still MIA so there is hope everyone gets their **** straightened out. The bad news is 3/5ths of the OL is still MIA and unless it starts showing up it's gonna be rusty when the bell rings. Dante has his work cut out for him but he's done more with less so there is that.

    The D had a strong early showing, but we've seen that before. Hard not to be excited about the developing youngsters though. Unless something derails him, Jones is going to be a monster sooner or later and sooner is looking promising.

    The running game showed signs of renewed life, but I'd like to see Vereen do it against the ones, too. The run D looked stout. The passing D looked better than it had but still lots of room for improvement.

    And ST coverage units looked very good. The return game remains meh.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  19. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When looking at the defense's performance in preseason, people should remember that the 2011 squad looked like world beaters at this time last year against the Bucs as well. Temper the enthusiasm a bit. On the other end of the spectrum, one preseason game is no need to get worked up over the offense's incosistency and the OL's bad night. Remember that we have three starters that we need to get back.
  20. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How about the ST coverage teams as another plus? That's become a pretty consistent strength in the era of Scott O'Brien, Mesko, Gostkowski and Slater. Slater in particular seems to have a total jailbreak as a gunner at some point in each game.
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