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idle thoughts - insomnia edition (Pats vs Titans)

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

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    Actually not exactly insomnia, but waking up really really early.

    I think this is going to be a shorter post, relatively speaking as I'd rather not to spend too much time repeating what others have spent most of the post game already talking about. So rather than offering new insights to elevate the discourse of the board, this will be more of me selfishly rehashing stuff just to get it off my chest. Anything perceptive I might add will be purely coincidental ;)

    The OFFENSE

    1. Nat Solder - why not get right to who will be the flash point for most of the arguments from this game. There were 2 plays in particular that people will be critical of. Both were very similar in that they were run around rushes where Solder never laid a hand on the defender.

    a. The first one resulted in the only sack of Brady. I call that one the prototypical "Aaron Maybin run around sack". I really didn't see a lot of what Solder could have done. Wembly simply ran around him and did a good job flatting out his rush (unlike Maybin) Brady helped him out by not stepping up but rather rolling to the outside and not getting rid of the ball in a timely manner. Solder will end up being the focus of blame, but certainly was not entirely at fault

    b. the 2nd resulted in a rushed incompletion and was similar to the first except that I thought Solder was a bit slow getting off the ball, but essentially the DE ran around Solder and some inside pressure kept Brady from stepping up and let it wash harmlessly by.

    c. There were a couple of other less than stellar moments, like the time he chop blocked a guy to keep his hands down (successfully btw) but Brady held on to the ball, and the guy got up and hit him as he rushed the pass. I'm sure Solder will get credit for allowing a QB hit, but essentially he did what he was supposed to do.

    d. I was pleased that he didn't allow that inside move that caused him some problems in the preseason, and his run blocking was excellent.

    e. Overall I thought that Solder's play continued on its upward swing from the preseason lows. Some plays were better than others, but still pretty good and likely to be better.

    2. I didn't hear Marcus Cannon's name mentioned even though I'm pretty sure he played RT at least half the game. I'm sure he had some plays he'd like back, but he certainly wasn't the unmitigated disaster that many suggested he'd be if he had to play RT.

    3. I saw Mankins get beat badly one play. It was literally a whiff that forced a rushed throw. Still its kind of amazing that he's come back so quickly from such serious knee surgery. Some bumps in the road are to be expected

    4. I have to admit I'm kinda surprised how solidly Wendall played. I'm not a big fan. He's too undersized for my taste. Fine as a short term fill in, but I don't want him facing any big and powerful NTs on a regular basis. But credit where credit is due.

    5. The best part of having a successful running game is that it builds toughness on the OL, and a tough mental attitude. It allows the OL to attack. rather than be passive. It wears down the DL and slows the pass rush late in the game.

    6. Overall any angst I had about the OL evaporated by the end of this game. Its certainly not a finished product by any means, but Dante's OL's have a long history of playing better as the year goes on. The lack of any real continuity throughout the preseason still has to be accounted for. Even yesterday there were a lot of OLmen who were shuffled in and out, between Mankins and Volmer's lack of conditioning and Connolly's ding. It was an OK start and likely to get better.

    7. Ridley's running reminds me a lot of Matt Forte....and that's a good thing. I think what impressed me most about his 125ypc and almost 6ypc, was that his longest run was just 17yds. I'd be willing to bet that his yards after contact number would be excellent as well. He showed a lot of promise last season, and he's not disappointing so far in this one. The ke word here is "so far". Before we get too flowery in our praise, I have you remember what Parcells said after Curtis Martin's first big day rushing the ball.

    8. My favorite pass play was the back shoulder throw to Lloyd. He had a couple more impressive for ESPN, but none more important as far as its impact to the rest of the season. If the Brady and Lloyd can throw that one consistently, it will set up a lot of rest of the deep moves that will make Lloyd the kind of deep threat we haven't had here since Moss' heyday.

    Also, even though it didn't work out, that miss that Brady and Lloyd had in the first quarter bodes well for the future. It looked to me to be a pure ad lib by both based on a blown coverage. Lloyd read the coverage and adjusted his route and Brady saw it as well. The execution was flawed, but we can take some comfort in that they both were on the all important "same page" so early in the season.

    9. I wouldn't pay much attention to Welker's lack of production. There are simply too many viable options for him to put up the kind of numbers he's had the last 5 years. Plus all the receivers will lose numbers if we continue to only throw the ball 30 times a game. It wouldn't have been so noticeable if you had added that drop to his total. Even there I liked the fact that they targeted him 15 yds down the field. I'm sure Wes will have a lot of games where he'll rack up big numbers, just not as many of them.

    10. Brady was sharp, solid, spread the ball around, involved the RBs, moved well in the pocket, and will look tougher now with that broken nose. Best of all he had "only" around 236 yds passing and "only" 2 TD's.

    I think this offense is striving to be, not one with a few players with great FF numbers, but a team that will put up 30+ points and control the TOP, the tempo of the game and can FINISH.
     
  2. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    DEFENSE -

    1. You can't help but be impressed by the complete shut down of the Titans running attack. It shouldn't be forgotten that that Tennessee has an EXCELLENT OL, especially in the running game, and one of the premier RB's in the game. I think there was only one rush where there was even a small crease on the OL with was quickly closed by the LBs after a 5 yd gain. THAT was it! AWESOME. Vince was visibly excited after the game, and I don't blame him.

    2. You'd have to go back a long long time in the archives to find a game where the Pats tackled better as a team. There was virtually no YAC, and as mentioned absolutely no running. Again very impressive

    3. Jones and Hightower will get the headlines, but Wilson was the guy who impressed me the most. Maybe because I wasn't expecting an impact by him so early. And it wasn't because of his pick, but because of his tackling and the fact he was around the ball so much. So far, at least 3 for 3 on our top picks.

    4. Its a nice thing when you can name most of the defensive mistakes off the top of your head.The 3 things that come immediately to mind. First was the TD pass. It was a great throw by Locker under pressure and on the run, but Gregory took a bad angle to the receiver. I'm not sure a perfect angle would have stopped the good throw, but it would have allowed him to make the tackle. The second was also a safety's fault, though I'm not sure who. It was that long pass to the TE down the seam on a 3rd down. In it the replay showed a S racing off in the opposite direction on the snap of the ball leaving a big gap in the seam. I think it was a blown call because the gap that was left was just too big. The other notable play was the the long 4th and short pass play. It was really a well executed play against the right defense, but I was disappoint that Arrington wasn't physical with the receiver at the LOS. It was surprising to me, since he was clearly playing man to man on an island.

    The last thing is a pet peeve of mine, and that's the propensity for Patriot DBs to cover guys with their back to the ball never turning their heads when the ball arrives. I know that's bound to happen especially in the red zone and when the QB has too much time. However, even on the HS level we coached our DL to yell "ball" when the QB released the ball to alert the DB's that the ball was in their air and to turn their heads. I just don't see the need for them to wind up with there hands in the air just hoping for the best and missing an opportunity to make a play on the ball as often as they do.

    The secondary did a lot of good things yesterday. It wasn't perfect of course, but I would be particularly thrilled to see this one area improved on going forward.

    5. The Pats defense is perceptively faster than last year's version.

    6. The pass rush wasn't great and most of the QB sacks and hits were the result of individual efforts. (btw, even though it wasn't great, if Brady had been hit as often as Locker was, there would be those here calling for Dante's job).

    7. Chandler Jones cost himself a sack with his off sides penalty which actually slowed down his initial rush. BTW- was it just me, or did anyone else think that Jones wore down as the game went on. He looked positively gassed that time he was chasing Locker down on a first down scramble.

    That being said, overall Jones was a beast setting the edge on the run, and flashed at times vs the pass. In one sense that was more impressive since one of the areas of concern when he was first drafted was how well he would do vs the run and that out of respect to Locker's rushing ability, the Pats controlled their rush.

    8. Interesting to note that while the Pats might have run a few games with the DL, I can't remember a single blitz. I hope that sometime in the near future we will get to see some overload or zone blitz looks. I'd like to see how Hightower would looking rushing the passer.

    SPECIAL TEAMS - Nothing spectacular in the return game, but the coverage was spectactular, and the kicking above average.

    MISCELLANEOUS

    1. Jake Locker was a lot better than I thought he'd be. More composed, more accurate, and less likely to abandon the pocket to run. I think he'll do OK and was well served by his year on the bench.

    2. Overall I thought the refs did a real good job. They missed the PI in the end-zone and they missed the Edelman catch, but when can you say there weren't 2 calls you hated in a game.

    3. I do have a question on one call. It was the flag when Edelman was interfered with. There was no question on the call, but IIRC the refs didn't give the Pats any penalty yards. merely spotting the ball where it was recovered. Did I miss something here? There was no mention of it by the media either at the time or after the game. Given that they are ready to jump at any mistake the replacement officials make, I would have thought someone would have mentioned it. I can't believe they don't award penalty yards for interfering with a punt catch, otherwise why wouldn't you do it every time. Just a thought.

    4. This was a good start, but just an indication of what might be. No more lasting than that 30-0 beat down back in 2003. Just the first step of a long road. There will be ups and downs and lots of roster adjustments before its over.

    5. This is OT a little, but if you know any Jet fans, they are going to be REAL hard to live with this week....and justifiably so. They've taken a LOT of crap this off season, and a big win like that has to be a thrill for them. So it shouldn't be shocking if they demand some payback. Still it was surprising to see the Bills lay such an enormous egg at the Meadowlands.

    Oh wow. This shorter post has definitely run on....once again. Well I did want to make sure you got to finish your coffee AND bagel before you were done. Sorry about that. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Absolutely. It's just one game. I'm sure BB will focus on some of the missed opportunities and errors, and judiciously serve out some humble pie.

    With that in mind, it's hard to imagine a better start, or a more complete performance. The Pats dominated on pass offense (could have been better, but very efficient with almost 75% of pass attempts completed and great ball distribution), run offense (spectacular) and run defense (ungodly). They did well on special teams (Titans best starting field position was the 21 yard line). The pass defense is a work in progress, but they generally held their own, and produced a number of splash plays including a red zone INT and a couple of near-big plays. Comapared with the performances by Green Bay, New Orleans, the Giants and Pittsburgh, the Pats look to have a much more balanced and complete team. Not a bad place to start building from, though it's a long haul.
     
  4. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Interesting thoughts Ken.

    Some of my mine based on your posts:

    Offense:

    Agreed on the Solder issue - he is a LOT, and as such will nearly always be facing the opponents best pass rusher. IF tackles never got beat, then we would hardly ever be any sacks, right?

    Seems like a fans typical double standard, they want our DE's to beat the opponents tackles like rented mules, but refuse to allow that the other team might just be trying to do the same thing on occasion.

    People also made a big deal of what a big hit Brady took - it wasn't that big (certainly compared to the hit Von Miller put on him last year) and alot of the fuss came from the accidental leg to the helmet he took afterward.

    Wendell was also a big positive, again he will struggle against elite guys like Ngata - because thats what elite DT's do - our very own Vince Wilfork is good evidence of that.

    I'm very excited about the element that Lloyd brings to the team - it really should take same focus away from the areas that Gronk,Ahern and Welker like to abuse regularly.

    I would love to see a Manning/Wayne relationship develop between them - when they are in sync they are very, very hard to stop.

    Defense

    I would disagree somewhat with your characterisation of the Titans O-line as excellent - certainly reading their forums alot of their fans have had issues with it for a couple of years.

    Then again, what is a great O-line these days?

    Agreed on the tackling, that was another standout to me - great fundamentals.

    On the Locker TD, I think Gregory gambled on an INT - he seen Locker about to be engulfed, and like most of us, thought there was a good chance a wounded duck might be on the way.

    As it was it was a great throw under duress by Locker.

    On the subject of blitzing, I think some of that will get dialed up once the D gets acclimated to playing together and they face more of a pocket passing, less mobile QB.
     
  5. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great stuff as usual, Ken.

    I have to agree with you on Locker. he looks like the real deal, and with experience may well be a great asset to Tennessee.

    As to his injury, if you get the chance to watch it again, see how he extends his left arm out an at angle as he hits the ground. I think he had a partial separation of his shoulder right then because of the way his arm looked when he hit.
     
  6. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    They have to be trsined by the pats for this and the only thing I can trhink of is not being susecptible to the pump or double moves. But, at some point you do have to turn your head...right?
    I agree there has to be 10-15 yards added to the point of the infraction because the player could have a chance to break one open and that "opportunity" has to be awarded.
    Yeah, they will be dreaming SB for thier first game effort.

    Howe about the other side of the coin. Weren't the Bills suppose to diminate through defense? While Fitzpatrick and Special Teams didn't help their D at all, some of those 42 points were allowed by the D (if not the majority).
     
  7. nowayback

    nowayback Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    very good points ty.

    i was most impressed with the Pats tackling! esp after watching the steelers and 49ers vaunted defences miss on very many tackles. we were like glue, what a difference it makes.

    also wasnt expecting so much from Lloyd in 1st game, but it seems he and Brady are finding their chemistry quicker then i expected.

    most improved from last year>> Love and Cunningham and safties actually helped out in pass coverage!

    Bolden looked solid, Ninko held the edge.

    did Gronk looked a bit stiff, or slower? takes time to fully heal.
     
  8. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    Not JUST the tackling, but in many cases tackling the "new" way of face up and plowing through the guy. All in all, I too noted the increased speed of the defense, and how it looked like they had velcro on their jerseys and hands. When they muckled on to someone, they were staying.

    That, plus the way they honored their responsibilities, stayed in their lanes, and were very rarely out of position.

    All in all I'm very happy with this first appearance by the new D.
     
  9. Gumby

    Gumby 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #11 Jersey

    NFL RULE BOOK @ nfl.com
     
  10. nabwong

    nabwong PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I might be wrong. It looked like it might have started cover-2 but was actually a disguised cover-3 and DMc was slow getting back there.
     
  11. Gumby

    Gumby 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    oh, TOP. Up until that final sit on the ball drive running it down their throats (when Titans officially gave up) I think the Titans were still winning the TOP battle. Certainly Titans won TOP in 1st half. So I am not so excited about the TOP as you are.

    But if you are scoring on pick-6s/fumble-6s then it really does tend to skew the TOP analysis horribly. So; it balances out somewhat, but I would still rather see their DL getting tired being pounded by OUR agressive OL than the other way around.
     
  12. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron In the Starting Line-Up

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    So just to be clear, did everyone (including the refs as well as BB) miss this call?
     
  13. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I thought that too and then went to the NFL game book where it looks like they marked off the 15 yards since the penalty happened at the 18 yard line and the Pats first play was at the 33.......

     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  14. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Three rookies playing "starter" snaps -- at least 40 of 65 -- in game 1, and looking good doing it. Impressive stuff.

    (I'm looking forward to the day when fans start marveling over how BB was lucky enough to steal an obvious stud like Tavon Wilson in the middle of round 2. :D)

    This is a great point, and important to take into account in considering the secondary's performance. There were a bunch of snaps when the DBs had a LOT of covering to do, largely because of the game plan IMO. Most of the Titans' big completions came on plays where I said "uh-oh" aloud before Locker even started his throw.
     
  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Maybe the confusion has to do with the fumble taking the play upfield, so that the post-penalty spot (based on the point of foul) just happened to be the same as where the ball was recovered?
     
  16. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good job as always Ken. A few comments:

    • Yes, the refs blew it with calling interfering with the returner call. If it was a spot foul, every special team coach would be coaching interfering with the returner on every punt. At worst, you guarantee no gain. At best, you get away with it and cause a fumble and a turnover.
    • According to Clark Judge, the Pats were credited with 8 pressures and got two sacks. I can't remember many or any blitzes off the top of my head. That means the Pats are generating a pretty good pass rush with a four man rush.
    • One thing that is underreported (I heard someone mention it on the radio) is that with this LB corp, it appears they can now successfully defend the run out of the nickel. This will be huge on stopping delayed draw plays.
    • I think Chandler Jones' slowing down may have been due to injury. Looks like he pulled his groin (or could have been kicked there). He missed the next two plays (two of the seven defensive plays he didn't play) and seemed a bit slower immediately after he returned. But he did play 58 plays and was double teamed for a majority of them. Might have gotten tired out.
    • On that note, it is amazing in his first game in his career and the Titans are already game planning to stop him. Looks like the Titans came into the game with the purpose to double team Jones on passing plays. That is quite a bit of success for a guy who hadn't played a down in the NFL before yesterday.
     
  17. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    I admit to not being a fan of the Tavon Wilson pick in the 2nd round and said so at the time. I have been impressed with him so far (though I'm not exactly ready to get his bust ready for Canton).

    What amazes me is that really pretty much nobody except for Belichick thought this guy was anything. He wasn't a great player at all in the Big 10. Good player, honorable mention all Big 10, fine. Not a bad player. Pretty good. But not second round material. Nobody thought that.

    I know, nobody thought Tom Brady was better than a 6th rounder either. I'm just amazed at how guys who are just ok or pretty good in college can suddenly emerge as being fabulous in the pros (again, the jury is still out on Tavon..just saying).
     
  18. Bella*chick

    Bella*chick Addicted to the light

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    I agree about Welker. Brady has lots of options and besides, Wes himself said he would have liked to play more in the preseason. I didn't expect him to be at midseason form but it would have been nice!
     
  19. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    That description and statline reminds me alot of one you'd have seen in 2004. I'd much much rather see us win a game by over 20 points with 236 yards passing than with 500. Hopefully the run game can continue to take the load off of Brady's shoulders which have been carrying alot of weight since 2007.
     
  20. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    I agree about Jones getting gassed....I thought I'd see more of trevor scott.....not just for the day but the season......need to try to keep the rookies from hitting a wall later in the season.

    I want to add something about ninko.....another week or 2 of what we saw yesterday, and cunningham should take that spot as a starter. not leaning on ninko too hard on this, but I think he is a better asset as a sub since he can play a wider array of positions.

    I thought the OL played well. I think Solder will still have some hiccups in pass pro, but he is a beast at LT in the running game.....the OL wore down the titans DL.
     
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