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Idle thoughts - moving on (Pats - Broncos review, Seahawks preview)

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Oct 9, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    I'm going to try and stay away from the hot button topics and let the haters take apart our players in other threads....but I doubt I'll manage it since I'm starting this so late in the AM.

    1 The broad issues


    A. It is simply so much fun watching this offense run. Its important to remember that it will even be more efficient when Hernandez and Edelman return. If you noticed on several occasions on Sunday, Denver was able to completely shut down our receivers from both the spread and empty formations. That will be much more difficult to do when Hernandez returns.

    B. I'm not worried a bit about the 4 sacks the Broncos recorded. 3 of them were literally concession sacks by Brady who turtled when he didn't have anyone open and his internal clock had reached 12. I know it looks bad as it was discussed in the "ghost" thread, but I think its just Brady saying, "I got nothing. Lets get on to the next play and not risk me turning it over in a strip sack." Denver has as good a pass rush as we are going to see the year both in quality and numbers, and I think we handled it well

    C. When its 3rd and less than 5 I don't EVER want to be in an empty backfield. We now have such a great running presence, it is foolish NOT to have a running threat to challenge the defense on virtually every play. I don't care as much if we end up running it, but I think its a mistake to line up in an empty backfield and give the defense a free ride from defending the possibility of that run.....ESPECIALLY when we have shown how explosive the running game is with so many 10+ yd runs this season by so many different runners.

    Play action makes it almost impossible for teams to cover our receivers well. IIRC most of those pass plays where Brady had no one to go to and was sacked occurred against the empty backfield.

    D. We continue to be better than average against the run (currently 7th). Very surprising to me since we have 2 rather undersized DE's and are new to playing the 4-3 alignment. Jones and Ninko are doing outstanding work setting the edge and the DTs and LB are just shutting people down. I'm thinking that the relative failure in Baltimore was a combination of too many guesses by Spikes and an overall poor game by Hightower.

    The fact we were "good enough" against the run vs Denver was impressive without Hightower there. We are still thin at LB and can't afford any long term injuries to any of the "SEC LBs" I miss Dane Fletcher. Hightower gives us a level of physicality and athleticism that turns 4 yd gains into 2 yders. Given that Seattle relies on the run with that rookie QB it will be a big help if he's back.

    E. As a whole the defense is just so much better than last season. Its not great by any means, but if you can't see the improvement then your only purpose here is to complain. Manning is a big time QB and Thomas is a big time WR and he's going to get his yards, but it wasn't until it was 31-7 and almost the 4th quarter before he put up half close to half his yards and most of his points.

    We also didn't have Hightower or Gregory this week. I know he is one of those that the clique want to completely dismiss, but if he'd been the guy on Thomas along with Moore instead of Chung, I suspect the results would have been much better. Don't forget that it was Gregory who was the guy doubling Fitzgerald most of the time vs AZ. If Gregory had played Chung's night would have gone better too since he'd have played much more in the box rather than in space. Instead Wilson played the box safety for the most part

    F. No one defends McCourty more than I do, but he HAS to get his head around more often than he does. There is really no excuse for it. Its so frustrating because when he does it, he seems to be in position to make a play on the ball all the time. Its to the point where I'd rather see him lose his man a bit looking back for the ball and recover than just blindly run into him

    He doesn't deserve nearly the invective he gets on this board, but he's not without fault either. I think that single technique is all that is keeping him from being a true #1 CB. He has always been one of the better run support CBs in the league. He has vastly improved his man to man skills since last year. Even when he doesn't look for the ball, he's in close proximity. He's also improved his jam off the LOS. All he needs to do now is to learn when to turn to find the ball. He does it some of the time. He just needs to do it more.

    Don't forget that he came to the Pats playing strictly zone at Rutgers and then played mostly zone his first season where he saw most of his success. Now he is being asked to play more man. Last season he didn't do it well at all. This season its better, but still a work in progress

    G. Serling Moore can't cover people one on one and shouldn't be on the field in any man to man situations. Fortunately Dennard looks like he CAN cover one on one and will hopefully take some his snaps in those coverages. God is Dennard short. His build reminds me of Bob Sanders the former Colts great Safety who had such brilliant yet injury plagued career

    H - I still hope Dowling can resurrect his career, either by getting healthy or getting better. I'm not sure why he isn't seeing the field. Every now and then I notice him on the field, and he doesn't look bad. Having a CB his size would be a big help against teams with big WR's He needs to get better.

    I - I was shocked when the DC dialed up that biltz that led to the Pats first sack, and equally shocked when it wasn't used again until the 4th quarter. I'd settle for a overload FAKE blitz once in a while, if Matt isn't going to actually call one. I'd wouldn't mind seeing the DLmen cross or use an up and under combo move, just to test the OL's we play SOMETHING, but a straight 3 or 4 man rush.

    J - Chandler Jones is the most impactful Patriots defensive lineman since Richard Seymour. I still can't get over how good he is against the run. He would have had at least 2 more sacks if the Denver OT's hadn't been allowed to just tackle him several times without penalty.

    He isn't JJ Watt impactful, but give him a year to get stronger and more knowledgeable and it wouldn't shock me if he becomes that good. BTW - Watt is clearly the most disruptful DLman in the league. It will be very interesting to see how BB tries to defend him.

    If I had one criticism of him, its that sometimes he's not entirely set when the ball is snapped and loses a fraction of a second. Its kind of a pet peeve of mine. I think most DLmen can learn to get off the snap more quickly It was perhaps greatest asset as a 200 lb NT in college, and by an large its a learned skill needing only practice, preparation and concentration to get very good at it.

    It would make him that much more difficult to block. If you watch JJ Watt tonight you would see he's a rocket off the snap. Usually the first defensive guy to move on the snap.

    L - Interesting that the Pats let Dan Koppen off the hook for the most part leaving him uncovered for most of the game, where I thought he did very well.(as he usually does when left uncovered) I remember one play where the Pats had Ron Brace head up on him. Ironically he knocked so deep into the backfield he created a small seam where the RB got about 7 yds. If he'd had just controlled him on the LOS he'd have stopped it dead.

    M - I think people's blood pressures would be a lot lower if we concentrated to looking for the defense to keep improving rather than expecting it to be something great right out of the box. Still a lot of moving parts that aren't close to being finished products. We are very far from the "survival mode" the defense and especially the secondary was in most of last season.

    N. Forget about Chandler Jones, who would have thought that Brandon Cunningham would be the player that would make me feel OK about Andre Carter not being back with the Pats. (even though I think his maturity alone would bave been a benefit for this overly young group) However I would like to start seeing Scott and Bequette force Patricia to give them some snaps. I'm not sure I'm very comfortable having Jones and Ninko taking so many of the snaps. I don't want Jones hitting that rookie wall

    THE SEATTLE GAME -

    A. Playing in Seattle is no joke. Its the best home field advantage in the league.

    B. It will definitely hamper our speed offense. It will be interesting to see how Josh will form this week's offense plan since he will not only have to create player the match ups, he will have to figure in the communications issues that field creates.

    That ability to have clear communications to run the speed offense as its maximum efficiency definitely adds to the home field at Gillette and makes getting home field advantage even more important this year.

    C. Right now Seattle has the best D in the league, so we have one of those immovable object hitting that irresistible force, as the Pats are the top offense. Again not a good week to meet Seattle on the road, especially since I still doubt we see Hernandez this week.

    D. IIRC Seattle is another team that has more than its share of big CBs which seems to be a problem for the Pats. I think this will be a good week for Daniel Fells to make an impact on the offense

    This will likely end up being a very close game, which even if we win, won't be good enough for the professional complainers around here. A game where we can win by 10 and still get bashed for giving up too many yards or not gaining enough. :rolleyes:

    OK, I think that's enough to get you through your coffee and bagel this morning. Enjoy
     
  2. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    won't be good enough for the professional complainers around here.

    it's beyond ridiculous...I got back home two hours after the game ended and the top threads are all bashfests populated by agenda driven "player haters"...it's worse than it's ever been....the Patriots have to be successful on 90% of their plays on offense and the defense has to stop every series with three and outs or it's billions of sky fragments littering this cyberscape...perhaps it's a new Paradox Of Expectations....
     
  3. Gumby

    Gumby 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #11 Jersey

    Thanks as always Ken. Good read.

    Now, to disagree ;):

    1C: There you go again, setting the table up with an incredibly provocative suggestion/intuition that requires more time than I have to research. Hopefully someone takes up the challenge - I would LOVE to see validation or refutation of this. My hunch says you are right.

    1E. Well, I think this play was a likely completion with Gregory in there as well; just shorter. But without Moore the ball DOES NOT GET FUMBLED. So personally I think we ended up better with a +40yard play and turnover than giving up JUST a +30 yard play.

    Also agree with your thoughts on Dennard and Dowling. (although took them out of reply for space) I too thought Dowling would be the Rt CB answer, but he hasnt stayed on field. disappointing.

    2D. Last week was his (Fells) opportunity to make an impact. HE DROPPED THE BALL ...TWICE. They weren't necessarily HARD catches. If you expect TB will be targeting him excessively next week after that performance; I think you are forgetting how TB treats you once you 'drop his balls'.
     
  4. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Joker... yes they're particularly vindicative... those player haters. :p

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  5. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice post, well thought out..

    IMO the most obvious improvement is the D on this team, more playmakers and better schemes... Chandler Jones is still young and has not witnessed enough of the highest level of competition, will he be a JJ Watt, probably not, but he will emerge into something else. From my TV his being held often is noticeable... last week he faced Ryan Clady..

    But the overall D has gotten better, and pretty confident that the D backfield can continue to improve.. something about playmakers that makes us remember the results, not so much the process...

    Think you mean Jermaine Cunningham, not his brother Brandon..

    The concern I have are injuries, it seems as though in this war of attrition that we have been hit hard early.. otoh a few Jets went down last night, Mangold etc. so every team deals with it..

    But many of us need to remind ourselves that the haters are gonna hate, and there are those who can see where we have been and are enjoying this great ride that is the New England Patriots..
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  6. goheels22002

    goheels22002 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    Another good post, Ken.

    The defense is better - it is more athletic and younger. But it is also more experienced. It's hard to put a measure on last season's experience of going through a major mid-season purge of players and approach, and then making a Super Bowl run together. Mixed in there were injuries and returns like Mayo.

    We continue to forget that Chung, Arrington, Moore and McCourty made a Super Bowl run together as a young secondary. Add Wilson (who looks like an excellent second rounder), Dowling, who is a rookie for all intents and purposes, Ebner and Dennard, and the Patriots have a kiddie corps back there that will only get better as the schedule eases up over the next several weeks. Gregory and Cole have experience but it's unclear how important they will be long term.

    To me, the elite defensive backs emerge around age 27 - 28 and have five or six years of prime time. That was true for Ty Law and Rodney Harrison.

    Arrington is the oldest at 26, Chung is 25 and the rest younger. The defensive backfield should become a strength over time. It would not surprise me to see the ypg and ppg go down as the Patriots work through the rest of the season beginning this week in Seattle.

    On Seattle, they do not score points. I agree this may be a a low scoring game, but it could turn into a blowout early if the Pats come out firing on all cylinders. The Seahawks have some nice defensive performances, but they have seen nothing like the Patriots offense.

    The Patriots have a good defense, too. Holding a team that averages 17 ppg to that or less should be something we can anticipate.
     
  7. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    I have to tell you that I was having a deja vu moment thinking about this over the past couple weeks. It reminded me a lot of the days with Mike Shanahan coaching Denver and his "plug & play" running game. It also seemed like it didn't matter who he put in the backfield. If Denver wanted to run it, they could and would.

    I'll be a VERY happy homer if this keeps up the rest of the year and into the playoffs. :cool:
     
  8. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    #12 Jersey

    Agree with fewer empty sets. The only time I want to see it period is 3rd and 5+ or in the 2 minute drill. We have a legit run threat now in Ridley and hopefully Bolden/Vereen can become similar threats, gotta use that to your advantage.
     
  9. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #87 Jersey

    Pleasure to read as always.

    One note on this stat that adds some color to it, because we are the number one scoring team in the NFL, teams are more likely to pass against us. We might be ranked eighth in the NFL in rush defense, but we're still 30th in pass defense. With a team like the Pats who score a lot of points, opposing offenses will be pressured to pass more in an attempt to score points and play catch-up. It's no different than the past couple of years. Certainly critics will look at the stats and see an improvement. We're ranked 22 overall in total defense. A marked improvement over the prior season (albeit with only 5 games). However, the points per game ranking is at 17. I believe we were 15 last year. So is it an improvement? I believe in 2010 we were 8th in points against and 25 in total defense. We also had the #1 scoring offense that year.

    It's interesting to see what the effects of having a high-scoring offense can be. In 2007, we had the most sacks in the NFL by a solid margin. We had significantly more sacks than even the Giants who easily had a better D-line with Osi, Strahan, and Tuck (regular season only). This made sense because opposing offenses were constantly dropping back in 5 and 7 step drops, holding onto the ball longer, which gave our passrushers more time and opportunities to get to the QB. In 2010, we had the most interceptions in the NFL. A result of opposing offenses throwing more passes as they tried to catch up to a high-scoring offense, and this was with BM and Sanders in the backfield. Contrast that to the Jets, who with Revis and Cromartie at CB, were last in the NFL in interceptions. In a way, these are just examples of how stats can inflate competencies and conceal weaknesses. Football stats must be interpreted to be understood.



    But nevertheless, we do hold up surprisingly well against the run despite are smaller DE's. In part, we can thank are LB's and nasty DT's for that. :D
     
  10. PP2

    PP2 In the Starting Line-Up

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    #12 Jersey

    I think that after his first year in the league, despite that 7 INT, pro-bowl season, other teams immediately latched onto that one fundamental flaw in his game and kept attacking him. Like you said, it pretty much is the only thing holding back and it didn't help that he played exclusively zone at Rutgers.. a lot of bad habits carrying over into his man to man technique.
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Please clarify.

    We had a running back in the game on all but one offensive rep. So, I so think that we did "have a running threat to challenge the defense on virtually every play." Our third down back is always a running threat, as well as a passing option.

    From Reiss
    3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 58 of 94
    2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 29 of 94
    1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 4 of 94
    1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 2 of 94
    4 WR/1 TE -- 1 of 94


     
  12. NYCPatsFan

    NYCPatsFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    No Jersey Selected

    Thanks Ken.

    On McCourty: think Reiss also commented last season that that there was something in his style that other teams had picked on and exploiting it.

    If it is indeed as obvious as the habit of not turning around - as what many of us think - I am sure the Pats coaches are also aware of it.

    So, if neither McCourty or his coaches addressed it (I am sure he'll be benched if he has been instructed to turn; he hasn't in the last four games), isn't the issue something else?

    Wonder if BB was questioned about it and how he responded.

    Edit: this was addressed specifically in the other McCourty thread and JR4 posted the BB Q&A of the same in Page 10.

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england...52892-message-all-mccourty-haters-page10.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  13. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    MG I can see your confusion, but one of the thing Reiss' breakdown doesn't differentiate is when the RB is split wide and thus is no longer a realistic running threat
     
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see.

    However, given the ability of Brady to change the play, this type of formation can be immediately morphed into a more normal one if the defensive formation is especially vulnerable to the run. IMHO, the spread formation doesn't preclude a running threat. I think the key is to have a running back on the field and having the time to change the play as needed.

     
  15. HowardRoark

    HowardRoark On the Game Day Roster

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    #75 Jersey

    For some reason, we had a RB split out wide quite a few times in the game, leading to an empty backfield.
     
  16. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

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    Welcome to the salary cap era and four year rookie contract era. After four years, a NFL organization needs to decide whether to offer a long term contract to a professional football player.

    With only 38 players currently under contract for the 2013 NFL Season of the 53 players currently on the New England Patriots roster, the New England Patriots will need to decide which unrestricted free agents to retain. Given the performance of the New England Patriots defensive secondary to date, I not convinced whatsoever that Chung or Arrington will be back next year.

    The following denotes five unrestricted free agents on the New England Patriots defense:

    Ron Brace
    Myron Pryor
    Trevor Scott
    Kyle Arrington
    Patrick Chung

    One would consider from a salary cap perspective retaining the aforementioned five unrestricted free agents or one Wes Welker.
     
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are you suggesting that we will be in a salary cap bind? We have 42 under contract at a cost of $104M. Add $6M for rookies, UDFA's a Practice Squad and we have $110M.

    Presuming a cap of $121M plus a $6M carryover, we will a "budget" of $17M for re-signs and free agent upgrades.

    New England Patriots Salary Cap 2013

    The list of UFA's on defense is small IMHO, the 5 you mention. On offense, we have Welker, Edelman and Vollmer.

    I don't the great cap pressure that you see.

    IMHO, we may or not pay Welker. IMHO, if we don't we will bring in another high-priced free agent instead. We will not likely have Lloyd, Edelman and Salas as our WR's.

     
  18. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Just thinking the same thing in regards to Dennard's rotation with Moore.

    Obviously, Dennard has much more 'raw' talent + upside than Moore has, so I agree that we should be seeing more of Dennard in that position (one-on-one coverage).

    Moore also has a place here too, and I like the fact that he is a decent guy as far as "back end of the roster" players go. I still wonder if he wouldn't be better off as a 3rd/big nickle safety with more of a specialty like we saw with Brandon McGowan? Moore seems like he has a knack for being able to make a big play or two, and also for being in the right place at the right time...sadly his coverage skills (without safety help) are lacking, and I don't like to see him exploited by other teams' WR1 anymore than you do.

    I am very excited to have Dennard here for the current and the future, and I feel that he will indeed be good.

    Hopefully this is a step in the right direction with Dennard, in terms of getting his feet wet a bit.
     
  19. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

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    Of the 42 players listed, four would be considered long shots to make the 53 man roster:

    Tennant
    Zusevics
    Hix
    Herman

    Assuming even an $8.8 million carryover, one must allocate salary cap dollars for the following:

    Injured Reserve (currently $5.767 million)
    PUP List (currently $1.125 million)
    Practice Squad (currently $0.815 million)

    New England Patriots Salary Cap 2012

    Adjusted per-team cap numbers for 2012 | ProFootballTalk

    The complete list of defensive unrestricted free agents:

    Ron Brace
    Myron Pryor
    Trevor Scott
    Tracy White
    Niko Koutouvides
    Bobby Carpenter
    Kyle Arrington
    Marquice Cole
    Patrick Chung

    The complete list of offensive unrestricted free agents:

    Danny Woodhead
    Visanthe Shiancoe
    Donald Thomas
    Sebastian Vollmer
    Wes Welker
    Julian Edelman
    Deion Branch

    Wes Welker's future contract negotiations are the key to the 2013 New England Patriots salary cap.
     
  20. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    Concerning our 'smaller' DL, Ken, you have to keep in mind that although Jones is smaller than the Pats DEs of years prior such as Warren or Seymour, he is still a run stopping beast. He is 270 lbs and 6'6. His tremendous wingspan and motor allows him to set the edge with great leverage and he also has the speed and athleticism to pursue backside plays which overall imo makes him an upgrade in the run defense game vs our mismash of replacement/aging DEs who were manning the position in years prior.

    In addition to that Wilfork and Love are probably the best interior run stopping tandem in the NFL. Wilfork is arguably the best NT in football right now and Love simply does not get moved easily. Add in the fact that Mayo is still a tackling machine and Spikes has taken his game to another level and you get the results of the Pats being a top 10 run stopping unit in the NFL. I see this continuing to be the case the rest of the season and they even have a shot of cracking the top 5 if everyone continus to improve, particularly Hightower who has not quite hit his stride yet but has enormous potential.

    Next I'd like to address the issue of the empty backfield and I agree. We need to cut down use of the empty backfield by 50% if not entirely eliminate it. Unless sit is 3rd and long, ie 3 and 6 or more, there's no excuse not to have a RB in there on those 3rd and short plays. Ridley or Woodhead are always a threat to get the 1st down on the ground.

    It is tactically disadvantageous to tip your hand by showing an empty backfield. I think the return of AH would be the only thing that would make the empty backfield viable, as Brady would have the option of changing the play to shift Hernandez into the RB role if he sees a lightly front loaded defensive formation that the Pats could take advantage of. In the meanwhile let's stay away from that play because my eye tells me that it is less effective than having some kind of ace or double tight end formation on short yardage down and distances.

    Finally, let's give up kudos to that Pats running game. Ridley has becoming everything that Pats fans could hope for and more (minus the fumbling). I believe that Ridley will be the 1st legit 1,000 yard back since Corey Dillon. I realize that BJGE accomplished the feat, but the Pats had to feed him multiple times in the last game to get him his number, and he was hardly a threat in the run game anyways. I mean he was solid but defenses never had to gameplan around him. They much preferred giving up '3 yards and a cloud of dust' to BJGE than having Brady throw the football.

    But now with players like Ridley and Bolden running the ball, the Pats are making defenses PAY DEARLY when they sell out against the pass. Forget the NASCAR package, that is rendered totally ineffective when the Pats can gash the defense on 5-10 yard chunks of yardage every time such a soft/small front is exposed to the Pats smash mouth rushing attack. Yes, I actuallly used 'smash mouth' and 'rushing attack' in the same sentence associated with the Pats offense, how great is that? :)

    Always a pleasure Ken! Looking forward to Sunday's game against the Hawks, it's gonna be FUN!! And I expect the aforementioned rushing game to be a big factor in limiting how often the Hawks can attack the Pats offense and Brady.
     
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