Lots of disperate thoughts in no particular order. 1. I was thinking about our skill players and it occurred to me that not one is a first round pick and MOST were afterthoughts on draft day. Brady - 6th BJGE- UDFA Woodhead -UDFA Welker - UDFA Branch 2nd Tate 3rd Gronk - 2nd Edelman -7th Hernandez 4th Now those are the skill players on the highest scoring team in the league - kind of makes you wonder about where we find players. I guess there is more than one way. 2. Speaking of that I noticed Dan Fletcher getting some regular play last night (including one play I bet he'd like to have back), and it got me to wonder if the Pats don't have more guys who started as UDFAs on their team than most, especially winning teams. Right off the top of my head, Woodhead, Welker, BJGE, Guyton, Fletcher, Love, and Wright. That's 7 guys and I wouldn't be shocked if there weren't a couple more. Isn't that a lot? Can someone help out here? Do the Pats have more than most teams? 3. OK lets get started on last night's game. First lets talk about the defense. I would caution people who now expect the defense to be holding teams to single digits. You will be disappointed. That's the bad news. This defense didn't transform itself from one of the historically worst Pats defenses in history to the 85 Bears in a single game. The good news that it took a SIGNIFICANT step into becoming a good defense...perhaps by playoff time. The problem with the defense was that for a lot of reasons, they haven't been able to string 3 straight plays of good defense together. That's what you have to do to get off the field. Lately they'd often put 2 plays together, only to frustrate us with the dreaded 3rd and long conversion...over and over again. But lately IMHO, they seemed to making more plays, mostly in the form of turnovers. They also seemed to be getting closer in their 3rd down conversions. Not making them, but being SOOOOO close. Well last night they made more of them to add to the turnovers, and we got the result we'd been hoping for all season. But we shouldn't make the mistake to think this is nothing more than a STEP in the right direct. An indication that the lessons are starting to learned. That the mulitudes of reps are leading to faster recognition and quicker responses. Remember the goal for this defense is to be good enough not to cost the offense a victory. Next week we will be playing a much better offense...on the ROAD. The challenge will be bigger, and I doubt the results will be as good. I'm just looking for the defense to keep getting more consistent...like they have been. 4. Have you ever seen a year where the Pats did more situational substitutions on the DL. It will be very interesting to see Reiss' article on who got how many snaps. It was impossible to keep track of all the comings and goings. BTW- Gerard Warren is very quietly becoming a nice part of that DL rotation. There was a lot of garbage time rushing yardage that the Jets picked up in the 2nd half. The DL did a decent job, especially without Wright or Pryor. I hope we get at least one of them back this week. 5. Kyle Arrington and D Butler are showing improvement each week. Who would have thought that Arrington was going to be anything more than a special teamer. ANd I like the fact that he's making it difficult for Butler to get a starting job back. Besides, I'd rather have Butler playing on the slot receivers 6. I'll skip my usual bombast about Devin McCourty and just point out that I take offense that the announcers made it seem that the only reason McCourty got that first pick was because the pass was underthrown. Yes it was, but I would like to point out that McCourty had put himself right in the "pocket" of Edwards, with his head turned to the ball. If the pass had been longer it STILL would have had to have been an EPIC pass and catch for it to have been completed Though it should be notted that he did miss a tackle last night.....ONE :eek; 7. This is the best tackling secondary I can recall since 2003. 8. Hey, Jerrard Page, so THAT's why we picked you up. He had some big hits. What does anyone know about his coverage skills. I like his size back there. 9. Interesting that the Jets only get 150 odd passing yds and we hardly ever heard mention of Chung OR Merriweather. Does that mean they weren't impactful. I don't think so. We also heard VERY LITTLE from Dustin Keller. And that seam pass I begged to have stopped....WAS. Still its interesting to note that in a game where our 2 impact S's were kind of invisible, they probably played very well. 10. I thought Graham kicked pretty well on most of his KO's. His kicks were generally inside the 5, even against the wind. Coverage was not good, but not horrible either. I was happy with it over all. Smith wasn't the factor that I fearded originally. 11. I won't say much about the offense because I'm sure it will be well discussed, but I hav a few thoughts. a. I got a big kick out Gronk's catch, where he litterally walled off the defender. Understand that he can do this almost every play. I'd HATE to have to cover him one on one, because you really can't . That play showed it. b. When Hernandez learns over the next couple of years to really become a professional route runner, he is going to be VERY VERY good. c. The OL was VERY GOOD again last night. Yes I know that there was 3 sacks, but they were mostly due to schemes rather than blown assignments. They were really getting movement on those runs. Hard to think that we have lost 2 good guys in Neal and Kascur and still are so solid. d. I'd like to think that there was something like the 10th player award that we could give to Alge Crumpler. Talk about being an unsung hero. Its hard for me to fathom a guy who was a premier passing catching TE in the NFL doing such a critical, selfless job... so well. Talk about a critical pick up that has good unnoticed. I think that at some point this year, BOB is going to unleash him at a key moment. e. I'm less upset about the lack of production we are getting from Tate and Edelman lately because it seems Brady has so many targets that its just hard to get everyone looks. I have a feeling that their time will come....or not. But I think its less a reflection on them than who else is out there. Ther IS only one ball. f. This is the best Tom Brady....ever. Not much more than you can say than that. g. The best stat you never hear much is the fact that no Pats RB has lost a fumble THIS SEASON. That Brady hasn't thrown a pick since Baltimore. When a team refuses to turn the ball over, it puts so much pressure on the defense. It won't last forever...it just seems like it will 12. There was a time where we all felt that this was a "rebuilding season". Granted is was not going to be a rebuilding season in the usual sense. It was going to be a Patriots rebuilding season, which means 10+ wins and a lot of young guys getting reps, and maybe even a playoff win. I have to tell you, that when I watched the Jets be unable to even bring this game back to repsectibly, I have to tell you that I started thinking about the S word again. I know this is still a flawed team, but what team isn't. Sure there are teams that can beat the Pats on a given day, but there sure isn't any team that the Pats can't beat either. So if they can finish 3-1. If they can get that bye and have 2 home games for the playoffs, who would I fear playing. Not the Steelers, Not the Jets. I would fear the Ravens and the Chargers (for some reason), but its not that I would think they WOULD beat the Pats, just that they could. 13. The Bears and Packers are 2 of the NFC's best. Plenty of interest Plenty of fun. Enjoy....and respond.