Some assorted thoughts that might have some interest as the week goes on. 1. Kerry Byrne fromCold Hard Football Facts now has a once a week radio show on Patriots.com that's worth listening to. In this week's show he offered some very intriguing statistical observations I thought worth sharing. The first one was very surprising and should spark some discussion 2. Note â He grades the OL based on a combination of run/pass/offensive success stats, like 3rd down success.. So after all was said and done, the Pats OL rated #1 overall and #2 in protection. I'm guessing most of you are surprised as well. Here's what I take from it. Everything is relative. We see every mistake and go nuts over them . But mistakes are happening in every game by every team. So while there is certainly room for improvement on our OL, relative to the rest of the league, our guys did very. well, if fact better than any other OL in the league....at least for the first game 3 Good news/bad news for our defense was they were ranked #2 in rushing, but only 23th in applying pressure to the QB. Other stats that might be of interest: 11th in passing yards/attempt against. 13th in defensive passing rating. 12th in something called their defensive hog index 4. I guess the lesson to be learned from all those stats is that while we saw a vast improvement,in the defense, its still a far cry from anything approaching a âdominantâ defense, and perhaps our expectations should be reined in a bit, especially when you consider we have yet to play Manning, Flacco, Schaub, and Smith......or Sanchez for that matter. The defense is work in progress and our expectations should be concentrating on looking for gradual improvement over the course of the season. The goal should be NOT to have a great defense now, but to have a great defense by the time we enter the playoffs 5. Some thoughts on the Cardinals. They really shouldn't be overlooked a. Byrne noted that the Cardinals rated 7nd on his defensive âhog indexâ I'm not sure what that means exactly, but we can assume it means that their DL and LB's are very good, and nothing we've heard from the regular media would dispute that. More impressively they were 2nd in passing yds/attempt against, and 5th in defensive passing rating and somewhere in the top 10 in pressuring the pass (I forget exactly) b. And none of these stats are just one game wonders. This Cardinal defense rated highly all year in 2011, and was the key factor in the fact that the Cards are 8-2 in their last 10 games . c. On the plus side, AZ is 3-13 in road games since Kurt Warner retired and 2 of those wins were against the Rams. And their OL is in disarray due to attrition and injuries. These are things the Pats SHOULD be able to take advantage of. 6. Larry Fitzgerald is flat out an AMAZING receiver. To have put up the kind of consistent production DESPITE the lack of quality QB's and no2nd quality receiver over the last 2 years defies logic. Every team knows he's gong to get the ball, plans accordingly, and STILL Fitzgerald gets his catches and yards. Big, fast, disciplined, durable, with a great football mind and hands, he very well could be the greatest of all time, like BB said. His career is even more spectacular given he's done it with mostly bad Qbs on bad teams 7. Things I'll be courious in seeing this week a. How the snap count will break down between Volmer and Cannon at RT b. Will Cannon play any more RG c. Since I think even if Connolly dresses it will be as a back up at best, so who is going to play RG, Cannon or Thomas.....or both. So much for that continuity I've been hoping to start to establish. d. Will Vareen be active this week, and if he is will he take snaps from Woodhead. I'm guessing he won't be active this week, and the Pats give him another week to get fully healthy. e. Will we see more of Ron Brace this weekend 8. If you want to know if Welker is going to be a bigger part of the offense, here's a clue to look for early in the game that should give you an indication. Check who is the receiver going in motion. If its Welker, look for him to be more of a target. If its Hernandez like last week, it could be a similar situation with just 5-7 looks. Being in motion helps Welker get off the LOS and is an important aspect to his game. He's not nearly as effective getting off the LOS from a static stance. Motion helps Hernandez as well, but being much bigger its not as big a help as it it would be for Welker. I think the guy you see in motion, is the guy Josh is looking to be more of the focus to the offense. It will be interesting to see if it works out that way. 9.. Kolb is an excellent passer who does well in the no huddle offense. It will be interesting to see how much the Cards let him use it. Its harder to run on the road, btw. OTOH, his weakness had been, as stated by several Cardinal fans, that he doesn't have good pocket presence, and can be rattled by a heavy rush. It should also be noted that he isn't the run threat Locker presented, so the Pats pass rush should be more able to blitz and/or let their rushers loose more than last week. 11. This will be a more interesting game than most in the media think. It will be a great test for the offense. People may laugh, but the fact is Cardinal defense could be every bit as good as the Raven D we will face the following week, so how well the offense moves the ball will be telling. OTOH â aside from Fitzgerald, the AZ offense should be another opportunity for the defense to grow without having a lot of pressure put on it. I think the D is good enough to hold the Cards down to under 20 points and NOT have to break out the blitz package to improve their pressuring of the QB. (saving that for the Ravens) This will be a much tougher test for the offense, while providing a slightly more difficult test for the D, which is just the way you want to challenge such a young defense. In this, the schedule maker was very kind. If the offense cracks 30 this week, it WILL be impressive, however there should really be no excuse for the Cardinal offense break 20. 3 good drives by AZ, yielding 2 FG's and a TD would be acceptable to me, show another solid effort and continued gradual improvement. 12 â This is bit OT, but I can across something last week that really pissed me off. I am or was a regular visitor and listener to the ProFootballWeekly web site and radio show. Last week they opened their show with Nolan Norwalky and the lead in that he'd found a publication that is âshedding more light on the spygate scandalâ. He was of course referring to the bogus self published misinformation written by the disgruntled Steeler fan, which was discussed here and dismissed weeks ago. I was infuriated when Narwalky gave the book complete credence, describing it as adding new questions on the Pats success back then and further taint to their superbowl years. Well needless to say I went nuts I immediately sent a letter to the editor Hub Arkush demanding a retraction, since he allowed Narwalky to make a libelous statement without any factual back up. We know that the book was written by an author with a biased agenda and absolutely no investigative, reporting or football background. We know it offered no new information (unlike what was indicated in the brief report) It was very unprofessional, and quite frankly I was surprised, since I generally find their shows interesting. Well the DeOssie thing got me thinking, about the power of Patriot Nation. We have rightfully damaged DeOssie, and I'd like to damage Profootballweekly as well. At least give them the opportunity to do the right thing. Numbers are powers. I thnk that if you hear what was written many of you will respond accordingly Go to ProFootballWeekly.com and scrolled down their radio show, and hear the September 7th show (its the one currently showing). The damage is done in the first 3 minutes. It might seem like no big deal, but if lies go unquestioned, they tend to become viewed as the truth. This âlieâ NEEDS to be responded to.