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idle thoughts - the pregame Cardinal edition

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Sep 13, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    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 – 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 :eek:

    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 “dominant” 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 “hog index” 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 – 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 – 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 “shedding more light on the spygate scandal”.

    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 “lie“ NEEDS to be responded to. :mad:
  2. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And, of course, the Cardinals have a pair of backup OTs minding the store. It will be very interesting to see how different the pass rush looks vs. last week.
  3. letekro

    letekro Rookie

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    Ah, leave Nawrocki alone. He does good work and BB has been complimentary of him in the past.
  4. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re the D not being dominant due to lack of pass rush pressures.

    The premise of BB defensive philosophy is to take away what a team does best it's strength. In the case of the Titans that is stopping the running game and C Johnson. Being ranked #2 for run D is a total success. They gave up some pass pressure to take away the run game, which they did. The young QB had 2 TO's jobs well done.

    The game plan against Flacco et al would be far different in terms of emphasis.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  5. tatepatsfan

    tatepatsfan Rookie

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    I agree completely, I was going to post something similar. The defense definitely did the job it was assigned to do.
  6. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re the Cards. 8-2 is not to be dismissed regardless of the strength of schedule.

    However, they un what I understand to be the Pittsburgh/LeBeau scheme, Brady shreds this sort of D, we may see the TE's split off to spread the field a bit and give Brady the easy reads.

    Taking away Fitz will be a priority this week, Kolb has had happy feet and doesn't handle pressure real well so there will be more emphasis on rushing the passer.

    We should get a better read on the pass D this week.
  7. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    And on top of that, you have a mobile QB that you want to keep in the pocket, which means your ends have to play more contain. Overall, the pass rush produced a couple sacks and a TD despite being (possibly) the third priority of the primary pass rushing positions. Not too shabby IMO.
  8. SacPete1

    SacPete1 Rookie

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    3rd and long defense was really my only concern coming out of Nashville. Stats after game 1 need to be taken with a grain of salt. I'm curious to see their strategy for pressuring Kolb. Some were critical of Ninko and his lack of pressure but I noticed that he was very specific in his rush lane and would not charge up field much if at all which I suspect was containment of Locker and his primary job. Jones on the other hand seemed to me more diverse, possibly because forcing a right handed QB to his left makes for a harder throw on the run vs the right. Also seemed like the spacing of the zone layers was a little much but possibly by design as well.
    AZ will certainly bring more pressure and most likely 5 rushers consistenly. Could be good time to see screens and bubble screens. Most eager to see the running game against this defense. Not expecting much production but really wasn't expecting much last weekend.
    Spygate....really??? Its 2012! what's the point of these people? Get a life!
  9. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    You know, I was just starting to wonder if all juicy topics had been done untl this post came out...well timed PFK.
    I agree, it's some type of confirmation bias based on the basis that we care more about the pats and tend to only see highlights (most of us) of other teams.
    Let's wait a bit before we get wild on this. I believe the game plan vs Tennesse called for us to dominate the LOS and not put QB pressure as the #1 priority. We wanted to contain/spy Chris Johnson and ditto (to some extent) Locker as he has mobility


    I'll have to go digest the rest later...people want me to work right now :)
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  10. MadCardDisease

    MadCardDisease Rookie

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    Yep. The Cardinals D has always struggled to contain elite TEs. Also as someone else mentioned in this thread, due to the aggressive nature of the Cardinals D, they are prone to give up big plays when screen passes are used against them.
  11. Gronkandez

    Gronkandez Rookie

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    Im looking past the Cardinals no matter how dangerous that may seem. :eek:

    From time to time they play well but that's at home, not on the road. Like I said last week about the Titans, the Cardinals simply don't have enough offensive firepower to threaten to win this game.

    Just don't punt it to Patrick Peterson please.
  12. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    I'm glad you brought up the Pittsburgh relationship with the Cardinal defense. I meant to mention it myself before I got caught up in my own verbosity. The good news is that there certainly will be familiarity with a basic understanding of the defensive concepts. The bad news it that it is confusing and we still don't have that OL continuity that I hope we eventually find.

    I saw a stat that the Cards blitzed 60% of the time vs the Seahawks, and averaged 40% blitzing last season. I'm sure they are aware that teams that Blitz Brady a lot, don't usually fare well. I'm pretty sure we won't see a 60% blitz rate, or anything close to it.
  13. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    So that would (typically) mean that Welker would be featured as he works the blitz very well with Brady. It will be great to see how Lloyd works as well, I believe there was one play last week that he made the right read (and completion) for a short pass from a blitz or pressure.
  14. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Welker on the slant or (even better) Welker with the quick screen FTW.
  15. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    The Arkush family is a Belichick-hater, based on previously published articles about CameraGate in general & Bill in particular. Nawrocki should stick to draft analysis, which I enjoy reading. Too bad he has to stoop to this level of muck-raking.
  16. UK_Pat37

    UK_Pat37 Rookie

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    Reading through this thread you notice, and it happens a lot, is people saying the reason for lack of pressure is because we are 'containing' and 'playing the run'. It's all bull.

    You can get pressure whilst playing contain. All it is about is integrity, just like gap integrity in the run game, you have to make sure you don't allow the pocket to open up so he can step out, or lose the edge and enable the QB to go around. Best way to do it for a DE s to use the speed rush, lean your right shoulder into your blocker, thus limiting the distance to get to the QB, and make sure that outside shoulder doesn't get caught inside.

    As a DE playing that technique, you have to trust the DT is doing his job and playing his gap the way he is supposed to so you just focus on doing your own job. When the DEs are containing, so are the DTs to ensure the pocket doesn't open up...but does that stop them trying to collapse it? No.

    There's no excuse for poor pressure...fans like to make them up.

    Here's another one...more and more QBs coming out of College are more mobile than ever before. Thee will come a time when the vast majority will be scrambling QBs...you can't get away playing contain and not getting pressure all season.

    Our zones get picked apart at times when the front four don't do their job. Do you think BB settles with a low ranked pass rush but says 'oh it's alright, we were just contaning'?
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  17. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think that is correct with respect of Hub A from Jan 2012:

    ProFootballWeekly.com - A different view of Belichick


    Can't speak of other writers at PFW however.
  18. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Depends on the match up. BB has always tried to contain guys like Vick rather than pressure them. IMO that was the case here.
  19. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    Nobody said it wasn't possible to do both, just that it's harder to look like a great pass rush while still containing both a mobile QB and a top NFL running back. The fact that the pressure looked decent despite those things is what has many encouraged.
  20. patfanken

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    That's a powerful statement from Hub, and it makes it even more surprising that he was sitting right next to Narwalky (who I also enjoy during the draft) when he made his libelous, unfounded and unnecessary remarks.
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