Idle thoughts

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Oct 16, 2006.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    This thread originally started to be a response to a post by RIP, who opined that the WRs, by and large, should be up to speed by now, and the reason they are not open is due to the fact they... to put it bluntly...suck. (though RIP was much more diplomatic. :D) However while I responded I started to wonder whether the complex passing attack that ALL the teams in the NFL use, where both QB & receivers read the defense, and often change their routes on the fly, is actually the best way to attack all the complex and hidden defenses that current NFL offenses are exposed to.

    1. Here is my opinion on RIP's thought that the its basically the fact that our WRs aren't good enough to get open:

    The more sophisticated the camera work becomes, the more it becomes clearer, even to the casual fan, how DIFFICULT the passing game has become.

    On most passes the QB is throwing the ball WELL before the WR is making his break. He is RELYING on the WR to be in a certain a certain time. Very rarely, usually broken plays, does the QB have the luxury of being able to pick out the "open" receiver.

    To make the matter even MORE complex, the QB is throwing the ball based on HIS perception of what the Defense is doing. He is RELYING on the WR to have the same perception. No longer do WR just run straight routes called in the huddle. In situations where the players are experienced in the system and have played several years with eachother, there will be up to 3 options on every pass play. I'm pretty sure the Pats coaching staff is limiting that to 2 in this case, but this still requires a great deal more timing than what we think. (the Q drops back. Sees the the open receiver.Throws the ball).

    What really is happening is the QB drops back, reads the defense, Then he reads the key defender (usually a OLB or S) then throws to one receiver or another. (For ex. QB reads Tampa 2 on the snap. He has one WR running a 10 yd incut and another running a deep post. If the S jumps the incut he looks to the post, or vica versa - a good example of this was the Branch TD against Pittsburgh when Troy P, jumped the incut and Brady hit Branch on the post for a TD.

    The same goes for the WR, and he has a poor look at the defense. He has to read the defense CORRECTLY, get off the LOS, and not only be in the correct area, he has to be in the correct area AT THE RIGHT TIME, hoping the QB has seen the same thing that he did.

    This requires A GREAT DEAL OF TIMING and ENDLESS repetitions, and usually practices don't give you the kind of look you will get in a game. So that is ENDLESS REPETITIONS in GAME situations. BTW- This is a very short and simple explaination on just ONE SID of one route. A Pro team wil have 50-60 combinations

    Given all of this, and the fact that of Brady's 4 of 5 of Brady's WRs are new THIS year, and of those only ONE even had the benefit of a training camp. Its a wonder we complete any passes at all. ;)

    2. Now after I've said ALL OF THAT, here is something I've been wondering about for some time. Are coaches getting too smart for their own good? Are they OVER coaching? Are they thinking too much about what works, and less about the good execution?

    They say that nothing is really new in football, just adaptations of things that were done years ago (examples: a lot of the plays that we see out of the shotgun formation, are plays that were develped decades ago in the era of the single wing, which died out in the early 50's. Also that 3-4 defense that is all the rage now is still the same one that OKLAHOMA U, ran in the 50's under Bud Wilkerson, etc, etc)

    So I'm wondering if teams would be able to get an advantage if they forgot about all the reading crap, and just ran SET routes that everyone knows about. What was lost in the scheming, would be gained in EXECUTION, and fewer chances for a turnover.

    I still remember, back in the day :)D ), how teams would talk about defending the Unitas to Berry 12 yd out cut. Teams would know it was coming, be ready for it, but still not be able to defend it becasue the EXECUTION was so flawless. So since in the NFL, where the old and forgotten, quickly become the new and innovative, maybe this would work for a while, especially in the Pats situation. What do you guys think?

    3. PET PEEVE: Watching most of the teams that haven't won a game, beat teams you wouldn't think they could REMINDS me of what I have always believed. EVERY team in the NFL is VERY GOOD. In other words they all have VERY GOOD football players. ERGO, EVERY team in the NFL has the talent to win ANY game. How well teams actually DO in the long run, is more a function of they system they play in, the motivation to excell that is available, experience, and the coaching they get. That is why so often a so called "impact player" is viewed as successful on one team and less in another, or visa versa. So IMHO even a team like the woebegotten Oakland Raider can play an "elite" team like the Broncos, and except for a play or two, play them even. ERGO: EVERY win is a GREAT WIN, and just because we DIDN'T blow out Miami or the Bills etc, we probably shouldn't be so critical of our team. It is NEVER easy, guys. The talent gap between teams isn't all they great. Every team has 3-5 Exceptional players, but the other 48-50 guys are all pretty much the same (relatively speaking ;) )

    4. Winning all these games recently have kind of made the regular season almost an after thought. I enjoy the games just as much, but as a fan, I don't feel the intensitiy week in and week out I felt when this run began. I read a good article in the globe this week, which pointed that out. It was Tomase I think.

    He noted, looking at this division and the lead we have right now, it is now pretty clear that unless some thing radically bad would have to happen to us, as well as something radically good to happen to one of our opponents, we WILL win this division (AFCE). So for now, I think that the Pats are now in a prolonged "training camp" attempting to DEVELOP the team that will be ready to play its BEST football in January. Only the importance of getting a bye keeps this regular season even remotely riviting. Because it really doesn't matter whether we win 9 games or 14, we will STILL win the division.

    5. All that being said, I still strongly believe that if we don't play a good game in Buffalo, we could lose. We don't need a great game, but a solid one where we don't get too many penalties, TOs, of gbive up long plays.
  2. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    Very very good post.

    I think you hit the nail on the head as far as the WRs go. And your thoughts on both the talent level of the 'average' NFL team and the AFCE this season are very on spot with what I'd been noticing as well, but stated better than I could have ever put out there.

    I'm glad you've started posting these over here as well as at KFFL. Thank you!
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Regarding the strength of bad teams, yes, it is important to remember that good records usually come from teams that make the big plays at the big time not blowouts from start to finish. Sure it's nice to be able to laugh through the 4th quarter of a game vs. Cincy on occasion. But anyone who thinks that's the norm for any team, even against bad teams is wrong. A lot of games which look like blowouts based on the final score are often close in the 3rd or even 4th quarter.

    On the WR however complicated it may be, we have to find a way to make it work. That may be by trying to incorporate the full offense given that we should win the division easily and it may be worth a loss or two, and a lower seed, to have Gabriel, Caldwell and Jackson fully on board come playoff time. But if they aren't going to get there, they'll need to simplify things to make something work. Other teams have been able to incorporate their guys in. So either 1) We brought in crap, 2) We're integrating them badly or, hopefully, 3) We're sacrificing a little production now for a bigger gain later in the season.
  4. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    "prolonged training camp"

    :D NEM never did like two-a-days.
  5. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    Great point at the end there about the regular season.

    With the Pats as good as they are and the division as bad as it's been in years, I'm already counting down the days until the regular season is over, as well as trying to figure out the best possible scenarios.

    And it's October.

    Maybe 5 years ago I would ride every game like it was life or death, and really savor the division rivalries, but now, it's a total snore fest.

    The Jets, Bills, and Dolphins are so pathetic that you can just laugh at them as bottom-feeders and leave it at that. They act like there's some big rivalry and we Pats Fans are getting all fired up for the game, but in reality, the rivalry is dead. The Pats have just been too dominant.
  6. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster Supporter

    We have a legit shot at the #1 seed in the AFC so for this fan every game is critical.

    Great post as usual PFK
  7. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    Well put, have heard this time and time again on the talk shows with the players and BB. Heard the comparison about how Branch was integrated into the Hawks game plan, he is one wr who is joining three regulars. For the Pats all of their receivers are new except for #80.

    Also heard the argument about the timing stuff, particularly as it relates to blitz pick or getting "chucked" at the line. Our previous receivers adjusted their routes and Brady is considered to be the master of adjustments. Our new guys are not well versed in making adjustments, thus Troy has picked up a lot of receptions early.. the others have not.

    I hope we have a great offensive game against Buffalo, and Brady throws at least 2 long td's.. just to shut everybody up, this board has beaten this to death. No matter this team will never put up flashy numbers, all we do is win and this is the most important.
  8. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

    If you keep writing these nice threads, somebody around here should hire you to do regular contributions. ;)

    1) I think that there is plenty of so-called 'blame' to go around in the passing game, and that nobody has been terrific so far. But most of the 'problems' have been essentially unavoidable at this point because these guys are not familiar with each other. So I like the way you try to put it into perspective. I also feel like they can get it together because thankfully the schedule is not bad, so let the training camp continue!

    2) The good teams often do run simple plays, like Denver's zone blocking run game or some of the Colts WR patterns. The Pats try that approach when playing games in the division (i.e. keep it simple). Ironically, those are the game plans that certain posters grumble relentlessly about after the fact.

    3) Raiders looked good on D at Denver, and if the offense wasn't so totally uninterested in playing football, with the exception of side-line to side-line Lamont Jordan, they would have won.

    4) The real excitement of this year's Patriot's schedule will be can they avoid 'trap' game after 'trap' game after 'trap' game.......

    5) Bills will be angry. :D
  9. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    As Troy would say "Bingo, I got Bingo!"
  10. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Actually, I doubt it. :)
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    From today's Boston Globe, comments from Phil Sims... who is more respectable than most.

    Simms wonders if the Patriots are victims of their success.

    ``I watched the New England-Miami game and I heard rumblings in the crowd, even when Tom Brady was getting some passes knocked down," he said. ``I sensed that people were thinking, `The Dolphins are 1-3 and we should beat them by 50.' I think New England is in a tough place. They've won three Super Bowls, but it doesn't seem like winning is good enough, they have to win with style, convincingly, to keep people happy. I guess I'd ask, `What does everyone expect?' "
  12. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    Thanks for the many replies, even the flatterning ones, but the main issue I wanted to hear from you is whether anyone else thinks that by SIMPLIFYING the QB/WR options the EXECUTION would improve. Not only for this team, but league wide??????

    Lets get the discussion going.
  13. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

    I know that when the Pats have done this, they have tended to win games by a single field goal, late. You have to have talent as part of the equation. Weis often played Miami this way. Keep it simple. But it was downright ugly for the Pats.

    The teams that run the same play over and over tend to be good at it, like Denver or the Colts.

    The downside of running simple plays is that you better have a back up plan, because someone like Belichick can take your plan away from you. Unless you happen to be the Broncos.
  14. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    For a simple passing scheme to work, you'd need the outcomes to be that receivers reliably get open if single-covered ... and that they're far enough apart that a defender on another receiver can't jump the route ... and that the passes can't commonly be knocked down at the line of scrimmage. And even with that simplicity, you'd need blitz adjustments.
  15. cavtroop

    cavtroop In the Starting Line-Up

    #87 Jersey

    PFK: great post, especially the part about the WR and QB having to read the defense the same way, then run the correct route. All while the defense is trying to disguise what it is doing. Very very tough to pick up in a few week.

    I don't have the link handy (I'm at work), but there is a website out there that has several of the NFL playbooks for download. One of the playbooks is the 2002 (2003?) NE Offensive playbook.

    No, mind you, I'm a smart guy. Hold down a good job, can figure most things out. I flipped through the playbook. It was mind-boggling. The different options the WR has on each play based on what the defense is showing...its amazing. Figure 100 plays in the book. 2, sometime 3 options per route. Thats 300 or so different permutations - all depending on what the defense shows. And like PFK said, the QB and the WR have to make the same reads, to be on the same page, and be where the ball is at the correct time.

    I think PFK is onto something, in that the playbooks are getting too tough (or maybe the players are getting dumber... :) ). But it is a 'keep up with the Jones' kind of thing - if your opponents are doing it, you should be too, else you become too predictable. Maybe that is the problem with the Pats early on this year (not that 4-1 is a problem mind you) - they are using less options per play (maybe no options per play), and have thus become predictable. Interesting thought....
  16. Mooch

    Mooch Practice Squad Player

    Good topic.

    I think that, in the case of the Patriots, that simplifying the system takes away the major advantage that Tom Brady has over defensive coordinators (not to mention other QBs around the league) -- His ability to read and react. When you have a guy who frequently goes to his #3 or #4 option in his progressions, "dumbing down" the options takes away a major part of Brady's skill set. If you were to put Brady in an offense that just relies on his arm (lots of 20 yard outs, long bombs, etc...), you'd have less production and you'd probably get him killed in the process. Also, the Patriots coaching philosophy seems to mesh with this as well. For years, we've all read about Belichick being a master of gameplanning to take ONE THING away from an opponent that will blow up the entire scheme. Well, if you simpify the offense too much, you open yourself up to a similar plan.

    The opposite situation would be a guy like Michael Vick. Here's a player with obvious physical skills who is thrust into a complicated West Coast offense that frequently puts him into situations that do not best utilize his talents. So smart opposing defensive coordinators are pretty easily able to shut down the Falcon offense.
  17. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    I don't disagree with anything that you've said per se, but perhaps I wasn't being clear in my explaination. If the Pats were to run set patterns, this would in no way take away Brady's ability to work his progression, 1-4. In fact it might help him since he would know for certain EXACTLY where his receivers would be at all times, and not have to hope and pray they they are reading the same thing that he is.

    It would help the receivers as well since they will be able to concentrate on their evasion techniques on the LOS and making the proper cuts EXACTLY where they are supposed to be. Now they are lining up, trying to read the defense and at the same time trying to get off the LOS, run the right route and be where they are supposed to be at the proper time.

    Yes it would eliminate options. This is a trade off, not a sure fire solution. You give up some of your flexibilty for an improvement in your execution. Like anything its a risk reward situation, and you make your decision based on which will make it more likely you could move the ball.

    Here we agree completely. At some point someone will realize that they Falcons will have a better chance at getting to the superbowl with Matt Shaub than Mike Vick. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the LAST YEAR of "Mike Vick elite QB in the NFL"
  18. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

    #24 Jersey

    Good topic Ken.

    On developing this chemistry with receivers: I have argued before that part of the value of a receiver is his ability, and part of the value is his understanding of the specific routes, system, and QB approach of his existing team. And that the Patriots seem to undervalue this component. With Branch holding out during the offseason and Givens a premier free agent, gone essentially the first day, the Patriots made no effort to bring back even Dwight or Davis -- guys who at least knew the system and offered some special teams help to boot. Very strange decision.

    Many have noted the complexity of understanding the joint unspoken decision required by QB and receivers to select the right option on a route. That said, I'll give you five reasons it's overblown: the touchdown receptions by Deion Branch and Terrell Owens this weekend. They seemed to get in the right spots. Maybe they are special cases.

    There could be a couple options here.
    One is, as Ken says, simplify the routes, so there is only one route in a given play for each receiver. Brady determines which route is likely to be open that play under that defense, and throws the ball accordingly. The only uncertainty is the accuracy of the receiver's route and the accuracy of Brady's throw.

    Another option, possibly, is to limit the number of routes each receiver practices each week. The Patriots have an interesting situation where the talent of their #5 receiver is only marginally below the talent of their #1 receiver. There is another thread today rating all NFL receivers, and the Pats all show up between ~#60 and ~#80. So, switching between Caldwell, Brown, Gabriel, Gaffney, and Jackson really doesn't add or drop too much talent. So, you could split up the routes each practices each week. Now you can't give them each the same five routes, because teams would catch on to that quickly. But you could make them expert in a couple specific routes, and understand exactly the decisions and options. This may be what they are doing, as you see them rotate receivers in and out.

    On your second point about parity:
    Well, even in their best season, the Patriots seldom blow out teams. That may be about parity, but you do see the Patriots edge the Jets, and then the Jaguars crush them 41-0. The Pats don't seem to have that killer approach. When ahead, they tend to play softer defenses, run less risky offensive plays. When behind, they tend to slowly chip away rather than take a big risk to get right back in it.
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