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. ) 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 spot...at 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.