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In Order to Win

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This board seems to be ripe with people who want to tell everyone what is going to happen before it happens (I am one of the guilty) but perhaps we can take a different approach.

    I start from this premise:

    The Patriots, at 16-0, and winning by HUGE margins for most of the season, were FAR better than the competition. I think most Pats fans felt that edge was still there, and we were an awful lot better than most teams, and at least marginally better than all.
    I think that if every one on this board was forced to pick one team that would win the SB and bet everything they owned on it, one week ago, 99.9% would have chosen the Pats.

    Now, we have lost Brady. We have at least 'come back to the pack'. We may have slid below some of the pack. All because of QB play.

    My quesiton is very simple, and very complex at the same time.
    I think there are too many variables to make the goal winning the SB, so I am going to make the goal winning the division, getting a bye and having homefield advantage.

    How much less than Tom Brady, and his 16-0 2007 performance can we have and still get home field advantage. What does Matt Cassel need to do so that we regress from lasts years regular season perfection, but only as far as still getting home field advantage?

    Here is my answer.

    1) Cassel needs to be consistent. I think we can afford 2 maybe 3 games where he is awful and we either lose or the defense has to dominate and win singlehandedly (or with s/t help)
    I will give him those 2, maybe 3, and dont really care how bad he is those days (think of Brady in Miami in 2001)
    2) Turnovers. Limiting turnovers is important but limiting them WITHOUT having to take the ball out his hands is key. I think 1 Int per 40 passes (aside from those 2-3 bad games that will raise the %) is reasonable
    3) I expect 2-3 games where he is one of the main reasons we win. I expect 2-3 very good games throwing for a lot of yards, late scores, comebacks, etc if we are going to get home field advantage
    4) I would expect he must approach 60% completion, we would need to average 20+ points per game. I think we will need to be above the middle of the pack in 3rd dwon conversion %
    5) Sacks. Sacks have as much to do with the QB as the OL. 32 sacks is 2 a game, and Brady has been sacked less than that most years. I think more than 32 would be an indication that Cassel's awareness may be an issue. I think it needs to stay under 45 for sure
    6) I imagine that he shouldn't have all of his better games against awful teams nor his bad ones vs contenders that we are fighting for home field with

    I actually think 12-4 at least gets a tie-breaker for home-field, i do not see 13-3 or better teams out there.

    Please respond with what you think Cassel has to do for us to earn homefield. Not what you think he will do, not whether you think he can do what you feel he has to.
  2. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I expect there will be a learning curve just as Brady had to go through.

    1. He needs to learn quickly from his mistakes. He is smart enough
    and he has great coaching.

    2. He has to NOT let mistakes degrade his attitude. As long as he
    can improve from week to week and keep positive ... he will overcome
    the mistakes in the long run.
  3. BelizePats

    BelizePats Rookie

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    I think a 2 to 1 touchdown to pick ratio would be a good start.
    What I don't want to see is the ball taken out of his hands. He's got to throw it now and then in order for us to win. I'd like to see Cassel throwing the ball between 18-25 times a game.
  4. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    "What does Matt Cassel need to do so that we regress from lasts years regular season perfection, but only as far as still getting home field advantage?"






    Home field would be nice, but to be honest, I would be happier with a scrappy, veteran team with a chip on their shoulders and their backs against the wall. if the G-men can do it with Gomer Jr., I KNOW this team can!
  5. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    I think that is a good list of what the team would need out of Cassel for a bye week and HFA. I think if Cassel can accomplish that, 12-4 or better is very likely.

    I think where we would likely disagree is over how attainable that is.
  6. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    AJ..has outlined some really good thoughts on what he needs to do..I think that is optimum..but I also think there will be games the team will win where he may play worse or where he may play better and the team lose.
    This next game is big, with NY being a nemesis and all the hype surrounding Favre and such..so I think it's a big game for him.
    I think he has to be patient with himself and not trying to do it all at once. Understand the learning curve and just improve from game to game and limit mistakes and turnovers.
    Agree with BelizePats in not taking the ball away from him. He's got a strong arm, as showed in that bomb to Moss. Be smart and play each game to the team's weaknesses.
    It's a tough process, but I agree that there is a chance for home field advantage.
  7. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Cassel needs to make as few mistakes as possible. This won't happen overnight-he needs to grow into this position with the help and support of the team. He mostly needs to make good decisions which again, won't happen overnight.

    It's one thing to learn at your mentor's knee-it's quite another to see the blitz coming right at you full force and still know what to do in that nanosecond, in order to give your team a shot at another play.

    Poise,guts, and risk.
  8. JoePats

    JoePats Rookie

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    Limit turnovers obviously, but I think he needs to hit a big play or two. Obviously it's not going to be nearly as many as Brady, but that's ok. But just keep the defenses somewhat honest. One of our running game advantages last year, and why Maroney was able to average 4.5 per is that he got to run a lot against multiple DB sets. This is my biggest concern, teams stacking the box now and putting Cassel in a lot of 3rd/longs. Now, he's got Moss. But he has to both throw to Moss deep (which he'll do) but also hit a few.
  9. MrBigglesWorth

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    The Bye Week is what could prove to be most elusive now. I have to think Pittsburg is in the chase for one as they have an overall solid team. Indy and San Diego are dinged up trying to figure things out. I do think 12-4 could be enough for a BYE and I do think it might come down to tie breakers. Without that BYE it makes the road to the SB so much harder winnign 4 games in a row that can be done but so tough.

    To get homefield: I believe Cassel needs to 3-4 good drives per game but the majority need to end up as touch downs and not field goals. if we start kicking more field goals I think he need 4-5 good drives.

    I think the bottom line is we need to put up an average of 21-24 points per game. The days of average 27 or more points are not happening this season IMO and we don't need it to happen.

    We need to rely on the run game and defense to manage the game and go back to the days of the slugfest and wear down the other team and sealing the deal in the 4th quarter. We can't afford coaching mistakes, which I don't think will happen, but in all honestly I think BB probably spent more time on the defense because Brady and McDaniels managed the offense more. This makes me wonder if Brady might help with the playcalling with McDaniels. It is a curious question how much input he will have with the team while trying to rehab.
  10. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Teams will double team Moss, more now than ever after last week's game. Matt to Moss was a beautiful thing, so Moss gets locked up. Screens.
  11. Brady to Brown

    Brady to Brown Rookie

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    He needs to be more aware in the pocket.

    I have watched Cassel very close in the few chances he has played in NFL games. His biggest problem IMO is that he can be blindsided when a rusher gets behind the O-Line. He needs to stay healthy.

    As far as getting us to the playoffs that depends on the rest of the team.

    Brady going down in the first game of the year after the horror of the Superbowl may be more than they can handle.

    Belichick will have to pull a rabbit from his hat for this team to get home field in the playoffs.
  12. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron Rookie

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    1. No INT's. No turnovers and we are in the game.
    2. Keep drives alive. Limit three and outs and keep the defense off the field. If our offense is on the field and not turning it over, they cannot score.
    3. Did I mention interceptions? Learn to throw it away if you see nobody open and the clock in your head is ringing.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  13. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #18 Jersey
    I think a key will be being able to occasionally hit Moss with a long bomb. Once or twice a game would be nice! Or at the very least come close to hitting him. That will keep defenses honest and open up the running and short pass/screen games.
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In the end, I don't think that the needs from the QB positio are any different with Cassel in there. Cassell is simply not as good. While 12-4 is possible, it seems unlikely. I think that with Brady we should have EXPECTED approximately 14-2. Is Tom Brady more than 2 games per year better than Matt Cassel? Prabably.

    But Andy's premise is correct, we've gone from a team point at the Super Bowl to one fighting for home field advantage. I do think that the goal is much closer than it was at halftime. After all, the chargers and the colts both lost.

  15. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    What's going to be needed is for Cassel to be able to hit Gaffney/Washington as the 3rd read in the pattern.
  16. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    you had to like how cassell when through his reads and didn't lock into a wr. that shows progression IMO. O'Connell is most likely at that point as a rookie locking into wr's.

    Cassel checked down quite a bit to Sammy Morris. So I see those as positive signs. Particularly that the game has slowed down for him.

    the question is how much has the game slowed down for him.
  17. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    Even Brady didn't have a 2:1 ratio his first year. (He had 18 TDs and 12 INTs.)

    What he has to do it keep the # of INTs and other turnovers (fumbles, mishandled snaps, etc.) down. We can do without the TD passes as long as we don't give free possessions to the other guys.

    Speaking of which, one thing I remember distinctly from 2001 (the SB year most comparable to this year, specifically the first year starter at QB) is the number of big plays we got on defense and special teams. Think back to the two big plays in the AFC Championship game that year by Troy Brown, or the Ty Law pick for a TD in SB36. That's what we're going to need if we are going to go deep into the playoffs this year.
  18. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    "games better" is almost entirely dependent on the rest of the team. How many "close" games did we have last year?

    You can win by 50 and you can win by 3. If Brady plays and scores 50, and Cassel plays and scores 21, well Brady did a lot better but if the team is as good as advertised and we still win... Well a win is a win.
  19. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rookie

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    Baby steps. You are looking for home field and figuring seasons' results, its half way to week 2! The most important thing is WINNING THE NEXT GAME, the one-game-at-a-time mantra was never so true. Top ten things I would like to see him do the next game:
    1-not get hurt
    2-not get anyone else hurt, ex. by leading a reciever into coverage
    3-be open to criticizm
    4-adjust to the learning curve-speed of the game
    5-limit turnovers by throwing the ball away
    6-not letting a bad start/bad game get to him/short memory on a INT
    7-not try and do too much
    8-be the leader that his predicessor was
    9-dont be afraid to run...for a first down or to tackle a INT
    10-have fun! First start since HIGH SCHOOL, lets not put him in the HOF yet!

    I think the season is layed out in front of him pretty good. I would like to see him take the time during the bye week to self scout and learn what everyone else sees as his tendancies.
  20. JSn

    JSn Rookie

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    He needs to throw to Moss.
    Not for TD's, but for Moss. Moss needs to feel that he's still going to show his skills with Cassel throwing to him. SB 42 sucked, game one sucked (though it's a W).

    Cassel needs to find Moss a couple times every game to keep one of the other big playmakers on the O happy and working hard.

    Just my opinion.
  21. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Here's how I sum it up:

    In the best case scenario, we'd be lucky to say that Cassell approaches what Brady did in 2001.

    Brady, in coming in for Bledsoe in 2001, looked serviceable coming into the game against the Jets - had a huge shocker of a win against the Colts (at which time I predicted there'd be a QB controversy and that Brady would win the job) had a loss against Miami, a horrendous 4 INT game against the Broncos and a somewhat close game against the Rams that they lost.

    Then Brady found his groove and the team never lost again.

    The point is, even Brady needed time to grow and develop, and the coaches kept the playcalling somewhat simple for him with a lot of short dump passes - and that was good enough to win.

    So Cassell doesn't need to come close to equaling the Brady of 2008 - he just needs to perform somewhere near the level of a much less experienced and developed 2001 Tom Brady - and given his stronger supporting cast, that still gives me great hope for this season.
  22. D-cleater

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    More important than Stats, I think Cassell just needs to be a game manager. Of course this includes finding the open receivers, not throwing into coverage, etc, etc.... but to me its all situational.

    If we have a three touchdown lead in the 4th qtr, the INT is not critical. I could care less about his stats as long as we win. If he does this with the game on the line, it will kill us. This team works too hard to lose multiple games by turnover.

    For me, Cassel needs to get in the zone when the game is close. He needs to establish his "clutch" factor . This is why I said in another thread that a 4th qtr game winning drive somewhere in the next few games will be a HUGE confidence boost for the pride of Chatsworth High, and the team itself
  23. PATRIOT64

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    Cassel needs to....

    Just pass the ball to the RBs and hope they give him enough positive yards to make it easy on him for a 3rd and short a lot of the time

    Don't step back and look directly at the receiver he wants to throw to,Hello Matt but there are some pretty good corners and safeties out there who can see where you are going to throw it

    On 3rd and long don't force it into your patented double triple coverage tosses - Either find an open guy or forget that series of downs and throw it out of bounds over everybody's head,even run it if you can but don't give it away with a turnover like you are santa

    On 3rd and short don't throw it anywhere but in the slot if Welker or Thomas is open or to the sidelines if Moss or Gaffney has enough yards to get a first down,don't try and be a hero like Brady and throw it long,you will probably not hit the target or get it picked off
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2008
  24. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He established that with me back in 2006 against Saban's first string Miami defense who always gave Tommy fits including earlier that day...

    What he did on Sunday in leading a 98 yard scoring drive while his teamates still had one eye fixed on the tunnel just reinforced that.

    Going forward this is as much about what his teamates need to do as what Matt does, or doesn't need to do...
  25. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Cassel needs to not listen to/block out his genius critics among the fans and mediots and just focus on doing what his coaches and his football instincts tell him to do.
  26. PATRIOT64

    PATRIOT64 Rookie

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    If the coaches are smart they will do the above things which are exactly to the strengths of Cassel's play and of which his strengths can all be written and fit on a postage stamp
  27. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Instead of playing disenchanted resident troll, why don't you just skip this season and we'll call you back when the franchise returns.

    The coaches are smart. That's why they kept a guy with 4 years experience in the system on the roster when idiot fans and mediots were insulting and mocking him and predicting they'd cut him. Which just goes to show you what they know...

    We get that you're unhappy because Bill didn't/doesn't remotely agree with you. And the guy you spewed endless venom at won a game while posting a 116 QB rating. Get over it. The rest of us still have a season to look forward to. It may not be the slam dunk that frontrunners demand, but it will be fascinating and compelling none the less for actual football fans.
  28. D-cleater

    D-cleater Rookie

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    Agreed 100% ( and with your subsequent post in this discussion). I don't recall the game from 2006 very well, I wish I did. But I was impressed with Cassel on sunday nevertheless. Impressed, but not convinced. I'm really eager for Sunday's matchup against the Jets. Its by no means a make or break game, but if Cassel leads the team to victory this sunday it will be a HUGE momentum swing and set the tone for the season. I hope I'm not placing too much weight in the outcome of week 2, but I do think its important.
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