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Interesting piece on how the spread helps neutralize pass rush...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by MoLewisrocks, Jun 30, 2010.

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  1. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Spread offense has ability to help teams in pass protection
     
  2. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Good post, thanks. I've always thought Brady functioned best with an empty backfield which he did a number of times last season.

    I think the effective formula is to have a mix of empty, mid protection and use full protection sparsely. The unpredictability is far effective than any one formation.
     
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Sure, but there are two problems w the spread, and the Pats have faced both of them: 1) when the spread becomes predictable, it is REALLY predictable. The pass rushers don't even have to contemplate defending the run. 2) more importantly, when a team's four man rush is beating a 5 man line (see SB42, 09 wild card game vs Ravens), you're just plain screwed.

    Particularly when you're #3 option is Sam Aiken - a guy who, each training camp he has been here, has practiced as a special teamer before he has as a wide receiver. He had no business being on the field as much as he was last year. Its comforting that, as we enter another year, he's back to his ST role, and has been surpassed by Holt, Tate, Edelman, Price on the depth chart. He does not really seem to be in the mix for a WR position based on what we know from practices thus far.

    Point being. Last year - we weren't creating a competitive advantage by placing our #3 wideout against their #3 CB last year. That has to change going forward.

    I wish I could get the #s, but I remember Brady had insanely good #s out of play-action, and also I believe out of max-protect, in 2007. I would wager a guess it was similar in 2009. If we go max protect and run a play-action, you're going to give Moss a chance to get open, and when that happens, it often leads to 6.

    There's no one way to skin a cat, at least not for a team with multiple options on offense. Best bet is to try and find matchups that work best. When we had 4 capable receiving options (2007), we could do no wrong. When we only had 2 capable receiving options (2009), the spread did not work for us against teams with any semblance of depth at CB or with any pass rush ability.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  4. Deus Irae

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    This will be true of every offensive system.
     
  5. BradyManny

    BradyManny Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Of course. But its the spread which takes its 5 best blockers and puts them against the other team's 4 best rushers. The numbers are different for other systems. If your #6, #7 blockers are better than the oppositions 5th and 6th rusher, then you have an advantage if you leave more protection. The point is to isolate advantages in one's favor.

    Sam Aiken against a lot of CBs in the league is a detriment against us. I, personally, think we'd have been better off running more 2TE sets last year, letting the opposition rush another LB or two. History has shown that our TEs, as well as our RBs (Faulk), are good at picking up extra rushers.

    I guess the real key then is to have an actual #3WR and not a special teamer playing wideout.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  6. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Bingo. Not only that, but the basic principle will be true in any SPORT. When you can beat five guys with four guys, it leaves you with a numbers advantage elsewhere (especially in football where no one is "defending" the QB, so it's really 4 guys beating 6 guys, allowing TWO double coverages.)
     
  7. Deus Irae

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    Perhaps you're confusing "spread" with "empty backfield". It's not just the spread which pits 5 blockers against 4 rushers. Every offensive system in football will do that. The rules of the game pretty much guarantee that, unless you run tackle eligible plays on every down.

    Well, I think you're overrating the patriots TEs and their blocking. Graham was/is a tremendous blocker. Brady was a mauler against the run, although he'd slowed in pass blocking by the time he signed with the Patriots. Outside of those two, blocking at the TE spot has been very mediocre for the Patriots in the BB era. The Patriots also used both Watson and Baker each more than 60% of the time last season, meaning that there was a fair amount of 2 TE formation being run.

    However, I'm in complete agreement with you about Aiken. I think that his level of suck, combined with Brady's inconsistency, and the injuries to the O-line, pretty much doomed last year's offense to its relative mediocrity. I expect a significant improvement this year, assuming Crumpler isn't completely shot and someone can play the WR3 position at even a slightly below average NFL level.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  8. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Pats spread will kill 90% of the teams. Then the Pats will get to the playoffs and run into the 10% who can (1) ensure pressure with a blitz, (2) are smart enough to play bump-and-run, betting that the blitz will get to get to Brady before the WRs have time to separate from the coverage and (3) have a good centerfielder (e.g. Reed, Polamalu) to mitigate the damage should #2 fail.

    The Pats went to the well too often with the empty-backfield spread last year. They're better off mixing things up, keeping the D on its toes. This is also why they need to develop a reliable running game they can lean on when the spread is figured out. That running game was the difference between the AFCCG vs. San Diego and the SB42 loss two weeks later.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  9. BradyManny

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    Sure, obviously every football play starts with 5 linemen and 4 rushers as a bit of a baseline, and works from there. My point was that if we're not getting an advantage at #3 WR v #3CB, we might as well try and find it elsewhere.

    I agree the 2TE formation was run quite a bit last season - and I think when it was run, it was successful. Why we never saw it during the Ravens game, I'm not sure.

    Again, its a completely different story when Sam Aiken is not our #3WR. But as it was, we might as well have had a cardboard cutout opposite Moss. What gets Sam Aiken off the field? Another TE, RB or an extra tackle. In most cases, whatever player coming onto the field for us in his stead would be more of an asset than Sam Aiken.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  10. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I was discussing the protection not the spread itself, e.g., the actual offense, which like you said, was predictable.
     
  11. Mike the Brit

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    I'll nail my colours to your mast. The last point is critical -- predictability in the application of any strategy will play into the opposition's hands.
     
  12. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If Hernandez can show to be a halfway decent blocker, that helps our spread a great deal. He can line up out in the slot, but if Brady sees trouble coming from a blitz he can audible him back to the line. Or vice versa, he can start on the line, and if Brady sees a mismatch outside he can audible him out.

    Like others have said, our problem with the spread wasn't the spread itself, but our lack of versatility and talent at the WR/TE positions.
     
  13. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Assigning Hernandez to protect defeats the concept of this article which argues that less protection is better. BTW the slot is on the line.
     
  14. Deus Irae

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    Yes, having a stiff as your 3rd wideout really limits what you can do in the current Patriots system. The system is based upon WR1 going middle-deep, WR2 going short-middle, and WR3 working the middle a lot, but also working short and deep. It's all about keeping the defense spread in all 3 zones in order to force mismatches in numbers, since Moss or Welker going 1-on-1 is almost always going to favor the Patriots.

    In that system, the TE can be used to help with the short-middle area, and the HB can circle out of the backfield to help the short area, so there's plenty for Brady to look to. If that WR3 can't at least force honest coverage, though, defenses can roll coverage and really impact Moss' reception totals and Welker's YAC numbers, and that's when the Patriots tend to struggle. We saw that in a lot of second halves, when Brady would lose a bit of concentration, and teams would realize that Aiken was useless, and teams could squeeze the life out of the offense.

    I don't know if Hernandez, Gronkwoski, Tate, Price or Holt are the answer. My initial guess (which I reserve the right to change frequently prior to the beginning of the season), based solely on where those players were last season and not having looked at training camp or exhibition games yet, is that none of them will really be that 'answer' this year. My hope is that the combination of all of them will get it done, especially because Edelman is not Wes Welker, and the help could very well be vital to early season success.

    I just don't have an issue with the spread, such as it is, that the Patriots have been running. I think personnel (including injury) was, by far, the biggest issue with the offense last season.
     
  15. Pewsterbaby

    Pewsterbaby Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    "You know your man is workin' hard... he's worth a deus irae!"

    Sorry man, I just had ta sing the song line. Cut me some slack and indulge me this one time. lol.




    "Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout, Kontadiction?"
     
  16. Kasmir

    Kasmir Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Given that all five you mention potential impact players, a five-way failure is improbable. Let me put it this way: do you really believe they will all be as bad as Aiken was?
     
  17. KontradictioN

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    I was really suprised at how many teams didn't take full advantage of our offensive weaknesses right off the bat in games last year. The only two games that I can think of in which we completely got our asses beat by the opposing defense right from the opening whistle was @ the Saints and against the Ravens in the playoff game. The Ravens game I can kind of look past because Welker was not there. But the Saints showed absolutely no respect whatsoever for Aiken and our other receiving options. Right off the bat, they doubled Moss and Welker and our offense was pretty much screwed. The dared Aiken, Watson, and Baker to beat them and, because of injuries and deficiencies on the O-Line, Watson and Baker were left in to block most of the time. They really ***** slapped us all the way around.
     
  18. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    You'll do what now :eek:?

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  19. Deus Irae

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    Every football player signed is a potential impact player. However, guys fall to lower rounds for reasons and, statistically, the reasons hold up.

    As for believing that they'll be as bad as Aiken was, the answer is no. However, it's not just one position in need of a fix, and there are no guarantees. The TE position is completely changed. What if Crumpler is done and the rookies aren't ready? Doesn't that potential drop mean that a slightly better WR3 will be offset?

    See, we just don't know what the team has right now. We won't even have much of an inkling until training camp and the exhibition games.

    Crumpler looked as if he was slower than Baker, last season. Tate played essentially no time, Holt is an older player who's supposedly behind the young guys right now, and the other young guys are all rookies. I won't count on them until I see something worth counting on. I'm not one to get caught up in Chungisms before they are merited, if you catch my meaning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
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