Interesting Read on if this year's group is better than last year's

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ian, May 11, 2013.

  1. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

    #34 Jersey

  2. willard

    willard On the Roster

    Don't agree with most points.

    Reason No. 1: Too many changes at receiver
    Welker is the best slot receiver of all time. The situation went bad and it should not for the cost. Still we saved money and my guess is all the hits over the years have impacted his flexibility and lightning fast reflexes betraying his smallish hands. This is what has led to the higher number of drops. I believe we will be able to replace Lloyd in our offense and look much stronger going forward.

    Reason No. 2: Too many injury concerns
    Football is an incredibly violent sport and injuries will happen. We have a young and very deep roster and so I would think that would put us in the best position moving forward. Hernandez is the one who scares me. My legs would snap running the way he does.

    Reason No. 3: Tom Brady is a year older
    If Tom does not suffer injury that impacts his throwing, I think he will be Tom. I read the article about his new personal coach and his desire to emulate the pitching drill.

    Reason No. 4: Tougher schedule
    It does look like a much tougher schedule.

    Reason No. 5: The AFC East is stronger
    Well it certainly could not get much weaker and Miami appears to be a possible threat. Buffalo confuses me, but maybe they develop an identity this year. Sure do appreciate all the Jests do for our merriment.
  3. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    I maintain that this coming edition of the Patriots is the first complete version of the re-building process that Bill Belichick had to undertake, starting in the 2009 preseason.

    It is a tribute that they always produced double digit wins while first one and then another area of the team was reconstructed with young fast talent.

    The secondary and pass rush started to come intot focus last season. Then lack of depth struck in the Playoffs. Everyone seems to have forgotten the thorough dismantling of the fine Texans team. That was a glimpse of the complete 2013 Patriots, previewed in 2012. Now alla re healthy and sound depth has been added virtually everywhere.

    The WR corps is less critical then many presume. The spectacular TEs make that so; and so do the veterans Amendola, Edelmen, Hawkins, Jenkins and Jones. The high drafted rookies are gravy.

    It would appear the way BB is adding to his RB corps that he intends to force a big running game too. Who else has a 1000 yard rusher as his #6 RB?

    Reason 2.

    The Pats always have thier share of injuries. Injuries ruined the Patriots for the AFCCG in 2012. They are deeper everwherenow, and the injury bug won't bite in such a critical situation, hopefully.

    Reason 3.

    Tom Brady is indeed a year older, like fine wine. But more importantly his backup at QB has another season of acclimation to the NFL. Plus TB has more talent to catch his throws.

    Ryan Mallett made a very big jump last season; and banished Brian Hoyer. Only a fellow named Brady ever served as the sole, and only backup to a starting QB,as a mere sophomore. We shall see in pre-season, but Mallett is now better prepared to fill in for a few games just as Cassell managed to do.

    Reason 4.

    Tougher schedules are in the eye of the beholder. I think the AFC is weaker at the top than it was last season. Maybe the NFC Super Bowl rep will be a tougher proposition, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Meanwhile the road there appears easier.

    Reason 5.

    The AFC East may be tougher but I think that is only problematical. Buffalo is starting a rookie QB, so may the NYJ. So we can disregard both. Only Miami can be regarded as potentially tougher. But for every addition, there has ben a major subtraction. Losing talented players Jake Long and Karlos Dansby as well as one of their starting CBs is nothing to be encouraged about.
  4. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    So much focus on the WR's, and the vast changes to the position group. The Football Outsiders article that opined that WR is a vastly overrated position made a good point. While somewhat flawed in its presentation, it DOES make the case that having great WR's doesn't necessarily mean that wins are going to follow. And make no mistake about it, its all about the WINS, and nothing to do with the yards gained. Painful case in point the 420+ yds in the Ravens game vs the loss of the game and the few points accumulated.

    Another point to think about is the seemingly easy availability of talent at the position. Consider, we got a 6'3 210 WR who can run a 4.4 forty and reportedly has simply awesome hands. A kid that is bright, loves football, and was a leader on his the END of the 2nd round. And then about 60 picks later they pick up a guy who runs a 4.3 forty, great hands, great character and good production deep into the 4th round.

    Yes I know all about the questions these 2 bring along with them, but the point is that talented WR's are littered throughout the draft, just look at the interest a guy like TJ Moe who was by passed by 32 teams 7 times, brought to the board. There are simply that many that are around.

    Again the loss of Welker is far overstated.....IF Amendola can remain on the field, because EVERYTHING we we know about his abilities when he IS on the field tells us he can be Welker's equal, or close enough that it won't matter in a offense geared more to spreading the ball around more.

    Even the most negative of Pats fans has to admit that the Pats haven't had this much raw talent at WR in a long while. And while it might take some time for the offense to gel, the fact that we are blessed with an improved running game, a better OL, deeper TE situation, and an improved defense should greatly help in weathering the tribulations that a revamped WR position group will entail.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    I don't recall disagreeing with one of your post more than this one.

    1) WHY were our receivers drafted at the bottom of the second and in the 4th. Perhaps it is because the drafting of any wide receiver is a crapshoot, and not likely to bear fruit. Perhaps you are a better judge of talent than GM's who let these receivers "slip". Measurables are fine. Many have had these and failed. Many have lacked these and succeeded. Having better wide receivers doesn't guarantee the Super Bowl; nothing does. However, a solid set of receivers certainly helps a passing team.

    2) Our short game will continue to be fine. Amendola will handle that well (along with Gronk, Hernandez and Edelman). Our outside, intermediate and long games will rely on total unknowns: problematic rookies and JAG free agents. This was a mess lass year and will be a mess this year unless a rookie and JAG or two steps up, which is of course possible. We can ignore the issue that many of the top receivers in the league took a couple of years to develop.

    3) To say that Amendola will produce as much as Welker this year is pure unadulterated homeriam.

    4) I am NOT pessimistic. I think that we will win the division and be in the playoffs. However, Welker had more talent in 2012 than the entire WR corps of 2013. To hope for the future based on potential is fine. I always support drafting a receiver just in case we strike gold. The entire WORLD thinks that we have an issue at WR. But you ken think that we have the best WR corp in a long time (long must not go back past 2007). Since Brady has been here, we have discussed how difficult the offense is, especially for rookies (who usually cannot produce anywhere). We have discussed how difficult it is to build up chemistry with Brady. And, now, because we must, we think that this matters not at all. A brand new set of receivers will take a few games to be the best WR corp since 2007. I have never seen the need for a heavier dose of kool-aid (in order to have this kind of optimism).

    5) Maybe our running game is improved and maybe not. Many here have Washington as a KR and Blount gone. They are counting on Vereen being much better than Woodhead in his role as a receiver and protector on 3rd down. There is a reason that Belichick is continuing to look for running backs. But this is a small matter. After all, we have lots of players who might step up and fill in the void left by Woodhead. As you say, we are likely to have an improved running game.

  6. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    The patriots specialize in players nursing injuries and who have had more than one injury. WR's can indeed be compensated for by a healthy set of TE's. We are again reduced to having our playoff hopes rely on the lack of injuries among them.

    The argument that so many make is that WR's don't matter. We have Brady. He can pass to Welker or an JAG. There is no real difference in production. Personally, I think that this is a lot of nonsense.

  7. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    More of the same from spin doctor James Walker. Every year he finds a few points and beats them to death. It's so easy to judge a team's trajectory based on what players they lose and what players they gain but everybody always overlooks the impact that cohesiveness has. Cohesiveness just isn't sexy though I guess.
  8. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    This is true. Is it unreasonable to focus on issues that we have? Belichick knows our weaknesses. Many here seem to think that we don't have any. Others seem to think that almost every position is a weakness even if it is a major strength.

    We will have plenty of time later to say over and over again that we are better than DEN, HOU, SEA, SF and GB.

  9. Ian

    Ian Administrator Staff Member

    #34 Jersey

    I think the main thing also is how different the roster always is by August/September compared to April/May. I understand a lot of his concerns, but things change so much once training camp starts (especially after final cutdowns) so I think they're still going to be a good team again this season.
  10. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    Sorry if I came off as too much of a homer. I agree that we have weaknesses, of course we have weaknesses! But James Walker, as is typical of most ESPN "writers", is singling out these weaknesses in May and then makes an prediction which he will excessively pat himself on the back about if he is right, and sweep under the rug if he is wrong.

    I suppose this is just Modern Day Sports Journalism 101, I just refuse to give out any high fives for it.
  11. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    One of the biggest points of his I disagree with is the tougher schedule point. Remember when we had a cake schedule last year because we got to play the NFC West? Yeah, they turned out to be the best conference in football and handed us three of our four losses. Who is to say the AFC North and/or NFC South can't be headed for down years like the NFC West was?
  12. JMarr

    JMarr In the Starting Line-Up

    When I first read your post, the optimist in me wanted to agree with you, and I do think you make a couple of fair points. But like MG, I have to disagree with most of your positive spin.

    1. It may be true that, but some weird metric, the WR position is overrated in terms of translating to wins. Even if that "rule" is true, it probably applies less to the Patriots (or Peyton's Broncos) than to any other team (by far). As has been discussed ad nauseam, good defenses have found a way to stop our passing attack by clogging the middle of the field because of Brady's reliance on TEs and quick developing WR routes. No viable deep or outside threat? Offense can be stopped in its tracks at times.

    Until the Pats go to a less pass-heavy, lightening attack offense, or the defense steps up to 2004-type levels, the WR position is as important as QB. And if you're one of the people around here that blame SB and AFCGC losses on Welker's "drops," then there's no way you can say with a straight face that WRs AREN'T pretty damn crucial.

    2. Because of his slightly better speed, etc., Amendola might end up providing much more than Welker ever did or could--I certainly hope so. But saying that we already know that he can provide as much as Welker if healthy is just flat out ignoring the weight of all evidence to the contrary, like Welker's unique ability to get open and make catches in small windows, his football IQ, and most importantly his repoire with Brady. We actually don't know squat about how Amendola is going to perform in this offense--just that he's quick and vaguely the same type of receiver as Welker, went to the same school, coached by McD for a year, and he's a smallish white guy. :rolleyes:

    3. And yes, at this point in the year, there's no way of really saying whether we have as much raw WR talent on the roster as in previous years. They have NOT replaced Welker or Lloyd with anyone appreciably better IMO, and rookies are rookies--a total crapshoot, as Chad Jackson, Brandon Tate, and Taylor Price can tell you.

    Ian has a good point--by the start of the season we could be better off. To say we're already better off right now is in fact homerism at its worst.
  13. Danger Zone

    Danger Zone In the Starting Line-Up

    Since when did homerism become something to be ashamed of?

    And having faith that the unknown will work out okay is hardly the "worst" of being a homer.

    But sure, saying that we are already better off makes unknowable assumptions -but no more than those of you saying we are worse off.

    I think our defense is going to be much better this year and I have trust in Brady to get it done even with as yet unproven talent on the offense.
  14. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    My impression about Walker's piece is writers have to write something to justify their existence...

    In this day and age if you can be somewhat of a contrarian, you have accomplished some goal.. see Borges, Felger et al.

    With that being said, I agree initially our receiver corps may not be as good as we want, but they are younger and faster.. and on paper have good hands. But many do not remember at our difficulty scoring in the playoffs and a few drops in critical situations..... that had to change.

    Every team has injuries, and everyone of the "premiere" quarterbacks are a year old.. so that is a wash.

    What he failed to mention is that our D continues to get younger, more athletic, faster and has more "quality" moving pieces, which may become more evident as the season progresses...
  15. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster Supporter

    Well just because of growth by our young D and the stabilization of the secondary the TEAM will be better overall.

    The view by Walker is pretty 2d, he focuses on what the O will look like in game 1 instead of looking to see what the O will look like in Game 17 when it counts. Now as we have seen injuries will always play a role, the NFL is a war of attrition. HOWEVER If 2 of the WR additions work out + the development of Vareen/Ridley + the addition of Ballard. The O that shows up in the playoffs will be in better shape and the D in far better shape to mount a SB run.

    As usual the analysis from ESPN is a mile wide but an inch deep.
  16. Bruins29

    Bruins29 In the Starting Line-Up

    I think it comes down to realizing that quality depth and cohesion (as mentioned earlier) trumps talent and stats. The key to winning at all only comes down to 3 things.

    1. Making the playoffs.
    2. Getting hot at the right time
    3. Staying Healthy

    Superstars dont win championships. Player playing like superstars and doing their jobs do.

    I think the key for the Pats is not have to rely on Gronk, AHern, Amendola, etc to have to play 75 snaps a game for 16 games to win. This team needs to spread it around and stay healthy on both sides of the ball so that when the real season starts the elite players are 100%. Hobbling into the playoffs every year isnt working.
  17. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    Homerism isnt realistic.

    Its like the Captain of the Titanic spinning that "we have a leak."

    The "Silly Season" is like that. Most fanbases think that last seasons problems are as good as solved. So many pieces and parts have to go right for this team to be the same or better than last season. Its not feasible that all those variables will turn out positive or that all will turn out negative.
  18. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    As of right now, we are worse off than last year. By season's start or by mid-season, we might be better. The unknowables have to do with health and how many of the question marks are answered in the coming months.

  19. tonyto3690

    tonyto3690 Banned

    Am I really the only one who thinks we're going to be fine at WR? Welker is great for a spread system, and a great receiver in general, but for our 2TE based system he's just a really poor fit. He directly takes away from Gronk and Hern's games and directly makes it easier to defend us. Not because he's easy to guard, but because it simplifies what the defense needs to do because they can focus on guarding all three at once in the middle.

    On top of that, Branch was completely worthless last year. Lloyd's YAC was probably -2 YPA and that isn't even taking into account his 30% completion rate. And everyone else were just scrub players filling niche roles or just acting as decoys to keep the defense honest to open up things for Welker/Hernandez underneath.

    On top of that, lets remind ourselves who the franchise players offense were. Brady, Solder, Vollmer, Gronk, Hernandez, Ridley, Welker. Last I checked I checked only Welker isn't coming back, and last I checked Gronk and Hernandez are both projected to be healthy to start the season.

    And furthermore, last I checked we had the #3 greatest offense of all time and even if our offense does take a step back it's still far and away the best in the NFL. We were far and away the #1 scoring offense. Far and away #1 yards offense. Far and away #1 first down offense. Even if we regress due to loss of Welker (and completely ignoring the growth Ridley, Vereen, Solder, continuation on the OL, return of Gronk and Hernandez, additions of Ballard and Amendola) our offense is still going to be good. With our rookies it could actually be better

    Our record might not be as good simply because of a (projected) hard schedule, but everyone thought the AFCW would be a cake walk last year and we went 1-3 against them. So you never know.

    But on paper this team is absolutely better than last year.
  20. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    I am SHOCKED. Shocked that it was this post that you disagreed with most. Christ, MG, with all the crap I've written over the years, I find it hard to believe that THIS was the one you disagreed with most. :D

    On this point we agree, entirely. The fact is, despite all the flowery complements I laid on Dobson and Boyce, their success or failure is, as you put it, a crap shoot......AND so are all the WR's who were picked before them.....and after.

    But the point still remains that every year there are many excellent "prospects" who have all kinds of measurables and/or college production that wets the appetite of fans all over the league. AND....lo and behold some of them actually become very productive receivers in this league.

    FO's article's main point was that even great proven WR's don't always translate into wins. Besides its very hard to evaluate WR's without factoring in the QB. How much of the success of any WR is the QB they have, or the "system" they run. WR is clearly one of the hard positions to evaluate in a vaccuum

    Frankly this kind of snide personal shot is beneath you, MG. But you make one valid point in this quote. What is important is having a solid set of "receivers". Not just WR's. Between, Gronk, Hernandez, Ballard, Washington, and Vareen, Brady starts out with 5 proven "receivers" that most teams would love to have, even BEFORE we talk about a single WR

    Again we agree. But you didn't go far enough with your analysis. For the last 3 years the Pats have been a top 3 passing attack, and has YET to have any kind of, so called, deep pass threat. Why would a lack of one this year be a reason to fall into a manic depression of inevitable doom. :eek:

    Especially when the fact is that between Boyce and Dobson, we have the best chance of actually developing a so called deep threat than we've had the last 3 years.

    How much of a mess was our passing game last year? 4th best in the league (and it should be noted that the 3 teams ahead of us, DIDN'T make the playoffs)

    This is over the top negativism at its worst. Even if the rookies don't contribute and all the so called JAG's turn out to be just JAG's this offense will still be one of the best in the league. All the worrywarts want to compare this season with 2006, and even you know, MG, that this RECEIVER group is light years ahead of that group. Caldwell was out of the league just 2 years later, Gaffney is and was the epitome of a JAG. and Troy Brown was on the downside.....and it STILL was the 11th best passing attack in the league, and a few bad calls and a defensive collapse from a superbowl

    MG, you make a compelling case for the "sky is falling", at WR,. but its just not the truth.

    I never said that, and you know it. I have stated over and over that had Welker stayed this season, HE wouldn't produce as much as the Welker of previous years, simply because, barring another barrage of WR injuries, he never would have seen the looks he had last year. I don't know why anyone should get their painties in a bunch when DA isn't matching Welker's numbers. Its how the offense as a whole performs

    Now this is just plain crap. You sound like a sore loser who still hasn't come to grips that Welker left. Someone who couldn't see that Brady's reliance on him (in the absence of Gronk or Hernandez) actually hindered the offense, and made it more predictable and easier to defend in the red zone

    Once again you rely on misquoting me, in order to take a cheap shot and try and make your point. tsk, tsk.

    Let me repeat myself and try and use small words with few syllablea so you can understand.

    I think the Pats WR corps has more "raw talent" than we've seen a long while. Its been a few years since we've had 2 WR's with the size of Dobson and Jenkins. This is also a much FASTER group. Even "molasses Mike Jenkins, is faster than Brandon Lloyd, And Boyce, Jones, Amendola and Dobson are all faster than Branch, Welker, Lloyd.

    I NEVER said this was the "best" WR group, just the fastest quickest, biggest, and deepest group we've seen a long while. While at the same time being the most inexperienced group we've seen as well. I'm not saying that this won't without challenges. The offense is changing. Its as simple as that, and with change comes with the good AND bad.

    As I state later in the post, this offense isn't the rigid and inflexible monolith you make it out to be. One of Brady's greatest assets in his ability to mold HIS game around the skills of the player's around him. I don't doubt he will do it again this year.

    Why wouldn't our running game be better. Just having a healthy Mankins and Volmer alone would improve the OL production. Now add Solder and Wendell making some degree of improvement going into their 2nd year as starters, plus my dream of a more powerful, bigger, and athletic RG in Cannon. Plus a return of the best TE blocker in the league and a back up (Ballard) who is almost his equal as a blocker rounds out what should be an improve OL. So forget about any improvement form Ridely and Vareen. Yes the running game SHOULD improve.

    Sure you can interpret BB continuing to look for more RB's as an indictment on Vareen and Ridley. Why not if you think the entire offense is going to hell in a handbasket, why not. I prefer to think that BB's doing what he always tries to do and is increasing the intensity of competition on his young RBs, and hopes to find last season's missing skill set, of a more reliable GL/SY RB. Maybe its Blount. Based on what I've heard from Buc's fans, probably not. But who knows. Perhaps with his career on the line, he becomes the banger he's built like.

    Just one more point. The strength of BOTH BB and Brady over the years has been their ability to adapt to the skills of the players that surround them. Who is to say that part of the changes that the offense is going to make means that we will go away form the ultra precision timing offense to one that is less rigid. Maybe this offense will continue to thrive if we take away at least some of the reads the WR have to make, and some of the options that require both the QB and WR see the same thing to be successful.

    Back in the day Unitas and Berry ran 8yd and 14 yd outs with such precision that even when the defender KNEW it was coming, they couldn't cover it. As defenses evolve from being primarily zone to primarily man, maybe its time to think about evolving offenses ways from all the read and timing patterns and go back to precise routes that are predetermined.

    Last season the superbowl winner won the title throwing the ball up for grabs and relying ot someone to come down with it. Maybe it will be a trend. ;)

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