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Is the acquisition or cut really so great - or so bad ??

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by arrellbee, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    I know it probably isn't of much interest for someone to say this, but if you think you have much chance of making a Patriots value type analysis on WRs or DBs, maybe you should think again.

    For WRs, how much actual film are you ever able to see with regard to a receiver ? The answer is, you see ONLY catches, misses, and drops. Compared to the number of offensive plays that a WR runs, what kind of a sample is that ? Before you jump on me too hard, certainly there is some information here. If there are too many drops, a receiver isn't worth much. If a receiver obviously gets lot's of catches in a game, that is valuable information. But if a receiver only makes a few receptions and doesn't have too many drops, then the evaluation of worth to the team is a lot of things we have absolutely NO way to evaluate. To name a few, does he actually run routes that he is supposed to. Does he make the complex route adjustments and options that Brady and the WR coach expects him to - this is BIG. Does he block well - think about it, this can be a BIG value issue. IF he runs the routes well (a total prerequisite), does he then actually get open or get separation from the DBs. If he is a decoy or the play is designed where he is supposed to pull DBs to certain areas (to open up zones/gaps for other receivers) is he successful in doing so. If he is supposed to pull a DB deep, does he sell the route in order to do so or does he allow the DB to drop off and double up on another receiver. Does he actually hang on to the ball if he gets hit as he gets the ball. Is he willing to go up for a ball and risk getting clobbered. Is he willing to go over the middle into traffic and actually mean it. Is he versatile in other roles - special teams both directions. Does he have an exotic versatility - reverses or WR passing options. Something that may be overlooked by almost everyone (for players lower on the depth chart) - does the player have characteristics that will be of value to the team in running scout team practice ?? Probably another BIG one - work ethic - which we get little info on for practices and probably can't evaluate very well even in game situations. This year - is he an emergency QB candidate ?! I'm sure some of the knowledgable folks can add things I've missed.

    When you try to read something in to why BB/SP would take this guy off of some other teams 'scrap heap', remember that they have film on ALL of this guy's work on the field in all of the contribution areas listed above. Do you REALLY think that they are not knowledgable about what to look for ? Give me a break.

    Another thing that is sometimes commented on here, but probably not enough or gets lost sight of when these acquisitions are made:
    Belichick has a DIFFERENT system that he runs that anyone else. Even when the pundits talk about another teams system being similar, none are the same as the Pats. So what we have no way of even guessing at is what differences in the system might make a WR be down the depth chart of another team or get less playing time but might make him a much more valuable contributor in the Pats system. We have NO way of knowing what those nuances are - see the above list of all of the things that are important in a receiver.

    Folks tend to look at every acquisition with a critique of whether the player can be #1 (or #2) on the depth chart at the position. Geeesh. You can be sure that some of these players are expected AT THE OUTSET to be 4th or 5th on the depth chart but may simply be judged to be stronger at that depth than what is currently on the roster. How MANY times do we talk about the fact that one of the strengths of the Patriots is a more solid depth chart than other teams. But then we ignore that, for a given acquisition, this may be what BB/SP are actually doing - building a lower rung on the depth chart. There is nothing wrong with this folks - it's what we acknowledge to be a REALLY good thing.

    Another thing that I think folks probably are aware of but forget in the heat of a new acquisition. There really is something called potential. How many times has Belichick talked about one of the key factors in a player getting on the roster or staying on it is for the player to keep showing improvement. You get a strong impression that players make the roster who we may see as weaker than another player at this juncture and we wail about why that happened. But what WE don't have any way of seeing is whether the player who does make the roster is making progress every practice and every game and looks like they will, in some Belichick judged time frame, end up being stronger and so is the better choice for the team. So what they may see in these 'why this guy' acquisitions is some improvement over time that shows upside potential that they don't see in a player they let go.

    Statistics are interesting. You will see me listing stats frequently. BUT. Statistics ALWAYS have to be viewed carefully. That is a whole different discussion that would cloud this one, but some of the important things to keep in mind are that in football, stats may tell you little about actual percentage of success or value of contribution. And, many stats, especially ones that show little performance, can be very affected by simply opportunity or play schemes or even less-than-smart coach preferences.

    Folks comment on the following issue one way or another all of the time. But do some people really GET IT:
    This is NOT in any way shape or form an exact science. Even with all of the info BB/SP have access to, most of these acquisitions are a GAMBLE. In the end, even after they have filtered out all of the obvious misfits or shortcomings of potential acquistions, there is still no substitute for getting the player into your coaching regimen and seeing what he can do in your system. I would bet a significant amount of money that if you asked BB/SP, that they have no expectation that they are going to hit it on every acquisition. But along with, folks don't seem to understand that part of the success of BB/SP is that they are not afraid to keep bringing these players in and trying them out. They do not get complacent with or fixed on players and take the easy route of not going through all of the work and effort to keep trying new players. Most new coaches/GMs start out doing this but then slack off after a couple years. Give BB/SP credit - they are not falling into this trap.

    -----------------------
    So make your lists of 'failures'. But those lists have no credibility unless you put right alongside it the list of successes.

    So get all excited and rewrite the depth chart and put the new guy at the #1 position or maybe just higher than the present guys - but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense IMHO. There's no way to make a declaration like that. We can't have a clue as to what BB/SP expect from the player and for SURE it's a very rare unusual player that can come in and produce as effectively as someone who has been through the coaching and experience.

    So judge the acquistion as stupidity on BB/SP part, or dumb compared to signing some player you have a 'notion' about. Somehow I have to think that BB/SP are able to evaluate a potential and possible contribution to the Patriots that you can't possibly do. I wonder why I might think that.

    So blast BB/SP for letting a player go, cutting a player, and/or replacing a player and judge that this is a disaster, or a terrible move, or at least a bad move. Your credibility when you do that is virutally ZERO. ZERO, folks. Get a clue.
  2. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great post Arrellbee. One of many.
  3. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Easy buddy, easy.. of course BB and SP know more than us, it could have been a one sentence post instead of a manifesto.

    What is the point of being a fan if we can't involve our imagination? it is a nature of the salary cap that no team can have an all star at every position we are just posting our "expert" analysis because we are addicted and invested into the team. I for one will continue to post my uneducated guesses and opinions on almost every topic, especially on the draft and personnel moves which are my two favorite guilty pleasures.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
  4. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Gabriel did not come off the scrapheap. He was running as the #2 Wr opposite Randy Moss, and in front of Porter. Porter is conceded to be a lower rated #1 talent about like Branch or maybe a little less. From that position he is no "scrapheap reclamation" project. He was in a situation where the Raiders simply had more receivers than they could keep. BB/SP bided their time to almost the final cuts and paid a minimal (?) price for a good commodity that the Raiders thought they were going to lose for nothing.

    Great deal and good patience.:D
  5. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Another interesting post, Arrellbee, but I think you confuse two different things.

    One is what BB/SP know about the guys on the Patriots' roster, the other is how much they know about guys that they take from other teams.

    You're claiming that they know all of this stuff when they "take this guy off some other team's 'scrap heap'". But, in fact, as regards the things that you mentioned and that I've quoted in bold, they aren't in any position to know. They don't know the playbook and the call, so even when they watch film they can't tell if a wide receiver is acting as an effective decoy.

    We've seen in the last couple of years that taking guys from other teams whom you haven't already worked with is a very big gamble even for people as knowledgeable and football savvy as BB and SP. The fact that they can't evaluate those important things you point to as well as they could for guys on their own roster is a big part of the explanation, it seems to me.
  6. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    I think we ALL STIPULATE THAT BB/PIOLI KNOW WAY MORE THAN WE DO. That said, great post. Thoughtful, articulate and certainly comprehensive. Good stuff to keep in mind.
  7. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 Rookie

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    You are preaching to the choir, and I love the post.

    Of course, I wasn't too thrilled to read Reiss' latest post about Smiths' dropped balls in the first practice, but as long as he's a stud in the return game..........................

    P.S. - I love Bam, but one thing jumped out at me re-watching the last game on the NFL Network: He's freaking tiny. If he's 5' 10", NEM is a hard core Republican.
  8. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 Rookie

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    I believe the scrap heap comment was intended for Smith and not Gabriel. In other words, they cut Bam for somebody (Smith) that was cut by Buffalo.
  9. arrellbee

    arrellbee Rookie

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    Oh, certainly. What you point out is indeed why it is always a gamble even for BB/SP when they acquire a player and why we, especially, have even less of a clue than BB/SP about these significant things for a player on another team.

    But my comments in the paragraph were intended to address "value type analysis on WRs" as applied to players already on the roster. The rest of the paragraphs were more devoted to acquiring players. Sorry I didn't make it clearer.

    Appreciate the observation.

    Cheers
  10. brady2brown

    brady2brown Rookie

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    I think Arrellbee's point is that BB knows more about guys not of the Patriots roster than you (or I) do, and that is it rather presumptuous of us to imagine we can second guess BB on transactions like this.

    The Pats have a full time scouting service, and follow players they are interested in even if they don't draft them out of college.

    You and I can look at Smith's stats from pre-season games, and maybe see him in a play or two. BB has access to ALL of Buffalo's game films, and can check Smith out thoroughly.

    You and I can't.
  11. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No dispute about that. Bill spends an extraordinary amount of time just watching players and exchanging ideas with coaches -- think of how he got to know Pat Tillman. My point was only that, even so, some of the things that arrellbee was pointing to will be true about guys that BB has on his roster but not, even with the best scouting, for others.

    P.S. I am, though, very much in agreement with Patchick that, over time, there is some kind of collective wisdom at work on this board as opinions are aggregated, so I'd be prepared to bet that there is real talent in Cobbs and Childress.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2006
  12. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    We as fans - even educated fans - tend to get fixated on the bigger names and higher draft picks. I call it the All-Star Game effect.

    The fact that unheralded undrafted free agents and others make the team when veterans are cut, suggests that the coaches and front office might actually be better evaluaters of talent than even the members of Patsfans.com.

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