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Is this year THAT different?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Pats726, Mar 22, 2007.

  1. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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  2. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    There's always the feeling that no matter who is on the roster, with the core of this team (Brady, BB and a defense that finds a way to make the big play) the team will make it to the playoffs and overachieve to have a great shot at winning the SB.

    Last year's team showed just how true that was, demonstrating that even a very flawed team playing with one WR tied behind its back, it could still contend in a big way.

    With the cap space and players BB liked available this year - and those players agreeing to come here, BB sees no reason to have guys who need to over-achieve.

    This team simply needs to stay healthy and perform to reasonable expectations. If all goes well we'll not need dramatic last minute drives or magical defensive plays to win games.

    With this team, BB has adjusted his personnel philosophy to match the realities of the newly available CBA monies.

    Just as he showed he could win SBs on a bargain before, he'll show how proper cap management and available funds can truly be put to work to allow a team to dominate in this day and age.

    Yes - it's different. It's a different era of football with the new CBA and BB is prepared to dominate it.
  3. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    The Pats have tried to fill needs as they arise and found it doesn't work. Either you overpay for A 50% success rate like the skins, or you go low risk like the Pats and hit the lottery in 2001, but years of Biesel, Hayes and Steve Martins after that.

    We're in the middle of a 2 year offense rebuild and A.D. is the center of the new D, hopefully. they almost squeaked by with TBC and Junior, but they saved their cash and picks for an all out assault this year.

    They probably thought they could keep the receivers and Adam last year, so it came down to plan or panic.

    I think they got a gem in Gaffney, but the main thing is they didn't make a high dollar mistake that will kill them.

    I guarantee, if you just buy what you need when you need it, you'll pay 50% more than someone who shops sales and seasons.

    The Patriots are prepared and focused to build the future SB teams.
  4. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    How has he adjusted HIS philosophy??? I think it is all the same..looking for players of value..whether on day one (like this year) or in day 25-30 (more like last year)...whether they have little money to spend (some past years) or a boatload of money..(this year) whether there are many free agents they like (this year) or very few (last year)...same philosophy...
  5. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    In those years afterwords..they won 2 Superbowls..had TONS of injuries in two others and came darn close in one of them. I think they have tried to look ahead, but it's hard when there are wild cards thrown in..ala Bruschi's stroke, TJ's retirement, Branch's holdout...KIND of impossible to predict those..
    Saved theit cash because there were no free agents they wished to spend money on..Is that unreasonable?? I don't think they saved it to go all out this year BEFORE things did not work out last year..They had money for Branch and Law..no go on both..and THEN wished to do their best last year with what they had and looked ahead.
    I know they thought Branch was going to stay and did their best for that...NOT making a move until Branch had clearly pushed the team to the limit with bad faith.
    yes..they are moving ahead NO doubt on that...
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  6. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    In the past, players of "value" were usually found after the free agent feeding frenzy. With a few exceptions (Colvin for one) the Patriots were content to let the initial big name big money contracts be done with, then would come in and sign decent or misused veterans for relative bargain money.

    With so much new CBA money, last year showed that such a high volume of players were signed in the initial few days that there were limited quality bargains to be found by waiting.

    The lesson from last year was that if you have the money, be agressive early - and the Patriots were definately that.

    Now no one can say whether this is or is not a trend - but until the salaries catch up with the new cap money I think more teams than usual are going to continue to have a lot of cap space than they would under the old CBA system.

    So yes - in part to the available money, in part to the knowledge that the there are fewer value players available after the initial feeding frenzy, BB adjusted his philosophy this year.

    If you doubt that, answer this question. Let's assume the Patriots - like some teams as of now - had not made ANY free agency moves as of yet.

    Who, among the remaining available free agents now, would you be very excited to see the Patriots sign, proclaiming them great value veterans to help the team? Look at who is available now - and who would you sign under the hypothetical situation that BB had made none of the moves he had as of now, biding his time to get the remaining "bargains" still out there.

    Who do you sign - and do they really offer as much "value" even with the lower price tags as the guys we actually got?

    My point is, unlike pre-new-CBA money years, the remaining free agents aren't anything to get too excited about anymore. That didn't used to be the case, and BB found lots of quality bargain veterans - but things are different now and so too is BB's approach.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
  7. mtbykr

    mtbykr Rookie

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    I remember hearing a inteview with BB on WEEI where he said that this year was no different in their approach. What was different is that the FA that they went after wanted to play here for the money the pats were offering....where that wasn't true in the past! (except mabey 03 with rosie and rodney)
  8. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Last year a lot of new moneyt was chasing some really average players.

    Apparently, some of the wild spenders blew their wad and even though there were still teams with money, the selection of free agents was better and the Pats were really focused.

    It's just shopping. If you bring a list and wait til things go on sale you will prosper.

    When the deals not good, the pats go for the low cost option and wait. Often the low cost option is as good as the high priced one.

    You'll never convince me Branch and Givens are worth 8-9 mil a year more than Caldwell and gaffney.
  9. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Do you really think AD is being groomed as the center of the D? You don't build the center from a peripheral playmaker... my point being that playing from the edge, he can sack the QB, and he obviously has physical tools to make plays in the run game, but not be THE run-plug. Isn't that the other anchor you need? Or do you truly think BB is planning to rebuild that D around AD as he built around LT w/the Giants?

    Either way I agree AD is a great pickup, on a par with the Colvin pickup. I just don't think he's a "centerpiece" player.

    PFnV
  10. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I mean like a Lawrence Taylor or Willie Mcginest. Perhaps the center isn't the right word. I was looking for someone who we would "build around".

    I think he fits that. He'll be the biggest playmaker, I think.

    I don't think we go for the big physical talent at other positions. I think we go for smarts and experience.

    He'll be allowed to freelance more. Of course whoever replaces Bruschi and Rodney will be the "center in another way.

    I don't think we really disagree, we're talking more shades of meaning.
  11. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Is it that more money is available because of the CBA or are teams undesrtanding the cap more to free up money...OR a combo of the two??
    So are you saying there will never be any "bargains" again later in a free agency period?
    I think each year is different..in money available ..needs..players available etc. But the bottom line is their philosophy is to find value..whether first day or 20 days in.
    This year, they had more money and also saw that there were players they thought would fit in. Wasn't the case last year at all when they apparently did not like the pickings. How has this been a changed philosophy?? It's the same philosophy, NOT some new one.
    The conditions have changed, of course and that will happen from year to year, depending on players, money available, needs...but signing players of value to help the team has NOT changed at all.
    "Lesson from last year...."?? In retrospect, who SHOULD the Patriots have picked up early last year? My point is I do not think they thought highly of the players available and certainly NOT for the price.
  12. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Their approach is to look for value...whether it is early or late in free agency. They didn't find any last year, but this year have. In 03 they did as well..with Rosie, Rodney and Poole. But they also went after WR Mason on day one in 04, even if he did not sign, they say him and offered what they thought was a good contract.
    SO in general it is NOT different..
  13. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Very true...and these new free agents..acquired early have NOT in any way upset the Patriots pay structure...in fact they are right in line. Very true...about Givens and Branch..absolutely.
  14. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I think Gaffney will be our best receiver. Whenever teams take on contracts with poor decisions, they have to let players go.

    There just aren't the guaranteed June deadline type shopping days, but whenever people make poor decisions, bargains will be available.

    Plus the one man's trash............... factor.
  15. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    poor decisions help NE

    Oh.....I agree!! The more teams that do NOT get it..the better for the ones that DO!! That is why I think the Snyders of the world are becoming more dinosaurs..as teams are understanding the cap and money better. But some teams will never learn..and overpaying for players will always happen..and as you said bad decisions mean other players must go..so?? When that happens, a team like NE can take advantage.
    I've always loved it when many critics don't believe that teh Patriots are dong a solid job..Good great..do the same thing.better for New England that teams DO NOT get it. No the June cutting has seemed to be gone the last few years, but players being cut WILL happen. (Just look at what the Texans did!!?)
    I also agree on Gaffney as being a big number one..but I love Welker as one who will find a way to get oipen and get yardage..and having someone stretch the D like Stallworth will only open so much more up. Washington may be s surprise as well..and Caldwell?? Also wonder about some of the young ones as well..Jackson, Childress, Kight, and a draftee.. Bring Troy into the mix as well NOT at all bad!!
  16. PatsMyBoyz!

    PatsMyBoyz! Rookie

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    I see little difference in the Pats' approach to FA;it's still all about value and they've kept their player standards in place.

    They boast an outstanding record from the leaner cap years and so far this increased cap year looks right on par with those.

    The only difference is the crop of players available; remarkable in that they not only had the skills and versatility but apparently have that 'Patriot Mindset' as well,making them (so far) worth it.

    Most importantly,these guys very much wanted to play here. What seemed somewhat unusual was the speed with which these signings got done-no BS,just inking the dotted line every time.

    In essence I'd say things are pretty much as BB described,though I believe he also may be downplaying any hard efforts made at the Pro Bowl to try and dispel some of that negativity which was floating around prior to that.

    We've always been among the best at assessing value and this year is no different. It was the market which was different and it all started with signing AD. That was a coup from every angle,not the least of which was the message it sent to the league and the other FA's. We are not cheap,BB is a great guy:D ,and we are obviously setting up to make a solid run and not just for this year. It's always been pretty obvious the Pats are not a one-and-done type organization,and signing AD just reinforced that concept,a concept which may have taken a bit of a hit last year.
  17. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Last year and this year were VERY different compared to the old CBA years.

    In the old CBA more than 200 players would still be available after the initial overpaid feeding frenzy of free agency. Last year there were half that many - and as RayClay said even average players were agressively pursued and overpaid. I'm not sure of the numbers this year but the lesson was learned from last I believe.

    So yes, there were/are fewer bargains with the influx of new CBA money - whether that's a trend I don't know. And I'm not expecting BB to go on WEEI and explain all this as well as sharing his Free Agency strategy with the media (aside from meaningless soundbites) but I do believe BB was well aware that things changed signficantly with the new CBA.

    Again, I'd ask you, assuming we'd made none of the moves to address LB and WR we already did - what remaining players would you be excited to have sign to fill those spots now?


    If you want to simply say - BB's philosophy is to sign good players that represent value - not to be crass, but "duh!" of course that hasn't changed. I don't think the nature of the post's question was whether or not BB has suddenly decided to overpay for crappy players or not.

    But under the new CBA one needs to be more agressive in early free agency than BB was in the past when there were many more quality players availabile following the initial feeding frenzy.

    That's a very significant change, and requires a GM to adapt his free agency strategy and I believe we've seen BB do exactly that. You can't drop $20 million into the cap without it having some dramatic effect - and sure enough, it did.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2007
  18. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I'm not smart enough to see these trends, but the Pats are and it's obvious they saw good shopping this year and planned for it.

    Anyone that thinks they just decided to spend hog wild because they were mad about not going to the Bowl 2 years in a row doesn't know how they operate.

    Methodical, not emotional.
  19. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    How good a book do you think they have on WRs in the 2002 draft, for instance? LOL!!:D
  20. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Right, wasn't trying to corral you into that, I know you didn't mean the "center" as in physical positioning (although with his versatility, you know he'll eventually take snaps in the middle when needed.)

    But interesting that you figure him to be enough of a difference maker that we build around him. I am not disagreeing... I had just seen him as one contributor, part of a process... but that might be the same thing, since we're at the outset of steadily rebuilding the LB corps.

    I personally would not want to be the guy trying to figure out whether Rosie Colvin or Adalius Thomas was supposed to come, never mind Vrabes or a suddenly loosed Richard Seymour.

    Of course, it's all on paper... but God, this should be a fun year!

    PFnV
  21. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    That is a total meaningless question...Players change from one year to the next...so this year there weren't as many players and NOT all that deep. THAT happens..some years there are deeper free agency than others. And your point is??? This front office judges who is out there, who will fit in and the price they wish to pay for their services.
    They went EARLY in free agency to get the platers they wanted...last year they did the opposite of this year..not wanting the inflated prices of the players. The mantra has been, value and not overpaying and that is totally consistent with all they have done over the years.
  22. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    My point is, there are not as many quality bargains available this year just as there were not as many quality bargains available last year once free agency died down.

    That's due in part to the high volume of activity - fewer players available = fewer quality bargains available.
  23. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    That is very true, although last year the Pats grabbed a bunch of players later...3 ending up on IR.
    But I have to wonder if that is a real trend with the CBA?? That I think is a topic in itself as to the number of FAs..02-07...and whether they are stronger or weaker, deeper or leaner. And whether that is true, it didn't at all change what the front office was doing. I really do NOT think last year they were at all pleased with the players available..THAT can happen! This year it seemed the players were available, the Patriots had MUCHO cap money and were able to sign players early and at value. I also think that BB coaching the Pro Bowl may have helped a bit as well.
  24. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    People are resigning their own. No doubt.
  25. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    We're very team oriented, but sometimes you need that great physical play that breaks a tight game open. Of course, all our LBs and Rodney were capable, but I think of Willie McGinest or Ty Law making that huge individual play that wasn't part of a scheme.

    With Bruschi, Vrable and Rodney slowing down a little, I think we've missed that, though we've been solid.

    I think of Willie just picking up a TE or OL and riding him like a blocking sled into the QB.

    Apparently, A.D. can do everything from covering your top receiver to Playing line with a hand on the ground.

    1 or 2 unpredictable moves makes a disciplined D so much better.
  26. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    And he's bound to be an "elephant " type as he has the versatility to morph into just about any position at the last minute, from what I hear. The versatility, if not the physical power, of an LT, Richard Dent, etc.

    His lining up and moving to different positions will cause other LBs to burst open too. Yeah, I'm excited.
  27. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    Actually I strongly think that this year's plan WASN'T different than other years, just the results were different. AND certain things did come together which made it happen.

    I think the PATS try and improve their team after a careful evaluation of their needs, note I said what they concider THEIR needs, not ours ;). Who they go after is determined by available cap space and who is out there. The notion that the Pats DON'T go after top flight FA's is a myth. They go after them, they just don't OVERPAY them.

    It seems different THIS year because we signed 3 significant contracts with Welker, Thomas, and Stallworth, and certain things DID have to come together to make this happen. First the big increase in cap space helped. It also "helped" that the Pats were unable to sign Law and Branch. It also helped that Thomas was willing to take the fair contract rather than the BIG ONE. It also helped that Stallworth's bargaining position was hindered by his injuries/drug situation, allowing us to sign him for a "prove it" year. Welker wasn't a huge signing, and alone wouldn't have been different from many other middle of the road FA's who happen to meet needs the Pats require.

    BOTTOM LINE: I guess its a little of both. The Pats do what they usually do, except for a number of reasons, they were more successful this season. The people they wanted were available and willing to take reasonable. contracts. (I bet Derrick Mason is now wishing his damned wife just shut up :D )
  28. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    JoesixPat makes a good point that there aren't a lot of quality free agents available these days.

    The Pats had patched and saved while having to let some players go. they needed to be focused and strike quick or they would have been stuck with having missed the players they wanted.

    The Pats don't spend money when there's only junk left on the shelves.

    The only difference with this year is less distraction, more money cause they didn't panic last year an a focused plan on who they wanted.
  29. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    "Actually I strongly think that this year's plan WASN'T different than other years, just the results were different. AND certain things did come together which made it happen. " I do agree with that..their approach early quick but underlying philosophy hardly changed at all...
    Different results..yes..every season the actually tactics change because the market changes..good players that they want or waiting for bargains...more money or less..market being flooded with players or not as many..so may variables..but the philosophy of value has been there this year and in past years. And the results differe because of individual decisions as well as how good their picks of FA were...many misses some years other s no.t
  30. PatsMyBoyz!

    PatsMyBoyz! Rookie

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    Exactly right-it's been awhile since we've had a playmaker (though Asante definitely has that ability),and of those we have left some were either injured, or due to someone else's injury were forced to play a position that took that role away from them somewhat.

    AD is not only a playmaker but his versatility should also enable others to slip back into that role as well.

    Our defense now has the capability of being incredibly confusing and unpredictable. A player like Thomas is going to make everybody better. HUGE signing for the Pats.

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