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Last night's game made me long for the early Belichick years

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Rob0729, Sep 11, 2009.

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  1. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Watching to hard nose physical defenses battle it out made me miss the Super Bowl seasons for the Pats. People can complain about McDaniels and the finesse offense all they want, but I think what this team has been sorely missing for years is the physical defenses we had back in the day.

    I am hoping the revamped defense brings back some of that. People have been calling for speed on defense for a while and now we got that, but I wonder if that is what was really missing. Back in 2003 and 2004, there wasn't a lot of speed on defense and they made up for it with smarts and toughness. The Colts always have a lot of speed, but not a lot of brains and toughness on defense and they usually suck. Hopefully, this revamped defense brings both.

    If the Pats have close to a defense like the either team had last night (although the Titans' defense struggled at the end, but I would blame a lot of the play calling) combined with close to what they had on offense in 2007, this team will unstoppable. Maybe we can get close to that.

    Personally, I would love to back to the days with a dominant defense and a ball control offense like we had in 2001, 2003, or 2004, but we have been forced to go to a high powered offense in recent years to cover the deficiencies on defense.
  2. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We will know more about the D 5-6 games in, pretty confident that BB would like this also.. see the Giants when he was the D coordinator.. the reality is that if you have a Tom Brady, you spend your resources on supporting him as he can put up 24-30 points on the board most games.. so if you have a D that gives up 21 you still win.. not much credit for how or style, only Winning coulnts.
  3. BelichickFan

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    I agree with Darryl on this, we didn't get Moss and Welker to cover for a bad defense but to take advantage of a hall of fame QB. If you have a Porsche, there's no point in going 50 on the freeway.

    Hopefully Mayo, Meriweather and (eventually) Chung will form the corps for a hard hitting, tough defense.
  4. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We didn't get Moss and Welker to cover for a bad defense, but that is what the Pats have been forced to use them for. In 2003, the defense was used to cover for a bad offense, but that wasn't why Belichick got Colvin and Harrison. Belichick knows you use what you have to win games. If you are deficient in one area, you use your strengths to hide your weaknesses. That is what the offense has done the last few years for the defense.

    If Belichick could have his way, I am sure he would like to field a team like the 2004 team every year. That was a team that was nearly perfectly balanced with a great offense and a great defense. But sometimes, you get a great defense and a mediocre offense like 2003 or a great offense and a subpar defense like 2007. You play with the hand you are dealt and you try to make the team as balanced as possible. Hopefully, we never see another combination where the offense is bad and the defense is bad like 2000.

    One thing I disagree with is that Belichick would be using the high powered offense week after week if he had a strong defense. We saw in 2007, that can slow the offense down late in the season and in the playoffs. Belichick would rather have more flexibility to gear the overall gameplan to the opponent and play tight close to the vest games against certain opponents rather than trying to win a track meet.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  5. Laurence Maroney's Dreads

    Laurence Maroney's Dreads Rookie

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    OK, 2001, I'll give you... but barely (The Pats were ranked 6th in points scored in 2001). But I don't get this notion that the Pats have always been a "ball control" offense, whatever that means.

    Actually, looking at the stats, and the 03 team was much more of a ball control team, scoring 21.8 PPG for 12th in the NFL. Numbers are skewed in 4 games though (31-0 L at Buffalo, 9-3 W vs. Cleveland, 12-0 W vs Dallas, 12-0 W vs MIA.) In other games that season the Pats scored at least 21 points 9 times, and at least 30 in 5 of those games (including my favorite regular season game of that dynastic run, the 30-26 come from behind win at Denver).

    In 04, the argument goes out the window. The Pats were 4th in the NFL in points scored, putting up a very very solid 437 points. Outside of a 13-7 W against the Jets and a 34-20 L at Pittsburgh, they never put up less than 21. So yeah, they were never really a "ball control offense".
  6. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Define "ball control offense". # of plays? ToP? # of rushes? # of passing att < 10 yds?

    Lets look at # of plays and ToP, # of rushes and NFL rank
    # plays - ToP- #rushes rank
    2001- 18th - 9th- 8th
    2002- 16th- 20th- 28th
    2003-6th- 7th- 12th
    2004- 6th- 8th- 5th
    2005- 8th- 20th- 18th
    2006- 4th- 6th-6th
    2007- 2nd- 2nd-9th
    2008- 1st- 3rd-4th

    IMO the Pats are all about efficiency and managing the opportunity to make plays.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  7. Deus Irae

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

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    This team used to be ferocious down the middle. Bruschi, Johnson, Wilson, Harrison and Washington really set a tone for the whole defense. That sort of hard hitting and intimidating play has been missing for years. Belichick has gone with smaller safeties. He's filled that Johnson 'thumper' role with players who are more finish and athletics than ferocity and power, Bruschi's stroke and age changed his game, and Wilfork is not the menacing figure at the nose that Washington was.

    This team has gone for faster, less punishing players, taking a page out of the Colts recruiting book. Whether this has been because of conscious choices, coincidence, or because the team hasn't been able to find the old type of players, I think the change is here for a while.
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  8. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Personally, I don't think our defense was ever like that. It relied more on big plays and big turnovers. Statistically, our defense was middle of the pack in 01, and I think it was top 5-10 the other seasons, which is around where it was in 07 (though that may be misleading).

    Basically, I'm saying I don't think our team has changed all that much from back then. Essentially, we added Randy Moss, and the offense just got a lot more explosive. The defense still came awfully close to throwing the Super Bowl away in all 3 victories. The notion that the Patriots had some all-time, hard-nosed defense in those seasons doesn't fly with me - it was a good defense, but with amazing, clutch performers like Ty Law, Willie Mac, Bruschi, Vrabel.

    Again, if it weren't for that MF-ing drive with the helmet catch in SB 42, that team goes down as the greatest football team in history. I'll take that team over any of the SB winners.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  9. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd term it that they had an "attacking" defense back then (at least out of the red zone, once in the red zone they would be the "bend but not break" - contain D style we see more of now), and lately they have played more of a "zone -2gap - reactive" defense all the time.

    With the improved speed and youth (plus, not as many experienced "readers" on the D as before) this year may be the first year we actually see Dean Pees go more towards the old "proactive-attacking" defense.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  10. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I'd agree with that. The defense - out of necessity, perhaps - has been less attacking in recent years. And I agree, if preseason is any indication, the team will play more aggressively in coverage and in applying pressure.
  11. JMarr

    JMarr Rookie

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    I agree, but it's wishful thinking IMO. If anything. it's going to be even more of a finesse, "bend don't break" defense this year (definitely frustrating for fans, but usually effective--and necessary--given the personnel we have). We have no really big hitters, although the corners should be more physical. AD will be the only true playmaker out there, although hopefully Merriweather takes the next step and becomes an all-pro this season.

    I'm hoping Pees and BB find a way to unleash the LBs more on blitzes, and definitely like the way Jarvis can get to the QB. But with the exception of Vince and AD, this just isn't a very physically intimidating defense.
  12. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree with your first paragraph for the very reason of the different personnel this year.

    If they go more 4-3, that means more playmaking opportunities for the guy who, in his second year let's face it, is the best player on the D - - Mayo.

    Add to that the better speed and younger personnel (less capable to "read and react") and you have both the positive (speed) and negative (less "reading experience) recipe for more PROACTIVE than REACTIVE strategy.

    Look at the LBs. They got ride of two slower but great fundamental readers and edge-setters (reactive) in Vrabel and Bruschi and replaced them with guys who are NOT great in "setting the edge" but who specialize in being blitz attack dogs in TBC and Burgess.

    I'm guessing Springs and Bodden were brought in to be "cool heads" in the secondary during times of Safety blitzes, etc.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  13. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    I would long for either of those defenses if someone could explain how either the Titans or Steelers will limit Brady to under 30 points?

    Recent defenses are feeling the "longing wrath" because they gave up season ending touchdowns.

    We tend to forget that in SB XXXVI, we were up 17-3/ gave up 2 late touchdowns/then a magic game ending drive.

    In SB XXXVIII, we gave up 29 points, including the Panther last possession for a game tying TD. Once again magic won the game.

    I might also add that absent a collapse of the Cardinals 31st rank pass defense, the Steelers defense pitched what would have been a historic SB collapse. They hammered Warner to a minimal 375 yards passing.

    I would also point out SB XLII was a great defensive battle that was decided by two late touchdowns.

    Had "big play" Asante made the catch, history would be different, like the "tuck rule".
  14. BelichickFan

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    I guess the question begs to be asked, for those who want the old team back would you trade Brady, Moss and Welker for the three best defensive players in the league and go with Brian Hoyer or a FA like Griese or Garcia as your QB with Galloway, Aiken and Edelman as your top 3 WR ?

    I'm happy as is, thank you very much, and look forward to the era of Mayo and Meriweather.
  15. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    I agree with you on wanting that hard-hitting defense back, but if I'm not mistaken didn't the rule changes brought on by Polian and his cronies after 2004 take away a lot of the opportunities for the defense to impose their physical play on other teams and force the Pats LBers and secondary to tone down the "in-your-face" aggressiveness they would use on the likes of Marvin Harrison?
  16. shmessy

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    Interesting that the Patriots have now not only become more like mid decade Colts on offense, but are transitioning to be more of their system on Defense also.

    Could it be that BB's revenge on Polian is to beat him silly at his own game?

    Bruschi - "You Wanna Change the Rules??? Change 'Em!!!" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV2OhvyeH7M (btw, note the Richard Seymour in plainclothes sighting at :45 of the video - - Jarvis did pretty well in that game!)
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  17. Deus Irae

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

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    Why does that question need to be asked? It's a false conundrum.
  18. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Rookie

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    :confused:

    '01-'04 Brady was ten times the QB than those guys are. Similarly, Branch, Givens, and Troy weren't too shabby of a WR corps either.
  19. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He wants a great defense and a workmanlike offense. The "early Belichick years" didn't have a great offense and a great defense. Forget 2000, but 2001 & 2002 had shaky offenses at best. In 2003 we were #12 in scoring. Above average (average would be #16) but not by a lot. It wasn't until 2004 that the offense got into the top ten. If you want the "early Belichick years" you get the whole thing, not just part.
  20. Deus Irae

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

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    Getting rid of Brady when Brady was already the QB sets up a false conundrum.
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