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Midweek thoughts...I feel like I'm taking crazy pills

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jays52, Jan 18, 2012.

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  1. jays52

    jays52 In the Starting Line-Up

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    The more I think about this game the more I think it's key to target and exploit both Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Welcome to bizarro world. I can't believe I'm thinking this but I see major vulnerabilities in the two best players at their respective position of their generation.

    It's pretty clear to me that Ray Lewis, one of my favorite players ever (hence the 52), has not lost a step. He has lost two steps. He can't sidestep blocks like he used to, and this has greatly hurt his shed game. His anticipation is still there, his tenacity is still there, but he physically has dropped off dramatically. I see him as being easily exploited in the wham game because if Gronk can earhole Ngata I think the back can beat Lewis. I think Connoly and the guards can reach and seal him easily. I'm focusing a lot on his run fits because I think at this stage he is exclusively a run defender. I also think that the Ravens will try to force the Pats to run with lighter sets and six man boxes. I anticipate a gameplan with a lot of check with me calls. If the Pats can find a way to isolate him on a back (or, more specifically Hernandez by aligning him in the backfield) they can also exploit him readily in the passing game.

    While I still think Ed Reed makes tremendous reads and baits better than anyone, it's clear to me that he can't tackle anymore. His will is there, but his body isn't capable of doing it anymore. What's the key? Get Gronk on him, and establish it early. It will be a challenge because I think Baltimore will high-low Gronk and press him with a dlineman, but with motion and spacing I think the offense will find a way to force Reed to matchup physically with Gronkowski. Not only am I certain Gronk will run him over, but Reed's ball skills will be negated by Gronk's catch radius and overall body positioning. How crazy is it so say a major focus on the gameplan should be to throw directly at Reed? It's true, though, and an advantageous matchup.

    So there's my wednesday thoughts. What are yours?
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  2. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    so ..... youre saying that he hasn't lost a step, but he's lost a step?

    the ravens were 4-0 without him....they had their best defensive game of the year without him

    if a game changer is going to appear from the ravens, I'd bet it won't be lewis. he's hit that age. he will go nuts sunday, which will likely cause him to overpursue.
     
  3. Sciz

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    When you talk about pressing Gronk with a DL, wouldn't a solution to that be putting him out wide? Can't do it on every down, but on 3rd and long it makes a lot of sense.
     
  4. jays52

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    Yeah, exactly. That's why they motion him around so much. It makes it much more difficult to prevent him from getting a release.
     
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll admit that I haven't watched every Ravens game this year, but I have seen them several times (Jets, Jags, at Pitt, SF, at SD and last week's game vs Houston if my memory is correct).

    Ray Lewis does seem slower, especially when he moves laterally. And I agree with Reed; I can't pinpoint it but his tackling seems different.

    To me without a doubt the biggest concern is neither Lewis nor Reed but it is Suggs; to me he's playing the best football of his career.
     
  6. PatsWickedPissah

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    Hard to get a D line person on Gronk with the split 3 formation the Pats love to run. The issue is then protecting the franchise which is addressed by OT Cannon plus Solder or some other 2 some combo of Cannon-Solder-Seabass. think about this...the Pats rich combination offense is not just the skilled players but the extra OT/TE combos as well.

    Now, back to the "Is THIS Ocho's Breakout Game?" and other riveting topics
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  7. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    My Wednesday thoughts Jay, stray toward the OL.

    1. I'm thinking that in the passing game, I like the fact that Dan Connolly will be better at establishing a strong middle, than Koppen would have been against the likes of Cody and Ngata. Though I think Koppen would have been more of an asset in the run game.

    2.I can see the Ravens lining up Ngata and Suggs on the same side on passing downs in order to get Suggs matched up on a TE or RB.

    3.Ngata and Cody will be tasked with power rushing our OL and keeping Brady from being able to step up to avoid the outside rush. They want him moving side to side, not up. it will be interesting to see how well the interior of the Pats OL hold up.

    4.I again am wondering (for the 3rd week in a row), how the Pats will utilize Volmer if he's healthy enough to play.

    5. You know Jay, don't be surprised if the Ravens replace Lewis on passing downs

    6. The Pats are going to drop back around 35-40 times this game and Suggs is going to beat Light about 3 times. How those 3 plays end up will be critical to the Pats. If they are just 3 incompletions, no problem. If they are 3 sacks and fumble, then...not so good.

    7. Watching Jimmie Smith play makes long for Ras Dowling even more. Part of the Raven's strong secondary is because he's come on late in the year. He gives us an insight on the impact of having a big CB. I wouldn't be surprised to see him matched up on Hernandez a lot.

    8. I am praying that Brady stays patient enough to throw some dump offs to our RBs.

    9. Ray Rice needs to get the Willie McGinest treatment when he tries to get into a pattern. Don't forget he's caught more balls than any other receiver.

    10. Did anyone else notice that Sean Ellis seemed to have a burst or little more jump to his first step last week? Jet fans always complained that Ellis, in his later years, only showed up for a few games. Well this would be a great time for this year's great game.
     
  8. jays52

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    Exactly. Everyone in the media is concerned with drawing up a coverage that will stop the tight ends. The problem is that they are coverage breakers. The *only* way to stop this offense is to get pressure, and Suggs is a unique blend of outside speed and burst complimented by interior strength and leverage. It wouldn't surprise me to see him aligned as an inside linebacker in some of their passing looks, or at the very least heavily utilized rushing off of Ngata.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  9. jays52

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    Lots of great points. I'll give a good reply when I get some time tonight.
     
  10. PatsWickedPissah

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    We have a Polite option for such an attack, at the cost of an extra OT, RB or receiver
     
  11. Deus Irae

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    I'd avoid playing games with Reed, and focus on two other areas: Lateral movement with the LBs (especially Lewis) and pull/trap blocking against Ngata on the line in the running game.

    Have Gronk double/chip on Suggs, have Waters pull to help clear Ngata, have Solder/Vollmer block down on Redding and have Connolly just hold even with Cody, and that should open up some running lanes on that side, especially if you have Johnson in on that play to block as the WR.

    In the Passing game, I'd keep Welker clean on the line by moving him a lot, put Hernandez in the backfield on occasion to allow him a more free release, and I'd have Gronk/Hernandez going hi/low with crossing patterns in front of and behind the LBs. If Reed and the corners start to really sag into the middle, put Johnson or Underwood in to run some go routes or out and ups.

    One of the Patriots favorite passes has been Gronk going middle/deep down the middle, working the seam. I'd avoid that one with Reed in play, and Tell Brady only go to it if he's 100% certain that Reed can't get near the play.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  12. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I just had a brilliant insight into a very difficult formation for the Ravens to cover in 3rd and 5 or so situations.

    You line up as follows

    .....................Gronk - Light - Mankins - Connolly - Waters- Volmer - Solder

    Welker...................................................................................................................Branch

    .......................................Hernandez
    ........................................................Brady

    This is a very strong run formation, and as we found out last week Hernandez is a very strong runner

    Its also a very strong protection formation. So if you wanted to release Gronk deep in the middle or Branch down the sideline, then Brady will likely have the time to get it to them.

    Motioning Welker or Hernandez, get the Ravens to declare their coverage and keeps the motion man from getting hit off the LOS

    Lots of stuff you can do from this formation and personnel package.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  13. Buchanty

    Buchanty On the Game Day Roster

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    OP said 52 had not lost a step - he had lost two, which seems to be the case, though the occasion may fire him up to recover one of them ;)

    Not a bad thought on Gronk and Reed, but there is some risk, especially with such a savvy player. If he his slowed down by the ankle then I fully agree.
     
  14. PatsWickedPissah

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    Beat me to it Ken
     
  15. Deus Irae

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    I forgot to mention that I'd also look at running out of the 3 TE formations with Solder moving down the line to slam into Ngata at the snap. That'll take it's toll on Ngata and, hopefully, will wear him down in the second half. Heck, rotate him on Ngata and Suggs, and really apply some pressure on that side of the Ravens line.
     
  16. ctpatsfan77

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    And it allows for the Brady-to-Solder pass so many folks here want to see. :D
     
  17. PatsWickedPissah

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    Great idea and it's also something that counters the generic delayed blitz up the middle once the std OLers have made their blocks. I seriously hope that Dante has been working on this. Would also be a useful tool were we to make the SB against the Giants and the aggressive SF defense.

    This is a great thread people.
     
  18. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I can't tell you how much more fun this is to talk about actual football stuff, Rather than read another thread about who did what to whom, and when it happened, and where they were rated at the time. WOW!!! Keep it up.
     
  19. jays52

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    Right? This is fun! I can't wait for work to end to really be able to talk!
     
  20. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Don't think that thought hadn't occurred to me, CT. But I was hoping to keep it mum. You never know who might be watching. ;)

    I'd hate to be the LB or DB who had to try and bring down THAT load. After 2 completions, they'd be BEGGING for Tom to throw it to Gronk
     
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