Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatriotSeven, Dec 4, 2012.
Really nice article with some pictures and breakdowns of our various offensive schemes.
Nice article with some good breakdowns.
Thanks for posting this.
I mentioned this article in another thread. The breakdowns are very nice, and there's some good stuff. But basically, as far as I can tell, Brooks' argument is that the Pats now have a running game, since the other things that he mention (Brady at the top of his game + controlling the middle of the field with Welker and the TEs) were there in 2010 amd 2011.
There's no doiubt that having a running game will help a lot. But there are some other things that I'd like to see for the Pats to make a deep run:
- The OL get healthy
- More use of the RBs in the passing game, with Woodhead and Vereen more involved in screens, being split out wide, etc.
- A more effective outside passing game involving Lloyd and Stallworth so that defenses can't crowd the middle of the field
In 2010 the TE's were rookies and a work in progress. In 2011 one of them was ineffective due to injury when the last game rolled around. In both seasons the defense was a crap shoot. Improving it and developing the running game are huge factors in how deep they can go this time. Health is always a variable, and OL has bitten us in the ass more than once. While it remains a work in progress, this one seems deeper and is gaining more experience that may mark another turning point. Waters might have put them over the top. You have to walk before you run and in the case of the backs I think you will begin to see more involvement of necessity now due to injury and their budding performance. As to the perimeter, until or unless they can establish that someone can perform there at an acceptable level (worthwhile %) that remains to be seen, but they can win without it. For all the angst over improving on it from without and within, and building redundancy at TE, the improved running game, the health of both starting TE's, the health and/or depth of the OL and improvements in the defense across the board are what will likely tell the tale of the tape.
that is either the FIRST, or one of very few articles I have ever seen on NFL.com that actually describe strategy and plays in depth, instead of storylines
The O-Line getting healthy is absolutely paramount. Personally, I'm not a big believer in the "Dante will coach 'em up" school of thought. Scar is an excellent O-Line coach, so don't get me wrong there, but the starting O-Line is also one of the best in all of the league. They also have solid depth at most positions. But three out of five starters are either injured (Mankins, Connolly) or recovering from injury (Mankins). We saw against the Dolphins what a good defensive philosophy and approach (not only in disguising the pass rush, but also with good coverage on the outside) could do to effect the offense. Brady was sacked four times and hit a few times more. Get the starters healthy for the stretch run. Because, while the offense is built for postseason success, it's not going to make much of a difference if #12 is constantly peeling himself up off the turf.
This offense is more dynamic than any other we've had IMO, though I'd like to see Lloyd more of a factor on the outside. Hopefully we utilize all these tools come playoff time.
I was thinking the same thing. The RBs need to become more involved. When you think about our 5 most dangerous skill position players on offense - at this time where we are without Gronk, Branch & Edelman, aren't Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley both in our top 5 skill group? Is it too late in the year to install some more plays out of their 2RB set?
Vereen has proven to be a good receiver out of the backfield in his time. I would think a 2RB set with him and Ridley could pose some serious issues for opposing teams.
Just something to think about.
Either way - I also believe that a key factor in us winning a title will be Brandon Lloyd doing more on the outside, and Brady improving his rapport with him. It takes a while for Brady to trust a player enough to throw to them when they are covered - especially when he has so many go-to options on the team already. We see with Gronk or Wes he knows exactly when and where to throw it to them even if someone is draped on them. Great coverage means nothing to Brady when it pertains to those guys. Hernandez, too. He might need to gain that trust with Lloyd if we want to make a SB run.
And the last thing that needs to happen is that Brady has to absolutely bring his A game each week from here on out. He was playing MVP caliber ball all year until the last two weeks, when his ridiculously pinpoint accuracy thus far has lessened. I hope it just has to do with missing Gronk and a resulting indecisiveness that leads to inaccuracy. I would fear that he's dealing with the tendinitis or some other injury that resulted in a similar brief flirtation with inaccuracy last season, amidst another otherwise absurdly accurate season.
If those three things happen (RB involvement in passing game; Lloyd-Brady chemistry improves; Brady keeps up MVP form), then I will feel better about our chances at winning the Super Bowl this season than at any point in the last two. I think our defense is approaching being ready to be good enough to support a SB run with this offense.
Reiss posted some numbers regarding use of the shotgun in different games this season:
Brady & the shotgun tracker - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston
The Pats went back to a fair amount of shotgun against the Dolphins (35/79) after using it relatively sparingly in the 2 weeks before. The weeks that they've used it the most heavily are also the weeks in which the offense has generally been least productive: 60/87 against Seattle (23 points), 47/82 against Arizona (18 points), 42/80 against the Jets in the first game (29 points in OT). The other 2 games in which they used it a lot they scored 31 and 30 points (45/94 against Denver, 41/82 against Baltimore).
In general, I'd like to see more run-pass balance and play-action and not as much spread. It has a role, and an important one, but when the team gets too spread out they get too predictable.
Especially when they are undermanned. With Gronk out, the spread is a lot easier to defend.
The point of a spread offense is to make the DEFENSE predictable; the cost is making the offense predictable too.
I think I'm with you. One is willing to have predictable formations in the hurry-up, in specific 3rd/4th-down packages, and as a change if one's basic gameplan isn't working that week.
That's probably enough.
The spread has a significant role. But at times the Pats seem to get too unbalanced and predictable.
The Dolphins game was somewhat schizophrenic in terms of how the Pats used the spread. By my count the Pats used the shotgun on 22 out of 37 offensive snaps in the first half against the Dolphins, excluding a kneel down by Brady to end the 1st half, and on 28 of their first 52 offensive snaps (54%). In contrast, they only used the shotgun on 7 of their 27 offensive snaps on the last 2 drives (26%), both which resulted in field goals. Those 2 drives chewed up almost 12 minutes of clock times and kept the Pats 2 scores up on the Dolphins.
Heck, I'd go so far as to say that after Welker, Hernandez and Lloyd the next 4 most dangerous skill players are all RBs: Ridley, Woodhead, Vereen and Bolden. Wouldn't you prefer having 2 of them on the field more instead of Fells, Hooman or Stallworth?
Based on a combination of consistent production and explosive playmaking potential:
1st tier options: Gronk (currently out), Welker, Hernandez, Ridley
2nd tier options: Lloyd, Vereen, Edelman (IR), Woodhead, Bolden
3rd tier options: Stallworth Fells, Hoomanamanui, Shiancoe
Fells I am disappointed in. They've had some nice plays where he gets open and Fells just misses on some well-throw balls from Brady. He has to start catching those or he won't see the field.
With the o-line and gronkowski banged up, he will continue to play a huge amount of snaps. With that said, he may not get very many looks from Brady, like we saw in the dolphins game.
I will say he will probably be a bubble player for next year at his price tag.
I'd agree with that. I have been pleased with his blocking, but his pass-catching just hasn't cut it.
Part of the issue is that Fells runs a 5.0 40 and Gronk runs a 4.6. Fells is running Gronk's routes and playing Gronk's position. If a guy is running a seam route, that's a huge adjustment in the timing of the play for Brady to make.
Where is it written that a full-back must be a 245lb guy with no neck only capable of lead blocking that's if he's agile enough to actually block someone when gets to the LOS. Reducing the FB to essentially a small OG is why the position is on the verge of extinction.
Good points, but I want to focus on the highlighted one.
I don't necessarily agree. Yes, not having the defense crowd the middle of the field is important, but you do not have to succeed outside for this to happen. In fact, it could be argued that the less you throw outside, the more you are opening up the middle. What I mean by this is that we will always have patterns outside the numbers on all passing plays (or virtually all at least). If the defense is crowding the middle effectively then the ball is going outside. But they have to defend those outside routes whether the ball gets thrown there or not. When we are throwing a lot to the middle of the field it is an indication that those routes are drawing coverage because the inside routes are open.
Actually its on the verge of extinction because a 2nd TE or 3rd WR makes an offense more dynamic that a FB does. Its kind of simple too. If you had an athlete like Bo Jackson at FB would you leave him behind the QB to or would you move him around?
FB isn't extinct its now called 2 TE/slot/HBack, etc
When healthy, Pats have the best offense. My concern is focused squarely on the health of the OL. Mankins, Connolly and Vollmer are all hobbled. Mankins hasn't been healthy all year. Connolly tried to play but came out after 1 series. Vollmer played but had his worst game of the year. The result was a season worst 4 sacks Sun and things will get harder Mon night. I think it will be tough to beat solid defenses if none of these guys is healthy. On the plus side, last week in crunch time with Thomas, McDonald and an ailing Vollmer, this offense stuffed it down the throats of a solid run defense that knew we were going to run. That is a trend I'd like to see continue.
Does having Daniel Fells on the field rather than, say, Danny Woodhead make the Pats offense more dynamic?
Seems to me Vollmer shouldn't have played last week. Not sure why he was brought back, the line had been playing well.
Maybe he was brought back to get the rust off against Cameron Wake before going up against JJ Watt.
A solid win over Houston Monday night would go a long way towards applying a salve to the wound losing at home to Arizona caused......
Beating Houston AND SF at home will erase any doubt that this is a team intent on one singular thing.... Returning to the SB.
Edited the otherwise good post.
Separate names with a comma.