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Offensive Playcalling was Average to Atrocious

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by maverick4, Feb 5, 2008.

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  1. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    (posted this in last night's temporary forum, I guess it wasn't migrated over to the main one):

    I was very disappointed by the play-calling, and before you say it's because we lost, I have been calling out McDaniels' work a few times this season even when we were winning and scoring a bazillion points. The offensive calls were slow to adjust, and didn't take advantage of the Giants' going for the pass rush every single down. Where were the 3-step drops, no huddle, inside runs and traps and draws, the slants, the screens? When it was clear our O-Line couldn't handle the Giants' pass rush in the first quarter, we should have stopped going for the home run and all the slow-developing plays that we kept trying to do in the second half, especially in the final drive. There is no excuse for 5 sacks and 18 knockdowns of Brady in the game, the O-Line was outplayed but you also have to blame the playcalling for stats like that.

    The final drive was, in one word, inexcusable. We had 30 seconds, all 3 timeouts, and we basically chuck it deep to Moss twice and also have a sack on *another* slow developing pass pattern?

    Basically, I think Josh McDaniels is one of the luckest coaches in the NFL. The Pats are so stacked at offensive talent that this guy gets bailed out for average playcalling that is not just slow to adjust, but also becoming very predictable. Well, the Superbowl exposed his inexperience, it shows he doesn't know what to do against certain things, he may be a good worker but he isn't a strategy genius. And Belichick should be more hands-on with the offense instead of let such a young guy run the show.
  2. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan Rookie

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    ummm, first off, i thought ole josh did much better this year with play calling, than last year(up till the playoffs). with that said, i COMPLETELY AGREE WITH EVERYTHING ELSE YOU SAID. no quick passes? screens, etc, would have helped greatly.
  3. MRBLAZE

    MRBLAZE Rookie

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    It was inexcusable. However, I don't think BB is wrong about McDaniels. I have a lot of faith in Bill, McDaniels is going to win Super Bowls as a head coach one day, it just sucks that his learning curve had to occur at the least opportune time. I'm still shocked adjustments weren't made sooner. And I don't give a damn what anyone says or that Stephen missed the 35yder against the Jags and shanked the kickoff, you take the 49yder in such a low-scoring defensive struggle. That was just insane.
  4. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan Rookie

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    has b.b. said anything about why he made that call?? it was bizzzzzare.
  5. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Another thing I thought of, was I can't recall maybe more than 1 time we used shotgun... how do you not use shotgun, or more 3-step-drops, or many other strategies listed above, against a devastating pass rush?
  6. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    I sincerely and completely question your recollection.

    I also will politely ask if you know what a shotgun formation is.

    I'm trying not to be rude here but either you (a) are confused about football terminology, (b) did not watch the same game the rest of us saw, or (c) are suffering from amnesiac shock.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2008
  7. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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  8. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    I read all the recent offensive threads, especially the one about the poster concerned that he/she isn't sure what happened this time won't happen again.

    I think that a common demoninator for our struggles in the playoffs, ever since 2004, is McDaniels.
    I'd say that for both of our crushing losses at Denver, at Indy, and against the Giants, there was talk about slow or failed adjustments on offense, and how the offense let us down, or simply 'didn't execute'.

    When are people going to finally call this guy out?
  9. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I've been tough on McDaniels in the past as well - though its interesting to note the 180 degrees difference he's had in personnel and therefore 2 very different challenges.

    In 2006 I fault him for completely giving up on a deep game - even though he didn't have the greatest talent I don't think you can EVER give up on trying to keep defenses honest.

    He gave up and the team paid the consequences, with the OL deserving twice as much credit for a job well done in 2006 than in 2007.

    In 2007 he had Moss - and while the Brady to Moss combination - that of course opened up Welker quite nicely - was unstoppable in the first half, teams began to adjust in the 2nd half and I never saw McDaniels adjust well. We certainly had some additional talent on the field and I don't feel like he utilized Stallworth all that well, or even Watson.

    I hope that the lure of a record for Moss and Brady didn't affect his playcalling, but it remained far too Moss centered for my preference, especially when Moss was being double teamed consistently.

    Most people won't look beyond the 16-0 mark and therefore wouldn't think of criticizing McDaniels, but he's far from perfect, and has learned, I hope, two polar opposite lessons on playcalling in the last 2 years.
  10. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    People keep apologizing for this guy like they apologized for Bledsoe.
    First the excuse was the lack of offensive talent, but even with a stacked offense the guy falls apart when it comes to big time games against tough defenses. One great example is our last superbowl drive with 3 timeouts, what does the guy do, call multiple deep bombs and low developing plays to Moss, when he knows Brady has been sacked or knocked down 20+ times already in the game.

    The past 3 straight years against Denver, Indy, and NY, this guy has been out-coached on the offensive side of the ball.
    Can't blame the lack of talent anymore, at some point people have to start looking at the guy responsible for calling the plays, being the field strategist, and running the unit.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  11. DaBruinz

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    You do realize that Brady has free reign to make audible calls at the line. So if you are going to slam McDaniels, you also have to slam Brady. You also have to remember that Brady is the one responsible for calling out the MIKE so that the O-line can make its blocking adjustments.

    I am all for being critical about McDaniels and I have been critical of him in the past. Just remember that there are 2 other people who have input on the plays. One of them is Tom Brady.
  12. Deus Irae

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    The offense was fine against the Colts and needs no apologists. In Denver, I'm pretty sure that it wasn't the O.C. that was playing catch with Bailey in the endzone, and it wasn't the O.C. that was making phantom pass interference calls.

    Now, against the Giants, I'm sure that you could have found the plays that miraculously had Neal recover from injury, Mankins stop playing the worst game of his life, Light stop making false starts and Brady's ankle healing to 100% and sharpen his reads of the defense. However, nobody else in the world was going to find those magical plays.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  13. DaBruinz

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    Sorry, but I have to cal ll BS on you.

    1) The offense didn't lose the Denver game. Unless you are going to include the fumble by Hobbs on a kick-off and a fumble by Troy Brown on a punt return against the offense as well. Also, I can remember PLENTY of people pointing out how pi$$ poor the officiating was that year.

    2) The game against Indy was a TEAM loss, just like the SB was. If the Pats hadn't had 3 injured RBs, they could have run the ball late in the game and taken time off the clock, making it impossible for Manning to get down the field in the time that he had. With this past SB, I don't understand why the Pats didn't run the ball at least ONCE when it was 1st and goal from the 6 yard line with 2:55 on the clock. You run the ball once and the likelihood is that you get to the 2 minute warning or you force the Giants to use a time out. Either way, they don't have 4 stoppages if they get the ball back.

    Also, as I said before, you can't JUST blame Josh McDaniels. You also have to blame Brady and Belichick. ALL 3 are involved in the game plan. Also, if Belichick really thought McDaniels was doing a bad job, he'd have over-ruled him and changed the plays being sent in. On top of that, Brady does have free reign to audible at the line.

    Face facts. The O-LINE stunk it up. And it would have hardly mattered if the Pats were going with screens, slants or otherwise because the O-line wasn't keeping the Giants D-line at bay long enough for even the shorter passing routes to develop.
  14. LiveShot

    LiveShot Rookie

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    I find it interesting that all his career Belichick was a genius and in the last game he lost his credability and his genius label. McDaniels has Belichick's trust in his coaching ability so he deserves the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of his years. He's just a kid. Anyone who thinks McDaniels does anything without BB's approval is a fool.
  15. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Well, lets not exaggerate the point. They were at least blocking long enough for that, but the Giants coverage was geared to stopping all the short stuff. They dared the Pats to beat them deep all game. Which is why McDaniels and Brady were taking their shots downfield.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  16. Rob0729

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    LOL! Yeah, against the Colts we only score 27 points on offense. The fact we gave up 38 points on defense has nothing to do with that loss. If you can't overcome giving up 38 points to the opposing team, you have no reason to take the field.

    Funny, wasn't the call last year that the Pats would have beaten the Colts if it wasn't for Caldwell dropping a sure TD? So last year it wasn't the playcalling it was the execution, but now that Caldwell is gone it is the playcalling. Maybe we should resign Caldwell then.

    Against Denver, it was purely execution. You cannot overcome 5 turnovers alinged with some questionable penalties. I'm sorry you cannot scheme three fumbles especially when two were on special teams. It wasn't the scheme's fault that the o-line screwed up their blocking assignments and allowed Lynch to come into the backfield free. And it wasn't the scheme's fault that brady made the bad choice of trying to make the play while being chased backwards when the smart move was to take the sack or throw out of bounds since he was out of the pocket.

    McDaniels has his flaws, but then again so did Charlie Weis. People want to blame him for everything. Belichick trusts the guy and the offense even in 2006 has been more productive under him than Weis. That is enough for me.
  17. DaBruinz

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    The Pats TRIED some screens and slants and the Giants sniffed them out and stopped them.

    The Giants defense was geared to planting Brady in the ground. Nothing more. Nothing less. They went in with the mentality that they had to hit Brady. Period.
  18. Rob0729

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    I remember one screen where Welker got hit the second he got the ball and was wrapped up for a loss. Another where Strahan got into the backfield so fast that he batted it down. The screen was tried and it failed on that day.
  19. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I definately do keep that in mind... and I'd generally attribute any potential desire to give Moss the TD record to a desire on Brady's part to make it happen.

    What I WOULD expect however is that McDaniels would sit Brady down and explain that unless he worked more to involve other players when Moss was double teamed that such a reliance on Moss would come back to haunt them.

    The offensive production began to fall off towards the end of the season and I think the desire to force it in to Moss even when he was double teamed was part of it. I have no way of knowing if McDaniels was asserting himself and getting this point across, but from what I saw, neither Brady nor McDaniels made a major adjustment away from that trend, and it gave the defenses the opportunity to know that double teaming Moss wasn't going to hurt them as bad as it could have.

    If McDaniels bears some blame for that - and IMO he does - that would be the second straight season where a major strategic flaw cost the team dearly... 2006 for giving up on the deep game and 2007 for failing to take full advantage of Moss' double teams.
  20. Rob0729

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    I still don't know how the Pats not passing deep in 2006 or the Pats trying to go deep to Moss in 2007 cost us.

    Even with McDaniels trying to go deep constantly this year, the Pats won every regular season game. In the first two games in the playoffs, McDaniels adjusted the game strategy to have a near perfect offensive game against the Jags where they nearly never tried to go down field. Also a near perfect second half by utilizing the RB screen so much. Even in the Super Bowl, he tried a lot of short and intermediate passes, but nothing worked.

    In 2006, who exactly was he going to go down field with? Chad Jackson was easily neutralized by sticking a hand in front of his face. Gaffney, Caldwell, and Troy are not burners. Gabriel was cut. We didn't have anyone who could get open deep. That is why the Pats got Stallworth and Moss in the offseason.

    Besides, McDaniels' decision not to throw the deep ball was not the reason we gave up 32 second half points to the Colts in the AFC Championships last year. Even the regular season game vs. the Pats and the Colts that season which I do assign a lot of blame to McDaniels was because the Pats gave up on the short passing game that was eating appart the Colts' defense in the first half to try to take shots down the field.
  21. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Actually if the game plans are formed like they were with Weiss, it's offensive coaches putting it all together during the week..NOT ONE coach..but input from BB and all the offensive coaches. McDaniels is learning..far from being a vet like Weiss..I just think he needs to be given some slack here..it's embarrassing that if the helmet catch hadn't been made..these threads would never be made..and if one is critical..look at the WHOLE season not just at the end...I don't believe the playcalling was average to atrocious.. THAT is plainly dumb...somehow having the best offense ever doesn't lead one to any conclusion CLOSE to that..
  22. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    How it cost us, I would suggest, is in failing to win the Super Bowl. Of course there's plenty of "blame" to go around, but since the topic of this thread is offensive play calling I think its easy enough to see how both extremes can have negative impact.

    Although there were plenty around here who argued vociferiously that there was no need to upgrade over Caldwell and Gaffney (I kid you not) after 2006, giving up on having even the semblance of a deep game to keep defenses honest has an incredible domino effect on the entire offense, from allowing safeties to blitz without fear of ever being burned, to hurting the running game for the same reason. to limiting yards after the catch in the short to mid range game, to putting incredible pressure on the OL and of course most importantly to leaving Brady more vulnerable to the pressure that would be lessened if defenders needed to stay back 20 yards.

    Need I go on? So even without the amount of deep threat talent on the 2006 team there's all those reasons and more NEVER to GIVE UP on the deep game like McDaniels did in 2006

    I don't really think there's any question about it.

    The drawbacks of focusing on Moss too much is something that is much more debatable.

    My opinion is that focusing too much on Moss and not enough on other good weapons like Stallworth had a cumulative effect over the course of the season.

    For a time defenses worried that Brady would simply find other open men if they devoted too much attention to Moss - but over time McDaniels and Brady showed that putting 2, even three guys on Moss wouldn't dissuade them. Now, maybe having a 6 foot 4 WR with Moss' talent does that to you, but cumulatively, I'd say that Defenses did little to hurt themselves by putting additional guys on Moss because we didn't make them "pay" with the guys they left un or undercovered.

    By the time we got to the Super Bowl the game tape didn't lie - cover Moss like a blanket and McDaniels and Brady still won't look away from him or make you pay by going to Stallworth or his other options. They don't really run a risk by draping guys all over Moss - and therefore that also signficantly limits MOSS' impact in the games as well - as looking elsewhere would ultimately have the impact of easing the pressure on Moss.

    Basically the lack of a more diverse playcalling and its impact over time can be seen in the increasingly close margins of games and the lowered offensive production - that hit its low in the Super Bowl.

    Again, 2007 can certainly be debated - giving up on a deep game in 2006 is NEVER a good idea though.

    So hopefully that answers your question about how it cost us.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  23. Deus Irae

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

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    This notion that the Patriots only went looking deep in the Super Bowl is false, though, so your argument really doesn't work. Welker led the team with 11 catches, Faulk was second with 7 and Moss was third with 5. Stallworth had 3 for over 10 yards a reception (As an FYI, everyone's flavor of the month, Jabbar Gaffney, was shut out).

    The problem wasn't Brady looking always for Moss, or for the deep receiver. The problem was that Brady's greatest strength, his ability to quickly go from one receiver to another, was negated by the Giants' pass rush. I've bemoaned the absence of Moss and Stallworth in motion, which I believe would have helped, and I've bemoaned the lack of slant patterns in the play calling. I cannot, however, point to a fixation on Moss as the problem in the playoffs or the Super Bowl.
  24. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    One only has to look at our last drive to know there is a problem with the offensive strategist in charge.

    We need 3 points, need to move about 40 yards, we have all 3 timeouts, and what do we do? Call all slow-developing 7 step drops, and 2 bombs to a double/tripple covered Randy Moss. Game over.
  25. OsloRhino

    OsloRhino Rookie

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    Is it me, or is the play calling atrocious on a team which scored the most points ever recorded in a season by any franchise in history?

    I bet any other of 30 teams would have swapped places with us.
  26. PatsFanVancouver

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    Yes, that IS a great strength of his, and also, the ability to read the mismatches pre-snap. But, was he quickly moving from one receiver to another?

    In years past, there wasn't a Moss here. The passes were mostly short. There wasn't a favorite receiver. Can we say the same for this year? Maybe, early in the season when balls were going everywhere, to any receiver. But, in the latter part of the season, Moss was the favorite receiver, open or not. Problem is, Moss is a deep threat. It takes time for his routes to develop. The ball doesn't come out quickly when Moss is the 1st read. Progressions don't happen as fast (Welker is so valuable here).

    Frustratingly, the Pats offense hit their peak early on in the season (Probably prior to the first Miami "jump ball" game). They looked unstoppable which was probably due in part to their weak competition at the time as well as the newly installed offense. They were multi-dimensional, unpredictable. Late in the season, they were struggling and, everyone knew where the ball was going. Improving a new offense by testing their mettle against defenses late in the season is what teams strive for, daresay, record chasing be damned. And, its easier, spectacular and more fun to hit the 50-yard touchdowns, even though the odds are not good, than go 15 plays, without major mistakes to score (while giving your defense a rest). This team has dinked and dunked to 3 SB Championships. I would think, with Welker and Stallworth in the lineup that becomes easier. How this lack of development and usage of assets gets by the OC, I don't know.

    The Giants had a good defensive gameplan. They bet Brady wouldn't have enough time to get it to Moss and they were right. During the game, Brady would gaze downfield in one direction not coming off. Seemed to me a recurring theme from late in the season. He would be hit, hurried or sacked moments later. Doing that continually, along with predictable playcalling, led to 3rd and Long on drives, stalling them. The OLine had a horrendous game, but the bad playcalling put even more pressure on them on successive downs.

    For three quarters, the offensive gameplan didn't change. Therefore, putting the game up for grabs. The Giants took it.

    "Anybody can go 26-of-28 in a dump-down game." -Reggie Nelson, S, Jacksonville Jaguars. After that comment, we didn't get the quick Brady again.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  27. Rob0729

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    I don't know how it can be the failing to win the Super Bowl when Wes Welker tied the Super Bowl record for receptions. How is that the Patriots focusing too much on getting it down field to Moss. The Pats did change up the offense quite a bit, but Brady had no time whether they were going deep or short patterns like screens. I blame the o-line more than anyone for the offensive failings.

    As for giving up on the deep ball, it is a very similiar criticism that we could level on Charlie Weis when he always gave up on the run during the 2003 season. He didn't even try to run the ball in second halves of a lot of games. Yeah, they did the same thing this year, but not because most teams couldn't stop the pass even when they knew it was coming.

    I will admit McDaniels is not perfect, but he is getting better every year and he is better than most OCs out there. All you have to do is watch some of the offensive strategies of many of the teams around the league and you would be happy that we have McDaniels.

    I still don't get it. There was many things you could complain about Weis' strategies over the years. He had a tendency to give up on the run. He was predictable a lot of times (third and short was a FB draw a lot of the times and the first play after the turnover was always an attempt for a deep pass for a TD). Yet, people want to get rid of McDaniels for some of the same reasons.

    Belichick has faith in McDaniels and most of the rest of the league look at him as a great OC. He is young and is bound to get better with more experience. Yet everyone wants to put the blame on him for all the Patriots woes.
  28. Rob0729

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    BTW, by blaming McDaniels for everything, it ignores the fact that the Giants had a brilliant gameplan. When we shut down the Rams in 2001, everyone in New England credited Belichick and Crennel. I never heard that it was Martz who gave away the game eventhough he didn't run Marshall Faulk and if he just ran Marshall Faulk the Rams would have beaten the Patriots. So if it was McDaniels fault that the Pats won the Super Bowl this year, then Martz gave away the game to the Pats in February of 2002.

    Sorry, the Giants had a great gameplan and won the battle of the trenches. We have beaten a lot of great offenses with brilliant OCs doing the same thing over the years. Why is it so hard to accept that it could have been the same case in this Super Bowl whether you think McDaniels is brilliant or not. Even Charlie Weis has been outschemed.

    I totally disagree with the premise that McDaniels was the biggest factor in any of our other playoff losses. He didn't give up 32 second half points against the Colts. He didn't fumble the ball three times in a game they turned over the ball 5 times or cause Samuel to get a very questionable PI call that gave the Broncos about a 40 yard gain and placed the ball on the 1 yard line.
  29. unoriginal

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    70% of the people on this board are crazy, insane. If you believe any of the following:

    * The Pats didn't try anything different for the first 3 quarters
    * Brady stared down Moss on every pass play
    * Brady took too long in the pocket
    * The Pats didn't run any/enough screens

    you have watched the game with a mind towards seeing what you want to see, not what was there.
  30. JoeSixPat

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    If you actually read my post I didn't say anything about failings ONLY in the Super Bowl - so your argument doesn't really work.

    I said it was a cumulative effect over the course of the year... that in turn led to Moss becoming less and less of an impact player.

    To reiterate, my point was that they didn't look beyond Moss for a deep threat throughout the season. Stallworth is a deep threat talent - but was he really used that way? Did they use Stallworth to make teams pay for double covering Moss? My feeling is absolutely not. I'm not knocking Stallworth - just the way he was used.... i.e. not enough as a deep threat to take pressure off of Moss. That's what we all talked about when Stallworth was signed - yet apparently McDaniels didn't see it that way or think there was a benefit to having another deep threat on the other side of the field.

    That's part of the reason why Moss wasn't the same type of impact player towards the end of the year as he was at the beginning, and why he wasn't a big part of the Super Bowl either. Defenses learned that they could double team Moss and not be burned deep by Stallworth.

    So you're completely missing my point by illustrating how Moss did not have a big game in the Super Bowl - actually your making my point. Had McDaniels been more diverse in his playcalling and utilization of more players, especially Stallworth as a deep threat, earlier in the season, and as a consistent alternative to Moss, I suspect Moss would have had more opportunities in the 2nd half, as well as in the Super Bowl.

    And while they certainly looked to Welker throughout the season, I don't think I'm alone in expressing surprise that Stallworth wasn't used more, and specifically more as a deep threat, and even Gaffney had only 36 receptions on the year.

    The passing game largely consisted of Moss deep (actually Moss was a good all around threat which definitely isn't bad) and Welker short (10 ypc - which includes yac). That lack of diversity over time limited Moss' effectiveness in the 2nd half of the season, and by limiting what was really our only utilized deep threat, defenses were able to shorten the field considerably compared to the first half of the season.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
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