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One thing about all this tumult

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Sep 21, 2009.

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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I posted this on Patriotsplanet prior to the Buffalo game, but it seems even more fitting to say now.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I have to admit to being glad NE is having a bit of a tumultious first week of the season. Clearly you want the best team on the field, but this team plays better after getting slapped in the face. And I find myself enjoying the games more when there is an air of uncertainty.

    Thinking back, my favorite games are those when NE overcame something.

    The New Orleans game in 2001 when NE rebounded off the Rams loss by whooping up on the big, bad Saints 34-17. I can still remember the Saint players talking about how tough they were and how NE hadn't faced as physical a team as them. It wasn't NE players that kept limping off the field, though.

    In 2004 after NE was pummeled by Pitt and NE had to face the high flying Rams with Troy Brown as the full-time nickle back. The game was marked by a Vinatieri to Brown TD, but NE thouroughly dominated a decent team when all the analysts thought the wheels were coming off.

    Same season, when NE walloped the Jets just as people wondered if the Miami loss was a harboringer of NE's collapse. In a game that wasn't even as close as the 23-7 score, we saw NE at their best. Had the Jets beaten them, there was still a legitimate chance of losing the division. Those worries were ended very early, though. The only dark spot on that game was fvcking Mawae intentionally rolling into the side of Seymour's knee. Which of course added an element of difficulty to one of the most enjoyable playoff runs.

    Hell, the entire 2003 season felt like this.

    After the Redskins loss and Brady's elbow looked like a bizzare new strand of grapefruit, I never thought they would take down a team as strong as the Titans, who had manhandled NE the previous year. And to do it the way they did, with Cloud running all over them. I can feel the old pride swelling up just thinking about it.

    The same feeling comes thinking about the Miami game a few weeks later. I broke my remote control slamming it into the ground when the refs completely ignored the receiver being a couple yards out of bounds on Miami's long OT catch. And I can still hear Gil and Geno calling the Brown's game winning catch. True magic, it's getting a bit dusty in here.

    Too many games to keep going with all of them. Denver, Indy, the Miami snow game - all games that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

    As awesome as 2007 was, I never really felt connected to the team like I was in those years. I was in awe of them, and I defended them like mad to the hoards of camera-gaters and runningupthescore-gaters, but I enjoyed them rather than loved them.

    So count me as one who is glad NE has some adversity to start this season. It will be that much sweeter when Kraft and Belichick hold up the Lombardi Trophy with red, white and blue confetti lying on the ground. :rocker:
     
  2. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I enjoyed 2007 immensely.

    I loved how, week after week, they came into every town as the biggest thing ever and left it with a W.
     
  3. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron In the Starting Line-Up

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    Very well said. Overcoming adversity is always more satisfying to me. 2007 there was no place to go but down. I'm sure we will see some fight in this team before it is done..
     
  4. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I love winning, but I do miss being the underdog as well. I'm sick of watching football on the cable networks and everything is negative about the Pats or if they did something good it was what they were supposed to do. I don't mind taking a couple loses if it gets the team back on the right track.
     
  5. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The 2007 was bad for so many reasons. Not only was it "not perfect", but it showed that it was possible. We saw ALOT of bad football that year, and we know what bad football is all about now that we have such little tolerance for it. We have lost 1 game by 1 posession and the sky is falling. BB and Krafty have created a monster in this fan base that will, at some point, eat this team alive. The culture of winning has set us up to view anything else as failure when the truth is 16 teams lose every week. Every week. I know the bandwagon is too big now, and I know it will get bigger when Brady turns it around, but there is part of me that appreciated the little things. Hardly any of us do that anymore IMHO. Its times like this that makes it appealing for guys like Parcells to enjoy starting over when there is only 1 direction to go. Similarly, there is only 1 direction for this team to go, unfortunately its in the wrong direction.
     
  6. Bill B.

    Bill B. Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    2007 was a once in a lifetime experience. We as fans though, have our expectations for this team set sky high. Too high sometimes. Usually the Patriots start off slow and then they get rolling towards the second half of the season. Look at the won-loss record for the month of December in the last ten years. It is probably the best in football. But the problem with the 2007 team is that the Patriots peaked too early. You see it all the time a team starts off hot and is tearing up the league only to blow it at the end. Just look at the starts that the Jets and Bills had last year and how they ended up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  7. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    Sorry, O, but I'm not buying the optimism. The problems we have are systemic, and deeply-rooted. It's going to take the entire off-season & draft & free-agency to correct them.
     
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why is that?

    I don't think our problems are with our personnel. This is one of the most talented and deepest Pats teams I've ever seen, with a few exceptions (the LB corps, for example). In most cases, I don't see us needing a massive overhaul of personnel. I see us needing to execute better, to get some people healthy, and most of all to change our offensive and defensive play calling. We need to be more balanced on offense and commit to the run more. And we need to let some of our defensive speed and playmaking ability loose instead of playing a conservative "bend but don't break" defense. And we need to be more physical on both sides of the ball.

    It may take us until next year (or longer) to correct these issues, but I see no reason why it has to.
     
  9. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Right on, Mayo. The defense gave up 16 points, 7 of which came largely due to one missed tackle by Meriweather. It's a brand-new defense and an offense that's out of synch. The team amassed almost 90 penalty yards, yet found themselves with a chance to tie after the two-minute mark.

    Right now, this team has a lot of talent, but it's missing playmakers. Last week, Meriweather and Woods combined to cause a fumble; Watson then made the catch of his life. One or two big plays on Sunday (Moss or Galloway making a big catch in traffic; AD holding onto that interception) and the Pats would have had a big chance.

    I'm up for the BB version of a "rebuilding" year: slow start, consistent improvement.
     
  10. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Oh no, Meriweather made a tackle...it was just on our player. Was it supposed to happen differently?:p
     
  11. captain insano

    captain insano In the Starting Line-Up

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    i think bb agrees with you. that's why he pulled the trigger on the seymour trade. but anything is possible with the pats. the 2001 team proves it.
     
  12. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Seeing that it's now past midnight, I'll just give the Cliff Notes version for now.

    What is most disturbing about the Pats' approach on offense & defense is that the personnel & game-planning decisions are not coming from the OC and/or DC, but from the top - from Bill himself. Therefore, I see no reason to believe that philosophical changes are coming anytime soon, cert. not during the season.

    On offense, it has been his decision to de-emphasize the FB and the entire concept of power football, as long as Brady is QB and Moss is one of his WRs. One would think that Bill learned a valuable lesson last season when the running game was re-emphasized and the result was one of its most successful seasons in team history. Alas, it was not meant to be. Their only full-time FB was not re-signed, and now Bill appears as determined as ever to continue this suicidal course of 50 pass attempts/game.

    On defense, he continues to adhere to the broken philosophy of Bend But Don't Break. As Condon & others have stated, that defense was effective when Clutch & Grab was less strictly enforced, and when Willie, Vrabel, Bruschi, Rosie & even Pfifer could create pressure from - and still set - the edges, while Seymour helped create havoc inside. The talent best suited for that scheme has been significantly drained, yet has not been adequately replenished, though some people had/have no problem with the likes of Crable, Guyton, Alexander, Woods, TBC, Burgess, Ninkovich, Wright, and other JAG flotsam & jetsam wearing the Flying Elvis.

    In short, this is Bill's team, built through his vision, with his players. Why in the world should anybody think (hope) that he will change the very ways in which he currently conducts his football business? In fact, the above section I bolded should answer your own question. What we see is what we'll get - for better (less likely) or worse (more likely).
     
  13. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    YESSSSSSSSSSSS !!!!

    Great point.

    -- FRITZ
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You and I are in agreement about the issues on both offense and defense. I've been calling all offseason for more physicality and aggressiveness on both offense and defense, more balance on offense similar to what we had in 2008 (or ideally 2004), and a more aggressive, attacking defense. A lot of people on this board have been shouting these ideas down, supporting a 2007 style blitzkrieg passing offense combined with a bend-but-don't-break defense. For some recent discussion see:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/10/262884-first-impressions-2-a.html

    See discussion starting around post #22.

    So far, that approach isn't working after 2 games. Some will say that all we need to do is fine tune our execution. I don't agree. I agree with you that our issues go deeper than that. But I think the issues are mainly one of coaching philosophy rather than issues of player personnel. We have the horses to execute the schemes. We ran the ball well last year, no reason to believe we can't run it this year. We have the athleticism on defense (particularly in the secondary, and with Burgess and AD off the edge) to be more attacking on defense, and to run less of a vanilla defense.

    I agree with you that the philosophy likely comes form the top. Everything ont his team starts and ends with BB. He's been pretty good so far, but I agree that we won't win any SB's by continuing what we are doing right now. If we are stubborn and refuse to adapt, it will be a long year. If we are willing to make some changes, there's no reason we can't still win it all this year. The talent is there.
     
  15. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's a pretty pessimistic view of things. You seem to believe that left to his own devices, BB will hang himself. Are you implying that he needs Pioli/Weis/Crennel types around him to succeed? My sense is that BB is very diligent about putting smart people around him and soliciting their advice (Ernie Adams, Floyd Reese, etc.). Remember, it was BB who hired Pioli/Weis/Crennel to begin with so he's far from being stubbornly myopic.

    Even the best Hall of Fame coaches went through lean years, including losing seasons. It's the nature of the NFL. What the Patriots did last year without Brady was amazing, mostly BECAUSE of BB and his philosophies, not in spite of him. He's still the best coach with the best organization in the league.
     
  16. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    It's funny that you mentioned the 01' game vs. N.O.
    I think that's the game that marks where we went on a W streak- also a new QB named Brady just filled in for Bledsoe.
    The AFC Champ game vs Pittsburgh was sweet too. Brady went down w/ an injury during the game and Drew came in and rifled in a TD pass.....all of these games 2001-2005 are on VHS.....remember that media?lol
    I used to stop the tape at commercials and sometimes after rush plays....back to the topic at hand...

    I've been a Pats fan since the early 80's-it's always been up and down. We were never really dominant until 01-pres. This really makes you appreciate a Championship more-having to really earn it and hit the road bumps. Remember the Rams SB? We often forget that this is a game of inches. It's very tight and the players are not baseball players in the sense of physical/ mental contact....football is very different. Our team will get better....we've been stripped down and we need to feel some growing pains. The best idea might be to avoid the media entirely....except for "Patriot" beat writers and this forum. It's easy to buy into the hype and doom. People act like their still in high school.


    We really have to beat the best-to be the best.
    Its up to the players and coaches to get that done.
    I think BB is a very aware individual who surrounds himself with knowledgeable people that know the game-we'll work it out...

    There are players out and plays we haven't seen yet.
     
  17. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    I loved 2007. I loved watching the games each Sunday, I loved every minute. I was thoroughly entertained.
     
  18. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The Patriots turned over more than half of their starting defense, changed the philosophy and then lost the two players - Mayo and Meriweather - who the new style is designed to feature... and still are averaging less than 17 points allowed per game. Both teams NE faced scored significantly more offensive points in their other game than against NE.

    The "bend but don't break" is a result of NE altering the DL and OLB responsibilites and then losing the two interior guys who were going to create the most havoc. It was clear from the preseason that they intended to use the middle of the field more creatively but have been held back because of Mayo's absence.

    On offense, no one remembers this, but the exact same questions came up when Josh was the interim OC in 2005. There were even drive by Cleveland fans talking about how BB was when he performed playcalling duties way back when as their HC. "Predictible" and "uninspired" were two of the more common words tossed around to describe NE's early season play calling.

    I look at it as little more than a guy getting his feet wet. I admit that he isn't quite as diverse or coordinated at JM or even Weis. That will take time and I'm sure BB is spending plenty of time with him going over each play and each situation, getting feedback as to what he was thinking, and then telling him what he should have been thinking and things that could have been done to set plays up later.

    It takes time and we just need to be patient. Hell, even Weis had playcalling duties stripped from him by Parcells early in his career.

    The great irony in the drive by Clevelanders is that they chastised BB for running too much. Now you are doing precisely the opposite. Considering this team has run 4 completely different offenses in just the short time Brady has been here, I highly doubt that BB is too fixated in his ways too change. He will do what he thinks gives the team the best chance to win, and recent history suggests that it will be largely successful.

    I also find it funny how you lament the loss of NE's only FB when Evans played sparingly last year. NE ran successfully in the same manner then as they are now, with single back sets or with a surrogate FB (like Hoch) in heavy sets. Evans' absence has nothing whatsoever to do with NE's ability or inability to run this year.

    This board is full of people who seemingly prefer this team looking bad than good. They would rather be able to pretend they are smarter than the team than just trust and enjoy the ride. They fail to realize that NE's first two champions had at least 2 losses by the time the 4th week came around and suffer from a compete lack of perspective. For every one decision these geniouses are right about (and thus preen about like pretentious peacokcs), there are a dozen more that they would have been wrong.

    This team will be very good by season's end. Of that I am sure.
     
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with your comments up to a point.

    First, I think that recent history in the NFL suggests that BBDB defenses don't work very well. Defenses have to be proactive and disrupt offenses in order to be effective in the pass-happy rules of the modern NFL. The teams that have won the SBs since 2001 have all features physical defenses which rattled opponents and disrupted the offensive game flow. That's how we beat the Rams in 2001 and how we dismantled the Colts offensive juggernaut teams in 2003-2004 that so many in the media favored to win it all. That's also how the Steelers and Giants won their SBs in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The 2006 Colts were much more balanced than their other teams on both offense and defense.

    Second, I have felt that since 2004 we have lacked the defensive personnel to effectively attack, due in part to our loyalty to aging but slowing warriors such as Bruschi, Vrabel and Harrison. We just didn't have the speed to attack effectively. Certainly in 2008 we didn't have the secondary. So I understood why we played a BBDB defense, but it was by necessity, not by choice. I've been hoping for several years now that once we reloaded the defense we would get more aggressive and disruptive.

    Third, I felt this preseason that we finally were close to having all the pieces in place to play an attacking defense. We have much more speed and talent on defense than we've had in a while, and a lot of players who give us versatility. I thought we would see more attacking (selectively, not necessarily an all out blitzing defense), more defensive looks, moving players around, etc. What I've seen so far has been a lot of the same vanilla BBDB defenses. They haven't been bad, because our players are athletic and have been making plays, but they have been much more limited than I expected. I've been personally pleased with the players so far, but not thrilled with the play calling and defensive scheme.

    There are several theories that have been floated on this board to account for this:

    1. BB and company are conservative about bringing the defense along with so many new and young players, and are starting out very generic. They will introduce more twists as players get comfortable with the base D, and by the end of the season we will see a much more aggressive defense. Just give things time, and we'll be fine.

    2. BB and company intended to do some of the above, but injuries to Mayo and Meriweather have robbed them of the core players they need to do some of this. Once those guys are back and players get comfortable wit hthe base D, we should see a much more aggressive defense. Just give things time, and we'll be fine.

    3. BB and company are lost in a time warp and are clueless as to how to build an attacking defense. We need a major overhaul of our defensive personnel and approach.

    Theory #3 clearly seems a bit alarmist at this time. However, I would say that I haven't been overwhelmed with the defensive play calling since 2004. I keep waiting for the day when we will let the dogs out of the kennel and attack, and it hasn't come yet. If we don't see it by the 2nd half of the season (when we hopefully have key players healthy and by which time the new guys should be more comfortable with the schemes), then I will feel that the problem is more with the coaching mentality than with the personnel.

    Personally, I much prefer us to win than to lose, and I have a lot of confidence in BB. I'm hopeful that this team will be very good by season's end. But I have seen a few things so far which disturb me, and I'd like to see a few things change before I have your level of confidence that all will be well.
     
  20. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Nice post. I would give you a +1 if you did that on this board. A couple responsive thoughts.

    1) The NE defense in 2001 was precisely why people here began to use the phrase "bend but don't break". In the SB, and then again vs Indy in 2003 they were far more passive than you remember. Lots of DBs, rarely rushing more than 4, the difference was that they did a better job of getting pressure with their base set. Frankly, how NE looked against the Jets was markedly similar to how they played in 2001.

    2) I agree with you that NE hasn't been the same since 2004. Tedy's stroke, Rodney's injury and Johnson's suprise retirement virtually eradicated the middle strenght of this defense. While both Tedy and Rodney came back, neither were ever the same players they had been and NE definitely reacted a bit slowly to replace them. Then add in the aging process in the OLBs and you have an old slow defense that coaches were clearly hesitant to go too exotic with, since they couldn't be sure coverage would be adequate.

    I personally view the major defensive overhaul as BB's admittal on this issue.

    3) Both theory #1 and #2 have elements of truth to them. NE defenses have always been slow to show their hand early in the season. Even in the glory years it took time for their strength to come through because NE's defense is very reactive to their opponent. Unlike Pitt and NY that do what they do and force others to combat it, NE builds defensive schemes for each game. As game film become more available and useful, you will see the improvement. Other than 2007, this has been the same progession every year since BB took over.

    And featuring Mayo is one of the reasons NE converted to 4-3. His absense clearly hamper things, despite Guyton stepping in admirably. Taking away NE two biggest playmakers in the back 7, both guys in the middle of the field where strength is most important for this defense, is going to impact things.

    Lastly, I never said "all is well", I said all will be well. This team clearly has hurdles to clear and issues to address, but they had similar issues in week 2 of almost every season since BB took over.
     
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