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Pass Offense Complexity and WR Adjustments

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, Jun 29, 2012.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interesting read from Doug Farrar at Yahoo.com on the complexity of the modern passing game and the challenges that it presents for receivers, with particular attention to the Patriots:

    Option routes, and why they drive some receivers crazy | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports

    It's a detailed piece, and worth reading. It certainly raises some issues about the importance of finding WRs who have exceptional "processing speed" and the ability to make adaptations on the fly. Given the failure of guys like Chad Jackson, Joey Galloway and Chad Ochocinco and the success of guys like Welker, Branch, Moss, Gaffney (and Lloyd looking promising so far, though it's early), it certainly raises some thoughts for the kind of receivers the Pats should be targeting. I'm not sure how to identify all of those guys, but I would start by staying away from guys who don't come out of a pro system and who don't have a really good grasp of the basic route tree to start - guys like the Georgia Tech WRs come to mind. Though it's interesting that Josh McDaniels drafted Demaryius Moore in the 1st round in 2010.
     
  2. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Great article. I somewhat agree with the conclusion, in that they should have known Ocho would struggle based on available evidence.
     
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I always felt that Ocho was a poor fit for the Pats' scheme. But I also think that the Pats need to target WR prospects and veterans who have superior processing capability and the ability to read defenses and make adjustments - in sync with Brady, which is the tricky part - as well as athletic ability. Branch, Gaffney and Welker obviously had that ability. Lloyd seems to be on the same page as Brady. Moss was, at least for the first couple of years. I doubt any college offense comes anywhere near the complexity of what the Pats do, but targeting college guys who come form pro schemes and who are used to making adjustments as opposed to relying on their athletic skills would seem to make sense.

    The article gives a good sense of how tricky a job it is for WRs to succeed in this offense, which makes me a little more tolerant of those who try and fail and also a bit more reluctant to use high draft picks (or high priced FA signings) on WRs given the difficulty in projecting which ones will succeed and which will fail. There are always a ton of smart, athletic day 2 and 3 guys - guys like Chris Owusu (sans concussion issues) and Danny Coale, for example - who might be better fits than someone projected to go much higher. And bringing in someone like Lloyd who already had some familiarity with Josh McDaniels' offense made much more sense than giving up a 1st round pick to sign Mike Wallace at more than 2x the cap hit. It just seems really hard to project which guys will get it and which won't.

    The flip side, for those who call guys like Wes Welker a "system fit", is that it's not so easy to find guys who fit the system, so those who excel in it should be highly valued.
     
  4. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Based on the complexity, would it make sense that Brady has a lower completion % (compared to other systems) as some receivers may (invariably) make the wrong adjustment and hence taking themselves out of a play. Or it could even increase his chance of an interception if a player makes the wrong move?

    Defintely drives home the point that QB and receiver need to be on the same page and why Brady has to "trust" his receiver.
     
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It makes me re-think the WR position a bit. Given how demanding Brady is of his WRs, holding on to guys with a proven track record of success working in this system makes a fair amount of sense. It makes me think a bit differently about a longer-term deal for Welker, holding on to Branch for one more year, etc.
     
  6. Rob0729

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    After the last thread I was in where touched on this topic (granted far superficially), I am hesitant to jump back in on this one. Great article though.

    On a side note, I laugh when Jets players and fans are excited that the Jets are moving to an offense like this. In theory, this is a great thing, but as the article explains, not every player can pick up the complexity. I am sure that the Jets' offense will be simpler than the Pats, but can Sanchez execute an offense like this including reading defenses? Will his receivers be able to read defenses and make the adjustments especially a WR like Hill who has a lot to learn since he played in the most basic offense imaginable in college.

    Not trying to hijack the thread to turn it into a Jets' discussion, but that is something coaches and OCs have to be concerned about when implementing a complex offense.

    One last thing, I think you can ruin a young WR in an offense like this if he isn't mentally up for the challenge. It may shatter their confidence going forward. I think it probably shattered Donald Hayes' confidence since he was actually looking to be a rising player before he got here. It will be interesting to see if Taylor Price can shake off his experience here and thrive in a far easier Bengals' offense.
     
  7. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    Not only did McD draft Thomas, but he was the driving force behind drafting Jackson. He's clearly a sucker for measurables in spite of the complexity of the Pats offense.

    Granted, Jackson apparently aced the pre-draft playbook tests thrown his way (makes you wonder if they should re-think the questions they were asking him...) and I don't know enough about Thomas' football IQ to say whether he fits the system.



    In terms of turnover of receiver core - the last two seasons have been about the best Brady could ask for, and the result of a consistent receiving group was being a play within a title. I don't think that's a coincidence.

    2008 we lost Gaffney and Stallworth - and it took until the Branch trade in 2010 to make up for it. 2006 we lost Branch and Givens. It cost us a ring. We grabbed Moss in 07.

    This is the most stable group Brady has worked with since we won back to back titles in 2003-2004. This is the third year for this core of Welker-Gronk-Hernandez-Branch and then you add in guys with real experience in the system in Lloyd-Gaffney-Stallworth. Geez. It's enough to make you wish you could skip summer to see how it gels. I just pray Brady stays healthy as we try to avenge a SB loss this time - if he does, I just see this offense destroying teams, in spite of some tough defenses on the docket.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's a little off the subject of this thread, but Stevan Ridley was interviewed by his hometown newspaper, and he had an interesting comment about Brady:

    Ridley returns home for fundraiser | Mississippi's Best Community Newspaper

    It's pretty clear that the offensive skill players have to be on Brady's "page". The media talks about how Brady makes guys look better, but not about how demanding working with Brady is.
     
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    That's a great interview by Ridley, and I love what he said about Belichick. This kid gets it. He understands the minds of Belichick-Brady well, and he's bought in to their program. That's step #1 to success as a Patriot.

    The media will probably twist that quote into Brady being tough to work with. If goober-extraordinaire Peyton Manning had that line attributed to him, it's about work ethic, football IQ, and competitiveness. I think it's a great quote. It shows you how much responsibility Brady has, and that he applies his demand for greatness from himself to everyone else on the roster.
     
  10. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Exactly. Receivers with Welker's skill set don't grow on trees. Receivers with his skill set that have a vulcan mind connection with Brady are unheard of. That's why I've always gotten a big, hearty laugh out of the "Edelman can EASILY replace him" crowd.
     
  11. woolster22

    woolster22 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Agreed, the feal question is can he pick up the blitz consistently and did he work on ball security this offseason? Hopefully Kevin Faulk helped him with that, he certainly figured out how to fix his problem. The kid seems to have all the tools, hopefully he gets a chance to show them off a little more this year. Granted he seemed to do a bit of Maroneying on some wide plays, but overall he seems to be that game changeing back many have been pining for while watching the law firm plod ahead for his 3 yards...Also hope Vereen can get his **** together this year. This could be the best RB tandem we have seen in a long time.

    If it proves to be so, theres an ex-OC that deserves a bullet for going back to five wide from the shadow of your own endzone with nine minutes to go in the fourth. The oline was showing some spunk, and was showing NY who was boss while running on the previous possesion. Still remember screaming at the TV when they came out in the same formation that lead to the safety. So much for halftime adjustments..."Yeah, we're still just going to be throwing the rock, won't bother with a rb to make them have to at least respect the run." :bricks:
     
  12. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Yes, indeed. :cool:

    This is precisely why I was such a frothing advocate of signing up Brandon Lloyd, a few months ago.

    And it's also why I continue to be a staunch supporter of retaining Deion Branch, despite the great majority wanting to run'm out'f town.

    It is, furthermore, why I am utterly ecstatic that we brought back one'f my all time Super Binky Patriots, Jabar Gaffney!! :rocker:

    Last of all, it is why I was indifferent to the signing of Anthony Gonzalez but jubilant about bringing back Donte Stallworth!! :D

    Mind you: I don't perceive Stallworth as being fluent in "BradySpeak"...:eek:

    But he knows enough to find the best Restaurants...as it were. ;)
     
  13. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Our offensive system is proven to be capable of great things. If it further had no weaknesses, then many, many teams would be running it.

    The biggest weakness seems to be the need for a Vulcan mind meld, with the consequence that there are many guys who can't be effective in it, and you may have to sacrifice athleticism to get guys with the mental capabilities you need.
     
  14. Raymond

    Raymond Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    As do I, As do I.
     
  15. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Forget route running

    If Ocho could do one thing - run straight and deep, beat his man and catch the ball - he'd still be here.

    The Pats have their option routes and timing complexities but all they needed Ocho for was to address that one gaping hole on the offense.

    They could have lived with his other limitations if he could have done that.

    He couldn't.
     
  16. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Thanks for sharing a good read.

    As I often say, this is why we love football: It's violent chess.
     
  17. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Greg Knopping chimes in on the Farrar article:

    Complexity of the Patriots Passing Offense - Pats Pulpit

    I agree with Knopping's answer. But perhaps the Pats need to be more selective in which college and veteran WRs they target. Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson, Joey Galloway and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson - not guys who distinguished themselves by their precision route running, their ability to read defenses, or their ability to make in-play adjustments. Taylor Price came out of a system which poorly prepared him for the kind of schemes the Pats run and which cost him a late start in 2010 to boot. And maybe we should alter our expectations a bit and expect a certain failure rate intrinsic to the complexity of the system. Even under the best of circumstances it's probably unrealistic to assume that every veteran or rookie targeted will pick up the system and develop a rapport with Brady. Given how successful the results have been, that seems like an acceptable price to pay, as long as the team limits its investment and exposure and moves on. Unfortunately, it may have cost us a shot at a ring or two when things didn't work out as planned, but I'm not sure how to change that without going back to the drawing board. At least 28 other teams would love to have this problem.
     
  18. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    On a related note, Demaryius Moore notes that with Peyton Manning now in Denver he has actually had to learn how to run some routes:

    With Peyton Manning aboard, Broncos receivers actually have to learn routes now | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports

    It's somewhat befuddling to me that an offensive mind as creative and sharp as Josh McDaniels' could be repsonsible for drafting a WR with no experience running routes and an option QB with no accuracy and poor mechanics with two 1st round picks.
     
  19. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Not an XO guy, but i would think that's offset by the to "make" the play, rather than try to get open and have a DB jump the route. If Tom's in synch with the receiver(s) the ball is going to the ball will be in the opposite spot the defense can best defend it. this spot is decided last minute by the early defensive reaction.

    I won't (I'll try) bash Ocho anymore, he's gone, but i think this analysis is so instructive I'll repost it.

    Wiggins and Bedard break down a Brady, Ocho interception.

    Inside the Playbook: Brady to Ochocinco interception - YouTube

    Ocho sees daylight, goal line, catch in stride but neglects to see the safety aspect of the play. Given the zillion different reads, maybe that would be the read in a different system, but had he run the correct route he had an impossible to defend catch with a slightly more difficult run after catch.

    I'm guessing, in our system, you need to break the right way, or at least the safe way, almost all the time.

    I recall in 2001, when tom was throwing darts, almost all the routes were turnarounds, it seemed. (anybody remember that? He drastically changed his grip on the ball from when he was a "field general" QB). He also threw at guys ankles a lot.

    Anyway, throwing to a spot = high risk, so receiver needs to offset risk by position vis a vis defender.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
  20. Deus Irae

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

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    I don't have the issue you do with this. He had a caretaker QB (Orton) to hold the fort until Tebow was ready, and Thomas is a great prospect .
     
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