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Playoff Thoughts: Jax

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Jan 13, 2008.

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  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    They certainly made a rough go of it at first, but as usual, NE made the plays that they had to to pull away in the end. Here are a quick smattering of my thoughts on this game.

    * Maroney has clearly become a major weapon of late, which validates the few of us that believed in him for the entire season. Frankly, other than being given a few more chances now that he is more comfortable in the pasing game, I really don't see all that much difference between the Maroney out there now and the one there all season. Earlier in the year, NE was being predictible with their playcalling in Maroney packages, which they realized. Because of this, they asked him to avoid breaking an inside run to the outside, which is the primary reason that he was "dancing" and "tentative". He had to wait for the play to develop where it should be even if it didn't look promising. Most of his yardage from this game wouldn't have happened earlier in the year, through no fault of Laurence.

    Now that Maroney is a bigger part of the passing game, and he has learned the right body lean, NE is giving him more freedom to trust his instincts. That, along with more carries, is why Maroney looks as good as he has lately. Maroney has clearly improved, but it was NE's coaching that led to much of the complaints about his play.

    That said, I do have one bone to pick with my boy. Laurence still needs to react to downfield blocks a little better. Twice I saw him just run up into the back of Kyle Brady when, had he slid a foot or two to either side, he would have run for at least another 5 yards. Another time he broke a run to the outside when it looked like the WR had the defender blocked away form the middle.

    * I am really hoping that NE will use one of their 3rd rounders this year to draft Meriweather a new pair of hands. Does this guy just drop everything that he comes in contact with?

    * I thought, for the most part that the officating was very good. There were several uncalled holds on Jax in the second half (with quite a few coming when Seymour would have likely gotten to Garrard), but those were offset by the 3-4 holds that I saw NE's WRs get away with. I also don't recall a single hold called on NE's OL so it seems as if that was just the way that they called it.

    However, I thought the refs did a lousy job with the personal fouls. Rodney clearly hit a guy too late. That was fine. But Seau didn't touch the facemask on his penalty. Samuel made a perfectly legal strip attempt while still in bounds when he was called. And the chop block was completely incorrect. Mankins wasn't going low on an engaged defender. He was solo blocking a guy and then he fell down. As he was falling, another OL (sorry, I forget who) slid over to pick Mankins man up. That was 45 yards of completely crap calls, one of which was a big part of Jax's first TD and another was the only reason that Jax stopped NE from going up 21-14 at the half.

    I will grant you that the RTP on Jax was a little ticky-tack, but then you have to admit that Welker was tackeled by his face mask twice with no flag thrown. Rodney did get away with another late hit OOBs that I thought he was lucky not to be flagged for.

    * I am forever befuddled as to why teams act like beating a team where they are weak is a sign of lesser performance. Nelson's garbage about NE winning with a bunch of dump-offs is reminiscent of Ray Lewis yacking about how Pitt went after their young guys in the secondary rather than run on 'em. Hey guys, why in hell should someone try to put their head through the wall when the door is open? And Reggie, if you think Brady's performance is slighted due to not challenging the secondary deep, how do you feel about your offense? Didn't they pass on a defense that was set up to stop the run? Doesn't that devalue YOUR QB's performance?

    * I get that NE held Jax to their lowest point total for quite some time. I get that they held Jax to a nice little rushing yardage total. I get that NE held Jax to 6 points over the final 30 minutes to help NE pull away.

    That said, I just never felt confident with their defense. Sure, they were selling out to stop the run, but they were passed on far too easily for my taste. In an odd twist of fate, it was NE's offense that was willing to slow the tempo down and limit possessions while milking the clock. It was this offensive clokc killing that was really the best defense, IMHO. Despite Jax ending with mediocre rushing numbers, it seemed to me that they ran or passed whenever they felt like it. They just chose to pass because they were so successful at it.

    When a team forces on punt all game and allows drives of 80, 101, 48 and 86 yards on their first 5 meaningful possessions, I can't see how anyone could call that a success. The drive that started after MJD completely flumaxed the KO really irritated me. NE had just made a big play on Jax's prior drive and made it count on offense. Had they just forced a punt on that drive - any time during it, not just a punt from inside the 10 - they would likely have gone up 21-7 and effectively put the game away. Of course, credit needs to go to Jax for the drive as much as NE deserves blame, but NE had the chance to put Jax's face in the dirt and no one stepped up.

    * Further on this, I said before the game that NE would rise back up to their early season level of play. Offensively, they did just that. Obviously I can't say the same thing about the other side of the ball. IMO, one of two things are at work here:

    1) NE is who they appear to be. A team that can be taken advantage of defensively that - so far - makes just enough plays to give the O the chance to put it away at the end.

    2) NE played a rather bland defensive game and still have some things left in their bag of tricks for the teams that they are truly worried about.

    Normally, since this was a playoff game after all, I would side with number 1. Bags of tricks don't do you much good if you are sitting at home after being knocked out. However, for some reason the little smirk on BB's face at the end of the game gives me hope that the answer is closer to #2. He just seems a little too satisfied with this win compared to how he looked earlier in the year. No matter how vanilla a scheme is, allowing two long TD drives out of three real possessions in a half is pretty lousy defense, yet BB didn't seem faxzed by this at the end. Yes, yes, I know. Going down the "body language" road is not the best path to wisdom. But I can't express how much relief I felt when I saw just how content BB was with this win.

    * Just a little more evidence of this confidence was Chad Jackson returning KOs until the end. By my count, I only saw one return go beyond the 20 - and that one went to the 23! If BB was truly ever worried about this game, I can't believe that CJ would have been in there. I would bet dollars to donuts that Chad doesn't see the light of day next weekend.

    I thnk that is it. I'm sure that I'm forgetting something but I doubt that anyone is even still reading at this point. :blahblah:
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2008
  2. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Extra: Pass rush. Get one. It drives me completely bonkers watching QBs sit in the pocket unmolested. :enranged: :violent: :enranged:

    Guys get there sometimes but it always seems to be too little too late. Jax did a nice job on Vrabel, who was a near non-factor. I thought Seymour played a very good second half, but it seemed to me that he was consistently grabbed just as he was going to get in Garrard's face.

    Hopefully NE having more experience going against Indy will help them because they are going to need to get in Manning's face.
     
  3. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Crap! I forgot my entire opening!

    I was going to say that this game felt extremely similar to the NE/TN playoff game of 2003. In both games, NE was a pretty big favorite and they had their chances to take control early. In both games the oppenent was coming off a mediocre preformance in a road game against a lesser opponent.
    In both games a quality OL gave NE troubles with rushing the passer to the point that they started blitzing frequently at the end of the game. In both games the team came in more known for running the ball but kept up with NE due to a surprisingly successful passing attack. Frankly, I even see quite a few similarities between McNair and Garrard.

    The biggest difference between that game and this one is the fact that NE has a much, much better offense (to offset the lesser defenst) so they were able to put the game away a little earlier.
     
  4. Seymour93

    Seymour93 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Good post as usual. As others have stated, Meriweather's would-be INT was a harded ball to catch than it first appeared during live play. It was a deflected ball and Meriweather had to stop his movement and adjust to the ball while trying to catch it when it was just a foot or so off the ground.

    BB's MO is to take away what the opponent does best. In last night's case Jacksonville had two-headed rushing attack (three if you count Garrard) that's the best amongst all 12 playoff teams. We stopped what they did best and while Garrard had a great game, ultimately he could only put up 20 points on this defense, with two turnovers to boot. I think BB was using a particularly non-aggressive zone D partially because he wants to save his hand for next week.
     
  5. amazinPats

    amazinPats Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Hey guys, why in hell should someone try to put their head through the wall when the door is open?

    hehehehe! :D
     
  6. JackBauer

    JackBauer Pro Bowl Player

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    See Tom Curran's article. The lack of pass rush, in particular, was by design, apparently.
     
  7. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Random thoughts
    1) I thought the D Line (Seymour, Warren and Wilfork) played very stout but the defense is designed for the LBs to make sacks from the edge.

    2) Nickel Package - Seems to be suspect, they miss Colvin on on two fronts:
    - he is a very good pass rusher and is their fatest player on the edge
    - since Thomas has to play outside they have lost their best inside rusher, Thomas was effective getting pressure on inside blitzes, something Seau and Bruschi struggle with

    3) Harrison is playing like an idiot(personal fouls) but he is such a valueble player, he can blitz, support the run, cover a TE and cover the deep part of the field.

    4) Garrard played great, I was really impressed with the Jaguars.

    5) Northcutt aka The Alligator- crucial drop at the goal line. Watching these games the difference between victory and defeat comes down to receivers holding onto the ball. Just look at the sick catch Faulk made in the first half, his hands are better than most WRs.

    6) Watson and Maroney, great games.

    7) Brady - I consider myself lucky to see Brady play in his prime, I saw a lot of Gretzky in the 80s and Brady is approaching that level.

    8) The Patriots have ruined football for me, every other game seems like amateur night.
     
  8. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Random thoughts
    1) I thought the D Line (Seymour, Warren and Wilfork) played very stout but the defense is designed for the LBs to make sacks from the edge.

    2) Nickel Package - Seems to be suspect, they miss Colvin on on two fronts:
    - he is a very good pass rusher and is their fastest player on the edge
    - since Thomas has to play outside they have lost their best inside rusher, Thomas was effective getting pressure on inside blitzes, something Seau and Bruschi struggle with

    3) Harrison is playing like an idiot(personal fouls) but he is such a valuable player, he can blitz, support the run, cover a TE and cover the deep part of the field.

    4) Garrard played great, I was really impressed with the Jaguars.

    5) Northcutt aka The Alligator- crucial drop at the goal line. Watching these games the difference between victory and defeat comes down to receivers holding onto the ball. Just look at the sick catch Faulk made in the first half, his hands are better than most WRs.

    6) Watson and Maroney, great games.

    7) Brady - I consider myself lucky to see Brady play in his prime, I saw a lot of Gretzky in the 80s and Brady is approaching that level.

    8) The Patriots have ruined football for me, every other game seems like amateur night.
     
  9. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Everyone keeps deriding this Pats Defense. Until the last Giants game it was tied for the fewest poiints allowed in the League. Statistically its better than the the 2001 2003 editions. Which ain't all bad! Its only by comparison with our fond (erroneous) memories that those Defenses seemed so good.

    They gave up lots of yardage. Don't you remeber "bend don't break". Teams that say that usually mean that they got bent more than a little, in fact a lot! They didn't sack or presure QBs like this team does, or accumulate turnovers either.
     
  10. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Everyone keeps deriding this Pats Defense. Until the last Giants game it was tied for the fewest poiints allowed in the League. Statistically its better than the the 2001 2003 editions. Which ain't all bad! Its only by comparison with our fond (erroneous) memories that those Defenses seemed so good.

    They gave up lots of yardage. Don't you remeber "bend don't break". Teams that say that usually mean that they got bent more than a little, in fact a lot! They didn't sack or presure QBs like this team does, or accumulate turnovers either.
     
  11. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Everyone keeps deriding this Pats Defense. Until the last Giants game it was tied for the fewest poiints allowed in the League. Statistically its better than the the 2001 2003 editions. Which ain't all bad! Its only by comparison with our fond (erroneous) memories that those Defenses seemed so good.

    They gave up lots of yardage. Don't you remeber "bend don't break". Teams that say that usually mean that they got bent more than a little, in fact a lot! They didn't sack or presure QBs like this team does, or accumulate turnovers either.
     
  12. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Bump.......
     
  13. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Seems like many have moved past this game, but I just wanted to give it one more run.
     
  14. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    - Jacksonville just confirmed that Washington's strategy of playing deep, doubling Moss and keeping everything in front of them was just a way to guarantee time of possession to the Pats, not a way to actually keep them from scoring. That Del Rio didn't switch his D up shows what a lousy coaching job he did on that side of the ball.

    - Del Rio did an excellent job on the offensive side, however. BB is a master of using game film to find the strengths of teams and take them away. Since one can't take everything away from a team, he focuses on their strengths and dares you to beat him with other means. The Jags had not used Marcedes Lewis as a weapon much all year, yet he shone in this game because Del Rio knew that by going to him they would be taking what BB was giving them. Del Rio also had confidence in putting much of the game in Garrard's hands instead of forcing the running game. His offense played to win, not just keep Brady off the field.

    - Related to the previous point, I think Asante got a bum rap on that long 4th down completion to Lewis on the opening drive. He got skewered in the game thread, but let's look at the Jags' offense: It's 4th and short. The Pats are looking first for a handoff, next to a Garrard rollout/sneak...this is what Jax does. Garrard fakes the handoff and starts to roll, so now the major attention is on Garrard getting the 1st down with his legs. Of course Samuel is going to come up in run support because he's probably been instructed to do so. Garrard just happened to make a great throw on the run to his rarely used TE and Asante had no chance to get back in time. I think this play was another case of Jax going against their own tendencies, outfoxing the Pats for one play. Give them credit rather than accuse the Pats of poor play.

    - The Pats threw a ton of underneath stuff in front of Rasheen Mathis, especially dumpoffs to Faulk & Maroney. They made the guy work. I wonder if that was by design or just how the plays worked out.

    - The Brady fake on the TD to Welker was set up by the direct snaps to Faulk in SB38 and the Chargers playoff game last year. Once Brady turned around and jumped in the air, the D thought the snap went to Faulk since they saw that on film in those previous instances. This is why the entire DL and LB on that side went to Faulk and Brady had all day. Now that's excellent self-scouting.

    - TV doesn't do justice to the coverage Moss was seeing. However, on the previously mentioned play, you can see two guys running with Moss right from the snap. Jacksonville obviously decided that Moss wasn't going to beat them. But in an indirect way he did, by opening up everything underneath.

    - The 26 for 28 performance (with one big Welker drop) was impressive not only because of the completion percentage, but because it showed Brady has switched from "force the ball to Moss so he can break the TD record" to "Okay, record time is over...let's win the whole shebang". Let's face it: Brady was forcing a lot of balls to Moss late in the year as they were closing in on their respective TD records. Now that's out of the way, he can go back to doing what he's best at: picking apart a D, no matter who his target is.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  15. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Glad you bumped the thread--agree that it's more interesting to analyze the past game for a couple days than have a whole week of speculation and back & forth nonsense with other fans.

    On your points, agreed on Maroney, and it was always ridiculous to write him off. I do, however, see greater decisivness and determination, and I'm not sure it can be written off to the coaches telling him not to take runs outside earlier in the year. I think a) he's been given more chances, which always helps a back; b) he's rested, from NOT being overused during the season--a little mentioned part of the pass happy strategy, I think; and c) I think he actually heard the criticism and altered his game a bit, which is great. He's what you call coachable.

    --Re the officiating, all fans of all teams everywhere ALWAYS talk about the "uncalled holding" penalties against them. As you were right to point out, the Pats got away with some too. I'm of the mind that unless a hold is truly blatant and affects a play, then let it go. Which they did, in large part.

    --Commented on the D in another thread (that didn't get the play it should have, I thought)--bottom line is, I agree, as everyone should. This D is very saavy, and steps up when it has to. But a number of its parts just aren't at a place to be a shut-down D anymore: in this game, Gay, Samuel, Harrison, Sanders, Bruschi, Thomas, could be called out to varying degrees. All the usual caveats apply--playing against a hot team, vanilla coverages, only 6 points in the second half, etc. But it's not the 2004 defense, which is sometimes hard to adjust to. It's also, by the way, still a very good defense, capable of excellent games, and one that could become a truly shutdown D next year with a few additions.

    --I think BB was happy to get the win, like always, and was then on to the next one. I do bet you that he pumped his fist a couple times when the Colts fell.

    Good post.
     
  16. SavioKid

    SavioKid On the Game Day Roster

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    A lot of good points by all. I just wanted to touch on further the Defense side of the ball since this is the only aspect of the PATS that I see to be a possible demise of not getting the Lombardi trophy. The Offense is obviously the best out there in the game and special teams is solid all aorund (coverage / returns / kicking depite Ghost's 1st playoff FG miss).
    * Our 'slow' LB core is as plain as day & you can see it by the 'loose' coverage by the LBs a lot. A lot of soft zones are played to keep speedy receivers/RBs in front of them. This goes for the D backs too since Harrison and Sanders do not evoke a 'fast' secondary & I'll call Samuals & Hobbs average plus speed.
    * Without Colvin, our pass rush has taken a huge hit. I think teams are realizing this and a lot more passing will be seen because of this and the LBs passing 'deficiencies'. Brushci and Seau playing fulltime is not ideal (an understatement).
    * No one has mentioned this but our DL depth is somewhat thin. Losing Wright & cutting that rookie does hurt come 4th quater. The DL will be asked to be superman (play more / take on more double teams / get a better pass rush since Colvin is out..) and might not achieve that expectation!

    It sounds like I'm worried but I'm not really since Coach B is great on Defensive scheming and calling the right defense. Plus these guys have great expereince in the BIG GAMES that can not be ignored. I think they will do enough to let the offense have the ball to win / finish the game with time left (worst case scenario)...

    my 5 cents!...GO PATS!!!!
     
  17. Fanfrom1960

    Fanfrom1960 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Linkylink?
     
  18. Grogan's neck roll

    Grogan's neck roll On the Game Day Roster

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  19. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    No Jersey Selected

    Terrific post, and very well-written. Too bad we can't find anything similar, except for Reiss, from our two local fishwraps.
     
  20. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I was so confident of that NE/TN PO 4 years ago, that I didn't even bother to tape it. I figured that it would be an ugly-looking game, even in victory.

    The funny thing is that, with all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the defense, Jax would have scored only 13 points if just 2 things happened:
    1) BB challenges the first TD. Or, better still, whoever tackled Garrard before the pass uses his arms to tackle Garrard's arm, instead of his legs. The pass would then have floated weakly incomplete.
    2) Rodney intercepts the ball in the endzone. Jax kicks a FG two plays later.
     
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