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Post-game analysis: Pats vs. Saints Preseason game 1

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Patspsycho, Aug 13, 2010.

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  1. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Observations on preseason game 1


    Despite this being a preason game, we did have a real game going for at least a full half. There was little vanilla from the first string from both sides.


    THE NEW DEFENSE

    Was surprised that we threw as many looks as we did today, a lot of 3-4, a little 4-3, rushing and a lot of blitzing (I bet at least half our plays on D were blitzes), plenty of 4 and 5 men rushing, delayed blitzing and one seven men blitz with Chung (if I recall correctly). The fun part for me was having Spikes bluff as a 3 tech to give a 4 man front look so you didn't know if it was going to stay 3-4 or turn 4-3, and he would either rush or drop back. This is just mindblowing to me that they are already doing this right off the bat, and especially with Spikes. I t just occured to me that Spikes is going to be a rock star in this system because the 3-4 2 gap has the LB'ers making most of the plays. This basically allows him free rein on his instincts. I am going to bet the house that Spikes is going to end up worthy of a DROY (although jays52 called it way before any of us did). Wheatley made a good case for himself in terms of making the squad. He was alert to a quick slant and read a rollout perfectly, and didn't bite on it.


    THE PRESSURE IS BACK

    Tonight we saw the pocket collapse a lot on Brees, forcing plenty of premature throws. G. Warren put in a very strong showing at LDE, getting plenty of pressures and one sack, and Murrell really crunches the edge- he is more of a DE than an OLB and was very effective whether in 3 point, standing up, or playing in open space (dropping back in coverage). I think that Mayo is really coming into his own, he audibled out of a few run sets. I would say that Spikes is going to steal all the attention, but Mayo is going to be the brains and the workhorse. He really got Brees's tendencies and tell, down, and audibled a fair amount of time (this shows that he spends a lot of time in the video room). This is a bulkier D that has a mean streak to it. We had the ability to collapse the edge and that, I thought, was very significant. Our run stopping looked good for the most part, I thought- our only bad turn came on the dump off to Bush into the EZ that caught us flat-footed (including Spikes).


    RETURN TO SMASHMOUTH FOOTBALL

    I am really liking the new look we have on offense. There is a renewed emphasis on making the run game a vital part of our offense. In general I thought the screens and pulls worked for the most part against the Saints first string, and I could not notice the absence of Logan Mankins having any undue effect. Connolly did a great job in his place and had a nice pulling block on BJGE's TD. Putting a lot of emphasis on the run game kept the Saints blitzing and rushing in check. All of our TD's came via rushing TDs. We also seem to have broken out of our red zone problems. However our TE's have their work cut out for them. Gronk has a lot of work to do on his blocking game. And one thing that worries me about Hernandez is that he seems overtly emotional, and needs to develop a short memory on unsuccessful plays. BJGE did great tonight, didn't miss any blocks, caught all of his passes out of the backfield, and would have had 2 TD's if Maroney hadn't subbed for him.

    And yes Edelman was great; so good he faked himself out of one of his shoes if anyone noticed that.

    VINTAGE TOM BRADY
    Don't know if any of you noticed it but the old Brady is back; there is a lot of pop in his throwing now. He is not as hesitant as he was last preseason, and didn't have any problems following through or stepping into his throws. The team isn't as lost as it looked last preseason. I can see why he has been ill-tempered lately. He is really anxious to get back to playing football the way he used to. He is acting like he has unfinished business.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  2. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    great write up and i agree with most of your points.

    Other things: Wilhite to me looked like he was behind the pace of the game and made a couple of pretty noticeable mistakes.

    Great day out from edleman but also liked tates awareness on his grab.

    Mesko punted pretty solidly i thought.

    McCourty had a nice forced fumble on the goal line that we didn't end up with but i thought he had a nice showing too.

    Didn't notice Cunningham at all but i wasn't looking that hard for him i will admit.

    Spikes seemed Great
  3. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    good thread and post ... Brady looks very big out there ... looks like he has even more muscle than before.

    However ... if he wants to be intimidating ... he needs to lose the haircut ... it's too Beiber.
  4. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ppsycho, do you feel better about the team now than you did after the NO-NE practice you attended?
  5. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Cunningham was a DNP. I believe he got injured in the last joint practice.
  6. BradyToAmendola

    BradyToAmendola Rookie

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    Just from watching it one time...

    - I was really impressed with Spikes. He was rarely out of position, maybe once or twice in the entire time he played. Looked like he was diagnosing plays early; made a few nice plays to shed blocks and make tackles on the RB. He definitely seems like a player.

    - Chung was all over the place.

    - In general, the 1st team's tackling was very good. Rarely, if at all were there many YAC. It felt like we were there to bring them down every time they caught it.

    - Warren was very good.

    - Edelman was outstanding

    - Really pumped about the TE's. Blocking, catching... they do it all.
  7. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    ah ok that explains it i was a little concerned when i didn't hear his name all game
  8. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek Rookie

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    Tonight's game was very encouraging. I really hope that Cunningham plays in PS game #2. If he shows a similar level of ability and awareness as Spikes, Hernandez, Mesko, McCourty, Gronk, it's going to be a good year.
  9. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  10. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Warren looked 10 years younger out there tonight.
  11. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think he played at all: I was looking for him and didn't see him.
  12. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    I have been optimistic to the point of having predicted at least a 12-4 finish for them, but will not be passing serious judgement on them until the 2nd or 3rd regular season game, although I am tempted to make predictions every now and then.
  13. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Rookie

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    Nice observations.
    Did Pryor or Brace do anything? My feed gave out midway through the 2nd and I don't think I noticed him before that.
  14. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek Rookie

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    Pryor was "meh" tonight and Brace... Brace hasn't passed the conditioning test yet, never mind gotten on the field and/or practiced this season.
  15. BillBelichickFan79

    BillBelichickFan79 Rookie

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    A lot of positives signs in this game!!

    I've had high hopes for Tate since we drafted him and I think he will really emerge as a guy that can stretch the field and make big plays for us.

    Some of my observations:

    -Loved the way we came out on D. I have had many discussions with other posters about a more "aggressive" D, and I must say I was impressed. Loved the more aggressive/blitzing style of D and the pressure we were able to put on Brees. ESPN Boston blog said we blitzed 44% of the time. I think the D will continue to get more aggressive, and should, as the season goes on and BB trusts these young guys more and more. Murrell was a nice surprise for me, as I'd never seen him play before, and I think he can definitely help at OLB. Gerard Warren really impressed me at DE with the penetration he got. I think he will likely win that spot at RDE, and I think the DL is shaping up nicely if Ty Warren is healthy. "The Warren Wall"

    -Love the depth at WR/TE. MUCH better receiving options for Brady than last year where it was really the Randy and Wes show. Moss, Welker, Edelman, Tate are a great top 4 to start with. Add in Price and maybe Holt or Jenkins and you're looking outstanding compared to last year with Galloway, Stanback, Aiken. Hernandez and Gronk as promising TE's who will actually be used, and Alge who should serve his purpose. What more can you ask for?

    -Chung is going to be that Rodney-type replacement He really is a Pats prototype. All over the field, head hunter, physical, sound tackler, can blitz, just makes plays and does his job. I love our safety tandem with Meriweather at FS to ball hawk more and Chung at SS.

    -Spikes was very impressive. He looked better than Mayo to me tonight, who I thought looked average. He is always around the ball, wraps up and tackles well, reads plays quickly, and is exactly what we needed on early downs. I was in love with this guy back in 08 but must admit that I soured a little on him in 09 due to some concerns about his range/mobility, but damn I'm back in love with him again, especially in the 3-4 D. A perfect Patriots-type player who will relegate Guyton to nickel coverage duties.

    -KR and PR with McCourty and Edelman look like they will finally be a strength again. Edelman is super-elusive and McCourty did a great job on KR. I think Tate will be a big weapon on KR/PR too.

    -Even though I wasn't thrilled with taking a punter in the 5th, Mesko is a definite upgrade over Hanson. He's got a big leg and pinned the Saints inside their 20 three times IIRC. What more can you really ask?

    -I've been a Wilhite supporter (one of the few :p) and I thought he looked more comfortable in coverage tonight (granted it was vs more of the second team, but still think he has talent). Wheatley also made a few nice plays with that strip/pass defended in the endzone and the tackle on Chase Daniel to save a TD. I think this is probably the deepest DB corps we've had in a while with the talent we have at safety and corner. The best thing is, these guys are just beginning their careers and will likely only get better and better.

    -Communication on D was MUCH better. Thought the D did a good job with the audibles and communicating any changes in coverages to each other. Looked like there was good communication between the DB's and LB's, the complete opposite from the last time we played NO :p.

    -OL looked pretty good to me for the most part. Thought they did a good job in pass protection and decent job in the running game. Connolly was solid but having Mankins back would really solidify this group and make me super confident.

    -One thing that I really noticed: ability for the defense to get off the field on third downs. We held the saints to a 33% conversion rate (4/12) on third down. This was one of the biggest problems this team had over the past two years. Against the best offense in the game last year, we forced two consecutive 3 and outs to start the game. On their third drive they started to move the ball but we forced them into a 4th and 6 at our 40 yard line. I don't know if they go for that in a real game and I don't know how good of a call that PI was on Butler. It didn't seem like a catchable ball to me but I only saw one replay. I like that we brought the house on that blitz in that situation. The only bad 3rd down conversion the starters gave up was the draw play on 3rd and 10 by Bush, but hey it's the preseason.

    -I liked the variation the offense showed. It's so nice to seem O'Brien grow as a play caller and keep the D on their heels. We had a nice mix of run vs pass and also a nice mix of under center pass plays vs shotgun pass plays. I liked the physical tone the Pats set in the red zone by consistently pounding the rock. It's less risky, eats up more clock, and wears on a defense.

    -Red Zone improvements on offense for the most part. The offense scored 3 TD's on 5 trips into the red zone, but it seemed like they were playing for the FG at the end so it's really 3/4 in my mind. Only disappointment was the first red zone trip. Started with great field position and did nothing with it, but definitely looked better in the red zone with our ability to run the ball in general. Also think when we need to pass in the red zone we will have more targets with the WR/TE we now have.

    -New additions contributed and most draft picks appear to be hits/guys that will help. Contrary to popular belief by the national media, we have talented youngsters! Vollmer, Tate, Edelman, Butler, McCourty, Meriweather, Chung, Spikes, Gronk, Hernandez, etc. are all talented and are steps in the right direction in rebuilding this roster. Even guys like Wheatley and Wilhite have talent and are very good to have for depth. Warren and Murrell also looked good tonight. Sergio Brown impressed me at times too. I like Thomas Clayton and hope he gets a shot to make this team. I think BB has done a great job reloading in these last two drafts. My only complaint would be that I'd like to see more resources spent on OLB.


    -Brady definitely looked more comfortable in the pocket, although they really didn't get too much pressure on him. Hopefully the demons are gone and he's got full trust in his knee. I like how he spread the ball around to different guys (a sharp contrast from last year's Randy and Wes show).

    Overall, a lot of good things in tonight's game, but still a lot of things to work on. It seems like the offense will be the real strength of this team (like any team with Brady and Co. would), but the defense appears to be deeper, younger, and more talented than it has in recent years. There is a great deal of much-needed improved talent and depth at WR, TE, ILB, and CB. The great thing is that this defense is still very young at almost every position and will continue to improve, grow, and get better. It has the potential to become a great D for years to come. Hopefully this D will develop & improve and really come together at the end of the year in December/January, like most BB teams do, for a lengthy playoff run.

    It's only one preseason game, but I'm very excited. The only issue I still have with this team is the talent at OLB. I think we have some decent players but not enough to really solidify this defense. I know he's not a popular guy around here or even in the national media anymore, but I'd love to see a guy like Merriman added at the right price.

    His sack totals were down last year but he still made a difference and still showed he's got the tools to be a dominant pass rusher in the games I saw him play. 2 years removed from ACL surgery and over his petty foot injuries from last year, I think he is primed for a big bounce back year, and right now his value is at an all time low. A pass rusher like that who can consistently create matchup problems, disrupt passing plays, force double teams, and make other teams scheme for him would really solidify this defense IMO. If we aren't going to extend Mankins long term, I'd consider a dangling him in a deal for an OLB like Merriman if the other team had interest.

    Talented young team + BB and TB + media doubting team/claiming end of an era + Jets talking themselves as SB favorites = success for NE.

    One game at a time. ;)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  16. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    yeah, I was charting Mesko for the first about three quarters and he was averaging 44 yards and change...haven't looked up the final stats yet but he's a good five yards better than our previous punter and gets good hangtime.
  17. JoeShmoe

    JoeShmoe Rookie

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    Aside from all has been said 4 things stood out for me (admittedly I was looking for them)

    1. Offensive Variety
    In Bradys long drive we went of shotgun twice. There were far more 2 TE sets, running plays, crossing routes etc. We CANNOT go back to the modus operandi of last year out of the gun all the time looking for Moss deep or Wes to get separation. Looked to me we have the weapons now to play with a lot more variety which is essential for Brady and the offense

    2.Dan Connolly
    One preseason game but I thought he was solid, hopefully he can grow into that role. Welch on the other hand ...

    3.OLB
    I thought Murrell looked really good and with TBC, Cunningham, Nink and MM maybe we now have options. Woods continues to be the odd man out

    4.Leadership
    The whole team looked to have more leadership. On D Mayo and Spikes set the tone from LB. Chung too. Definitely more vocal. On offense Brady has fire back and is leading from the front, chewing guys out, encouraging. Looks like that whole side has stepped up this year

    All in all very promising
  18. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Brady looked so intense I was getting scared. This was just a preseason game. He might have a heart attack or kill someone during a playoff game.
  19. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Many thanks for these fine comments. :rocker:
  20. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mike, did you get the game over there??
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