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Reality Break: Offense Last Night (Ben & Brady Show)

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Iron Helmet, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Iron Helmet

    Iron Helmet Rookie

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    I, unlike many on this board, will feel a lot better when we get a legit WR threat. What I saw last night was Brady having to check down or target Watson because he was the only person that could get open/ or he trusted. A defense can scheme Watson out of the equation. When they do, who do the Pats go to that can consistently beat one on one coverage? Brown? Caldwell? We need a guy like Branch. He is almost uncoverable one on one, and can make a defense pay for leaving him one on one. I personally don't think anyone else can right now (perhaps Jackson, but don't know at this point).

    Washington was running essentially a vanilla defense. Once a team decides to put a CB on Watson (or double him), Brady's options will become severely limited. I wanted to see someone other than Big Ben getting open. If we are going to be relying on Troy Brown as our WR threat, we are in trouble. I think the Pats know this. In fact, it seemed like Brady tried to find others to throw to, and couldn't.

    My hopes are Branch returns.
  2. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rookie

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    Ho Hum, the glass is half empty.
  3. DefenseRules

    DefenseRules Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    And I guess BB is not a smart enough coach to expect or prepare for this to happen? :confused:
  4. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I actually had the same feeling early on. The receiver corps seemed to consiste of Watson and Brown -- the rest of the WRs just disappeared. But as the game wore on it struck me more and more that Watson was simply always open. It's hard to know whether the Patriots were over-relying on him or the Redskins were just under-covering him. That "all Ben, all the time" show certainly wasn't in evidence in Arizona.
  5. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I think everyone HOPES Branch returns, but if he doesn't, is making the D put a CB on Big Ben really such a bad thing? I'm pretty sure most Ds would rather not resort to it, and even then, what makes you think a CB would shut down Big Ben? Sure, a CB could match his speed, but Big Ben is a beast and could overpower any CB for the catch.

    Big Ben is going to be a tough matchup no matter who is on him. He should have a monster year.
  6. PatsDeb

    PatsDeb PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree. We either need Branch back (not sure how likely that is) or we need two receivers to step it up. If Washington was able to cover Watson & Troy Brown, which no doubt some better defenses will be able to do, It didn't look like anyone else could step up. Caldwell is terrible.
  7. Pats67

    Pats67 Rookie

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    Last week, the Pats completed passes to sixteen different receivers. This week, ten. They are far and away the most productive NFL offense in the pre-season. The facts completely belie your contention.

    Everyone wants Branch back. There's no question they're better with him. However, there is ZERO evidence to date that his absence is having a negative impact of any sort. Assuming it will once the season starts is a logical jump not supported by anything but subjective speculation.
  8. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    No - a great many agree with you as well as disagree... I was ostracized for even suggesting we were thin at WR before Branch's holdout and the draft - with many convinced that using a high draft pick on a WR would be a waste given the fact that we had Caldwell at #2

    But all that being said, as BB likes to say, "it is what it is"

    Having even 2 quality WRs would be a major improvement - but I have every confidence we'll more than make do with what we have

    The offensive strategy last night was specifically designed to show what Watson could do, I believe, to ensure that opposing DC's recognize both the specific and general threats we posess.

    Key on Watson too much and we'll find 16 different receivers like last week. Adopt a zone philosophy and we'll make sure that Big Ben kills you with 8 receptions.

    No one wants a deep WR squad than I do - it will open up phases of the offense better than anything we can do right now - but what we have right now ain't so bad either.
  9. Patsbacker

    Patsbacker Rookie

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    Remember there is scheming on the offensive side of the ball as well. Thomas didn't play last night and they did not utilize Mills. I am not saying the offense won't be better with Deion...I'm just saying we have more options than Watson. The four tight end set was not used last night and the Pats did little to establish the run. Not saying they couldn't run...just think they wanted to get Corey and Maroney out of there quickly. I also believe that when and if Jackson returns he will add a whole other dimension to this offense. Will this offense be unstoppable? No. But this offense will be much more dynamic than you seem to be giving credit for.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  10. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Iron, they never put someone on Graham... so this shows a couple of things, from our POV:

    1) part of the game plan is always to identify the most glaring weakness and exploit it.
    2) Washington played as if our receivers were a threat, and they could not spare the personnel to cover a TE. Linebackers, obviously, aren't up to the task.
    3) On an occasion or two Watson DID beat coverage by the Wash. secondary, so they had him covered for THOSE PLAYS... but it did not work. But we knew what we had in Watson. I'm interested to see what the Tapeheads see on those coverages, because I am going from memory.

    Okay, so: you need to cover Reche, just in case on any given play he recognizes the importance of RECEIVING for a RECEIVER... granted he's personally left points on the field two games in a row, but he does get open. You need to cover Troy, on a good day double him, because he can get open against man... you're looking at two guys likely to be open if you don't double, just not sure things WHEN you double them, or for that matter sure things against man (or in Reche's case, all by himself.)

    Our backs demand coverage out of the backfield, and Watson demands coverage as a receiver -- double if you want to be sure, and we're not talking about a LB. Graham can also beat LB coverage, so on any given play you have to account for him as well.

    Maybe Brady did just get fed up with papier Reche and decide that unless he was so open he had his own ZIP code, he wouldn't be worth the risk. But in that scenario he still had an open Watson all night long.

    I get what you're saying and there's reason there for concern. Putting two and two together, you could say "oh look. A team with a poor receiving corps turning to the tight end. Well you can counter that easily enough."

    Looking at the glass half full (rah rah sis boom bah,) I could ask you to list the "impact" receivers on the Chiefs (for example). I think we're headed that direction... Brady can hit the open man, and you still have to account for other receivers as actual threats, even if lesser ones than Branch. But given the "minor" nature of the receivers -- the Watson presence and the ability to throw at backs out of the backfield, go a long way toward alleviating that "hole" at receiver.

    Yeah I want more trustworthy receivers too, especially in Reche Caldwell's case. Not ready to give up just yet, but I could see Bam Childress (or someone) floating up the depth chart by the end of it all.

    But do I think changing the Pats' approach to Deion is suggested by receiver stats in a 41-0 victory? Not no, hell no.

    If anything the message is, someone will get those yards. Someone will get those TDs. And someone will look at you next year, when your contract is up, and say "oh yeah, he had a couple good years... but he did have Tom Brady throwing to him." The best thing that can happen this year for Deion, if he doesn't come back to the fold, is a successful campaign by Givens in Tennessee, disproving the "product of the system" line of thought. Given that Volek and Bennett are linked telepathically, that seems unlikely to me.

    If I'm Deion, this makes me a tiny bit less likely to hold out 10 games (this is assuming the trade does not happen -- and the trade thus far seems unlikely to me. They're asking for a 1. Do you give up a 1 for Branch?)

    Just Sunday morning blathering,

    PFnV
  11. Pats67

    Pats67 Rookie

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    Of course, you understand when you say 'some better defenses' that Washington - an NFC semi-finalist last year - had the ninth ranked defense in the league last season.
  12. Patriots4Ever

    Patriots4Ever Rookie

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    With the power and speed that Ben Has.Me thinks that a CB would and could be swatted along like a fly just as easily as a LB trying to run with him,The guys is a freak.I would Love to see Brady continually having to seek him out.I think its a good thing.
  13. Willie55

    Willie55 Rookie

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    Ben Watson will destroy any CB if he's lined up one-on-one with him. Last night the Redskins were lining up 3 defenders over Watson pre-snap and the Pats were still moving the ball.
  14. BradyisGod

    BradyisGod Rookie

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    I feel like I say the same thing over and over, but just like contracts, life and everything else, you cannot just focus on one thing and not expect others to fall off. If a defense chooses to key on Watson, then it is at the expense of something else. Suddenly, the WRs open up a little more. So keying on Watson is robbing peter to pay paul, even with our average receiving corp.
  15. mikey

    mikey Rookie

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    It is one thing to beat the Washington Redskins in a pre-season game in August.

    It is another thing to beat Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Stadium in late January.

    I am not sure if we can it all with Ben Watson playing WR.

    .
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I saw a total of ZERO instances where Brady was 'forced' to checkdown og focus on Watson.

    Watson was open. Brady never went through 3 or 4 options to settle on Watson.
    What no one is recognizing here is this is TOM BRADY running the offense. Drew Bledsoe zeroed in on Coates, forced balls to him, worried about who he was throwing to. Coates would catch 6+ balls EVERY game. It wasnt because no one could cover him, it was because Bledsoe was forcing the ball to him. Brady does not do that. SOMEONE catches 6+ balls a game, but that same guy may catch 1 the next week. That is the one constant in the Brady run offense over the years, week in and week out you do not know who will get the most passes thrwon to them. We have seen it consistently. Givens catches 8 passes this, 2 or 3 next week. Branch gets 2 then 9, etc, etc. (With Givens it was even more pronounced, he'd catch 3 or 4 on a drive, then disappear and catch 2-3 more on another drive).

    To look at one game and say Brady is being forced to go to one receiver and when they take him away we are screwed is to say I have not followed the Pats in the Brady era, and realized that this type of thinking by the opponent makes him MORE succesful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2005
  17. Garbanza

    Garbanza Rookie

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    Watson's emergence makes the lack of Branch easier to take, for sure. However, we DO need a #1 WR. Anyone that thinks otherwise is fooling themselves. Sure Waston posses some serious match-up problems fro defenders. Which, in turn, opens up Brown (notice I did not include Caldwell)...and maybe Jackson if he plays. However, Watson has had injury issues in the past. If he is out for more than one game, then what?

    Yes, we need Branch.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2005
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Are we better with Branch? Of course. Are we screwed without him? No.
    That is my point. The Patriots will put NFL receivers out on the field, they will get open and Brady will find them.
    Is Branch the difference between winning and losing? No, but he makes Brady's job easier.
    The reality is that in the offense we run, there will be opportunities for whoever is in that position.
    The difference between it being Branch and someone else is:
    1) Reliability. Brady trusts Branch, knows they will see the same thing and react the same way. Branch catches the football.
    2) Run after the catch.

    To say we cannot get receivers open without Branch is simply false. The play design gets receivers open, and Bradys ability to find them and get them the ball results in production.

    Sometimes it sounds like people on this board feel like its a choice between Jerry Rice (Branch) and a slow footed 8th grader who never saw a football before (everyone else).

    Absolutely Branch adds to the position. But the difference in having Branch or whoever else plays is ADDITIVE. His replacement(s) will be adequate.
    That is a far way from excellent vs awful.
    The reality is its adequate vs adequate plus a few special additive qualities.
  19. mikey

    mikey Rookie

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    Is Branch the difference between winning and losing?

    Is Duane Starks the difference between our winning our 4th Lombardi and losing in the playoff?

    One player does make a difference.

    .
  20. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Starks didnt play in the playoff loss. Kinda hard to say he is the sole reason we didnt win the SB.

    What you are missing is that half of Branch is Brady. You cannot be watching Tom Brady play QB if you doubt he can be productive with adequate WRs.

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