Some things to think about during the bye week

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brownfan80, Oct 9, 2006.

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  1. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    For all the posts that are responding negatively to the playcalling and gameplanning, let me take this moment to point out some of the SUCCESS we have had this season (besides the obvious 4-1 start).

    Going into the bye week, the AFC East looks like this:

    4-1 NE Patriots 108 PF 74 PA
    2-3 Buffalo Bills 77 PF 105 PA
    2-3 NY Jets 96 PF 132 PA
    1-4 Miami Dolphins 61 PF 91 PA

    The Patriots have scored the most points in the Division, and held opposing offenses to the least. On defense that 14.8 ppg given up is tied for 7th in the NFL and on offense that 21.6 ppg is 8th in the NFL.

    We are in the top ten in points allowed and points scored. This is a recipe for success in the NFL.

    After starting the season well negative in the Giveaway/Takeaway column after three games the Patriots have improved to Even in the past two weeks. Obviously we're improving at both hanging onto the ball and taking it away as a defense. This upward trend also signals success in the future of the season.

    Take aways - 3 INT, 3 Fumbles.
    Give aways - 3 INT, 3 Fumbles.

    The punting game has been consistently good at 40 yards per punt and 14 downed inside the 20 yard line. Our punt coverage unit is only allowing 3.4 yards per return which ranks 1st in the NFL.

    The kicking game made improvement against the Dolphins on a tough field surface. Our FG defense has blocked 2 kicks.

    Tom Brady is tied for 4th in the NFL in the category of Passing TDs with 8 in spite of only 1 returing WR from last season (Troy Brown). He has only thrown 3 INTs and is completing 54% of his passes.

    54% is low for Brady, but is only a 8% dropoff from his career average. Considering that Brady lost 80% of his WRs from last season, an 8% dropoff is certainly understandable.

    His 82.6 passer rating thus far would be the lowest of his career if it held, but again, considering his new WR corps, it's not so bad. Also, in spite of the 1 returning WR Brady has completed passes to 11 different players, continuing his trend of simply hitting whoever is open and not focusing on a single player exclusively. His accuracy has been a bit uneven this season, but again we can never tell from the TV picture where a WR should have been or if the ball was where it was supposed to be but the reciever was not.

    Take this thus-far-in-2006 stat into account:

    Peyton Manning has thrown for 1278 yards so far at 62% for 8 TDs and 2 INTs.
    Tom Brady has thrown for 1031 yards so far at 54% for 8 TDs and 3 INTs.

    Imagine if Manning lost every WR but Stokely in the same offseason and had them replaced not with marquee free agents, but more or less budget players. Now re-look at Brady's numbers compared to Manning's. Yes, Brady has dropped off, but not nearly as far as one would expect for the situation he has been placed in.

    This is not a Brady vs Manning thread, so let me switch gears before it becomes one. Brady's been helped along by a great running game that has only been slowed by Denver and Miami so far.

    Laurence Maroney is currently 16th in rushing with 78 carries for 332 yards and 3 TDs.
    Corey Dillon is currently 21st with 68 carries for 281 yards and 2 TDs.

    Compared to last season this is a huge upturn in productivity from the RB position. While consistency has not yet formed with the relatively young OL, the unit has shown flashes of absolute brilliance and has posted the best rushing day since 1993 in their game against the Bengals. The future is bright for our rushing attack.

    Troy Brown's production thus far this season projects to a full season as 48 catches for 538 yards and 6 TDs. Not bad for an elder statesmen by NFL standards. Health may become an issue, but he's having a great year for a guy that wasn't expected to play past the end of the 2005 season by most folks.

    I'll leave on the note that all this success has been had while the offense has not yet jelled and the defense has not been playing it's best football.

    We're currently ranked 12th against the run on defense, and as we all know that can improve with the guys we've got in the trenches. I think our pass rush can improve (it better), which in turn will cause our coverage to look as good as it's supposed to. People that have been down on Hobbs or Samuel (before the two INT Miami game there were plenty down on him too) will be pleasantly surprised by the DB production if a proper pass rush is consistently mounted by our front seven.

    And of course the offense will only get better as Brady gets more used to his new WRs. If the running game can keep pulling extra weight until the passing game gets going then we'll make it through the rough spot with a very good record and we'll head into the stretch run with the ability to make a try at homefield advantage.

    This team, in spite of turnover and injuries at key positions, has played well enough to be leading their Division by a wide margin going into their bye week. This bye week is of utmost importance to the season, being that it offers our pass offense and pass rush time to figure themselves out and improve before heading back into a live game. Being that we're bringing a 4-1 record into this much needed period of improvement I can see only good things coming from here on out.

    6 BYE WEEK
    7 Sun, Oct 22 at Buffalo - A winnable divisional game. A win here would put us at 4-0 in the division and increase our lead over Buffalo by a wide margin.
    8 Mon, Oct 30 at Minnesota - This team is something of an enigma, but they've found ways to win games that were close. This game is winnable if we can stop the run and mount a good pass rush.
    9 Sun, Nov 5 Indianapolis - This will be a tough game. But with our running game we should be able to dominate time of possession and absolutely abuse their weak run defense. If we can get a couple of turnovers and run the ball well then we should see a different outcome from 2005's game.
    10 Sun, Nov 12 NY Jets - Another Divisional game, and this one at home. We should be able to walk away with a victory as long as we can stop a repeat of those big plays we gave up at NY.
    11 Sun, Nov 19 at Green Bay - This is one of the few apparent gimmes on the schedule. Don't call it a trap game, but it is one.
    12 Sun, Nov 26 Chicago - Tough defense. Emerging offense. Good running game. Good special teams. This should be a hell of a game. I can't wait to watch it.
    13 Sun, Dec 3 Detroit - Another weak team, should be a W as we roll into the stretch run.
    14 Sun, Dec 10 at Miami - We always have trouble at Miami. Perhaps we'll see some of those less vanilla plays come out in this meeting.
    15 Sun, Dec 17 Houston - This team played us tough the last time we met, I expect the same this time around. Brady should have a good day.
    16 Sun, Dec 24 at Jacksonville - Another tough defense. Good running game. Big WRs. This will be a tough, slobberknocker of a game.
    17 Sun, Dec 31 at Tennessee - Hey, at least David Givens will get to see what he's missing. :D

    Wow, long post, sorry about that. I wanted to hit on a bunch of different stuff, and I guess I succeeded.
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    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    All good points. Good post.

    I guess one of the more promising things you noted was the takeaways - our D seems to be creating more turnovers this season.

    I think you hit upon it, but it's like Reiss has said a bunch of times, if Tom Brady is our biggest concern through week 6, we're just fine. I do wish they'd try some more short passes, screens, etc., but when they have tried on the few occassions this year, they haven't worked. The offense has seemed predictable to me at this point, b/c I can sit there and guess correctly what's coming the vast majority of the time, and I don't know enough about Xs and Os to be able to do that. But again, the offense will start clicking, I'm not worried about it, the fact that the D is playing so well this early is a much more important storyline.

    Also, I can't go a post without mentioning that I think Chad Jackson is going to contribute in the second half of the season, so I'll just say it again, Chad Jackson will be good.
  3. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    I'm hoping that as Jackson gets more in tune with the offense that he can emerge, but I'm not holding my breath. Hopefully next season he can get a full TC in and make a big stride heading into that regular season. I haven't given up on him for 2006, but I think with rookie WRs to expect too much is to be disappointed.

    Completely agree with your Reiss quote. If Tom is our biggest problem, then we don't have many problems.

    (Though I do think that the lack of a pass rush is a bigger issue as it stands now).
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Our pass rush hasn't shown up until later in the game, but we've gotten away with it. I guess I don't know how we don't have a stronger pass rush considering some of our great players up front.
  5. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    I'm not sure what the answer to that is.. We never had any trouble with pass rush until the start of 2005 really (at least consistent trouble as has become somewhat of the norm). I haven't broken down film or anything, so maybe someone that has can give a concrete answer.

    But yes, I think we fans are being fair to expect more from those guys. They're a line full of first rounders that frequently talk about wanting to be known as one of the league's best lines. Yeah, well, some pass rush might help that perception.

    It's not just the DL that is at fault though, clearly the LBs need to be making more plays on the QB as well. And I think we really miss that 'Rodney off the edge' play that was so successful for his first two seasons.
  6. rabthepat

    rabthepat 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Good post...there really is a lot to be positive about. I think after the Colts game people will feel more confident in our team.
  7. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    That's going to be a really big game for the team. After last year's Indy at home debacle I'm sure they want to put that ghost out of their thoughts.

    The last revenge game didn't go so well, so let's not call it that. lol

    I think that the Indy game is less vital if they win the two games prior to that, but if they should lose to either Buffalo or Minnesota, then that Indy game takes on added importance, IMO.
  8. Oswlek

    Oswlek Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    On the way to the game yesterday, I told my friends, "I'm more worried about the Miami game than I am about the Indy game. I think the Patriots are going to absolutely kill the Colts."

    Indy is exactly the same type of defense as the Bengals. Smallish line, poor tackling LBs and secondary, except that they have a better pash rush with worse corners. NE will go over 200 yards rushing on them unless they go through a crazy injury spurt like last year. Plus, the lack of a running game has given teams the ability to defend Indy almost entirely with nickle and dime defenses.

    The pash rush will need to be there or else Indy will move the ball, but Indy will not keep NE under 28 points.

    BTW, does anyone have that clip of Manning's "priceless" fake commercial that aired after the Indy/NE game last year? I'm sure a few of the boys will want to see that one.
  9. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Our DL is admittedly really, really hard to run against, but without Jarvis Green in there, they haven't gotten much pass rushing. Although, I did notice Jarvis in on more plays in the first half yesterday and the rush wasn't noticeably better there.

    Later, he made his presence felt on what should've been a sack if not for the Ed Hockulee giving into Harrington's demand for a face mask call despite clearly not having seen it himself. Brady should try that sometime :D

    Anyway, slight tangent, but just like you said, I don't know the answer to the inconsistent pass rush.
  10. teamplay

    teamplay Practice Squad Player

    Excellent post. I'm not one who's worried about this team; if every other team improves 5% each week, the Pats improve 10% -- by the end of the year, they're scary. The adjustments are being made; this team will be very competitive.

    Having said that, your comparison between Manning and Brady really surprised me -- much closer than I would have guessed. Not that total yards means a darn thing, but I just looked at the stats:

    2006 Total Offense Yardage
    Indy 357 ypg
    NE 337 ypg

    2005 Total Offense Yardage
    Indy 362 ypg
    NE 352 ypg

    Much closer than I ever would have guessed.
  11. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    Great points on the looming Indy game. I'd certainly be happy if we ran for over 200 yards against them. If the game even remotely resembled the Bengals game I'd be absolutely thrilled.

    And while I don't have a clip of that Manning spot, I do remember it, quite vividly. It left a bad taste in my mouth. So.. smug.. for having accomplished such a small thing.
  12. desi-patsfan

    desi-patsfan In the Starting Line-Up

    nothing to add here, just wanted to say good job BF80.
  13. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    Good point on Jarvis and the DL early vs late. They really need to figure out some way to get 'warmed up' a bit faster. Especially against a team like, say, Indy here in a few weeks.
  14. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    They'd be even closer if Dillon hadn't left in either the Denver game or the Miami game. Clearly, there are some Ds where Dillon will be better than Maroney just as there are other Ds where Maroney will be effective. In both of those games, it seemed Dillon would've had success had he stayed in.
  15. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    Yes it's very surprising. Our offense really doesn't get much credit. Manning is off to a slower start than normal, for sure. If you take out his stat-running that he did in the Houston game then his season looks even weaker.

    This team is very beatable, but so far this season has been finding ways to win close games:

    @N.Y. Giants Won 26-21 (+5)
    Houston Won 43-24 (Peyton stat padding)
    Jacksonville Won 21-14 (+7)
    @N.Y. Jets Won 31-28 (+3)
    Tennessee Won 14-13 (+1)
  16. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    Someone made a point - and it might've even been you in another thread - that the O gameplan against AFCE teams might be held back a little knowing we will play them again (and perhaps also knowing they are weaker teams) - maybe the same is the case for the D. At least IMO, the D seemed very vanilla compared to the Bengals game.

    If BB knows he can beat the Phins w/o giving the Colts or Bears a sneak peek at some of the more effective defensive schemes, then I bet BB will do just that.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  17. BelizePats

    BelizePats Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    What a great post. Thank you Brownfan80! With all the garbage that seems to be crowding this board, I still come here everyday willing to wade through the ***** to find jewels like this one. Again, thank you.

  18. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    I did say that in another thread. But against the Broncos we had the same problem, and to some extent in the first half of the Buffalo game and parts of the Jets game.

    And it may be true against the AFCE opponents, specifically Miami, being that we always win at home and lose on the road against them.

    But either way I'd hope that even with a vanilla set that our DL could man up and overpower a supposedly bad Miami OL. I'd hate to think that we're so dependant on blitzes, stunts, traps, etc. I'd like to think that we can just man up and beat an OL to a pulp.
  19. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

    No problem. It took a bit of time to compile all of that, but I wanted to show that there was more to the forest than the trees.
  20. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

    Slow linebackers?

    Another factor may be that we don't seem to blitz much, and blitzing makes a pass rush look more obviously existent.
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