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. Wow, long post, sorry about that. I wanted to hit on a bunch of different stuff, and I guess I succeeded.