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The most pleasant roster surprise so far, of many

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by rookBoston, Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    In a year with so many pleasant roster surprises...

    -Chung turning into a guided missile
    -Hernandez playing like a top-10 pick
    -Woodhead magically landing on the roster and playing like a superhero
    -Tate coming back from injury to ignite ST and the passing game
    -Cunningham showing pass rush moves that we haven't seen since Vrabel's finest days
    -BJGE turning into a power running workhorse

    ... my biggest surprise is what an incredible and unexpected find Dan Connolly has been.

    (1) UDFA who lived on the practice squad before filling for Neal last season
    (2) He wasn't even BB's first choice to fill at LG... it was supposed to be Kaczur
    (3) The pass protection is as good or better than it's ever been... ever
    (4) As well as our starting LG, he's also our first-string FB and a devastating run blocker
    (5) He's single-handed made the Mankins negotiations irrelevant

    Goes with the position, I suppose, but Connolly is completely under-appreciated, in my opinion. People: he displaced a 1st round pick, repeat pro-bowler and consensus top-5 OG in the NFL from our roster. And his play leaves me thinking... well, maybe it was an upgrade?
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  2. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not an upgrade, but he's been very competitive and could be seen as a modern day Joe Andruzzi. I can live with that and I think Dante and BB can too.
  3. NewFeep

    NewFeep Rookie

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    Nice thread...... All good points and the O - line has looked fine "sans" Mankins.
    If he wants to get away from NE that bad I hope we get something for him.
  4. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I took a horrific beating at the hands of the board "experts" here back in preseason when I suggested Dan would be a capable fill-in/starter for Mankins and certainly a better fit than Kaczur. The derision and mocking I endured was, as it turns out, baseless.

    Yet, every game there are posts scattered here and there throughout the threads, that snipe and mock his play this season. Why? Why do "fans" feel it is necessary to hang onto old,proven false biases? No one is keeping score. No one is going to rescind anyone's "fantasy football superhero know-it-all" card.Why can't you snipers just get behind a pretty hardworking, lunchpail Patriots up and comer instead of continuing this ridiculous insurgency week after week? I just don't get it when it comes to these so-called Patriots "fans".
  5. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Great post. Connnolly has been awesome. Let's see if he is insulted by $7M per year. Seriously, Mankins has become the biggest d-bag in Boston sports. I hope other teams look at the Patriots O-line this year, attribute it to the system, and Mankins ends up getting less than $7M. I actually think it's possible.

    Hernandez and Chung also lead my list of pleasant surprises. Hernandez, in my opinion, is going to be a perennial pro bowl tight end. He happens to be the youngest player in the NFL. I see no way, outside of injuries, that this guy isn't the next Dallas Clark, or perhaps even better. Chung is basically on the verge of becoming a superstar... I think his playmaking abilities (forcing turnovers on defense) are so very, very close to showing themselves, and I think one of these games he is going to really showcase his game-changing abilities with an athletic interception or tremendous hit.

    I'd love to see Tate catching 3-4 passes a game on a consistent basis, but athletically, it's a great surprise to see him recovered from his knee injuries.

    Woodhead is Rudy with talent.

    I like BJGE, but mark my words, next year in the draft the Patriots will try to give Tom Brady his Terrell Davis so he can ride off into the sunset.

    Wilfork has played as well as he has in his career. Not that surprising, but just as pleasant as the rest.

    Let's not forget that Welker is not even supposed to be on the field for another three months. Does anyone realize that he's on pace to catch over 100 passes despite being around 75%? I would argue that he's the biggest surprise of them all.
  6. NewFeep

    NewFeep Rookie

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    I liked this post a lot also..... Very good points.......

    To sum up: BB is building himself a new "team" and we like the way it's looking thus far.................
  7. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Enjoyed the gist of the thread, but isn't this kind of silly? Even if there are stats that might make that seem true, I don't see this OL's pass protection being better than the 2007 squad.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Connolly's good, and I'm really hope with how he's filled in -- and I DO believe the pass protection has been better than expected and very, very solid. But that's a little much, isn't?
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2010
  8. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Connolly has filled in admirably, for sure. I'm not as surprised about it, mostly because I have a lot of confidence that Dante can "coach up" the line to make up for raw talent deficiency.

    Woodhead is the biggest roster surprise for me. Never thought we'd get yet another AFCE castoff that can do some nice things for us.
  9. D-cleater

    D-cleater Rookie

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    The player that I'm most pleased with is McCourty.

    I may be alone on this, but in August, McCourty was a complete unknown, a possible upgrade over Wilhite for the nickelback. To some, he was a wasted draft pick even. I new he'd be tried out at LCB as Butler, while already having a year in the system, seemed like a better fit for the nickelback.

    After 5 games, we have to feel great about having the LCB position locked down for years to come. To my eyes, MCourty has the most upside of anyone in the secondary, even Chung, who I agree is a solid, maybe special player. But by next year, people will be singing McCourty praises, I predict. This kid is not even close to realizing his potential.

    I'm also really enthused about the ILB position, especially Mayo and Spikes. Their performance has had a positive effect on the whole defense, allowing the safeties to play deeper, and allowing Wilfork to slide over to DE, which strengthens the ROLB position just by him lining up next to it. Fletcher brought warm and fuzzy recollections of Roman Phifer with his assignment on Ray Rice last weekend. Brilliant stuff. Best talent and depth this group has had since the SB run.

    Finally, there is light at the end of the OLB tunnel with Cunningham and Ninkovitch. I thought Ninko got a bad rap from media and fans last year going in to this year.... people don't seem to be complaining much about him now. But both OLB's are learning to set the edge more, and are starting to get to the passer. The fact that the presumed leader of that group, TBC, is now the third OLB on the depth chart speaks to the progression of these two guys. The sacks will eventually come. they will continue to get better, and so will the secondary, which will give them more time to the QB.

    I guess thats most of the defense, but given that it is the part of the game that I most love to watch, and I have so much excitement for the way the D is starting to playing right now. Yes, I am being patient with the secondary. They will get it together, like they did in the second half and overtime against the ravens, and I think they can be playing like that for 3-4 qtrs by the end of season. They are slowly starting to figure things out and keeping themselves in the game.

    Don't get me wrong, I love me some connelly, Hernandez, and Woodhead... but I always knew the offense would be fine with Brady. Speaking of.... Brady is on his game folks. This is the offense he was meant to lead. The passes you see going to the receiver's feet? Those are intentional... If the receiver is not open, its like a throwaway, but one that the receiver has a chance to make a play on, and they sometimes do.
  10. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Biggest single surprise by person has to be Woodhead, because it's a surprise that he's even on the roster. It's not a surprise in terms of production from the position, just in terms of who's providing it.

    Or maybe Deion Branch. :)
  11. WhiteWesWelker88

    WhiteWesWelker88 Banned

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    Hernandez- I knew he would be very good.... but his 1st year I did not even dream of him having this solid of an impact so quickly...... :D



    thnx to all the teams that let him slide all the way to the 4th round:cool:
  12. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Dan Connolly graduated magna cum laude from the Dante Scarnecchia School of offensive linemen....
  13. Calciumee

    Calciumee PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #3 Jersey

    You should thank weed for that ;)
  14. resdubwhite

    resdubwhite Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    In this Case.


    Drugs are good M'kayyyy

    [​IMG]
  15. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I must admit to having my head so far up my own arse and suffering from "DeusIraeism" that I didn't know what to expect from Connolly, especially against the better d-lines in the NFL. He's been rather stout and a very good performer through 5 games.
  16. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm enjoying this season way more than the past few years simply because there are so many players who are growing and improving almost on a weekly basis. It's hard to single out one guy especially since we have so MANY different potential choices.

    Connolly deserves a lot of credit for all the reasons you mentioned. Woodhead is a great choice as well. But there is also Lawfirm's emergence, Chung's transformation, Brace starting to contribute, Crable finally being healthy, WWW's unbelievable return, Hernandez emerging, Branch returning and proving he still has it, Ninkovich's massive improvement, Cunningham beginning to emerge, Mayo's return to his old self, Spikes blowing up the backfield, and I'm sure I'm missing a few others. I'd also add the Space Emperor averaging almost 10 net yards more per punt than Hanson, a significant difference.

    My personal choice would be Devin McCourty being thrown into the fire and emerging as a solid starting corner back. He has played every single snap this season. He wasn't given the luxury of working into a rotation or slowly learning the system. He's faced a lot of great receivers and had OCs scheming to take advantage of him and yet he's held up incredibly well. I know he is a high pick and we expect that of him, but his performance has been remarkable thus far and way beyond what any of us could have hoped when Bodden went on IR.
  17. Triumph

    Triumph Rookie

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    On D, Gerrad Warren has done an admirable job in place of T Warren.

    The NE OL is # 1 according to the CHFF Hog Index, so Connolly gets my vote on offense.

    The coaching staff - Special Teams play has been awesome, Bill Obrien is getting better, how often do you see a double reverse actually work? And, BB moving his DL players around like chess pieces.
  18. Triumph

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    I dont recall the lynch mob, but I think youre dead on about Kaczur.
  19. stoinkythepig

    stoinkythepig Rookie

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    2008 was an entertaining season to watch because of Matt Cassel's weekly growth. This season is like that X 10.
  20. amazinPats

    amazinPats Rookie

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    A lot of surprises but Woodhead tops my list. Faulk goes down and this little nobody comes in and becomes an instant replacement for not only this year but likely the unforeseeable future as well.

    I would also add Ninkovich to the list. He is looking suddenly Bruschi-like.

    Why so many positive surprises? Because the team is young! Loading up for a perennial run at the SB! :rocker:
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