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Thinking outside the Box

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Jan 19, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    As the week starts to slow to a crawl, I'm just sitting around thinking pretty much everything that can be said about this game has already been said.....again....and again....and again. So if I'm going to actually contribute something meaningful, I'm going to have think "outside the box". Unfortunately for me that would take a brilliance and creativity that has long since exceeded my capabilities. HOWEVER it did get me thinking about things in general that are "outside the box" and then it occurred to me.

    Its not as if we can think any more highly of Bill Bellichick than we already do, but if you want to add a little more frosting to that cake, think about this. In the last decade BB has been the driving force behind THREE significant, perhaps even "revolutionary" trends in the NFL.

    1. When the Pats won the 2001 Superbowl using the 3-4 defense as its base, only one or two other teams in the entire league used it. Flash forward to 2011 and now a MAJORITY of teams use 3-4 as a base and more teams flock to it every year. BB's success helped change the entire landscape of NFL defenses in just 10 years

    2.Love it or hate it BB is really the one to blame for this era of "pass crazy" numbers, not Bill Polian as most people think. Bill didn't b!tch and moan, when Polian pushed through the rules that were designed to foil the way he wanted to play defense. NO WAY! Instead he went to school over the next few years and brought the "spread offense" into the NFL and unveiled it in 2007 with historical effect.

    Pretty soon more and more teams added similar offense strategies and the passing numbers across the league started to soar. Now BB didn't "invent" the spread offense or anything, just like he didn't "invent" the 3-4 defense. But rather, he was the first to successfully utilize the principles and popularize it, and THEN it started to spread across the league.

    3. AND today, we are in on the ground floor of BB's NEXT revolutionary trend. "The 2 TE offense".

    NOW it makes sense all those years BB spent drafting TEs. I wouldn't be surprised if BB didn't have this kind of offense in mind for years. All it took was getting the right personnel to implement it. And don't think that it will stop here. Over the next few years the "copy cat" NFL will be scouring the college game and basketball courts looking for their OWN Gronk/Hernandez combination to terrorize NFL defenses.

    The Ravens have the seeds todo it in Pitta and Dickson, but THEY haven't utilized them like we have our TEs........YET. I hope they wait until next year before they do. As we have seen with our 2, it is hell on a defense because of all the favorable match ups you can create. Now that BB has shown how successful this offense can be, the rest of the league will be soon to follow.

    So in closing - While I am no longer capable of "thinking outside the box", BB. in his quiet, under the radar, unassuming way, has used "thinking outside the box" to launch 3 of the most significant trend of recent NFL history.

    GOD, are we lucky to have him and his cohorts :D
  2. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Well the question with the two TE offense is whether you have the talent or personnel to duplicate it. The Patriots hit the jackpot in the draft with Gronk and Hernandez. I'm not sure that kind of drafting is duplicatable. However you do see that the offensive role of the TE has definitely expanded in the NFL. And now teams that already have one really good TE, such as Jimmy Graham in New Orleans might be thinking, what if we had TWO good tight ends? But again there are only so many great tight ends coming out in the draft each year. But I think the value assigned to this position will rise as NFL GMs and coaches realize how valuable and versatile weapons they can be for an offense.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  3. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Pats flipped/flopped 3/4 4/3 as indicated by the starting lineup.

    Hamilton DE
    Seymour DT
    Mitchell DT
    Anthony Pleasent DE
    Vrable OLB
    Bru MLB
    Phifer OLB

    Johnson and Cox didn't see much time b/c BB wanted more edge setters and speed on the field.

    The certainly took on a 3/4 look w/ Willie Mac came in and played the "elephant" role.

    If only Arthur Love. Dave Stachelski, Jabari Holloway panned out!!
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  4. Titleistman

    Titleistman Rookie

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    The onlly problem with the Ravens doing the TE attack is Joe Flacco is not a cerebral QB like Tom Brady. He couldn't read a situation even if John Madden used an illustrator for him before each snap. If you look at the elite QBs who can do this type of offense they all have brains or are extra special with football intuition...of course you have to be accurate as well. :)
  5. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    I want the 5 TE offense. 4 Gronks and 1 AH who doubles as a run threat.

    When they play the Saints next I want Gronk flipped to defense to cover Graham like Brown and Edelmen to the slot.

    Gronk vs the entire Jets team? Gronk 42-7.

    What if you shrunk Gronk down and had Mini-Gronk? Still Gronk 27-10.

    (SNL Da Bears and mini Ditka reference for those not old enough)
  6. borg

    borg Rookie

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    Great post. I too have been mulling over the Brady/BB dynamic some lately. Let's add these to the list

    Slot receiver.

    Troy Brown became the receiver of choice and the training wheels for Brady's young career. Keep it simple for the young QB...and move the chains. Then BB identifies a unique player, brings him in, and next thing we know the slot receiver is the next great weapon in the NFL. Welker becomes the standard by which all others are measured. ....culminating in a '11 season where Welker leads in catches and 2nd in yds.

    The big/fast/deep threat. Nothing new here....except the record setting scoring production in Brady to Moss' first year

    And now year 2 of the revolution of the BB multiple TE offense. Record setting once again.

    They have vision, they refit, they execute, they set records, they win.......then other teams follow
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  7. Trocadile

    Trocadile Rookie

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    In 2001, the Patriots went to a 4-3 defense out of necessity when Johnson and Cox were injured. Without other viable ILBs, Bruschi took over as MLB. The team started playing better (I think there was a change at QB that had something to do with it) and because of that BB stuck with the 4-3 even when Cox and Johnson were healthy, not only through the Super Bowl but into the next year, when (hello, Steve Martin!) the defense stunk, and BB eventually went back to the 3-4 as base.

    In any case, contrary to the OP, the 2001 Patriots did not usher in an era of 3-4 popularity since all their success came out of the 4-3 base.
  8. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Yep. Agree completely.
  9. randomk1

    randomk1 Rookie

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    Off the Grid is that you?
  10. NSPF

    NSPF Rookie

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    You know, when you put it this way, it sounds less like BB is super revolutionary and more like he's just really freaking unbelievably good, and can win with whatever type of team he has. Under BB the Pats have been successful as a defensive team, a run heavy team, an unleash the dragon team (deep pass), a small ball slot receiver centric team, a mid range passing team, a two tight end focused team, a spread offense team... The only thing they haven't done well is run an option offense.

    Whatever horses BB has, he seems to change the team's identity and plays to their strengths. The amazing thing is that no matter what type of team he puts together, the results have been historic. Obviously BB didn't invent two tight end formations, slot receivers, deep threats, etc., but he has managed to use them more effectively than anyone else in the history of the NFL.

    Of course, that Tommy kid he has playing quarterback might have something to do with it.
  11. Stilla

    Stilla Rookie

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    NE has had 2 great TEs for 2 seasons, and yet BB still drafted Lee Smith, brought in Dan Gronkowski, and a few other TEs who didn't pan out for one reason or another.

    These other TEs weren't brought to NE to add depth behind Rob and Aaron, they were brought in to block. None of them are on the team, because BB settled with Nate Solder as his 3rd TE.

    BB wants to bring together 3 TEs, Nate had some action this year as a TE, but injury to the o-line forced BB to play Nate at tackle.

    It is my gut feeling that BB likes what Nate was able to accomplish this year as a TE, and if BB is able, he will bring in another tackle so Nate can play TE, and add depth to the 0-line. OR, BB will try to find that 3rd TE some other way, and the guy won't play back up to add depth, he will start in a 3 TE formation.

    NE ran enough 3 TE package this year to warrant this theory.

    BB accepted a 2 TE system, only because injury forced his hand to free up roster space for other positions. His ideal system for the Brady bunch was a 3 TE set, and in this offseason we will see BB go after it.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  12. NEP4Life

    NEP4Life Rookie

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    The "H" in "H-back" stands for Hernandez. :cool:
  13. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd bet dollars to donuts that Belichick has a couple guys in his admin department whose sole task is to study offense and defense trends throughout the league, draft trends, and compare those to wins/losses to generate some efficiency data.

    That is then used to see where each team individually, and the league collectively, is headed and develop ways to counter those moves.

    Football is just a game, and all games can be quantified as equations, and even though football is more complex because of the variables involved (players, staffs, number and types of plays run, opponents, distances traveled, weather, etc) both general and specific traits can be plotted and examined as to how best to deal with them.

    I think that, more than anything else, this sort of research is the real foundation for New England's success. It out-scouts the rest of the league, then drafts to defeat long-term trends and develops plays and formations to take advantage of them.

    V/R
  14. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The greatest thing about Bill Belichick is that he continues to be a step or two ahead of the rest of the NFL. Like a Steve Jobs, he sees opportunities before everyone else considers them.
  15. ay-yo

    ay-yo Rookie

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    I thought the game had passed him by.:confused:
  16. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    LOL, that was OTG-esque. Honestly I'm going stir crazy waiting for this one to start. It's been a long time since I was this amped for a game.
  17. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    FINALLY!!!!!! Somebody who gets it. THANK YOU.

    This isn't about the exact year BB turned to the 3-4, or the exact date the passing game exploded. This thread was to point out exactly what ausie said. Time and time again BB is a step or two ahead of the rest of the league. I just tried to point out 3 examples
  18. Canuck

    Canuck Rookie

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    I always look forward to your posts, so as my first post on this forum, I thought I would reply to my favorite poster.

    1. I'm thinking Bill is working toward a hybrid defense. One that can morph from 4-3 to 3-4 and back. Carter is a good example of a player who can play both, though his strength is in the 4-3

    2. The spread offense has been around for some time. The success that the 2007 Pats had with it has revived its popularity. Got to have a QB skillful enough to run it though and a good OL to protect him.

    3. I've had the thought that Bill is looking for a 3 TE set, a role that Solder filled when he is not playing tackle. I think Bill is looking for another Gronk like TE. Imagine what that offense would look like. I wouldn't be surprised if Solder caught a pass in the playoffs upcoming.
  19. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    His name is Ernie Adams.

    ESPN.com - E-ticket: Who is this guy?
  20. Trocadile

    Trocadile Rookie

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    Oh, I get it. This thread is to point out that BB is AWESOME!!!

    I agree, but a couple of the examples you use are not just weak, but factually incorrect, and smack of runaway homerism. First, it's odd that a Patriots fan would credit BB with popularizing the 3-4, when it was another Patriot coach, Chuck Fairbanks, who really showed that it could be a base defense in the modern NFL, borrowing from the Shula/Arnsparger "53" defense which was used in a limited way. And the 3-4s popular around the league today owe more to the Bum Phillips 3-4 and Dick LeBeau's zone blitz schemes than BB's system. Only the Parcells/BB coaching tree use 3-4s like the Patriots.

    And BB as an innovator of the 2 TE offense? His only innovation is to have 2 incredibly gifted versatile athletes to play the position and to be willing to use their versatility fully. Joe Gibbs deserves credit for "popularizing" the 2 TE offense, or 1 TE/1 H-back offense, which, interestingly enough, was a response to BB's Giants defense with Lawrence Taylor. BB is just combining that idea with the spread offense because he's fortunate enough to have 2 guys that have skill sets that fit into both. Other teams can only follow if they find similarly gifted athletes.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  21. Bella*chick

    Bella*chick Addicted to the light

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    Ha, I as going to mention Steve Jobs. Good call.
  22. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Joe Gibbs does not deserve the credit for the 2TE offense. While I will stop short in calling BB an innovator, the 2TE offense/H-back offense is a Ray Perkins/Chuck Fairbanks lovechild.

    For the Giants, you had Bavaro/Zeke Mowatt/Tony Galbreath setup and later Bavaro/Howard Cross/George Adams. As you point out, BB has the talent here unlike with besides Bavaro with the G-Men.

    Pats in 1996 had a similar setup with Coats and Byars as the H-Back.
  23. Stilla

    Stilla Rookie

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    If Adams had a hand in picking Nate Solder, then you know Solder will be that tackle-eligible player. I have already claimed that Nate would catch his 1st pass this sunday, but now after reading the article, I know its coming this post season.
  24. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Rookie

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    Great thread as always..... I think you are 100% correct. I also find it VERY interesting that BB, the defensive guru (as he is known), is responsible for 2 of the most "innovative" OFFENSIVE trends in the last few years (spread and 2-TE offense).

    Maybe instead of BB, the defensive guru, we should just call him BB, the master guru of all thing football.

    I think that you are also on to something. One thing that I've noticed about this defense, certainly down the stretch...... Is that they come out in a very basic vanilla and bland coverages........ They play in that (and generally get blown up for the 1st quarter), and then slowly begin to morph the defense into a unit that is built to shut down the offensive game plan in front of them.

    Look at most of our games. Offenses come out gun blazing and we look shell shocked for the first part of the game. By halftime though, our defense settles in and we rarely allow late game points (with only Indy and NYG games as exceptions. I think that in the last 5 games, we've only allowed and average of 4.8 points in the last half of games (compared to 21 for the whole game).

    It feels like we come out in a generic look, wait to see what the offense shows, and then we morph into a defense to stop it.

    Of course, I think our offense does that exact same thing. It's not uncommon this year to come out, stall on a few drives and then ramp it up once we get a feel for the defense.

    Whether or not that is be design or whatever, it certainly is something that hasn't been seen here defensively in several years.
  25. Trocadile

    Trocadile Rookie

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    It is interesting (and fun) to realize that the roots of the current Patriots offense and defense go back to those 70's teams with the Hank Bullough defense and the Ray Perkins/Ron Erhardt offense. However I don't recall Perkins/Erhardt using an H-back the way Gibbs did, and I think of the Redskins H-back as the precursor of the hybrid role that Hernandez now takes to the highest level.

    Perkins did use Byars that way in '96, but mostly at the end of the year, after Sam Gash was injured.
  26. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    I could be wrong but the 'Skins had Didier and Warren were the 'Skins 2TE and for and H-back not sure who they had. However what they did with AH on Sat reminded me of how Gibbs used Kelvin Bryant.

    Correct. They went two TE single back offense after Sam tore his knee vs the Jets (IIRC)
  27. Trocadile

    Trocadile Rookie

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    I think Didier was the H-back, Warren the conventional TE.
  28. Canuck

    Canuck Rookie

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    Exactly what I was thinking. I think he was hoping that Smith or Yeatman could be developed into the 3rd TE. They were released on waivers and both were claimed. I think BB was hoping to sneak one of them back onto the practice squad. Solder will do for now but I think Bill wants a legit 3rd blocking TE similar to when Alge Crumpler was here, hopefully one that can also catch a few passes.
  29. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I remember that article. It's a wonderful and and excellent look behind the scenes. In a way, he reminds me of Robert Duvall's character in "The Godfather". Ernie is, in a sense, Belichick's Consigliere. He can speak openly and honestly anytime, and his advice is valued because he's not in the chain of command.
  30. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bill Belichick just admitted today that "not too many teams used the 2TE offense..at all, until we did it with the Lions in the early-to-mid 70's."

    It was utilized by Belichick when he was with DET by Charley Sanders and David Hill, who combined for more than 1/2 of the Lions total touchdowns in the 1976 season.

    Belichick said that Sanders still comes up to him and "thanks him" every time they see each other.

    It appears to me that the inception of the 2TE offense, or at least the popularization and modernization of it, occured while he coached with the 1976 Detriot Lions, which was wayyyy before the Giants' teams of the '80's.
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