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Two positive signs from yesterday's game

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ctpatsfan77, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    (1) The goalline stand. No, they should never have been in that position in the first place. But, regardless, they still completely shut the Chiefs down. Even when they tried to run, the Chiefs got nowhere. It was good, smart, disciplined football. [Now if only they had showed that discipline on the previous play. . . .] And, while I'm at it, let me note once again that Jerod Mayo looked like a veteran, not a rookie, and that Wilfork is still The Man on run D.

    (2) Cassel's first drive. For God's sake, he had to take over at the #%@_ing 1-yard line, and then watch as the RBs got nowhere on two successive carries. At that point, who could possibly blame him for just saying "screw it" on 3rd down, just six inches from the goal line? [Confession: I honestly figured BB might opt for the intentional safety.] But what actually happens? A perfect throw to Randy Moss, on a play that required him to read what Moss was doing. The pass takes the Pats halfway down the field en route to a 99-yard TD drive, and as a bonus, completely energizes the crowd.

    To put things in perspective: the great Satan Manning, backed up to his own 2-yard line on a sack, managed to give up a safety to the Bears yesterday. [Yeah, Bears D > Chiefs D, but Satan Manning's experience > Cassel's experience.]
  2. PrairiePat

    PrairiePat Rookie

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    C'mon Ct, get with the program - we're not allowed to praise our backup QB around here. If you're going to talk positive about Cassel, you have to include one of the new board catch-phrases as well:
    - he got lucky
    - he has no arm
    - he has no fire
    - it was only against the Chiefs
    - O'Connell would have put up 28 pts
    - Culpepper would have put up 40, all to Randy Moss (because, you know, they played together previously)

    Please edit accordingly, thanks.

    :D
  3. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    The defense yesterday was dominant and looked great, without a ton of scheming, in my opinion.

    They looked fast and athletically improved. There is a lot of positional speed, or simply put, freaks of nature, on defense. Every single one of the starting defensive linemen were taken in the first round because of ridiculous size/speed measurables and all have fulfilled their draft positions. Adalius Thomas, Mike Vrabel and Jerod Mayo are fast and big. Hobbs is extremely fast, has great "quick twitch" speed, and can jump like it's nobody's business. Ditto for Meriweather, respective of the safety position. Lewis Sanders yesterday (and hopefully going forward) provided a big, physical cornerback... who can also cover! Rodney Harrison is aging but was just as much a size/speed freak in his earlier days, and can still be utilized with good coaching. Bruschi, too.

    Off the bench, they have more of the same with top backups O'Neal, Green, Woods (and Crable, potentially), Wheatley, Wilhite, and other developmental players with great talent.

    This defense has improved drastically with regards to athleticism, and we saw it yesterday with players flying in for gang tackles and knocking heads. On one play in particular, a pass was completed (short of the first down) in the vicinity of Rodney Harrison (who looked to be the closest player). Before Harrison even got to the ball-carrier, Mayo, Meriweather, and Sanders were all in on the tackle.

    Look at the stats from yesterday: the Chiefs had 10 possessions, five of which were for only 3 or fewer plays. The other five, although having 8 or more plays each, only gained 41 yards on 10 plays, 51 yards on 13, 19 yards on 9, 63 yards on 10, and 73 on 8; or 247 yards on 50 plays for an average gain of 4.94. For context, last season, the Cowboys and Patriots finished with average gains of 4.9 and were sixth and seventh in the league, respectively. On the "bad" drives the defense had yesterday, they were still fantastic!

    The numbers are even more impressive when you look at the fact that the run defense shut down Larry Johnson, did a lot of their work against Damon Huard, a savvy, smart vet, and the final 73 yard drive had a 68 yard pass play (five yards on 7 plays, 4 for nothing on the goal line). And to top it off, the reason for the 68 yard pass play was not a particularly phenomenal Chief performance, but the onus of blame rests on a terrible angle by Sanders and what looked to be a blown coverage by Meriweather. Fixable mistakes!

    This defense is vastly improved athletically and I'm certain Belichick hasn't compromised intelligence to get there. They will be ridiculous this year.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  4. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    I agree, two very good signs. Couple that with Cassel taking the backup snaps last week and this week he will take the starter snaps. They will adjust the game plan for him, we can already see the impact of having a mobile QB who can run and run fast for the 1st down.

    The running game is clearly a threat, another positive sign, and being able to send in a back with fresh legs who has the talent to tear up the field is the QBs best friend. And when it's time to pass, Moss and Welker are the best in the league.

    Anyone giving up, yet? Please put your tickets on ticket exchange.
  5. JSn

    JSn Rookie

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    Speaking of Arm, that Pass to Moss was a pretty good bomb.

    Anyone know whether Cassell has the arm to stretch the field? Stats or examples, please, no chicken-little's or haters with their stanky opinions, please.
  6. JSn

    JSn Rookie

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  7. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For the 1st half anyways. In the second half, the Chiefs controlled the ball much more than the Patriots and they were able to put up 10 points. This was definitely the 2008 version of the "bend, don't break" defense. I think they will get better as the season goes along.
  8. Sicilian

    Sicilian On the Roster

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    I think one of the biggest pluses to me was that the defense came out completely healthy. No injuries on the defensive side of the ball, which I think is going to be the biggest key to getting us through this.

    If the D is healthy and effective all year, anything can happen.
  9. bbabin

    bbabin Rookie

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    I loved watching our three capable starting RBs switch in and out between plays and series. I wonder if the logic wasn't something like: "Hey if having two good RBs is good, wouldn't having three be better?" Having fresh talented running backs all of the time really gives the offense some options. Also, I was pleased with all of their performances as well as with the OL in run blocking.

    The running game will need to be consistently good this year and the first game looked promising.
  10. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    Did you read the rest of my post? ;) Look at the drive charts.

    Yeah, the Chiefs "controlled the ball," but they were entirely ineffective in making those possessions worthwhile, even in terms of yardage gained. They took 5:45 off the clock with their first possession of the third quarter, but gained 19 total yards while trailing. In the fourth quarter, they had three possessions for a total of 4:07, gained 76 yards (68 on one play), and turned over the ball twice, once after gaining zero yards on four attempts from the Patriots five yard line.

    The Patriots defense was very, very good all game.

    By the way, the Chiefs scored seven points in the second half.
  11. PrairiePat

    PrairiePat Rookie

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    I saw glimpses of a good running game yesterday, but I also saw us get stuffed several times for near-safeties on our own goal line (before Cassel bailed us out with the long pass to Moss).

    I thought Morris and Jordan ran hard, and Maroney had 2 or 3 nice gains.

    There were also a couple of series in the 2nd half where it looked like McDaniels tried to focus on pounding the ball, and instead the drives ended up 3 and out. I think Evans -lost- yardage on a 3rd and short dive play. That was discouraging.

    So while there's room for optimism, there's still a lot of work to do there.
  12. bbabin

    bbabin Rookie

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    Definitely. There's nothing more frustrating to me than watching Maroney "dance" too much because there are two defenders in the backfield, unblocked. Maybe I'm imagining things, but I thought that happened a bit less frequently than it did last year. Also, inside running with nine in the box is a recipe for some unspectacular plays, regardless of execution.
  13. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Agree with your post. KC converted a good amount of 3rd downs but they weren't easy conversions. The DL got great push against the run and the pass. I was especially happy that the pass rush and coverage seemed to be in sync with each other.

    I also saw some positive aspects with the scheming. The Hobbs pick was an under/over coverage with a safety up. It looked like man coverage with Bowe being covered by a safety (Meriweather?) but it actually freed up Hobbs to read and jump the route. Law got more than a couple of his interceptions the same way.

    Speaking of safeties, that was the area where I think the Pats need to tighten things up. The LJ 20+ yard run was failed outside containment and it looked like Rodney was in the area. The 68 yard pass was the result of JSanders running around like Nick Esasky in 1990. Meriweather seemed to be in the right position and around the ball a lot, but didn't turn in any big plays. The Pats really need the safeties to step up and apart from some QB pressure by Rodney, they didn't impress when the opportunities were there.

    All things considered, the defense did a fine job. They will need to consistently keep teams to under 20 moving forward to keep Cassel and Co. in a comfort zone. I think they have the ability to do that.
  14. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    I'm not great with terminology, but you're right about the "Under/Over coverage," and it was Meriweather, which is a plus for him, especially against a very good receiver.

    Hobbs was a playmaker yesterday. A strip sack (has he ever sacked someone without forcing the fumble?), an interception, and another deflection. He also stood out for tough coverage on Bowe several times (even on Bowe's ridiculous, Randy Moss-like catch, Hobbs forced the great play).

    I think the safeties (Meriweather, particularly) showed good things to build on. Meriweather is in position to make plays, they just haven't come yet. They will.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  15. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    Some Defensive positives I noticed from the game:

    1. Vrable can still rush the passer, and came very close to recording 4 sacks in that game, but finished with 2 sacks, and 6 TT's.

    2. O'Neal looks to be adjusting quickly.

    3. Hobbs made some good plays against the pass, run, and blitzing the passer (4 tt's, 1 FF, 1 INT, 1 sack, and 1 PD).

    4. Rodney recorded 14 tackles, and a number of them came close to the LOS.

    5. For most of the game Larry Johnson couldn't get on track, as the Patriots front seven frequently stuffed him near the LOS

    6. Seymour looks good, and his being healthy should only provide a boost to the defense.

    7. AD still drops the QB with the best of them.

    8. Mayo seems to be progressing (recorded 6 solo tackles), and was among the NE defenders stuffing Larry Johnson.
  16. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Harrison had an overall good game (yes I've changed from saying it was mediocre). He had one bad play where he didn't get his hands up on a blitz and Croyle, literally, completed the pass by throwing the ball right over Harrison.
  17. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I actually thought there were a lot more than 2 signs yesterday. I loved that the defense played with a lot of intensity for most of the game. The run defense was stifling until late in the game when the Pats were more than willing to give up yards on the ground when it kept the clock moving. The Pats got pressure on both Croyle and Huard. The secondary other than really a handful of plays didn't give a lot of opportunities. These were all big concerns by people coming out of the preseason.
  18. sebman2112

    sebman2112 Rookie

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    Maroney ran the ball 10 times, and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. I think he did a little better than you seem to remember.
  19. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with everything you said although I thought Harrison struggled at times with Gonzalez, but then again a lot of safeties do. His coverage abilities may be a concern.
  20. JSn

    JSn Rookie

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    Who sent Croyle out of the game? That hit was monster.
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