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What Has Changed From Last Year?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Defense.
    I see only more of the same plus imporvement from the SECOND HALF of last year, and we were one of the best defenses in the NFL then.

    DL. Better. The starting 3 remains the same solid, excellent group. Sullivan is an UPGRADE to depth. He has tools and after watching the Washington game, Isee a guy hustling and working hard on the field, contrary to what we have heard showed up in NO. Green returns, Wright will be improved in his second year. We have the best starting DL in the NFL, and we may also have the best depth.

    LB.
    It looks like we will go from:to

    ILB Bruschi all the snaps, plus Vrable half the snaps: Bruschi all the snaps, Seau half the snaps

    OLB Colvin most of the snaps, McGinest most of the snaps, Vrabel the rest: Colvin most of the snaps, Vrabel most of the snaps, TBC the rest (with the rest being fewer than Vrabel played)

    I dont see any significant difference in the depth behind these guys or much opportunity for them last year or this.

    CB: Improved. Samuel has taken some criticism on this board. I dont know why. I guess when you play in a secondary along with weak players like Starks and Stone and Freeman, you get lumped in. Samuel has looked excellent in pre-season, but that is the same way he has looked to me since coming here. Hobbs was a capable starter in the second half of last year and remains the same. We are much, much deeper if we stay healthy, but also have better reserve depth if we see injuries again.

    SAFETY: MUCH better. Rodney is back. Sanders is better a year later. From #4 safety through however many make the squad we are better also.


    Offense:

    QB: Brady is Brady, but he appears even more focussed than normal, which is remarkable.

    RB: We are better with Dillon healthy. We are better with Maroney if Dillon isnt healthy. Faulk is Faulk. Maroney looks to me like the typical NFL RB that puts up 1500 yards a season, given the opportunity. Whether its 1500 or 400, he adds a lot to this offense.

    WR/TE: Watson has arrived. We are replacing Givens with players WE don't have the comfort level with, but the coaching staff appears to. We MAY BE doing the same with Branch. IMO, we are going to find out this year that the production of our WRs has more to do with Brady than with them. However, this is an area that appears to have seen decline. Brady must compensate and make them better than they seem as of today.

    OL: MUCH improved. Trading Gorin says BB feels the next starter in line is better. Whether than is OCallahan or Kaczur, we appear to have improved there. Koppen and Light back at full strength is a major upgrade.

    Special teams:
    K. Vinatieri didn't have clutch kicks to make last year. Absent of clutch kicking, I see no difference in this position with Gostkowski in his place. Given the need for clutch kicking, we will see. This would be a downgrade from Vinatieri in 2001-2003, but Vinaitieri of 2005-06 is not Vinaitieri of 01-03.

    P. Same

    Return game. Whether its Bethel and Dwight, or Maroney and Andrews, or Faulk, or whoever, we had and have capable returnmen and the production in the return game will hinge on blocking. Compared to the second half of last season, I think our blocking on return units will be imporved because we will be adding faster, younger and stronger players to the back end of the roster than we had after scouring the waiver wire for injury replacements.

    Overall, I think it is virtually certain this team is better than the 2005 version. Thats all good and well, but the reality is how they will compare to 03-04, because success will be defined by a SB Championship or not. My gut says offensively we are going to be better than those 2 years, and defensively we have the potential to be, but also the potential of not being that good.
  2. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    Pretty much agree with your points (though AV had to kick 2 game-winners against Pitt and ATL, and also missed a clutch kick in Denver).

    What I'm noticing overall is a more aggressive squad on both sides of the ball. There's noticably more energy and attitude on the field (last year I got the 'going through the motions' feel quite a few times). We're imposing our will on the other team. I know its only preseason, but the Redskins were a playoff team last year with lofty expectations this season and had something to prove last night....and we pushed them around all night long. I see more of a 'cutthroat' mentality on the team and I like it :)
  3. dbabbitt

    dbabbitt Rookie

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    The Pats lack depth and quality at the WR position...their kickoff coverage is still suspect. It does seem like they are better going into this season at every other facet of the game than they were going into last season, however I think that some people are overlooking the WR position way too much.

    When coaches start game planning against the Pats and if they're only reliable wide receiver is Troy Brown, than Watson, Dillon, Maroney et al are going to see some serious double and more coverage; eight in the box and all that.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  4. teamplay

    teamplay Rookie

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    nice post...thanks...if the Pats ever put the confusing, multi-option O and D on the field at the same time, watch out!! Barring injuries, this could be an awesome year.
  5. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    thanks, aj. comprehensive, backed up, intelligent. Well played.
  6. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    I don't care who the WR's are, teams are NOT going to put eight in the box against Brady.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2005
  7. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Rookie

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    Good post.

    Our pass defense ranked 31st last seaon. I agree, it apprears this squad has improved (hard not to really). As for Samuel, I've never bashed him. He is one of my favorite players to watch. However, he still has a ways to go. He actually reminds me of a young Otis Smith - high risk, high reward. Asante still has troubles wrapping up on tackles though. Last night he made a spectacular diving block-tackle on Betts, preventing him from getting a first down. Later in the game Samuel tried the same technique on Betts, but this time Betts bounced off of him and continued forward for extra yards. I guarantee Samuel will get an earful about this during film-session this week.

    Not trying to be a downer here, but Samuel also got burned by the Falcons' Michael Jenkins for a touchdown in the first preseason game. He trailed his man the entire play.

    Still, I'm with you, Asante is having a "very good" preseason. This kid has serious potential. I think the secondary has improved along with him, but there are still some kinks to work out.
  8. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    I couldn't disagree more.

    Samuel was right there with him the entire time, it was just an excellent throw by Schaub to Jenkins, who also has a huge height advantage over Samuel.
  9. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown Rookie

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    Not from what I saw last night, its not! There were five or six blue jerseys around the ball carrier by the time he reached the 20, and more right behind them. There were huge decleaters on K coverage. Maybe thats the product of a weak opponent, we'll see.
  10. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Rookie

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    I see it differently. I DVR'd the game. Samuel trailed Jenkins the entire time, and was behind Jenkins when he caught the touchdown. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. Height or no height, Samuel needs to break up a standard pass play like that.

    I still give Asante the nod for a good performance against Atlanta. Not knocking the kid, just pointing out that he has areas that he needs to improve upon.
  11. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    OK. We'll just agree to disagree, then. I think he defended the play about as good as you can expect.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, the glass is more than half full, but I would disagree a bit with your assessment. First, we will certainly much better than last year if we have no major injuries. That is to say, yes, pioli did his job in the offseason.

    I agree that, barring injury, the linebacker situation is fine. After all, Bruschi will be available for many more games. We've added Seau and Gardner (needed as a backup ILB). And Banta-Cain is playing like it's his contract year.

    Sure, the secondary is improved, but we hoped for more. In any case, Chad and Blue should help and Harrison being back is a major plus. Also Sanders is much improved, and I see him as a better nickel that Blue.

    Our coverage game should be a bit better with the Andrews, Gardner and GOST.

    So far, so good.
    ------------------------------------

    Now for the koolaid assessments. I see nothing that makes me believe that the wide receivers will be anywhere as good as last year. That may be OK if the running game is much better. But it is indeed a sign of extreme weakness at the position that the #3 and #4 wide receivers are a TE and a RB.

    Yes, Chad Scott is a decent blocker and we've added Britt (I guess we'll need to keep him). But I have not yet seen anything yet that makes me believe that our return game will be much improved.

    BOTTOM LINE
    Curiously the defense is fine and likely improved over being one of the very best in the league, with the very best defensive coaching in the game.

    It is the offense to which we devoted our entire draft that still needs the help, at wide receiver, and returner. But, I expect that help is still on the way.

    OH, BTW, the biggest change (which should be worth 1-3 games) is the weaker schedule.

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2006
  13. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Andy, I agree with much of what you say...but I do take exception with this:

    After the events of this offseason, I have sworn to never again say "well this may look lousy to all of us, but since it is that way BB/SP obviously think differently, and they know best."

    Exhibit A: Much of the board trashes Gorin, prays for a low-round rookie to supplant him. In response it's repeatedly said that "obviously Dante thinks a lot more of him than we do." Postscript: bye bye Brandon.

    Exhibit B: Much of the board trashes Beisel, sees no progress and prays for anyone to supplant him. Again it's said "clearly BB/SP see something in him." Postscript: hello Junior.

    There's a ton that the fans can't and don't know. But the collective wisdom of this messageboard has been pretty darn good at assessing what happens on the field, and even in training camp. What reason do we have to believe that the coaching staff is comfortable with the current WR lineup? They set this team up in the offseason picturing Deion Branch and Chad Jackson running deep routes, not Bam Childress. I have to think they'll be a heck of a lot more "comfortable" if that original plan eventually comes to pass.
  14. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    Wonderful post, patchick. Please keep it on your computer and post it the next time that someone uses that kind of non-argument.

    P.S. You might have mentioned Duane Starks.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2006
  15. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree AJ ... this 2006 Team should be better than 2005 Team.

    Two weeks ago I was concerned about ILB and WR.
    Now it's just the WR.
    Even if Jackson gets healthy the depth is not there.
    PATs really need Branch to return. IMO.

    If Branch returns and Jackson gets healthy then this COULD be the best
    PATs team EVER considering Players and Coaches and if there are no major injuries and their win record reflects that distinction.
  16. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan Rookie

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    Totally agree, a team would be crazy to do that. How many times have we heard commentators talking about the 6,7,8, or 9 players that Brady passes to in a game. His favorite receiver is the OPEN receiver. His ability to quickly go through his progressions is incredible and second to none.

    IMO, Branch and his agent, have forgotten that.

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