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What went wrong: one cold hard fact

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Patspsycho, Oct 31, 2011.

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  1. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    The cold hard fact is that in our last five losses, playoffs included, one piece of stat stands out pretty large. In each of those loss, our primary running back had 10 or less carries.

    I really, just really, don't understand why, with all the intelligence that there is on this team or running this team, they have this infatuation with going empty or with the draw.

    I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to design the game plan with the idea of giving Faulk the majority of the snaps. Don't get me wrong- I think highly of Faulk, but he is NOT a 3 down back. Even in his best season, he was and still is and always will be a 3rd down specialist. I have a feeling that whoever came up with this idea (be it BB, or BOB, or Brady's influence in the game design) it's also the same person who has this stubborn self-destructive desire to cling to the empty or draw formation.

    The Patriots are primarily a pass offense, and they are one of the best pass offense in the NFL, but they do NOT win without their run game. When we have won is when the number of run attempts is near to or equal to the number of pass attempts. That has been a very consistent fact.

    Last night, of the four excellent rushers we had, one was inactive, two had ZERO attempts (Woodhead, Ridley) and one had only five carries (BJGE). That is downright terrible, and is the reason I stopped watching the game near the end of the 2nd quarter.

    Some of our best offensive production comes from the play-action, and that comes out of the run game. So even if our run game is meager, or produces little results, it still provides threat in the form of the play action.

    As it was- we were never serious about it last night- we did NOT game plan for running hard at the Steelers, because all the run plays that were called were basic plays with no advanced whams, kickouts, or 2nd level designs. Also if some of you want to blame BJGE, I would say, why then, didn't BOB swap in Ridley? The bottom line, again, was that we were never serious about running, and that is very aggravating considering the Steelers are #15 in run-stopping.

    That being said, let's look at the other issues that are brought:

    MYTH: BB sucks at drafting.
    FACT: He has drafted a pro-bowler every single year he has been here. That is as good as it gets.

    MYTH: The defense sucks.
    FACT: THE YPG (Yards Per Game) and PPG (Points per game) we are allowing is in fact going down. It has been going down steadily, so we are getting better steadily, not worse.

    MYTH: The players suck
    FACT: We are in a new system, the 4-3, not the 3-4 and there are huge philosophical and systematic differences, even in the secondary where you have one less linebacker. It does take some time to become comfortable, and the lack of an off-season doesn't help.

    MYTH: The secondary sucks
    FACT: We have had NO consistency back there, and I don't mean any individual player- I mean having four or five secondaries playing together consistently, developing chemistry, effective communication skills, and knowing how to play off each other. It is unfair to crucify Molden when he's simply been thrown into the fire. There simply has been too much shuffling back there for the DBs to be blamed.

    The defense needs time to jell. There's no getting around that. That's not what I'm mad at. What I'm mad at are the things we can control, such as the game-plan design.

    There's just no getting around the fact that no matter how good our pass offense is, we just do NOT win without the run game, period.

    As the immortal Bill Walsh said: "You can't get to the superbowl until you're capable of winning in more than one way."
  2. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree, yesterday, BJGEs 0 yard run killed the 1st drive of 2nd and 2. We should have passed everydown against them, running wasn't going to work.
  3. patman12

    patman12 Rookie

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    I think BJGE is hurt and that limited what the Patriots could do in the running game. Woodhead and Ridley aren't the best of blockers so that left Faulk to carry the load.
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    I blamed it on lack of possessions in my own thread, but sure, I buy into this.

    One-dimensional teams don't win Super Bowls. They can come ridicolously close - 2007 Patriots; 2009 Colts - but more often than not, they are out before that.

    Our lack of commitment to the running game against a defense that is #1 against the pass but slacking against the run this year is surprising.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    2010 - We had a OK secondary, with improving younger players McCourty, Chung, and Arrington. We also felt we had some potential in Brown.

    OUT: Wilhite, Butler, Meriweather, Sanders
    IN: Molden, Adams, Barrett, Ihedigbo

    Belichick is indeed inscrutable. How are these replacements supposed to help us in 2011 (or 2012 or 2013)?

    I understand that we drafted a defensive back who was injured. But defensive backs cannot be counted on for great production in their first year.

  6. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Rookie

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    Definitely agree on wanting to see more BJGE-Ridley in the Buffalo and Dallas games. I'd like to see more of an effort towards smashmouth football and TOP-directed drives rather than just an aerial effort to outscore the other offense. Got to have SOME faith in the defense eventually. Yesterday we didn't really have many opportunities to run though down by double digits most of the game. It was just a poor effort all around.

    Defensively I agree we just need some continuity, regardless of the personnel at DB if we play better up front things will come together for us given BB's ability to scheme. Like I said in the other thread, despite the inconsistencies on D, 2 things we HAVE done fairly well all year is stop the run and make RZ stops. Those are the most important and you can get away with a below avg pass defense, just not so far below as we were yesterday. But if you can stop the run, and you maintain a commitment to run, you have a shot in January. The latter is something we've got to work on.
  7. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. Well said.
  8. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BJGE has a toe injury and missed multiple practices. In his 5 runs, he was a negative for the team. Using him any more would have been stupid.

    Ridley reportedly has a hamstring injury and has blocking issues.

    Woodhead hasn't been the same since he got concussed.

    Vereen can't even make the active roster with the above being the case.

    That leaves a rusty Faulk.


    There's no reason to be surprised, especially given the circumstances of the game, with the Patriots being behind by the most points all season.

    The reality is that this team's secondary is crap, the defense overall is crap, the defensive drafting has been wildly uneven and mostly crap when it comes to the secondary, and running the ball wasn't the problem yesterday. Anyone who tries telling you otherwise is either a fool or a snake oil salesman.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  9. Marqui

    Marqui Rookie

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    I've completely given up on O'Brien at this point. Playcalling last night was atrocious.
  10. Dutchmaster617

    Dutchmaster617 Rookie

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    You can always look at it both ways, since getting Moss we haven't won just off running. The other way to look at it is that we run so much in wins because we set up the pass first, dominate or at least do a great job, and it makes it easier for our RB by committee to get a lot of carries.

    If we run the ball 30 times yesterday or in a lot of our losses we still lose, Benjarvus is not going to carry this team, he feeds off Brady, and so does the defense in regards to turnovers.
  11. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    When an RB is blown up in the backfield, it is very rarely his fault. It's always the result of a play breakdown or someone missing his assignment. It is near impossible to shake a tackle when you're barely accelerating fast enough to cutback.

    That being said BJGE only had 5 carries, Ridley had 0, and Woodhead had 0.

    So you're saying that all of this happened because BJGE got stopped for a loss on one attempt? Come on.
  12. olschool

    olschool Rookie

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    I think if they hadn't been playing from behind the whole game, they would have run more.

    I suppose having Brady out there, is just too tempting when they're trying to come from behind.

    We've seen it more than a few times now, and what bothers me about it the most, is that it's so predictable.

    Uh-oh...we're behind ? Pass, pass, pass !! Let's be one dimensional !!!
  13. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    If BJGE was hurt, they would have started Ridley.
  14. WhoaDirty

    WhoaDirty Rookie

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    I couldn't make it more than 3-4 pages through the postgame thread because of all the extreme viewpoints, but is anyone talking about how poor the special teams were yesterday? If you take away the Guyton INT, I believe the Pats never started past the 22, and I didn't see any touchbacks by Pitt (although did miss the 2nd half kick off). Expecting Brady and co. to march 80 yards everytime is a bit much, especially when they are facing a tough D.
  15. Dutchmaster617

    Dutchmaster617 Rookie

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    Their first drive Pittsburgh kicked out of bounds and gave us great field position. We went three and out quickly and never got the ball back for the quarter.
  16. vuudu

    vuudu Rookie

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    News to me. Where did you get that info?
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  17. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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  18. Palm Beach Pats Fan

    Palm Beach Pats Fan Rookie

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    I'd agree with all of the points of the original poster except 1: I don't agree that running the ball effectively is one of the major causative factors in preventing losses.

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    When we are ahead in the 4th quarter, we are likely to win, and we are likely to run the ball more to control the clock.

    When we are behind in the 4th quarter, we are less likely to win, and we are less likely to run the ball more because we want to conserve the clock.

    It's like the old correlation that says that a rich person is more likely to drive a Mercedes than a poor person. Thus, does driving a Mercedes make you become rich? No!

    Balance between run and pass is good. I don't necessariy think you have to have one 10+ carry person to have a good plan for any particular game, though.
  19. WhoaDirty

    WhoaDirty Rookie

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    Yeah you're right, I may have blocked out that whole series. My point was that the return game has been pretty lacking this year and that is not helping when the Pats are struggling in other areas. Watching Tate with some great run backs yesterday for the Bengals did not help my mood.
  20. Dutchmaster617

    Dutchmaster617 Rookie

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    We are not as good as we used to be at converting third downs, field position really shouldn't matter much to this offense but sadly it does, you are correct. I never feel comfortable starting on our 20 anymore.
  21. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale Rookie

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    I think you're being a little bit harsh, considering the way the game went...

    - Steelers take opening possession into endzone for TD, kill 5:52 of clock.

    - Pats throw on 1st down for 8, BJGE gets stuffed for -1, then throw incomplete on 3rd down and punt. Too early to critique them for lack-of-committment to the running game at this point.

    - Steelers take 2nd possession, drive for FG and kill 7:50 of clock. We're now in the 2nd quarter and the Pats have had the ball for 3 plays and are down 10-0.

    - Pats 2nd possession goes: 7yd pass, Faulk run for 2, BJGE run for 2 (and 1st down), 7yd pass, Faulk run for 5 (and 1st down), Penalty on Steelers on pass play, Faulk run for 2, Penalty on Steelers on pass play...so far so good. Then the crap hits the fan with Mankins' false start...cannot do that against this Steelers D...followed by 2 incompletions, a sack and finally a punt. The Pats definitely started off the drive using their running game. The drive fell apart mostly at the false start so again I think it's too early to criticize the Pats for not trying to establish the running game. Don't forget they were down 10-0.

    - Steelers throw a pick and the Pats take 2 plays to get within 10-7, the first of which is a 6yd run by Faulk.

    - Steelers answer with a 10-play TD drive, killing 5:39, giving the Pats the ball back with just 2:41 left in the half.

    - In their 2-minute offense, Pats drive down to the Steelers 30 before Vollmer gives up an awful sack to Woodley on 1st down. The Pats salvage enough yards to kick the FG and go into halftime down only 7.

    After seeing all of this go down in this manner, you *still* decided to stop watching the game at this point?

    Regards,
    Chris
  22. SyN65

    SyN65 Rookie

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    LOL, the secondary/defense is God awful and BB has been terrible at drafting.

    Lets look at the top 3 rounds where a lot of the talent is and how well he has been since 2006:

    1st RD busts:

    Brandon Meriweather
    Laurence Maroney

    2nd RD busts

    Darius Butler
    Terrence Wheatley
    Ron Brace
    Jermaine Cunningham

    3rd RD busts

    David Thomas
    Shawn Crable
    Brandon Tate
    Tyrone McKenzie

    Since 2006 Belichick has drafted these guys in the first 3 rounds who are alright/better than average:

    Chung - Decent
    Volmer - Decent
    Mayo - Above average, not exactly a playmaker
    McCourty - Jury is out, has had a terrible 2nd season
    Spikes - Decent
    Price - Can't even see the field even with Ocho here (Although I think he should)

    His drafting is TERRIBLE. How can you be this blind!? It's right in front of you!
  23. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Rookie

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    Agreed about the running game (as indicated in my "Where's the running game?" thread.
    and the fact that we were "behind" most of the game is completely irrelevant. Behind by how much? So, we run ONLY when we're ahead? Nonsense.
  24. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Absolutely, because it still just doesn't change the fact: when we are one-dimensional, we lose, period.
  25. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Please find any other team that doesn't have its share of busts or average picks.
  26. SyN65

    SyN65 Rookie

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    lol, EVERY team has their fair share of busts but BB CONSISTENTLY misses at the top of the draft. I was under the impression that the Patriots pride themselves on building through the draft and use FA to patch up the missing holes in the team. If that's your philosophy than you can't be this bad drafting every year.

    A lot of his misses are on DEFENSIVE talent. Particularly players on the secondary. Our defense sucks this year and has been getting worse every year primarily because BB consistently sucks in the draft.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  27. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Right. Any multi-year drafting history will look bad in a vacuum. You have to compare with other teams to see that even 50% over the first two rounds is pretty good.
  28. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    In the last two years, we've only been blown out once (Cleveland). When you take that game out of the equation, our average margin of loss has been EIGHT points. That's scarcely reason to abandon the run game, or veer away from the balanced attack.

    Second, as I've already pointed out, it doesn't matter if our run game isn't outstanding- we still have the threat of play-action which has been devastating. Our biggest gains last night (e.g., Gronk) along with our points, were out of the play-action.
  29. TBradyOwnsYou

    TBradyOwnsYou Rookie

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    Another thing it seems in our losses, is that the defense does something significantly different than it usually does, such as playing way more man coverage. Somebody surmised that we game plan *too much* and when we see something we don't expect, we can't adapt to it. I wouldn't believe it, except I watched it. Brady seemed to have no consistant answer to man coverage. He said that to beat man coverage, you have to make plays and force them out of man coverage. We didn't do that because they got all up in Welker's business, and none of our other WRs are able to seperate in that kind of bump and grind and molest coverage. That allowed their pass rushers to do their own sort of mollestation on our O-line and flush Brady from the pocket. How do we counter this? WITH A RUN GAME! If their secondary is busy mollesting our receivers and their line is busy collapsing our pocket, what does that leave? Big holes to run through.
    Yes, Lawfirm has a hurt toe, yes Faulk is 57 years old, yes our rookies are rookies, but if we are serious about it, we can stuff some runs right up their throat which will cause them to change their game.
    You have to attack their weakness, once that weakness is attacked, they must adjust to it which allows you to attack other areas, but if you only attack the one place they are going balls out to defend, you're going to end up not being successful.
  30. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Then how come his picks consistently produces one pro-bowler every year he has been here? Isn't that consistency?
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