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What's Missing From Running Game?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Pat_Nasty, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    At the beginning of the season, our running game seemed on the verge of excellence. Somewhere around the Miami game, it stopped.

    For a while, there were things I blamed it on, but now, Danny Graham's back, our starting oline is healthy, and even when our passing game has been effective, we still don't seem to be rushing as effectively.

    It's certainly forgiveable to be held to 3 yards a carry by a defense like Chicago, but man, we should have been able to tear up Green Bay on the ground like Seattle did. Against poor run defenses like the Jets and Indi, we were having some success, but still, it seemed like too often, our runners were being met in the backfield.

    In fact, one of the things I noticed in both the GB and Chicago games is that it seems like our backs are picking up 95% of their yardage after first contact. Our oline is giving them creases but never holes to hit. I find this curious, as it seems like we have a young oline that's full of talent, and frequently praised -- especially our guys inside.

    Let me say, I'm not trying to chicken-little here -- I'm not saying the running game is awful and that our season is over or anything..

    It just seems to me like we have all the parts we wanted in place, and I'm a little surprised the results haven't been as spectacular as I thought.
  2. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    Teams have little respect for the Pats passing game. Chicago cheated 8 in the box almost all night, something they couldn't even do against the Jets. The lack of a WR who threatens the defense is hurting the running game. That is why CJackson's development is so crucial to this team's SB chances, and why his potential injury is a concern.
  3. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    While I'm sure that plays some part, I'm not sure I entirely buy that as enough of an explanation. If you look at the top rushing teams in the NFL, it seems that many of them have success w/out great passing games and despite constantly facing loaded boxes.

    San Diego doesn't have much in the way of wideouts, and you can bet your ass that teams load up the box to stop LT. (Of course, they've got LT...)

    I doubt teams are dropping too many people back into coverage vs. Alex Smith, yet Frank Gore is running through the full box.

    Jacksonville and KC are another two teams who have a great rushing game despite a passing attack that will never pull a guy out of the box.
  4. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    i agree that the Pats need to be more consistent, HOWEVER...
    You named Gore, LT and LJ. All three of those players play against the NFC West, the division with the worst run defenses in football, not to mention Oakland.

    Gore went on his recent binge against St Louis, Detroit and Seattle, 3 below average to PUTRID run defenses.

    Tomlinson had supposedly lost a step until hitting Cleveland, St Louis, Cinci and Oakland, 4 awful run defenses.

    Larry Johnson went half the year averaging 3.5 yards per carry until his Oakland, Seattle, St Louis binge.

    IMO those players, while good runners, are inflating their stats against sub-par competition. Furthermore, Denver's small, speedy defense has been beaten down by injury over the course of the schedule since their early dominance.

    Lastly, any good running back will tell you that it often takes 15 carries to get a feel for the defense. Dickerson used to say his first 18 carries were just a prep. Tomlinson often explodes in the 4th quarter as the D gets tired and he develops a feel for the defense, same with LJ. When teams split the carries as the Pats have done, they limit Maroney's effectiveness and feel for the D. It's time to make Maroney the feature back and limit Dillon to short yardage and goal line opportunities.
  5. scott99

    scott99 Rookie

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    #87 Jersey

    I disagree about KC and SD. Trent Green has been pretty prolific as a Chief as a QB, though they don't have allstar receivers, they have an excellent passing game. SD has been in the top 5 in scoring the last few years, and I'm sure that it isn't soley because of a good running game. Neither teams have allstar receivers, but they do have all-world TE's.

    I think most of the teams who consistently run well have better O-Lines than us, and maybe better schemes as far as rushing than us. I really wish we would switch to the zone blocking scheme, it is tailor made for Maroney. I think we over rate our O-Line, I think it is pretty average, with Light and Koppen being the only above average linemen.
  6. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    We do use a zone blocking scheme.
  7. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    First of all, you're wrong to call Oakland's run D "awful." It's actually pretty good, much better than raw stats would indicate. Their offense is so bad that teams are usually running the clock out vs. them by halftime.

    Also, it's not like the Pats haven't faced their share of woefull run defenses -- Buffalo twice, the Jets twice, Indi, Green Bay, for example. I'm not sure you can rack up our average rushing production of late on better competition.

    As for running back's needing 15 carries to get a feel for the defense -- if any good runningback will tell you that, than any good runningbacks coach would tell you that, which means any good offensive coordinator would know that, and team's wouldn't use RB tandems and comittees.

    I'm not saying it's not true -- just that it's not as much of a universally accepted axiom as you make it seem.
  8. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    in this order...

    1) playcalling

    2) inconsistent run-blocking from the OL

    2a) Corey being old, Lawrence being young.
  9. CTPatsFan

    CTPatsFan Rookie

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    I think therein may lie the answer. Not only that but without any consistent deep threat receiver (yet) the D is able to cheat towards the line.
  10. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The OL simply isn't blowing other teams off the line. Whether it's lack of physical ability, scheme, or somehow related to the passing game, I'm not sure. But I'm tired of seeing Maroney get dumped at the line of scrimmage. He's not a power back and needs space to work with to be effective.
  11. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    ten characters
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  12. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    The Raiders' 4.1 yards per carry would actually rank them a pretty close to average 16th. I may have been wrong about team putting them having already put them away by the 2nd half, but I certainly wasn't wrong about the amount of running teams are doing against them. The Raiders are #1 in total rushing attempts against them, and it's not even close. In light of the amount of a beating their run defenders take, that 17th ranked 4.1 yards per carry actually begins to look kind of impressive.

    I agree that the Pats running problems are a per-carry issue (we're 20th w/ 3.9 ypc) and not a total production issue. I never said otherwise.

    And yes, we did do very well on the ground vs. the Jets and Bills in our first games vs. them -- but no so much in our rematches. (Dillon's 50 yard run made an otherwise unimpressive day look good.) I agree that some of the diminishing returns are likely due to the defenses not respecting our passing game, but it can't explain it all. Even when the Pats have gashed a few teams through the air, their still doesn't seem to be that much more room for hte guys on the ground.

    Do they? Is there some sort of poll you could show me? Surely, if you're going to use this kind of appeal to authority, you would be able to cite your references, right?

    But even if they did say this, would that make it true? I would imagine that all "great RBs" would be competitive athletes, and want more carries, the more the better. Don't you think this would influence their opinion?
  13. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    Oh, and what's this "ten characters" thing?
  14. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    For a post to be submitted, you have to have typed at least ten characters. So sometimes people actually TYPE "ten characters" to fill out the requisite space for their thread to go through.
  15. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    Its something you do to fill up your post because the forum won't let you post something that is less than than characters.
  16. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    Ah. Thanks.

    I figured it was something like that, but it kind of creeps me out because it reminds me of the skinhead/neo-Nazi slogan "14 Words," a cypher that stands for "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children" and they often use as a greeting or the post-script of a letter.
  17. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress Rookie

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    Ten characters
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  18. zippo59

    zippo59 Rookie

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    Yes, Maroney is 21 and Dillon is 32 because of McDaniel's play calling.
  19. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Nuff said!
    (;) couldn't resist) Seriously, Patsox 23 has it about right.
    Combined with the lack of a serious consistent downfield threat by the WR's allows the D's to stack things up a bit.
  20. Pat_Nasty

    Pat_Nasty Rookie

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    I think you've misunderstood my meaning, Pony. I was 100% admitting you had shown me to be wrong about teams putting the Raiders away early. The word "may" can indicate concession as well as possibility. For example, when someone says "you may have won the battle, but I'll win the war," they're conceding that the other person has, in fact, won the battle.

    What I was saying is that, while I was wrong about why the Raiders are run on so much, the fact remains that they are -- they have faced more rushing attempts than any other team, and by a lot. Under that kind of beating, 4.1 ypc doesnt' seem so bad.

    I assumed your emphasising YARDS PER CARRY by writing in all caps indicated that this was a point of contention. I misunderstood you, it appears. No worries. And sorry if I came off defensive -- not my intention.

    Of course I'm "aware" of the idea that backs need more carries to get and stay in rhythm, but that doesn't mean I buy into it. There are a lot of myths and superstitions in football that are given even more widespread credence. (Like the efficacy of icing kickers, for example.)

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