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why the pats are brilliant

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Patfandango, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Patfandango

    Patfandango On the Roster

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    This is a first post from a long time reader who has followed the Pats since Plunkett was at the helm. My devotion in the last 5 years has been practically religious because I think we are blessed to witness true greatness, and that doesn?t happen often during a sports fan?s lifetime. Here are my thoughts on the Pats and I apologize if they are somewhat derivative of what others here have said before. This is a great site and I have learned a lot especially from those who have played or coached and see things on the field that are just incredibly insightful. I wrote this last Thursday (i.e. before the Colts game) but I think it still stands and may be a break form the barrage of negativism that can occur here after a loss. I promise they won?t all be this long.

    While other teams play poker, the Pats play chess. They minimize risk and chance and this is perhaps a core mission in managing a modern NFL franchise successfully under the cap. Greatness comes from a large and stable middle class. Most teams (and pundits) think that teams with more superstars will determine success (a rule that sort of works in the NBA). While a superstar will create mismatches and require double teams, so does having all your players capable of high (though not elite) play. A large mistake that adversely affects the cap or the draft causes years of struggle (e.g. Buffalo, Miami). Going all in for an aging superstar (e.g. Culpepper) is an example. Signing good players that fit your system to small contracts has much more upside and minimal risk. Additionally, an extensive middle class improves your special team coverage and blocking, the third component often ignored by pundits and some GMs. A star returner or gunner on the field with a bunch of scrubs may provide highlight film material but not dependable and consistent results.

    A recent post showed that all Pats WRs rank between 60-90 across the NFL. That may sound mediocre but matched against any defensive secondary (with a shut down corner and a few spare parts), 4-5 good WR sets will always create mismatches. I think this was nicely shown last Monday against the Vikings. I would suggest this is exactly what the Pats strive for. This of course requires a QB that can make the reads and perhaps the one position where good (but not great) may not cut it. All the posts on trading for Randy Moss made no sense because a single superstar can be countered by game plan. 4-5 good WRs (for the same money as 1 superstar) cannot be countered. Strategically, this is also important that teams that depend on single stars are vulnerable to their loss through injury and free agency. The Pats have survived both and thrived where many other teams have their seasons ruined by the loss of one or two players.

    In order to succeed with a large middle class, the Pats draft is for innate unteachable qualities. All teams draft for freakish athleticism and production. The Pats also draft for smarts, work ethic, and passion, which I would argue are also not teachable by the time someone is drafted. Drafting individuals with these innate qualities generates a coachable young group that is affordable and given the time to develop and show leadership before they are given a greater share of the cap (elite class) or else they leave because for more money (Branch, Givens).

    You can?t game plan against a shape shifter. This is where smarts come in. Most teams develop a single core competence (great defense: 2000 Ravens, ball control running 72 Dolphins, passing machine current Colts), the Pats are chameleon-like based on their good but not great middle class. The can morph into what the other team handles most poorly. They run against a porous run defense (Cinn this year) and pass against a stout run defense (Minn this year). On defense, I cannot pretend to understand the intricacies of BB-inspired game plan, but suffice to say we?ve seen down linemen vary from 0 to 9 in recent years. This can only be executed when football smarts are as highly valued as freakish athleticism. Players that can adapt and excel in a completely different role (Vrabel, Brown) are valuable to this team but would not be well utilized by others. This strategy also has the benefit that the pool of player that fit the Pats system are different than other teams and hence such players tend to be more available either through the draft or free agency. Vrabel is a great example, but I don?t recall a lineup of other teams vying for him when he left Pittsburgh.

    At some key positions, you need to be great. As in chess, he who controls the middle, controls the game. It is no surprise that the positions that BB locks up to elite class contracts generally play in the middle: QB, C, 3-man DL, MLB, SS. The fact that they buy into the team concept is also critical. The fact that Brady and Bruschi left money on the table, sets a clear example to the rest of the players. When your leadership puts the team winning ahead of everything else, the rank and file cannot but do otherwise.
     
  2. carolinatony

    carolinatony In the Starting Line-Up

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    Good post. With our mangemnet team in place the Pats will always field a good solid team. As fans Thats' all we can ask for!
     
  3. Fanfrom1960

    Fanfrom1960 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Nice, insightful post...strive to be strong up the middle (like baseball, by the way); go for several good, rather than one great WR; draft for smarts and players that fit rather than just physical prowess, etc. By the way, I think the expression is that while other coaches are playing checkers Bill Belichick is playing chess, and he wins both of them. :)

    I always followed Plunkett after he left the Pats, and the only times I've rooted for the Raiders were during his years with them.
     
  4. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would say that greatness at QB has been major in leading us to 3 SB wins. Let's see if Tom & Josh can get it back in gear with this season's offensive players.
     
  5. Patfandango

    Patfandango On the Roster

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  6. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats D was decimated for several weeks while we found a vet replacement for Harrison (Hawkins), Seymour was out for a few weeks and while Bruschi was trying to get back into game shape. Prior to Harrison's injury we were trying to find a replacement for TJ and we had Chad Brown and Monty Beisel playing ILB. So to say that our defense was decimated solely because of Rodney's abscence is a stretch.

    Seymour came back, Bruschi got himself as prepared as he could, Vrabel moved inside, Rosie got closer to his pre-injured self, Hobbs came in and played well and Hawkins provided a strong veteran presence that helped settle down the secondary. The front seven stepped up their play by being a lot more stout against the run and getting pressure on the QB which also helped the secondary trememdously.

    Again, a lot of stuff came together down the stretch that was lacking for the first half of the season and the Defense was not responsible for our loss to Denver.

    I guess I just don't understand what you are trying to say about the loss of Harrison?

    Me, I think it sucks and it will definitly weaken the secondary, but this year's team is much more capable of compensating for his loss.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2006
  7. Patfandango

    Patfandango On the Roster

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    From PWP:
    Although I agree philosophically, I feel that our vaunted middle class STs have UNDERPERFORMED this season. Why is that? ST coaching?

    I think that this year's surprise injuries that exceeded the depth was special teams (as defense was last year's issue). They were counting on one of Tebucky or Mel (what's his name) as gunner with Willie Andrews as gunner in training. Also, losing Gay (IR) and missing Davis hurts. I think bringing in Chioma from the Steelers and Spann from the PS was a sign of that. I was pleased with the hit that Corey Mays made in the Colts game so maybe it's his time to show what he's got.
     

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