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Will the Patriots improve?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PromisedLand, Oct 13, 2008.

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  1. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    This morning I posted a poll on how many wins the Pats will have this year. The consensus right now is 8 or 9, which seems pretty rational to me based on what we have seen so far. And the schedule is becoming tougher over the next 7 games. But can they improve? Will they?

    Here are some variables:

    1. Matt Cassel - will he improve?

    Discussion: Some QB's (Ben Roth., Matt Ryan) come in as rookies and seem to "get it" almost right away. For others, it takes time for the game to "slow down". It seems clear to me that Cassel has the physical skills, but at this point he is not yet "seeing the whole field" - he is leaving a lot of plays on the field (how many cliches is that?)

    We have to remember he has only played 5 NFL games, and only 5 games since high school. Practice and preseason are not the same as real NFL games. Is it possible he will improve? Certainly. Will he? The jury is still out (another cliche!)

    2. Will the offensive line solidify?

    Discussion: The offensive line has already allowed 19 sacks (or more - that was at halftime last night). Steven Neal is on PUP. Kascur is now injured, but if he and Neal return to form we will have the same offensive line we had last year when we went 18-1, which allowed a league low 21 sacks. Of course Tom Brady's pocket presense and quick reads had a lot to do with that, as do Matt Cassel's lack of the same at this point (see #1). I think there is room for upside as this group gets more experience together. That's not the same as saying it will happen, but it could. BTW, did anyone see a dropoff from Kascur to Levoir? Based on one game, I didn't.

    3. How bad is our secondary?

    Discussion: I think the loss of Asante is hurting us more than we care to admit. While his gambling may have hurt us at times, the number of interceptions he pulled in had to give opposing quarterbacks pause about throwing it in his direction. Hobbs has been OK, although he has difficulty matching up with big physical receivers. Deltha Dawn, what's that flower you have on? Deltha O'Neal looked OK for a couple of games, and in a couple of other games (including yesterday's) he has looked downright awful. He was released by the Bengals - who haven't exactly been known for stellar defense - that says a lot right there. Behind him are rookies (Wheatley and Wilhite) and also-rans.

    The safeties have been average. Rodney is certainly not the presence he used to be, and James Sanders is a JAG. One bright spot has been Brandon Merriweather. He has taken a big step forward from his rookie year and has "flashed" a couple of times, getting a couple of picks already and a couple of big hits. I think he has upside, as do the rookie cornerbacks, but again, potential is just potential.

    4. Why aren't we getting any pressure on the quarterback?

    Discussion: Remember when Richard Seymour was considered an elite defensive lineman? I don't see that anymore, and I don't see the effort from him on some occasions either. There was one play last night when Rivers was flushed out of the pocket and pursued to his right by Seymour. In the past Seymour would have run down a big not-so-fast QB like Rivers - last night he just gave up.

    Wilfork and Warren have been solid at holding against the run, but have not now (or ever) put a lot of pressure on the QB. In our 3-4, that has generally come from the linebackers. We will usually rush one or two LB's as well as the 3 down linemen, and in the past have gotten sacks from the likes of Bruschi, McGinest, Colvin, Vrabel. I don't see that happening any more - Vrabel is nowhere near where he was last year, when Bruschi makes a play it is noteworthy, and A Thomas has been average. The one bright spot has been Jerod Mayo, who certainly has been solid and will only get better. But I don't see a lot of upside potential from the rest of this aging front seven, and expect that at least 2 or 3 of the veterans will be gone next season.

    5. Will the real Randy Moss please stand up?

    Discussion: Where is the guy who broke Jerry Rice's record last year? I acknowledge that it is a lot different catching passes from Matt Cassel than from Mr. Brady, but Moss has been MIA since the playoffs began last January. In last nights game he had a couple of opportunities to make plays where he could not haul the ball in. Were they tough catches? Sure, but the top NFL WR's are supposed to make the tough catches, and Randy Moss is supposed to be amongst the best. We need to get more out of him. It is going to be very interesting to see how his demeanor and effort unfolds over the remainder of this season. Will he step up, will he revert to his Raiders form, or something in between?

    6. Will this be a typical December to Remember?

    Discussion: since BB took over the Patriots they have traditionally played very well in December. The classic example was of course 2001, when they went 9-0 to win the Super Bowl after starting 5-5. In 2003 they started 0-2 and also won the Super Bowl. BB coached teams have historically played better when the mercury drops. At least when they have Tom Brady. What happens this year?
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  2. PromisedLand

    PromisedLand Virtual Internet Person

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    bump - no thoughts?
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Before the SD game I was hoping for 9-7, that hasn't changed. Our defense is alright but won't consistently win games for us. Same with the running game. Cassel is what he is. Personally I would go to O'Connell and hope to catch lightning in a bottle, I am convinced that Cassel will have less SF games and more SD games over the course of the season and that just won't be good enough with the makeup of the team. We do look to be getting stronger in the middle of the defense with Mayo and Meriweather; O'Neal got killed last night although some of the plays were just really good catches.

    Anyway, 9-7 is what I am hoping for.
  4. Sivy

    Sivy Rookie

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    The patriots WILL improve, in 2009.
  5. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    leave it to the wise NOT... more like trolls...
  6. NEPatriot

    NEPatriot Banned

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    As a Pats fan, I AGREE.

    I can't believe that BB still wants Cassel. Cassel is a focking disaster.

    With the same WRs and easy schedule, I could not believe what Cassel does to this team. What a disgraced Cassel!
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  7. SeauOUCH

    SeauOUCH Rookie

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    If Cassel is still QB I dont see this team going anywhere, hopefully I'm wrong.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  8. NEPatriot

    NEPatriot Banned

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    We have a 'roller coaster' QB right now. He can't do sht and it's time for him to go. He is destroying the team.

    What a waste of talent!
  9. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    1. Cassel - I think he has already shown improvement since game 1 and I expect that to continue. There will be bumps in the road, which is expected, as he sees different defenses and continues to get a feel for playing QB in the NFL. I don't think he played as bad as people think he did. He started to force some things later in the game down by 2+ scores, but other than that I think he showed some improvement. The redzone offense still needs a lot of work, with both execution and play-calling.

    2. O-Line - They better solidify. Although I must say I don't think they had a terrible game last night. Sure Koppen got manhandled at times but I think they played fairly well against a very good SD line. Well at least in Pass Defense, the run blocking left a lot to be desired but again SD defense IS good.

    3. 2ndary - The secondary as a whole is probably the weakest link on the defense, but they are as inept as they looked last night. Rivers could have eaten dinner while surveying the field, he didn't even get touched once it seemed like. Deltha may be in the process of losing his job to Wheatley the rookie although he was in position to make plays last night, he just got out inched on a couple of them. 1 on 1 is difficult for any CB when the QB can stand there all day and throw a perfect pass. Jammer made 2 terrific plays that could have easily been Moss TDs, while Deltha was inches away. Rivers' throws were also more accurate than Cassel's.

    4. Pass Rush - This is very frustrating, because at times our pass rush seems to just fall off. I think we have had decent pressure so far this year, up until last night. I understand the 3-4 base is not designed to rush the passer, but I do think our pass rush is and will be much better than we saw last night. Hopefully Jarvis isn't hurt too bad, as we SHOULD be able to generate a more consistent rush from the 4-3 with Jarvis.


    5. Randy Moss - I think he's playing just fine. People read way too much into body language and how he "looks". You have to give Jammer a lot of credit because twice he made terrific plays. One was underthrown a little bit but he turned back at the right time to bat it away. The other was just a great play in knocking the ball away after Moss caught it. There was another play that was just a real bad pass by Cassel in the endzone where Moss got good separation. There is no worry from me, as I expect Moss to continue to help Cassel and this offense. Chalk it up to a very very inexperienced QB and some nice plays by Jammer. Moss is fine and will end up with a respectable number of TDs as Cassel and this offense grows.


    6. Since game 1 I have seen a lot of improvements in different areas. They have yet to put it all together. There are more young guys being worked into the team this year than year's past so coaching is playing a bigger role. As the season progresses and teams figure out who they are, coaches will begin to have more impact. I fully expect this team, barring significant injuries, to playing much better team football in December than they are right now.


    I'm sticking with 12-4 prediction :D
  10. 102 Pat

    102 Pat Rookie

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    I see things improving in the secondary, really, could it get any worse than last night. Still, maybe some schemes will be put in place so Denver's passing game won't torch us.

    Funny moment while watching the game last night with my wife. I had told her at the start of the year I thought we could go 12-4. She said to me last night "Well, you thought they'd lose 4 games this year, here's the 2nd one"
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think it would do us all some good to re-watch Brady's first six games.
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