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Yesterday's Yin and Yang

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Oswlek, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Here are my takes from attending yesterday's game. Due to a friend of mine ending up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning (nothing serious) I had to leave in the begining of the 4th quarter, so most of the comments ignore that part.

    1) As poorly as different phases of the Pats have played at various points of the year, sans a major injury to Brady, they are all but assured a spot atop the AFC East. Spare me the "the games still need to be played" garbage because as a fan, I don't need to focus on just the next game. In case anyone has forgotten, not only does NE have a 2.5 game lead on their nearest competition, making it likely that someone would have to go 9-2 the rest of the way, but NE has played 5 games - three against the AFCE and two against the teams that are assigned to them for winning the East last year. By comparison, the Jets have already played TN, Buffalo has played MN (who I know have improved, but are still an average team), and Miami has faced off against TN and Houston already. So, to recap, NE has a two game lead, three wins in the division and has yet to face any of the common opponent creampuffs. Start printing those T-shirts.

    2) Miami is good at stopping the run, so it's not a surprised that NE struggled a little, but a major reason for NE's problems yesterday was Graham's absence. He is a difference maker in the running game as much as his more highly acclaimed bretheren are in the passing game.

    3) That said, why did Maroney take so many carries yesterday when it was clear that Dillon was running a little better? I will address this with some wild speculation below, but if anyone has more reasonable rationale, please provide.

    4) NE's secondary was not very good yesterday. My buddy (not the drunk one) and I noticed early on how easily Welker was getting open, and what truly surprised us is that he ran basically the same route every time. By every time I mean during the period that we watched for him, not the entire game. Basically all he did was run a sideline out pattern where he broke to the sideline right around the distance needed for the first down. By the third time, both of us knew exactly what he was going to do, and still he got open. It seemed that NE was overly concerned about letting Miami's WRs get down the middle of the field, because an out pattern like that is not hard to defend it you really want to. The numbers say that Miami didn't do too well on third down, but from what I could see, it wasn't because guys weren't getting open.

    ***Side tangent****

    I love Wes Welker. I would honestly be thrilled if NE gave Miami a third round pick for him, and I could probably talk myself into being happy sending a 2nd rounder. He just makes things happen. I could go on about it, but since he's still on Miami, I won't blow too much up there.

    ****Close side tangent****

    5) To give the secondary a little break, the larger problem was the abysmal pass rush. Harrington had plenty of time to let his WRs and TEs get open because no one was in his face. From what I could tell, NE wanted to give up the short middle to take away the deep middle and deep sideline. But this only works if the pass rush is good enough to force the back or TE to stay in or not have time to chip someone and then come over the middle. When pressure is absent, you see what occured yesterday; the back comes free and not a single defender is within 10 yards of him. BTW, if anyone taped the game, you will see why Harrington will prove to be a flop with Miami eventually, too. He did not make one play where he was under even moderate pressure. Trust me, go back and look.

    6) Everyone here knows that NE is a few bullets shy in their offensive 6-shot, but it seemed to me that they went into the Miami game feeling like they only needed 2 in the pistol. They play calling seemed purposely simplistic, and the heavy use of Maroney, it seemed to me anyway, was a way of testing him against a good defense. I wish I could say that it was a hit, but Maroney still looks a little tentative to me when the hole is small.

    7) I wasn't able to tell, did Jackson even play yesterday? This is not sarcasm, I really couldn't tell and I don't recall any plays by him.

    In the end it all comes down to matchups. Take a look at the AFC South. The Colts needed come from behind victories against the Jets and :eek: the Titans, while the Jags destroyed the Jets and dominated Pitt. Who won the matchup between them? Indy, of course. Miami's season was on the line yesterday. A loss and their chances of making the playoffs are essentially over. They knew it, NE knew it, we all knew it. Miami gave NE their best game of the season, and it still wasn't anywhere near enough.

    One last thing. I hate to do this because it always seems to cause a big commotion, but I must get it off my chest. I was very disappointed in NE fans yesterday. The stadium was not even close to loud, except during a few obviously key Miami third down plays. I don't find fault in the crowd having a little bit more in reserve for those moments, but the baseline is downright embarrasing. In my section (303) it was me, my friend and the two people to my left cheering and that was about it. I am exaggerating a little, but not really that much. I even had the people in front of me turning around and giving me looks because I was yelling during every defensive down! :confused: :eek: And to boo at the half!? I was disappointed that NE let Miami back into the game too, but that is ridiculous. :mad:

    It isn't really any of you that I am talking about, because I'm sure that the people who go just to socialize don't frequent these boards. But it was a terrible collective display on our part for a team that has given us so much joy in the past few years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  2. Brownfan80

    Brownfan80 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Pretty good observations and a really good post, as we're coming to expect from you Oswlek.

    I agree wholeheartedly about the lack of pass rush making the DBs look bad.

    Hobbs got trashed, and to be a non-Hobbs homer he really didn't have a great game. But what would have been a so-so game for him became a bad game without a pass rush.

    Our coaches and players need to figure out some way to get consistent pressure on QBs, or our secondary will continue to look worse than they actually are.

    I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: Give ANY Qb in the National Football League over 5 seconds to throw and he's going to find a way to beat even perfect coverage. Pass rush = needs improvement. TEAM Defense rules at work.
     
  3. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree with your post for the most part. I believe that part of the problem we saw on offense was that Brady couldn't complete wide open passes in the first half. I think he needs this bi-week as much as anybody, because he just isn't in rythym yet this year, and he needs to get the new guys on the same page, as well.

    The Pats had another inconsistent first half, and that has been the thing that I would like to see improved as the season continues. They may have the division wrapped up, if you refuse to believe that ANYTHING can happen during the rest of the regular season (such as injuries), but I would still like them to be on a hot streak going into the playoffs.

    The fan situation at Gillette is getting silly. Next thing, they'll be booing Santa Claus. :eek:
     
  4. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Thank you for pointing out the clear lack of timing that still exists in the passing game. My post was getting too long, so I had to leave out a few topics. As trimmed back as NE seemed to be, there were definitely plays where misscommunication ruined a possible first down (the Caldwell overrun in the middle being the most obvious) where the drive ended shortly thereafter.

    I have absolutely no doubt that NE will go into the playoffs on a hot streak. As I have posted before, since BB came aboard, NE has not yet had a season where their winning % wasn't better post Thanksgiving than it was prior to it. With all the tunover and offensive upheaval, you can bet on the same this year.

    NE will go into the playoffs as clearly one of the top teams in the playoffs and they will proceed to win the super bowl. Nothing yet has changed my mind.
     
  5. ironwasp

    ironwasp Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I like your confidence. I'm not prepared to stick my neck that far out yet, but I see a team which still has bags of potential to realise getting through games and winning more than enough for now. I see a 12-4 or possible 13-3 season in the offing here.

    At the same time, there's a lot of inconsistency around the rest of the AFC. The Steelers are a couple of defeats off being done for already. If the Bengals and he Colts can't find a way to stop the run they are not much of a threat. The Ravens are dynamite one side of the ball, treacle the other. I'm still not convinced by San Diego while Denver has still only played one decent game. We'll learn a lot in tonight's game.

    PLUS - all these sides still have tougher schedules than ours.

    We DEFINITELY have a big shout this year. (and lest I be accused of OD-ing on the Kool-Aid, I know we have a lot of improving to do before this optimistic hypothesisiing can become reality).
     
  6. kptmorgan04

    kptmorgan04 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I am hoping that we can look to last year that our defense/pressure will change as we go along in the season. pressure up front makes a weak secondary look a lot better
     
  7. Oswlek

    Oswlek In the Starting Line-Up

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    Going into the Miami game, NE had allowed 22.5% of its passing yardage on the season on 3 plays, Crotchery's, Coles' and Walker's TDs. All three came on plays where the defense blitzed.

    I was disappointed with the pass rush, but I can see the rationale behind not blitzing Miami. Their offensive line came in playing terribly and it seemed pretty clear that Miami would not score much unless it came on a fluke long play.

    With regard to stunts and other exotic non-blitz rush schemes; I have not seen much of this, with the exception of the Denver game, which wasn't any better than any other game. They have had a few plays where a non-rusher faked out a OL and allowed another guy to get by his man. Two key examples of this are the Losman safety and the Jarvis Green strip sack. The best pass rush they have shown to my knowledge was against the Jets, and that just seemed to be everyone beating their man.
     
  8. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I was surprised at the lack of pass rush also. At times it seemed there was 15 yds between the 2 Mia guards, and no one in the middle but the center. A delayed blitz up the middle would seem to have been successful at times, as would a draw play by Mia.

    The only time I noticed Jackson (Iwas in sec. 316) was a dropped pass he had to stretch for on my sideline around the 10 or 20. He was well covered.

    Comments about the offense were pretty much on. I got the feeling we were waiting for Harrington to make a mistake, and making sure we didn't. Pass protection was good for the most part, TB got hit a few times but O"C didn't suck, considering he didn't have Graham to ride shotgun. We've done worse. The offense did just enough. Some very key 3rd down plays when they had to be made. No notion on Dillon. Don't recall him being hurt. Shoulder? Good practice for Maroney and he did bust one outside for one of those critical 3rd down conversions. Got the feeling we could have opened it up more if Mia. was having more success.

    As far as crowd noise goes, I haven't been to many games, but I think it gets dissapated some up on the 3rd level. I'd imagine it was much louder on the field. Harrington had to foot signal for the snap and wasn't audibling. Our section seemed pretty consistent.
     
  9. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Am I the ONLY person who points out that this happens EVERY year with BB in the first of a two game divisional series?????? There's a reason for that, ya know? BB never wants to show anything but vanilla in the first game against a divisional opponent whom he feels might be a better team later in the year.
     
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  11. edzo44

    edzo44 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I agree with those speculating that Maroney got more time to season him with extra carries and more chances to read and react to a very good defense. Now Fears has something really solid to show him and correct problems or misconceptions. That would be the Patriots way - - - always, always using opportunities to teach.

    It also gave them a chance to give Dillon a significant break (including the bye week) to rest up and revitalize for the meatier portions of the schedule still to come as the weather starts to get colder and the games get more and more important. Lots of interesting opponents coming up.

    I am also still very old school in my Patriots expectations. I don't care if it's an overpowering, pretty, downright lucky or horribly ugly win - - - all I care about is that it's a win! I still can't believe the team I've been a fan of for almost 50 years is a 3 time Super Bowl champion and still stocked with the talent and coaching to have no reason not to expect them to pull it off a few more times! These ARE the good old days my friends, life is very, very good for New England football fans right now. :eat3:
     

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