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Your assessments with 1/4th of the Season complete?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JoeSixPat, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    It's early in the season, but with 4 games under our belt, we're actually 1/4th of the way through the regular season.

    Although some players are still adjusting to a new team or just coming back from injury, I thought it would be interesting for Patsfan members to offer their thoughts at the 1/4th mark.

    My take is that offensively and defensively, the improvements on this team are obvious from week to week.

    In terms of stats, it's worth noting that Maroney's on pace for a 1200 yard season... and that collectively the team rushing is on pace for a 2400 yard season.

    In terms of the passing game, the fact that Gabriel already has 10 passes - is amazing to me given the fact that he missed the first game and seemed to play sparingly in the next. ... given what I've seen it wouldn't surprise me the least to see him average 4-5 catches a game from hereon out, projecting out to 60+ catches this season.

    Likewise, Jackson's 4 catches seems to me like a rookie getting his feet wet. If he's averaging 3-4 catches a game by the last quarter of the season that's consistent with my expectations for him - namely that by that point in the season he'd be playing like a #2 WR - i.e., like a guy who would catch 50-60 passes in a season.

    I'm a bit surprised that Watson doesn't have more catches than 12 to this point, but it seems to me he's been pretty well covered as our clear #1 receiver... having Gabriel and Jackson step up may free him up more.

    Other receivers... Caldwell, Brown, Graham, Faulk - are all meeting my expectations... Caldwell's on track for 36 catches, Graham for 32, Troy and Faulk for 40.... those expecting Reche to be a #2 guy with 50-60 catches are probably disappointed but since I never expected that, I have to say I'm pretty pleased.

    Of course, the hope is that everyone stays healthy and gets in a better groove and timing with Brady (who projects out at 3500 yards passing - which is just about perfect for a ballanced offense)

    OL - doesn't get enough praise - last week against Denver embarrassed them and the way they bounced back was tremendos this week.

    Defense - will continue to gel I think - but I very much like the "bend but don't break" trends I've already seen... somewhat conservative to start the season but I have a feeling they'll be given a bit more freedom as everyone gets used to playing with each other.

    ... and who'da thunk that Seau would be leading the teams in tackles? Surely not those who called his sigining a "desparate" move.

    Special teams I'm feeling a bit shaky about - especially with another Gostowski miss yesterday... but I'll continue to hope that he'll shake off the first year jitters and calm down. Also on ST - I think we're giving up far too many return yards and need to address that better.

    So everyone chime in with your takes as we pass the 25% mark of the regular season.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  2. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

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    At this point, my grades:

    OL B+
    RB A-
    QB B
    WR C
    TE B+

    DL B+
    LB B
    DB C

    ST B

    From this, while theres room for improvement, we are well on our way to having one of the most rounded teams in our history. The lines are stout. QB play will again be at the leagues top. Rbs are getting the holes now and will soon make huge hay (moreson than already seen). WRs are coming around. Jackson needs to see the field more more more. Tes are solid and will improve when our WRs start garnering attn.

    Defensively....what can you say. Yesterdays game sealed confidence all around. We need to get healthy, and with a few more weeks of this scheme, we will see wrecking balls on Defense.

    This is shaping up to be a very good team, barring setbacks. By the halfweay point, I'll expect to be dishing out more As than Bs. I like where we're heading.
     
  3. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    My thoughts. It seemed like it all came together yesterday.

    It didn't. We caught an immature team and held them to six points by letting them have the small stuff and preventing big plays.

    Once it became power against power, we rolled.

    It's unlikely our TEs, WRs and running game will all come together at once, but they could at any time and that's awesome.

    On D, I think it's more bend don't break. The difference is we have some closers with our 5 man DLine rotation.

    I think we've seen what we're capable of and we could see a totally different game if we allow teams to get off early against us.

    In other words, if we stay disciplined and keep it close, I think 4th quarter knockouts will be the result.
     
  4. mgcolby

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

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    Brady and the offense started off shakey for obvious reasons. Gabriel is the real deal. Jackson will hopefully pick up as the season goes on and thus far Caldwell and Brown are filling in pretty well.

    Watson's production has been disapointing so far but I don't blame him for that. He is doubled team a lot and Brady has missed him several times. Graham is where I expect him to be a solid blocker that a grabs a ball or two every now and then.

    The O-line has shown flashes of brilliance but up until yesterday hadn't put in 4 solid quarters of football (much like the entire team). Great depth which is great of an in itself but what makes the depth even better is the age of the group.

    Running backs honestly does anything need to be said?

    Overall on the Offense, I expect it to only get better because Brady will become comfortable with Gabriel and hopefully Jackson. That will take some of the heat off of Watson. After the bye week this offense is going to be nearly unstoppable.

    Defense I don't know how anyone can complain with 11.75 points allowed per game through 4 games. They have played very well with the exception of the 4 big plays allowed. The lack of turnovers has been a concern but that was due in large part to not getting to the QB in the first 3 games, that changed yesterday and it should only get better next week. Bottom line we don't have a Ty Law type player in the secondary that can make big plays on the ball on his own, for example the acrobatic Indy playoff pick that Law had. IMO almost every turnover this season will be caused either directly or indirectly by our front seven.

    Bottom line: the Defense has the bend but don't break mentality back which is great and they will only get better as the season goes on.

    Special teams are solid in most areas except for PK and KO coverage they are giving up nearly 24 yards a return, it isn't horrible but it isn't great either. Hopefully Gotskowski gets all of his misses out his system early because we will need him come January.

    I still see this team as a 14-2/13-3 team. The Pats should have homefield advantage for the Playoffs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  5. TheBostonStraggler

    TheBostonStraggler In the Starting Line-Up

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    Hmmm, a B for Brady? This performance so far has been above average? I don't know about that. ST a B too? Our FG unit has produced two blocks and a bad miss in 4 games. If not for that this area would get a B easy and likely an A. But with what we have gotten so far on the FG unit, I don't see how we get an above average for ST. I might give the WR's a C- too. Other than that I would agree with your grades.
     
  6. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'm content with the 3-1 start. The team usually rounds into form in late November, early December so being 3-1 that includes two games vs. playoff teams from last year (and probably this year) is good. Some plusses and minuses:

    + The D looks ahead of where I expected it to be. They've given up 4 long TDs which made the Jets game look closer than it was and killed them vs. Denver. Otherwise they've played tough.

    + The running game...damn! After watching what Pittsburgh could do vs. Cincy last week, I felt that running on them would be their focus. But come on...that was a whippin.

    + Doug Gabriel & Chad Jackson look like game-breakers when they play.

    - I'm not sold on the passing game if a team can shut down their running game like Denver did. Branch was outstanding at running route adjustments and Brady always found him. Can Brady develop a similar rapport with Jackson or Gabriel? That will be important to get by the good run defenses likely to be met in the playoffs (Pittsburgh, Denver, Baltimore, Jacksonville - yesterday's game vs. Washington was an aberation). There's plenty of season to find out, though.

    Regards,
    Chris

    P.S. No team looks like a juggernaut. There's no Goliath (2004 Pittsburgh, 2005 Indy) just waiting for a good stoning. Right now everyone can do the stoning...and get stoned (you know what I mean).
     
  7. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    My assessment: Given our early schedule, any fan has to be happy with a 3-1 start. Most were hoping for a 3-2 start to the season, with Denver, Cincy and Miami all considered very losable games. Given the status of Miami (as jason taylor said it, "if you're talking about the worst team in the NFL, that's up ,and you can quote that"), we stand to go into the bye at 4-1. After that, only Indy, Jacksonville and Miami (on the road) look like tough contests. 12-4 is likely, 13-3 possible.

    We have the 2 main championship ingredients working, the run game is 3rd in the league. The defense is probably a top 5 unit. The pass game has been inconsistent, and in all honesty I think Brady has had one of the worst 4 game stretches career. Things certainly looked better Sunday, but I need to see a string of 3-4 more solid passing performances before I'm convinced that the pass offense is pack on track. If the passing game falls into place, and Dillon stays healthy, this team can dominate like in '04.
     
  8. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Good suggestion as to format.
    In all kinds of serial situations ... like a season rolling on, game by game ...
    we have to give more weight to the most recent instances
    (that's why so many were glum before yesterday's game).

    My grades therefore emphasize the impact of the game at Cinci
    because i expect that game to better reflect momentum
    and hence better forecast the future.
     
  9. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    The Pats are one of the better teams in the NFL, but I do not feel totally confident about being one of the best in the ACF ... yet.

    I'm concerned about the DBs, that Rodney has lost some physical ability, about our ILBs, unproven WRs, and ability to beat Denver, Pitts, and Indy.

    On the plus side, the WR situation should improve, and BB has shown an ability to improve DBs through the season. This was the first week TB looked in sync. The Pats under BB have gotten better through each season except 2002. Including last year.
     
  10. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

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  11. mgcolby

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

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    November 26th will be a tougher game.
     
  12. Willie55

    Willie55 In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Indy game will be just like yesterdays game. The Colts are worse at stopping the run than the Bengals and hopefully, barring injuries, the Pats will have their secondary back.
     
  13. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I want to focus on special teams. Here is what I see.

    Gostkowski is going through the rookie jitters. So far, it hasn't cost us anything and he did get both kicks off without them being blocked. The problem with the 1st one was that it went straight. He didn't get any bite on it. The second one was just like a PAT.

    For kick-offs, I thought the Patriots coverage was doing better, but they are allowing 23.7 yards per return. Which is only good for 23rd in the league. They were only allowing 21.9 yards per return last year. But, this is VERY decieving. Why you ask, well, read on. Gostkowski has had 6 Touch backs already (Vinatieri had all of 10 all of last season and only averaged slightly better than 6 per season). Gostkowski is also averaging an astounding 71.8 yards per kick-off (Vinatieri averaged less than 63 yards per kick). The best in the league by over 2 yards per kick. The average starting position for the opposing teams has been the 21 yard line. Compared to the 29 -30 yard line for Vinatieri over the course of his career. Now, this also speaks highly of the coverage unit as well. Even without special team aces such as Mitchell and Tebucky Jones, the Pats are doing a fantastic job covering.

    In terms of kick returns, they are only doing slightly better at 22.7 yards per return in comparison to 22.2 yards per return last year.

    However, the BIG difference is in punt returns. The Pats are 4th in the league at 13.4 yards per return compared to 7.9 yards per return last year.

    Josh Miller and the punt coverage unit are doing awesome. Miller is averaging 45.4 yards per punt and the NET is 44.9 yards per punt. Miller has 3 touchbacks and 6 punts inside the 20 of the 17 punts he's made. I am not sure what the record is for least yards allowed per punt return, but I'd be amazed if its better than Miller's 1.5 yards per punt.
     
  14. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yup, and Indy's db's are about as banged up as ours are right now.
     
  15. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    ... and the Colts will get a chance to see the RB they really wanted in the draft...

    Addai's not bad, but I'd think most Colts fans would be drooling over Maroney... no question in my mind that the Colts are a weaker team this year than last.
     
  16. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Don't gloat too much. Addai looks good, although I mostly saw him against the Jets and some against the Giants.

    I really like what I see from special teams, except for the FG situation which is a bit scary. It seemed like Cincy barely got the ball past the 20 on any kickoff (excluding the one with the penalty).
     
  17. TheBostonStraggler

    TheBostonStraggler In the Starting Line-Up

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    Actually, Gost's blocked FG against Denver cost us a measured amount. We get that 3, and we are within 1 score late. We ended up being two scores down and we had to use timeouts early and had to play with less control/more urgency in the final minutes of the game. Would we still have lost? Probably. That doesn't change the fact, however, that that 3 would have put us in a better position to make a comeback in the end.
     
  18. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    This thread seems as good as any for me to start posting here. Uh -- hi guys! The Pats are 3-1, against teams whose collective not-vs.-Pats record is 8-3. It doesn't get much better than that, unless you're undefeated. So on the whole, things are pretty good. If we look at units, STs have obviously been very solid all around except for FG kicking, which has been horrible. The defense has NOT been as good as the scoring numbers seem to show, because they've generated only two meaningful TOs and have had a slightly favorable time because the offense hasn't saddled them with a lot of TOs. Conversely, the offense has been better than the scoring numbers seem to indicate, for the same reasons. On defense, the Front 7 has tremendous talent and has been using it well, although not every player is the perfect model of consistency (Colvin, Wilfork, and Green all seem to disappear from time to time). I hope and trust the Cincy game won't be an isolated example of the strip sack working. The secondary, on the other hand, has generated zero turnovers, and hasn't exactly been exceptional in coverage or tackling either. On offense, the RBs have deserved all the praise they've gotten. The QB-plus-receivers -- well, does anybody doubt that as a group they'll be performing very well soon, assuming Brady stays reasonably healthy? I have little concern. As for the blocking, I don't understand why it's so inconsistent -- sometimes stellar, sometimes blecchy -- and won't comment further at this time.
     
  19. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Welcome aboard stranger.:D

    I would say new blood and injuries makes for an inconsistent line.

    A relatively healthy half season and we'll have a monster there.

    Our line is more talented and much more physical than 2 years ago and any lineman worth his salt loves to run block for great backs.
     
  20. Michael

    Michael Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    What a depressing title. Seems the season just started and the reg season is 1/4 done already :(.
     

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