September 27, 2008
Grogan's Grade: Week 3
BY: With Steve Grogan & R.R. Marshall
MB: The best news in Patriots Nation over the weekend, Steve Grogan inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame and deserved so! Congratulations!
SG: Yes, we had a nice weekend. They actually didn't induct us all, they reinducted us all. They had a dinner in the new Hall of Fame, which I would encourage any Patriots Fan to go and see. It's just a beautiful place with a lot of great history in there and the Kraft family did a nice job of bringing all of us back and it was quite enjoyable. Ben Coates was the new inductee, so we have 13 of us now in the Patriots Hall of Fame.
MB: It's always good to get together with the guys Steve, I mean does the comraderie ever change?
SG: No, its the same, its like we were still playing together. Mike Haynes was back up, I haven't seen Mike in 5 or 6 years and the stories start flowing and the laughs start taking place and it was just real enjoyable.
MB: Did Hannah want to go out there at halftime and start kicking some butt?
SG: Yes he did actually! He was almost crawling out the window of Mr. Kraft's box
MB: That's my question Steve. Obviously Mr, Kraft hosted all of you, all 13 of you up in his suite there. My question is Steve, if you're there at the game, don't you get to hang up there in his suite if you ask? Or do you guys have a special one that they put you in?
SG: No, we don't get to hang in his box. There are alumni that are allowed to come and stay in a certain section of one of the walkways outside the club if they sign autographs before the game and several of us have season tickets, so if we go we just sit at our tickets.
MB: Well, it was inevitable. Maybe not to the degree that it happened, and maybe not to a team like the Dolphins, but it was inevitable that given what we've experienced so far this season that we were going to stumble and we stumbled on all fours Sunday.
SG: Every team, or most every team, seems to have a game or two like this a season where just nothing can go right for you. I was a little surprised that it happened against the Dolphins Sunday, but I don't think it's time to panic. I'm sure people will be calling for Cassel's head, and the defense is getting old, and we've got to make changes. But this is just one of those games where the Dolphins had a great game plan offensively and defensivly coming into the game and it worked better than the Patriots game plan did, and consequently it was a blow out.
MB: I definitely don't want to go after Cassel, I was at the game and the defense...what happened to them? They were so sloppy and couldn't get anything right, you know it was going to Ronnie Brown, stop him!
SG: Yeah, four of the touchdowns came off of the same play, three were the exact same play and one was the pass off of it. To me the players can't be that bad all of a sudden. To me that means the coaches didn't have a very good game plan, or didn't make adjustments during the game to put the players in the proper positions to make plays. You just don't get that bad in a week. So hopefully, and I'm confident, they will turn it around.
In defense of Matt Cassel, I was glad I was at the stadium to see that, because there were not people open. They just were not getting open for him. After the first quarter he had no place to throw the ball. I know people will blame him but a quarterback can't throw the ball if there's not somebody open.
MB: You can't blame him for the defense. Like Steve was saying, Randy Moss was playing like his last days in Minnesota, just running out there not finishing out his pattern. Did you notice that too Steve?
SG: Yeah, I did notice that and a crazy interception on a screen play that just hardly ever happens, and it makes Matt Cassel look bad and I'm not ready to give up on him yet and I'm not ready to give up on this team yet. I think they're going to be okay, they just had one of those poor games that happens occasionally.
MB: I don't think anybody should give up on the guy, everybody's had bad games. Obviously this isn't Tom Brady we're dealng with, but you have to cut the guy some slack. It was just such a mismach you just never expected from the Dolphins offense to the Patriots defense. What were they doing strategically that other teams are going to start doing?
SG: It looked to me that the game plan for the Patriots defense was to defend the perimeter because they were throwing the ball down the middle constantly to people that were wide open, particularly the tightends were running down the middle making big catches for them. When you give a guy like Chad Pennington, who's not a great quarterback but he's been around long enought to know whats going on. If you don't get some pressure on him he's going to chip you to death and that's what he did Sunday.
MB: Can I ask, did it get tense up in that box you were in because obviously noone, especially Mr. Kraft, is used to seeing the team get beat like that.
SG: Well I'll tell you, everyone wanted to sit by Mr. Kraft early on in the game, but as things got worse, it was amazing how people just started to move to the far sides of the box.
MB: What do you think Steve, speak, if you can about the relationship as competitors between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady because there's been a lot made about the fact that he feels weird being out there playing without Tom Brady playing for the Patriots. I was reading an article in Sports Illustrated where they're saying that he's totally thrown off and he didn't want to watch the video of Tom Brady, he didn't want to see it, and it's kid of got inside his head. Is that true do you think?
SG: I haven't seen the article, I guess it could be true. When you see someone that you're kind of close to get hurt like that and you're playing the same position, that kind of doubt may go through your mind. But I'd be surprised if that was really affecting Peyton Manning. He's been around football since he was born with his dad playing, so I just can't see that. I think the problem with the Colts right now is that they've lost some people particularly in their offensive line and they're not protecting him well and they're not getting open. That's kind of like what happened to Cassel Sunday.
MB: So Grogan's Grade...I have to admit I stopped watching at 34-13 so I don't even know what the final score was.
SG: I think I'm going to go with a D and part of the reason it's that high is I thought the special teams did a nice job Sunday. Ellis Hobbs had some really nice returns and so did Kevin Faulk on the punts but thats the only thing that saved them from failing Sunday.
I gave the offense a 'D'. They looked pretty good for the first quarter, but then Cassel had no pass protection, no running game, and no receivers getting open for him. I thought the game plan was a bit of a grab bag.
I have to give the defense an 'F'. They had a poor game plan, which left the middle of the field open far too much in the passing game. They made no adjustments to the Dolphin's special formation, which they scored 4 touchdowns on. There was also poor tackling by the secondary and no pass ruch by the front seven.
I gave special teams an 'A' They had several good kickoff returns and punt returns to give the offense good feild position. I thought the coverage teams also did a nice job in giving the Dolphins a long feild to have to work with.
Overall it was a disappointing performance.
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