September 29, 2009
Grogan's Grade Week 3: New England vs Atlanta
BY: Steve Grogan
MB: Pretty good game by the Patriots, wouldn't you say?
SG: A pretty good game. I think you have to take into consideration that the Atlantic Falcons are not a great football team yet. They have a pretty good offense but their defense lacks a little bit. Still the Patriots went out and did what they had to do and basically dominated the game.
MB: Everyone's expectations of Tom Brady and how he would come back, do you think it's been a little bit unfair to expect him to be in Super Bowl form right out of the gate?
SG: Probably, and I can put myself in that boat too. I've said it, but if you think about it he's been out of the game for a year. You can come back and practice, you can do all the things you want to do during the week, but the games are faster. They happen at a differnet pace and you can just see that he is not where he wants to be or will be until probably mid-season.
MB: On the other side of the ball, when Tom Brady puts one at your numbers you're supposed to catch it. We all saw his frustration. He downplayed it after the game but when a play like that happens (when he had words with Galloway after the dropped pass) how would you handle that situation? What did you say? Did you say anything to guys about dropped balls and things?
SG: It depends. I don't think he was yelling at him over that one particular drop because everyone is going to drop a ball every now and then. I think there had been some things leading up to that, and that dropped ball was the last straw. He was frustrated, he's working with new guys out there. Randy Moss is the only veteran he's got that he really feels comfortable with. Ben Watson has been around, but he's never been a big part of the passing game. He's working with a lot of new guys and in their offense there are a lot of reads and the routes change depending on where the deffensive back is on that receiver. I think some of these new guys haven't figured it out yet.
MB: Speaking of Randy Moss, there was an article in the paper that said one of the reporters that saw him in the locker room after the game said he could barely move. When you think about the way he played given the fact he had a back injury, it was nothing short of amazing.
SG: Yes, it was really questionable whether or not he was going to play. You have to give the guy a lot of credit to go out there in that kind of pain. If he had not played I'm not sure what the outcome would have been because he was a huge part of the passing game.
MB: Going back to Tom Brady, a lot of the pregame shows were saying that it wasn't so much his knee but his shoulder from the hits he took in preseason. What do you make of all of that?
SG: I haven't seen any indication that the shoulder has been bothering him all that much, I think its more just that he's getting his feet back under him. Sure his shoulder may be bothering him a little bit, but he just hasn't played a lot of football over the past year and it's going to take time to get all this back together.
MB: A little overlooked I guess beacuse we've been worried about the offense getting it together, but the defense holding the Falcons to only two first downs in the second half, they have to be happy with that.
SG: They played really well defensively. They took Tony Gonzales, who is a great tight end right out of the game, and Matt Ryan struggles in the second half. I'm not sure what they were doing to him but he just wasn't able to complete anything and they have a pretty good runningback that didn't really have any factor on the game. One of the things that helps a defense is when your offense is controlling the ball, and they did that yesterday because they ran the ball for a change. It was fun to see the running game get going again and when your defense can sit over there and rest while you're pounding it at people, it's easier for them to play defense when they go back out onto the field.
MB: My perception of the defense last year is that guys weren't finishing their tackles. Players were getting an extra two or three yards after getting hit. That seems to be happening far less this year, it looks to me like they are making more tackles. Is that how you see it Steve?
SG: There were a couple times this week when the runningback, I thought got 3-4 extra yards he shouldn't have had. All in all I think they are playing really well defensively. Even against the Jets I thought they played okay. Again, this is a young defense and it's going to take them some time to get comfortable with eachother.
MB: How do they improve the 1 in 5 in the redzone? What does Belichick do this week that changes things up?
SG: They have had this problem the last several years, trying to get the ball in the endzone. In my opinion, from old school football, if you can't run the football down in the redzone, you're going to have a hard time scoring. If you down inside the 20 and try to throw it all the time it is very difficult to put the ball in the endzone, but if you pound people and make them respect the run, it makes it easier to throw the ball. I think they need to be more physical in the endzone.
MB: What is Grogan's Grade for this week?
SG: I would give them a B+ due to the dropped balls and lack of putting the ball in the endzone by the offense, I think everybody else played extremely well.
I'd give the Offense a B. They finally got a running game going, and I thought Fred Taylor was impressive. The passing game was a little erratic, with over throws and dropped balls again this week. I also think they need to score more that one touchdown when they get into the Red Zone five times.
I'd give the Defense an A. I thought it was a nice job by everyone on defense. Several starters were injured, but it still didn't affect how they played and they were able to hold down Tony Gonzales and Matt Ryan.
I'd give the Special Teams an A-. I thought they were pretty good in all phases except kickoff coverage.
As I said Overall I'd give them a B+. They just need to get the ball in the end zone and stop dropping and over throwing balls on offense.
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