November 05, 2010
Grogan's Grade: Week 7 - New England vs Minnesota
BY: Steve Grogan
Morning Buzz: Steve, I love the old uniforms, I could have sworn I saw you complete three or four passes to Russ Francis Sunday.
Steve Grogan: I bet you saw me punt, did you see me punt? (Laughing)
MB: We now have the best record in the NFL after Sunday's game. Last week even though we won, I was thinking there were things not to like about the game. I didn't feel that way after this one - do you agree?
SG: There were a couple of things that bothered me, nothing terrible. I thought the offense in the first half was pretty much non-existent again as they were last week. The defense gave up a lot of yards, but fortunately were able to keep Minnesota out of the endzone. But all-in-all I thought they did a pretty good job.
MB: What would be the prescription to rectify that? What should they do?
SG: They're coming out of the gate very conservative right now because of their defense. They're not trying to do anything crazy that would put their defense in a bad situation knowing that it's a young defense. They're just too conservative, they need to come out and start throwing the ball a little bit, running the ball a little bit more and getting more aggressive offensively. They did that in the second half and it worked - so if they can get a full game out of them, they'll be fine.
MB: I thought that they looked sloppy, and it looks like they don't have the confidence to throw the long ball. I know it's because we don't have [Randy] Moss, but really - why aren't they targeting somebody else?
MB: That pass he made to Hernandez going down the left side of the field, Brady put that pass right on the money. I don't even think Hernandez knew the ball was coming to him. He happened to just turn around and "boom" it was right on the numbers. Sometimes there are moments when Tom Brady makes you go "wow", what am I watching?
SG: He's done it for a long time too hasn't he? It seems like when things need to get done, he's able to do them. I think again, the first half they're not turning him loose, they're just trying to play it close to the vest. But when he has to, he can still do it.
MB: I don't know if you saw any of the Jets / Green Bay game. Is that the one part where the Jets are vulnerable - their offense?
SG: There's no question about that. I think Mark Sanchez is kind of in a sophomore slump, I saw bits and pieces of the game and looked like they had a lot of dropped balls. So yes, I would say the Jets offense is the weak link right now.
MB: All the talk about Randy Moss, he turned out to be a non factor. After listening to his press conference, do you think he came back home Sunday, played, and said, "maybe I screwed up?"
SG: It wouldn't surprise me if that's gone through his head. He's gone to a team that is really struggling, they've got an old quarterback, he's not getting the ball. He could have been here with the best team in the NFL, and stayed, played, and had a great year and got a new contract with somebody next year. I think maybe he's got some doubts in the back of his mind, yes.
MB: They were saying in the paper this morning that at the end of the game when everything was done, he walked back out onto the edge of the field with an empty stadium and just stood there. That's certainly something that makes you feel that could be the case.
MB: Now they have to play the Cleveland Browns. Do you think they're going to be looking ahead to Pittsburgh, rather than looking at Cleveland this week?
SG: I think this is a game that's going to be really hard to get the players to focus on, and that's going to be the coach's job. They'll work hard to tell them how great Cleveland is this week, but it's the proverbial trap game. It's a game that you look at on film and think, "these guys aren't very good - this should be over at half time" but that usually doesn't happen. Cleveland jumped up and bit the Saints a week ago, so this is a game that scares me a little bit. Not necessarily because they're looking ahead to Pittsburgh, but you just figure this is a team they should beat easily, and a lot of times emotionally and mentally you're not ready to play the game the way you need to.
MB: They were talking last Sunday night about the reverence the players seem to have for Belichick. Where does he fall in the pantheon of great coaches, he can't be far from the top?
SG: I would say he'd be in the top five right now. The success he's had over the 10 or so years he's been here with the Patriots - to do it year in, year out, to retool his team, the only constant on the team is Tom Brady and any great coach has played with a great quarterback. So the two of them together have pretty much put themselves in the upper echelon of NFL history.
MB: So what are Grogan's Grades for this week's win over Minnesota?
SG: I'd give the Offense an A-. I thought the first half was very sluggish, although the second half was much better. The big play of the game was obviously the scramble by Brady to Tate, and they definitely need more of that deep ball. It was good to see the running game come alive in the second half. I like what I see from [BenJarvus] Green-Ellis more and more every week. I thought Matt Light did an excellent job against [Jared] Allen on the pass rush and most of the runs were to the left side. [Aaron] Hernandez had another couple of big catches. I just think they need more consistency from start to finish.
I'd give the Defense an A-. They gave up a lot of yards, but had some great goal line and short yardage stops. [Jerod] Mayo was all over the field, and [Devin] McCourty played very well. Favre played a good game but couldn't make the big plays against the defense when he needed to. Overall I thought they did a nice job, and put together a great scheme to take Moss out of the game.
Special teams C - Nothing good, nothing bad.
Overall: A- I have to take the Special teams out of the equation, as they had no factor on the game. It was a good win over a team they should have beaten. As I said, next week against the Browns is one of those game that scares the coaches. They're not a good team and after 3 or 4 weeks of close game wins, this could be a let down for New England if they're not careful.
One final note: I thought Favre's play was very good on a broken ankle, however, to leave the game with a cut on his chin looking like he was dead was a little much. I've seen this happen before to others, including me, and you tape it up until after the game - and then get stitched up. Unfortunately, he was one of the best - but he's really looking old this year. I think he may have tried to stretch it one year too many, although I don't think this will hurt his legacy. After a few years people will only remember the great years he had. Joe Namath went to the Rams when he had nothing left. Few people remember that.
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