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Content Post Idle thoughts - a beginning......

2022 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: at Cardinals
Pick Results: NE: 0% at ARZ: 0%

Mon
Dec 12th
Current Patriots Twitter Feed:
This has an opening post with good commentary and information, which we definitely recommend reading.

patfanken

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I just got back from poker at foxwoods (don't ask() and thought it would be good therapy for me to spend the next 3 hours taking my mind off the beating I took and look at the upcoming season and give you guys (and gals) something to read while you have your morning coffee and waiting for 1am to come around.

Well we all know its been a REALLY tough preseason. Almost all we get from the media (as well as some of our own fans) is that the sky is falling. All the coaching decisions have been questionable at best and irresponsible at worst. The offense has pretty much sucked the entire preseason. The OL is bad, the QB is regressing, the WR's and TE's haven't shown up and our vaunted run game isn't working. Now here's the thing. You can counter these premisses (and I will to some extent), they are NOT off the wall New England pessimism rearing its ugly head. Those questions that are being brought up are legitimate and while it is WAY too early write the season off, as I heard several callers do this week, only a die hard Pats fan will take the 3 points down in Miami, where Superbowl winning teams have lost.

But you only have to look at Thursday's game where the Superbowl winning Rams got THUMPED by the Bills. There were 2 stats that REALLY stood out to me from that game, Stafford was sacked SEVEN time and suffered FIFTEEN QB hits, that's not hurries (which would be a lot), but HITS. So if our OL gives up less that 7 and 15, then they are at least a better OL than the Rams have, right? Well of course not, but it kind of makes you think.

Football is a funny game as we all know. The best INDIVIDUALS do not always win. The best TEAMS, on that given day win. So while I don't know much about the Dolphins beyond what we hear, I do know that Tyrek Hill and Waddle are a scary duo, and all the news coming from their preseason camp has been pretty much positive. Tua has now become a better QB than Mahomes (or at least according to Hill) and Gesseki is the new Gronk. There are a LOT of smart money being laid off on Miami this week. So what I'll try to do now is give MY take on what I think of OUR team, and give you a legitimate scenario that can bring us a win on Sunday.

COACHING: Bill said it best in one of his pressers this week. The fact that Patricia and Judge will run the offensive side can call plays for the first time shouldn't be a factor. McDaniel had one year of coaching on the offensive side and had never call plays before he did, and he was a WR in college and yet he was also the QB coach. Bill O'Brien was a DE in college and only coached RB's in college until he got a college OC job running a triple option offense at GaTech. He never called offensive plays in the NFL, until he DID.

Judge was a college QB in the SEC and coached WR's for the Pats before he went off to the Giants and sure he sucked as a HC in his first shot, but sucking as a HC doesn't NOT mean you can't be a great assistant and while he never kicked or punted, he was very effective as a special teams coordinator.

Patricia who is an OL coach as well as the probable play caller, had to understand MULTIPLE offensive concepts in order to be a capable DC, so I have no problem with him being competent as an offensive coach. He played OL for 4 years at RPI and coached his first few years on the offensive side. I also once posted that I believe the role of the offensive play caller is highly over rated since after the play is called what the defense lines up in and how they react to motions can change or alter what the offense does BEFORE the snap. Either way, what I want to see tomorrow is that the offensive substitutions are fast and efficiently done. That there ISN'T a lot of offensive penalties for illegal motions, too many men on the field, etc. If those guys are going to start changing perceptions, then forget about any play calling issues,, just make sure you players aren't making mental mistakes that cost you.

Now of course they WILL makes some mental mistakes, every team does, but we all will know when it seems to be excessive, and THAT's on the coaching. That being said, the first few games are a crap shoot for every team. Any film on teams during the preseason are only worth it for player evaluations. No one is showing anything they plan to do on Sunday and very few starters even played much in those 3 games.

QB- 2 positives I took from Mac's preseason snaps was that he looked quicker on his feet. That very positive athletic ability he has (4.8 forty and 7.04 3-cone) showed up a bit more. He still doesn't have "instinctual" evasive moves you see from other "athletic QB" who have similar quickness and speed, but little by little I think THAT will come over time.

The second was he looked like DID add some velocity to his fast ball from the House training. It took Brady about 5 years before he ceased to be a weak armed game manager to a strong armed power thrower he evolved to be. I'm just looking for incremental gains, it isn't going to happen overnight.

Bottom line for this game is ball control and no turnovers. The margin of victory is small enough that even one TO could prove fatal. If we lose the TO battle we are NOT going to win this game.

OL - Looks like we are going to see Brown, Strange, Andrews, Owenu, and Wynn on Sunday. Again the most important thing I will be looking for is minimizing the mental errors. They aren't going to win all their reps. That ARE paying the other guys too. But these guys are the key to the running game and a successful run game will go a long way toward a winning game. We KNOW our RB's are strong, so its up to the OL to give them enough room to move the sticks.

I would go as far as to do this tomorrow. I think I'd go back to our power run blocking system for this game. We have no idea, or at best very little idea about where the Phins will align to different formations and what first and second level stunts and moves they will make. A power run blocking system, in my opinion will eliminate some of technique problem we were having with the Shanahan 'outside zone' schemes this preseason. I think we saw in some of the breakdowns that we were close to getting everyone on the same page and what it would mean if we could get that level of success with it. However I would bypass it (for the most part) tomorrow and go for the simpler system that you KNOW will give you positive yds and is less likely to result in a negative gain as we saw in the preseason.

WR's IMHO we NEED Kendrick Bourne to find his way back to being the guy he was last season when he had 800yds receiving playing just 33% of the snaps. We need Agular to make at least 2 20+ yd gain, and we need Parker to show up and move the sticks and be THAT guy in the red zone. Meyers will be Meyers perhaps the most reliable guy we have even though he IS the #4 guy.

TE's- We have 2 good ones. I'll be very interested in seeing how they use Smith and the various positions he lines up in. I see him lining up at FB, WB, as well as an inline TE. Smith is at his best when he gets the ball with some room to run after the catch. We didn't see that much last season. Hopefully that will change. Henry is Henry. I'm hoping he will be a threat down the seam and provide the same kind of good target in the red zone he was last year.

The offense was definitely in a transition phase this preseason. It is impossible to guess what we will see. As I said for THIS game, I want to see a smart and disciplined offense that makes fewer mistakes than the Dolphins O. Move the sticks and control the ball. Hill can't hurt you from the bench.

DEFENSE - While the offense reeked with question marks this preseason, the defense often gave up more to expect. Again I don't care WHO is calling the defenses. Jarod or Steve, I don't care. While the last few games left a lot to desire, overall the defensive numbers were decent and I think we have improved the overall personnel. And what I said about the offensive play calling goes double for the defense. Whatever call comes in is even more affected by what the offense lines up in and what motions are made.

Given the speed that the Phins can line up in, we are probably looking at mostly zone configuration. Hill has turned out to be consider the most dynamic and impactful WR in the league. I always felt the Pats had some decent success with him with JJones matching his quickness near the LOS and a S over the top.

I always felt that Hill was at his most dangerous when Mahomes was extending the play running around in the pocket. He and Hill had a great connection when that happened and I saw a LOT of big plays come off of that look. I don't see Tua being able to do the things that Mahomes did to free up Hill over and over again. His best 40 time that I could find was a 4.9 and I couldn't find any 3-cone. Hill and Waddle's effectiveness will need to happen within their 3 step drop backs. Tua has been a 60+% QB all 3 of his season though he has yet to pass for 3,000yds. Has at least 3 plus receivers in Waddle, Hill, and Gesseki

The McDaniel effect: FYI Mike McDaniel has been coaching in the NFL since 2005 for a whole bunch of teams. I think the key fact is the 9 years he's coached with Kyle Shanahan also on a bunch of teams like Denver when they beat the Pats in the playoffs and was with Atlanta team that fell to the Pats. He's always coached on the offensive side of the ball, mostly RB's and WR's. He had ONE year as an OC in SF in 2021 and they went 10-7. He must have had one HELL of an interview to get a HC job with just one year as coordinator.

So I'm guessing if we don't use the outside zone run blocking system, we sure should expect to see it from the Phins tomorrow. He also brings a strong background in the run game. Shanahan has been big on the run game in SF it was the straw that stirred the drink in their offensive success under Jimmy G.

DL - I was told that Godcheax played very well the last third of the season, even though the DL resembled Swiss cheese most of that time. Supposedly HE was doing his job. I never saw it... last year. However this preseason he's stood out and you could see what they extended him. He and Barmore could be a real disruptive duo in a 4 man alignment with Judon and Jennings playing DE. However I think that to stop the run they will go mainly for a 5-2 alignment with Godcheax at the N, Barmore and Wise at the DE's with Judon and Jennings as OLBs with Bentley and Wilson as ILB's. I think that will be a more effective way to stop the Miami run. You can also replace Bentley with Duggar or Peppers to add even more speed to 2nd level. Sub in Uche in passing situations and use a 4 man front when you expect the pass

In passing situations I wouldn't mind seeing a 4 man rush group with 5 underneath playing either man or tight zone with 2 deep as protection. For some reason I fear more from Waddle or Hill when they run slants or mid-range crossers at 8-13 yds deep. Crowding the 2nd level with 5 protectors makes it difficult to complete these routes. We have much more speed at the 2nd level that we can use than last season. It will be interesting to see just how much physical play the refs will allow as they try and find holes with 5 underneath coverage that can change from man to zone. Hard to read for the QB.

LB- well I already talked a lot about them, but in stopping the outside zone it is critical for the OLB's to SET the edge, that is something that Judon and Jennings do WELL and Uche doesn't Even though they have Hill, Waddle and Gesseki job ONE will be to stop the run. Given McDaniels' background I expect he'll want his offense to run through his run game.

Secondary - Like I said earlier the Pats will always play 2 of their safeties to aid the underneath coverage over the top. They will use that underneath coverage when they have 4 Safeties on the field (2 deep, 2 underneath. Mills has had a GREAT preseason as the #1 CB. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Jon Jones following Hill. Jack Jones might end up being the steal of the draft, though I don't think they'll throw him to the wolves. My guess is they'll pick their spots with him. The Pats lack size at CB, but they have a lot more speed, and for THIS game, speed will be more important. I'll be interested to see how much run Marcus Jones gets at the slot CB. I really like his athleticism and quickness out their though his size gives me pause. I'd like to think he's more than a punt returner. BTW - This Jones thing is starting to be a real pain in the ass.

Special Teams - This might be one area where even the nay sayers might think we have an edge. Bailey looks like he has gotten back his edge. I blamed him mostly for all the blocks last year. Certainly you can say the blocking wasn't all that great, but I really felt that Bailey got those kicks blocked mostly because he was very slow in his steps to the kick. He looked much faster to the ball during preseason. Folk (can you believe he actually played for the Jets) has been an all pro kicker. He makes ALL the kicks he is supposed to make and MOST of the ones in the 50-55 range. As long as he's a 90+% from the 45 in, I'm good....and he IS

So here's the plan. Make fewer mental errors than your opponent. Second one is easy. Run the ball on offense, stop the run on defense. Simple right. third is win the TO battle. The correlation of that stat to who wins the game is staggering. Turn overs are luck a lot of the time, but some are earned by smart players.

I don't bet on sports, especially football. KNOWING the game often has nothing to do with trying to beat the spread. I can always think of a scenario where either team can win, so I end up just confused most of the time. Each week we pick 5 games against the spread. plus selecting one of those teams as our best bet. There are currently 165 players in the pool. The top 10 players at the end of the regular season win prizes, there are prizes for the guy who has the most "best bets" There is also a "do over prize for the guy who gets the most wins for the last 7 games of the season. Basically its set up so it will keep everyone's interest throughout the season. And for me at least, Completely satisfies all my urges to bet on sports. For the record my picks this week are the Saints, Eagles, Baltimore, Titans, and Vikings, with Baltimore as my best bet.

I have NO idea why I spent the time to write about this pool, nor can I think of a reason why anyone should care. BUT its 3am and I am no longer responsible for what I write. :D. Enjoy (I hope) and please forgive any spelling or grammar mistake since I am NOT going to go back and edit this.
 
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italian pat patriot

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Run the ball...
Stop the run...
Win the TO battle

True...

The 3 best possible ingredients to win a football game
 

Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
PatsFans.com Supporter
Thanks, Ken. You've made the case for optimism. It's a strange time for us Pats fans. You have a heart and a head. Once it was easier to have them aligned (Bill's got a plan, trust the process, our QB may not be as flashy as Manning, but he will do whatever it takes).

Now my head says two things.

One of them is pretty much exactly what you say (Mac is a keeper, the defense is moving in the right direction, BB is as good an Offensive Coordinator as you could wish for) while the other is sceptical (BB is getting old; where once he had voices of his own age to rein him in (Dante, Ernie) and McDaniels to run the offense, he's now concentrated all power in his own hands and is doing even more kooky stuff (overspending in free agency in 21, making weird, contrarian draft picks in 22, setting himself up as OC)). We'll see which one is right.

But my heart only says one thing. Go Pats!
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
Always love your thoughts, Ken. I know it takes a long time writing stuff up and you go into tons of depth.

One question: Are you misspelling Agholor on purpose? Because you always spell it Agular.
 

MrBigglesWorth

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
You are how you practice.

I'd guarantee you will see nickel most of the game here if not dime... Furthermore you're lbs will probably be dugger, peppers and Philips. They will concede the run so they don't get torched. We won't know much about the run defense after this game. I think the short crossing routes will be our nemesis today. I just hope our game speed has gotten better from last yr.
 

PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
Either way, what I want to see tomorrow is that the offensive substitutions are fast and efficiently done. That there ISN'T a lot of offensive penalties for illegal motions, too many men on the field, etc. If those guys are going to start changing perceptions, then forget about any play calling issues,, just make sure you players aren't making mental mistakes that cost you.
As usual - you nailed it. Procedure issues hurt the offense more than a lot of other factors last year. I seem to recall several TDs called back...penalties moving the team out of FG range...etc.
 

State

In the Starting Line-Up
Josh Uche is from Miami. He has elite athletic skills. It’s perennially the case in shorts he impresses commentators at training camp.

Then he recedes into the background as the season marches on.

Can this please be your coming out party, Uche? Two sacks. Is this too much to ask?
 

stinkypete

In the Starting Line-Up
When I look at this roster and schedule, one thing that stands out to me is the number of games against teams that are roughly in the same class as the Patriots.

We know the Packers, Bills, Ravens and Bengals look like better teams than ours and are likely losses. We also know that the likes of the Jets, Bears, Lions and Jacoby Brisset Browns are outmatched and likely easy wins. Win the games you should win, lose the games you should lose, and you sit at 5 - 5.

That will make or break this season is the teams in the middle - Miami, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indy, Minnesota, Arizona, Vegas. Each is clumped together in the same class as the Patriots, playoff contenders that are not quite sure things. Each is stronger than us in some areas, weaker in others.Go 5 - 2 or better in these games - even if you miss the playoffs in a stacked AFC, you enter the next off-season with reason to feel your team is ready to emerge from the pack. Go 3 - 4 or worse, you feel mired among the mediocre.

My expectations for this team are realistic. I think 9 - 10 wins is the window, but I'm looking to see that the Patriots are ready to pull themselves above the rest of this muddled middle.
 

DarrylS

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2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Simply, if your team has three turnovers and the other has none, the outcome of yesterday's game is predictable. If two of those three result in points the outcome is even more predictable.
 

holyredeemer

In the Starting Line-Up
Let’s stop pretending
Mac’s lack of arm strength limits this offense.
It’s clear as day.
I thought Macs arm strength looked like it regressed yesterday. Not to mention some ducks, and completely errant throws. Made no sense. Then you find out his back was hurting bad enough to need some X-rays. Changed my perspective. Sure hope it’s minor and heals quick, or we’re going to the Hoyer show.
 

jal

Practice Squad Player
I’d say by years 3-4 (2002-2003) Brady was showing the velocity that he would carry for the rest of his career. Certainly by 2004 he was putting frozen ropes 40+ yards in the air in horrible conditions in the AFC Championship game (not atypical of the types of throws he was making all of the 2004 season). I don’t see Mac going near that throwing power now or ever. Mac’s pathway to success is going to look more like Drew Brees (most optimistic version) or pre-shoulder injury Chad Pennington (still optimistic version).

Of course in the low case his arm is going to hurt him so much that any increase in accuracy / mastery can’t offset it and he’s at best just an average starting QB (Derek Carr / Kirk Cousins). That’s not horrible either but probably can’t win a ring with that unless the rest of the roster is absolutely stacked. Should be good enough for playoff contention regardless if we can get the rest of the roster sorted…
 


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