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Content Post Idle Thoughts: a ray of hope, or false hope?


This has an opening post with good commentary and information, which we definitely recommend reading.

patfanken

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Not sure how long this one will be. There are a lot of subtleties to dissect even though many will want easy black and white answers. I know it gets tiresome, but it IS the way of the world these days.

Bill will tell you that a win in the NFL should be cherished. They are hard to come by and ALWAYS well earned. I don't think that I ever played or coached in a game that I lost that in retrospect I didn't think we should have won. If we ONLY did this on that play, or if the ref had only called it this way, or if I had only read my keys correctly, etc. We do a lot after loses, and we are often even MORE critical after wins. I have a feeling that my commentary might tend to be on that side, mostly because when you win, you team accepts the criticism a LOT more readily. So lets get on with it.

1. General Comments about what I saw this Sunday:

You know when I say it is hard to win ANY game in the NFL, a lot of people here think of that as being a cliche, or just coach speech. But it isn't. This isn't HS or college where there can be tremendous talent or numbers differences and there ARE easy games. This is the NFL where the worst guy at the end of the roster was on of the top 5 guys on his college team and already a great athlete. In the NFL he gets the finest training, coaching and nutrition, and are paid well enough that they can do nothing else all year but get ready for a 6 month season. You get get SOOOO much better AFTER you come into the league...IF you are smart and tough enough to take advantage of your athletic abilities and learn your craft as a professional.

Also, since I'm in the preaching mode here. I always thought I was a student of the game when I played. I would watch film back in a time where most of the time you would only watch the last week's game once and some film of who you were going to play once. Well I would come in and watch during the week and try and find something that would help a 210lb college NT get an edge. So it would come as a shock when I first starting coaching back in 1969, just how LITTLE I knew about the game of football.

One of the beauties of the game was that over what was close to 2 decades, just how much there is to learn. Being a football coach is like a constant lesson in humility. Every time you sat down with another coach or at a clinic or college spring practice there was ALWAYS something you could take away. And NOW with all the data available, one of the more difficult things for a coach to do is to EDIT all the minutia and put it into a teachable format to give to your players. Now I'd like to think that I know more about the game than most, but I will ALWAYS believe that I know about 10% of what an NFL coach does......ANY NFL coach, even someone only in the league a few years. Great coaches are great listeners. You don't get to that level if you woke up one morning and thought there was nothing anyone could teach you about the game. Bill Bellichick might be the best in history, but I KNOW he doesn't believe he knows it all.

But just like any fan, I can second guess with the best of then, and I DO. There are no hard object allowed in the TV room when I'm watching games, though throw pillows are widely scattered around to minimize damage to the TV. But AFTER the moment has passed, I have to admit that whatever decision was made, the coach who made it, did so with so much more information than I had making mine. I know that won't stop anyone from voicing their thoughts, nor should it. But it SHOULD make everyone more understanding about why those decisions were made. What we DON'T know as fans is massive. And with that, I will now give you my opinion on everything I THOUGHT I saw this afternoon. I think Thelonius would tell us that that is "irony" ;).

2. I no longer watch 3 games every Sunday like I used to. All the hypocrisy of the league along with just getting old, I have become less of a football fan and more of a PATRIOTS fan. Now and then after the Pats have played, I will catch a few plays of one game or another and even stay want watch for a bit if the game is compelling. 2 games stood out with lessons to be learned. After hearing the Dolphins put SEVENTY up on the Broncos, just maybe the Pats put up a much better defensive game against the Fins than we gave them credit for. Get ready for the wave of attention they will be getting. The other game was the Cowboy Cardinal game. Think next week's game is unwinnable? I bet you don't now. EVERY game in the NFL is hard to win.

2. OFFENSE

a. General: What was it Bill said at the presser. Points are the most important thing in a football game and turnovers are #2. I ready about half of the GDT and one poster wrote something that stuck with me (and I apologize for not remembering who it was). He said, we forget sometimes that football games are "SITUATIONAL". It matterswho you are playing and what the conditions are. So yeah, 13 points is a HORRIBLE number. AND there were several opportunities where that number could have and should have been larger. BUT.....let us not forget that the Jets have what many would call a "championship level" defense who were playing AT home, IN the rain and wind, and as much as we want to rant and rave about the offense, it should be noted that the Jets are good at defense too and it had a factor in the amount of points the Pats put up. It should also be noted that 357yd of total offense isn't as horrific a number as the 13 points. The Pats DID move the ball, but there always seem to be a "timely" holding call that killed drives. The kind of calls the networks don't want to have reviewed for the audience....if you know what I mean.

The offense in general was painfully boring and uninspired but I haven't any clue how much of that was dictated by the Jets defense, the weather, or the flow of the game. Until the Jets last drive (aided by the refs) there wasn't any reason to take any chances and the strategy needed to be "minimizing chances of losing the game". That won't work every game.

BOB ran a LOT of RPO's at Alabama. He knows it well. Mac was successful in it. I THOUGHT it was going to be a part of the offense, but I'm not seeing it. A lot of Mac under C. Regular play action passes, but there doesn't seem to be much RPO action. Anyone have the stats for how much RPO the pats are running percentage wise?

b. QB- This was clearly Macs worst statistical performance of the year. But it was a game where I thought he made strides in his game. The "stats" say the Jets had no sacks and 2 QB hits. Seemed like a lot more hits than that. The OL improved (especially before Strange went down) a bit and I thought Mac had marginally more time. There is STILL a misconnect in communications with JJSS and Douglas on the kind of plays that require the receiver and QB to be on the same page when he has to adlib. I think those throws to the outside that went incomplete to both Douglas and JJSS were examples of that. Those are the kind of plays that only time and reps can create.

My favorite play by Mac was his 8 yd sprint. He saw and opening and he took it. He needs to do that a BIT more often. My biggest complaint was that Mac's ball handling on play action passing wasn't nearly as crisp with the RB as it should be. There was nothing even close to a mesh between the 2. It needs to be cleared up.

Listen the haters are going to light Mac up. Whereas his good completion percentages from the last 2 week didn't matter, THIS week it does and just over 50% just show how bad he was. The Jets defense didn't matter. The weather conditions don't matter. It's just Mac.........and Bill :rolleyes:

c OL - STILL a work in progress.....that made some progress. 157 rushing yds against that front 7 is good work. Best yet, for the 3+ quarters that I watched I NEVER heard the name VLowe mentioned once, and for an OLman that is music to your ears. Now I have no idea how good or bad he actually played but its a start. The Strange injury sucked. We won't know how bad it was, but just when it looked like they were going to get the band back together, we take another step back. The OL is NOT where it needs to be, but each game seems to be better than the last.

d TE's - The Pharaoh Brown Project. I say about time. This isn't a dish on Mike Gisiki, it's about the need for a blocking TE which is what Brown is, and I think it showed in the running game. The fact he had 71 receiving yds is a bonus that shouldn't be overlooked. It showed that there ARE simple routes that a primarily blocking TE can run and be effective, We see it all the time. 2 or 3 targets a game and solid run blocking more than makes up for any route running pluses we gain from Mike. Let him play in passing situations. We need a solid run game if we are going to compete and to do that we need a good blocking TE who can occasionally catch a 10 yd pass. Brown can do that and he showed it today. There will be situations for Gisiki. I don't think next week he'll be featured.

e WR's Bourne and Adams seem like they could be the guys Mac can count on, not that anyone looked great today, but I like what I'm seeing from Kendrick. JJSS WILL be the main topic of "conversation". I'd like to think that he's still working out the kinks with the new offense and QB. He DID miss a lot of preseason time and it will get better. However every game that the status quo remains his results the din will grow and in a few weeks be justified. Just not now, imo. I like Douglas as much as the next guy, but it's a really big jump for SEC WR's to make impacts their rookie years, let alone someone from Liberty

f. RB's - BOB still insists on running the ball right up the middle most of the time. I am hoping that they start to break that tendency starting next week. The run blocking was better and thus the RB results were better. Couldn't help notice that Zeke's long gain came when he cut back against the grain and caught the Jets overrunning the play. I would mind seeing more of this in the future, if only having the RB's looking for it. I'd like to see the RB's used more in the passing game and not just on screens.
 

patfanken

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4. DEFENSE:

a. General - Facing the Pats defense HAS to be Wilson's reoccurring nightmare. He's been bad, but not THIS bad, so many times and so consistently. For yet another season we WON'T know who is actually coordinating the defenses. We do know that Steve is the one signalling in the D's and Mayo is upstairs. My GUESS is Mayo is the final say in coordinating and Steve makes the initial calls play by play. Regardless, the Pats overall defense is GOOD even though it's still far from healthy. People will say anyone can stop the Jets offense, but it wasn't just Wilson who has the pocket presence of ostrich, but when they occasionally showed the routes how consistently the receivers were covered. GWilson was offensive rookie of the year and he wasn't a factor. Except for that 30 yd gift in prevent defense the next to last play of the game, Wilson had 20 yds on 8 targets and 4 catches.

But even more impressive was how well the running game was controlled. 33 yds on 22 carries with 2 high end RB's is spectacular and better than I had hoped. Again great design and execution.

b.DL/LB's - Again the work vs the run game was more than we could have asked. The pass rush was OK (3 sacks 7 QBhits) but seemed to have slowed a bit at the end when Wilson seemed to have more time.

Beyond the obvious good job by the front 7 by love for what they accomplished is diminished a bit by the 2 names I found prominently missing from anything impactful in the stats or to my memory. I THOUGHT that this would be a game where White and Mapu would shine. I'm not sure either was on the field and I specifically looked for White on several occasions in the 2nd half. Anyone know if they were hurt or what? That's the only negative I would take from the play of the front 7.

c. SECONDARY - Again hard to figure most of the time exactly what the Pats were doing. Romo seemed to think a lot of it was man, but its hard to figure in real time how much man vs zone was played, especially given there are combo coverages where you us both. Bottom line, minus 3 of their top 4 CB's pretty much STUFFED a pretty good WR group in Cobb, Lazzard and GWilson.

Gonzales is starting to look scary good, as in DROY kind of good. For a guy his size, the way he mimics WR's routes reminds me (dare I say) DRevis. I know its early and he has SOOOO much to learn about the league and individual WR's, but seeing is believing. I don't know how the 2 CB's drafted ahead of him are doing, but he's the best rookie CB I've ever seen come through here. Now what he develops into down the road is a whole nother story. But this kid can be special. He's almost ready for a nickname. I nominate "the glove"

Peppers Mills and Duggar were all effective as well as the much maligned Miles Bryant and Shaun Wade. Bryant was victimized by a flop on the DPI in the endzone. Quick question. Whatever happened to the "uncatchable ball" call on PI Is that gone now, because IIRC that ball was no where near Cobb. Just sayin' I looked for a clip but couldn't find one.

Special Teams - Ryland hit from 51. I wish he didn't hit a draw and was straight but it was perfect. The miss from, what was it 57, was a mess and never had a chance. The snaps were a bit high, but it was just a bad kick in the end. Early days. There are game winners (and losers) in his future. We shall see. Nothing bad to say about Baringer. He was very good pinning the Jets inside the 20, but he was just overshadowed by Morstead. That punt on the safety was something I have never seen before. It was almost an 80 yd punt and could have spelled doom if the offense had gone 3 and out. Coverage units were a bit more inconsistent. They gave up an 18 yd return in the 4th which could have been problematic, but wasn't in the end.
\
The Hail Mary - Before the play I just picture in my mind a flag coming out in the endzone as a perfect ending for the game, but at least THAT didn't happen. First I was surprised the ball got to the endzone it was a great pass by Wilson to get it there. However it was perfectly covered by Duggar, I think and he correctly spiked it into the ground. HOWEVER.....the ball hit someone and bounce dangerously close to Cobb which made the play FAR more dramatic than it deserved to be.

BTW- I take offense by the media take that the Jets "just fell short of a comeback". I don't why it offends me because that is what happened. It was just that the Pats completely controlled the game except for that last drive where Wilson teased Jets fans with 3 really good throws plus the boost from the refs on the DPI. I guess it only shows just how ingrained the Jets hatred really is for us old guys. The Jocker would be proud.

Dallas - The game looks a LOT more interesting now that it probably did before the Cardinal game. Only goes to show...... It will be fun to see what the Cards did to move the ball and stop Dallas.

OK, its late. I've written too much and will go to sleep with it unedited, so until I wake up and fix all the errors, my apologies and hope you get through it and it makes some sense. As always complain, disagree, enjoy, and above all comment.
 

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Gonzales’ rep against Wilson when the Jest were in scoring position around the 5 was super impressive. Wilson faked like he was running a quick slant then cut it back outside on a dime, CG was in his hip. Zach wanted to go there but smartly didn’t. I think CG would’ve had the pick and if GW doesn’t tackle him he takes it for 6.
 

turkeyneck

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Again, a great write-up. Game day isn't over 'til you've read @patfanken 's musings in the AM.

One nit to pick though

the best rookie CB I've ever seen come through here..

Did you not see Mike Haynes? 8 int, 3 fumble recoveries, and led the league in PR as a rookie.

Taking nothing away from Gonzo. He's the most exciting (healthy) talent on the team.
 

patsfanfromoversea

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b.DL/LB's - Again the work vs the run game was more than we could have asked. The pass rush was OK (3 sacks 7 QBhits) but seemed to have slowed a bit at the end when Wilson seemed to have more time.

Beyond the obvious good job by the front 7 by love for what they accomplished is diminished a bit by the 2 names I found prominently missing from anything impactful in the stats or to my memory. I THOUGHT that this would be a game where White and Mapu would shine. I'm not sure either was on the field and I specifically looked for White on several occasions in the 2nd half. Anyone know if they were hurt or what? That's the only negative I would take from the play of the front 7.
White played 17 snaps but managed 2 pressures. I don't know why his snap number was so low tbh. I can't find the snap counts sheet but i did not see Mapu on the stat sheet. This makes me wonder because he supposed to practice with the first team a lot in camp.
 

DarrylS

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Don't want to be redundant but great post PFK..
Yesterday's win took place in lotsa rain & wind against a very good defense. Or course the press is calling it an ugly win, but at the end of the day there is no accounting for "ugly wins" in the standings..
The play calling seemed predictable, #1 down run, should have mixed that up a bit more.
Pharoah Brown?? Did not see that one coming...
Impressed with the D after Godchaux and Ekuale went down, the run D was great along with the defense in general.
Secondary Gonzalez et al played great against some pretty good WR's, Judon was being Judon and his sack in the end zone was almost predictable.
Fans whine and ***** about how the Pats draft, but Zach Wilson was pick #2 in the '21 draft, he plays like a deer in the headlights. Doubt we will see him on Jan. 7.. is Tim Boyle any better??
 

Rob0729

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As to the Strange injury. let him rest. Mafi was better than Strange was yesterday before he got injured. Mac Jones was hit like five times in the first half. Strange couldn't handle Williams (granted few guards can). Mafi wasn't perfect, but he was better. It could be that they were running more in the second half and the rush slowed down a bit. But I think Strange wasn't close to 100% when he came back and needs to get healthy.

As for the Brown TD, notice how it was one of the only times this game that Mac did play action under center. Hell, I think they have done it twice this season and both in this game. I know why the first two weeks they didn't do it. You couldn't have Mac turn his back to the defense with the o-line they put out there the first two weeks. He would have turned around just in time to have a defender or two or three jump on top of him. Jones is actually very effective in the play action under center. They have to run that more. The receivers are having issues getting open and a good play action game will help them get separation.
 

patsfanfromoversea

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As to the Strange injury. let him rest. Mafi was better than Strange was yesterday before he got injured. Mac Jones was hit like five times in the first half. Strange couldn't handle Williams (granted few guards can). Mafi wasn't perfect, but he was better. It could be that they were running more in the second half and the rush slowed down a bit. But I think Strange wasn't close to 100% when he came back and needs to get healthy.

As for the Brown TD, notice how it was one of the only times this game that Mac did play action under center. Hell, I think they have done it twice this season and both in this game. I know why the first two weeks they didn't do it. You couldn't have Mac turn his back to the defense with the o-line they put out there the first two weeks. He would have turned around just in time to have a defender or two or three jump on top of him. Jones is actually very effective in the play action under center. They have to run that more. The receivers are having issues getting open and a good play action game will help them get separation.
they also could not run well in the first 2 weeks which factors in the PA as well
 

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Bill knew what he was doing in not paying JC Jackson.

Now we have Gonzalez on the cheap for the next several years.
 

p8ryts

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White played 17 snaps but managed 2 pressures. I don't know why his snap number was so low tbh. I can't find the snap counts sheet but i did not see Mapu on the stat sheet. This makes me wonder because he supposed to practice with the first team a lot in camp.
It was a game for big boys like Jennings, Bentley and Tavai. I was surprised Philips didn't play more in a big boy game. Maybe he is just worn down and this will be his last year.
 

patsfanfromoversea

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It was a game for big boys like Jennings, Bentley and Tavai. I was surprised Philips didn't play more in a big boy game. Maybe he is just worn down and this will be his last year.
i would think white belongs in this category and mapu should help with his speed, esp. from the S position with his size
 

Steve102

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SlowGettingUp

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4. DEFENSE:

Beyond the obvious good job by the front 7 by love for what they accomplished is diminished a bit by the 2 names I found prominently missing from anything impactful in the stats or to my memory. I THOUGHT that this would be a game where White and Mapu would shine. I'm not sure either was on the field and I specifically looked for White on several occasions in the 2nd half. Anyone know if they were hurt or what? That's the only negative I would take from the play of the front 7.

On defense, Mapu had 7 snaps and White 18:



And White was actually in the starting base D:

 
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tasmlab

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Can anyone explain the punt after the safety? What was the advantage of doing that instead of kicking off the tee? He didn't need it snapped to him like a fourth down punt. I didn't know it was a type of play that was allowed and don't really get the strategy if it is. Thank you in advance.
 

jimnance

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It was a game for big boys like Jennings, Bentley and Tavai. I was surprised Philips didn't play more in a big boy game. Maybe he is just worn down and this will be his last year.
Phillips has been a very good player for us. But Dugger and Peppers are both better players.
 

Rob0729

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The Pats knew how good Gonzales was on draft day, which makes the trade-down to 17 all the more amazing.

The Pats seemed to know Gonzalez was going to be available. They knew the Jets weren't going to take him. And it looks like it was known that Washington was in love with Emmanuel Forbes. So it was a low risk move for them.
 

jimnance

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Can anyone explain the punt after the safety? What was the advantage of doing that instead of kicking off the tee? He didn't need it snapped to him like a fourth down punt. I didn't know it was a type of play that was allowed and don't really get the strategy if it is. Thank you in advance.
Tees are not allowed for the free kick. Either punt or dropkick
 

patfanken

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Can anyone explain the punt after the safety? What was the advantage of doing that instead of kicking off the tee? He didn't need it snapped to him like a fourth down punt. I didn't know it was a type of play that was allowed and don't really get the strategy if it is. Thank you in advance.
IIRC you actually have a choice. Punting is usually the the kick of choice because of the the combination of distance and hang time.

That being said, what Morstead did on Sunday was extraordinary by any measure. Like it was said, Bill raves about him and now we've seen why. Averaging over 50 yds/punt on 8 punts AND the safety punt? He and their FG kicker are the reasons why the Jets were even in that game and proof positive that special teams matter, even though they have taken away one of the most exciting plays in sports, the KO return.

Edit: @Jimmance is correct you cannot use a tee to KO, but you CAN KO using a holder or digging a hole if you want. I stand partially corrected.
 
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