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Idle thoughts - the 2-1 edition

2021 Patriots Season:
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Next Up: vs Dolphins
Pick Results: MIA: 0% at NE: 0%

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Sep 12th

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sb1

Pro Bowl Player
Ken, terrific write up. As has been mentioned above, I think we're seeing the emergence of a RB committee, that includes the QB. Can't wait to see how this team approaches KC.



I liked TFB's "**** you" attitude toward the rest of the league. It's what we, as a fanbase, needed and wanted. Don't see the need to denigrate him.

Regardless, I'm very much into the vibe Cam brings. It's exactly what is needed NOW.
I just think Cam is a much more enjoyable QB to watch this year. The offense is more unpredictable - and it’s better too at least compared to last year.
 

luuked

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The Bills offense is legit. That was the first good team they played and when Allen doesn’t make mistakes they can score. Defense... dunno what to make of them. Did they regress? Gave up 28 to the Dolphins and then allowed 29 yesterday in the second half. 167 yards rushing allowed. That doesn’t bode well if we are a strong running team. Last years Buffalo defense wouldn’t have done all of that that. Only week 3 though.

I wonder how different the takes about the Bills would be if they didn't get the game handed to them by a ref on a ridiculous PI call on 4th & 9 at the end. One flag turns "epic collapse" into "mentally tough to come back".

They are not a bad team by any stretch, but to me their 3-0 record is more impressive than their overall play so far.
 

jimnance

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Ken,

You need to go stand in the corner for a while. Yesterday's MVP was Thuney, by far. He moved to the most difficult position on the line and didn't miss a beat or a block. The running game took off because of him. The OL had it's best game in a while. It's now going to be twice as hard to sign him to an extension.

Onwenu's stock is rising pretty fast. He's a 350 pounder who moves like a nimble fox. He pulls like a beast.

I think Thuney is the best player on the team right now. Last year I thought he was the 2nd best player, after Gilmore.
Hes not " just a guard", albeit a great one.
Btw,Hog Hannah was " just a guard".
Thats for the people who think Belichick wont cough up the $ for " just a guard".
Really hope they can keep him.
 

reflexblue

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We desperately need help at linebacker and receiver. I missed your thoughts last week, but sorry Ken, we still need an upgrade at receiver. At this point, we look like a contender if we add a few tweaks. I trust Bill will get it done. Maybe, Uche can be our lb? How long is he out? What about Jennings?

Another WR needs to come from outside the team. Time for a trade. Cam and the running backs can’t carry the team alll season. I’d still like to see what Asiasi and Keene can do as the season progresses.
Maybe Hightower can be talked into opting back in.
 

reflexblue

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I have recently seen that a player (dont remember the team or player) that said he was opting back in. I'll see if i can find it.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
I don’t believe so, decision was final.

Yeah I'm sure once you're out you're out. Opt-in would cause a lot of problems with protocols which goes without saying. And if they're not football-ready it won't be worth it anyway.
 

Bill Lee

What, me worry?
3. RB's - Well they certainly were the straw that stirred the drink, and you would never have thought THAT after watching the first quarter when it looked like we would see more of the same from the RB's that we saw in Seattle. Sony had his best day as a Pat as he showed power AND moves that got him his 2 longest runs of his career. Rex was cat quick and decisive as all the RB's maximized the yardage that was there in this game. You aren't going to lose too many games where you average 6.6 ypc (which included 4 kneel downs) Also it should be mentioned that Jacob Johnson has continued to improve his impact on the game with some fine blocking. And JJ Taylor continues to earn touches though he had a drop that might have been a TD. He certainly looks like he belongs out there.
Yep, Sony had the kind of game I hope makes some of the negative nancys STFU about him, but I doubt it. For some reason they have something invested in declaring our own players to be busts.
Michel had a career long rush of 48 yards, rushing for 117 yards on 9 carries for the day. Michel also tacked on two receptions for 23 yards, finishing with 140 total yards of offense.

a. I am SOOOOO over Jim Nance and his "hot take" about the tuck play. The ONLY reason it became such a hot button issue is because the 2 announcers on that day had NO clue about the rule. I know I didn't and thought the game was over. I even shut the TV off and got on the computer to congratulate a Raider fan I conversed with over at the old KFFL site. It was only because they had no clue as to what the rule was about that the "controversy" even started. If they had had a ref in the booth like they do now, it wouldn't have been such a big deal because he would have been able to explain WHY it wasn't a fumble and the football world would have moved on.

Instead this Nance mook brings it up like it happened yesterday, not 20 years ago, and might as well have had his Raider's cap on when he said it. The Pats got screwed FAR worse back in 78 in that playoff game where the Raiders got call after call after call. Forget the Ben Dreith call, there were some far worse calls in that 4th quarter. Oackland fans have nothing to complain about after that robbery.
Indeed, and their lust to be 'salty' means that's all they talk about with regard to one of the best games of all time and my 2nd favorite game ever behind SB36. Brady had two near flawless drives at the end of the game and in OT, and AV made two amazing kicks to win the Snow Bowl (not the 'tuck rule' game), the last game ever played at old Foxborough Stadium.

The game shows why Gruden is a loser: He'd rather focus on one play and blame the refs rather than take responsibility for all the rest, especially the two drives at the end of the game and in OT that his team could not stop.
 

p8ryts

In the Starting Line-Up
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
I wasn't sure what we'd get to see from the Raiders. They have a lot of speed and top draft picks on both their offense AND defense, and of course who could tell what we'd get from from an offense that lacked David Andrews and James White. In fact one of the things I looked forward to the most before this game was how the Pats were going to handle replacing David Andrews this week.

So the Raiders where coming off a good win and a great one scoring over 30 ppg with a very efficient offense and a suspect defense. Well it didn't look great when the Pats started off this game with what amounted to three 3 and outs in the first period, while at the same time it looked like the Raiders where going to run all over the Pats inn the ground game and get picked apart by the Raiders precision passing game.


Well after the the final gun was fired, I think we got a win (and that's important) but we also still have a lot of question marks that will likely take weeks to answer. So let's break it down.

Offense:

1. General offensive thoughts'

I'm still fascinated by what I'm seeing on the offense. - In the first game it was all on Cam and his legs and a so so job by the running backs to beat Miami. In the second game the offense scored over 30 almost entirely on Cam's arm and the WR's. This game we essentially get one Cam run, not much from the WR's, while the offense revolved almost entirely on the RB's both on the ground AND in the air. I can't wait to see what they have planned for this week in KC. Overall the offense responded REALLY well over the 2nd half in creating a positive time of possession. Over the first 2 game the Raiders had over 34 minutes controlling the ball. Today it was the Pats who had the 34 minutes of time.

2. The QB-

This wasn't Cam's best outing. He looked very confused in the first quarter where they only got 2 first downs and one of those was by a penalty. But that's why they play 4 quarters. Seemed like they had a completely different game plan, which didn't start to take off until Josh made some adjustments to the run game to take advantage of what LV was doing to stop them (Vagas was doing a lot of penetrating along the LOS with both their LB's and SS's and it was very effective for the first 15 minutes.

The pick he threw was particularly bad. First because from the start the DB had the best shot at the ball, AND he missed an WIDE open man just over where he threw the ball. I think it was Assiasi who turned upfield when Cam started to scramble. HIs man stayed in the flat, so when I saw Cam getting ready to throw the ball, I felt sure he'd have a wide open guy. Instead he threw it almost directly to the DB who let Assiasi go free. It was only in the replays that I saw a Pats receiver coming across the field just behind the DB, but he never had a chance.

On the plus side, BB complimented Cam for getting the Pats into the right play on several occasions. So that early criticism of him seems to be improving. That being said, I think I'd like to see Cam develop a bit more touch on some of his short passes, especially along the GL.

BTW- I think Cam's best move was his snake slide off the bench in the final moments of the game. ;)

3. RB's - Well they certainly were the straw that stirred the drink, and you would never have thought THAT after watching the first quarter when it looked like we would see more of the same from the RB's that we saw in Seattle. Sony had his best day as a Pat as he showed power AND moves that got him his 2 longest runs of his career. Rex was cat quick and decisive as all the RB's maximized the yardage that was there in this game. You aren't going to lose too many games where you average 6.6 ypc (which included 4 kneel downs) Also it should be mentioned that Jacob Johnson has continued to improve his impact on the game with some fine blocking. And JJ Taylor continues to earn touches though he had a drop that might have been a TD. He certainly looks like he belongs out there.

BTW- THRILLED to see Sony get some looks in the passing game. Back in college it was thought he had good hands.....and I think it was Sony who had that great blitz pick up in the 2nd half.

4. WR's - As busy as they were in Seattle, that's how quiet they were back at Gillette. All three WR just accounted for 7 catches and 84 yds among the 3 WR's. It seemed that this lack of attention to the WR's was planned because they were rarely a factor

5 TE's - For the 3rd consecutive game the TE group was a complete non-factor. I don't know if that is by design, and for all we know they might get 15 targets next week, but so far at least no one is working out well, at least as far as receiving part of the job goes. OTOH, both Izzo and Assiasi were very effective blockers over the course of the game.

6. The OL - Lots of pluses as far as I was concerned. Thuney was great given he only had a week to prepare. I honestly thought Frodholt would have gotten the start, but they clearly thought Onwenu was up to the task at LG. I mean who would have thought when they pick some no name G from Michigan in the 6th round he'd be starting in the 3rd game of the season AND have a significant number of snaps in the first 2. On one hand you can say, what a find. On the other hand, you have to wonder about Frodholt that this kid just went right by him on the depth chart. Kudos to Elumenour as well. It hasn't been perfect, but to my eyeballs, he's held his own in pass blocking and has been a real plus in the run game. Mason and Wynn continued their good play at the start of the season/

7. General defensive thoughts.

As bad as the Pats front 7 looked in the run game in the first half (and it WAS Bad for the 2nd game in a row), I was very pleasantly surprised to see how much improved they were coming out in the 2nd half when they pretty much shut down the Raiders run game the entire half. I'm still not happy with the ILB play. Bentley looks slow and indecisive most of the time. I am really looking forward to the rewatch thread and others who break down the film to figure out exactly what changes they made that cause such a remarkable turn around. Once they started to force LV into 3rd and longs, they started to get off the field consistently in the second half (until that last garbage time TD,

I was getting very irritated by the lack of good run defense in the first half. You can't win games if you can't stop the run. now lets see if they can do it consistently. By by any measure they really need to add speed to their LB group..

The worst thing I can think of that can happen to a defense is to give up a TD in less than 35 seconds at the end of the half. That was horrible. The only other time I think they ever did that was in the 2014 Superbowl when they allowed Seattle to go right down the field for a TD after the Pats scored late in the 2nd My other complaint about the defense was they screwed up their substitutions 3 times and had to use their last TO just 2 minutes into the 4th quarter.

8. Front 7 - I thought the DL and OLB's played pretty well, but,, at at least at the start of the game, the ILB's played soft again. Sorry to mention it again, but I was a LB and its a sore point to me. Back in the day when I played inside LB, I was meant to feel that if I wasn't at least in on the pile on EVERY running play, then I wasn't doing a very good job. It; was different when I moved to the outside, but even then I expected to be in on most of the tackles even if it was to just pile on. ;)

I'll be looking to see how many snaps my binky, Bryon Cowart got. On the few plays I'd watched him specifically, he wasn't getting moved back. I'm hoping that over the course of the season, he and Guy can be the main bulwarks of the inside run game.

Winnovich is getting really good push on his pass rushes. What he needs to do is to start to get separation from the blocker once he gets to the QB. Too often he walked the blocker right by the QB and had trouble disengaging from his push. But clearly he has shown improvement in his pass rush.

Also good to see that Derrick Rivers had a QB hit.

9. DB's - Boy our CB's can give a clinic on how to tackle on the corners. They once again made most of the catches that where made against man, very tough grabs. Disappointed that Gilmore had another key PI, but on the replay it looked like it was probably a good idea to grab his arm because if he hadn't it might have been a TD.

Good to seed Dugger and Williams getting significant snaps during this game. Williams did another great job on Waller. He'd been their most productive receiver over the first 3 games and didn't get a sniff of the ball until the game was over. And it wasn't just Williams. Dugger, Gilmore and JC Jackson got their shots at him. It will be interesting this week to see how they play Kelce or if they have even some success holding him down..

10. Special teams -

You know, even though all of Folk's FG tries were relatively short today, I was thinking that they were being kicked straighter and more decisively.....right up until the missed extra point. Well you can't have everything. (though I thought I saw that Gotskowski had SIX FG's including the game winner today.

Only 2 punts today for Baily but they were both beauties. Great coverage lead directly to the fumble/TD for Wise.

11. General thoughts

a. I am SOOOOO over Jim Nance and his "hot take" about the tuck play. The ONLY reason it became such a hot button issue is because the 2 announcers on that day had NO clue about the rule. I know I didn't and thought the game was over. I even shut the TV off and got on the computer to congratulate a Raider fan I conversed with over at the old KFFL site. It was only because they had no clue as to what the rule was about that the "controversy" even started. If they had had a ref in the booth like they do now, it wouldn't have been such a big deal because he would have been able to explain WHY it wasn't a fumble and the football world would have moved on.

Instead this Nance mook brings it up like it happened yesterday, not 20 years ago, and might as well have had his Raider's cap on when he said it. The Pats got screwed FAR worse back in 78 in that playoff game where the Raiders got call after call after call. Forget the Ben Dreith call, there were some far worse calls in that 4th quarter. Oackland fans have nothing to complain about after that robbery.

b. The Bill have been VERY impressive this season, and Miami has played pretty well too. Only the Jets are starting like the Jets. ;) The AFCE is a much stronger division this year.

c.. The Texans are now 0-3 and unless they turn things around VERY quickly, this could be BOB's last season as their HC.
My favorite play of the game was Sony stopping that blitzer dead in his tracks and then continuing to block him out of the play. Also I love generally watching the OL blocking, sometimes it just looks perfectly blocked just like on the board. Congrats to Josh, (I was cussing him out early on) but inserting JJ and starting to go wide was the perfect antidote, game over. Jacob's injury was a factor. It was great to win a game decisively when the QB was not very effective. What to do about Bentley? It's not working. BB can only work so many miracles. Apologies to Deatrich Wise. I've been trying to get him cut for two years but yesterday I thought he was effective in both run and pass. Hope he can sustain it. Still need Allen to play and be effective. If Calhoun can continue to contribute the defense has some potential. I repeat-what to do about Bentley? It's not working.
 

p8ryts

In the Starting Line-Up
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
We were lucky to draft and develop Edelman and Gronk from 2009-2011. Mickey-D has never known what to do with tight ends. He inherited Gronk who is a HOF talent so had to use him. Before 2008 did nothing with Watson. Didn't develop any TEs in Denver or St Louis. Hasn't developed any TEs in New England either ever since.

.
I don't know, I thought Cam was repeating Brady yesterday, forcing the ball to Edelman in triple coverage. Asiasi was open a couple times. They can't catch passes if they are not targeted. No we were not lucky to draft Edelman and Gronk. That was BB the much maligned GM developing a football player and rolling the dice on an injured player with great potential.
 

p8ryts

In the Starting Line-Up
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Ken,

You need to go stand in the corner for a while. Yesterday's MVP was Thuney, by far. He moved to the most difficult position on the line and didn't miss a beat or a block. The running game took off because of him. The OL had it's best game in a while. It's now going to be twice as hard to sign him to an extension.

Onwenu's stock is rising pretty fast. He's a 350 pounder who moves like a nimble fox. He pulls like a beast.
I say pay the man, and I probably wouldn't say that about anyone else.
 

p8ryts

In the Starting Line-Up
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Yep, Sony had the kind of game I hope makes some of the negative nancys STFU about him, but I doubt it. For some reason they have something invested in declaring our own players to be busts.



Indeed, and their lust to be 'salty' means that's all they talk about with regard to one of the best games of all time and my 2nd favorite game ever behind SB36. Brady had two near flawless drives at the end of the game and in OT, and AV made two amazing kicks to win the Snow Bowl (not the 'tuck rule' game), the last game ever played at old Foxborough Stadium.

The game shows why Gruden is a loser: He'd rather focus on one play and blame the refs rather than take responsibility for all the rest, especially the two drives at the end of the game and in OT that his team could not stop.
Nobody remembers that the Raiders had the ball with 2nd and 2 for a first down that probably would have won the game. Bruschi nailed the back on 2nd down and the Raiders lost. They had their chance.
 

Wordsmyth

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We desperately need help at linebacker and receiver. I missed your thoughts last week, but sorry Ken, we still need an upgrade at receiver. At this point, we look like a contender if we add a few tweaks. I trust Bill will get it done. Maybe, Uche can be our lb? How long is he out? What about Jennings?

Another WR needs to come from outside the team. Time for a trade. Cam and the running backs can’t carry the team alll season. I’d still like to see what Asiasi and Keene can do as the season progresses.
We probably will have to trade one of our RBs for a WR. I'd be willing to give up Damien Harris. Just my $.02.
 

sb1

Pro Bowl Player
I'm still nervous about what offenses run by the likes Mahomes and Lamar and Allen to a lesser extent might do to this defense. Guess we'll find out shortly.
 

borg

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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
At some point this team will need an end zone target. Right now, that target does not exist.

Hats off to the OL run blocking. Given their inability to create space for the NE RBs in weeks 1 & 2, I’m calling this week’s success an anomaly, and pointing out LV is a bottom 5 rush defense thru week 3.
Similarly, NE’s week 2 passing success had everything to do with Seattle’s sucktitude defending the pass in general and in missing 2 key DBs vs NE specifically. Truthfully, the Cam-led passing attack has been less than impressive vs two middle of the pack secondaries. Cam’s decision making was scary yesterday.

This season already reminds me of last year. A dominant defense vs mistake prone offenses but combustible vs talent rich, well coached offensive teams.

2-1 was expected at this point

The season begins next week.
Has Bill been able to solve the Tyreek Hill dilemma? Given Gilmore’s inability to match speed so far this season, I doubt Gilmore gets the assignment.
Bill has his young pieces now to cover Kelce.
KC showed some vulnerabilities vs the Super Chargers so I have some early hope that the Pats O will put up points, I just wonder how NE will slow down an offense capable of mimicking Seattle’s deep ball game.
Hope Baltimore bruises the crap out of the defending champs
 

mikey m

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
We desperately need help at linebacker and receiver. I missed your thoughts last week, but sorry Ken, we still need an upgrade at receiver. At this point, we look like a contender if we add a few tweaks. I trust Bill will get it done. Maybe, Uche can be our lb? How long is he out? What about Jennings?

Another WR needs to come from outside the team. Time for a trade. Cam and the running backs can’t carry the team alll season. I’d still like to see what Asiasi and Keene can do as the season progresses.
Uche is eligible to return week 7. I believe we have a Michigan fan here who is high on his ability to play off the line which is desperately needed.
 
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203Pat

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
My positives:
The RB's as a whole looked great. Burkhead was a man possessed when he got near the goal line and ended up with 3 TD's in the James White role. Even Sony ran well although it would be nice to see your first round back finish those long runs in the end zone and not get ran down by a LB.

Joe Thuney really can do it all didn't see any drop off with him at center which also speaks in large part to Owenu and how well he played filling in.

Winovich is coming on. He has made a play or two in each game so far this year and made a huge strip sack when the Raiders were really clicking on offense and he derailed them. Hoping he keeps making strides and eventually pairs with his old Wolverine teammate, Uche, by the end of the year.

Lawrence Guy ate up a double team in order to free up Wino and recovered the fumble as well. Bounced back after a subpar game last week to his usual solid self. Wise was also creating some disruptions as well creating a solid rotation on DL.

In the middle:
The defense as a whole. Basically a tale of two halves. Started off the game making Jacobs look like last year against Derrick Henry in the playoffs. He was running for 4 yards before he was even touched early on then they seemed to get that under control. Giving up that TD before the half was terrible but they were able to clamp down and ended up holding the Raiders to 3 of 9 on third downs. Also completely shutting down Waller was big. I don't know if he was banged up or if he was out there for most of the snaps but whatever Bill and co did they were able to completely erase him.

The bad:
Gilmore. He is starting to make me nervous that he is still having issues we really didn't see all of last year. That's three PI's now after somehow getting burnt my Nelson Agholor who is no speed burner. Then he ended up on the sideline which isn't good for your highest paid player and reigning DPOY. By no means is he playing terribly but he isn't the erase his side of the field guy he was last year.

Cam didn't look great. He forced the ball into triple coverage at least two or three times from what I remember and threw a pick he should've just tossed out of bounds or bailed and took the sack. The offense couldn't seem to get it together early with a few three and outs and one bailed out by the offsides on the punt. That old Brady/McDaniels fake one way toss it the other way screen Cam narrowly avoided disaster. He wasn't awful but comparing this game to his first two this was easily the worst of the bunch.

Special teams still seems to have some issues. I am not sure what is going on with some of the kick returns and how we cant even manage to get to the 20. I think we know what we have with Folk at this point, a kicker who you really shouldn't let him kick past 40 yards and you will never feel confident with any of his kicks (or extra points).
 

DarrylS

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2019 Weekly Picks Winner
I think you are overreacting to him being called for DPI calls in consecutive game. Last week he more or less had Metcalf under control except for that deep ball where he was perfectly in coverage on him and even got the hand on the ball but DK held on. The week before the same was the case for Parker until he left the game.

So far I don't really see any fall off from previous years. But then again I don't expect any player to win 100% of their snaps so maybe we are applying a different measure.

Also I doubt that someone who is going into his ninth year in the league and has played his position at the highest level for 2-3 years suddenly gets "found out" as if he had some kind of weakness hiding for 8 years.

While I do not disagree he seems more "vulnerable" than he did last year, perhaps "figuring him out" was poor terminology...

Didn't last year he have only 20% of balls thrown at the receiver he covered completed??....
 

DaBruinz

Pats, B's, Sox
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Ken - Disappointed that you didn't mention anything regarding the blocking by the RBs on passing plays or the blocking by the WRs on running plays.
Sony and Taylor both had key blitz pick-ups during the game. Sony's was on a delayed blitz that would have creamed Cam, but he stood the LB up TWICE..

The WRs blocking was fantastic. Particularly Harry. Numerous plays where they blocked LBs to help spring things outside..
 
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