2020 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: Bye Week

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:

supafly

Suddenly sad and Brady-less
PatsFans.com Supporter
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
They're above .500 with by far the most difficult stretch of their schedule behind them. They still have 6 games against the AFC East on their schedule. They'd have to try hard not to win 11 games.
They just came off of a 3/4 home stretch, so it's hard to consider that the most difficult part of the schedule, especially with a very rare road streak of 5/6 approaching with 2 games above mile high altitude, and games against Oakland, Denver, and Pittsburgh all away from Gillette.
 

TheBostonStraggler

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
I don't think so. See Seahawks and Broncos. Both teams won Superbowls because of their defense and I don't see a lot of prevent from either team. They seem to take pride in playing hard to the end and never letting up.

Every team plays prevent including the teams you noted. To not do so would be inane. When you are up by X and the opposition does not have time for a sufficient number of possessions to tie/take the lead, you play prevent to force a team to use up the clock to assure victory. It's basic football.
The question to ask is 'when' and 'type' of prevent is smart football and when it is not smart football? It's a fair question to ask regarding the end of the Pats/Bucs game.
 

TheBostonStraggler

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The most concerning thing to me, by far, is how badly the team is getting dominated on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Solder is clearly not where he needs to be, Thuney is not where he was last season, Andrews has struggled early, and Cannon has regressed thus far. Cannon and Solder are likely dealing with injury issues. The only one that has played better this season vs. last season is Mason. The hits are very clearly beginning to take a toll on Brady, too. The INT came on a throw that sailed on him because the pocket was beginning to break down. The throws he missed on last night usually seemed to come when pressure off the edge was getting to him because the pocket was breaking down and he had nowhere to go. And this was a team that couldn't even do much as sniff the quarterback in the first 3 weeks of their season. One sack coming in. They were, and have been, piss poor. TB12 Method or not, you cannot, CANNOT, have your 40 year old QB getting hit like that. The body simply doesn't recover like it used to. And we're seeing evidence of Brady being beat up in some of these throws. Meanwhile, the coaching staff is stressing longer-developing routes in the passing game which, as of right now, is basically just trying to force a square peg in a round hole since the OL hasn't shown the ability to hold up in pass pro for that long.

On the defensive side of the ball, Flowers is getting doubled and nobody else is able to consistently stack and shed. Wise has been a pleasant surprise as a rusher, but he's getting moved against the run. Hopefully that's just a rookie issue that will get corrected. Butler is also a rookie and is nowhere near the toilet clogger that Branch was last season. On multiple occasions where Martin busted through the line of scrimmage on 6-8 yard runs, Guy was either freelancing or he was getting blown off the ball and moved in whatever direction they wanted to take him. Hard to tell without seeing the All-22. But the 3-techs, from what I've seen, have been a source of their trouble on that side of the ball. When you couple that with the communication issues, tackling issues, and overall questionable game plans re: coverage concepts that we've seen in the secondary, you get the **** sandwich we saw in the first four weeks. Two of those were corrected last night (game plan and communication) and two were still an issue.

But if you want to look at the reasons why this team has struggled thus far in 2017, start by looking at the trenches.

The OL and DL trench has not been good, agreed. However, on the DL front, Thursday night they got pushed around primarily on that one series. Otherwise I didn't see the Bucs pushing the Patriots DL around. Martin saw gaping holes on that one series (and making some good runs too). Outside of that the Bucs tried to ply the run game but it was not productive. IMHO, the Patriots DL was holding their own in the trenches and it resulted in the D forcing lots of advantageous down/situations.
But agree completely that it needs to get consistent on both sides for the Patriots to be.....ummm the Patriots. For starters it would be a REALLY nice early xmas present for Branch to find his way back to just 90% of 2016 form.
 

Joker

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
all I know is O.J. Simpson brought new meaning to the term "slashing runner" but the next time I hear "he was sent in as a tight end but became a wide receiver" I just might lose what little sanity I have left.
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
From Bedard at BSJ:

The Patriots average 37.6 net yards on punts, the second-lowest in the NFL, while punter Ryan Allen has forced just one fair catch in the entire season and is currently PFF’s lowest graded punter by a significant margin​

I dont know how often it needs to be hammered into the heads of people but using solely net yards as a metric to judge punting is ******ed.

We punt from the opponents 33 yard line. Guess what ? The punt will not go far. If your offense keeps stalling past midfield.. guess what ? Your punt net yards will look worse than if your offense were struggling to get out of their own half and you can just boom that kick. Similarly, you want higher hang time and not distance on those shorter kicks to make sure that coverage gets there.

Wake me when someone actually produces something representative and normalized for situational football about punting.
 
Last edited:

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Fair enough.

For some reason last night Gostkowski's kickoffs were nearly all deep in the end zone. Quite a change from the previous games where he often forced a return, mostly to good effect.

Given all the guys on the roster that are special teams only (how many of them are there?), doesn't seem like they are earning their keep at all. And that's even apart from what feels like a penalty on every play. The good Amendola punt return last night was one of the few plays that has stood out.

???

Our coverage and blocking units look great. No major issues on kicks or punting except for the weird fascination of people with punting yards.

What team are you watching ?
 

aluminum seats

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Wake me when someone actually produces something representative and normalized for situational football about punting.
Agreed..in a vacuum the metrics they're using don't seem to mean much.
. No major issues on kicks or punting except for the weird fascination of people with punting yards.
Agreed on no major issues, but I think the poster there had a point worth bringing up at least… Ghost was kicking deep into the end zone in the Bucs game, and it does seem like the Pats typical MO lately has been to have him kick to the goal line and force a return. I was surprised at that, particularly under two minutes when the time it takes to run out of the end zone can be a factor as well.
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Agreed on no major issues, but I think the poster there had a point worth bringing up at least… Ghost was kicking deep into the end zone in the Bucs game, and it does seem like the Pats typical MO lately has been to have him kick to the goal line and force a return. I was surprised at that, particularly under two minutes when the time it takes to run out of the end zone can be a factor as well.

Given how consistently he has been doing the typical kicks I will just assume that for whatever reason those were coaching decisions. Personally I dont fully get it.. maybe they felt that 3 games in 11 days and only 2-3 days to prepare the ST coverage units for the Bucs were just a risk they were not willing to take.

If there was one thing I learned from that Rams Behind the Scenes show this offseason its that ST coverage units need to gameplan each week anew for each opponent. So maybe that was part of the consideration..

But given the consistency of Ghost on kickoffs for years, I doubt that those deep kicks were him screwing up.
 

aluminum seats

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Given how consistently he has been doing the typical kicks I will just assume that for whatever reason those were coaching decisions. Personally I dont fully get it.. maybe they felt that 3 games in 11 days and only 2-3 days to prepare the ST coverage units for the Bucs were just a risk they were not willing to take.

If there was one thing I learned from that Rams Behind the Scenes show this offseason its that ST coverage units need to gameplan each week anew for each opponent. So maybe that was part of the consideration..

But given the consistency of Ghost on kickoffs for years, I doubt that those deep kicks were him screwing up.
Oh, totally agree how Ghost kicked them was intentional and part of the game plan. Just not sure why it was.

Do the Bucs have a great returner? Embarrassed to say I'm not aware, and don't feel like looking it up.
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Do the Bucs have a great returner? Embarrassed to say I'm not aware, and don't feel like looking it up.

I dont think you are the only one that will have trouble answering that question. According to their depth chart their main returner is rookie Bernard Reedy.

I honestly think that if anything they just didnt want to take the risk of breakdowns on a short week away.
 

slam

In the Starting Line-Up
I dont know how often it needs to be hammered into the heads of people but using soley net yards as a metric to judge punting is ******ed.

We punt from the opponents 33 yard line. Guess what ? The punt will not go far. If your offense keeps stalling past midfield.. guess what ? Your punt net yards will look worse than if your offense were struggling to get out of their own half and you can just boom that kick. Similarly, you want higher hang time and not distance on those shorter kicks to make sure that coverage gets there.

Wake me when someone actually produces something representative and normalized for situational football about punting.
I was curious enough about the notoriously wrongheaded PFF's rating on Allen to do this legwork. I pulled every Allen punt this year, and broke it down by situation, trying to judge each punt by situation. Here's what I found.

He was asked to bail the Patriots out of trouble twice (NWE15 or worse). Both times he punted to the sideline to prevent a return, and the resulting possession started around the NWE45 or so. I'd give that a C+/B-.

He had 5 opportunities to pin back the opponent, punting from the NWE45 or better. Of those, he had 4 punts downed within the 20, 1 touchback. That seems to be an A-.

In the zone of NWE16-30, he's punted 9 times. 5 resulted in OPP 20-35 range, and 4 in the OPP 36-50 range. No catastrophic returns or pinbacks. Probably C+/B-

In the zone of NWE 31-44, he's punted six times. 3 resulted in pinbacks, 2 in the OPP 20-35 range, and 1 in the 36-50 range. No catastrophic returns to NWE territory. Probably B+.

Without doing this for every punter or more than one season, it's hard to say whether this is better or worse than other punters. I think it's worth saying that the only two drives after punts that started in NE territory were the ones where Allen was punting from the goal line. The next worst field position after that was the OPP 40 yard line. I think the room for improvement would be the Middle-Long situations of punting from the NE 16-30 yard line, but what do I know?

It's worth noting that Football Outsiders' DVOA for punting doesn't like the Pats' punting unit much either, ranking them 30th out of 32 after week 4. (Week 5 had four good punt results, so it may improve) Their methodology purports to compare apples to apples rather than whatever it is PFF thinks it's doing.
 

Attachments

  • Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.31.58 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 9.31.58 AM.png
    263.7 KB · Views: 2

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I was curious enough about the notoriously wrongheaded PFF's rating on Allen to do this legwork. I pulled every Allen punt this year, and broke it down by situation, trying to judge each punt by situation. Here's what I found.

He was asked to bail the Patriots out of trouble twice (NWE15 or worse). Both times he punted to the sideline to prevent a return, and the resulting possession started around the NWE45 or so. I'd give that a C+/B-.

He had 5 opportunities to pin back the opponent, punting from the NWE45 or better. Of those, he had 4 punts downed within the 20, 1 touchback. That seems to be an A-.

In the zone of NWE16-30, he's punted 9 times. 5 resulted in OPP 20-35 range, and 4 in the OPP 36-50 range. No catastrophic returns or pinbacks. Probably C+/B-

In the zone of NWE 31-44, he's punted six times. 3 resulted in pinbacks, 2 in the OPP 20-35 range, and 1 in the 36-50 range. No catastrophic returns to NWE territory. Probably B+.

Without doing this for every punter or more than one season, it's hard to say whether this is better or worse than other punters. I think it's worth saying that the only two drives after punts that started in NE territory were the ones where Allen was punting from the goal line. The next worst field position after that was the OPP 40 yard line. I think the room for improvement would be the Middle-Long situations of punting from the NE 16-30 yard line, but what do I know?

It's worth noting that Football Outsiders' DVOA for punting doesn't like the Pats' punting unit much either, ranking them 30th out of 32 after week 4. (Week 5 had four good punt results, so it may improve) Their methodology purports to compare apples to apples rather than whatever it is PFF thinks it's doing.

And this is exactly how you start a conversation about supposed problems in our punting game. Not by looking at a table of net yards and coming to a conclusion.

Kudos to you for actually going through the trouble of compiling those stats. They make him look decisively average so far.

I had a look at the football outsiders methodology explanation for how they get to DVOA numbers for punting but it is anything but transparent (see FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Methods To Our Madness).

This made me look at historic values and it is all over the place. Last year we were the third best team in punting according to their DVOA (+12.1), two years ago we were in the last third (-6.7) and in 2014 we were average (+0.2). Given how volatile the metric has been I am not sure how much it actually reflects a players ability or a teams output especially because there are so many considerations when punting the ball that might be beyond the scope of what they are using for DVOA.
 

SlowGettingUp

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I do agree that Gostkowski's kicks were as directed by the coach. But when you exclude kickoffs, then special teams contested plays become a smaller part of the game - I saw a figure of under 5% of snaps. We have 8 special-teams only players (excluding the 3 specialists). Seems unbalanced to me.
 

patfanken

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
A pretty good conversation about the kicking game. On a team that invests so much talent and effort into the kicking game it is very fair to expect better than average results. To that end, I think our coverage units have done an excellent job. O only remember one KO return go past the 30, while the great majority fail to reach the 25.

At this time of the year, it's clear that before he goes on the field Gotskowski has been told to either make them return it or kick it deep. It's a strategic decision. We just don't know the reason why they would do one or the other. Clearly, they wanted a run back on the last one for obvious reasons.

It's a small sampling, but I think it is fair to criticize Allen. He hasn't been bad, but rather just him being more inconsistent than in previous years. Both he and the Ghost are victims of their own successes. Gotskowski ISN'T going to make all his FG attempts but is next miss is going to bring out the boo birds anyway. :rolleyes:

Finally, the reason why I can only stand to listen to about 2 minutes of talk radio at a time is not only the guys running the shows but the callers as well. When you listen its like NOONE is happy about this game. Stephon Gilmore is the particular target of the outrage. What I can get people to understand, that for the majority of the time he had coverage on Mike Evans, considered at top 10 WR by everyone, and Gilmore held him to 48 yds on 5 catches in BOTH zone and man coverages.

THAT is a great result, yet they still b!tch and moan. Gilmore's issues have NOTHING to do with whether he can cover receivers. CLEARLY, he can. He has been victimized by some bad calls. And while I'm sure he's been PART of the many mental mistakes we have seen in the secondary; I think he has shown enough of why BB gave him a market contract.
 

skinnydog

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Every team plays prevent including the teams you noted. To not do so would be inane. When you are up by X and the opposition does not have time for a sufficient number of possessions to tie/take the lead, you play prevent to force a team to use up the clock to assure victory. It's basic football.
The question to ask is 'when' and 'type' of prevent is smart football and when it is not smart football? It's a fair question to ask regarding the end of the Pats/Bucs game.
Oh, please. The aggressiveness of defenses like the Broncos and Seahawks is night and day compared the this Pats defense from the beginning to the end.
 

TheBostonStraggler

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Oh, please. The aggressiveness of defenses like the Broncos and Seahawks is night and day compared the this Pats defense from the beginning to the end.

So let's see, first 'oh please'. No where did I comment on the level of "aggressiveness" of the teams listed. Second, the point I made, clearly so, was the defenses listed do in fact play prevent. You suggesting they don't is verifiably incorrect.

Lastly, as far as how aggressive their defenses are compared to the Patriots? That is your decision to be mad and/or sad at the lack of the Patriot's aggression comparable to others. My preference is a 3 phase complimentary football team that optimizes the chance of SB victory (personnel will dictate how BB & staff work out that complimentary equation). Whatever D can be or needs to be played to achieve that I am good with. If you are not? That's your own judgment call...
 

Top