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Idle thoughts - the final edition

2021 Patriots Season:
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Pick Results: MIA: 0% at NE: 0%

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Sep 12th

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luuked

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still question Josh's use of James White for TWO short yardage running plays inside the 10, but maybe I should just get used to it, since he's clearly going to keep on doing it, despite my entreaties. It clearly drives me nuts, but the vast majority of what he does has been really, really good over the years.

I think the thing to keep in mind here is to not look at plays like that in isolation but more on a macro level. Is he setting something up ? Does McDaniels want to see how the Jets defend certain things ? Are there any mismatches that can be created ? Do you want White on the field for other calls on second or third down while not letting the opponents sub ?

BTW- did you ever see two more disparate throws than the one he missed a WIDE open Hogan on, followed by the dime he threw to Dorsett....ON the run! What a great throw THAT one was.

I get your point but you are misremembering the sequence of things. The terrible Hogan miss was a lot earlier than the hit to Dorsett. It just happened to be that there was another target to Hogan right before the Dorsett TD but that one was a much, much harder throw under pressure at the end of the endzone than the one you were writing about.

That being said this was one of his best throws this year.

Losing Hill so early in the season was a very underrated injury for us.

Definitely.

I have to say it though. I can't help but wonder if we wouldn't have been better off with the OTHER Georgia RB, who was bigger and had a slightly better year behind a weaker Browns OL.

That depends on whether Michel will make the jump to a full fledged RB who -- once he gets stronger, bigger and has a fuller understanding of the blocking schemes -- will do it all (pass blocking, catching and running). If makes that jump next season he will be a devastating player.

If he stays what he is -- a good back that only runs the ball -- then he was picked too early.

I sometimes think that Dorsett is a very unrated receiver.

Who knows why he is not used more but all I can say is that in the flashes he had last year he showed good hands, understanding of route running and pretty good elusiveness. I blew it with predicting him to be the most improved player of the season when we did the thread at the start but I'd be curious where he'd be if we had not made the Gordon acquisition.

Unfortunately only 2 counted due to a real penalty which so rarely gets called these days it looked like a bad call.

If you are referring to the Dwayne Allen hold then I have to ask you to watch it again. That was one bad, bad call by the refs.

Question for the rewatch guys, has DShelton made a positive difference these last 2 games? Whatever it is, it has been much better recently. Will it carry over?

Having Shelton there is definitely better than Adam Butler or Lawrence Guy. I am sure Shelton would have actually played even in the games he ended up being inactive but you can only have so many on the game day roster and other places seemed to be rated more important. The league should really do away with game day inactives allowing the entire roster to play.

I once thought Adam Gase was going to be a good HC in this league.

It always gives me a chuckle when posters bring him up as someone they wanna see as OC. He had one excellent season in Denver and since then has kept failing as Miami coach. Half-assed a "change of culture" by trading away players that didn't fit the locker room, hung on to Tannehill as a QB, signed a retired Cutler when Tannehill was put on IR...

Unlike really good offensive minds like McD, Shanahan or McVay he really has no trademark thing he does well. In Denver he run the exact same offense that Manning was used to from his days in Indy. There was not a lot of creativity there but mostly surrounding Peyton with talent and letting him do his thing.

I was going to root for the Saints to get to the Superbowl. I respect Drew Brees. However I would have been 5-0 in my pool this week if the Saints had bothered to show up this week against the pathetic and overrated Panthers.

They had their seeding already set in stone, avoided unnecessary risks with key players and were able to make their division rivals drafting position a bit worse by giving them one more win. Apart from screwing over the fans (and some betters) I think they did as well as they could.
 

luuked

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Finally, I called this the "last edition" because it is. I feel like newspapers today with dwindling interest and readership. Besides I have found that there have been too many nights when I'd rather just go to sleep than spend 2 or 3 hours pumping this out. So while I'm not going anywhere and look forward to reading threads and participating in them, I simply don't want to feel the obligation to do this anymore.....even though I really do know that I have no obligation to do this.

Can't wait for the unavoidable encore edition after we win the SB.

My hat tip to your threads Ken.. they have been a blast and a bastion of rational thought and discourse.. Enjoy the time off.. I know I certainly am after I dropped running the rewatch threads.
 
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Doctor DDS

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Was extremely happy to see the offense click even if it was against a depleted Jets team. The pass/run mix was exactly what they'll need if they are going to be successful in the playoffs.

The Brady "demise/cliff...." talk was eerily similar to early 2014 and when all was said and done premature. Despite issues at WR and TE all year the Pats ended up 4th in scoring. The offense did not actually stink as has been reported. Brady had an unfortunate interception year where a higher percentage of tipped balls were picked than usual. Take a couple of them away and his rating ends up over 100. Clearly not a great Brady year but not the reported disaster either.

I loved how Mitchel ran the ball but would like to see him more involved in the passing game. Seemed like he had at least half dozen long runs called back due to dubious holding calls and another half dozen where it seemed he was one tackle/trip up from taking it 75 yards.

Defense seems to have found itself. Finished top 10 in points allowed once again. Besides the fluke game ending play against the Dolphins the defense and the secondary in particular played really well the last 6 or 7 weeks. Hopefully they have cleaned up the earlier issues with giving up long runs.

Pats head into the playoffs as probably the 4th or 5th best team in the NFL and can be knocked out game 1 or win it all. AFC playoffs appear wide open. None of the first round games are close to locks and I think the Past will end up with a tough opponent regardless of outcome. Texans/Ravens/Chargers will all present unique challenges. Am excited to see how it plays out.

My hope is for 2007 AFCCG rematch - Chargers beat Ravens, Texans beat Colts - Chargers beat KC, Pats beat Texans, Chargers then Cowboys (though expect the Saints)
 

PlanB

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When I read "final edition" in the title of your post, I couldn't believe you were giving up of the Patriots. Then I read further. Thank you for all your long nights and great recaps. Your post was the first one I looked for the morning after a game.
 

borg

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PFK.......you will be missed tremendously. Just remember, Dante lost purpose during his brief retirement and quickly altered course and climbed back on the carousel.

I can't believe I might have to get my Monday morning game critiques from PatsFans.Com articles whose contributors have yet to master 6th grade writing skills.
 

tasmlab

Starting QB, won 20 SBs, number is retired
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f. Finally, I called this the "last edition" because it is. I feel like newspapers today with dwindling interest and readership. Besides I have found that there have been too many nights when I'd rather just go to sleep than spend 2 or 3 hours pumping this out. So while I'm not going anywhere and look forward to reading threads and participating in them, I simply don't want to feel the obligation to do this anymore.....even though I really do know that I have no obligation to do this. ;)

Sorry to hear this, Ken. This is my favorite football article in the world, no exaggeration. Thanks so much for doing it and here's hoping the writing/analysis bug bites you again once the Pats kick off their first game in September 2019.
 

Pat the Pats Fan

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:)Ken, your’s is the first thing I look for every morning on pats fans.com after a game. It’s always well written and full of insights. Hopefully you will choose to pen additional posts about their next three playoff wins...:)
Happy new year...
 

shmessy

Northern VA/Retired
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Lots of interesting things happening around the league today. Unfortunately, nothing really interesting about the game today. The Jets would be undermanned with a full roster. They didn't even seem to have that today. So while the run game was adequate (13o odd yards) and the passing game certainly looked sharper than it has recently, you can hardly measure this team against what they were contending with today. On the plus side they did EXACTLY what they had to do, and the score reflected that. On the down side, its been 16 games and many of the same questions about the offense and defense remain the same. While some have been answered, others have popped up.

What can we expect from Gronk? Is Brady teetering on the "cliff"? Can the front seven stop a competent rushing attack or get enough pressure to at least control a good passing attack? Will our receivers be able to get open against a good secondary? etc ,etc.

These are just some of the questions we will be discussing over the next two weeks as we see who the Pats will match up with. I'm sure I don't know the answers to any of these question. I just know they exist and are legitimate concerns which over the next month (we hope) will be either resolved or not. You just don't know in the playoffs where every team can beat anyone on a given day. But it's midnight and time to break it down.

1. General offensive observations. - The offense looked decent. Brady completed over 70% of his passes. The run game was competent, if not dominant, and they were relatively successful in the red zone. What's to hate about a 35 point win that included 4 offensive TD's and FG. I still question Josh's use of James White for TWO short yardage running plays inside the 10, but maybe I should just get used to it, since he's clearly going to keep on doing it, despite my entreaties. It clearly drives me nuts, but the vast majority of what he does has been really, really good over the years. So maybe I should just chill over the "small stuff". ;) Finally, the jet sweep seems to continue to be very successful regardless of who is running it, be it Jules or Dorsett, with 40 gained on 4 attempts

2. QB - a vast improvement. Brady moved much better in the pocket today. More importantly he moved much more CONFIDENTLY and decisively today. Much less of the reacting to "ghosts" and pressure. More stepping up and finding those 2nd and 3rd options. Fewer times he threw off his back foot. Maybe there WAS no injury. Maybe its starting to heal. I'd like to think it was the latter, and having an extra week off will make it even better going forward.

Like I said he completed 72% of his passes for 250 yds on only 33 attempts. A sold performance that will silence at least some of the critics. IIRC he had over 160 yds in the first half, so clearly his attempts were going to drop in a second half where the Pats were in total control all game.

Here's the main question we will eventually find out. In the past, to blitz Tom Brady was to invite disaster. Over the years his rating when blitzed were significantly higher than when he was not. I don't think this has been the case over the last half of this season. Will Brady either create the time to throw to the open man, or will beat the blitz with the correct quick throw like he's done so often in the past. Recently teams that have blitzed, especially up the middle have had some success because either Brady was unable to make the first man miss (like he had done so often) or throw accurately to the correct target. Much more often we have seen him give up on the play against the blitz by either going down, or quickly throwing it away and not even trying to hit anyone.

Again it could have been because of the injury. I'd like to think it was, but we will never know. At least for the next couple of months...if ever. BTW- did you ever see two more disparate throws than the one he missed a WIDE open Hogan on, followed by the dime he threw to Dorsett....ON the run! What a great throw THAT one was.

3. OL - Great job by then in pass protection. Only one sack, and the only hit Brady took during the game outside of the sack was the extraordinarily dumb late hit he took. On the other hand the run game was more feast or famine, where a number of 7-12 yd gashes were mixed up with too many (imo) 0-2 yd gains.

Bottom line - the OL is clearly one of the two obvious strengths of this team. Not exactly dominating, but definitely efficient and more importantly consistent.

4. RB's - Sony Michel had a very good rookie year. He rushed for 931 yds for a 4.5ypc average in just over 200 carries while missing 3 games. Nothing at all to complain about there. But his play is not above some criticism, and not all of it his fault. Clearly he is NOT a consistent short yardage runner. Way too often this season we failed to make as many 3rd and shorts and GL conversions as we have become used to when we had guys like LGB, and ASmiith on the roster. I'd like to think that he'll get a little stronger over the years, but I don't think SY is a good role for him. But getting stronger will likely allow him to have more 20+ yd runs in the future. Sony only had 4 this season. Many of the top runners had twice that many and more, including his bigger Georgia buddy Nick Chubb, who had 11 Losing Hill so early in the season was a very underrated injury for us.

What I love about him is that he has a great instinct to finding the right hole to attack. He also runs hard, but isn't likely to run through anyone. Another important positive is that he's shown great ball security fumbling only ONCE in 209 carries. IIRC that was a problem in his college days. Next year he will likely see some more looks in the passing game as he only caught 7 balls this season. He had a reputation of being an excellent receiver in college.

I have to say it though. I can't help but wonder if we wouldn't have been better off with the OTHER Georgia RB, who was bigger and had a slightly better year behind a weaker Browns OL. (996 yds, on 195 carries for a 5.4 ypc average with 8 TD's and 20 receptions)

Burkhead and White both did their usual efficient jobs as receivers scoring 2 of the Pats TD's James also had a few very nice runs in the middle of the field and did nothing in short yardage.

5. Receivers - Tom Brady said he's sorry to Chris Hogan today with 11 targets. ;). He unfortunately missed him on the easy one, when Hogan broke so open no Jet player was even in the picture, but at least when Hogan got open, Brady threw him the ball.

Dorsett and Jules were also very effective. Dorsett matched Jules with his 5 catches on 5 targets, including that very nifty one in the end zone where Brady was doing his best DWatson impression. I sometimes think that Dorsett is a very unrated receiver.

Even Gronk got in the picture with 3 receptions. Unfortunately only 2 counted due to a real penalty which so rarely gets called these days it looked like a bad call.

The biggest question for the offense this playoff run will be if Gronk can even approach being the weapon he has been for the first 8 years of his career. If he can, then it will open up the entire passing offense and make the rest of the receivers more effective. If he can't then teams will freeze up Edelman and White and effectively shut down the passing offense. Here's hoping.

6. General Defensive observations. I like what I'm seeing from the defense. We know the pass coverage is going to be pretty good, since it has been all year. But the front 7 vs the run has been very shaky until recently. We stopped the Bills run game, but was it because it was Buffalo? Well the Bills put up over 160 rushing yds today vs Miami, while doing little vs the Pats. Today the Pats allowed the Jets' RB's about 70 yds on 22 carries, and despite allowing a 28 yd run to Darnald, it was the only one. Question for the rewatch guys, has DShelton made a positive difference these last 2 games? Whatever it is, it has been much better recently. Will it carry over?

The role of the front seven is to stop the run and provide pressure on the passer. So far so good.....for the last 2 games.

7. Front Seven - Lots of pressure that resulted in 4 sacks and double that many hits and even more pressures. Lots of impressive plays including High's tackle for a loss on the first series, to TWO 4th and 1 stops, to Derrick Rivers first sack, to DFlowers FF, and KVN's scoop and score. I should note that over this season the LB's have show a lot of improvement in their coverage.

This certainly wasn't a great offense they were facing. It was even a good one. But they HAD put up 38 points last week, and today only managed 3. Not something you should dismiss by calling the Jets a "tomato can".

8. Special Teams - Did a nice job overall. Add more comments if you choose

9. Officiating. This was Walt Coleman's last regular season game after 30 years in the league. As we all know he played a part in Patriots' history for simply making the right and obvious call one snowy night in January 2002. He might be infamous in Oakland, but it's an unjust appellation. He was simply doing his job.

Well he did his job well again. His crew threw few flags and kept the game moving well. For the most part they were invisible, which is what we'd all like the officials to be in every game.

10. General League comments -

a. Did you guys have as hard a time as I did trying to figure out WHICH team you wanted to see lose their chance to be in the playoffs between the Steelers and Ravens. Could there be 2 more hateful fan bases and teams than those 2? How can you choose. To me the Ravens are the worst. I think I hate them more than any other team in the league. Far more than the Jets. Finally while I was watching the final 2 minutes of the Cleveland game, with Cleveland driving for the winning FG, needing only about 8 more yards to be in range, that I decided I wanted the Ravens to win. '

Why? Well because, while they might seem to be a more "dangerous team". I don't think so. Plus I don't fear them like many do. 2009 was a LONG time ago, and they aren't nearly as good now. In the end I decided I would gain more satisfaction beating the Ravens than the Steelers. Plus the picture of the Steelers and a nearly full stadium become completely DEFLATED when their last gasp pass was picked off was simply PRICELESS. I look forward to seeing it over and over again this week. :D

b. I once thought Adam Gase was going to be a good HC in this league. He clearly had the best record against the Pats in the division recently. But to have his team simply give up in Buffalo and get embarrassed makes me wonder whether he will be back next season.

c I was going to root for the Saints to get to the Superbowl. I respect Drew Brees. However I would have been 5-0 in my pool this week if the Saints had bothered to show up this week against the pathetic and overrated Panthers. They cost me up to $300 and I hope they go one and done now. ;)

d. Got to be hard for the Chargers to be 12-4 and have to play this playoff season on the road. I know I'd be pissed. Good thing they don't have many fans....though they should have.

e. Boy, Minnesota has to be the NFC's most disappointing team. Especially losing a must win game in such an uninspiring a manner AT HOME. Of course that disappointment can be tripled compared to what the Jags did this season. Has there been a team in recent years that did less with MORE than the Jags?

f. Finally, I called this the "last edition" because it is. I feel like newspapers today with dwindling interest and readership. Besides I have found that there have been too many nights when I'd rather just go to sleep than spend 2 or 3 hours pumping this out. So while I'm not going anywhere and look forward to reading threads and participating in them, I simply don't want to feel the obligation to do this anymore.....even though I really do know that I have no obligation to do this. ;)

Consistently the best Patriots ;)[/QUOTE]

The greatest Patriots reads ever over the years, Ken. Sadly, there will never be anything comparable. I fully understand your last paragraph and just want to pass along my gratitude for the years of game analysis.

Zei gezunt, happy trails and thank you.
 
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Ian

Administrator
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This has been far and away one of the most enjoyable threads that I've looked forward to reading each week from one of the most terrific posters on here. You're one of the best, @patfanken - not much else I can say and hopefully you know how fortunate we all are to have you here.
 

denverpatsfan

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Thank you Ken for all of your well thought out post game analysis. I always looked forward to them. Hope you will return on a limited basis in the future.
 

PatsFan37

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Here's hoping a few folks with a lot more football knowledge than me will see Ken's well-deserved retirement as a challenge. It will take more than one to fill the void. And I hope Ken finds those columns and throws in his idle two cents.

Thank you, Ken!
 
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