Idle Thoughts - the morning edition -

2020 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: at Chargers
Pick Results: NE: 90.3% at LAC: 9.7%

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Dec 6th

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patfanken

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Last week we managed what most people thought was an improbable win down in Atlanta, despite not having Gronk, DA., and Vareen. This week we have a similar task, taking on on another highly regarded, talented team….on the road. Only this time we have to do it without Gronk ,Vareen and possibly DA, but also without Vince, Ridley, and possibly one of the young WR’s :eek:

So my feelings this week are very much like last. Its going to be very hard to go into Cincinnati and win a game against a very talented and desperate team, coming off an unexpected loss, especially since we are going to be down as many as 3 MORE key people than last week. Hard to see a win when you wrap your head around that

But these are the Pats my friends and it’s a good thing that THEY don’t look at it that way. While still being a flawed and developing team, at this point in the season, despite the 4-0 start, they have shown one critical trait that is necessary to any team that expects to be playing deep in January - mental toughness.

You all know that I have long preached that the actual talent level across a 53 man roster is pretty equal n the NFL. I would wager only about a 5-10% difference from the best to the worst rosters in pure athletic talent. In so many close games it comes down more to “will” than “talent”. Which team keeps its focus. Which team keeps its discipline. Which team has the best and most adaptable coaches and game plan.

So in this aspect I can hang my hat on a decent chance to win this game, DESPITE all the injuries we are dealing with and the tough challenge we face today. We can all be fairly sure that our team will be going into this game with a slightly better game plan. That they will be a bit faster to figure out whatever new wrinkles the Bengals throw at us. And that at the end of a close game it is likely to be our team who is likely to be the team that will execute better

So in the end of the run up to this game, its once again a matter of, “expect the worst, hope for the best and pray that regardless of the score, we wind up healthy at the end of the game.

OK after that long and rambling opening here are some things I’ll be watching closely this game.

1. The best vs. the best. This is likely to be the best DL we face this year. Well I think we have the best OL in the league so what great match up to watch. We don’t have to win every time, but if we are to have a chance in this game, we will need a standout out performance from the guys up front.

2. We are going to need at least 100 yds rushing and I’m not thrilled that we are down to a dinged up Brandon Boldin and the inconsistent and mercurial Lagarrette Blount. All the more need for the OL to create gaps and not soft spots on that DL.

3. Reiss made an interesting observation this week, that at several points last week the Pats used a formation where Solder moved out to TE, and Cannon came in at LT. Being down a few TE’s again, don’t be surprised to see this formation more often this week.

4. One of the more impressive stats I’ve heard or read this week was the one that stated that the Bengals haven’t allowed a 300 yd passer in over a YEAR. That’s an incredible stat in this day and age. Given our WR and TE situation Tom is going to be hard pressed to be the one to break that streak, so even more pressure on the running attack. This is not a good stat if you have Brady on your FF team, ;)

5. Match up to watch - Thus far this season the Pats have had excellent results (except for the NYJ game) in rushing the football vs. 7 man fronts. When teams reacted and dropped an 8th man down into the box, that would be when the Pats broke out the play action pass (PAP) game.

THIS week I think the Bengals are going to try and win by relying on their front 7 to win the rushing game battle and will rarely drop that 8th guy into the box and hold people back to protect against the PAP. It is critical for the Pats to win that 7 on 7 battle.

6. Hard to make more comments on the offense since we really don’t know who is gong to play and for how long, even if they do. If Boldin is healthy, this could be a real breakout game for him, even more so as a receiver.

7. Bolden and Thomkins are poster children for the reason why you should NEVER draft a RB or WR in the first round. You think the Saints would like to take their trade with the Pats back now if they could. Ingram is currently averaging a whopping 1.8ypc vs. Boldin’s 7.6, and has never averaged over 4ypc in his 3 year career.

Sure there might be better WR’s and RB’s to come out of the this draft, but at what price and are they THAT much better. Great DT,’s OLmen, DE;s and even TE, by just the nature of their size are much rarer and thus more valuable as first round selections.

8. Another great match up to watch. The Bengals are going to run the ball where Vince USED to be, and the Pats are going to design defensive schemes to protect their undersized and inexperienced young DT’s It will be a great “I’m going to go there” vs. “I know you’re going to go there” scenario. It will be very interesting to see how it plays out.

9. On the plus side of the injury news was that whatever took Dennard out of the last play of the Falcon game, wasn’t big. At least not big enough to cause him to wind up missing any practice time. One of the reasons Talib is having such a good year, is the fact that his CB partner is doing such a good job on the other side….and he’ll need to continue being good, because as time goes on, fewer and fewer QB’s are going to go to Talib’s side, and even more pressure will fall on Dennard.

Dennard’s height might fit the mini-DB mold that we’ve all grown to hate, but despite his small stature, he plays with the physicality of a much bigger man. Physical to the point where he wins some of those battles with the bigger receivers

The good news is Dennard seems to be healthy, the bad news is that he’s going to be tested….over and over. He’s going to have to stay healthy.

10. We’ve had our Julian Edelman apology thread. Well soon we should be thinking about a Steve Gregory apology thread as well. It should be noted that the apparent improvement in Gregory’s game has been just as big as Talib’s. With one exception, he’s been a rock solid tackler, and as a pass defender he’s been very competitive. He might not provide the big hits that make the highlight reels but the bottom line he gets the man down, and usually without any YAC. He has been an excellent fundamentally sound tackler, and a better than expected pass defender. His solid play needs to get more credit.

11. Still don’t understand the Collie addition, unless one of the rookies is hurt more than we know…..and it doesn’t seem like it. While I don’t value WR’s as much as many, I do value TE’s and I thought Sudfeld showed enough talent in the PS to be worth giving him a virtual red shirt year.

Even if the Collie signing was necessary, I would have picked some other rookie to get to the PS, because it was clear that Sudfeld wouldn’t make it through waivers. Too much good film in PS for some bad team not to take a shot.

12. Something needs to get done that will get Ron Borges off the air. Let him keep his little Herald gig, no one reads him anyway. But I take an increasing affront to seeing him trot out his bile on TV and on the radio as if he actually has something interesting to say….all in the name of “entertainment”. Are we the viewers/listeners THAT stupid that we need to have a guy a we love to hate get air time in order to be “entertained”.

Not only is the man a proven liar and convicted plagiarist, his always negative Patriots position has become so predictable its now virtually a caricature. Never in the history of local media has a man been SO wrong, SO often, and STILL be allowed a pulpit to spew his hateful agenda. Its wrong and something needs to be done. Help me here.

With the season now 25% over here are some quarter pole observations.

a. How the F can we still be wining with a roster with 14 rookies and half of them UDFA’s. Who was it that preached that THIS year was a year we need to concentrate on QUALITY picks not how many, and 4 or 5 rookies would be enough for this year and we should load up on future years. Uh…..that would be me. :eek:

b. So much for the dominance of the NFC over the AFC, right

c. Seems like they refs are allowing more contact in the secondary. I’m all for it as long they remain consistent

d. I think Nate Solder is going to be better than we hoped

e. Matt Light was a good LT, I always wonder how GREAT he have been if he’d played G. It never happened. Now it’s beginning to look like I’m never going to see Marcus Cannon playing RG for us on a regular basis. Unfortunately he’s been just too valuable (and effective) as the swing OT. Ah well, maybe next year

f. Among the “missing” this season - Dane Fletcher, Tavon Wilson, and Jake Bequette. All players I had great hopes for…..but….

g. Among the “found” Joe Valano, Kembrel Thompkins, Steve Gregory, Brandon Boldin, Julian Edelman are just some of the low profile players who have far exceeded our preseason expectations….thus far.

h. This is getting long, even for me, so I’ll wrap it up. Bottom Line: At the quarter pole this team is right on track. Except for Wilfolk, the injured will all be back. This team is developing a good team chemistry and hasn’t come close to playing its best football.

Enjoy the read, I hope it helps pass the time until kick off. Thank God its a 1pm start
 

zydecochris

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
A fabulous read as always Ken, and spot on. I don't have anything to add except for the following:

Last I heard Leon Hall is doubtful, Dre Kirkpatrick is questionable, and Reggie Nelson is probable. If they are missing Leon Hall (who is excellent) and if Kirkpatrick and Nelson are banged up, that sounds like a severely diminished secondary, and maybe when combined with the return of Amendola we can hope to break that 300 yard record. :D

4. One of the more impressive stats I’ve heard or read this week was the one that stated that the Bengals haven’t allowed a 300 yd passer in over a YEAR. That’s an incredible stat in this day and age. Given our WR and TE situation Tom is going to be hard pressed to be the one to break that streak, so even more pressure on the running attack. This is not a good stat if you have Brady on your FF team, ;)
Borges is just the latest in shock media personalities. Accuracy or giving balanced opinions is completely ignored, he makes his money by just saying controversial things as loudly as possible and as often as possible. These media types seem to have bought in to the idea that: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it (loudly enough), people will eventually come to believe it."

12. Something needs to get done that will get Ron Borges off the air. Let him keep his little Herald gig, no one reads him anyway. But I take an increasing affront to seeing him trot out his bile on TV and on the radio as if he actually has something interesting to say….all in the name of “entertainment”. Are we the viewers/listeners THAT stupid that we need to have a guy a we love to hate get air time in order to be “entertained”.

Not only is the man a proven liar and convicted plagiarist, his always negative Patriots position has become so predictable its now virtually a caricature. Never in the history of local media has a man been SO wrong, SO often, and STILL be allowed a pulpit to spew his hateful agenda. Its wrong and something needs to be done. Help me here.
 

RelocatedPatFan

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
I was thinking of posting something this morning, but things just got away from me.

I had heard about the not allowing a 300 yard pass in a year as well. I find that strikingly odd as they give up 2-4 25+ yard passes a game lately. I think the key to Cincy is getting turnovers. Limit those and their offensive horses are strained and prone to making mistakes themselves.

The pundits have been saying Cincy plans to run the ball and we'll have to see how it turns out. It makes sense with our secondary (how odd does this sound) seemingly a strength of this defense and as BB is paraphrased. "there are no Vince Wilforks sitting idle waiting for a chance to play." I'm sure BJGE will want to pull one over on his former team, even if he does have a fondness for it. nothing quite as good as beating up your big brother.

Having DA will help and I hope he doesn't re-injure himself. Mostly, we need fewer (actually make that NO) injuries this game.
 

DarrylS

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Great analysis as usual...

Thank god it is not a 4:00 PM game or it might rival War and Peace...
 
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