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patfanken

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First about last week.

I was 13 years old when the Pats played their inaugural season in 1960. I was already in love with football (as well as basketball, baseball, and hockey). Like all of you non-millennials, I lived through the few ups and MANY downs that marked the first 40 years of the franchises history. Just as I have indulged in the last 18, awash in the glory this team has given us YEAR after YEAR after YEAR.

But I can state UNEQUIVOCALLY that what I saw on the final play of the Miami game just stunned me into a paralytic silence that lasted the entire week. I just couldn't believe what I saw. I had most of my notes ready to go....and then nothing. Who cared about who did what and when for the first 59.8 minutes of that game. I know that I sure didn't. So I not only didn't write my column, I didn't even think about the NFL until Sunday when I had to pick my 5 games for my football pool. Instead I read 3 books this week as well as did some writing, and otherwise spent the week without giving football a thought (David Baldocci is a VERY good writer. His books are like a hidden pleasure. )

I have just one comment that has probably been mentioned, but it will make me feel better. When the announcers mentioned that Gronk was in the prevent defense, I wonder why he was in since there was no way Tannyhill was going to get the ball near the endzone on that last play. At that point of the game they needed a tackler, NOT a jump ball pass defender. 99 time out of 100 it would have just been a curiosity. But on THAT play, our last chance to tackle the ball carrier was really no chance with Gronk as the final defender. OK I feel better (for a second) Let's get on with this latest disaster (is this how most of the rest of the league's fans feel most of the time? I don't like it...one bit. ;) ).

I'll dispense with the usual structure and simply list what I thought were the pluses and minuses during the game. Disclaimer: I missed most of the 3rd quarter having to deal with a friend's emergency. Evidently I didn't miss much.

1. Lets start with the pluses, because I think there really are some that need to be pointed out before some of use go off the deep end.

a. We really have a pretty awesome secondary. Holding the Steelers to only 235 yds passing IN Pittsburgh is a real accomplishment, given we clearly don't have a good 4-5 man pass rush. Nor do we have a good run D either, which only makes the play action pass more effective for the other team.

b. If JC Jackson had been a first round pick this year, everyone would STILL be impressed with the fine year he is having. How he slipped completely out of the draft stuns me. He ran with Brown. He ran with Shuster (who is EVERY bit as good as Brown imo) He made every catch against him a hard catch. And he should only get better in the coming years with continued experience and the good coaching he is obviously getting.

c. McCourty, Chung, and Harmon are CONSISTENTLY outstanding in both tackling and coverage. Sure they get beat. EVERYONE gets beat, but it seems this season a good majority of the completions have been highly contested and forced the opposition to either make a great throw or catch. Hopefully Obi can add some much needed youth to that group going forward, but that is a "next year" question.

d. Stephon Gilmore as been one of the better FA signings of the BB era. To say more would just be redundant. He and Jackson could become an elite CB paring for the next 3 or 4 seasons. Add what JJones has flashed (he just need to be more consistent), the potential of Duke Dawson, and the very solid play of DMcCourty, and the Pats look VERY strong at the CB position, both in skill, talent AND depth.

e. If we are going to do anything this playoff season on the defense, it will be because of the strength of the secondary.

BTW- I should add that imo, the LB group has GREATLY improved this season (especially Van Noy) in their coverage ability. I have to mention the LB's since they are such an integral part of the pass coverage equation.

f. As bad as the run defense was AGAIN (for the 3rd game in a row), If you had told me that the Pats were going to hold the Steelers to 17 points (and only 3 in the second half) in THEIR house, I would have figured a double digit win. So in the end, this weeks defense wasn't horrible. In fact they played pretty well, especially when you consider that the Pats have to manufacture whatever pressure they do manage to get.

g. The other major plus category that needs to be mentioned is the play of the OL. They are clearly one of the better pass protection units in the league. This is a fairly young group that SHOULD get better, especially if Wynn is as good as he seemed coming in. The only negative I see in this line is when a team puts a man directly on David Andrews in the run game. As far as pass blocking goes, Andrews seems to be as good as any C in the league, but in the run game be becomes a bit of a liability, imo. Clearly he is maximizing his potential, but when you try to run up the middle as much as the Pats do, Andrews might not be physically able to help make that happen.

Just a thought. Perhaps if we retain TBrown (and I clearly hope we do), maybe the relatively undersized Wynn, could be a perfect fit inside? Of course that assumes he can snap the ball, and deal with the different look you get inside. A big if, but he DOES have the quickness, strength and size to do the job.

2. NEGATIVES, and I'll try to be brief and concise. (relatively for me. ;) )

a. The QB - Not that Tom did a bad job today, just not what we've come to expect. Clearly that holding penalty hurt on that final drive, but NONE of Brady's last 3 passes came close to anyone.

Here's the thing, imo. I watch Ben throw several balls to his receivers (especially downfield) when they were closely covered and gave them an opportunity to make a play. The great catch and throw to JJShuster comes to mind as well as on to his TE for a big first down. Brady RARELY does that. It seems HIS guys have to show complete separation before he will throw them the ball. I LONG for more back shoulder fades to Gronk and Josh, or anyone for that matter, let alone throwing to the guy who has a defender with his back turned to the ball. We really need to do that more. I HAVE to believe Josh Gordon could have made more of an impact today. He ran a simple route and had a 20 yd catch in the first drive and then wasn't heard from again. You'd think he'd be a real threat in the red zone. Not so much evidently.

b. Too many drops by our guys. On this particular day, THEIR guys made more plays than OUR guys. If you want to simplify why we lost, that was it. Edelman was once again our leading receiver, but is going to drop at least one EVERY game? What's up with that?

c. Pittsburgh was flagged 4 times for 40 yds, the Pats were flagged FOURTEEN times for 110 yds. Some were gifts from the refs (and more on that later), but most were justly "earned" and contributed greatly to this loss.

d. You know when I saw the replay I didn't have a BIG problem with the ref calling TB for holding on a long run by Sony, and killed a drive. What I DO have problem is when on Ridley's 12 yd run coming out from the 1, Pouncy did the EXACT same thing (even worse imo) and didn't get called.

The gift PI on Jackson was even more egregious. That one was completely arbitrary and set the Steelers up for their 2nd TD. Just a horrible call, that didn't seem to happen to the Steelers today ,no matter how badly they were grabbing our guys downfield.

e. Danny Shelton - On a team where you are having a BIG problem stopping the run for the last 3 games, your main run stopper has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games. So as good a FA signing as Gilmore has been, that's how BAD the Shelton signing was. Clearly he was good at it in Cleveland, and just as clearly he SUCKS at it here. I wonder what happened?

f. Speaking of healthy scratches, I'm kind of disappointed that Derrick Rivers can't make the 46 man game roster. I had high hopes for the kid before he got hurt last season. You'd think that his skillset would at least make him a good ST'er. Clearly this has been a red shirt year for him.

g. Dante Hightower. I'll be interested in seeing how many snaps Hightower had on D. Given what the Pats are paying him, 2 tackles is not my idea of getting my money's worth. To my eyes he isn't playing with impact of a 270lb LB with serious athletic skills. In my opinion KVN has been by far our best LB all year.

h. Sony Michel - Now this is just me perhaps, but I'm having a hard time justifying a first round pick on what I'm seeing from Michel. Here's what he does well. He has excellent vision and almost ALWAYS makes the right cut at the LOS for maximum gain. He supposedly has excellent hands that we might someday see if he's let into the passing game. What he DOESN'T do is push the pile and create an extra 3-4 yds on his own. What he doesn't do is get that hard yard on the GL and in short yardage. I watch Samuels, Cook, I watch Chubb(taken in the 2nd round) each week, and while Sony is "effective", most of the time I'm thinking I'd rather have the OTHER guy running the ball for me.

In the end, he's been a pretty good RB here, but not a first round player.

OK that's my list (so far ;) ) What's your's?

3. General thoughts going forward.

a. Looks like the Bills and Jets are both playing hard and seemingly improving. Both will bring good defenses to Foxboro in the last 2 weeks. Good tests for a Pats offense that needs to regroup if we are going to make another deep run in the playoffs.

b. It is becoming more likely that the Pats might have to join everyone else and NOT have a bye this year. :eek: Think about it this way, more Pats games to see. I wouldn't mind adding a "4 games to glory" disc to my collection. ;)

c. Pool sad story - So I'm sitting down to the Pats game and I am 3-0 in my pool picks (Bengals, Titans, and Bears). And my surest pick of the week is coming up Seattle vs SF. I was surprised to see that they were "only" giving 4 points. And with NO being my 5th pick I'm thinking 5-0 for this week (there is a $300 5-0 pool each week). How the hell can SF beat Seattle. For that matter, how the hell do the Bills beat the Lions, Dallas being SHUTOUT by Indy, Jacksonville lose to Washington, or have Philly putting up 30 (so far) on the Rams (in LA). Every week my mind is Blown by some of these outcomes. No wonder Vegas makes so much money on sports betting. ;)

d. What I'll be looking for this week in the rewatch thread is some confirmation on whether Andrews really IS a problem in the running game. Whether Brady missed some open receivers. And some answers on WHY the run defense has suddenly gone so bad.

Enjoy, and thanks for listening.
 
Last edited:

TommyBrady12

Hall of Fame Poster
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
First about last week.

I was 13 years old when the Pats played their inaugural season in 1960. I was already in love with football (as well as basketball, baseball, and hockey). Like all of you non-millennials, I lived through the few ups and MANY downs that marked the first 40 years of the franchises history. Just as I have indulged in the last 18, awash in the glory this team has given us YEAR after YEAR after YEAR.

But I can state UNEQUIVOCALLY that what I saw on the final play of the Miami game just stunned me into a paralytic silence that lasted the entire week. I just couldn't believe what I saw. I had most of my notes ready to go....and then nothing. Who cared about who did what and when for the first 59.8 minutes of that game. I know that I sure didn't. So I not only didn't write my column, I didn't even think about the NFL until Sunday when I had to pick my 5 games for my football pool. Instead I read 3 books this week as well as did some writing, and otherwise spent the week without giving football a thought (David Baldocci is a VERY good writer. His books are like a hidden pleasure. )

I have just one comment that has probably been mentioned, but it will make me feel better. When the announcers mentioned that Gronk was in the prevent defense, I wonder why he was in since there was no way Tannyhill was going to get the ball near the endzone on that last play. At that point of the game they needed a tackler, NOT a jump ball pass defender. 99 time out of 100 it would have just been a curiosity. But on THAT play, our last chance to tackle the ball carrier was really no chance with Gronk as the final defender. OK I feel better (for a second) Let's get on with this latest disaster (is this how most of the rest of the league's fans feel most of the time? I don't like it...one bit. ;) ).

I'll dispense with the usual structure and simply list what I thought were the pluses and minuses during the game. Disclaimer: I missed most of the 3rd quarter having to deal with a friend's emergency. Evidently I didn't miss much.

1. Lets start with the pluses, because I think there really are some that need to be pointed out before some of use go off the deep end.

a. We really have a pretty awesome secondary. Holding the Steelers to only 235 yds passing IN Pittsburgh is a real accomplishment, given we clearly don't have a good 4-5 man pass rush. Nor do we have a good run D either, which only makes the play action pass more effective for the other team.

b. If JC Jackson had been a first round pick this year, everyone would STILL be impressed with the fine year he is having. How he slipped completely out of the draft stuns me. He ran with Brown. He ran with Shuster (who is EVERY bit as good as Brown imo) He made every catch against him a hard catch. And he should only get better in the coming years with continued experience and the good coaching he is obviously getting.

c. McCourty, Chung, and Harmon are CONSISTENTLY outstanding in both tackling and coverage. Sure they get beat. EVERYONE gets beat, but it seems this season a good majority of the completions have been highly contested and forced the opposition to either make a great throw or catch. Hopefully Obi can add some much needed youth to that group going forward, but that is a "next year" question.

d. Stephon Gilmore as been one of the better FA signings of the BB era. To say more would just be redundant. He and Jackson could become an elite CB paring for the next 3 or 4 seasons. Add what JJones has flashed (he just need to be more consistent), the potential of Duke Dawson, and the very solid play of DMcCourty, and the Pats look VERY strong at the CB position, both in skill, talent AND depth.

e. If we are going to do anything this playoff season on the defense, it will be because of the strength of the secondary.

BTW- I should add that imo, the LB group has GREATLY improved this season (especially Van Noy) in their coverage ability. I have to mention the LB's since they are such an integral part of the pass coverage equation.

f. As bad as the run defense was AGAIN (for the 3rd game in a row), If you had told me that the Pats were going to hold the Steelers to 17 points (and only 3 in the second half) in THEIR house, I would have figured a double digit win. So in the end, this weeks defense wasn't horrible. In fact they played pretty well, especially when you consider that the Pats have to manufacture whatever pressure they do manage to get.

g. The other major plus category that needs to be mentioned is the play of the OL. They are clearly one of the better pass protection units in the league. This is a fairly young group that SHOULD get better, especially if Wynn is as good as he seemed coming in. The only negative I see in this line is when a team puts a man directly on David Andrews in the run game. As far as pass blocking goes, Andrews seems to be as good as any C in the league, but in the run game be becomes a bit of a liability, imo. Clearly he is maximizing his potential, but when you try to run up the middle as much as the Pats do, Andrews might not be physically able to help make that happen.

Just a thought. Perhaps if we retain TBrown (and I clearly hope we do), maybe the relatively undersized Wynn, could be a perfect fit inside? Of course that assumes he can snap the ball, and deal with the different look you get inside. I big if, but he DOES have the quickness, strength and size to do the job.

2. NEGATIVES, and I'll try to be brief and concise.

a. The QB - Not that Tom did a bad job today, just not what we've come to expect. Clearly that holding penalty hurt on that final drive, but NOT of Brady's last 3 passes came close to anyone.

Here's the thing, imo. I watch Ben throw several balls to his receivers (especially downfield) when they were closely covered and gave them an opportunity to make a play. The great catch and throw to JJShuster comes to mind as well as on to his TE for a big first down. Brady RARELY does that. It seems HIS guys have to show complete separation before he will throw them the ball. I LONG for more back shoulder fades to Gronk and Josh, or anyone for that matter, let alone throwing to the guy who has a defender with his back turned to the ball. We really need to do that more. I HAVE to believe Josh Gordon could have made more of an impact today. He ran a simple route and had a 20 yd catch in the first drive and then wasn't heard from again. Your think he'd be a real threat in the red zone. Not so much evidently.

b. Too many drops by our guys. On this particular day, THEIR guys made more plays than OUR guys. If you want to simplify why we lost, that was it. Edelman was once again our leading receiver, but is going to drop at least one EVERY game? What's up with that?

c. Pittsburgh was flagged 4 times for 40 yds, the Pats were flagged FOURTEEN times for 110 yds. Some were gifts from the refs (and more on that later), but most were justly "earned" and contributed greatly to this loss.

d. You know when I saw the replay I didn't have a BIG problem with the ref calling TB for holding on a long run by Sony, and killed a drive. What I DO have problem is when on Ridley's 12 yd run coming out from the 1, Pouncy did the EXACT same thing (even worse imo) and didn't get called.

The gift PI on Jackson was even more egregious. That one was completely arbitrary and set the Steelers up for their 2nd TD. Just a horrible call, that didn't seem to happen to the Steelers today ,no matter how badly they were grabbing our guys downfield.

e. Danny Shelton - On a team where you are having a BIG problem stopping the run for the last 3 games, your main run stopper has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games. So as good a FA signing as Gilmore has been, that's how BAD the Shelton signing was. Clearly he was good at it in Cleveland, and just as clearly he SUCKS at it here. I wonder what happened?

f. Speaking of healthy scratches, I'm kind of disappointed that Derrick Rivers can't make the 46 man game roster. I had high hopes for the kid before he got hurt last season. You'd think that his skillset would make him a good ST'er. Clearly this has been a red shirt year for him.

g. Dante Hightower. I'll be interested in seeing how many snaps Hightower had on D. Given what the Pats are paying him, 2 tackles is not my idea of getting my money's worth. To my eyes he isn't playing with impact of a 270lb LB with serious athletic skills. In my opinion KVN has been by far our best LB all year.

h. Sony Michel - Now this is just me perhaps, but I'm having a hard time justifying a first round pick on what I'm seeing from Michel. Here's what he does well. He has excellent vision and almost ALWAYS makes the right cut at the LOS for maximum gain. He supposedly has excellent hands that we might someday see if he's let into the passing game. What he DOESN'T do is push the pile and create an extra 3-4 yds on his own. What he doesn't do is get that hard yard on the GL and in short yardage. I watch Samuels, Cook, I watch Chubb(taken in the 2nd round) each week, and while Sony is "effective", most of the time I'm thinking I'd rather have the OTHER guy running the ball for me.

In the end, he's been a pretty good RB here, but not a first round player.

OK that's my list (so far ;) ) What's your's?

3. General thoughts going forward.

a. Looks like the Bills and Jets are both playing hard and seemingly improving. Both will bring good defenses to Foxboro in the last 2 weeks. Good tests for a Pats offense that needs to regroup if we are going to make another deep run in the playoffs.

b. It is becoming more likely that the Pats might have to join everyone else and NOT have a bye this year. :eek: Think about it this way, more Pats game to see. I wouldn't mind adding a "4 games to glory" disc to my collection. ;)

c. Pool sad story - So I'm sitting down to the Pats game and I am 3-0 in my pool picks (Bengals, Titans, and Bears). And my surest pick of the week is coming up Seattle vs SF. I was surprised to see that they were "only" giving 4 points. And with NO being my 5th pick I'm thinking 5-0 for this week (there is a $300 5-0 pool each week). How the hell can SF beat Seattle. For that matter, how the hell do the Bills beat the Lions, Dallas being SHUTOUT by Indy, Jacksonville lose to Washington, or have Philly putting up 30 (so far) on the Rams (in LA). Every week my mind is Blown by some of these outcomes. No wonder Vegas makes so much money on sports betting. ;)

d. What I'll be looking for this week in the rewatch thread is some confirmation on whether Andrews really IS a problem in the running game. Whether Brady missed some open receivers. And some answers on WHY the run defense has suddenly gone so bad.

Enjoy, and thanks for listening.

Not to nitpick but the Pats traded for Danny Shelton. However, I agree. He’s been a major disappointment.
 

YOUGOTMOSSED

In the Starting Line-Up
b. It is becoming more likely that the Pats might have to join everyone else and NOT have a bye this year. :eek: Think about it this way, more Pats game to see. I wouldn't mind adding a "4 games to glory" disc to my collection. ;)

I'm not giving up on the bye. We have two home games left. Houston is playing their 2nd of a back to back road game against the defending SB champs who are still alive for a playoff spot.
 

PatriotSpy

In the Starting Line-Up
Red Sox won the world series. They went 86 years without winning a championship before winning 4 in the last 14 years. Pats have 5 super bowls. Can't expect them to be in the super bowl every year.

So i'm fine if it's not in the cards HOWEVER I really need to see some serious infusion of talent and youth in the offseason. I want us to own the line on both sides of the ball next year.
 

Hyped

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Comments:

- I was actually worried that the Miami loss killed ya. God knows, it almost did kill me....

- I absolutely love David Baldacci's "Camel Club" series featuring 'Oliver Stone (a.k.a. John Carr)'.....just awesome page turners....

- I think this loss sucks a lot...but have to admit that its a pattern now. The Patriots are now 2-3 in the last 6 weeks. Starting 1-2 wws puzzling, but I expected a 2-1 start (w/loss @Jax) when the sked came out. The Titans loss sucked, but I wrote it off to a pre-BYE-loss-of-concentration game. The Miami loss? Fluky luck, but we had CHANCES to put that game away. Now this loss? We have now scored only 16 points in six quarters. And it is mid-December.... doesn't TB always tell us the season starts after Thanksgiving?

- Gonna sign off and have a night cap beer...
 

BaconGrundleCandy

PatsFans.com Supporter
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God that makes it even WORSE. ;)
And tbh he wasn't good in Cleveland either.

In a game where O/I Zone is so popular, not to mention the misdirection you run of it. He simply doesn't have the lateral ability to move. It was evident in the Houston game & has just maintained or got worse.

Also I really doubt Wynn moves to C. If anyone I'd be interested in seeing Thuney there. Brown, Wynn, Thuney, Mason, Cannon is definitely worth a shot. Bill has always preferred the smaller, athletic type there. I could see that switch w Joe.
 

upstater1

Pro Bowl Player
Earlier in the year, Brady threw balls like Ben does to his guys. He threw them to Josh Gordon and Gordon could not haul them down. People got mad at Brady for throwing prayers up to Gordon.

But that's what Ben R. constantly did today. The difference: Ben has receivers that can snag the ball and highpoint it. The Patriots don't. In the past, we can think of Brady doing the same with Randy Moss. Honestly, I don't think this is saying much, but you need bigger stronger guys who can do that.

The Washington kid with the Steelers just grabbed that ball out of the air like nothing.

What really hurt today were the many drops for first down. Well, that and the two bogus holding calls inside the Steelers 10 yard line on consecutive drives.
 

thecore762

In the Starting Line-Up
Like I said with all the money we spend on Hightower I’d expect a better performance from him every week as long as he is healthy, he has been mia the last few weeks.

Brady needs to take chances and give all of his receivers a chance, I hate seeing kids like Dorsett on the sidelines, I’d like to see more of Patterson and Gordon, we really need to bolster our game plan.

Gronk is just not himself as of late, he just looks super frustrated, something must be going on between him, Brady and the coaching staff.

I also agree with you that Sony Michel is not playing like a first rounder, another disappointing pick imo, he just doesn’t improve our run game, it seems we would have been better off signing Blunt again because at least the guy can push the pile.

I’ve been critical of Andrews for a long time, it’s time to upgrade this position to a bigger and nastier guy, I can guarantee you it would improve our run game big time.

Where is our edge containment? Every year it seems like we are getting worse and worse, people just destroy us.
I’m ready to dump all of our d line except Flowers, the rest just don’t make the plays on a consistent basis, and they can’t get off their blocks to be able to make plays. Man I miss players like Wilfork and Seymour and Ty Warren, those three studs would destroy people.
 

supafly

Eff you, Shula
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I’ll leave it to the guys who break down film every week so I don’t look like a muggle, but I really felt like this could have been a game where we saw James White catching a lot of balls out of the backfield. I thought that we could dink and dunk them to hell and back, especially with the extra attention being given to Gronkowski.

We saw some of this on the last drive, and it was effective at times. Usually, this is the “go to” when the receivers aren’t able to produce, and Gordon, Hogan (aside from the big play) and company certainly weren’t producing. Neither was Gronk.
 

BradyFTW!

Goodell sucks
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Danny Shelton - On a team where you are having a BIG problem stopping the run for the last 3 games, your main run stopper has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games. So as good a FA signing as Gilmore has been, that's how BAD the Shelton signing was. Clearly he was good at it in Cleveland, and just as clearly he SUCKS at it here. I wonder what happened?
Great post, totally agree with basically everything you wrote. Re: Shelton, he wasn't good in Cleveland either. He was good enough in college to get himself picked in the top half of the first round, but in Cleveland he was about as bad as he's been here. I don't mind the Pats gambling on being able to get more out of him than the Browns could, but I hate that they traded from the third down to the fifth to do it.
 

BradyFTW!

Goodell sucks
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Like I said with all the money we spend on Hightower I’d expect a better performance from him every week as long as he is healthy, he has been mia the last few weeks.

Brady needs to take chances and give all of his receivers a chance, I hate seeing kids like Dorsett on the sidelines, I’d like to see more of Patterson and Gordon, we really need to bolster our game plan.

Gronk is just not himself as of late, he just looks super frustrated, something must be going on between him, Brady and the coaching staff.

I also agree with you that Sony Michel is not playing like a first rounder, another disappointing pick imo, he just doesn’t improve our run game, it seems we would have been better off signing Blunt again because at least the guy can push the pile.

I’ve been critical of Andrews for a long time, it’s time to upgrade this position to a bigger and nastier guy, I can guarantee you it would improve our run game big time.

Where is our edge containment? Every year it seems like we are getting worse and worse, people just destroy us.
I’m ready to dump all of our d line except Flowers, the rest just don’t make the plays on a consistent basis, and they can’t get off their blocks to be able to make plays. Man I miss players like Wilfork and Seymour and Ty Warren, those three studs would destroy people.

I always figured Hightower's game probably wouldn't age well (there's a reason why you don't see 270 pound linebackers), but it has been startling how thoroughly it's dropped off. I always thought/hoped he might be able to extend his career by converting to defensive end, since he's the rare LB who actually has the size to do it, but if that's no in the cards for him then I'm not sure how much tread is left there. At the time that the extension was given, I agreed with picking Hightower over Chandler Jones given the sizable disparity in the money they were commanding. In hindsight, we likely would have been better off paying Jones and letting Hightower walk after 2016.

Also agree re: edge containment. Clayborn has been a miserable failure there, he's basically been the opposite of what we look for in DEs - he gets too far upfield and runs himself out of the play as often as not. It sure seems like Belichick fell in love with his size and forgot to check the tape and see if he actually plays to it (he doesn't and never has). At least he can be cut after this season with minimal dead cap.
 

luuked

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. Who cared about who did what and when for the first 59.8 minutes of that game. I know that I sure didn't.

While I understand the reaction from a fans point of view think it is highly reductive to judge a game by how one miracle play changed the ending and disregard the rest of it. There were some positives on both sides last week (first half offense, second half regular defense) that deserve to considered the same way that all the awful which took place even before the final play should also be mentioned.

McCourty, Chung, and Harmon are CONSISTENTLY outstanding in both tackling and coverage.

Maybe outstanding is a bit strong given some of the lost plays this year but they are certainly a very good and maybe even more importantly a very flexible group of safeties.

I should add that imo, the LB group has GREATLY improved this season (especially Van Noy) in their coverage ability. I have to mention the LB's since they are such an integral part of the pass coverage equation.

Thanks for mentioning KVN who at this point would have my vote for most improved player locked. Him and Lawrence Guy are having a very good season for who they are. Again to me there is a different curve to evaluate your middleclass player than lets say Gilmore or Brady.

The other major plus category that needs to be mentioned is the play of the OL. They are clearly one of the better pass protection units in the league. This is a fairly young group that SHOULD get better, especially if Wynn is as good as he seemed coming in. The only negative I see in this line is when a team puts a man directly on David Andrews in the run game. As far as pass blocking goes, Andrews seems to be as good as any C in the league, but in the run game be becomes a bit of a liability, imo. Clearly he is maximizing his potential, but when you try to run up the middle as much as the Pats do, Andrews might not be physically able to help make that happen.

This is where our opinions go into different directions. I think the liability in the run game is not specifically Andrews but the left side of Brown/Thuney especially with Trent often looking bad when a play is not a drop back pass but a pure run play or a screen. To me this is where this team is missing someone like Solder. For all the **** he sometimes got in pass protection he was better at a lot of the other things than Brown is.

I had a short talk about this with @maineman209 and those were the running stats he dug up from Football Outsiders:

Football Outsiders has some stats on rushing by direction in their Offensive Line stats section. According to their metrics, the Pats OL is 3rd best in the league in overall run-blocking, behind only the Rams and the Saints.

Directionally (frequency .. avg yards):

Left end = 12% .. 5.61 yds
Left tackle (B-gap) = 13% .. 3.51 yds
Mid-Guard (A-gaps) = 56% .. 5.02 yds
Right tackle (B-gap) = 11% .. 5.83 yds
Right end = 8% .. 4.34 yds

Now what exactly causes this drop in the left B-gap who knows. But Andrews doesnt seem to be some kind of big liability otherwise the A gap runs would not be our go-to (56%) and average 5 yards.

I HAVE to believe Josh Gordon could have made more of an impact today. He ran a simple route and had a 20 yd catch in the first drive and then wasn't heard from again. You'd think he'd be a real threat in the red zone. Not so much evidently.

I have said this a few weeks ago but I think the issue with Gordon is that he is more dangerous 25-30 yards in front of the endzone than he is in the last 10 yards. His strengths dont seem to translate well into the plays where everything is tight and compressed in the redzone and the concepts Brady/Josh like to run there. Now is this a situation where they might need to go back to the board and throw away some of the old staples and try to reinvent the redzone offense ? I think so but I am not sure there is enough time left for that to happen.

I watch Samuels, Cook, I watch Chubb(taken in the 2nd round) each week, and while Sony is "effective", most of the time I'm thinking I'd rather have the OTHER guy running the ball for me.

I dont think Sony has been any revelation so far but if he had holes like Samuels yesterday he would look pretty electric. He wont be part of the bigger passing game until he has the trust of Brady, McDaniels and BB when it comes to pass protection/blitz pickup of his 41 year old QB. We have seen first hand in the Atlanta SB how one missed assignment by a RB can change a game. Also give him an entire offseason in a NFL strength and conditioning program and he will be stronger and tougher to stop next year.
 
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DarrylS

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PFK we are contemporaries, both of us were 13 in 1960... old bastards to many sages to others...

I agree on the Miami loss, that blew me away so much so I did not listen to sportstalk radio, rewatch the final play or got involved in the give and take on this board...

IMO it is difficult to judge Michel some injuries have held him back and slowed him down, I do think he has a great future for this team..

I do not see much desire or team play on defense, Hightower is playing very spotty... do not remember seeing Simon or Roberts, the LB corps needs a complete retooling as does the D line... there has to be a good reason why Shelton is not playing. Not sure if it is Flores defensive game plans and play calling, but this team has regressed defensively, lack of playmakers in the front 7.. major changes are in order. The D backfield is playing very well..

There is no way that the Pats had 14 penalties and the Steelers had 4... some were brain farts, but many were judgement calls.. it has been said offensive holding can be called on any pass play and DPI on any pass play as well.. the officials were very vigilant in protecting the "integrity" of this game..

Then there is the offensive game calling, much of that looks quite stale and same old.. need to mix it up...

Interestingly at the end of the day there was only an 8 yard differential in yards gained and 98 seconds differential in time of possession, my eyeball test made me think something much different..
 
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