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Idle thoughts - the "pluses and minuses" edition

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sep 12th

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borg

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They are who I thought they were
Preseason I predicted 10-6 with 2 losses vs AFC South....2 vs NFC.....1 Division loss.......and KC.
Preseason....the DL was garbage with JAGs in the middle and zero pass rush on the edges.
They are who I thought they were
I always think the OL is adequate but slightly one dimension but I had some hope before Wynn was lost.
Being a glass half empty guy, I have ignored LT Baby Huey's sometimes sound play and focused on his few weekly mental mistakes and predetermined this guy is a temporary makeshift solution. That opinion has been accelerated in recent weeks. Yikes!
The LBs......we knew they were slow. We knew opposing RBs could light them up on the outside....and now RBs can gash the middle as well
They are who I thought they were

What I didn't know....
Gronk would lose his mojo
Hogan would be ignored
Brady feared getting hit
Edelman would get the dropsies

Regarding Sony. While I agree that he doesn't yet appear to be a 1st round talent, I disagree that he finds every hole. So many times I see him choose to run into a wall rather than slip into the next gap. I do think it is unfair to group him with top of the 1st elite stars simply because he was taken 25 -30 slots later than the big names.

Regarding TB 12......Brady is playing like David Simms....the play it safe golfer in Tin Cup who laid up on par 5's with water. At times he's seems more concerned about not losing than winning while operating in self preservation mode.

Finally....I keep looking at the roster and asking myself...IF BB blew up the roster and traded every Patriot over the offseason, who has star/impact value that could net a #1?
I can only come up with Gilmore
Yikes again
 

goheels22002

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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.

Good work as always. You were 13 in 1960. Wow. I never thought for a moment that you were older than me. You think and write young for your age. That's a compliment.

I grew up outside Philadelphia and went to my first pro game at Franklin Field - the Eagles didn't even have their own field. The biggest thrill of my childhood was when Tom Brookshier had dinner at our house when he was a DB for the Eagles before signing autographs at a PTA event my Dad organized. Chuck Bednarik signed a football for me in 1960.

Enough of that. I'm distressed about this Patriots team and worry that this habit of letting games slip through their fingers in the fourth quarter is now a trend. The rest of the NFL smells blood in the water.
 

RelocatedPatFan

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
I was extremely disappointed with the pre-snap penalties committed by the O-line (and a couple more holding calls -- all which seemed to be good calls). Clearly this caused issues for the offense this wek and probably the biggest factor in our lack of production.

However, I did see enough uncalled holding by the Steelers Oline not get called. One long run should have been called back as HT was being held at a significant point in the play - very similar to Michek's. The Refs favored the Pats a couple weeks ago and clearly they paid us back this week (unbalanced calls not going in our favor this time) and I loved Tony Romo's [waiting to demonstrate the DPI with replay and remarking with "Not seeing it".] comments about that blatantly not-visible 32 yard DPI that set up a TD for Pitt).
 

Tony2046

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The game was full of WTF's from both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. ST had a decent game.

Defensive: My expectations are that they just give the offense a few more opportunities to score each game and they did that plus held the Steelers to 17. I guess you can argue "lucky" int's or a missed FG but the bottom line is that they held them one way or another to 17.

But watching Hightower running into the backside of Guy (?) while missing a gaping running lane is just disheartening. It can't be communication at this point of the season.

Watching DT's getting ragdolled all game long is perplexing. Is there an offensive lineman in the league that can't beat one of our DT's one on one?

It seems like their defensive game plan has morphed into abandoning stopping the run and just finding away to get pressure on the QB by any means possible. Which is fine and yesterday it would have been enough because Pittsburgh continued to throw. But in the playoffs they will have to stop the run eventually. imo.

I used to think that if they found a decent NT that some of this would look a lot better but am not sure anymore.

Offensive: My expectations are that they carry the team to wins and take advantage of whatever the defense or special teams give them. 10 points is not going to get it done.

A few bright spots were the run game at times and Patterson. Patterson plays like he wants it.

Brady? He looked fine during the first half imo. But the drops and the penalties stalled drive after drive. They were so uncharacteristic of a Dec Pats team. Second half Brady couldn't find a rhythm. Again penalties and seemingly predictable play calling. It seemed like they were 3rd and 6 all night long. Screen pass. Yeah that's the ticket. Nice run. Flag. Nice run again. Flag. 3rd and 9. Hey Brady....make something happen. You have 1.5 seconds to find something. And stop looking so nervous in the pocket. haha

The good news is that if they had played disciplined football they would have likely won that game.

Anything can happen in the playoffs, Brady is still a SB caliber QB and the team could put together a string of good games but they sure aren't making things easy for themselves.

We'll see.
 

maineman209

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It seems like their defensive game plan has morphed into abandoning stopping the run and just finding away to get pressure on the QB by any means possible. Which is fine and yesterday it would have been enough because Pittsburgh continued to throw. But in the playoffs they will have to stop the run eventually. imo.

I used to think that if they found a decent NT


The Pats have been playing a lot of dime the past three games.
Shelton has been a healthy scratch the last three games.

Snap percentages for both Roberts and Wise were significantly lower than their season averages yesterday.
 

long distance

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Thanks, Ken . and thanks for the concise version ;)

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

While Harmon has some pig skin magnetism on him (Goody is investigating as we speak) the overall safety play is a bit down from last year imo. Chung is struggling compared to last 2 seasons and D-Mac certainly had better years. This is still a solid, experienced group but not to the point of making up for the lack of LB playmakers like BB seems to believe.

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.

If NE scored more . Pats D would be far removed from just 17 points allowed. Numbers most of the time mean so little. Its about the flow of the game. They played well enough to give offence opportunities but if PIT NEEDED more points they could certainly find them it seemed..

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.

Agreed. It seems if Pats want to give themselves a better chance going forward Tommy will have to give his players some 50/50 chances. Maybe one of the reasons for RZ passing struggles is the fact they don't play 50/50 throws in the game and then its hard to have the feel for them when its needed. It was painful to watch great TBs sort of pathetic display of trying/or no trying to put the ball in RZ on three attempts with reasonable protection. Have to rewatch what was there but one would think that with the game on the line at least you'd want to put the ball in some receivers range..

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. ;)

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. ;)

The so called upsets are most of the time quite understandable. HOME and NEED are two of the strongest drugs (and vice versa). So id actually expect the Pats to get the BYE after all . bc to me the big upset would be if HOU wins @PHI for the above reasons..

ps
like you I wouldn't mind at all the additional Pats game..;)
 

PatsFan2

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If I had to make a guess, I think McCourty re-does his deal, Hightower is traded or released, and Gronk retires.

I cannot think of a single Team in there right minds that would Trade for Hightower. Him in the same sentence as the the word Trade would generate an influx of crickets. I can see D-Mac redoing his deal he hasn't played nearly has bad as the rest. Gronk is toast or Done! That said with the saving we should have enough to bring in better and younger Talent.
 

DarrylS

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While out for my forced daily march.. ran across a guy with his Giants Gear on who was putting out the garbage:

Me: How you doing a Giants fan eh??
Him: You a Pats Fan, what happened yesterday???
Me: They sh...t the bed.
Him: Have you been listening to sportstalk this morning and watching sports news.
Me: Na, I never do that, ruins my day.
Him: They gotta get rid of that #67 they got from San Francisco he meant #77 Trent Brown), he committed 8 penalties yesterday.
Me: Silence and continue my daily forced march.. for the life of me could not remember how the Giants did yesterday.

Life goes on... BTW Trent Brown had two penalties on him yesterday, they were quite noticeable, not the 8 as claimed by the Giants fan..
 

PatsFan2

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The game was full of WTF's from both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. ST had a decent game.

Defensive: My expectations are that they just give the offense a few more opportunities to score each game and they did that plus held the Steelers to 17. I guess you can argue "lucky" int's or a missed FG but the bottom line is that they held them one way or another to 17.

But watching Hightower running into the backside of Guy (?) while missing a gaping running lane is just disheartening. It can't be communication at this point of the season.

Watching DT's getting ragdolled all game long is perplexing. Is there an offensive lineman in the league that can't beat one of our DT's one on one?

It seems like their defensive game plan has morphed into abandoning stopping the run and just finding away to get pressure on the QB by any means possible. Which is fine and yesterday it would have been enough because Pittsburgh continued to throw. But in the playoffs they will have to stop the run eventually. imo.

I used to think that if they found a decent NT that some of this would look a lot better but am not sure anymore.

Offensive: My expectations are that they carry the team to wins and take advantage of whatever the defense or special teams give them. 10 points is not going to get it done.

A few bright spots were the run game at times and Patterson. Patterson plays like he wants it.

Brady? He looked fine during the first half imo. But the drops and the penalties stalled drive after drive. They were so uncharacteristic of a Dec Pats team. Second half Brady couldn't find a rhythm. Again penalties and seemingly predictable play calling. It seemed like they were 3rd and 6 all night long. Screen pass. Yeah that's the ticket. Nice run. Flag. Nice run again. Flag. 3rd and 9. Hey Brady....make something happen. You have 1.5 seconds to find something. And stop looking so nervous in the pocket. haha

The good news is that if they had played disciplined football they would have likely won that game.

Anything can happen in the playoffs, Brady is still a SB caliber QB and the team could put together a string of good games but they sure aren't making things easy for themselves.

We'll see.

Good points sometimes because he's the GOAT we give him an automatic pass. But Brady played poorly yesterday they were drops but he missed a lot of open Receivers keying on binkies. Yess he l0oked Scared yesterday the First QB that Steeler D made look scared all year so that should tell ya.:rolleyes:
 

Nunchucks

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I've never before seen the Patriots commit so many pre-snap penalties in the BB era. I've also never seen so many holds on running plays as I've seen this year.

This team isn't focused and that is why they lose. I don't know why they are not dialed in,b but it is clear, they don't have the focus they need to win.

I'll enjoy the rest of the season, but my expectations, if they make the playoffs, is that they may win a home game, but if they go on the road, they are done.
 

patriot1136

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
I am not as savvy as many of you guys, but I am still surprised by the lack of use of Dorsett and Patterson. I realize they aren't world beaters, but it wouldn't kill them to work those guys in there more. Especially just to mix it up since teams have been able to figure out Edelman, Gordon, and Hogan. Not to mention, Hogan (aside from the TD) has been disappointing.
 

mgteich

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Ben made throws that gave his MANY receivers a chance at the ball, many of which were 50-50 shots or worse. The offensive play calling allowed Ben to have lots of choices. But the key is NOT that Gronk, Edelman, White, Gordon and Hogan (and even Patterson) can't make catches on 50-50 throws. IMHO, the key is that Brady's throws don't come anywhere near close enough. The obvious advantage is the last few throws of the game. They were awful (as well as the interception).

[QUOTE="upstater1, post: 5461295, member: 4293".

The difference: Ben has receivers that can snag the ball and highpoint it. The Patriots don't.[/QUOTE]
 

mgteich

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I am not as savvy as many of you guys, but I am still surprised by the lack of use of Dorsett and Patterson. I realize they aren't world beaters, but it wouldn't kill them to work those guys in there more. Especially just to mix it up since teams have been able to figure out Edelman, Gordon, and Hogan. Not to mention, Hogan (aside from the TD) has been disappointing.
Josh didn't even use Gordon at the end.
 

mgteich

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This is one your best analyses.

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.
 

reflexblue

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
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.
Me thinks the players had that last play from last week on their collective minds.
 
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