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Idle thoughts - the "pluses and minuses" edition

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sep 12th

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luuked

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They played well enough to give offence opportunities but if PIT NEEDED more points they could certainly find them it seemed..

I am sorry but his is just so lazy. The Steelers could only score 3 points in 3 quarters and you are telling me this happened because they didn't feel strongly enough about it ?

The various stops with sacks, the interceptions and the PBUs were mostly earned by the defense. Hell JCJ almost ripped the ball away on that shot to Schuster in the end. Even most of the completions were well covered and tough catches.
 

HailHydra

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
The Texans aren't a very scary team to play in the playoffs. If they get the 2nd seed - they won't since ending with the Eagles and Jags isn't easy by any means - they probably lose in the Divisional round. The Texans offense isn't too scary and should they lose, we'd still have Home Field in the Divisonal
 

Patsfanin Philly

Pro Bowl Player
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.
If you watched Philly last night with Foles in there, they were a much different ( and better) team than earleir in the season. when you have a QB who isn't most of his passes to one player (Ertz).. They honestly believe they have a chance to make the playoffs which makes them a much more dangerous team for Houston.. If the Pats take care of business, there is a good chance they get the #2 seed...
 

TommyBrady12

Hall of Fame Poster
2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
If you watched Philly last night with Foles in there, they were a much different ( and better) team than earleir in the season. when you have a QB who isn't most of his passes to one player (Ertz).. They honestly believe they have a chance to make the playoffs which makes them a much more dangerous team for Houston.. If the Pats take care of business, there is a good chance they get the #2 seed...

2 seed is better this year than 1 seed. Would rather face Houston in the divisional than KC/LAC. Of course the Pats will likely lose in the AFCCG....being the 2 seed just delays the inevitable.
 

YOUGOTMOSSED

In the Starting Line-Up
If you watched Philly last night with Foles in there, they were a much different ( and better) team than earleir in the season. when you have a QB who isn't most of his passes to one player (Ertz).. They honestly believe they have a chance to make the playoffs which makes them a much more dangerous team for Houston.. If the Pats take care of business, there is a good chance they get the #2 seed...

I imagine that "The Linc" is going to be lit for this next game. I like Philly's chances, especially following that upset win against the Rams.
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
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.


That was the most depressing moment for me as well. And it happened multiple times. At least when Roberts guesses the gap right (not often enough unfortunately) he seals it for a loss. DLs and LBs seem to be just hanging on the blocks lately until its too late to make a play. PIT has a very solid OL but it was like this in Miami and elsewhere as well. They do look better in Foxb. for some reason IIRC.

Anyway that leads to the adjustments you mentioned and its not ideal in the long run..

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.
__

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.

.. or most of the fans..
 

Tony2046

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2019 Weekly Picks Winner
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:

Brady had 1.5 seconds to get rid of the ball at times. He's going to get jumpy after awhile.

The Steelers are one of the league leaders in sacks. So they've pressured plenty of QBs this season.
 

BlueThunder

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Did anyone watching the game see any fire in Brady while he was on the sidelines?? Maybe I missed it......
 

maineman209

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
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.

For the first three games of the season, Brady had only three WRs - Hogan, Dorsett, and Patterson - and Brady's only other legitimate targets were Gronk and White.

Gordon chipped in about 20% of the snaps in weeks 4 & 5, before suddenly taking 80%-90% of the snaps beginning in week-6 (Hogan's levels until week-6).
Edelman came back in week-5 and immediately resumed his 2016 snap count and targets/game averages.

So, there's been a sea change in snap count and target distributions since week 5-6.

- Hogan went from 90% of the snaps and 6 tgts/game to 60% of the snaps and 2 tgts/game.
- Dorsett had 266 snaps and 24 tgts thru the first 4 weeks, and has had 67 total snaps and 8 total tgts since (after going 19/24 for 190 yds and 2 TDs).
- Patterson has averaged only 16% of the snaps since the 1st quarter of the season (about 11 per game), but has remained productive ... 12/14, 154 yds, 2 TDs .. plus 35 carries for 133 yds and 1 TD (47 touches/287 yds/3 TDs in 109 snaps is really efficient).

I really expected broader target distributions by this point, and I'm not sure why it hasn't happened yet. It's not as if Dorsett and Hogan stunk before Edelman came back, and Gordon was kicked into high gear.
 

sambam94

In the Starting Line-Up
still can't believe the Pats only put up 3 points after the Hogan 1st possession TD..They miss Cooks opening things up, Gordon is not that guy
 

long distance

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
I am sorry but his is just so lazy. The Steelers could only score 3 points in 3 quarters and you are telling me this happened because they didn't feel strongly enough about it ?

The various stops with sacks, the interceptions and the PBUs were mostly earned by the defense. Hell JCJ almost ripped the ball away on that shot to Schuster in the end. Even most of the completions were well covered and tough catches.


I am not telling you anything of the above. Just that games have certain game flows that affects the score incl. defensive score. Of course that is lazy but it is also constantly overlooked. No two 17 points allowed D performances are the same (or have the same value). No score is absolute but absolutely circumstantial yet people throw around numbers (not in Ken's case to be clear) like they are gold. PIT played all game (or almost) from the front - different play calling, clock management, risks, mindset etc. esp. going against BB. It was a nice conservative chess match so the score was on the low side (with players not always matching the level of strategies - penalties, ugly missed plays, assignments on both sides etc.)

And Im certainly not taking anything away from Pats D players and the plays they earned. Not really sure where you got that..
 
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upstater1

Pro Bowl Player
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]

Brady throws ball like that all the time but our guys never come down with them. Just a few weeks ago people were on this team for doing exactly that with Josh Gordon. Throwing up 50/50 balls. It was a critique of focusing too much on Gordon.

We don't have those guys. When Brady has had guys like that, it worked wonders.
 

maineman209

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Sidebar to the analysis of yesterday's run-D. Roberts was apparently added to the Pats injury report on Saturday with a thigh issue. I didn't see it until just now. He ended up playing only about 8 snaps early on in the game (12%).

Going into the game, Roberts was the Pats 4th leading tackler for the season, in spite of averaging just under 50% of the D-snaps. His tackles/snap was more than double that of HT (who's been averaging about 80% of the D-snaps).
 

p8ryts

In the Starting Line-Up
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. ;) ).
Brady forgetting no time outs!!!!

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.

Awesome secondary might be a little oversell. I'm not a Harmon fan. The deep secondary needs an upgrade. They are almost always a step too late. Harmon has some good interceptions but almost always a divine intervention resulting from someone else's good play or an overthrow. Chung good run defender limited against athletic TEs.

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.

Jason had a lot of tackles, sorry not a good thing, targeted often and successfully. Corners very good and I like JJ also.

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.

Big VK fan.

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.

That was a BB defense designed to stop the pass and it was successful enough they could have won. High was a negative along with Clayborn. I don't get what he provides.

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.

OL has been good. Other team comes to play and sometimes they make plays too.

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.

One of those throws Gronk had position but Brady overthrew him, no chance to make a play. I thought Patterson was open on the final play but Tom was never going to look at him. If Gordon can't fight for the deep ball give Patterson a chance. They ignored Gordon most of the game because of one drop.
? Second week in a row White taking a back seat until the last minute.

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.

Agree!


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.

Agree

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.

Yes if he stinks,cut him and play Frank Herron from the PS. (Sorry meant this about Shelton).

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.
 
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KontradictioN

35. Activist #BLM ✊ #ACAB #FreePalpatine They/Them
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Sidebar to the analysis of yesterday's run-D. Roberts was apparently added to the Pats injury report on Saturday with a thigh issue. I didn't see it until just now. He ended up playing only about 8 snaps early on in the game (12%).

Going into the game, Roberts was the Pats 4th leading tackler for the season, in spite of averaging just under 50% of the D-snaps. His tackles/snap was more than double that of HT (who's been averaging about 80% of the D-snaps).
Which is not good. That means backs are routinely getting to the second level of the defense.
 

Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
PatsFans.com Supporter
"We played with great effort tonight. We made some plays. They made a few more than we did." That's what I have in the way of optimism.
 

PatsFan2

Pro Bowl Player
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Brady had 1.5 seconds to get rid of the ball at times. He's going to get jumpy after awhile.

The Steelers are one of the league leaders in sacks. So they've pressured plenty of QBs this season.

Funny they didn't hold those Teams to 3 points: 10 because of a busted coverage against a relatively Healthy Patriots O. :oops:
 

203Pat

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The excuse making for Brady is unsurprisingly getting ramped up. He isn’t the sole reason for the struggles but it’s not just his supporting cast. Brady in the red zone for a large part of this year has been bad. He seems to force it to Gronk or get jittery and throw it away (or try to) or rush his throw and miss an open guy.
 

ctpatsfan1

On the Game Day Roster
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.
Respectfully disagree on Chung and Harmon. I think father time has caught up with Chung, he is asked to cover the TE and many more times than not he cannot. Don't get me wrong the guy is a competitor/warrior and gives it everything he's got, I just don't believe his everything is good enough anymore. As for Harmon, he is notorious for taking a bad angle on a play. Again he is a competitor and more times than not happens to be in the right place at the right time for an INT, but I think that is simply luck more than skill. I believe we need upgrades at both these positions in order to truly make this a very good if not great secondary.
 

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Now that I have had my post-loss beers and a good night's sleep, here are some thoughts:

- No matter what happens....the Patriots are HIGHLY likely to play 3 straight home games (2 if we lose out and miss the playoffs somehow..MIA has JAX and @Bills in weeks 16/17). Say we end up the #3 seed or even the #4 seed...we will face these teams at Gillette (in order of worst to preferable): Chargers/Chiefs, Ravens, Colts, Titans, Dolphins, or Browns. So, if we cannot get the #2 seed...we sure as hell want to keep ahead of Pittsburgh who is only half a game behind (with @NO and CIN in the final 2) or Baltimore who finishes with @LAC and CLE. We need to win the last 2 to avoid the Chargers/Chiefs on wild card weekend. *If* we win the final 2...and Houston drops 1...we are highly likely to play at home vs. Houston (if they win on WC weekend at home), Chargers/Chiefs (only if the #6 seed upsets Houston in Houston), or Steelers/Ravens (assuming they beat the Chargers/Chiefs). The point here is...3 home games with HOPEFULLY the 3rd one being divisional weekend against a formidable opponent with a week to prepare/rest.

- Our defense is what it is. We do not need our defense to pitch shut outs...although that would be nice. We need them to do what they have done over the last 6 quarters by allowing only 24 points (not counting the ST fiasco score in Miami). The run D is bad, but it is more of a result of playing sub heavy packages....nothing we can do about that other than take better angles, shed blocks, and make fundamental tackles before RB's hit the 2nd level.

- Our offense is the problem here, IMO. Unsure what exactly the problem is...but my thought is that we simply have too many weapons. Think about it...outside of the consistency on the OL with Brown, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, and Cannon/Waddle....we don't have any consistency elsewhere. At RB: Michel is churning out positive yardage when he is given carries...and is close to breaking a few home runs, IMO. White has basically disappeared recently...he should be targeted at least 8 times a game, IMO. Burkhead is being worked in. At TE: Gronk is back, Hollister isn't playing much, and Allen is back blocking. At WR: Gordon has been seeing increased reps for weeks now, Edelman is having key hiccups lately, Hogan disappears except for making big plays, Patterson isn't being used at RB anymore...but is catching passes more now, and Dorsett has completely disappeared. With McD's play calling...it seems that we can't decide whether to commit to the run or throw it...and go back and forth from drive to drive. Whatever happened to the old formula of run, run, and throw? IMO, if we ran it twice on every set of downs...we would be converting 3rd down a lot more than we have been. Seems that McD or Brady have been trying to hit home runs too much vs. churning out small chunks of yardage on every down. I can't see Michel NOT picking up at least 6 yards on two carries vs. a stacked box and Brady completing less than 60% on 3rd and 4.

- The good news here is that of all the problems our team could have....having an offensive problem is the best one to have. We have healthy players, we have the personnel to get the ball moving, and we have a defense that can give the offense opportunities to score points. I'd like to see us be consistent on offense through the final 8 quarters of the season...ideally scoring in every quarter vs. being stalled for multiple drives.
 
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