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2021 Patriots Season:
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PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
Enough had been seen to discuss it. It’s just an impossible matchup for D. McCourty. He simply doesn’t have the length or strength to play man against a good TE. Giving up 50 pounds, he can’t press, so he’s lined up 10 yards off and in a chase position from the snap. Even if there’s a bad throw and he gets in position to contest the reception, McCourty’s giving up 6 or 7 inches in height making it a “tall” order to even get a hand on the ball.

I actually like the use of more dime alignments. Involving Chung more in coverage of running backs has been a positive. With J. McCourty making the CB2 position his own over the last few weeks, my hope is Eric Rowe becomes the dime back rather than D. Harmon as I see him as the only DB on the roster with the physical attributes to cover TEs man to man other than Chung.

Then I guess, we pray for no more injuries as this team’s depth is painfully thin in this area.

Chung 5'11"
McCourty 5'10"

Now Chung is 15-20lbs heavier so that aspect as well as Rowe at 6'1" are good considerations.

All that said, what does BB always do? He adjusts. He adjusted regarding the opposing RBs toasting Pats LBs so now it's Chung. He'll do the same with McCourty IF McCourty doesn't improve in that part of the game (and I think he will) in practice the next 6 days. He has the best TE in the game to practice with/against.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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At this point I'm thinking Gordon isn't going to be a guy who see the field a ton. Edelman/Dorsett/Hogan are 3 guys Brady and BB trust. They allow you to run the typical system. Gordon I think is having issues picking it up. Not surprising with his limited time here. He may never fully pick up the system. It doesn't mean he can't be useful. When he is at the line I don't think he is making adjustments. I think he is running a planned route. I don't know if that is going to change anytime soon. If it doesn't his snaps will be limited. Brady threw him to 4 times on 18 snaps. 4 or 5 catches are all Gordon needs to have a huge impact. It is early but the hopes of him playing starter snaps seems like a very distant dream at this point. Maybe next year (if he isn't busted). The key is to utilize him for the snaps they can get him in for.

I have no idea where you are getting this from because it seems like a whole lot of confirmation bias packed in here.

Gordon has played in a similar offensive system and is very intelligent (not just compared to other WRs but to anyone.). It is far from a “distant dream” that he’ll be playing starter snaps this year. The guy has been here less than three weeks and played two games, one coming on a very short week. The issue doesn’t seem to be the playbook - in fact there was at least one report that he is picking it up very fast. The issue is just repetitions and timing with Brady. Brady even talked about it himself, about knowning a player’s body language and needing a lot of practice and reps to understand that. In fact, I think Gordon has done as well as any receiver I’ve seen coming in mid-season and picking up the offense in a hurry. If he stays healthy and stays clean, he’ll probably play nearly every snap within a month. Given the extra time, I bet he plays 50% of the snaps vs KC.

Gordon’s progress is astonishing considering the expectations coming in; certainly not worthy of a paragraph dedicated to skepticism of him being able to enter Brady’s circle of trust. If anything, Hogan’s play has been very concerning and he’s in danger falling outside that circle.

Patriots-Colts Film Review: How Josh Gordon Could Learn From Julian Edelman

Gordon has four catches for 82 yards with one touchdown in just 36 offensive snaps with the Patriots. He’s averaging 3.04 yards per route run in two games. That ranks fourth among NFL receivers with more than one route run.
 
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HailHydra

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I have no idea where you are getting this from because it seems like a whole lot of confirmation bias packed in here.

Gordon has played in a similar offensive system and is very intelligent (not just compared to other WRs but to anyone.). It is far from a “distant dream” that he’ll be playing starter snaps this year. The guy has been here less than three weeks and played two games, one coming on a very short week. The issue doesn’t seem to be the playbook - in fact there was at least one report that he is picking it up very fast. The issue is just repetitions and timing with Brady. Brady even talked about it himself, about knowning a player’s body language and needing a lot of practice and reps to understand that. In fact, I think Gordon has done as well as any receiver I’ve seen coming in mid-season and picking up the offense in a hurry. If he stays healthy and stays clean, he’ll probably play nearly every snap within a month. Given the extra time, I bet he plays 50% of the snaps vs KC.

Gordon’s progress is astonishing considering the expectations coming in; certainly not worthy of a paragraph dedicated to skepticism of him being able to enter Brady’s circle of trust. If anything, Hogan’s play has been very concerning and he’s in danger falling outside that circle.
Hogan isn't as good as he was last season - there were hidden reports of this coming out from training camp and how he had lost a step, couldn't get separation, etc.
 

Kenneth Sims

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Chung 5'11"
McCourty 5'10"

Now Chung is 15-20lbs heavier so that aspect as well as Rowe at 6'1" are good considerations.

All that said, what does BB always do? He adjusts. He adjusted regarding the opposing RBs toasting Pats LBs so now it's Chung. He'll do the same with McCourty IF McCourty doesn't improve in that part of the game (and I think he will) in practice the next 6 days. He has the best TE in the game to practice with/against.

You have more faith than I in BB’s adaptability. Change to his Defense tends to be more glacial than immediate. Especially, if he clings to the illusion, that being coached up in technique is going to make McCourty tall or physical enough to get better. He’s not. Good TEs always present a matchup problem, but 20 pounds and/or a couple of inches of height do help.

Geez, what I’d give to have a player around with Rodney Harrison’s size and skill around these days.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

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Hogan isn't as good as he was last season - there were hidden reports of this coming out from training camp and how he had lost a step, couldn't get separation, etc.

Speaking of losing a step, has anybody been watching gronkowski play?

I’m hoping the receivers can put together one more year of stellar play. Because the Patriots have a huge challenge to replace their key weapons quickly (next year or two max), and we saw this offseason how hard it is for them to find guys for this system.

Edelman (32)
Hogan (30 in two weeks)
Gronkowski (29 and all those injuries)

I think Gronkowski, if he is physically and mentallly willing, could play longer because of his size and blocking. It’s hard to say if he’s slowed down permanently or injured. He is coming off perhaps his best season and absolutely dominated that Super Bowl. But it it happens really fast. We saw it with Welker and Moss, going from hero to zero in less than a year. The Dolphins are finding that out with Amendola, who is 32 (lol).

It sure will be interesting to see how the Patriots address their aging receiver problem, since they can’t draft them and won’t spend more than twenty cents in free agency.
 

PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
You have more faith than I in BB’s adaptability. Change to his Defense tends to be more glacial than immediate.

It would probably be instructive to know what past changes you're speaking of prior to response. I will say the last third of the Pats roster is constantly in flux usually based on matchups and skill need as opponents, injury, and other factors present themselves. Cyrus Jones, Gordon, and Simon are just the latest examples. Harrison last year.

So what changes are more glacial?
 

DarrylS

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How many acclaimed WR's have come through Foxboro and failed to make an impact??.. Decker, Ocho Cinco, Galloway etc. so they moved on retired or whatever.. Randy Moss is the notable exception, but he had OTA's and Preseason to get in sync.

I has been intimated that Gordon knows this offense begs the issue, not many players do know it unless they are in the system and acclimated to it.. it takes time and timing with #12.

Suspect he will be eased into it more and more as the season progresses, if he keeps his head screwed on tight, things will get better..

Brady has 6 int's in 5 games, I know that two were deflections, is that a cause for concern??
 

borg

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Frankly, I don't know how Gronk can even walk.
Seems universally understood, to bring Gronk down....go low.
I hold my breath with every catch.
Brutal sport
Anyone else notice Howie Long hobbling on to the set during Thursday's broadcast. The long term price these guys pay.

In the 2017 draft, BB did what BB often does....double dip at one position...DE.
If memory serves me, I recall Wise flashing in the 2017 preseason despite being drafted 1 round after Rivers while Rivers was being seen/discussed as a work in progress during that summer, before going down. Nothing has changed

With Edelman and Gronk on the field, Gordon will never be the primary target but will get limited opportunities....keeping defenses honest. His skill set and Brady's don't necessarily align if we can be completely honest. Loved his broken play TD last week....but that was a pass Brady should never have thrown.

I view McCourty unfairly:
It's not his fault he is over paid. He had contract leverage and used it.
It's not his fault his hype doesn't match his production...IMO
It's not his fault BB deploys the Bend defense giving receivers huge buffer zones
My expectations are not realistic. I want to see Ed Reed production in centerfield or Bob Sanders production in the box...but the NE system does not allow many freelance opportunities.
 
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Brady6

Pro Bowl Player
What role do you think a safety like McCourty should be playing? Man to man? Centerfield?

As the defense evolves to combat what happened in last year's SB (and the contests leading up to it), would it surprise you to learn that they changed Chung's role from shadowing mainly TEs to covering the RBs out of the backfield.

The results have been pretty good so far. Hines was pretty bottled up in the Colts game. That shifts the TE responsibilities to McCourty where previously he could be a centerfielder keeping the play in front of him and taking the "pass off" in zones where the play was already half or more over.

In three weeks if he hasn't improved as he molds into the VERY different role for him - probably a conversation worth having.
McCourty is not playing a different role. He is being used the same way as he was last season. Chung is the WILL LB where he can either support the run or flex out and cover the slot, McCourty is the SS and responsible for run support and underneath coverage, and Harmon is the FS responsible for centerfield. They used this alignment all of last season.
 

ForThoseAboutToRock

In the Starting Line-Up
How about double and triple covered? Let's add that option too just in the interest of presenting a complete picture.

He's also subject to the Gronkowski Rules - it's worth it for defenders to commit holding / illegal contact / pass interference on every single one of Gronk's routes. Trade somewhere between 0 and 2 calls per game for keeping closer coverage on him.
 

scout

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
No Hightower rants? I've also been waiting on Rivers. Although, BB is the master and he knows far better then me or any of us. Years ago, I was sitting next to a guy on a plane after a Pats/Dolphin game. He said it was like Tom and Randy were playing football in the back yard. Tom, just throw it deep. I got that same feeling the other night when Gordon caught that TD. Busted? I honestly care that the individual survives life then plays starter's snaps. In regards to McCourtney or the secondary. In BB we trust.
 

luuked

Hall of Fame Poster
No Hightower rants?

I thought his arrow is pointing upwards after a pretty slow start in the first 3 or so games. But against Miami and the Colts he looked more comfortable and closer to the player I am used to see.
 

PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
Chung is the WILL LB where he can either support the run or flex out and cover the slot

Support the run yes, slot coverage was Jones against the Colts. Chung did cover slot receivers last year as well as even outside receivers in some cases in addition to TEs.

Vs the Colts Chung covered the RB almost exclusively with McCourty sliding into either the mid zone (like a LB) or manning up the TE.

That's not the same role McCourty played "all of last year" nor even earlier this year. He played that role on early downs some, center field some, and played in some of the double coverage schemes they employed against certain players as well.

In short, the usual gameplan specific utilization the Patriots have always used that doesn't statically employ any player in exactly the same role week to week (or even quarter to quarter).
 

PScottman

In the Starting Line-Up
My expectations are not realistic. I want to see Ed Reed production in centerfield or Bob Sanders production in the box...but the NE system does not allow many freelance opportunities.

Well said and a humble admission.
 
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