Patriots Local News:

SOURCE:Boston.com


SOURCE:USA TODAY


SOURCE:USA TODAY


SOURCE:USA TODAY


SOURCE:Boston Herald


SOURCE:NESN


SOURCE:Pats Pulpit


SOURCE:ProFootballTalk.com


SOURCE:USA TODAY


SOURCE:WEEI


SOURCE:clutchpoints.com


SOURCE:WEEI


SOURCE:Pats Pulpit


SOURCE:NESN


SOURCE:Pats Pulpit


SOURCE:NESN


SOURCE:Boston.com


SOURCE:Providence Journal


SOURCE:NESN


SOURCE:NESN


SOURCE:NBC Sports Boston


SOURCE:NBC Sports Boston


SOURCE:NBC Sports Boston


SOURCE:WEEI


SOURCE:Boston Sports Journal

Patsfans.com

Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: Dolphins
Sun
Sep 13th

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:

State of the Pats: READY for big games

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by long distance, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. long distance

    long distance Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    8,545
    Likes Received:
    8,800
    Ratings:
    +23,777
    After struggling, injury ridden season - just at the right time this team now seems ready for big games.

    1. Front 7

    Front 7 was/is seen as the biggest or the only liability of this team. Going into playoffs one could argue that is no longer the case. One guy this unit could heavily lean on throughout the season is Lawrence Guy. A few weeks ago he was joined by healthy, fresh and highly motivated Brown who never looked better. They are now a strong pair upfront to anchor this unit. RJF was brought twice from the street to fill in but he looks good every time he lines up. Branch should reportedly be available as well and while he struggled to come to form all year and is not likely to contribute in last year's capacity he can possibly still offer some strong snaps in certain situations. Adam Butler continues to be disruptive inside piece on 3rd downs.

    Edge is getting even bigger boost going to playoffs: Trey Flowers is another top guy coming back from injury just at the right time in good condition and coming back to his form. Harrison looked every bit like the last piece of puzzle this unit needed to rise to the playoff level. He showed that he can play more than just a few situational snaps (47% of D snaps), that he has the strength, the tools and the motor for 3 big games, that he can be powerful edge setter and pass rusher and very importantly - also helps rotation keeping young guys fresh and concentrate on limited tasks they can handle. [email protected] sent Harrison for a couple of sacks late in the game just to put it on film. Now teams will have to game plan for mad rusher Harris which will relief most of all Flowers but also other guys incl. interior to have more space to make plays. Wise and Lee should benefit on a reduced number of snaps. Wise is gradually making less mistakes, holds position better, Lee bounced back nicely after two tough games playing through injury. He still has problems setting the edge so going on as situational player will help him and the team as we could see on Sunday.

    LB unit was a revolving door all year but again - just at the right time the pieces are coming together. Biggest boost here is the return of KVN (that will help also the edge) but the emergence of M.Flowers should not be underestimated. Not only is he making play after play both on D and ST but adds two things this unit (even with healthy Hightower and KVN) missed most: speed and coverage. He is a very solid tackler, knows how to disguise his plays (blitzing, spying, robbing, covering) so big gain not only for LB unit but all different D looks in nickel and dime. E.Roberts is a soldier, a missile that hits and misses - and also in his case, the addition of KVN will help him to play to his strength in a more situational role

    Looking at this very provisional illustration suddenly doesn't look so bad:
    (bold players new or returning recently, probably):

    KVN - T.Flowers - Guy - Brown - Harris // Wise, Lee, RJF, A.Butler / Branch
    Chung - KVN/Roberts/M.Flowers // Richards (Harris)​


    2. Secondary

    No need to waste too many words here. After early communication struggles this unit fell together nicely. Gilmore and Butler can have their ups and downs but overall this is a very solid CB pair like expected. D-Mac, Chung and Harmon are doing excellent job all year in the box, outside or back. Rowe adds another dimension/option for different formations. I still think JJ is a better player overall at the moment but Rowe is bigger and better in coverage over the middle, also better potential outside vs big receivers so his value going forward is substantial - esp. going against Ju-Ju and possibly helping with Kelce..

    3. OL

    It was nice to see slow but steady progress of Solder. Having a very solid LT again after early struggles is huge for this offence. Mason and Andrews are having career years. Thuney started to struggle mid season like last year but looks like he is bouncing back again. The weakest position not only of this unit but the whole team is RT. Fleming is trying to do a decent job and with some help he keeps his side at least fairly honest but having Cannon here would make this O unstoppable. Waddle was better before injury so hopefully he can come back in similar capacity. If there is a weak link on this team its this one esp. because they can't really upgrade it - they can just distribute some help over but that affects the skill positions. The “good“ news is this position also can't get worse since hobbled Waddle, Fleming and young Croston offer similar level IMO.

    4. Skill

    It looks like as long as Gronk and Lewis are healthy, TB and McD will find a way to move the ball. The fact that this unit can add up to 5 more starting caliber/super-bowl experienced players in Hogan, Mitchell, Burkhead, White and Gillislee is almost unfair.

    5. ST

    This is one of the best units in football right now. Ghost is in a zone, Allen is peaking, Pats are best in starting drive position and opponents starting position, they never allow a big play and have (among) the fewest penalties.


    Let the games begin..
     
    • Like Like x 19
    • Useful Useful x 5
    • Winner Winner x 3
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  2. luuked

    luuked Pro Bowl Player

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    18,218
    Likes Received:
    6,466
    Ratings:
    +34,255
    You are far more positive and optimistic about the front 7 than I am.

    The interior is ok but the edges and LBs are just playing with such a small margin for error that we will need some things to work out in our favor for the season to end with a title.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  3. long distance

    long distance Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    8,545
    Likes Received:
    8,800
    Ratings:
    +23,777

    I hear you. But look at it from the perspective of after-the-full-regular-season roster. All teams are significantly banged up and much thinner than at the start of the season or mid-season. There are only few dominating front 7 remaining in the game and even those not to the mid-season level. Even the healthiest unit in NFL, the Jags D is showing weak spots.

    Pats front 7 actually looks better going into playoffs than at the start of the season. Would you rather have HOU front 7 at this point? Even Seattle is struggling to stop anyone. Rams rest a couple of guys and Jimmy with no-name offence rolls over them like they're high school. Im not even sure Id take Steelers front 7 at the moment.

    So it is in this context that I feel positive about this unit - within BB-MP system and backed w very good secondary.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  4. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    5,744
    Likes Received:
    1,467
    Ratings:
    +6,035
    The bye is always a nice advantage, but especially this year. It feels like we've been really hit hard with a lot of injuries and guys are dinged-up. Brady in particular hasn't looked himself over the past few weeks.

    The front 7 could definitely use the extra week. Guys like Lee and Van Noy and Branch could use the extra time, and it lets Harrison get a bit more familiar with the defense before going back out there.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  5. long distance

    long distance Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    8,545
    Likes Received:
    8,800
    Ratings:
    +23,777

    Here, maybe your friend Matt can help you see the brighter side..;)

     
    • Agree x 9
    • Funny x 5
    • Like x 4
    • Useful x 4
    • Winner x 1
  6. robertweathers

    robertweathers PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Messages:
    54,726
    Likes Received:
    13,282
    Ratings:
    +82,453
    Patsnumero1fan has possessed you.
     
    • Funny Funny x 7
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. pheenix11

    pheenix11 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    1,061
    Ratings:
    +5,206
    I think this is a great analysis. I like how things are shaping up going into the playoffs.

    Ironically the player who has been struggling (relatively speaking) the most recently is Brady. Something tells me that will work itself out in the playoffs ;)
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. luuked

    luuked Pro Bowl Player

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    18,218
    Likes Received:
    6,466
    Ratings:
    +34,255
    I dont disagree with him. Just feel like there are some weaknesses up front around the edges that have proven to be difficult to scheme away.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. long distance

    long distance Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Messages:
    8,545
    Likes Received:
    8,800
    Ratings:
    +23,777

    Sure. But looking at M.Flowers the last games, Harrison yesterday and the return of KVN . this feels better now. As I was saying from the start in our re-watch threads analysing snap counts . one big and important difference from the last season was that due to all injuries MP could never establish full rotations. Last year you had 4 DEs rotating at around 50% of snaps per game. This year you had games with T.Flowers at 100%, rookies Wise and Lee over 70% at times etc. That's not the situation where they will be most effective.

    If there was one thing last SB thought us is that keeping players fresh is essential in big elimination games. Playoff games are mentally much more challenging, they are also longer and that takes much more energy.

    The depth showed in OP finally enables MP to rotate all positions on the line and LB accordingly - and Sunday game already showed that. If you can have T.Flowers at 60-80% that's when he will be most productive. Same for Guy and Brown at around 50% (depending on how busy the D will be in certain game). Harrison, Wise, Lee preferably below that etc. This kind of snap distribution was never possible this season. Now it is. It is also possible to better scheme and put players in better situations to succeed (not asking them to do what they can't - well enough..)
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Useful Useful x 2
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  10. luuked

    luuked Pro Bowl Player

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    18,218
    Likes Received:
    6,466
    Ratings:
    +34,255
    You really don't have to convince me because I have full trust into our coaching staff to put everyone into the best position to win any game. I have no panic or whatever.

    I dont really understand why saying that the edges on our front 7 are the weakspot is so "controversial". Especially because I am not saying they are bad but simply weaker then other parts of the D like the interior or the secondary.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN PatsFans.com #1 Arguer PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    53,824
    Likes Received:
    8,530
    Ratings:
    +57,227
    They’ll be shown in the spotlight if the team plays KC again in the divisional round. The front will have difficulty again with that type of speed. I’d expect KC to run the same game plan, offensively, that they did in Week 1.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. VectorPrime

    VectorPrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,633
    Likes Received:
    1,467
    Ratings:
    +12,419
    The Pats are sometimes known to lose second matchups in the playoffs but I cannot imagine it would be to the same gameplan.
     
  13. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    14,732
    Likes Received:
    4,048
    Ratings:
    +14,601
    I am happy overall with how things look. Getting Van Noy and Harrison can't be overstated.

    Van Noy is an every down player for the Patriots and a core defensder with or without Hightower at LB. Getting him back helps one of their weakest areas. Harrison gives the DEs a big boost and now I am happy with the rotation of Flowers/Wise/Harrison going into the playoffs. They really needed a 3rd guy and Lee is a spot player at best.

    The DTs have been pretty good all year and will need to keep being so. Brown being back is important. Guy just had the best game of his season. I don't think we can expect to see Guy play like that the next 3 games but if it is close it will be super helpful.

    DBs will be fine for the most part. They will make us want to pull our hair out at times with giving up big chunks but as long as it leads to FGs and not TDs we have to say the D overall did a very good job.

    I like this unit on defense. I feel the front 7 now has a representative DL talent wise and the LBs will hopefully not be caught out of position. With Harrison on one side and Van Noy on the other I hope those long sideways runs are sniffed out.

    On offense to me the key get back is Burkhead. The Patriots offense has just not been good on 3rd down. Hogan/Mitchell could help but I think Burkhead is their money 3rd down player.

    The OL has overall been good enough. Brady needs to stop attempting passes of 30 yards. He has not done it well the last 5-6 games really. I remember 5 times Cooks had guys beaten for a TD but he underthrew into a potential Int or Int (sometimes Cooks could draw a PI) and over threw.

    He was hitting it better early but its not working right now. Keep it within intermediate range and that will help a lot. At this point I'm more comfortable with Brady throwing it into a tight 5-10 yard window on the outside that Cooks who has 2 steps 40 yards down the field.

    Lewis will no doubt continue to be a beast. One of him or Burkhead should always been on the field. Ideally both at times. Particularly 3rd down.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Ivan

    Ivan Hall of Fame Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    20,896
    Likes Received:
    4,493
    Ratings:
    +24,373
    Great post, agree completely. The defense has been an enigma but going five games without teams scoring in the 4th is a great sign going into the playoffs. Belichick went vanilla down the stretch imo and they should be as healthy as they can get and ready to make a 3 game run. This team has had flaws but it’s got character as well and I think they are going to have a really good playoff run.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. UptownPatsFan

    UptownPatsFan Standin' Pat

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    10,044
    Likes Received:
    5,866
    Ratings:
    +22,650
    I like where we are as a team (health-wise, ST..etc). IMO the only weakness is SPEED on defense. Setting the edge, covering out of the backfield. However, as usual; IBBWT. They’ll figure it out. Happy to get half of our offense back for the big dance :)
     
  16. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    434
    Ratings:
    +2,284
    There is plenty to be excited about: returning O players! KVN coming back! Harrison! M. Flowers and E. Lee the last few weeks!

    However, there is also plenty for Negative Nancy's to cling to. Brady not playing well since injury in Mexico! Flowers and Lee played well against lesser opponents! Defense was so bad weeks 1-4!

    My biggest concern is the team tends to come out flat after a bye. Last year's game vs Texans, SB LI, 2014 against the Ravens to name a few. I think the injuries will heal up and we should be the healthiest we've been in a couple months. But if they come out flat against KC and spot them a 14 point lead, it's going to be a mighty large task to come back from.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  17. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN PatsFans.com #1 Arguer PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    53,824
    Likes Received:
    8,530
    Ratings:
    +57,227
    I don’t know why it wouldn’t. Speed is the greatest advantage KC has against most teams and they’re not going to specifically target the secondary, which is New England’s strength. They stretched the defense (and specifically the front) horizontally with excellent results in Week 1. Why would they go away from that the second time around?
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  18. Ivan

    Ivan Hall of Fame Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    20,896
    Likes Received:
    4,493
    Ratings:
    +24,373
    Agree, the edge is the issue. They have been exploited all season in that regard, but it doesn’t kill them when all is said and done. If their front seven plays well in the playoffs they are in good shape to win #6.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Ivan

    Ivan Hall of Fame Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Messages:
    20,896
    Likes Received:
    4,493
    Ratings:
    +24,373

    Agree completely, they have to keep teams inside to get them off the field.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. BlueThunder

    BlueThunder PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter Weekly Picks Winner

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2009
    Messages:
    5,466
    Likes Received:
    734
    Ratings:
    +2,844
    The defense being together for the season and improved communication should help mitigate any advantage KC has with speed.....Players being in position to make plays ....Having depth and keeping key players fresh should pay dividends in the 4th qtr when the games usually are on the line....
     

Share This Page

FORUM SEARCH: CLOSE
For searches w/multiple
players add commas
(Ex: "Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty")