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Content Post Words on things I watched, read & heard II

2022 Patriots Season:
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Pick Results: DET: 13.4% at NE: 86.6%

Sun
Oct 9th
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This has an opening post with good commentary and information, which we definitely recommend reading.

VJCPatriot

Pro Bowl Player
As I understand it, the OL potentially has to make some difficult reach blocks, so you want athleticism over heft.

Kollman talks about it in that video I linked:



For the RB, you want speed and shake over power. So the new super-fast RB they drafted could come into the picture, if not this year then next.

The thing is that both Strange and the new RB Pierre Strong are more suited to zone blocking run plays. So I don't know if the Patriots are planning to change their running schemes to suit two new players when their run game has been pretty strong using gap attacking plays.

Here's a summary of the Patriots offense tendencies in 2021:
"Scheme: McDaniels runs a modified Erhardt-Perkins-style offense molded around the talent on the roster. His offense utilizes multiple formations to run the same play concept, features quick throws (often to the slot receivers or tight ends), attempts to get players into space, and the running game uses mostly Gap run-blocking concepts."
 

VJCPatriot

Pro Bowl Player
You can't put guys in cotton wool: lots of them get injured in the off-season just training. I think poor Robert Edwards was an outlier, though. And watching O-Line men playing beach volleyball would be a lot of fun.
No, sorry. I don't enjoy our football players potentially risking their careers to play a game that is not football in their free time. Robert Edwards should be a cautionary tale, not a hey let's have all our key players get hurt for no reason for playing nonfootball related sports.
 

One-If-By-Sea

In the Starting Line-Up
The thing is that both Strange and the new RB Pierre Strong are more suited to zone blocking run plays. So I don't know if the Patriots are planning to change their running schemes to suit two new players when their run game has been pretty strong using gap attacking plays.

Here's a summary of the Patriots offense tendencies in 2021:
"Scheme: McDaniels runs a modified Erhardt-Perkins-style offense molded around the talent on the roster. His offense utilizes multiple formations to run the same play concept, features quick throws (often to the slot receivers or tight ends), attempts to get players into space, and the running game uses mostly Gap run-blocking concepts."

You might want to read anything about BB changing the offense and the offensive changes noted at OTAs by reporters like Evan Lazar. Quoting Josh McD's approach in 2021, with Josh in LV for 2022, is kind of pointless.
 

VJCPatriot

Pro Bowl Player
You might want to read anything about BB changing the offense and the offensive changes noted at OTAs by reporters like Evan Lazar. Quoting Josh McD's approach in 2021, with Josh in LV for 2022, is kind of pointless.
The Patriots have been running a variant of the Erhardt-Perkins style offense for decades. Whether McDaniels is here or not is irrelevant.

The Pats aren't going to change their fundamental offense overnight. So the question is definitely relevant, how much will BB change an offensive system that they've used for decades to accommodate a couple of new players who are more suited to zone blocking schemes ie Strange and Strong.

You also have to consider that the Patriots were very successful running the gap style offensive run schemes. Why go away from that, especially since their personnel for the most part fit those types of plays? Yes Cole Strange is reportedly very athletic for a guard, which makes him suitable for zone blocking schemes, but last time I checked you need 5 men for an OL. What about the 4 other dudes on that line?
 

One-If-By-Sea

In the Starting Line-Up
The Pats aren't going to change their fundamental offense overnight.

I am not sure what you mean by "change their fundamental offense". It is not "overnight" - they have all Summer and training camp to change. Pats let the FB go and told him they were not using a FB anymore. The sports reporters at the OTAs report that BB is running the offense including calling plays. The sports reporters at the OTAs report the Pats are practicing more zone blocking schemes. So the offense is changing. I am not sure if that change qualifies as "fundamental" to you.

So the question is definitely relevant, how much will BB change an offensive system that they've used for decades.

Yes, fair question. I think everyone is asking that question. A lot of us are listening to the people reporting from OTAs to try to understand the answer (the reporters are also wondering how much of a change is underway).

To accommodate a couple of new players who are more suited to zone blocking schemes ie Strange and Strong.

BB would not change anything to accommodate a couple of rookies. But he might decide to fundamentally change the offense and then release players and sign other players to fit the scheme change.

You also have to consider that the Patriots were very successful running the gap style offensive run schemes. Why go away from that, especially since their personnel for the most part fit those types of plays? Yes Cole Strange is reportedly very athletic for a guard, which makes him suitable for zone blocking schemes, but last time I checked you need 5 men for an OL. What about the 4 other dudes on that line?

Yup. Everyone is considering all of that. BB's strength is that he morphs and changes. He will even change a defensive scheme at halftime of a game. To not believe that BB will change the whole offense means BB and his ability to morph schemes is being ignored.
 

SlowGettingUp

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Interesting article here about how installing outside zone is very challenging for an OL and needs a coach experienced in the system:


So my guess is that Belichick is not going to switch wholesale - just going to install some selected outside zone type plays.

Not having a FB is a pretty clear tell that something fundamental is changing in the run game (unless he's planning to use a TE in the FB's place).
 

Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
PatsFans.com Supporter
I was looking for a link to the time (some time in the Oughts, I think) when, if I remember correctly, the Pats decided to switch to more zone blocking, with not-very-good results. Instead I found these two very interesting articles. The first is about how different line coaches do things differently (and so how DeGuglielmo is very different to Scarnecchia).


The second, by Bedard, analyses a 2010 game when the Pats trounced the Bills with zone blocking:


It's going to be VERY interesting to see how well the O-line performs this coming season, to say the least.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

Not the kind of guy to say I told you so ...
PatsFans.com Supporter
Re: OZ / Stretch plays. Someone asked (@Vindicate ). I've been sick, just exhausted off work. Haven't been in here as much.

Did anything interesting happen in the last week????

Anyway I just wrote about Pierre Strong in another thread and a lot of what I said there applies to what you want out of a RB for OZ / Wide, stretch plays. He really has a lot of what you need and is well equipped for that specific role.

from the recap thread ....

"Hes got serious acceleration and fast twitch. Which after patience/setting up your blocks, is the most important thing for stretch plays, OZ imo. Basically has one gear but he gets to 0-100 real quick. Good long speed but he gets into top gear extremely fast. I mentioned it above but he's very good, very patient setting up his blocks and not just for stretch plays. Using them to his advantage to help shape the 2nd & 3rd levels. Its very subtle and tough to recognize but he does a nice job shaping the landscape to his liking. Having 4.3 speed doesn't hurt but the impressive part of that is that Strong is very good at keeping full speed while shifting, changing his path, weaving through defenders. One of the more impressive things about his game. He's got some nice COD at full speed. Not so much bounce around like Barry Sanders COD but a little shifting here & there, turning while keeping top speed."

What Shanahan said ...
"But the type of guys you want are guys who can put their foot in the ground, get downhill. You do want guys who can run and create arm tackles and then run through them. I'm not looking for a guy...that you have to give 30 carries to to get 100 yards. You want guys who get downhill, who get over four yards a carry and they move the chains for you."

So if you were to ask me what the most important attributes/qualities are for a RB in a zone scheme, specifically outside/wide zone I'd say the following ...

1)it takes a certain back to run this system but the OL are still the star of the show. The lanes and movement they create allow for for those big plays to develop. I remember always wondering why running backs won't simply bounce it outside when I first started watching ball. Seemed like the edge was there be taken. But the lateral speed even back then was incredible. You can't just win with pure speed 99% percent of the time. That lateral movement is a killer for some guys, combined with motion (hello TT?) it's that much more difficult. Getting those LB's moving east-west, hesitating for a half second, thinking instead of closing ground, leads to those big plays. Following your blocks, allowing OL to kick, climb and clear space, showing a little patience but not living off it. Is key.

2) decisiveness / vision - these are together at least imo bc one doesnt matter without the other. You could have the best vision in the world but without those instincts and decision making to make a move its useless. In general backs have more freedom to be flexible in a power scheme and depending on the blockers in front of them and their own athleticism, they might be afforded more patience overall. Zone runs, especially wide/stretch plays, require precise timing. Athleticism matters and obviously helps but your straight line speed and quick mater more than COD/3 Cone. Missing your lane while moving laterally is a quick death in the NFL. So you have to be decisive and have above average open field vision. You can't afford to be too patient, lanes close in a hurry. It's impossible to capture the edge on every wide run so at times you have to just take what's there. You're not always going to take the edge and scream down the sideline for 50. You have "aiming points" but cant just stick to the script for the sake every time. You need to generate positive yards.

In general amost every "aiming point" for a RB is their tackles midline/hip or their TE/"Ghost TE" hip. Those two obviously are usually near the perimeter so again not everything plays as planned. Depending on the emlos (end man on line of scrimmage), who's reached, whos not, what a defense is trying to do. Generally the plan is as follows ...

A)"bounce" take the outside if possible. No hesitation if there's a path outside you "bounce" it outside and take the most outside path you.

B)"bend" kick inside following your OL climbing to the LB.

C)"bang" generally same, looking for over pursuing defenders.

This is where you watch film and ask yourself was that oz? Was that duo or iz?

3)Acceleration/quick twitch. There's different types of speed and having quick twitch, real acceleration is key. Especially for this run. Everyone is fast. Having that burst, explosion is a lot more important than having "long speed", separation is king in this league.

There are other traits you want but those would be my most important for a RB in that scheme. Strong reminds me of a Shanahan type back in the mold of Brieda and Mosert.

I've noticed a few reporters and new players (Parker) talk about how much we're running in camp. Now it's important to remember the NEP are notorious for their strength and conditioning programs. There's a few a teams that are in extra good shape and the Pats have always been one of them. Nonetheless it reminded me of this quote from KS ...

"the main thing we're going to get these linemen, when they get in here, is we just want to get them to run. They're going to run a lot more than they ever have before. We're going to try to challenge the defense sideline to sideline, not just between the tackles. And it's a challenge to get guys to run but yet to still be as physical as anybody, so there's an element there that's not just lateral but it's getting downhill, too. It takes time to develop."

It's tough to call this a smokescreen bc of the commitment needed and Bill's M.O. I can't see them doing this to not do it later but I'm curious on just how much of a jump we make. I'm thinking we commit but take the slow & steady approach.

In terms of what you want out of your OL it's very simple. At least putting it on paper for an application. Short area quickness, agility and balance > everything else.

1)flexibility particularly in your lower half. You're asked to explode, reach, maneuver, take on contact and still make your way down field all while keeping your eyes & head on a swivel. flexibility is a must have. I'll add balance in with this one. Balance, contact balance is huge.

2)footwork. You can tell so much just off their first step(s) It's crucial for a successful zone blocking scheme bc at times everyone is taking the same steps, working through the same area. Footwork is a must have.

3)I feel like you could go a lot of different ways here. I want to say physicality bc it's big in a zone scheme (depending on the schemd you could have man principles on some stuff) but I'll go with vision. You're not just clearing bodies out the way or hitting something. You're working in space, trying to be efficient, effective and crisp. At times you're initiating contact off the line, tracking 2nd level defenders, trying to use space/leverage. I think I'd go with vision here although it's a tough call.

Guys like Shanahan squeeze water from rock in terms of maximizing the details. This type of attention to detail tends to spill over throughout the offense or team. Above, when talking about OL'm I think you could put chemistry, camaraderie #1 overall bc that's such huge part of guys being successful. You have different types of zone blocking. Numbers (sometimes man principles), filled/unfilled, so you've got to be able to communicate and be familiar with each other's tendencies.

We'll see how much and how quick we turn over but I'm not ignoring the obvious.
 
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Zuma

I like the Patriots
PatsFans.com Supporter

“It’s been dope so far,” Bourne said, via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss. “Joe Judge, our newest member, he’s doing a great job. Really just new terminology, new words. Football is football, so it’s just about learning new words, getting the old words out. And just applying my abilities to the new system.

“I think he’s putting us in a position to be successful. I’m excited so far. I’ve rushed the ball a lot, doing different things for myself. And he’s even using other players and their strengths. Hopefully, we’ll have a great year. We’ll see how it goes.”
 

SlowGettingUp

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Really just new terminology, new words. Football is football, so it’s just about learning new words, getting the old words out. And just applying my abilities to the new system.
Any ideas what this might mean? I assume tweaks and additions rather than a whole new system.
 

Zuma

I like the Patriots
PatsFans.com Supporter
Any ideas what this might mean? I assume tweaks and additions rather than a whole new system.

Maybe I'm wrong but didn't Mac lose the playbook last year? I wonder if the new terminology has something to do with that or they are actually different plays.

EDIT: no idea if real or not...

 
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Kasmir

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Anyone know if Mac can punt? I hear Joe Judge wants to punt on early downs to capitalize on his special teams expertise: punt to gain field position until you can kick a field goal.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Not saying they will abandon the power run - the more options you have on each play the better. But the outside zone run fits better with RPO, which people think will be a feature this year.

How can you effectively operate an NFL RPO when your QB isn't a threat to run? If he isn't, then it's simply play-action.
 
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mike_usagisan

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
How can you effectively operate an NFL RPO when your QB isn't a threat to run? If he isn't, then it's simply play-action.
I thought it was that the QB makes a motion like he’s going to handoff while surveying the field. If he wants to throw, he pulls it back in and makes it a throw. If he doesn’t, he continues the handoff to the RB. RPO doesn’t have to be just for mobile quarterbacks.
 

Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target
PatsFans.com Supporter
You don't need a mobile QB. You know Mac ran a ton of them in college right??

But here's the big question. How different are things in college from the NFL? Here, after all, is Saban himself, describing the changes that sent colleges to the RPO as resulting from the particular college rules:

"It's challenging as a defensive guy to be able to adapt and adjust to the way the game is played now, but I think the rules in college football have sort of ignited the change throughout the game. Blocking three and a half yards down field on a pass play which leads to RPOs is a dramatic change in the way you play football. You need to be spread out to do that. To be able to block down field on a pass behind the line of scrimmage, which is just a rule that applies in college football, changes the game in terms of how you throw screens and how you pick people and run people in the flat. Those are real challenging things to try and defend. They all create tremendous run, pass conflicts for defensive players."​
[For some reason, I can't link to the BleacherReport piece from which this quote comes. Patsfans converts it to "media" and then doesn't load. But it's by Tim Daniels on July 20, 2021.]
 
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captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
But here's the big question. How different are things in college from the NFL? Here, after all, is Saban himself, describing the changes that sent colleges to the RPO as resulting from the particular college rules:

"It's challenging as a defensive guy to be able to adapt and adjust to the way the game is played now, but I think the rules in college football have sort of ignited the change throughout the game. Blocking three and a half yards down field on a pass play which leads to RPOs is a dramatic change in the way you play football. You need to be spread out to do that. To be able to block down field on a pass behind the line of scrimmage, which is just a rule that applies in college football, changes the game in terms of how you throw screens and how you pick people and run people in the flat. Those are real challenging things to try and defend. They all create tremendous run, pass conflicts for defensive players."​

Wasn't aware of that difference in blocking allowed between college & the NFL... That's terribly unfair against the defense; almost integrity of the game unfair...
 

BaconGrundleCandy

Not the kind of guy to say I told you so ...
PatsFans.com Supporter
But here's the big question. How different are things in college from the NFL? Here, after all, is Saban himself, describing the changes that sent colleges to the RPO as resulting from the particular college rules:

"It's challenging as a defensive guy to be able to adapt and adjust to the way the game is played now, but I think the rules in college football have sort of ignited the change throughout the game. Blocking three and a half yards down field on a pass play which leads to RPOs is a dramatic change in the way you play football. You need to be spread out to do that. To be able to block down field on a pass behind the line of scrimmage, which is just a rule that applies in college football, changes the game in terms of how you throw screens and how you pick people and run people in the flat. Those are real challenging things to try and defend. They all create tremendous run, pass conflicts for defensive players."​
Saban doesn't know what he's talking about. Listen to me.

So look there are rules changes but they're not as dramatic as the old man is making them out to be.

1)RPO Screen passes are basically useless bc of the speed across the los. They've been going down in the NFL and for good reason.

2)I don't believe we seen any evidence to suggest teams actually getting flagged more or at all while running pre or post snap RPO. The Eagles pushed the boundary there and never got called that I remember.

Teams should be taking advantage of the vertical game with post snap RPO. Especially if it's not being called. Same for other routes. Like the slant. Already a high % throw RPO helps with yac bc defenses aren't properly set or a tick slow bc of what's happening behind the line.

So while the rules are significant its not a huge obstacle by stretch. We've seen them steadily increase since the early 2010's and I hope offenses take advantage.

The bc reason we don't see more of them imo is time & commitment. You have commit, practice them, make it a staple if you want to get good at them. The reward is easy yards and NFL defenses aren't up to speed.

Next time you're thinking about listening to Saban save yourself the headache and listen to this random weirdo online.
 


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