The Patriots are just a win away from returning to the Super Bowl and after the win over Kansas City, there is confidence in the offense, especially in the short passing game once again.
The return of Julian Edelman and a healthy Danny Amendola did wonders for Tom Brady, the offensive line and the receivers as they were able to spread out the Chiefs, neutralize their pass rush and surgically pick them apart.
Edelman and Amendola missed the game in Denver back in November and their presence are expected to jump start the offense quickly against the Denver defense which led the league in sacks with 52. The Broncos have some quality edge rushers with Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Shaq Barrett along with inside guys Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson.
In the November game, Brady was hit or pressured on half of his drop backs, but against Kansas City all that changed.
With Edelman back in the fold, Brady was getting the ball out lightning fast and methodically carving up a very good Chiefs secondary. Edelman brings that out and now with the team confident that they can throw the ball quickly and move the chains, it is creating a snow-ball effect which should benefit James White out of the backfield.
White still didn’t have the coaches’ trust in that earlier Denver game as Brandon Bolden got a lot of snaps during the Week 12 loss. Now White seems fully integrated in the offense and with Edelman and Amendola back, he should emerge as a bigger weapon this time around.
In the earlier game, the Patriots tried to stress the Broncos linebackers by putting them in coverage. It was a match-up they didn’t fully exploit but with Edelman back on the field, White is a weapon that they can bring to bear.
We saw some of this against the Chiefs. Instead of keeping White in to block on the majority of his snaps, they shifted him out wide, at times going 5-wide and that with Brady’s quick release (average 1.94 seconds according CSNNE’s Mike Giardi), rendered the Chiefs talented pass rush toothless.
White had a big 29-yard catch and run, from out of the backfield in the KC game and could be primed for more. Denver has a very talented defense that likes to set the tone and be very aggressive. By spreading them out and forcing them to declare where the pass rush is coming from, Brady can send White, Edelman or Gronkowski in motion to see if the defense is sticking with man or dropping into zones.
Can we see them trying to put pressure on the linebackers again by using the backs, i.e. White out of the backfield or split wide? Absolutely and he may be utilized more this time around and even more so than he was against the Chiefs.
Being able to get rid of the ball so quickly will help Brady immensely against this talented front seven. Giardi posted some eye-popping numbers from Saturday regarding how quickly Brady was throwing the ball.
On Edelman’s ten receptions, Brady’s average time from snap to throw was an incredibly fast 1.57 seconds. When the Patriots spread the Chiefs out and had Rob Gronkowski split wide, Brady threw to him seven times, completed six and got two touchdowns. He got rid of the ball in a ridiculously fast 1.48 seconds.
It makes life incredibly difficult for the pass rushers to get there in that fast of a time. Look for the Broncos to bring pressure up the A-gap, much in the same manner that Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia use Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins. But if Brady is getting the ball out that fast, it is going to create more receiving opportunities for White and that is a positive for New England.
With Edelman and Gronk bound to get a lot of attention from the Denver defense, White could be the Patriots “X-Factor” in the game on Sunday.
And if he and the rest of the Pats do their job on Sunday, they’ll be packing their bags for Super Bowl L.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Post season 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots 2015 Patriots Season AFC Championship Game Bill Belichick Brandon LaFell Danny Amendola DeMarcus Ware Denver Broncos Derek Wolfe James White Julian Edelman Malik Jackson New England Patriots NFL Patriots picks predictions Rob Gronkowski Shaq Barrett Tom Brady Von Miller