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BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 06:27 PM
We're halfwayish through the season and I've made a few observations that I felt like sharing. Take what you will from them.

1.) Bill Belichick's seat is thawing.

No no, it's definitely not "hot" yet, not even close. But the thick layers of ice around him making him untouchable are starting to melt.

The Patriots are just playing unacceptably bad football right now. Their defense looks bad even if you apply Big 12 standards. So many players on it have completely stopped progressing, and several are now straight up regressing. They have no legitimate pass rush threats whatsoever. And perhaps worst of all, they completely lack an impact player anywhere on the defense. The "effort" guys he seems to like are great to have in most situations, but you need a guy who can step up and make a big play when the going is tough, and they don't have that.

And on offense, things aren't much better. Early in the season, it looked like they would be able to let Brady carry the team, but it's not so anymore. In the last 3 weeks, they've scored 20, 17 and 20 and have been thrown off their game each time. They don't have a deep threat, their o-line isn't really getting it done consistently and I think they're missing an impact guy in that "Kevin Faulk" role that they've always had. Faulk appears to be down to 1st gear only and what happened to Woodhead? Why isn't he being used more in that role like he was last year? That pass catching RB was always such a key part of their offense and now, they don't seem to have it.

The way this team is being built just isn't working anymore. They can no longer turn around the careers of washed up veterans (Ocho, Haynesworth) and they're struggling to develop new talent outside of a few exceptions. (The TEs mostly.)

Luckily, they have about 3 drafts worth of picks to work with this upcoming year. But will Belichick actually use them to address the glaring weaknesses or will he stick with his system that isn't quite broken yet, but is definitely bending? They need a speed receiver to take the tops off of defenses. They need a legitimate pass rusher who can regularly apply pressure. But what sucks about those needs is that even if they do address them, (HUGE "if,") they're not typically positions that make immediate impacts. And there's no guarantee that they even use those picks this year.

It's far from time to panic for Patriots fans, but if the team doesn't buck this downward trend within a season or two, I think Belichick's seat will definitely be warming up.

2.) The Colts should be gutted completely and start fresh next year.

My pure hatred for Bill Polian and his affect on the game is likely well known by everyone who frequents this board. The man has been the driving force behind some of the most hated changes in the sport in recent years.

And if there is any justice in the universe, he'll be fired after this season before he gets a chance to draft Andrew Luck.

This entire Colts mess is HIS FAULT. It's HIS FAULT that the team had no better backup plan for losing Manning and he's incredibly lucky that nothing happened to Manning sooner than this. His drafts in recent years have been absolutely pathetic. Donald Brown? Jerry Hughes? Tony Ugoh? Polian, Polian, Polian.

And his crappy "finesse" football system that has led to spectacular post season failure far more often than not is a stain on the sport. 0-9 this year because ONE PLAYER GOT HURT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If Jim Irsay has an ounce of common sense, (debatable given some of the things he says,) he'll fire the Polians and Caldwell and start fresh. Hire a new GM to come in and assess the Manning situation, then draft Luck.

Polian may survive all of this. He could scapegoat Caldwell and squirm his way into more time as GM to try and rebuild. Though I think it would be far better for the Colts to move in a new direction. Polian does not have what it takes to built a consistent CHAMPIONSHIP caliber football team.

3.) Troy Polamalu is Overrated.

This is another one of my favorite talking points but this view of Polomalu as an elite game changer persists.

Now, let me preface this all by saying that he is good. He's a good football player and most teams would take him if they could.

But he's not great, and he's not a true safety. When the "Reed vs. Polamalu" debate pops up, I laugh. It's Ed Reed and it's not even close. Polamalu is great for the Steelers when the Steelers are playing well as a whole. Ed Reed would be an all time great safety on any team, anywhere, any time. Reed is the greatest pure safety the league has ever seen.

My favorite way of describing Polamalu is that he's the "icing on the cake" of the Steelers defense. When that defense is healthy and firing on all cylinders, getting pressure on the QB and shutting down the run, Polamalu is free to "roam." That is when he's at his best. He can line up wherever he thinks he'll make the biggest impact and is free to make plays.

But when that defense is struggling, as it has been lately and even a little bit last year against certain teams, it forces Polamalu into playing a "pure safety" role and he becomes mortal. He's average, slightly above average at best in that situation.

I will never forget the Steelers games against the Patriots and Packers last year. Those games are where the Reed vs. Polamalu debate was settled in my eyes. He looked downright bad at times. When he had to sit back and cover a zone, he looked lost. Multiple times I saw him covering dirt or getting beat.

Troy Polamalu is at his best when the Steelers are overall playing well. When they struggle, he disappears as a great player and can even be taken advantage of.

For a more recent example, where was he at any point on the Ravens game winning drive Sunday night? I think I saw him near the play once when a tipped pass fell near him. Other than that...he vanished. No impact whatsoever.

That is not what truly great players do. The next time you are watching a Steelers game, keep an eye on him the entire time, especially if the defensive front 7 isn't playing well. Polamalu will be nowhere to be found. When the team needs their supposedly elite safety to step up and make a play....he doesn't. Time and time again.

4.) I HATE the Prevent Defense.

The prevent defense prevents only what class? Answer: You from winning. Now, that's not always entirely true...sometimes teams will still hang on due to incompetence by the other team, but going to the prevent defense basically guarantees that the game will be closer than it needs to be.

The only time it is acceptable is when the opposing team needs a TD and doesn't have enough time to work the middle of the field. But that is hardly the only time we see it.

Teams protecting a field goal lead will go to it with plenty of time left. Teams will go to it when the opposing team still has timeouts. Teams will go to it even when being more aggressive worked for the entire game previous. It's a bad joke.

Last night in the Bears game, with the Eagles down and needing a TD, the Bears went to the prevent out of a base 4-3. We dropped our 3 linebackers to cover zones 20 yards down the field. On the 4th down play where Maclin fell down, there were two linebackers well beyond the first down line.

The prevent is horrible, but I know why teams do it. If the defensive coordinator stays aggressive and his team gives up a big play, the blame will be placed on him for calling that blitz. However, if he rushes 4 (or god forbid, 3) lineman and drops everyone else into coverage, and they still give up the big play, the blame can be shifted to the players. They were supposed to cover, they were put in a position to not give up a big play. A coach whose defense otherwise dominated the game by being aggressive will go to the most conservative prevent defense with the game on the line every time. And I find that unacceptable.

5.) All Offensive Coordinators want to be Offensive GENIUSES.

On the other side of the ball, we have these clowns. The offensive coordinators who want to be that next prized head coaching candidate. Odds are fairly high that YOUR team has one of these right now, with the only exception being if you don't have an offensive coordinator at all.

I will use Mike Martz as an example here since he is who I am most familiar with, and he is a PRIME example of this trend.

A.) MY SYSTEM DAMMIT!
- Does everyone remember how bad Todd Collins was last year? Well, **** you, because he knew the system. The system is infallible. And it's always sooooo complex that you can't possibly learn it only one year! And if you're lucky, it'll be soooooooo complex that it might even take two season to learn! There simply aren't enough practice reps for Jay Cutler AND Caleb Hanie to learn it, so we need a backup who knew it already. His ability to execute be damned, because he knew the system!

B.) THE SYSTEM SHALL NOT BE CHANGED!
- So what that Jay Cutler is actually pretty good at throwing on the run outside the pocket. That's not in the system. So what that the offensive line sucks (usuallly.) 5 and 7 step drops are huge parts of the system. So what that you have a good tight end. Pass catching tight ends have no place in the system. The system is infallible and if you even think about changing the system, refer back to point A. because IT'S MY SYSTEM DAMMIT.

C.) IT DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS TO RUN THE BALL, SO WE SHALL PASS!
- How can one look like a genius if all we're doing is banging the ball up the middle? That's boring. That's not flashy. That won't attract the attention of a hiring GM. We SHALL THROW THE FOOTBALL! Key 3rd and 1 in a game where the run has been effective? We better empty out the backfield and throw! Fail to punch it in from the goal line on one try? We better throw on 2nd and 3rd down!

D.) AUDIBLE? NO, I CALL THE PLAYS!
- I cannot have the QB upstaging me as a playcaller. So what that he can actually see the defense and might check out of a bad play call. And bad play call? No such thing. I will signal the play I WANT TO SEE RUN down to the QB coach, and he will signal it to the QB who had BETTER damn well call that play. And if that process goes to slow? We'll take a timeout. Good thing those are unlimited, right?

And while your offensive coordinator may not fit these exactly, I guarantee he's still not coaching in the best way to win right now. He's calling plays and developing his system because he wants to be the big cheese someday. In fact, here is a list of offensive playcallers I've heard fans complain about on this very message board in the past year and can remember offhand:

- Mike Martz
- Mike Mularkey
- Cam Cameron
- Pat Shurmur
- Jason Garrett (Ohhhh Jason Garrett....call any TE screens lately?)
- Scott Linehan
- Todd Haley/Bill Muir
- Brian Daboll
- Bill Musgrave (Still playing Chillyball it seems)
- Sean Payton (Yes, even Sean Payton though he is already at the top)
- Kevin Gilbride ("Killdrive" for a reason)
- Brian Schottenheimer
- Andy Reid/Marty Morningwheg
- Bruce Arians
- Norv Turner
- Darrell Bevell
- McD
- Greg Olson
- The Shanahans

And those are just ones I can remember being discussed and who are mostly somewhat well known. Even ones who are already head coaches who still call plays will try way too hard to stick to "their system" instead of adjusting for things that may work better. Jason Garrett is a great example. And Pat Shurmur is running an offense straight out of the 80s right now. Let's also not forget Andy Reid, who seems to still be suffering from the same basic problems that have plagued his playcalling since the end of the last millennium.

Well, I've ranted enough for now....just some general football bitching I wanted to get out of my system.

vidae
11-08-2011, 06:43 PM
Great writeup. You should totes do more of these.

I really hate Bill Muir. I wish Todd Haley would just call plays from now on. Our offensive gameplan and system for getting plays in is absolutely ********.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 06:45 PM
Great write up and I agree with pretty much all of it. I'm not gonna lie I have been one of those who would defend and side with Polamalu in the Reed vs Pola debates but...I have accepted now that Polamalu really isn't in Reed's class.

CC.SD
11-08-2011, 06:47 PM
'BeerBaron hates everything.' Can't argue with the OC comments though, my rage for Cam Cameron began in the divisional round of 06 and hasn't dulled a drop since. Why run the MVP when protecting the lead when you can show off your cool offense...

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 06:50 PM
Cam Cameron...ugh...I love Balti but I hate what he does...especially with Ray Rice

Mr. Goosemahn
11-08-2011, 06:51 PM
http://catmacros.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/cool_story_brah_cat.jpg

I kid, I kid. I completely agree with the prevent defense point and the Polamalu point, or at least a part of it. I personally think he's more than above average in coverage, but I agree that he's at his best when he's allowed to roam freely. His small size makes him struggle covering TEs in man coverage and when he's forced to play in coverage as a "pure" safety, QBs can easily look away from him and throw elsewhere, given the fact that we don't exactly have a great group of CBs. Roethlisberger usually does a good job of evading Reed, but who knows what happened Week 1. But yeah, if he needs to play deep only, his presence isn't nearly as big as it is when he's free to roam.

The 2008 season is the perfect example of this. The D-Line and LBs were shutting the running game down and Harrison and Woodley's pass-rushing enabled our mediocre CB group to look good. With all these guys playing well, Polamalu was granted the liberty to follow his instincts, which usually ends up in a good play for us.

Flyboy
11-08-2011, 06:52 PM
Eh, I know there have been plenty of complaints about Sean Payton's play calling in the past but he has long matured as a play caller dating back to his days as a OC for the Cowboys and even in his early tenure here as a head coach. The call usually always to run the ball more and the perfect evidence of what you have when that happens is the 2009 Saints. Last week against Tampa Bay was a game that he got back to those key fundamentals. I've come to expect what he is as a coach - very aggressive and when #9 is hot he's going to ride his hand and rightfully so. Complaints or not, he is still one of the best play callers in the NFL and that's without hyperbole.

hockey619
11-08-2011, 07:03 PM
great great writeup, major props. I agree on almost all accounts.

Shotty isnt too bad I dont think for the jets. Hes still willing to run the ball and keeps things relatively balanced. He has passed more this year though...


The worst play callers imo are Cam Cameron and Martz. Cameron has an ok qb and a great runningback but at times i think theyd be better off trying to trade rice because cam refuses to utilize him. obvs they wouldnt do that, but it would almost make more sense.

Martz is very similar, he refuses to adapt to his team and instead is obsessed with deep passing, even if its clear (with a year and a half of evidence to boot) that his team cant support that style of play right now.


EDIT:
also like your first point. i said it in another thread, but im curious to hear what you think: is it just me, or did Tom Brady have possibly his worst career game against the Giants sunday? his accuracy was bad all day, throwing it behind guys on crossing routes and what not, missing wide open throws. and that defense is not lookin so hot. Belichick will be safe as long as Brady's there (because he'll keep them in contention) but hes definitely not as untouchable as some thought. His defenses keep getting worse and hes not showing that defensive genius he did back in the early 2000's.

EDIT2:
totally forgot, throw josh mcdaniels up high on that egotistical play caller list. he does not have the personnel to run his high flying offense but hes gunna ******' try. sj who?

CJSchneider
11-08-2011, 07:07 PM
http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-ash2/41606_57193456020_6541960_n.jpg

Watch how you talk about Sean Payton.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:10 PM
Payton isn't infallible. He'll still have his bouts of irrational pass wackyness or he'll try to force feed certain players in situations that don't call for it. (Ingram in the season opener being a recent one.)

He's far, far, far from the worst offender on that list, but he still commits his fair share of "trying to be an offensive genius" moments.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 07:15 PM
He did try to force feed Ingram but...I think just about any coach will do that with a new toy. Specially a RB...see what you have in there.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:19 PM
He did try to force feed Ingram but...I think just about any coach will do that with a new toy. Specially a RB...see what you have in there.

Then run was not happening in that game for them. And Sproles was also a new toy who would definitely have been more effective in the situation as a pass catcher and running draw plays.

But like I said, Payton is far from the worst offender. He just has a few bad moments.

Oh and another thing about Cam Cameron which annoys me....why does he insist on having Anquan Boldin run deep routes? It happens about 5 times a game and I don't think he ever even gets open...much less actually catches it. Boldin's entire game is catching short and intermediate stuff in traffic and then fighting for some YAC. Cameron is just mind boggling bad sometimes.

Breed
11-08-2011, 07:21 PM
No mention of the Eagles? I'd like to know your opinion...

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 07:26 PM
No mention of the Eagles? I'd like to know your opinion...

Think he already wrote your piece

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:32 PM
No mention of the Eagles? I'd like to know your opinion...

Alright, I'll oblige.

The way the Eagles are attempting to play football this year looks like a college system. I don't mean that to detract from their talent, like I'm saying they're a college level team. But the system that they are running on both sides of the ball looks like something out of the Big 12.

They have elite speed on offense that would look great in a spread system. Vick can just throw lasers to receivers running nothing but slants and go routes (which is all Maclin and Jackson seem to run anyway) who catch it in big holes and make big plays. McCoy is great as a pass catcher out of the backfield and running draws or single back type plays.

And it's the same way on defense. This "Wide 9" looks ridiculous, but I think it would work better in college against spread offenses. Spread out your athletes on the defensive line to get to the QB while you cover with everyone else. The unfortunate part about it for the Eagles is that in the pros, teams will still try to power run right at you...and the Wide 9 is abysmal at stopping it.

You know what they should do to improve their run defense? TIGHTEN UP THE D-LINE! They have undersized, speedy linebackers who are eaten alive by o-lineman and tight ends, and those guys are easily getting to the 2nd level with the Eagle's d-line spread out so much. It's not working to stop the run, and hell, it's not even really generating that great of pass rush.

So to recap...they have a speed based offense AND defense....and their biggest flaws right now are a product of that.

Finally, I think it would be best for both the Eagles and Reid to have a mutual split. It's been a nice run with some success, but it's time for change.

I think Reid could hand pick any coaching vacancy in the offseason and the team would take him. Miami would be an interesting fit. They still have a shot at Luck, and even if they don't get him, Barkely or Jones or Griffin or....ugh...Tannehill....would be a good consolation prizes for him to coach up.

Meanwhile, Philly can get a breath of fresh air under new leadership.

Saints-Tigers
11-08-2011, 07:35 PM
Payton definitely has some WTF moments, and it's frustrating, because sometimes he gets into such a groove in identifying the correct mismatches and exploiting them.

We've gotten by with less than elite skill position players for years because of his ability to shift personnel packages so well.

I wouldn't trade him though, I complain sometimes, but it's usually minor compared to most of this board's beef with their OC (like, he should hand the ball to Sproles more until his ungodly YPC starts to suffer... lol)

ElectricEye
11-08-2011, 07:35 PM
Good stuff. As far as Belichick goes, here's my thoughts.

Bill Belichick is still one of the best football coaches in the NFL, possibly even still THE best...but boy is he a lousy personnel evaluator. He's constantly set himself up to have fantastic draft classes and disappointed at almost every turn. I really don't want to toot my own horn too much, but I've been harping on specific things he's done wrong with regards to roster construction for awhile now, along with other people. We've refused to draft impact players along the front seven, opting for aging veterans and off brand players like Brandon Spikes and Gary Guyton. We've traded down multiple times, leaving talent that could help us on the board. We've straight up missed with high round picks with the likes of Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley, Ron Brace, and Jermaine Cunningham. The mid rounds haven't been kind to us either, with Brandon Tate, Tyrone McKenzie, Shawn Crable, and Kevin O'Connell all no longer with the team. We've tried to patch these holes up by signing aging free agents, but it just flat out hasn't worked and many of these guys have left the team on a negative note(Haynesworth, Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs, just to name a few). In short...we just have refused to get better. It's hurt us most obviously on defense, where we've been hurting for years, but we're starting to see the effects of refusing to perform the necessary maintenance and missed picks on that side of the ball as well. We've been able to get by with smoke, mirrors, good gameplanning, and Tom Brady....but mistake after mistake is finally starting to weigh us down.

I just really, really don't like anything we've tried to do since 2007. It's absolutely infuriating, because with a few good moves, we SHOULD have been able to come away with at least one more title. The chances of that happening are dwindling by the day. That's not to say the actual coaching doesn't deserve some of the blame pie. Belichick has stretched himself very thin. He's in total control of football operations, head coaching, and the defense. How many guys who have done that have succeeded? You just can't be Paul Brown or George Halas in this era. He's done a very crummy job of developing voices around him too, with Josh McDaniel's and Eric Mangini being the only two notable guys. We have no one around to challenge Belichick on anything...and we're seeing now that that's not a real great thing.

....but I want to get back to personnel for a second. I've already highlighted the failures. Let's take a look at some of the "successes" we've had through the draft.

Jerod Mayo, 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft

Let's get the big one out of the way first; Jerod Mayo has been drastically overrated by both the local and national media on the basis of tackle statistics. Do not be fooled. With how bad we've done on third downs since he's been here, Mayo has had more time on the field than just about anyone. He's got great sideline to sideline speed and is a very good open field tackler, but that does not make him an elite player or even the next tier. Mayo isn't part of the problem, but he's certainly not part of the solution either. Good cog with a strong defensive unit around him, but not a guy you have to gameplan for or someone who can effect what an offense does. I'm not rushing the guy out the door, but he hasn't been a good value as a top ten draft pick.

Patrick Chung, 34th overall pick in the 2009 draft

Similar evaluation so far to Jerod Mayo. Very good player, but limited in some fairly crippling ways. He still covers the way we all saw him cover in Mobile. Apparently, we didn't get the memo on that one. He's been the only constant in one of the NFL's worst safety duos the past two years. Willing hitter who can come up and do some damage against the run and occasionally make some plays on balls thrown directly at him, but you hardly ever see him make a play on a ball that would have otherwise been completed. He's just not that guy. You can find that guy further down in the draft, typically. You can find that kind of guy in free agency on the cheap. I wouldn't throw him out, certainly...but for a guy who is a "value pick", we haven't gotten a whole lot of value.

Incredibly decent players who are asked to be far more than they are.

We've done a better job in recent years with Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Solder(very, very early though) living up to expectations. I'm not going to mention McCourty. We've seen two polar opposite seasons. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle, but the jury is still out. Certainly doesn't look good right now. But the main reason why the Patriots have fallen off is pretty clear; we just aren't good enough. We don't have the talent(or maybe the right mix of players) on the field to compete with upper echelon teams. That doesn't mean that we aren't capable of winning, which kind of masks these issues...but if we want to compete with the elite teams and start winning playoff games again, some things have to change in significant ways philosophically. If it was anyone other than Belichick with this kind of personnel record, they would be fired. I just hope he's humble enough to accept that and find someone who can help.

shylo3716
11-08-2011, 07:38 PM
great great writeup, major props. I agree on almost all accounts.

Shotty isnt too bad I dont think for the jets. Hes still willing to run the ball and keeps things relatively balanced. He has passed more this year though...


The worst play callers imo are Cam Cameron and Martz. Cameron has an ok qb and a great runningback but at times i think theyd be better off trying to trade rice because cam refuses to utilize him. obvs they wouldnt do that, but it would almost make more sense.

Martz is very similar, he refuses to adapt to his team and instead is obsessed with deep passing, even if its clear (with a year and a half of evidence to boot) that his team cant support that style of play right now.


EDIT:
also like your first point. i said it in another thread, but im curious to hear what you think: is it just me, or did Tom Brady have possibly his worst career game against the Giants sunday? his accuracy was bad all day, throwing it behind guys on crossing routes and what not, missing wide open throws. and that defense is not lookin so hot. Belichick will be safe as long as Brady's there (because he'll keep them in contention) but hes definitely not as untouchable as some thought. His defenses keep getting worse and hes not showing that defensive genius he did back in the early 2000's.

EDIT2:
totally forgot, throw josh mcdaniels up high on that egotistical play caller list. he does not have the personnel to run his high flying offense but hes gunna ******' try. sj who?

Very intriguing my friend +rep for the thorough explanations.....Can you give us a weekly NFL write up from this day forth.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 07:41 PM
I'm always shocked at how well of a coaching job Payton has done with the Saints. I know you learn from your mistakes and all but I can never get out of my head that he had the play-calling duties taken away from him as the Giants OC which led to a huge offensive explosion for us. He seemed to be the first coach I realized that would run his system no matter what even if it wasn't working which what you allude to in #5.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:44 PM
[QUOTE=ElectricEye;2741840]...QUOTE]

Honestly, and your write up confirms this a bit, the Patriots are almost overachieving right now.

They do not have the talent of a Packers or Saints, yet that is where people project their offense to be.

But when I've watched them this year, they seem to be missing some horsepower under the hood. The only "elite" player they have is the guy with "Brady" on the back of his jersey.

And what has happened to Woodhead? Two weeks ago they tried to ride Faulk freshly off the PUP list and he looked like he was done. Like I said above, he's down to first gear only. Woodhead was great last year, but it doesn't look like they even have him on the field a lot of the time.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 07:49 PM
Man I'm a huge Patrick Chung fan...really want him to succeed but he is what he is and idk if he'll get that much better.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 07:49 PM
Does it really just come down to Pioli leaving and being more important than some realized?

ElectricEye
11-08-2011, 07:52 PM
Honestly, and your write up confirms this a bit, the Patriots are almost overachieving right now.
I agree completely. We've been doing it for years even. A little bit of that is healthy. The extent to which we're doing it now absolutely is not. None of these loses surprise me. Despite all the success, I don't think I've been comfortable with how we match up with a team in a good while.


They do not have the talent of a Packers or Saints, yet that is where people project their offense to be.

What Brady did last year was better than what he did in 2007 considering the offensive weapons we have. With nothing to take the top off the defense and Welker having a crummy year, he dominated.


And what has happened to Woodhead? Two weeks ago they tried to ride Faulk freshly off the PUP list and he looked like he was done. Like I said above, he's down to first gear only. Woodhead was great last year, but it doesn't look like they even have him on the field a lot of the time. I feel pretty bad for Woodhead, actually. He's been lost in the shuffle with Ridley, Lawfirm, and Faulk...and the team isn't better for it. The screen pass has disappeared from our offense for some reason, in spite of the fact teams blitz and press us regularly. It seem exceptionally logical to mix a few of those in, but for some reason it just hasn't happened. I think Woodhead has been dealing with some injuries, specifically a head injury, but I'm as confused as you are.



Does it really just come down to Pioli leaving and being more important than some realized?
In all fairness, some of the seeds of this were already sowed with Pioli was still with us. I would love to have Pioli back, don't get me wrong...but I'm not sure it's all that black and white. The lack of competent front office guys and coaches around Belichick is a huge, huge problem though.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:52 PM
EDIT:
also like your first point. i said it in another thread, but im curious to hear what you think: is it just me, or did Tom Brady have possibly his worst career game against the Giants sunday? his accuracy was bad all day, throwing it behind guys on crossing routes and what not, missing wide open throws. and that defense is not lookin so hot. Belichick will be safe as long as Brady's there (because he'll keep them in contention) but hes definitely not as untouchable as some thought. His defenses keep getting worse and hes not showing that defensive genius he did back in the early 2000's.


I don't think Brady has looked right to me for at least 3 weeks now. The Steelers game was bad, and the Giants game wasn't much better. But like EE alluded to and I outright said, he's the only real elite player they have right now. He's being choked out by a lack of playmakers around him. Welker is great, but teams have realized that if they take he and Gronk away, Brady struggles.

Very intriguing my friend +rep for the thorough explanations.....Can you give us a weekly NFL write up from this day forth.

That's no small request....I'll see what I can do.

I'm always shocked at how well of a coaching job Payton has done with the Saints. I know you learn from your mistakes and all but I can never get out of my head that he had the play-calling duties taken away from him as the Giants OC which led to a huge offensive explosion for us. He seemed to be the first coach I realized that would run his system no matter what even if it wasn't working which what you allude to in #5.

These guys are coaches in the NFL for a reason, and in theory, their system works.

Mike Martz for example coordinated the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams, probably one of the greatest offenses ever. His system worked ******* wonderfully when he had Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az Hakim, Marshall Faulk and Orlando Pace.

The 49ers, Lions and now Bears neither had nor have anyone even close to any of those guys at any position. Forte is probably the closest thing to Faulk....but that's it. Yet he sticks to that system through thick and thin....

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 07:58 PM
In all fairness, some of the seeds of this were already sowed with Pioli was still with us. I would love to have Pioli back, don't get me wrong...but I'm not sure it's all that black and white. The lack of competent front office guys and coaches around Belichick is a huge, huge problem though.

To this point....Pioli may have been the last "voice of reason" Belichick had. You know the whole "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," well, it applies to football.

Pioli was probably the last person in the Pats organization who could argue against Belichick's football decisions. With no one left willing or able to argue against something Belichick wanted to do, it weakened the team as a whole.

Robert E. Lee syndrome I call it. Great general, but he lost all of his best lieutenants and struggled by they end of the war.

ElectricEye
11-08-2011, 07:59 PM
I don't think Brady played well last week, but he really turned it on in the end. We still have pretty good personnel on offense(but again, we need to do some maintenance on the engine), but teams have caught up with what we can do with Welker and the tight ends. The lack of any kind of down the field threat really, really hurts the offense. I'm not sure why teams didn't figure it out sooner, but if you don't give Branch and Welker a free release and harass them at the line, you can really mitigate the damage they can do. Basically, if a play last more than three seconds for us, it's over. No one can get open down the field and the holes in the offensive line(Matt Light sucks, Dan Connolly sucks, Vollmer is injured bad, and Mankins level of play has fallen off) are exposed by teams that can rush the passer.

NY+Giants=NYG
11-08-2011, 08:01 PM
I hate our situational play calling by Gilbride. I respect him as an OC, but there are times he drives me nuts! Overall, I have no issue with his play calling. Red zone play calling is when I tend to get heated. The overall system bothers me too. Sometimes I wish it were more QB friendly.

BuddyCHRIST
11-08-2011, 08:02 PM
The Patriots need to actually use some picks for once, it doesn't matter how many picks you stockpile for the future if you miss on a bunch it doesn't matter. Not to mention they keep trading for the future when they should be a win now mode.

bigbluedefense
11-08-2011, 08:05 PM
Perfect example was last night. Ride Matt Forte the first drive. March down the field and score a touchdown.

You'd think they'd do that all game right? Naa, **** that. Let's throw it all over the field for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 08:06 PM
I hate our situational play calling by Gilbride. I respect him as an OC, but there are times he drives me nuts! Overall, I have no issue with his play calling. Red zone play calling is when I tend to get heated. The overall system bothers me too. Sometimes I wish it were more QB friendly.

More WR friendly too. That play book is complicated as hell and we all know most players aren't that smart.

NY+Giants=NYG
11-08-2011, 08:06 PM
The Patriots need to actually use some picks for once, it doesn't matter how many picks you stockpile for the future if you miss on a bunch it doesn't matter. Not to mention they keep trading for the future when they should be a win now mode.

I was thinking about that just now as I finished watching NFL replay. How many hits vs misses have they had in the past few years in the draft?

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:09 PM
Perfect example was last night. Ride Matt Forte the first drive. March down the field and score a touchdown.

You'd think they'd do that all game right? Naa, **** that. Let's throw it all over the field for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Exactly. How is Martz ever going to be a head coach again if all he does is call runs?

As an offensive playcaller, I would make a commitment to run the ball until the other team proves they can stop it. And even then, I'll still run the ball sometimes.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 08:09 PM
Perfect example was last night. Ride Matt Forte the first drive. March down the field and score a touchdown.

You'd think they'd do that all game right? Naa, **** that. Let's throw it all over the field for the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

In all fairness the fumbling problem he seemed to have last night might have been a factor.

niel89
11-08-2011, 08:09 PM
I don't really like Cam Cameron, but I'm also afraid that if we fire him the next guy we bring in is gonna be even worse. I honestly don't think that there are that many good OC in the league.

How many good OCs can you think of?

NY+Giants=NYG
11-08-2011, 08:11 PM
More WR friendly too. That play book is complicated as hell and we all know most players aren't that smart.

That's the biggest issue. The wr rules are very complex. Everything has adjustments. Problem is you need Steve Smiths across the board who could be as perfect as possible.

When you have Plax, Shockey, and other types like that running it, you are going to get picks. Accorsi wrote about this in his book. People talk about the Ints, but a lot of them are on the WRs.

Even this past game Cruz and Barden had a bunch of misreads and thus weren't at the right spot.


If we can be more QB friendly, and simplify the WR rules, Eli would be even more productive. Let's put it this way, it took a failed running game, and bad OL, to show his production to the national media. Otherwise it was hidden in a running, smash mouth scheme, with Earth, Wind, and Fire.

I like that we are throwing more. I would be nice to be successful in our runs, but I like throwing it. I would like to see a system where we pad the QBs stats like other systems do around the league.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 08:12 PM
Exactly. How is Martz ever going to be a head coach again if all he does is call runs?

As an offensive playcaller, I would make a commitment to run the ball until the other team proves they can stop it. And even then, I'll still run the ball sometimes.

I would run run run run until that point and as you said even run it sometimes still...would help wreak havoc with the PA game.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:14 PM
In all fairness the fumbling problem he seemed to have last night might have been a factor.

We stopped running regularly on our 2nd possession. Forte didn't fumble for the first time until just before halftime. Martz has a notoriously bad habit of going away from the run for no apparent reason, even when it's working extremely well.

I don't really like Cam Cameron, but I'm also afraid that if we fire him the next guy we bring in is gonna be even worse. I honestly don't think that there are that many good OC in the league.

How many good OCs can you think of?

I ******* LOVE what Jim Harbaugh is doing in San Fran. That is my style of football right there. Run, run, run, some play action, unbalanced lines, tackle eligibles, nose tackles playing FB....**** yeah. I want that style of football to come back so bad....

McCarthy also does a good job in Green Bay. Though right now, a monkey could point to plays in a playbook and they'd work. They're just clicking on all cylinders with more talent than they can reasonably get touches.

bantx
11-08-2011, 08:15 PM
Not enough Manusky hate BB rewrite it right noW!!!!

NY+Giants=NYG
11-08-2011, 08:16 PM
We stopped running regularly on our 2nd possession. Forte didn't fumble for the first time until just before halftime. Martz has a notoriously bad habit of going away from the run for no apparent reason, even when it's working extremely well.



I ******* LOVE what Jim Harbaugh is doing in San Fran. That is my style of football right there. Run, run, run, some play action, unbalanced lines, tackle eligibles, nose tackles playing FB....**** yeah. I want that style of football to come back so bad....

McCarthy also does a good job in Green Bay. Though right now, a monkey could point to plays in a playbook and they'd work. They're just clicking on all cylinders with more talent than they can reasonably get touches.



I like those different use of personnel on offense! We did that with the defense when Spags was our DC. I wish we would add that creativity on offense. Maybe one day, we can do something like that after the Coughlin era. But I agree it's great stuff they are doing.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:18 PM
Not enough Manusky hate BB rewrite it right noW!!!!

You miss Ron Rivera don't you? I still miss him too....We fired him to give Lovie more contract leverage. Ugh.

He should have been a head coach long ago. He coaches up some damn good defenses.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 08:18 PM
The Raiders just suck lol

Never thought I'd say this but...I want Jason Campbell back..least we won when he was our QB. Everything has gone to hell without him there. We didn't have a capable back...idk who's bright idea it was to give Hue control and he totally ****** the dog with the Palmer trade. Then add on the injuries and OMG we're back to being the same **** hole of a team we've been the past decade.

Pisses me off so bad.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 08:20 PM
I want to second that I love what Harbaugh is doing as well. With all the crazy NFL spread offenses we see now I'm glad he's bringing back old school smash mouth football and is simplifying his offense enough for Smith to thrive. He really is just one of those coaches what knows how to win.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:20 PM
The Raiders just suck lol

Never thought I'd say this but...I want Jason Campbell back..least we won when he was our QB. Everything has gone to hell without him there. We didn't have a capable back...idk who's bright idea it was to give Hue control and he totally ****** the dog with the Palmer trade. Then add on the injuries and OMG we're back to being the same **** hole of a team we've been the past decade.

Pisses me off so bad.

Hue had no business with that kind of power. And Al really should have had a plan in place to replace him. No one likes to think about their own mortality, but damn, Hue has run the team into the ground faster than McD tanked the Broncos.

Al has probably been spinning so much in his grave that he's bore halfway to the center of the Earth by now.

That Palmer trade is so bad....so bad....

Which reminds of something else I wanted to talk about: the dearth of good QBs. What the Raiders and Cardinals traded for Palmer and Kolb is just unacceptable.

Flyboy
11-08-2011, 08:21 PM
Payton isn't infallible. He'll still have his bouts of irrational pass wackyness or he'll try to force feed certain players in situations that don't call for it. (Ingram in the season opener being a recent one.)

He's far, far, far from the worst offender on that list, but he still commits his fair share of "trying to be an offensive genius" moments.

The call at the goal-line stance had no beef with me. You're on your opponents one-yard line and you expect that your offensive line that features roadgraders in Jahri Evans & Carl Nicks and expect that they would be able to get enough push for Mark Ingram to convert on the touchdown. The argument could be made that when Drew Brees is that hot in the game, why would you take the ball out of his hands and it's a valid one but at the end of the day Payton thought we would be able to get push and score and we didn't. Period. Had nothing to do with "showing off a new toy".

And, I get your point - Payton can be extremely frustrating but I think it's safe to say that he's already made his impact in his tenure as a head coach in NO of being an offensive genius and would be willing to bet that a fair amount of teams would love for him to call plays for him; frustrations and all.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 08:24 PM
I mean a 1st this year and a 2nd next year? Because there's no way in hell Palmer completes the requirements to make it a 1st. I wanted Palmer in the off-season when he demanded the trade. But I figured a 3rd or 4th would do it...not 2 premium picks.

We could have taken a QB...like RGIII maybe even Jones(whom I'm not a real fan of)...or idk some defensive help. But the Raiders have this obsession with trading their 1st round picks lately.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 08:25 PM
I actually think there are more good QB's now than we've seen in awhile.

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:29 PM
I actually think there are more good QB's now than we've seen in awhile.

There's a nice chunk of guys at the top....a few on their way up.....and then, dramatic dropoff.

Look at who some of the teams have resorted to at the bottom of the QB spectrum: Whitehurst/Tarvaris, Beck/Grossman, Kolb, Palmer, anyone Denver starts, Blaine Gabbert, McNabb for a while....puke.

If you don't have a guy on your roster who you think can be a franchise QB, trade up for a rookie you like in the draft. If it costs you half your draft, so be it. You aren't going anywhere in this league with any of the above listed guys.

Giantsfan1080
11-08-2011, 08:35 PM
There's a nice chunk of guys at the top....a few on their way up.....and then, dramatic dropoff.

Look at who some of the teams have resorted to at the bottom of the QB spectrum: Whitehurst/Tarvaris, Beck/Grossman, Kolb, Palmer, anyone Denver starts, Blaine Gabbert, McNabb for a while....puke.

If you don't have a guy on your roster who you think can be a franchise QB, trade up for a rookie you like in the draft. If it costs you half your draft, so be it. You aren't going anywhere in this league with any of the above listed guys.

Easier said than done. There are only so many players to go around. I just think the amount of top guys now are more than there were 10 years ago. Yes there are still some terrible QB's but not every team is going to have a franchise type or even serviceable guy.

NY+Giants=NYG
11-08-2011, 08:38 PM
Easier said than done. There are only so many players to go around. I just think the amount of top guys now are more than there were 10 years ago. Yes there are still some terrible QB's but not every team is going to have a franchise type or even serviceable guy.

Also factor in system, and how they are developing these guys. Look at Alex Smith. I always liked him. It's good that he finally has had success. I hope the other teams can surround their guys with talent and can help their QBs.

Raiderz4Life
11-08-2011, 08:43 PM
Which reminds of something else I wanted to talk about: the dearth of good QBs. What the Raiders and Cardinals traded for Palmer and Kolb is just unacceptable.

Bet we could have had someone like Hoyer or Flynn for a bit cheaper and would have been better...**** it I woulda been ok with a trade for freakin Ryan Mallet(exaggerating a lil bit)

BeerBaron
11-08-2011, 08:54 PM
Easier said than done. There are only so many players to go around. I just think the amount of top guys now are more than there were 10 years ago. Yes there are still some terrible QB's but not every team is going to have a franchise type or even serviceable guy.

Well, look at what the Falcons gave up for Julio. And that was from the very end of the first round.

Odds are, if you're team in bad need of a QB, you aren't picking that far back. Assuming I have no shot at Luck, I like Matt Barkley. If I needed a QB and were picking late in the top 10, I'd gladly give up a 1st, 3rd, 5th and future 3rd to move up a few spots to get him.

Get a QB you like. Absolutely. A guy with franchise tools. You have to in this league.

Brent
11-08-2011, 09:13 PM
I ******* LOVE what Jim Harbaugh is doing in San Fran. That is my style of football right there. Run, run, run, some play action, unbalanced lines, tackle eligibles, nose tackles playing FB....**** yeah. I want that style of football to come back so bad....
It doesn't hurt that our defense is... well... ridiculously good.

wogitalia
11-08-2011, 09:22 PM
BeerBaron is TMQ, you agree scarily with him minus his whole the NFL should be a flag league thing.

On Belichek, he is missing Dimitroff as well, since he went to ATL their drafting and trading has really fallen off noticeably. They also have hit that point where they need to use the draft picks they have. Last year they could have picked up 3 players with all their picks and improved a scary amount, instead they just keep trading for more picks and picking "system" guys instead of talent.

On OC... they seem to have all bought into the QB run league thing and are trying desperately to take advantage of the rule changes, whether that fits their system or team or not. The amount of teams that throw disproportionately despite not having the talent to support it is amazing, the amount that try and throw deep is even scarier, it takes a pretty damn good line to be able to throw deep every 2nd play without establishing it.

The biggest thing though is that OCs seem to have taken the approach that 3 points is the most you can trail by, so basically once a team goes a touchdown up everyone shelves the run because the margin is out of hand.

There are very few teams that are built to throw first, you absolutely need an elite QB to do this and even then, you still need a run game or at least a short passing game that is the substitute.

The other thing I've found interesting is that teams will get 4 yards on first down on a carry and then not run again, it's almost become that you run it and if it isn't a first down, then you have to throw the next two downs.

Bob Sanders Dreadlock
11-08-2011, 11:15 PM
- Mike Martz
- Mike Mularkey
- Cam Cameron
- Pat Shurmur
- Jason Garrett (Ohhhh Jason Garrett....call any TE screens lately?)
- Scott Linehan
- Todd Haley/Bill Muir
- Brian Daboll
- Bill Musgrave (Still playing Chillyball it seems)
- Sean Payton (Yes, even Sean Payton though he is already at the top)
- Kevin Gilbride ("Killdrive" for a reason)
- Brian Schottenheimer
- Andy Reid/Marty Morningwheg
- Bruce Arians
- Norv Turner
- Darrell Bevell
- McD
- Greg Olson
- The Shanahans

.

So half of the NFL's offensive coordinators are not that good? That makes a lot of sense.

keylime_5
11-09-2011, 12:24 AM
Belichick's seat is tundra ice. He's established himself as a coaching legend if there is such a thing in the NFL anymore. The Patriots aren't playing well but they are still gonna make the playoffs and if you ask me, the favorites to win that division again. Just my two cents anywho.

Agree on offensive coordinators comment. I've long said that no matter who your OC is, a team's fans will complain about the playcalling unless you're team is doing what the Patriots did in 07, the Colts in 04, the Packers this year, etc. It's true of offensive football in every single level from pee wee to pros.

AntoinCD
11-09-2011, 04:02 AM
I don't agree that Belichick's seat has warmed up even slightly.

I do agree with most when they say that personnel evaluations have been mediocre at best.

However I would also like to include some hits from 2007 through both the draft and free agency.

Wes Welker-FA in 2007. Now one of the most relaible WRs in the NFL and even after a really bad knee injury had 80 catches. A lock for 100 catches every year if healthy.

Devin McCourty-sure he's having a down year but the first thing everyone says about the Pats is how they have a horrible pass rush. The also have some of the worst coverage LBs and safeties. So realistically McCourty will struggle until it's fixed. He played above himself last year but this year he is playing below himself. His real talent is probably somewhere in between.

Rob Gronkowski-absolute animal. Has the ability to be at worst a top 3 TE in the NFL.

Aaron Hernandez-He's basically a 245lb WR. Great fit for the Pats offense and along with Gronk gives them the best TE duo in the NFL.

Danny Woodhead-most thought he was brought in last year to get clues on the Jets. He turned into a mismatch in the passing game and has been very effective running. Injuries have hurt him this year.

Julian Edelman-kind of a forgotten player by most because he isn't taking Welker's spot soon. However he has been more than adequate cover when called upon. Also adds a lot of special teams value.

Sebastian Vollmer-project LT when drafted has turned into an elite RT. Hindered this year by a back injury which has affected his play but when healthy a great player.

BenJarvus Green Ellis-isn't the flashiest RB in the game but is extremely solid in all aspects and is perfect for the Pats system.


So in 4 years, I didn't include anyone from this year, the Pats have gotten at least 5 guys who have shown the potential to be among the tops in their position in the NFL. This list doesn't also include other guys like Jerod Mayo and Pat Chung who have been mentioned by others or guys like Myron Pryor, Gerard Warren, Rob Ninkovich, Deion Branch etc. None of these guys are going to set the world on fire but are vital cogs of good teams.


Every loves to focus on the bad ones. Crable, Cunningham, Butler, O'Connell, Tate, Haynesworth, Ochocinco etc. However Belichick's personnel evaluations are still better than average across the NFL.

The Pats are also consistently winning and have been for years. When it gets to the postseason it is all about getting on a roll. The Packers did not look like a great team in the regular season last year but got on a roll in the playoffs. The Giants did the same in 2007.

Realistically the Pats have beaten the Jets before. Even after two weeks ago they have beaten the Steelers regularly. They have beaten the Chargers, Chiefs, Texans, Titans, Bengals. Really they have had success against all AFC teams as of late with the exception of Baltimore. If the defense somehow gets hot then I see no reason why they can't make a run. Likewise, if Brady gets hot I see no reason either.

AntoinCD
11-09-2011, 04:59 AM
To expand on my point above:

2007

In the draft the Pats struggled. They brought in Meriweather who despite being cut this year has to count as a hit as he gave four years to the Pats, some of it at quite a high level. After him it was a horrible draft.

They also traded for both Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Two major hits. Moss’ production over 3 years was more than most have in a career and Welker has been Brady’s favourite target from almost day one.

In free agency they brought in Sammy Morris, Donte Stallworth and Adalius Thomas. Morris has been very solid but Stallworth and Thomas(after his first year) disappointed.

Overall this year brought 3 pro bowlers and 2 all pro players. Most teams would be happy with this offseason.


2008

This was another poorish draft. Jerod Mayo has been a defensive captain for most of his career however may not have as much of an impact as you would like from a top 10 pick. However there was no one, with the exception of Brandon Albert to play OG, afterwards who may have been a better pick. The next few rounds produced Terrence Wheatley, Shawn Crable, Kevin O’Connell and Jonathon Wilhite. All pretty major busts. However later in the draft they got Matthew Slater and picked up BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Gary Guyton as UDFA.

WR Sam Aiken was brought in through FA and became a special teams star.

Overall I would call this year average. 2 defensive starters, a starting RB and 2 special teamers. One pro bowl/all pro player in Mayo.


2009

This draft class was a lot better than the two previous. Pat Chung and Sebastian Vollmer are big time players for the Pats. Ron Brace has improved over the last two years but is still an unknown really. Darius Butler was cut after being horrible. Tyrone MacKenzie was actually very unlucky. He tore his ACL in rookie camp and the Pats brought in Brandon Spikes the next year and MacKenzie actually asked to be released. Rich Ohrnberger stuck around for a while but has produced nothing. Brandon Tate showed flashes at times but never really progressed. However they got some late round and UDFA steals. Julian Edelman, Myron Pryor, Brian Hoyer have all contributed at points.

In FA they brought in quite a few guys. Leigh Bodden played at a very high level before his injury, however when valuing in his contract he is probably a miss. Fred Taylor was ok and Tully Banta Cain was solid. Brandon McGowan steadied the safety position as well. Joey Galloway, Shawn Springs and Derrick Burgess were pretty big misses.

Overall they got 3 starters this offseason and a number of role players. Definitely above average.


2010

This year looks like the best draft class in a while. McCourty had a great year last year but has struggled this year. Either way he is the Pats best CB and has great potential. Rob Gronkowski is a stud pure and simple and could be the best TE in the NFL. Jermaine Cunningham looked good last year but has been MIA this year. Brandon Spikes will never be Patrick Willis but he adds a dimension to the Pats run defense. Taylor Price is a bit of an unknown at the minute. Everytime he steps up he gets hurt. Aaron Hernandez is a complete mismatch and a huge steal in the 4th round. Zoltan Mesko should solve any punting issues for the next ten years. Later in the draft and in UDFA they brought in Brandon Deaderick, Dane Fletcher and Kyle Love. Fletcher looks really good when healthy and Love has allowed the Pats to move Wilfork around. Deaderick looks like he should have been an early round pick at times but he does have some maturity issues and has been disciplined before.

In FA the Pats picked up Alge Crumpler who was a great locker room presence and mentor to the two above TEs. Gerard Warren was surprisingly effective in his role along the defensive line. Torry Holt struggled though. However they did bring back Deion Branch who has been at least better than expected.

Overall this was a great year. Good role players in Fletcher, Spikes, Love, Deaderick, Warren, Branch and Crumpler and potential stars in McCourty, Gronk and Hernandez. Taylor Price could still be a big performer as well.


The issue most people have is that in these 4 years the Pats have not added a stud pass rusher. Valid point no doubt. However to say that Belichick’s evaluations are poor is misguided and wrong IMO.

I personally think he has it wrong schematically and philisophically. The Pats are a team who want to pass the ball on offense and stop the run on defense. However the majority of teams now want to pass the ball. Until he realises that quicker pass rushers are more important than bigger DT/DE tweeners to defend the pass then the defense will struggle against the pass.

AntoinCD
11-09-2011, 05:22 AM
My main issue with Belichickís draft decisions in the last few years is the fact he has passed on a number of good players. Clay Matthews is the obvious one at OLB. In hindsight this is a poor decision but a lot of evaluators thought he was too stiff to play OLB.

He also passed on Greg Jennings for Chad Jackson and Mike Wallace for Brandon Tate. Both mistakes but itís not like either of these guys were sure things.

It has been reported that they liked both Robert Quinn and Ryan Kerrigan last year in the draft but they were taken just before the Pats picked. The only issue here is they werenít aggressive in going after their guy.

No one is going to be 100% in the draft, however given the fact the Pats are averaging a draft slot around 20-25 in most drafts I think it has to be said they have done an ok job the last few years. Not great but definitely better than average. They havenít had the successes of Brady, Seymour, Wilfork, Ty Warren, Logan Mankins, Matt Light etc recently, however the run of players they got in the first half of the decade was simply phenomenal and couldnít be expected to be continued.

Sorry to post 3 posts in a row by the way

comahan
11-09-2011, 05:33 AM
Triple post?!

You're so banned.

As far as BB's points go, I agree on all of them. Very well put!

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 06:03 AM
You list all of these guys who, like I did say the TEs are an exception, are ALL the "effort" guys Bellichick likes. Welker for instance is a great player in the role he is in, but he doesn't take over games. When the Jets stuck Revis on him a few weeks ago, he was absolutely taken out of the game. (Other than the one bigger catch when Revis passed him to the safety who blew the coverage.)

BGE, Edelman, Woodhead, the lower level FA signings you mention....all guys who "fit the system" but that system is no longer getting it done.

Which is my entire point. They are struggling right now, and the fact that they have been even as good as they are is because of Brady and a bit of overachieving.

The guy is de facto GM, head coach and defensive coordinator. Maybe in addition going out of his way to draft a more athletic pass rusher and deep threat WR, he needs to give up a little power.

As has been pointed out, he's lost a lot of his top associates and advisers over the past decade in Pioli, Dimitroff, McD, Mangini, Crennel, Weis.... There might simply be no one left with the ability (or the balls) to oppose a bad idea by Belichick.

AntoinCD
11-09-2011, 06:27 AM
You list all of these guys who, like I did say the TEs are an exception, are ALL the "effort" guys Bellichick likes. Welker for instance is a great player in the role he is in, but he doesn't take over games. When the Jets stuck Revis on him a few weeks ago, he was absolutely taken out of the game. (Other than the one bigger catch when Revis passed him to the safety who blew the coverage.)

BGE, Edelman, Woodhead, the lower level FA signings you mention....all guys who "fit the system" but that system is no longer getting it done.

Which is my entire point. They are struggling right now, and the fact that they have been even as good as they are is because of Brady and a bit of overachieving.

The guy is de facto GM, head coach and defensive coordinator. Maybe in addition going out of his way to draft a more athletic pass rusher and deep threat WR, he needs to give up a little power.

As has been pointed out, he's lost a lot of his top associates and advisers over the past decade in Pioli, Dimitroff, McD, Mangini, Crennel, Weis.... There might simply be no one left with the ability (or the balls) to oppose a bad idea by Belichick.

No I agree to an extent and it wasn't necessarily yourself I was disagreeing with in regards to personnel decisions. I don't agree his seat his heating up, if anything Kraft may try to persuade him to either hire a full time defensive coordinator or a full time GM.

McCourty has struggled this year but good be an upper echelon CB. Vollmer looks like a great RT if he stays healthy as well. Few teams have more than two or three elite or even top 5 players at their relative position. The Pats IMO have 3 with Brady, Wilfork and Mankins with the possibility of more such as the TEs, Vollmer etc.

The Packers are really the only team I can think of with even 5-Rodgers, Matthews, Woodson, Williams and Jennings. That's not even adding people like Finley and Raji who could be up there.

Look at the Ravens-they have Rice, Ngata, an aging Lewis, an aging Reed and Suggs. I'm not sure that I would say Rice is elite quite yet(especially not with how Cam Cameron uses him) and I think Suggs is a bit inconsistent for my liking. Add in that Lewis won't be around much longer and Reed could quite any season and that Ngata is having a down year and that's how it goes.

The Saints have Brees, Graham and the two OGs.
The Lions have Calvin and Suh.
The Steelers have Big Ben, Woodley, Troy and maybe Harrison and Mike Wallace Maybe!
The Jets have D'Brick, Mangold and Revis

The Pats aren't one of the more talented teams in the NFL as a whole but are consistently competitve because of Belichick, Brady and role players. Obviously it is working especially on the defensive side of the ball and changes need to happen.

Sure it would be great to have more impact players, especially at WR or OLB, but I think criticising the fact that the Pats don't have as many elite players as they had before by some is a bit silly.

IMO the biggest issue is the guys he has lost over the years which has most negatively affected personnel decision. As you mentioned above he had strong characters there to discuss with and disagree with. Bill O'Brien is more of a behind the scenes guy at offensive coordinator and doesn't seem to have as much input as Charlie Weis or Josh McDaniels did. Nick Caserio is basically doing Scott Pioli's old job and I'm not sure he is as effective of putting his point across for a player he loves as well as Pioli did.

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 07:37 AM
You keep talking about the "elite" players which guys like Brady, Wilfork and even to an extent Welker and Gronk are.

However, look at the other 98% of the team. The problem is that it's full of these low-ceiling "effort" guys.

If a few of those guys had more raw athletic ability instead of just being "effort" players, you'd be in much better shape. You mentioned the Ravens as an example but left out a guy who would be exactly what you need and had a shot to draft: Torrey Smith. He's certainly not "elite" right now at least, but he has elite speed and could definitely streak down the field to take the top off the defense.

But Belichick would never draft someone like that, would he? And there is the problem. He likes effort guys. They fit his system. A guy like Smith doesn't fit that. Instead, Belichick went to veteran free agent well for Ochocinco who simply is not getting it done.

Gone are the days where Belichick can bring in radioactive players or rescue players from the scrap heap, but he keeps on drafting and acquiring players like he can.

I had a feeling what I said would be interpreted as "Belichick sucks and has to be fired," since sharing your opinion as a 3rd party observer is sure to piss someone off. I carefully worded what I said to avoid that. But I absolutely stand by what I said in that the shield around Belichick is fading. Even if it takes Robert Kraft's intervention, Belichick's duties should be lightened. He needs some additional voices around him who can stand up to him if need be. He's lost anyone that could have done that over the past few years and the Pats are worse off for it.

Sloopy
11-09-2011, 07:37 AM
We're halfwayish through the season and I've made a few observations that I felt like sharing. Take what you will from them.

1.) Bill Belichick's seat is thawing.

2.) The Colts should be gutted completely and start fresh next year.

3.) Troy Polamalu is Overrated.

4.) I HATE the Prevent Defense.

5.) All Offensive Coordinators want to be Offensive GENIUSES.


I love you....

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 09:45 AM
http://www.csnne.com/blog/patriots-talk/post/Curran-Haynesworth-just-another-personne?blockID=590286&feedID=3352

Some more examples of Belichick's talent evaluation problems.

The moves the Patriots have made since the end of the lockout have been blunderiffic. Acquiring Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis and Chad Ochocinco -- nearly $12 million worth of washed-up players. Then banishing Bodden, a move that brings the tally to $16 million.

The Patriots released secondary players James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather and Darius Butler -- three guys who were far from All-Pro -- and still have found a way to get worse in pass defense.

Go back a little further and see that two of their second-round picks from 2010, Jermaine Cunningham and Ron Brace, are on the field as much as you and I. See that their third-round pick, wideout Taylor Price has caught exactly two passes and played in three games in his career. The Patriots had another third-rounder to screw up in 2010, but they traded a third and a fifth to Oakland for pass-rusher Derrick Burgess. Burgess is now fishing somewhere in Mississippi.

Not good. Also not mentioned was Adalius Thomas.

bigbluedefense
11-09-2011, 09:50 AM
I think you're being a little harsh on BB's personnel moves. He's not been horrific in my eyes.

His offense has a lot of great pieces that worked out, it's his defensive moves that have been horrific.

His oline is rock solid, he has 2 great TEs, obviously a great qb, a solid RBC. He just needs some outside WRs offensively. But understand the system, that system is very difficult to pick up. It's similar to the Giants, it's an option route offense. Not as complicated as the Giants, but still requires precision.

That's why they've had so many misses. You need a very intelligent WR to fit in that offense. Which is why Welker and Moss were so dominant in it. Both are very smart at reading coverages.

Defensively....he's never been a good evaluator. That's something that's been overlooked for awhile. From his SB teams, most of his talent were drafted by Parcells: Bruschi, McGinnest, Teddy Johnson, Ty Law. He gets credit for Seymour, and picking up Vrabel, but the majority of that defense were Parcells guys.

And he hasn't won a SB since he lost McGinnest and the rest of that core that BP drafted.

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 10:01 AM
I think you're being a little harsh on BB's personnel moves. He's not been horrific in my eyes.

His offense has a lot of great pieces that worked out, it's his defensive moves that have been horrific.

His oline is rock solid, he has 2 great TEs, obviously a great qb, a solid RBC. He just needs some outside WRs offensively. But understand the system, that system is very difficult to pick up. It's similar to the Giants, it's an option route offense. Not as complicated as the Giants, but still requires precision.

That's why they've had so many misses. You need a very intelligent WR to fit in that offense. Which is why Welker and Moss were so dominant in it. Both are very smart at reading coverages.

Defensively....he's never been a good evaluator. That's something that's been overlooked for awhile. From his SB teams, most of his talent were drafted by Parcells: Bruschi, McGinnest, Teddy Johnson, Ty Law. He gets credit for Seymour, and picking up Vrabel, but the majority of that defense were Parcells guys.

And he hasn't won a SB since he lost McGinnest and the rest of that core that BP drafted.

And that goes to my point about Offensive GENIUSES. If you don't have the personnel to run what you want to run, you should probably adjust.

If you keep the same basic offensive crew together for several seasons, you can afford to stick with a complex system that everyone knows and understands. But as those players move on or get hurt, and new ones are forced to go in, perhaps the offensive coordinator should consider making some changes to make it easier on the new guys.

AntoinCD
11-09-2011, 10:05 AM
I think you're being a little harsh on BB's personnel moves. He's not been horrific in my eyes.

His offense has a lot of great pieces that worked out, it's his defensive moves that have been horrific.

His oline is rock solid, he has 2 great TEs, obviously a great qb, a solid RBC. He just needs some outside WRs offensively. But understand the system, that system is very difficult to pick up. It's similar to the Giants, it's an option route offense. Not as complicated as the Giants, but still requires precision.

That's why they've had so many misses. You need a very intelligent WR to fit in that offense. Which is why Welker and Moss were so dominant in it. Both are very smart at reading coverages.

Defensively....he's never been a good evaluator. That's something that's been overlooked for awhile. From his SB teams, most of his talent were drafted by Parcells: Bruschi, McGinnest, Teddy Johnson, Ty Law. He gets credit for Seymour, and picking up Vrabel, but the majority of that defense were Parcells guys.

And he hasn't won a SB since he lost McGinnest and the rest of that core that BP drafted.

Even as an innovator BB has not been moving with the times defensively. He is a coverage guy, hence why he drafts lots of DBs, but with the guys you mentioned above and even LT in New York he had someone who could rush the passer and didn't have to scheme it up or blitz much. Now he doesn't have it and still tries to play the same style. As I mentioned above he still teaches the principle of stopping the run first and foremost, however most teams are at least 60% passing now so it's kind of redundant.

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 10:08 AM
Even as an innovator BB has not been moving with the times defensively. He is a coverage guy, hence why he drafts lots of DBs, but with the guys you mentioned above and even LT in New York he had someone who could rush the passer and didn't have to scheme it up or blitz much. Now he doesn't have it and still tries to play the same style. As I mentioned above he still teaches the principle of stopping the run first and foremost, however most teams are at least 60% passing now so it's kind of redundant.

Even there, they're good but not great. 9th this year (but why even bother running much if you can pass so easily?) 11th last year, 13th the year before that...

If you're going to sacrifice one thing for another, you had better be amongst the elite in that category. Instead, the Patriots are above average in stopping the run while amongst the worst in stopping the pass. Not good.

ElectricEye
11-09-2011, 10:16 AM
I'm completely with BeerBaron on this. We have the type of players you can win with because of good gameplanning and and Tom Brady...but to say that we have even comparable talent to some other teams around the league is asinine and requires a lot of justification...plus it just flat out doesn't show up on the field.


Maybe I turned the discussion wrong with elite players thing. I guess if you want to stretch, you can make an argument that we have some pretty good pieces. You're stretching it more than a little with McCourty and Vollmer. We all loved what we saw from them last year, but this year has been an absolute mess for both of them. To the point where it's questionable if they'll just "bounce back". That's not the norm for guys who have such a pronounced dropoff in level of play. But still, I'll give you that we have a decent top end with Welker, Brady, Wilfork, and Gronkowski. So the offense is in pretty good shape, as I said, we really don't need much of on overhaul on that side of the ball; just some guys who can be effective players in roles that compliment the stuff we've already have. Belichick and the front office absolutely should have seen this would happen last year and it shows a lack of forward thinking not addressing it in free agency or through the draft. Teams that build effective rosters do, and we've gotten credit erroneously in the past for being the type of team that does those types of things. Even if Deion Branch doesn't fall off the face of the earth, the template on how to shut down our offense has existed since last year. It's bloody effective too. We haven't looked right on offense since Week 2 against the Chargers, in spite of ringing up some points and some deceptive numbers against deficient teams. It sucks that Taylor Price is hurt...but I just don't see how you can walk into the year comfortable with a guy who has played all of one regular season NFL game being a significant part of your offense. Don't even get me started on Chad; I didn't mind it at the time, but good lord has this been awful. I don't know if it's his fault, Brady's fault(which he would have earned. If he doesn't like throwing to the guy, he doesn't have to) or the coaching staff not putting him in positions where he's comfortable and getting something out of him...but **** man. What a lousy signing that has worked out to be.


Defensively, it's a completely different story. It's not just guys who can contribute in specific roles we need; we just don't have many guys who are any good. This is after years of using premium draft picks on that side of the ball. We simply haven't gotten enough bang for our bucks from the guys we've drafted and the list is of significant length. We've been waiting on guys to step up and become anything more than forgettable players for what seems like forever now and I'm just not convinced that it's going to happen at this point. We like to talk about Wilfork being among the best defensive front seven players in the NFL. He's earned that distinction and earned it well....but he's a nose tackle. He's a guy who you build around on defense, a guy who makes others better. There's only so much a guy anchoring in the middle can do for you when you have weak lengths all over the football field. We shown an almost absolute unwillingness to address those weak lengths through the draft as well. Worse yet, when we have we end up with guys like Jermaine Cunningham....and that's on top of the issue we have offensively. We have too many guys who "aren't a liability" or "effort" guys. You LOVE to have those guys around if you're rounding out your roster and you have a great core....but when you're starting Antwan Molden, Phillip Adams, and James Ihedigbo(among others), it stands out just a little bit. All and all, we lack talent there AND don't have pieces that function very well together as a unit. I'm not sure which is the bigger problem.

Jughead10
11-09-2011, 10:22 AM
Also factor in system, and how they are developing these guys. Look at Alex Smith. I always liked him. It's good that he finally has had success. I hope the other teams can surround their guys with talent and can help their QBs.

Smith isn't doing well because they surrounded him with anymore talent. They basically don't allow him to make any mistakes. Smith was pretty much a lost cause but Harbaugh had no other real options. So he is making it as easy as possible for him not to screw this thing up. You shouldn't have to treat the number 1 overall pick like that.

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 10:29 AM
Smith isn't doing well because they surrounded him with anymore talent. They basically don't allow him to make any mistakes. Smith was pretty much a lost cause but Harbaugh had no other real options. So he is making it as easy as possible for him to screw this thing up. You shouldn't have to treat the number 1 overall pick like that.

Smith's contract is for this year and next I believe. Harbaugh won't babysit him forever if he fails to develop while Kaepernick does. He didn't draft Kaepernick to be a backup.

brat316
11-09-2011, 12:02 PM
I like this mid season review.

Why is Tom Brady sucking now?

Have defenses caught up to offense this year? From lack of off season

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 12:03 PM
I like this mid season review.

Why is Tom Brady sucking now?

Have defenses caught up to offense this year? From lack of off season

I would suggest going through and reading all of EE's posts in this thread for a good opinion on that.

Complex
11-09-2011, 12:10 PM
So Bill Belicheck isn't a defensive genius that was led believe?

killxswitch
11-09-2011, 12:13 PM
I agree with a lot. I'd rep you if I could BB. Also, buck Phil Polian.

jth1331
11-09-2011, 05:01 PM
What, 3 pages and no mention of Tim Tebow? Come on man.

It is interesting to see Belichick's defenses sort of go downhill in recent years. IMO, they are an elite passing team with average rushing offense and below-average defense that lacks a playmaker on defense. The statistics actually showcase this very well with Patriots being 1st in passing offense, 17th in rushing offense, and of course 32nd in defense. The only thing remotely positive about the defense is the rush defense, and maybe their ability to get turnovers with 14 so far.
I still don't get spending two high picks on Ridley and Vereen this year as well.

Rosebud
11-09-2011, 05:24 PM
I'm really disappointed in the Pats. Just a year ago I thought they were a piece or two away from being one of the NFL's better unit's again. With Wilfork, Brace, Mayo, Spikes, Chung and Merriweather they had talent up the middle and McCourty was a great start to bringing the outside talent up to par. But they still have jack **** at pass rusher and their ends are poor as well. This is a unit that could be brought up to par pretty quickly if the pats ever utilized the bounty of picks they accumulate each draft to add some top end talent. Belli wants smart hard working guys but this is a team that should've taken some projects that had their head screwed on straight to groom into the smart players Belli needs to operate. That way they might be able to get away with never blitzing. But this is a unit that needs to find a dynamic edge talent to add to the defense quickly and they need higher quality depth as well.

The offense is even closer to exceptional since an outside receiver that actually demands attention is all that unit needs to click again. Unfortunately they won't splurge on an established guy with the talent they need and smarts to fit their system, and no rookie with the raw ability they need out there will have the smarts to step in from day one and do everythign they'll want him to do.

BeerBaron
11-09-2011, 05:53 PM
What, 3 pages and no mention of Tim Tebow? Come on man.


I treat him like a troll. Just ignore him and hope he goes away. After he starts vs. Chicago in a few weeks that is. Although if they pull him, it means we get to play Brady Quinn....

I'd be more scared if Elway decided to suit up again than I am with either of those guys starting.

Iamcanadian
11-10-2011, 03:59 PM
We're halfwayish through the season and I've made a few observations that I felt like sharing. Take what you will from them.

1.) Bill Belichick's seat is thawing.

No no, it's definitely not "hot" yet, not even close. But the thick layers of ice around him making him untouchable are starting to melt.

The Patriots are just playing unacceptably bad football right now. Their defense looks bad even if you apply Big 12 standards. So many players on it have completely stopped progressing, and several are now straight up regressing. They have no legitimate pass rush threats whatsoever. And perhaps worst of all, they completely lack an impact player anywhere on the defense. The "effort" guys he seems to like are great to have in most situations, but you need a guy who can step up and make a big play when the going is tough, and they don't have that.

And on offense, things aren't much better. Early in the season, it looked like they would be able to let Brady carry the team, but it's not so anymore. In the last 3 weeks, they've scored 20, 17 and 20 and have been thrown off their game each time. They don't have a deep threat, their o-line isn't really getting it done consistently and I think they're missing an impact guy in that "Kevin Faulk" role that they've always had. Faulk appears to be down to 1st gear only and what happened to Woodhead? Why isn't he being used more in that role like he was last year? That pass catching RB was always such a key part of their offense and now, they don't seem to have it.

The way this team is being built just isn't working anymore. They can no longer turn around the careers of washed up veterans (Ocho, Haynesworth) and they're struggling to develop new talent outside of a few exceptions. (The TEs mostly.)

Luckily, they have about 3 drafts worth of picks to work with this upcoming year. But will Belichick actually use them to address the glaring weaknesses or will he stick with his system that isn't quite broken yet, but is definitely bending? They need a speed receiver to take the tops off of defenses. They need a legitimate pass rusher who can regularly apply pressure. But what sucks about those needs is that even if they do address them, (HUGE "if,") they're not typically positions that make immediate impacts. And there's no guarantee that they even use those picks this year.

It's far from time to panic for Patriots fans, but if the team doesn't buck this downward trend within a season or two, I think Belichick's seat will definitely be warming up.

I agree even though I am a huge admirer. Egos can get in the way of very successful men and BB performence on draft days seems to be a bit questionable, at least for me.
I agree with his approach about drafting injured players if they fall to him but I now question the constant trading back to secure picks for next year. It works well when your team has no real problems, but for a team with a very weak defense, it seems to me that he needs to change that approach and become far more aggressive looking for ways to move up, using his extra picks to secure impact players even if it means he weakens next year's draft. Next year or the year after or the year after that etc. he won't have Brady and will have wasted Brady's later years by not having rebuilt his defense.
I think he has become too enamoured with his past success on draft day and has counted on his abilities to find stars in round 2 of the draft. He has forgotten that stars are far more likely to be found higher in the drafty process.
He has also show recently a tendancy to not draft for team weaknesses but rely completely on taking the BPA. This has left his team with no real pass rush especially from his OLB's. I think he needs to take a few more gambles on finding somebody who can rush the passer.
I know his coaching staff has been consistantly robbed of talent by other teams but I find it inconceivable that a defensive genius like BB can have the worst defense in the NFL.

2.) The Colts should be gutted completely and start fresh next year.

My pure hatred for Bill Polian and his affect on the game is likely well known by everyone who frequents this board. The man has been the driving force behind some of the most hated changes in the sport in recent years.

And if there is any justice in the universe, he'll be fired after this season before he gets a chance to draft Andrew Luck.

This entire Colts mess is HIS FAULT. It's HIS FAULT that the team had no better backup plan for losing Manning and he's incredibly lucky that nothing happened to Manning sooner than this. His drafts in recent years have been absolutely pathetic. Donald Brown? Jerry Hughes? Tony Ugoh? Polian, Polian, Polian.


And his crappy "finesse" football system that has led to spectacular post season failure far more often than not is a stain on the sport. 0-9 this year because ONE PLAYER GOT HURT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If Jim Irsay has an ounce of common sense, (debatable given some of the things he says,) he'll fire the Polians and Caldwell and start fresh. Hire a new GM to come in and assess the Manning situation, then draft Luck.

Polian may survive all of this. He could scapegoat Caldwell and squirm his way into more time as GM to try and rebuild. Though I think it would be far better for the Colts to move in a new direction. Polian does not have what it takes to built a consistent CHAMPIONSHIP caliber football team.

Here I don't agree with you, the man's success speaks for itself. The fact that he got even 1 Super Bowl ring out of a chronic playoff folder like Peyton, was impressive to me.
You must really hate him to blame Peyton's injury on him and all the talk of a backup QB available should Peyton get injured is plain ridiculous. If he secures Luck for Indy with a rookie salary cap in place, by letting Indy fans suffer for 1 year, it is pure genius(luck) on his part.
Indy is a small payroll franchise with a limited budget, making it difficult to keep the pieces in place year after year, yet outside of this year, he has managed to do so.
Enough with the sour grapes, you should be worrying far more about your own Bear GM.
As for the rule changes he has been a strong advocate for, I agree with a lot of them. The size of the players, the playing on astro turf in domed stadiums and the more knowledge we have today about concussions and other injuries made rule changes absolutely necessary for the sake of the player's health. As a fan, I loved some of the old ways of playing but I realize today that players deserve better working conditions to preserve their health.

3.) Troy Polamalu is Overrated.

This is another one of my favorite talking points but this view of Polomalu as an elite game changer persists.

Now, let me preface this all by saying that he is good. He's a good football player and most teams would take him if they could.

But he's not great, and he's not a true safety. When the "Reed vs. Polamalu" debate pops up, I laugh. It's Ed Reed and it's not even close. Polamalu is great for the Steelers when the Steelers are playing well as a whole. Ed Reed would be an all time great safety on any team, anywhere, any time. Reed is the greatest pure safety the league has ever seen.

My favorite way of describing Polamalu is that he's the "icing on the cake" of the Steelers defense. When that defense is healthy and firing on all cylinders, getting pressure on the QB and shutting down the run, Polamalu is free to "roam." That is when he's at his best. He can line up wherever he thinks he'll make the biggest impact and is free to make plays.

But when that defense is struggling, as it has been lately and even a little bit last year against certain teams, it forces Polamalu into playing a "pure safety" role and he becomes mortal. He's average, slightly above average at best in that situation.

I will never forget the Steelers games against the Patriots and Packers last year. Those games are where the Reed vs. Polamalu debate was settled in my eyes. He looked downright bad at times. When he had to sit back and cover a zone, he looked lost. Multiple times I saw him covering dirt or getting beat.

Troy Polamalu is at his best when the Steelers are overall playing well. When they struggle, he disappears as a great player and can even be taken advantage of.

For a more recent example, where was he at any point on the Ravens game winning drive Sunday night? I think I saw him near the play once when a tipped pass fell near him. Other than that...he vanished. No impact whatsoever.

That is not what truly great players do. The next time you are watching a Steelers game, keep an eye on him the entire time, especially if the defensive front 7 isn't playing well. Polamalu will be nowhere to be found. When the team needs their supposedly elite safety to step up and make a play....he doesn't. Time and time again.

A bit ridiculous if you ask me. He is asked by his DC, LeBeau, to play a certain way, just like every DC males players play his system on their teams. In LeBeau's system, Polamalu is a huge star and your criticism is unjustified.

4.) I HATE the Prevent Defense.

The prevent defense prevents only what class? Answer: You from winning. Now, that's not always entirely true...sometimes teams will still hang on due to incompetence by the other team, but going to the prevent defense basically guarantees that the game will be closer than it needs to be.

The only time it is acceptable is when the opposing team needs a TD and doesn't have enough time to work the middle of the field. But that is hardly the only time we see it.

Teams protecting a field goal lead will go to it with plenty of time left. Teams will go to it when the opposing team still has timeouts. Teams will go to it even when being more aggressive worked for the entire game previous. It's a bad joke.

Last night in the Bears game, with the Eagles down and needing a TD, the Bears went to the prevent out of a base 4-3. We dropped our 3 linebackers to cover zones 20 yards down the field. On the 4th down play where Maclin fell down, there were two linebackers well beyond the first down line.

The prevent is horrible, but I know why teams do it. If the defensive coordinator stays aggressive and his team gives up a big play, the blame will be placed on him for calling that blitz. However, if he rushes 4 (or god forbid, 3) lineman and drops everyone else into coverage, and they still give up the big play, the blame can be shifted to the players. They were supposed to cover, they were put in a position to not give up a big play. A coach whose defense otherwise dominated the game by being aggressive will go to the most conservative prevent defense with the game on the line every time. And I find that unacceptable.

I think you'll find that only the great QB's are able to overcome the Prevent Defense, most of the time it is very successful, but of course we always take notice when it fails but never notice when it succeeds.

5.) All Offensive Coordinators want to be Offensive GENIUSES.

On the other side of the ball, we have these clowns. The offensive coordinators who want to be that next prized head coaching candidate. Odds are fairly high that YOUR team has one of these right now, with the only exception being if you don't have an offensive coordinator at all.

I will use Mike Martz as an example here since he is who I am most familiar with, and he is a PRIME example of this trend.

A.) MY SYSTEM DAMMIT!
- Does everyone remember how bad Todd Collins was last year? Well, **** you, because he knew the system. The system is infallible. And it's always sooooo complex that you can't possibly learn it only one year! And if you're lucky, it'll be soooooooo complex that it might even take two season to learn! There simply aren't enough practice reps for Jay Cutler AND Caleb Hanie to learn it, so we need a backup who knew it already. His ability to execute be damned, because he knew the system!

B.) THE SYSTEM SHALL NOT BE CHANGED!
- So what that Jay Cutler is actually pretty good at throwing on the run outside the pocket. That's not in the system. So what that the offensive line sucks (usuallly.) 5 and 7 step drops are huge parts of the system. So what that you have a good tight end. Pass catching tight ends have no place in the system. The system is infallible and if you even think about changing the system, refer back to point A. because IT'S MY SYSTEM DAMMIT.

C.) IT DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS TO RUN THE BALL, SO WE SHALL PASS!
- How can one look like a genius if all we're doing is banging the ball up the middle? That's boring. That's not flashy. That won't attract the attention of a hiring GM. We SHALL THROW THE FOOTBALL! Key 3rd and 1 in a game where the run has been effective? We better empty out the backfield and throw! Fail to punch it in from the goal line on one try? We better throw on 2nd and 3rd down!

D.) AUDIBLE? NO, I CALL THE PLAYS!
- I cannot have the QB upstaging me as a playcaller. So what that he can actually see the defense and might check out of a bad play call. And bad play call? No such thing. I will signal the play I WANT TO SEE RUN down to the QB coach, and he will signal it to the QB who had BETTER damn well call that play. And if that process goes to slow? We'll take a timeout. Good thing those are unlimited, right?

And while your offensive coordinator may not fit these exactly, I guarantee he's still not coaching in the best way to win right now. He's calling plays and developing his system because he wants to be the big cheese someday. In fact, here is a list of offensive playcallers I've heard fans complain about on this very message board in the past year and can remember offhand:

- Mike Martz
- Mike Mularkey
- Cam Cameron
- Pat Shurmur
- Jason Garrett (Ohhhh Jason Garrett....call any TE screens lately?)
- Scott Linehan
- Todd Haley/Bill Muir
- Brian Daboll
- Bill Musgrave (Still playing Chillyball it seems)
- Sean Payton (Yes, even Sean Payton though he is already at the top)
- Kevin Gilbride ("Killdrive" for a reason)
- Brian Schottenheimer
- Andy Reid/Marty Morningwheg
- Bruce Arians
- Norv Turner
- Darrell Bevell
- McD
- Greg Olson
- The Shanahans

And those are just ones I can remember being discussed and who are mostly somewhat well known. Even ones who are already head coaches who still call plays will try way too hard to stick to "their system" instead of adjusting for things that may work better. Jason Garrett is a great example. And Pat Shurmur is running an offense straight out of the 80s right now. Let's also not forget Andy Reid, who seems to still be suffering from the same basic problems that have plagued his playcalling since the end of the last millennium.

Gee, now that is a rant. 'All Play callers want to be geniuses", and want to become HC's. What would you want them to think, I'm just so, so at my job and really don't want to be promoted. H...mmm, be realistic. If they are no good at what they do, they get fired, system or no system. Every coach in the game, college or pro, follows a system and recruits players either by recruiting them or drafting them to fit their system. Very few are flexible enough to learn a new system that fits their players, they would much rather find the players who fit their systems.
Guess what, almost all the great HC's, OC's and DC's had a system, they believed in and won with it.
If the Bears don't have success, Martz will be fired but he was hired to implement his system and win with it. Attacking Shurmur is ridiculous I'm afraid. He has a backup QB starting and is trying to make do. It is a talentless team and he is forced to play conservatively. You criticize some coaches because they cannot adjust to their talent base and when one does, you criticize them also. Cannot have it both ways.

Well, I've ranted enough for now....just some general football bitching I wanted to get out of my system.

Now, I'm feeling like having a rant but I guess I don't have the energy right now. I let it go one of these days and you can rip me for my biases.