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  • New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills: Ten Keys to Week 1:

    http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/...to-week-1.html

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    • One player I'll be watching today is CB Aqib Talib; it should be interesting to see how he performs after WR Stevie Johnson's comments earlier this week. Despite what was considered a relatively low-risk signing, Talib's metrics were astonishingly bad last season for a player widely considered worthy of being a team's top option:

      97th/116 in coverage snaps per target with NE, 109th/116 with TB

      112th/116 in yards per coverage snap with NE, 116th/116 with TB

      102nd/116 in cover snaps per reception with NE, 112th/116 with TB

      Overall season statistics: 52/80 (65.0%), 775 yards (9.7 YPA), 3 TD, 2 INT, 9 PD, 98.7

      However, based on the salary New England was willing to give him, it appears as though they also see him as a true #1. Talib has never played against Johnson.

      Last edited by Matthew Jones; 09-08-2013, 08:07 AM.

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      • Talib definitely had some really bad moments, but it was painfully apparent that the team needed him to cover certain people (Anquan Boldin for example). I don't think Talib's contract based on performance but potential in the system. They know he can be good but they didn't gamble on him long term because he wasn't good and he is a risky character to give a long term deal.
        **** her in da *****!

        Comment


        • I think in the Boldin example, a big part of the problem was that we had Marquice Cole, basically a fringe roster guy whose main contributions are on special teams, and who doesn't really belong on the field on defense, covering Boldin for the majority of his targets (4/4, 57 yards, TD against Cole, 1/4, 3 yards, TD against the Talib/Dennard/McCourty combination.) I worry that New England basically credited Talib with the defensive improvements made after he got here, when the real benefits came from being more aggressive with the defensive front, implementing more man coverage, shifting McCourty to free safety and Arrington into the slot, and letting Alfonzo Dennard get substantial playing time.

          Obviously, the Patriots need someone competent at left cornerback to allow Dennard to play RCB, Arrington to play SCB, and McCourty to play FS, because otherwise they'd be forced to take over LCB responsibilities, but I'm not sure that Talib specifically is ideal. The results may have been the same for less money, or better for the same amount. Free agents such as Nnamdi Asomugha, Bradley Fletcher, Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, etc. had better metrics and I'm pretty sure none of them received more money than Talib did. If the Patriots are comfortable with a CB who ranks at or very close to the bottom of the league in pretty much every significant metric, they probably could have just gone with Logan Ryan or something. This year, we'll have to see some significant improvements from Talib to warrant him being a member of the Patriots beyond 2013.

          Comment


          • I don't necessarily trust those metrics. Talib passed the eye test for me considering the opponents, and how much he limited guys. A lot of the time when he got beat like the Luck-TY Hilton pass it was just outstanding execution by the other team. He was always in position, and was always challenging passes.

            A guy like McCourty who may have had better metrics on a statistical basis looked substantially worse on the eyeball test. He would drop interceptions, lose track of guys in coverage, and get PI penalties. I actually think Talib was quite good for us last season. Maybe it's just multiple years of watching Starks, Butler, and Arrington types, but Talib and Dennard were definitely the best we've had in awhile.

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            • Wow, was not pretty but I'm glad the Patriots got the W. Some thoughts:

              1. It was pretty clear that Thompkins and Brady were not on the same page and Thompkins is still learning. I honestly would rather see Aaron Dobson because he seems more athletic than Thompkins and gives the offense more options than Thompkins.

              2. Amendola was very impressive and thought he was probably the player of the game. He came up huge in clutch situations and made some really nice catches. They don't win this game without him. He was playing through some pain too apparently.

              3. This offense was hard to watch at times, they really struggled to move the ball down the field. It's going to be hard to move the ball through the air if Edelman and Amendola are the only guys contributing. I can only imagine how frustrated Brady was at times.
              Last edited by Jcn92; 09-08-2013, 04:52 PM.

              Comment


              • The offense will get better, but it won't be anything like it has been the past few years. Wonder when we'll see Ridley again.

                The defense played decently - except for the (almost non existent) pass rush. That's going to really burn us down the road if it doesn't improve.

                Edit to add:
                Really impressed with Amendola.
                Last edited by Blackluck; 09-08-2013, 04:48 PM.

                Comment


                • I think we're pretty well ****** if we have to count on Amendola, Edelman, and Vereen to carry out offense.

                  Vereen looks like he may have taken a step forward as a player, but he's still mostly a homerun or strikeout kind of guy. Fantastic game by him and something I hope we see more of, but he's just not a every down 15+ carry(which is the new 25) a game back. Let's not forget he got blown up in pass protection pretty good on a crucial third down play either.

                  Amendola looks like the real deal when he's on the field. Made difficult catches away from his body at crucial times that drove us down to win the game. As advertised. A bigger and faster version of Wes Welker. The only problem is staying on the field. He played hard through that groin issue, but you could tell it was bothering him. He likely won't practice a ton this week with the short turn around. I'm sold on him having the on the field ability to replace and maybe upgrade Welker....but I'm not sold on his ability to actually stay healthy.

                  Edelman played his best game in four years as a pro. Hopefully he takes the momentum and continues to improve, but I'm just not sold on him at this point. He's had every opportunity to crack a niche for himself in the offense and he hasn't been able to do it. For all the good he showed, he also missed two very catchable balls when it was away from his body. Just not a natural receiver and he isn't the outside guy we need.

                  ...that's not to say that those guys aren't good, sometimes great players when the game allows it. We're just going to need more than that. Thompkins looked terrible after an All World pre-season. Dobson is starting his career off like most of our second round picks do on the inactive list. Sudfeld looked progressively worse as the pre-season went on and it seemed that carried into the year. Boyce had a hard time cracking the field and didn't catch anything thrown his way. We're counting on very big contributions from all of these guys as the year progresses.

                  You just can't walk away feeling encouraged by struggling that hard against a Bills defense with severe health problem. Their defensive line is loaded still, but we let a bunch of third string corners shut us down for much of the day. I'm glad we found a way to get it done and I think some ugly football was to be expected as we transition into what amounts to basically an entirely new offensive system...but you just can't feel good about it being that ugly.

                  Still, I find it hard to believe that there won't be improvement as the year goes on. We're just not going to struggle like that for 16 games as long as Brady is here. The pieces are in place. We just need to get Gronk healthy and the young guys going the way they were in the pre-season. It's a tall order given our history with coaching young receivers(something that was easy to forget when they were catching passes in the pre-season) and there's going to be some moments like this, but I think we should be thankful that we got some of that ugliness out against the Buffalo Razorcakes.

                  R.I.P. Junior Seau

                  Comment


                  • Same train of thought, but couldn't find a way to fit it into the post well enough;

                    I almost feel better about the young receivers getting better simply because they HAVE to get better. In previous seasons, we had the luxury of not throwing at a guy unless he could produce. That works fine when you're uber talented like Gronk or Hernandez were...but some guys just seem to need an adjustment that we never needed to give them. It's sink or swim here. The guys we've brought in seem to fit what we like to do better than some in past years, so yeah. If we were talking about defenses and cornerbacks, it would be a different story. But we can manufacture offense so long as Brady is taking the snaps.

                    R.I.P. Junior Seau

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                    • I just love that the pass defense finally looks adequate and outside of the missing pass rush we only gave up 7 points really, and now our offense looked pedestrian. I feel like were in for a very frustrating season this year. Really wish we didnt decide to go into rebuilding mode when brady is still playing at such a high level.


                      Originally posted by WMD
                      Jesse realizing Walt was Santa Claus could really shake things up.
                      Originally posted by gpngc
                      I don't know how old you are, but if you can get to 24/25 without getting arrested or killed, you've done well for yourself lol.

                      Comment


                      • I'm not going to freak out about the offense yesterday, because we've had games in the past that looked like yesterday where we've struggled to get going even when we had Welker, Hernandez, and Gronk. People were just so focused on the new guys that having a tough game week one was a disappointment. I'm going to focus on the positives which are the fact that Vereen and Amendola have proven themselves to be a good secondary and tertiary target in our offense. Hopefully at some point soon Gronk can recover enough to be the primary target we need.

                        While I was definitely disappointed in Thompkin's debut which was very Lloyd like, most of his mistakes were experience related. He'll adapt to getting his feet in bounds and knowing when to break off his routes. Those things will come with time. He looked sudden out of his breaks and seems to be able to separate a bit which is a welcome change from our 2 previous 85's. I really do hate those bubble screens we throw to him though. He has no RAC ability and those should go 100% of the time to Vereen, Amendola, or Edelman. I'm more concerned with the fact that Dobson may be heading down the Taylor Price red shirt path which is not good.

                        My 3 biggest concerns for the game were Stevan Ridley's fumbles, our vanilla play on defense, and our very short rotations everywhere.

                        We have 13 rookies on the team, and really only Thompkins played a tangible role either good or bad on outcome of the game. Our defensive rotations in particular were really short. Outside of Vellano and Kelly who I thought both had good games we really didn't rotate a lot of guys in and out from what I could tell. We have a lot of young guys like Harmon, Wilson, Ryan, Fletcher, Collins, Bequette, Buchanan, and Beauharnais who if they can't carve out a useful role on our defense, our starters are going to be gassed by the end of the year. It happened to SF last year, and it's definitely a concern for me going forward.

                        Comment


                        • I'm usually not optimistic - I have us going 10-6, +/- 1 - but getting Gronk back and healthy will go a long way with improving the offense. Brady was also under a lot of pressure, not sure if the Bill's front is just that good (they might be) or if there's room for improvement there. Ridley's fumbling problem is correctable (see Peterson, Bradshaw) which should also help the run game, and we'll need that with our depleted offense.

                          If we can get some pass rush going, the defense shouldn't be nearly as porous as years past.

                          Also major props to Arrington, put me in the camp who thought he was over paid but he certainly showed up against the Bills.

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                          • My concerns on the offense are two fold, with yes part of it being that they are the new kids on the block but mostly because it was against a Bills secondary that was playing 3rd stringers. I mean I guess Cleveland a few years ago played our offense tough just as well but at least they had Rob Ryan as their DC. Idk, wasn't thrilled with what I saw yesterday despite some positives.


                            Originally posted by WMD
                            Jesse realizing Walt was Santa Claus could really shake things up.
                            Originally posted by gpngc
                            I don't know how old you are, but if you can get to 24/25 without getting arrested or killed, you've done well for yourself lol.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Jvig43 View Post
                              My concerns on the offense are two fold, with yes part of it being that they are the new kids on the block but mostly because it was against a Bills secondary that was playing 3rd stringers. I mean I guess Cleveland a few years ago played our offense tough just as well but at least they had Rob Ryan as their DC. Idk, wasn't thrilled with what I saw yesterday despite some positives.
                              I think our big thing is that we weren't able to attack the weak LB's and Safeties because we had no TE's that were able to get involved. While health is a huge question mark Gronk solves so many issues. I think people forget how crappy our non-Welker/Gronk players were last year. Everybody else last year looked like our non-Amendola, Edelman, and Vereen guys did yesterday. We went 24-33 when we threw to them, and 5-19 when going to everybody else. If you figure when we get Gronk back we're going to be taking 8-10 of those targets away from Thompkins and co. and diverting them to Gronk. That should bode well for us.

                              The same problems with inconsistency existed when we gave Hernandez, Lloyd, and Woodhead too big of roles last year. Hopefully we can make Thompkins more of a complimentary guy, and divert more passes to more efficient players.
                              Last edited by cmarq83; 09-09-2013, 10:54 AM.

                              Comment


                              • Without Gronk, they don't have a big play threat. Their only hope is that Edelman or Vereen catch a screen or slant and make 2-3 guys miss. We all knew this was the issue with the offense and team overall for the last 3 years. Boyce could be it, but he's a project and Dobson is going to rot on the inactive list. This is why I was so displeased with passing on Patterson. I just don't understand why they no longer value taking the top off the defense.

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