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Old 09-23-2013, 07:20 AM    (permalink
Blackluck
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Better to struggle now than later...and it's not like they aren't winning despite the struggles.
That's key, builds teamwork and mental toughness. Winning, and winning comfortably with Brady at less than his best is something this team hasn't been able to do recently, and that's a very good sign for us. (Anyone see the sideline shot of Brady going over the stills with Josh after the redzone pick? "**** me." Heh.) Brady is spreading the ball around and we were able to run against an excellent run defense. I enjoy a high octane offense, but it doesn't do us much good if we're forced to score every time we get the ball (see Green Bay.) Now, the defense is far from elite - it's not like we've played stellar competition - but in recent years even bad teams have moved the ball against us. But at least we're getting critical stops and Jones is shaping up to be special (M. Johnson and Jones would certainly be an awesome combo. And let me just say I'm really glad we've extended Nick. The guy makes plays, plays smart and plays hard. Not much more you can ask, really.)

To be sure, we're still going to suffer through growing pains and I have little doubt we're going to see a bad game or two down the road; Miami is going to give us a run for the division (I have no idea how they managed to beat Atlanta, but a win is a win) but we'll be battle tested for a play off run. Denver is clearly the front runner, but as we saw this week, anything can happen in football.
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:58 AM    (permalink
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Thompkins looked better yesterday but Dobson still looked like he was catching with his body a lot. Both had better all around games then we have seen in the past. Sudfeld is not ready and to make an impact as a reciver yet.

I always jump on potential trade ideas and I don't know why, but wow do I want Josh Gordon on the Pats. He has a good amount of baggage so it won't happen, but holy hell he is a talented dude. If he can stay out of trouble he will be a legit #1 in this league. If.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:01 AM    (permalink
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Another note, I know we haven't played a great offense yet but I am excited about the defense. Dennard didn't look very good yesterday but this looks like the most well rounded unit we have had in a while. Oh and dat pass rush...what is that? We have one of those?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:42 AM    (permalink
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Another note, I know we haven't played a great offense yet but I am excited about the defense. Dennard didn't look very good yesterday but this looks like the most well rounded unit we have had in a while. Oh and dat pass rush...what is that? We have one of those?
I disagree wholehartedly I thought Dennard was one of the best players on the field yesterday.

Although I do agree on Gordon. If we could swing a trade without sacrificing our 1st I'd be ecstatic. He's like Dobson, but he's more ready to make contributions today. Plus, it can't hurt you to have to big fast wide receivers. My only concern is how bad Brady has looked so far throwing the deep ball. We need to get him a possession guy because he'll always be a short pass QB. The deep ball needs to be able to feed off of our possession game.

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Old 09-23-2013, 01:04 PM    (permalink
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Yesterday's game gave me some much needed optimism. The offensive line did a solid job blocking for Bolden and Ridley, and both backs were patient and showed great vision when running. I thought the pass rush was improved and was very pleased with Chandler Jones' rush off the edge and thought Spikes did a solid job blitzing. The secondary was weak at times when playing man to man, specifically Dennard getting beat when playing one on one in the first quarter. But for the most part the secondary looked solid and guys were in position to make plays. I thought we did get lucky though with a lot of dropped balls from Tampa's receivers and Vincent Jackson leaving the game early.

I was a little disappointed about the play calling in the red zone on the series where Brady threw an interception. I think it was something like two or three straight passing plays out of the shotgun inside the five. On Brady's third down interception it was pretty clear there was nothing there but Brady being the competitor he is forced a throw. He can't do that against better teams, just throw it away and kick the field goal. Speaking of field goals Gostkowski's leg was great yesterday. That kick before the end of the first half was incredible, he boomed it. Overall though I thought the play calling was solid yesterday and was executed well. I really liked the fake double reverse pass to Bolden. Hoomanawanui also had a really nice play where he got some nice YAC because he broke a tackle.

I feel optimistic coming out of this game because the Buccaneers came in with one of the best defenses in the league on paper and with rookie receivers Tom Brady managed to pick a part a very talented secondary for two touchdowns. Things should only get better with Gronkowski coming back. For the first time this season it seemed like the offense was comfortable with each other. Maybe it was the extra time off to rest and prepare.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:09 PM    (permalink
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I disagree wholehartedly I thought Dennard was one of the best players on the field yesterday.

Although I do agree on Gordon. If we could swing a trade without sacrificing our 1st I'd be ecstatic. He's like Dobson, but he's more ready to make contributions today. Plus, it can't hurt you to have to big fast wide receivers. My only concern is how bad Brady has looked so far throwing the deep ball. We need to get him a possession guy because he'll always be a short pass QB. The deep ball needs to be able to feed off of our possession game.
Agree to disagree. He got away with a few penalites and looked bad on the outside a few times, although you usually don't notice corners until they screw up. I'll try to watch it again.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:25 PM    (permalink
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I would take Gordon in a second if we could work something out for him. It's been proven time and again that you just can't have too many good receivers these days. I think there would be some people against the move because they assume that Dobson and Boyce will develop, but neither are at the level of Gordon right now and there's no guarantee that they will be. The way Dobson catches the football has scared me a little bit over the past few weeks. As mentioned, even with this weeks production, he let the ball eat him up more than once before making the catch. I'm just not sure his hands as as good as they were advertised to be. At least Dobson making contributions though. Boyce has been completely MIA so far. I had pretty big expectations for him. He looked like the kind of guy who could make something happen after easy catches in camp.

As far as Gordon's value for us goes, the possibility of a suspension is a little scary, but it's worth the risk to get a guy with that kind of talent. For what it's worth, he doesn't seem like an asshole either. His habits are clearly an issue, but I would much rather bring in someone like him over Britt. Britt has proved himself to be a genuine idiot at this point. I think cmarq brings up an interesting point about Brady and the deep ball. I'm really starting to wonder how much of that we can put on the receivers at this point. He still has the physical ability to get the ball downfield, but he doesn't seem to have the accuracy or the feel for it at this point. Maybe that's something that can improve and maybe it does have something to do with the receivers, but that's the strength of Gordon's game. There's more to what he brings to the table as well, but that's what you're trading for.


...and I agree with cmarq about Dennard. There were a few mistakes made, but I really think all of our corners are playing at a higher level than we've seen in years. Talib appears to be well on his way to a fat contract. Freeman looks completely checked out, but not too many guys are capable of shutting Vincent Jackson down the way he did. Julio will be tougher and represents a completely different type of threat, but if he plays as well as he did against the Buccaneers, you've got to feel pretty good about our chances with that match-up.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:30 PM    (permalink
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I am a big Dennard fan, I just thought I saw him getting beat a bit. He did get away with a few penalties too, but he gives us stready play which is more than we have had in a while. Our pass rush and secondary play has looked 10x better than anything we have seen in a while which is obivously important if you want to stop people. We will see how we look when we aren't playing EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, or Josh Freeman. Can't be upset with what we've seen so far, though.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:32 PM    (permalink
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I do like Dennard but I would not say he had a strong game at all yesterday. He got beat a handful of times and luckily got away with some BLATANT PI which isnt going to fly when we arent at home. I like Dennard alot but I wouldnt say he had a great day yesterday. For what its worth I also wouldnt say he did terrible either.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:41 PM    (permalink
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As for Josh Gordon, I just think the guy is an elite receiver. If the Browns are giving that up, the Pats should be all over it.

Outside of receiver, the biggest need on this team appears to be interior line. Wendell and Connolly were getting eaten alive yesterday. They couldn't do anything against the interior rush of the Bucs.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:14 AM    (permalink
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In a situation where I would say stats absolutely lie, Pats are second in terms of fewest points allowed, with Seattle being first. It also is interesting that in Buffalo 14 of the 21 points scored were basically the offense turning the ball over. Alot of that comes from who we have played as well, but I am happy with the general improvement on D thus far, I'm excited for these next three weeks despite the fact that I think we will come out of it 1-2.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:27 PM    (permalink
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For me this team is still one giant question mark. The TB game showed promise, but it feels like they still have a ways to go until the look like one of the elite teams. But then again so far this season outside Denver and maybe Seattle, no team looks like world beaters. It does look like Gronk has a good chance to play Sunday. If nothing else that should help our redzone offense.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:15 AM    (permalink
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New on NEPatriotsDraft: What's Wrong With Wendell?

http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/...h-wendell.html
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:38 AM    (permalink
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New on NEPatriotsDraft: What's Wrong With Wendell?

http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/...h-wendell.html
Nice article MJ, it's actually a pretty deemphasized story considering all that we have going on offensively right now, but going forward it could be one of the bigger issues on our team. Wendell vastly outperformed our expectations last season, and I think he's fallen back to earth a bit. Granted as you noted, he's not going to be facing a murders row of DT's like he has so far for the entire season, but the AFC certainly isn't lacking in that department, and having a good center is as important as ever.

I think the interior OL and DL are our 2 biggest draft needs, and getting a stud at either OG/OC or DT would be a coup for the Pats in the draft. From a cap perspective whether we get good Wendell or bad Wendell for the rest of the season, it's hard to imagine him making too much sense for this team going forward.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:01 AM    (permalink
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Maybe we'll finally get Canon at G?

I can live with Dan at C, but he's just not that good at G which is compounded when Wendell has bad days.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:27 PM    (permalink
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Maybe we'll finally get Canon at G?

I can live with Dan at C, but he's just not that good at G which is compounded when Wendell has bad days.
I'm not sure, because Vollmer was forced from last week's game and hasn't been able to get a full week of practice in. Given that Atlanta's starting left end is Jonathan Massaquoi, I think we could see Vollmer get the week off in favor of Cannon. Eventually, though, I think we'd all like to see what Cannon can do at RG; I'd be surprised if he didn't end up getting a chance there.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:37 PM    (permalink
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I had typed up something long about this week, but I lost it :(

Anyway, interesting stuff about the interior line play. I'm actually somewhat OK with the line play thus far this year. They've been asked to do a lot more with Brady holding onto the football longer and they've mostly answered the call there. The run blocking has been bad, but it's not entirely unexpected. We're a far better rushing team off of the no huddle. With the lack of offensive success basically anywhere, we can't get into those situations. With the injuries/murdering issues we've had at tight end, we may not have the personnel to either.

With that said, this basically comes down to a single Darwinian proposition for me; run the ball or die. Even with the Falcons injuries, we simply don't have the fire power in the passing game to let them possess the ball all day. As good as our defense has been, they're not good enough to win the game for us against a team like this if we're consistently going three and out. The Falcons are dealing with some injury issues as well, but they've got their backs to the wall and have been consistently excellent on offense at home.
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:11 PM    (permalink
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I'd like us to shore up both lines in the draft next year. Hopefully we can work something out with Talib or if not find someone in FA. TE is high priority too. Cannon has certainly improved from last year, and his ability to play tackle and guard is a huge plus.

For the Atlanta game, completely agree with EE. We need to run, and stick with the run even if Atlanta as is likely grabs the early lead. For the first time in a long time, Pats are decided underdogs. Before the season started I thought this game would be a certain loss, but with the Falcon's injuries I think we have a chance at a win. Looking forward to see how the defense performs against a bona fide offense.

Edit: DA and Gronk out.

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Old 09-28-2013, 05:50 PM    (permalink
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Yup, confirmed. Didn't even travel. I really hope there isn't friction between the team and Gronk. If he needs more time, he he needs more time.

So again, get the run going or go home with a loss....although it will be a tough game even if we are able to control the ball more.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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My weekly game preview:

http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2013/...tml#more-27292

I could easily see the Patriots losing, but the more research I did into the current state of affairs in Atlanta, the more confident I got in a victory. Obviously it'll be tough to win against Matt Ryan in the Georgia Dome, but given injuries to guys like Steven Jackson and Roddy White, the Falcons may be forced to rely heavily on Julio Jones. If Belichick is successful at scheming Jones out of the game, I'm not sure that an offense built around the likes of a hobbled Roddy White, an aging Tony Gonzalez, and Jacquizz Rodgers is necessarily good enough to win. Also, take a look at this nauseating front seven, with their 2012 snaps and PFF +/- in parenthesis:

LE: Jonathan Massaquoi (168, +1.3)*

DT: Jonathan Babineaux (854, +3.5)

DT: Corey Peters (443, -13.1)

RE: Osi Umenyiora (653, +0.7)

WB: Joplo Bartu (118, +1.7)*

MB: Akeem Dent (504, -1.8)

SB: Stephen Nicholas (890, -4.8)

* indicates 2013 snaps

Is there a worse defensive front in the league?
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Old 09-29-2013, 04:01 PM    (permalink
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There's little doubt that Atlanta isn't where they want to be from a health perspective either. I'm still not confident that we'll be able to completely shut down Julio Jones though. If it comes down to who can make the most plays on offense, I think we'll lose that battle. Rodgers is actually a sneaky bad matchup for us if they can get him involved in the passing game.

Hadn't seen the numbers about just how bad their front seven has been though. Mentioned that I think we really need to get the run going this week and they just may be a prime time to do it against.

Win or lose, I think we're looking at a close game.
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:38 PM    (permalink
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I know weve been over this, but watching Denvers team and how much talent they have to work with offensively, it really is discouraging we continue to give Brady next to nothing to work without outside of Gronk the last few seasons.
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Old 09-29-2013, 07:49 PM    (permalink
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I know weve been over this, but watching Denvers team and how much talent they have to work with offensively, it really is discouraging we continue to give Brady next to nothing to work without outside of Gronk the last few seasons.
There's been a ton made this week about how Bill gave input on the Julio Jones trade. Something that really stuck out to me was how he thought Jonathan Balwdin was "just as good if not better". I fell pretty hard for Baldwin the year before he was drafted. I was a big fan, even through his difficult final year.

...but it was fairly obvious one of them was on another level. Jones was a special talent and his play has reflected it. The fact that he got something that obvious(and big) wrong is kind of telling. We have a serious problem scouting receivers. It's OK for us message board guys to be wrong about that kind of stuff on occasion and I'm wrong plenty about tall receivers(still trying to learn how to scout big receivers), but something to be concerned about for a guy who is highly compensated to make these types of evaluations. It's even worse when you look at our track record with defensive backs. It's OK to be unconventional and have your own thoughts if you're right....but our percentages at those two positions have already held us back from fielding better teams and continue to.

I'm talking specifically about the player evaluation part too, not the trade. It's worked out fairly well for Atlanta, but it was obviously extremely risky and bordering on dumb.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:05 PM    (permalink
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I read the War Room. It should be pointed out BB said "Baldwin offers similar value" (emphasis added.) In other words, the picks + Baldwin is similar value to Jones. I don't think BB thought Jones' talent was equal to Baldwin. That said, BB absolutely does not value receivers (and inexplicably loves short DBs with great cone times that can barely cover a fence post.) He has placed a real burden on Brady, one that I don't think any other QB other than P. Manning could handle.

In a way it's a lot like the pass rushers we've never drafted; because he couldn't 'project' 4-3 ends to OLBs, he prefers not taking any early, instead opting to gamble on projects later in the draft - and he's pulled the same thing with receivers. Without a strong voice in the drafting process, we're kinda stuck with this. The bill comes due eventually for paying opportunity costs, and it might end up being paid this season. Still, when you look at just how bad some teams are this year, this might sound a bit like sour grapes.
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Old 09-29-2013, 08:09 PM    (permalink
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I don't have the book and was copying the wording from a CBS article. Not sure if it was correct or even if Holley took license at some point or something, but that's the wording I found. Sorry if it was inaccurate. Not my intent to skew anything.

At the very least, he whiffed on Baldwin. I did too...but yeah.
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