Re: Devil's Advocate
posted at 8/24/2011 7:09 AM EDT
In Response to Re: Devil's Advocate
[QUOTE]I'll play devil's advocate: For starters, the season began when 'Spygate' began in New Jersey Week 1. As the season wore on, it seemed 'Spygate' became a bigger distraction w/o all the facts coming out. Had the Patriots went 19-0, I'm sure that the record would have been tarnished because of speculations. As the season progressed, the team was becoming one dimensional. Ironically, the last two times they had a balanced attack on offense that season resulted in Laurence Maroney having 100 yard games. Teams figured out their gameplan and were losing steam in the process. They were blowing out opponents, but were struggling against the upper-tier of the Eagles, Cowboys, Ravens, Colts, and Giants. There were too many spread formations and not enough power formations. Eventually, they lived and died by the big play. The Giants exploited the flaw at the worst possible time. It actually showed how the OL couldn't really a 4-man rush anymore. In addition, the top two corners were Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs neither of whom I'd trust as their either gamblers or play off the line. Now it's 4 years later, after a shortened offseason and an extensive lockout. While teams are using more spread offenses, Belichick is focusing on multiple TE sets. It helped BenJarvus Green-Ellis get 1000 yards and Danny Woodhead 900 from scrimmage. Word has it that Will Yeatman can catch and block. How can teams focus on two blocking/pass catching TEs? Have they found an answer for Rob Gronkowski yet? Plus. by year's end the Patriots may be a center away from having a squad that will at least on paper keep Tom Brady upright until 2014. I can see Nate Solder, Logan Mankins, Sebastian Vollmer, and hope to see Marcus Cannon as the starters. Bill Belichick has corners in Devin McCourty & Leigh Bodden who can play press coverage and do not need consistent help over the top with suitable nickels like Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite. He paired that with a dictative pass rush something we've not seen since 2004. That alone should get people excited for 3rd and longs this season. You give the offense more 3 & outs and turnovers, the more likely the team will score and chew clock. They are capable of becoming a balanced attack on offense, but the key to silencing Mercury Morris is to run successfully when the defense is expecting the run. From last year, the team was young and still managed 14 wins. They blew out teams in top 10 defense like Miami twice, New York Jets, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Minnesota. The Jets figured out New England, but it's a different story with Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Ridley can run, catch & pass block. #1 offense with an aggressive defense in 2011 w/o any distractions. They have to take this one game at a time.
Posted by Reloadedagent31[/QUOTE]
I agree with your assessment of the 2007 team. As much as I enjoyed watching them score a billion points, I never felt comfortable that entire season with the WAY they were scoring, and with the WAY they were winning games.
I didn't like all of the points the defense was allowing, for one thing. There were those back-to-back blowout wins in Miami and Dallas where the Pats nearly scored 50 but the defense nearly allowed 30 in each game. During each of those games I said allowed to anyone who would listen: "this is not Patriots football that they're playing."
It was only a matter of time before defensive coordinators would figure out a way to slow them down, if not stop them completely...no one really stopped them completely in the regular season, but the Eagles, Ravens and a couple other teams figured out how to slow them down, at least.
In the playoffs, San Diego really made them earn every point they scored, and then the Giants, who had the personnel up front to execute a certain type of game plan, became the first team to totally shut them down.
And what are you left with when you rely almost 100% on your offense to win games? You're left with a defense that's "good enough" if your offense is putting up 28+ points every week, but that might not be good enough if you find yourself in a close, low-scoring dogfight: Super Bowl XLII becomes the result of that scenario.
This year they may very well have a better team than they had in 2007 because they've got a younger, deeper, more aggressive defense with, as you say, better cover corners--guys who don't gamble as much as Asante and Hobbs. And the balanced approach on offense (a return to hopefully a more 2004-like approach) also takes away their heavy reliance on the passing game.
I mean, there's a reason why Peyton Manning has all of those yards, TDs, MVPs and records, and has only one Super Bowl ring (a ring that his defense largely won for him--along with a big assist from the zebras). The Pats, for a couple of years, tried to emulate the Colts' formula, and it worked out about as well for them in the post-season as it has for Indy all these years.
Hopefully that experiment is dead and buried.
That said, going 19-0 is well-nigh impossible. It really is, no matter how good you are.
Heck, I think we can all agree as Pats fans that even in 2007 they won a couple of games on the road to 16-0 that they probably should have lost (certainly the Ravens game on the road, and the Eagles game at home, to name a couple of examples). You not only have to be a great team, but you've got to have some luck, too.
Just win another Lombardi or two, and let the '72 Dolphins continue to revel in their overrated (very weak schedule) accomplishment that happened when more than half of the football-watching public was either in diapers or not even born yet.