Re: Simplify The Offensive Playbook? Reasons for Optimism.
posted at 6/4/2013 8:16 PM EDT
In response to zbellino's comment:
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
In response to ghostofjri37's comment:
I think you will be pleasantly surprised with vareen's ability to run in between the tackles when he gets his oppotunities. I watched him play at Cal and he had pretty good success running in between the tackles. I don't think he could holdup doing it 20 times a game but he is a good change up from Ridley when they need to get ridley a blow.
I share your optimism about Vareen, though I wonder why he didn't get more snaps last year.
Last offseason I thought Woodhead might be on the cusp, partly because Woody's production was weaker in 2011 than in 2010 and partly because I thought Vareen would give him a run for his money. But Woodhead won the role and Vereen was more a back up. This offseason, though, suggests that BB is feeling like Vareen is now ready. We'll see, but I agree that Vareen has intriguing versatility and more athletic potential than Woodhead.
Perhaps as another poster pointed out it was a trust issue. Perhpas it took him through 1/2 to 3/4 of the season in practices and limited touches in games to become fully competent in the offense. Just throwing those possibilities out there.
I suspect the latter. I think they expect a lot from the back in that position, especially in pass protection. If Woodhead knew all the assignments and was executing well, he wasn't going to be pulled in favour of a guy still learning who might therefore be more mistake prone. Vereen never really replaced Woodhead, he just started getting chances as other offensive weapons (bolden, hern, gronk, stallworth, edelman) got injured or suspended.
Regardless, I think NE needs to develop some new sources of talent. Neither Gronk nor Hernandez are the Iron Horse; in fact, they've both lost quite a bit of time to injury in their young careers.
At the end of the day it's a huge dropoff for the offense when either one of them cannot go, especially against upper echelon defenses.
Over the last four post-seasons the offense has scored 16 points when missing one of their main targets. They have scored 36 points when all hands are on deck. The former is much more in line with what you see during the regular season.
Given that over that span the defense surrenders about 24 per game, you know you need these guys healthy and ready to go ... or some other sources of talent that are more reliable.
We can't really count on rookies like Dobson and Boyce (as promising as their talent is) to be that, though they could be down the road. And other than Amendola, none of the other guys in the WR look to be either the constant matchup problem that Gronk or Hernandez is, and none of them look like a guy with an X-factor as a playmaker.
Given Vereen's explosion in the second half of the Texan's game last season, I think he could be one source to tap as a dual threat back. Perhaps not as a 1600 yard rusher, but as a 1600 yard from scrimmage guy? Perhaps like a Brian Westbrook or something like that? In the event that NE has to go long stretches without Gronk, you could simulate a spread like in 2007, but with more talent in the backfield.
Agree fully Z. In fact, over the past three years or so I've been making the argument over and over that we have too few quality offensive weapons. It was really bad in 2011 when the whole offense seemed to go through three guys (Welker, Hern, Gronk). It was a bit better last year maybe, but a guy like Vereen who could be a true dual threat from the backfield would add a dimension that has been missing (or at least at diluted strength) since Faulk declined. Woody was a nice story, but like BJGE, he wasn't a guy who really stuck any fear in defense's hearts.
If Vereen can play like Westbrook or maybe Sproles that would be huge.