What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from csylvia79. Show csylvia79's posts

    What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

                  First off I want to say I am not trying to directly call anyone out or do any type of name calling. Please if you are going to reply with a flame or troll post, just don’t bother.  I would love to encourage an open dialog concerning the Patriots weaknesses and what could be the cause.   I also will try to answer my own questions but I would like to see what some of the other intelligent posters think.   Personally I think there have been quite a few sub-par areas  in big games but the current state of the board has turned into this war between Brady is at fault or the defense is at fault and when anyone brings something else up it just get buried.

     

     So my concept is just to have a conversation on what are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    1.       What is wrong with the game planning and why can’t they seem to adjust during a game like they use to?  Example McD getting too cute at times and call overly complex plays such at a end around at the worst time when a draw would do….. ect.   I tend to believe that the coaches know what they are doing and the shotgun use and the quick snap play style is by choice, therefore they are doing what gives the team the best chance to win and cover weaknesses.  Why else would this go on for years, in almost every game?  Think about how many game planning sessions the coaches went through to come up with these play concepts.  Does anyone really think they say “oh let’s just give Brady the offense and see what happens? “   So if we start with the premise that everything has been by design, how can the coaches improve the team performance?  Where have they gone wrong with the game planning and what would you love to see more of?

     

    2.       Why does the offensive line seem to fold or have trouble in the biggest games?   Although interceptions and safeties are on a QB, the line has to do better.  I never seen a four man rush gives a QB so little time and constantly push/ collapse the pocket when we have 5 to 6 blockers.  Some will look at the stats and say this is one of the best lines in the NFL, but sometimes I just don’t see it.  If Brady doesn’t get most plays out in 2.5 sec or less seconds these guy would be more toward the middle of the pack in hurries and sacks.

     

    3.       When the defense is in max coverage why can’t the RBs run better? Although, they have occasional 4 to 5 yards rushes, over 50 percent are less than 2 yards.    The Pats are not seeing 8 men in the box so what gives?   Are the holes not there?  Do the RBs not give the play enough time to develop and hit the holes too early?  Do they not look for the cut back lane, or is the line not great at opening holes?   Is the play calling too predictable in that the LB and safety are able to fill in too fast?   Do they have backs that can break first contact? How many times  on third down with  3 or less do they pass because there is no rusher that can get those hard yardage when the D know it is  coming.  I am not just talking goal line situations; I mean 3rd and 2 on our 35 when it is get the yards or punt.

     

    4.       With all this said….. I am not excusing the QB and the WRs. Does Brady take too much on his shoulders that he has been forcing it when he should be throwing it away?  Has he gotten too reliant on the systematic and timing plays that he has lost some of the improvising and/or finding that third or fourth read?   Both the QB and the WRS need to make game changing clutch plays and that has not been happening.   Key drops and miscue have hurt the team in a battle of inches.  How can they improve this?

    Are  there any major areas I missed?  I could say a lot more but this is a good start.  

     
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  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from isurfvb24. Show isurfvb24's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    good post. i think the pats need to use the running backs out of the backfield in the passing game more. like they did with vereen, and got great results. 

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    To me it's much simpler, their flaws have been dropped passes and turnovers. A defense is called elite for a reason. Any offense will struggle against an elite defense. They make you earn every inch and every point. To beat them, you can't make mistakes.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from seattlepat70. Show seattlepat70's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    I would not consider Ridley's fumble (when Pollard hit him) a real fumble. He protected the ball to what's expected of a good running back. It was unlucky that he got hit on the helmet hard enough that he lost consciousness. 

     

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from seattlepat70. Show seattlepat70's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 




    That is not going to change unless they make it change. Even with Welker gone, we may see them throwing 80% of their passes to the middle to Gronk and another guy (Maybe DA). Sometimes, I feel there is no commitment to making other essential aspects of their offense work well against adversity. Unfortunately, those other aspects will not develop naturally.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 

     




     

    That is not going to change unless they make it change. Even with Welker gone, we may see them throwing 80% of their passes to the middle to Gronk and another guy (Maybe DA). Sometimes, I feel there is no commitment to making other essential aspects of their offense work well against adversity. Unfortunately, those other aspects will not develop naturally.



    I agree.  I don't know how to correct this unless they really got a receiver they like and Brady trusts that can be more of a vertical type threat.

    I like the three rookies they got.  I just hope they can make the transition to this offense.

    If you can't get on the same page as Brady, he's just plain not going to throw you the ball.

    He'll always look for his favorite targets.

    Do you have to be a mind reader or have esp?   I don't know. 

    Is the Pats passing game just too complicated for most receivers?  It appears to be.

    Can Gronk get healthy and stay healthy enough this season so we can see both he and Hernandez or Ballard on the field at the same time?

    That would be nice. 

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from csylvia79. Show csylvia79's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    I think  they have to really test these young RBs... sink or swim or swim time, put the ball in Ridleys hands.  I'm all for having backup RBs but you need to use one as a premiere  back and ride him. 

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from csylvia79. Show csylvia79's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

     



    I agree.  I don't know how to correct this unless they really got a receiver they like and Brady trusts that can be more of a vertical type threat.

     

    I like the three rookies they got.  I just hope they can make the transition to this offense.

    If you can't get on the same page as Brady, he's just plain not going to throw you the ball.

    He'll always look for his favorite targets.

    Do you have to be a mind reader or have esp?   I don't know. 

    Is the Pats passing game just too complicated for most receivers?  It appears to be.

    Can Gronk get healthy and stay healthy enough this season so we can see both he and Hernandez or Ballard on the field at the same time?

    That would be nice. 

    [/QUOTE]


     I hope at least one of the rookies really picks the game up and shines.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 

     




     

    That is not going to change unless they make it change. Even with Welker gone, we may see them throwing 80% of their passes to the middle to Gronk and another guy (Maybe DA). Sometimes, I feel there is no commitment to making other essential aspects of their offense work well against adversity. Unfortunately, those other aspects will not develop naturally.



    I think if you give Brady some better targets things will change.  Watching the games live where you can see downfield, there just aren't many receivers getting separation.  

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from csylvia79. Show csylvia79's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

     

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 

     




     

    That is not going to change unless they make it change. Even with Welker gone, we may see them throwing 80% of their passes to the middle to Gronk and another guy (Maybe DA). Sometimes, I feel there is no commitment to making other essential aspects of their offense work well against adversity. Unfortunately, those other aspects will not develop naturally.

     



    I think if you give Brady some better targets things will change.  Watching the games live where you can see downfield, there just aren't many receivers getting separation.  

     




    True.... now if he has a deep threat does that help limit blitzes and stuns?

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to csylvia79's comment:

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

    In response to seattlepat70's comment:

     

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

    Your comments suggest that the O line may not be as good as people think.  That's almost sacrilegeous to say in these parts where Scarnecchia is viewed as nearly divine, but I suspect there may be some truth to it.  Against the Giants in both losing Super Bowls, the O line struggled with an elite D line.  Injuries were part of the reason for that, but certainly there were be some talent issues too, especially in 2007 when Kaczur and Hochstein were starting.  

    Recently, I think the offense has suffered from a lack of weapons (this wasn't so much the case in 2007, though the running game was maybe not as good as ideal).  Gronk and Welker are both great at what they do, but Gronk has been a no-show in the post season. Hernandez, for all his skills, is inconsistent with a tendency to drop balls.  BJGE and Woodhead are not impact players.  Ridley has more explosiveness, but he's been prone to fumble in the playoffs.  Overall, the offense has really needed to run through Gronk and Welker or it becomes very pedestrian.  Guys like Branch and Ocho and Edelman are just not scaring defenders.  

    On defense, the issue has been pass defense .  .  . no rush, LBs who aren't great dropping back, and a very weak secondary.  I do think the defense is on the upswing and will be better this year.  But the past four years or so it hasn't been very good and almost requires an offensive strategy designed to rack up points to compensate for the defense's tendency to give up points. 

     




     

    That is not going to change unless they make it change. Even with Welker gone, we may see them throwing 80% of their passes to the middle to Gronk and another guy (Maybe DA). Sometimes, I feel there is no commitment to making other essential aspects of their offense work well against adversity. Unfortunately, those other aspects will not develop naturally.

     



    I think if you give Brady some better targets things will change.  Watching the games live where you can see downfield, there just aren't many receivers getting separation.  

     

     




     

    True.... now if he has a deep threat does that help limit blitzes and stuns?



    It will be interesting to see.  Right now, sometimes it seems that if no one is open early, no one is going to get open ever, so plays are going to happen fast or not at all.  Maybe with a better downfield receiver Brady will have options 4 seconds after the snap while now he either has them at 2 seconds or has none at all.  That's tough on the line because they can't hold off rushers for ever. 

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from pcmIV. Show pcmIV's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    Injuries and bad execution.  You can't have both when there is a good team on the other side.  I know some here think that talent is an issue.  IMO talent is always an issue in the sense that you can always upgrade some position or another.  That being said I think the teams that have lost recently were talented enough to win.

     
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  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    Giants were not the most talented team ever to win a Super Bowl, but the match-up between our O line and their D line was not a good one for the Pats, particularly with both Mankins and Vollmer fighting injuries.  With Gronk out, the receiving corp just wasn't up to the task.  Both Welker and Hern had drops, Branch pretty much disappeared, Ocho made one nice catch but he still hadn't learned the playbook, and Woodhead and BJGE are not guys you want to ride the whole game. Then there are the problems on D.  

    Injuries were a factor, but the thinness of the talent at certain positions made those injuries particularly difficult to overcome. 

     

     

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Paul_K. Show Paul_K's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    Mostly injuries.  Gronk and Ridley for starters.

    Baltimore hired away the Patriots' (fired) defensive coordinator to be Baltimore's defensive coordinator.  In doing so, Baltimore got all sorts of inside dope on the entire Patriots' offensive and defensive schemes and how to defend against them.

    The only lasting flaw is no wide receivers whatsoever.  That's why two of the top five draft picks were receivers, and why there are 12 receivers in camp.  Welker is good but he's getting really aged.  Even a well-aged wine turns to vinegar if held for too many years. 

    Amendola is proven to be a good receiver, although he got hit a lot with Sam Bradshaw targeting him all day and night.

    No guarantees on the rookie pass-catchers.  They often get better in their sophomore years.  The ancient decrepit vets are around until the rooks develop.  If the rookies don't develop, give them digital cameras.  Edelman is ok except for his foot being in a boot, which probably will get fixed.

    Gronk still isn't healthy.  His arm probably will get fixed. 

    The huge gang of receivers probably has a few winners in the pile.

    Tom Brady hits 36.  One of these years his skills will start to go downhill, but last year his offense set a new NFL record for first downs in a season so I don't expect a catastrophe that soon.  This will be his 14th season since he was drafted in the sixth round.
     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    The offense needs to be tougher, they need to be able to grind it out against the league's best (playoff teams) even when the opposing team knows they are going to run a ground and pound and generally conservative game plan.  They need to be able to create manageable first down opportunities and be the best team in the NFL at converting third downs and touchdowns, especially in the playoffs which means they need to be less predictable.

    I think they made strides in that direction last season with the heavy tightend/fullback sets and should be even better this year with improved play by the O line, tightends and mainly receivers who got an influx of talent in the draft. We need to get back to the days of throwing to the open man and going for ten yards, one first down at a time and controlling the time of possession to keep the defense fresh and attacking.  

    Utilizing the play action, short passing, screen pass and halfback check downs with more three step drops will keep Brady safe, running the ball will keep the opposing defense honest.  This offense needs to get mean and use last season's early playoff exit as motivation.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from mia76. Show mia76's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    I'll take a simpler view - there are no 'flaws'. How can a team that blows another team off the field one week come back a few weeks later and lose to the same team on the same field. Or how does a 9-7 team win the Super Bowl. On paper none of those things happen, but they happen frequently on a football field, and in every sport played. Seven game playoff series are a better guarantee of 'the best team' winning, but even then wierd things happen.

    When you have very good teams playing each other it is even harder to predict what will happen. And when you play against very good defensive teams sometimes your offense fails. And sometimes your defense fails.

    I don't think the Pats are perfect - no team is. And I am certainly disappointed that they haven't won a SB in a number of years. But I have felt that every year except maybe the Cassel year, they had a solid chance to win it all with whatever weakness they had. And I don't think they were necessarily the 'best team' in the years they did win it all.

    There have only been a few dominant teams in my lifetime that I thought were inevitable champions and most of them didn't win including 2007. A few did like that Bears team and one of the Dolphin teams. Most of the teams that do win have one thing in common - they were the luckiest team that year. Balt had a hail mary answered last year, Giants had one in 2007, pats had a tuck rule, etc.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Quagmire3. Show Quagmire3's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    To me the biggest problem, as you already stated, is the coaches inability to adjust. In super bowl 46 the Giants were rushing TB12 unmercifully and yet we never called a screen pass! heck you learn that in middle school, the quickest way to slow down a blitz is throw a few screens and they will back off. I would really like to see the coaching staff (and TB12) adjust better to what defenses throw at us. I think it will also help that we have younger quicker recievers that should be able to get seperation on man to man defenses. Good thought provoking thread!

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from ATJ. Show ATJ's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    Excellent thread.

    In 42, it boiled down to 2 things IMO:

    *The Giants defensive game plan was excellent and their defensive line play was as good as I've seen in a big game in the FA era;

    *A couple of plays: one made by the Giants and one not made by the Pats.  Tyree catch (I still shake my head at that one) and Samuel's blown int.

    I think Prolate made a very strong case in another thread about how talented defenses take away certain things from the Pats that only talented teams can take away.  If I read his post correctly it boiled down to excellent man coverage on the wideouts, taking away the middle of the field and pressuring Brady.  I agreed then and still do that a wideout who can stretch the field would have helped.

    In last season's AFCG the team simply didn't play consistently particularly on offense.  That coupled with the Ravens bringing their A game made for a tough game for the Pats.

    Finally, I think, for some reason, there seems to be a reluctance or inability to make the proper adjustments late in games.  Why, I'm not sure.  Who is this on?  I can't give credit to BB for much of the team's success over the long haul without placing much of the responsibility for lack of adjustments on him.  I think was particularly the case in 42 where in my opinion Coughlin outcoached him. 

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to mia76's comment:

    I'll take a simpler view - there are no 'flaws'. How can a team that blows another team off the field one week come back a few weeks later and lose to the same team on the same field. Or how does a 9-7 team win the Super Bowl. On paper none of those things happen, but they happen frequently on a football field, and in every sport played. Seven game playoff series are a better guarantee of 'the best team' winning, but even then wierd things happen.

    When you have very good teams playing each other it is even harder to predict what will happen. And when you play against very good defensive teams sometimes your offense fails. And sometimes your defense fails.

    I don't think the Pats are perfect - no team is. And I am certainly disappointed that they haven't won a SB in a number of years. But I have felt that every year except maybe the Cassel year, they had a solid chance to win it all with whatever weakness they had. And I don't think they were necessarily the 'best team' in the years they did win it all.

    There have only been a few dominant teams in my lifetime that I thought were inevitable champions and most of them didn't win including 2007. A few did like that Bears team and one of the Dolphin teams. Most of the teams that do win have one thing in common - they were the luckiest team that year. Balt had a hail mary answered last year, Giants had one in 2007, pats had a tuck rule, etc.



    This is a very rational post, but I do think this team does have flaws, and some of those have been fatal in the playoffs.  The most notable is the weak pass defense.  That flaw shows up in the regular season too, but when the offense racks up 30 points per game, poor pass defense can be hidden.  On offense, the flaws are less apparent, because they don't show against most teams.  But the dearth of top quality receivers (on a passing team!) has been an issue, especially if one of the receiving targets goes down to injury.  We have relied far too heavily on too few guys for years now.  

    I also think Wozzy has a good point about toughness.  I'm not quite as concerned as Wozzy about the frequent use of so-called finesse formations and plays (i.e., passes from the shotgun, one back sets, and an offense that mostly relies on quickness rather than power), but I do think the O line has not been as athletic and as physical as it needs to be.  We lose in the trenches in games against teams with fast, powerful front sevens.  It's instructive to watch Super Bowl 46 on the coaches film and focus on the blocking.  If you do that, you'll see numerous breakdowns.  I have never thought BJGE was a great running back, but if you watch the blocking in 46, you realize pretty quickly that most of his stuffed runs were the result of DLs or LBs coming through unblocked.  I love Matt Light, but he had a few big wiffs in that game. Vollmer was clearly still suffering from his back injury.  The interior line looked slow footed in adjusting to some of the stunts.  These are execution issues, but the lack of ability to execute does suggest that talent on the O line maybe isn't as strong as many think or at least that the injuries on the line are having a bigger impact than most of us notice. 

    Using multiple TEs and two-back sets can compensate for a weaker O line, but it can also take away other offensive options. The ideal situation is to have five linemen who match up well without extra help against four or five defensive attackers.  If you have that, when you go to multiple TEs or fullbacks, you aren't doing so just to get even with the defense, you're doing so to really overpower the defense.  If your O line is weaker, you sometimes are adding those extra big bodies just to get back to even--and that means you really are reducing your remaining options to catch or carry the ball.  The safety play in Super Bowl 46 is a good example.  We used a six-man line (three tackles), which meant there were four rather than five options for Brady, and one of those options (BJGE) was blocking (at least initially), so really there were just three options for Brady.  Despite all this blocking support, the O line still couldn't control Jason Tuck and the result was a safety.  

     

     

     
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    Re: What are the Patriots flaws against elite defenses?

    In response to ATJ's comment:

     

    I think Prolate made a very strong case in another thread about how talented defenses take away certain things from the Pats that only talented teams can take away.  If I read his post correctly it boiled down to excellent man coverage on the wideouts, taking away the middle of the field and pressuring Brady.  I agreed then and still do that a wideout who can stretch the field would have helped.

    Thanks ATJ. You read it right.  A bunch of tactics have emerged over the past several years (since Brady came back from his injury).  The Saints and Jets both contributed to this recipe for slowing the Pats offense.  I'm not a coach so I may not have the recipe totally right, but from observation, I think it basically consists of three principles:

    • Play man coverage on one or two of the Pats receivers, taking those receivers out of the game with just one defender
    • Flood the short middle of the field by bringing at least one safety down--use lots of zone schemes in the middle of the field
    • Do a great job of disguising who is rushing and who is dropping into coverage--show blitz a lot, but don't actually blitz too much

    We don't have the strongest outside and perimeter receivers, so teams with good corners can shut down those receivers without needing a lot of safety help.  The big thing you need are smart defenders upfront who can adjust really quickly in space.  You're trying to make it hard on Brady to make his quick decisions in the short passing game, to keep him guessing about who's coming and who's dropping, and also to have plenty of men near the LOS to defend Welker, the TEs, or the run.   Not every defense can execute well in a scheme like this, but those that can have success against the Pats' offense. 

     

     

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