***** Couldn't have said it better myself, Zip. Well done!
***** In part, I think the clarity of our needs, corrective
actions, and remaining uncertainty are the reason for my
personal lack of communication throughout this off-season.
Most of us knew what our needs were going into the
off-season. The fantastic (IMO) work in FA, plus the
concentration on our weak areas in the draft, are obvious
reasons for optimism, but, as you stated, must be proven on
the field. There was no practical way to improve either the
OLT or RB situations, so I don't think any of us are
outraged over the fact that there was no earth shaking
progress in those areas.
***** It's all pretty much a "wait and see" off-season for
us. The good news has to be that we should all be convinced
that BB & Pioli have made significant moves to improve the
areas where improvement was a practical possibility. I
certainly am convinced of that. One or two more moves may
await us after June 1. However, with or without such moves,
I'm feeling good about our chances this year. I just don't
feel the urge to say anymore than what has already been
said until we see how it all looks on the field.
--- patriotzip <patriotzip@...
> This is always the toughest part of the off-season for
> me. I am most
> football starved and there is the least news of
> significance. Most
> of the Free Agency period is slowed to a near stop. The
> Draft is
> complete and the next 'milestone' is June 1 cuts.
> In the midst of such Doldrums I tried to reflect upon
> last season's
> failure, this season's seeming progress and the
> competitive changes
> within our division.
> Last Year's Troubles Oversimplified:
> 1) Defending the Run
> We could not stop the run on any down or so it
> seemed. Our
> middle had a glaring weakness beside Seymour, the right
> defensive end seemed continuously caught inside block and
> our outside
> linebackers could not catch a fleet footed pitch out or
> if they did,
> a cut back made for big gains.
> We drafted two pure nose tackle player prospects
> (Klecko &
> Kelley) and added a high quality defensive tackle
> (Warren). We added
> speed at outside linebacker (Colvin) and drafted more
> speed for the
> position (Banta-Cain). How things develop will be
> unclear a bit but
> there is some clear evidence we made steps to address
> this challenge.
> 2) Lack of Defensive QB Pressure:
> Our pass rush required blitz and trickery
> approaches. When we
> just needed the line to explode upon a QB they were
> vastly unable.
> Given the time we often provided, nearly any QB could
> pick at the
> Patriots defense and as such 3rd and long was not so
> Rosevelt Colvin is a highly competent pass rusher.
> He notched
> 10.5 sacks in each of the last two seasons. The presence
> of Warren
> should alleviate some of the double team pressure on
> Seymour and also
> help the cause. Another factor is a more clear personnel
> switch to
> encourage the 3-4 scheme. The flexibility of the
> personell should
> encourage more ability to send blitzers from different
> locations and
> confuse the O-line though this is a bit more sustaining
> of the
> trickery approach. The defensive line itself remains
> suspect at pass
> rush until we see further results in the form of a
> bona-fide pass
> 3)Suspect Pass Blocking
> Although Brady moved well in the pocket, he took a
> pounding from
> opposing defenses. Often releasing the ball in the last
> moment, his
> last moments weren't very long as both Offensive Tackle
> endured detriment with Matt Light struggling considerably
> against the
> speed rushers.
> Resolution: None apparent - in face we lost Greg
> Robinson-Randall and
> Grey Rugemer although Koppen as a rookie should mostly
> replace Grey.
> 4) Lack of Offensive Rushing
> Although it seemed the team did not reasonably
> commit to the run
> very well and may have had as large an offensive mindset
> challenge as
> an actual challenge, our line was pushed around on too
> occasions. Antowain Smith seemed very slow in several
> games and
> situations. Redmond seemed trapped in a doghouse and the
> were an anemic rush offense.
> Entirely unknown. Womack will be healthy and
> competing for time
> and many report him demonstrating impressive ability.
> Edwards was
> replaced by McReady who is a more punishing blocker but
> less of a
> distraction threat as a receiver. This unit will need a
> change and some good fortune since neither they nor their
> counterparts have changed notably for the better.
> There were other issues but those are the top four in my
> view and the
> results are split. I think our team improved but I am
> uncertain how
> much until the Left Tackle and Running Back situation can
> be tested.
> So how about our competition?
> Buffalo: 8-8 last year. We defeated them twice but they
> have made
> major strides forward in the off-season. They did not
> themselves as much in the draft but still remain
> improved and at the very least narrowed the gap between
> our teams.
> NY Jets: 9-7 Season Split. Similar to us they had some
> benefit and
> detriment. I think the loss of Coles will hurt more than
> realize. I similarly feel Robertson will help less than
> they spent.
> They had an active off-season but are not as greatly
> improved as the
> Bills. I think we may have gained ground on them.
> Miami: 9-7 Season Split. They addressed areas which
> were less of a
> problem in their moves. They lost (most likely) Gadsen
> and I think
> may be no greater threat than previous. Landing Griese
> on June 2 may
> increase them as would Seau although not at a point of
> weakness. I'd
> say they remain the same.
> Other thoughts?
** N E Patriots ....
Last AFC World Champions! **