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Re: Worst Patriots Defense Since Belichick Arrived!

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  • Scott Sheaffer
    Yes, Brady threw 4 picks. But with any defense at all, they still could have won the game. This is, without doubt, the worst defense this team has had in at
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 26, 2011
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      Yes, Brady threw 4 picks. But with any defense at all, they still could have
      won the game.

      This is, without doubt, the worst defense this team has had in at least the
      last 10 years. They absolutely SUCK!

      And the worst of them all is "rookie CB sensation" Devin McTOASTY!!

      They have ZERO chance to make the playoffs with this defense. ZERO!!


      Even running the new 4-3 system, this defense hasn't looked good, but yesterday, they seemed to be in 3-4 a lot. A big problem is that this team currently doesn't have the right personal for a 3-4. Look at defensive end. A few years ago, we had Ty Warren at 300 lbs and Richard Seymour at 310 lbs up at DE. Who was there yesterday when we went 3-4? It was Shaun Ellis at 290 (okay, a bit smaller, but okay) and Andre Carter at 265! Carter is way too small to be an effective 3-4 DE in this era's game. He's ideal for a 4-3 DE, but way too small for the 3-4. In the 3-4, he's got perfect size for an outside linebacker, but in multiple tries with multiple teams, he's been a bust at OLB. Meanwhile, he's been very good as a 4-3 DE. Putting Carter in a 3-4 is a classic case of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Why didn't the team bring Gerard Warren back instead of Cohen? Warren looked great in the preseason. He could have gone into the 4-3 DT rotation in place of  Pryor or he could be a legit 3-4 DE like he was for us last year. Hey, at least this move wasn't as bad as some other recent puzzlers. I mean the immortal Jeff Tarpinian just dominated out there didn't he? Maybe, he'll emerge down the road, but why did we need him for this week's game? I mean was bringing him up from the practice squad more helpful than say bringing in another TE, like say Alge Crumpler? 

      Back to the defense though. All of the man coverage is a HUGE problem. Man coverage is okay when you've got Revis and Cromartie at CB. We don't. Part of the reason the Pats have to play so much man coverage is because of lack of experience and depth at safety. I mean, I know "any knowledgable fan" knows that Brandon Meriweather sucked despite all the accolades he got, but wow, the guys out there yesterday make Meriweather look like a two time Pro Bowler or a guy who'd get drafted in the first round. Seriously, I can understand cutting Meriweather, but how about making sure we already have someone available who is just as good as him or better first? When the Pats got rid of Milloy in 2003, they had Rodney Harrison on the roster. If they were planning to dump Meriweather, why not keep Sanders?  These decisions all caught up with the Pats yesterday. As bad as the offense was at protecting the ball, halfway decent defense could have won that game. 

      Also, Brandon Spikes was awful out there yesterday.

      I think sticking primarily to the 4-3, or bringing in certain players who are available will help this defense get much better over the course of the season, especially if the backfield can get to the point where they can play a lot less man coverage.   

      Unfortunately, you could also flip what you said about the defense and say that as bad as the defense was, if the offense took care of the ball and managed the game better, the team still could have won. Again, there are bad personnel decisions contributing to the poor play. I already mentioned the TE situation. The TEs give an offense more versatility because they could be formidable blockers in either the run or the pass game or they could be receivers on passing plays. When the defense sees two TEs and an RB in the backfield on 1st and 10 in a close game with plenty of time left, they can't just play pass and utterly ignore the run. No, they have to read and react, and maybe end up a step behind. The more you can make a defense think, the better chance you have of making them less decisive and aggressive. You have a better chance of getting them back on their heels and putting them a step behind what you're doing. Now I know that every now and then, Tom Brady will pull the ball down and run, and once or twice a season he'll get a nice run. Remember way back in 2006 when he juked  Brian Urlacher and ran for like ten yards and a first down? Other than those very occasional plays, Brady isn't much of a running threat. So on 1st and 10, inside their own 20 and trailing 24-17, a defense looks up and sees no RBs and only a QB who's not a running threat. Their job just got way easier. You've simplified things for them. They only have to worry about pass, and they can sell out on playing pass right from the snap. Now, if it was an obvious passing situation, and the defense is going to concede some yardage in the running game because it won't hurt them any way, THEN the empty backfield makes sense. However, on 1st and 10 with the lead, both the run and the pass can do damage to the defense's chance of succeeding. It doesn't matter if you give up an 8 yard run on 4th and 30 with the lead and only a minute left. It matters a lot on 1st and 10 inside your 20 and you're trailing. So, why not force the defense to wonder which one is coming? Make the defense's job more difficult. Give them more things to read and react to. Instead of telling the defense that you're passing before the ball is snapped, keep them in the dark until a second AFTER the ball is snapped. Put them a step or two behind. Make a linebacker take a step toward the line of scrimmage before he finds out he needs to drop back in coverage instead. 

      Of course, besides TE, this brings up other personnel decisions, like not having a real fullback. A fullback is a triple threat. He's a blocker, receiver, and a runner. Plus as a blocker, he has plenty of experience at reading the play like a running back. You go back and read stuff like Vince Lombardi on Football, and you see that Lombardi's Packers had run plays where the running back had multiple options on where to go on each play and one vital factor was having a lead blocker who was on the same page as the ball carrier and vice versa. Somehow, just plugging a big guy who doesn't play RB doesn't seem like it would lend itself to that level of coordination and flexibility. It seems like the big guy with little or no RB experience is going to be focused on hitting one hole and if it's not there - Oh, well, so much for that play.

      This isn't a new offensive problem for the Patriots. We've seen this before. Anyone remember the early 2002 season? The Patriots had a lot of success with a wide open offense, putting up big numbers throwing the ball all over the place and using lots of empty backfield formations. Then the rest of the league caught on and sloppiness crept in. It looks a lot like what we've seen so far this year. Oh, and that team's defense stunk too, and despite having a 1,000 yard rusher the year before, that team went a few weeks without running much and then found that they could no longer run effectively when they needed to and when they tried to get back to it. 

      So, I hope the team gets Gerard Warren back in here, brings in a good fullback (and maybe converts Ridley into one because despite the looks, he IS 225 lbs.), and makes sure it has a full compliment of TEs available on game day. I hope they do this, even if one of these moves means sending Tarpinian back to the practice squad. 

      Scott Sheaffer
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