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The Off-seson Doldrums

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  • 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
    Message 1 of 3 , May 12, 2003
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      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 side
      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.

      Resolution:
      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 feared.

      Resolution:
      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
      rusher.

      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 positions
      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 many
      occasions. Antowain Smith seemed very slow in several games and
      situations. Redmond seemed trapped in a doghouse and the results
      were an anemic rush offense.

      Resolution:
      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 philosophy
      change and some good fortune since neither they nor their O-line
      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 help
      themselves as much in the draft but still remain significantly
      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 they
      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?
    • George R
      ***** 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
      Message 2 of 3 , May 12, 2003
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        ***** 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@...> wrote:
        > 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
        > side
        > 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.
        >
        > Resolution:
        > 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
        > feared.
        >
        > Resolution:
        > 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
        > rusher.
        >
        > 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
        > positions
        > 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
        > many
        > occasions. Antowain Smith seemed very slow in several
        > games and
        > situations. Redmond seemed trapped in a doghouse and the
        > results
        > were an anemic rush offense.
        >
        > Resolution:
        > 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
        > philosophy
        > change and some good fortune since neither they nor their
        > O-line
        > 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
        > help
        > themselves as much in the draft but still remain
        > significantly
        > 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
        > they
        > 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?
        >
        >
        >


        =====
        George
        ** N E Patriots ....
        Last AFC World Champions! **
      • rob.bosch@rcn.com
        Well said George..I concur with u. What I will say is that two things need to happen for sure this upcoming season. Number one is that Roosevelt Colvin needs
        Message 3 of 3 , May 12, 2003
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          Well said George..I concur with u. What I will say is that
          two things need to happen for sure this upcoming season.
          Number one is that Roosevelt Colvin needs to be able to
          pressure the passer. He has certainly demonstratred this
          ability with the Bears, and it must continue here with the
          Patriots. The pass rush was abysmal last year, so I consider
          this an urgent need. Number two, Ty Warren needs to be a
          factor very quickly..especially against the run. I cannnot
          bear to watch many more games like that Pats-Titans game on
          Monday night...where the Pats literally got run over by a
          freight train. Warren...along with some of the other d-line
          additions...needs to get the job done and take pressure off
          of Seymour.

          If these two things happen, I'll feel pretty damn good about
          this upcoming season. Anything else will be gravy as far as
          I'm concerned. If they don't happen, another 9-7 season
          could be in the Pats future..pure and simple. At least
          that's my take.

          -Pats Freak
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