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Offensive versatility and the WR position

 
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tonyto3690


Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Posts: 5506
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject: Offensive versatility and the WR position Reply with quote

The common cry was for a "deep threat", but a lot of people (including myself) would simply settle for having a consistent outside WR as a 3rd option playing the same role Branch was able to play in 2010, and wasn't able to in 2011.

I don't expect any whining about touches or targets like you'd see on other teams... but we can only put some many players out there at once. With (very) early reports stating that Lloyd/Gaffney/Stallworth are all looking fantastic, it's hard not to look ahead and question how we're going to get all these guys on the field.

Welker/Gronk/Hernandez, and likely Lloyd should be on the field at almost all time.

So what do we do with that last spot available? Just a running back? Or do we include a 3rd WR and motion Hernandez into the backfield to run it like the Patriots were tinkering with last season?

How often do we go into 4 wide sets- therefore taking off presumably one of Hernandez or Gronk (or giving them a breather). Do we not want to showcase the ability of Lloyd/Gaffney/Stallworth/Welker? If they are all playing at the level they are capable of, we're talking two All Pros, and 2 credible #2 WRs who can score deep. That rotation would spread the defense out so Brady isn't constantly throwing into a flooded zone window, and would look a lot more like the offense the Packers were able to run last year.

Needless to say, if we're able to successfully run the type of sets of both the Packers (4 WR) last year, and the Patriots 2TE (plus Lloyd and Welker), that's a rather unstoppable offense with all sorts of ridiculous matchups and versatility.


I don't believe the 2007 offense will ever be matched, but our team versatility is off the charts this year.
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24isthelaw


Joined: 15 Nov 2010
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Location: Where the Patriots are
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Offensive versatility and the WR position Reply with quote

No thanks to Hernandez at RB except as a change-of-pace wrinkle, that we might see 3 or 4 times a year in important situations. Its not worth exposing him to the injury risk, when we can just put an actual running back who's better at RB responsibilities anyway. Besides, he has ball security problems. You can tell in games that coaches instruct their players to go for the strip every time he has the ball.

As for targets, the first 4 should be Gronk, Lloyd, Welker, and Hernandez.

the only scenario I can think of where Gaffney would get on the field in a 4-wide is instead of Gronk in a blatantly obvious spread passing situations, like when they took him off for part of a series in the second Dolphins game last season, down 17-0 or something like that.

As for spreading the defense out and not throwing into windows... that assumption is based on the idea that 1) Lloyd is a credible deep option (which I believe) 2) Stallworth can contribute (which I don't believe) and that 3) Welker is a credible deep option (which I don't believe). It'll be more throwing into windows, and I don't mind that cause Brady and the personnel are so good at it. Hard to nitpick when the offense is so good and the defense so terrible.
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mcmurtry86


Joined: 02 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO "versatility" is a bit overrated as far as different groupings of players go. Exploiting matchups is crucial to winning, but taking Gronkowski off the field for Stallworth is a win for the defense. Same for Hernandez.

The only times the Pats should be taking those guys off the field is in garbage time and, as you said, for breathers.

Having your best players being versatile is very important.

Being able to run 20 different personnel groupings on the field is really only important for depth reasons.

What the Pats lack (as far as proven personnel goes)is the package to really grind out the clock. 3 of the 4 TE's on the roster are mediocre or worse run blockers and Ridley is the only guy I would call a "hard runner" (maybe Bolden but who knows).

Being able to run contrasting packages which can excel at different things is more important IMO that running 5 different looks which all excel in short to intermediate passing routes. Part of what made the 2003 and 2004 (especially 2004) offense so dangerous and effective was their ability to run the ball down your throat if they needed to or their ability to beat you short, beat you on the perimeters and beat you over the middle.
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Sciz


Joined: 19 Jan 2009
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Location: Iowa
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welker, Lloyd, and Hernandez should be on the field on every offensive snap except in the case of blowouts, injury, breathers, and extremely heavy formations. Same for Gronkowski, except that he should play in the heavy sets. Gaffney should get 90% of the backup #1, backup #2, and #3 WR snaps. That leaves the 2-wide snaps where two of Welker, Lloyd, and Gaffney aren't playing and the 3-wide snaps where one isn't. Assuming health to both Gronk and Hernandez, there's no reason to ever go 4-wide.

The kind of versatility that I'm worried about is what the fourth and fifth WRs are going to do for the majority of their snaps that aren't on offense. I still think Branch is a huge long-shot unless he beats out Gaffney or something, and ideally they can release him and have him stay in shape so he's ready to sign in case of an injury to one of the top 3. I think Edelman sticks if for no other reason that that we know he'll be on the field at the very minimum on punt returns and kick coverage. After that, I'm awfully interested in whether Stallworth is going to be a contributor as a kick returner or not, because that alone is probably the difference in my mind right now (again, unless he beats out Gaffney). If Stallworth doesn't make the cut on STs, then I could really see anything from keeping Branch as the #4 but being inactive until injuries strike, to keeping Ebert (or less likely Holley or Davis) as the #5, to not having a #5 at all other than Slater and just going with Welker, Lloyd, Gaffney, and Edelman with Branch a phone call away.

I think my biggest nightmare this coming season would be for McDaniels to get away from the two tight end offense. That needs to be the base offense, especially now that the Patriots have Lloyd to complement it.
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BP


Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly doubt Britt Davis or Jesse Holley make the team, much less see the field.
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mcmurtry86


Joined: 02 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sciz wrote:
After that, I'm awfully interested in whether Stallworth is going to be a contributor as a kick returner or not, because that alone is probably the difference in my mind right now (again, unless he beats out Gaffney).


Considering Stallworth wasn't really used or effective as a return man when he was younger and faster, I highly doubt he will impress in that capacity this year
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Sciz


Joined: 19 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
Sciz wrote:
After that, I'm awfully interested in whether Stallworth is going to be a contributor as a kick returner or not, because that alone is probably the difference in my mind right now (again, unless he beats out Gaffney).


Considering Stallworth wasn't really used or effective as a return man when he was younger and faster, I highly doubt he will impress in that capacity this year

True. I think I see that as a more realistic scenario than it actually is because I'm so set against Branch making the roster. In reality, it's probably Branch or nobody, and I'm not sure the coaches are willing to go with nobody, so it will probably be Branch. And then he'll either play something like 6% of the offensive snaps or take snaps that one of Lloyd, Welker, Gaffney, Gronk, or Hernandez should have gotten. Neither scenario is ideal.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sciz wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
Sciz wrote:
After that, I'm awfully interested in whether Stallworth is going to be a contributor as a kick returner or not, because that alone is probably the difference in my mind right now (again, unless he beats out Gaffney).


Considering Stallworth wasn't really used or effective as a return man when he was younger and faster, I highly doubt he will impress in that capacity this year

True. I think I see that as a more realistic scenario than it actually is because I'm so set against Branch making the roster. In reality, it's probably Branch or nobody, and I'm not sure the coaches are willing to go with nobody, so it will probably be Branch. And then he'll either play something like 6% of the offensive snaps or take snaps that one of Lloyd, Welker, Gaffney, Gronk, or Hernandez should have gotten. Neither scenario is ideal.


As a receiver, Branch has been a much better player the last few years - despite not having much left. I'd be surprised if Stallworth beats him out and they obviously have to keep a 4th and 5th WR. I'd guess probably Branch + Edelman
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