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The Pats Offense - A Need For Speed?
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:01 pm    Post subject: The Pats Offense - A Need For Speed? Reply with quote

Let me preface this by saying I don't necessarily agree with what hypothesis I am going to put forward - but I do think it's worth discussing.

Before getting to the offense, let's start with Bill Belichick's defensive acumen. He is an indisputably great defensive mind. If you dispute that, then you just don't know football, it's that simple. His defensive mind, which has resulted in being the only coach with 2 separate game-plans enshrined in the Hall Of Fame, believes in the "bend but don't break" philosophy which can really be summarized (in an overly simplistic manner) thusly:

Force your opponent into having to run lots of plays to score points and eventually they will bog down. After all, more plays = higher chance for an error (turnover, penalty), miscue (dropped ball), good defensive play (sack or deflected pass) or other "win" for the defense. If you are disciplined, sure-tackling, limit the "home run" (i.e. keep everything in front of you) and can "do your job" you can generally force all but the best offenses to hang themselves because it's very difficult to execute a high number of plays in football without a negative play or back to back negative plays. This - in theory - should give you a pretty good scoring defense (i.e. one which allows few points) even if the yards allowed are pretty high. The more talent you have on D (i.e. the more negative plays you can force), the better the results in both yards and points allowed.

Now, why am I bringing this up? Well, I find it a bit strange that Belichick the defensive guru has designed an offense (or signed off on McDaniels/O'Brien's design) and built a roster which operates in the manner in which they try to force their opponents: Run long, multiple-play drives with few home-runs, keep everything in front of the opponent's back end and hope you can out-execute your opponent. It works great when the opponents' D doesn't "do their job" - shoddy tackling, blown assignments, allowing tons of YAC, not getting in pass-lanes to disrupt throws, etc.

We've seen the Pats prey on and obliterate undisciplined (even if talented) and aggressive defenses but then routinely (and it has become routine) fall victim to defenses which are fundamentally sound and can do what Belichick defenses do - limit the errors on D and force the offense to be perfect. We've seen that even the best and most efficient offenses can be slowed down or neutralized because it is almost impossible to be perfect (or near-perfect) - in execution and decision making - whether it's a bad throw, a dropped pass on 3rd down, Brady making a bad read, or any other factor.

Let's face it - if you play 3 or 4 playoff games, you are probably going to run into at least one sound defense and probably should expect to find 2 (maybe more). Running an offense built around racking up first downs and running 80+ plays a game sounds great in theory but without the ability for a quick strike (i.e. points which can come from one perfectly executed play or error on D, as opposed to points which result from numerous perfect plays or errors), the offense simply cannot be relied upon to beat good defenses. Not if, it is going to remain a pass-first, Brady-centric offense.

I've firmly come to believe that the Pats current offensive scheme and personnel isn't something that can reliably win in January. Not without getting very favorable matchups (2011 Denver, 2012 Houston etc). They need another element. I'm not sure it's speed or a home-run WR but the offense feels like while it's a match-up nightmare on an individual level (i.e. Hernandez on a LB), on a unit level it feels much less so. There simply isn't enough diversity in the scheme or talent.

It could be that the Pats offense could become more reliable (in the playoffs) if they beefed up the running game and committed to pounding the ball inside. Or it could be that they need a 4.2 40 type WR on the outside. Maybe it's a bit of both. But with Welker's contract up, this seems like an opportunity to re-evaluate the allocation of resources and talent on offense as well as the scheme and its flaws.
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NextBigThing


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Let's face it - if you play 3 or 4 playoff games, you are probably going to run into at least one sound defense and probably should expect to find 2 (maybe more). Running an offense built around racking up first downs and running 80+ plays a game sounds great in theory but without the ability for a quick strike (i.e. points which can come from one perfectly executed play or error on D, as opposed to points which result from numerous perfect plays or errors), the offense simply cannot be relied upon to beat good defenses. Not if, it is going to remain a pass-first, Brady-centric offense.

I've firmly come to believe that the Pats current offensive scheme and personnel isn't something that can reliably win in January. Not without getting very favorable matchups (2011 Denver, 2012 Houston etc). They need another element. I'm not sure it's speed or a home-run WR but the offense feels like while it's a match-up nightmare on an individual level (i.e. Hernandez on a LB), on a unit level it feels much less so. There simply isn't enough diversity in the scheme or talent.

It could be that the Pats offense could become more reliable (in the playoffs) if they beefed up the running game and committed to pounding the ball inside. Or it could be that they need a 4.2 40 type WR on the outside. Maybe it's a bit of both. But with Welker's contract up, this seems like an opportunity to re-evaluate the allocation of resources and talent on offense as well as the scheme and its flaws.


This is the third straight season I have been saying this. We need a deep threat on the outside who can keep the safeties back, and make the defense for paying if they do other wise. Everyone hated it this year, but Terrell Owens - with 6'4 frame, 4.43 speed, and 150+ career touchdowns - would have made a HUGE difference on the outside for us this season. Even if he only catches 40 balls.

If we draft a rookie, he needs to play early and often. None of "let him develop"stuff - he needs to get thrown right in.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NextBigThing wrote:
Quote:
Let's face it - if you play 3 or 4 playoff games, you are probably going to run into at least one sound defense and probably should expect to find 2 (maybe more). Running an offense built around racking up first downs and running 80+ plays a game sounds great in theory but without the ability for a quick strike (i.e. points which can come from one perfectly executed play or error on D, as opposed to points which result from numerous perfect plays or errors), the offense simply cannot be relied upon to beat good defenses. Not if, it is going to remain a pass-first, Brady-centric offense.

I've firmly come to believe that the Pats current offensive scheme and personnel isn't something that can reliably win in January. Not without getting very favorable matchups (2011 Denver, 2012 Houston etc). They need another element. I'm not sure it's speed or a home-run WR but the offense feels like while it's a match-up nightmare on an individual level (i.e. Hernandez on a LB), on a unit level it feels much less so. There simply isn't enough diversity in the scheme or talent.

It could be that the Pats offense could become more reliable (in the playoffs) if they beefed up the running game and committed to pounding the ball inside. Or it could be that they need a 4.2 40 type WR on the outside. Maybe it's a bit of both. But with Welker's contract up, this seems like an opportunity to re-evaluate the allocation of resources and talent on offense as well as the scheme and its flaws.


This is the third straight season I have been saying this. We need a deep threat on the outside who can keep the safeties back, and make the defense for paying if they do other wise. Everyone hated it this year, but Terrell Owens - with 6'4 frame, 4.43 speed, and 150+ career touchdowns - would have made a HUGE difference on the outside for us this season. Even if he only catches 40 balls.

If we draft a rookie, he needs to play early and often. None of "let him develop"stuff - he needs to get thrown right in.


It should be clarified that I don't think the Pats need a deep threat as much to keep the safeties back, but to give them the potential for quick points. They're different concepts. I still hate the idea of Owens.

The Pats offense is too dependent upon needing lots of plays to score. They need to diversify the ways in which they can score. Otherwise, they're going to face the same problems in every post-season.
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24isthelaw


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: The Pats Offense - A Need For Speed? Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
Let me preface this by saying I don't necessarily agree with what hypothesis I am going to put forward - but I do think it's worth discussing.

Before getting to the offense, let's start with Bill Belichick's defensive acumen. He is an indisputably great defensive mind. If you dispute that, then you just don't know football, it's that simple. His defensive mind, which has resulted in being the only coach with 2 separate game-plans enshrined in the Hall Of Fame, believes in the "bend but don't break" philosophy which can really be summarized (in an overly simplistic manner) thusly:

Force your opponent into having to run lots of plays to score points and eventually they will bog down. After all, more plays = higher chance for an error (turnover, penalty), miscue (dropped ball), good defensive play (sack or deflected pass) or other "win" for the defense. If you are disciplined, sure-tackling, limit the "home run" (i.e. keep everything in front of you) and can "do your job" you can generally force all but the best offenses to hang themselves because it's very difficult to execute a high number of plays in football without a negative play or back to back negative plays. This - in theory - should give you a pretty good scoring defense (i.e. one which allows few points) even if the yards allowed are pretty high. The more talent you have on D (i.e. the more negative plays you can force), the better the results in both yards and points allowed.

Now, why am I bringing this up? Well, I find it a bit strange that Belichick the defensive guru has designed an offense (or signed off on McDaniels/O'Brien's design) and built a roster which operates in the manner in which they try to force their opponents: Run long, multiple-play drives with few home-runs, keep everything in front of the opponent's back end and hope you can out-execute your opponent. It works great when the opponents' D doesn't "do their job" - shoddy tackling, blown assignments, allowing tons of YAC, not getting in pass-lanes to disrupt throws, etc.

We've seen the Pats prey on and obliterate undisciplined (even if talented) and aggressive defenses but then routinely (and it has become routine) fall victim to defenses which are fundamentally sound and can do what Belichick defenses do - limit the errors on D and force the offense to be perfect. We've seen that even the best and most efficient offenses can be slowed down or neutralized because it is almost impossible to be perfect (or near-perfect) - in execution and decision making - whether it's a bad throw, a dropped pass on 3rd down, Brady making a bad read, or any other factor.

Let's face it - if you play 3 or 4 playoff games, you are probably going to run into at least one sound defense and probably should expect to find 2 (maybe more). Running an offense built around racking up first downs and running 80+ plays a game sounds great in theory but without the ability for a quick strike (i.e. points which can come from one perfectly executed play or error on D, as opposed to points which result from numerous perfect plays or errors), the offense simply cannot be relied upon to beat good defenses. Not if, it is going to remain a pass-first, Brady-centric offense.

I've firmly come to believe that the Pats current offensive scheme and personnel isn't something that can reliably win in January. Not without getting very favorable matchups (2011 Denver, 2012 Houston etc). They need another element. I'm not sure it's speed or a home-run WR but the offense feels like while it's a match-up nightmare on an individual level (i.e. Hernandez on a LB), on a unit level it feels much less so. There simply isn't enough diversity in the scheme or talent.

It could be that the Pats offense could become more reliable (in the playoffs) if they beefed up the running game and committed to pounding the ball inside. Or it could be that they need a 4.2 40 type WR on the outside. Maybe it's a bit of both. But with Welker's contract up, this seems like an opportunity to re-evaluate the allocation of resources and talent on offense as well as the scheme and its flaws.


Good post.

Personally, I'd suggest that the "horizontal" offense with Welker and the tight ends can be successful on a big stage, but only contingent on two things:

1. Success running the football. Fundamentally, a two tight-end offense is a ground-based approach. Consistently running well opens up play action which softens up the middle of the field and helps relatively slow or small targets get open.

2. Smart/patient decision-making on offense. The best option on many pass plays is the running back. Keeping 3rd downs within manageable distance is important for this offense.

Basically, this offensive scheme can only go all the way if the offense can/will run against the nickel in important games, and pass against the base. Obviously you generally win when you run the ball well, but is it a coincidence that every game the offense does not run the ball well turns into a struggle? This is an approach that demands balance, and right now the Patriots either 1. do not have it or 2. are not committed to it. I'm guessing its a combination of both.
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TomRalph


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume that by starting with the defense in your post first, you are subscribing to the fact that we will read this an think; 'we don't need a dominant defense, just a decent one in order to execute the 'bend, but don't break' style'

First problem with that, is we can't even execute that defense, the one that basically says you don't even have to defend properly (ie. shut them down) and that is the glaring hole. Regardless of what we have on offense, until we can execute even the simplest defense (which ours is, in the terms of being conservative) then we cannot ignore it, or just not spend resources on it. Granted, with the capture of Talib, it did improve, we even shut down a lot of offenses (Texans, Dolphins) but we have to maintain that standard and become more consistent until performances like the 49ers aren't as common as they are at the moment. In order to do that, we need to (IMO) re-sign Talib and then improve at 3-Tech and SS and I would much rather use our main resources on those than on offense to improve the D to the point where it should be able to be more consistent.

Regarding the offense, it's clear that we've tried improving the run game through resources (Solder, Ridley, Vereen) or play-calling, or scheme (quick snaps/hurry up offense) I believe we should commit to the run more, simply because we already have the pieces to do so, it is just the stubbornness of Josh McDaniels that is stopping us having an elite run game.

Regarding a deep threat, I see 2 main issues with this. 1) Good deep threats cost big money, cheap options like Stallworth don't work enough. 2) Brady's deep ball is ... well, not great. I think we can work a deeper passing game by utilizing PA a but more and using Lloyd on double moves. Gronk is also effective in the long/intermediate PA attack. We can improve our deep passing game with the options we already have (look what Vereen did to the Texans) The staff need to do a better job of keeping defenses off balance by utilizing the run and as a result the PA pass. We don't need to throw money at a 4.2 WR to successfully pass deep, we already have enough. We need a middle of the pack, versatile WR (Amendola, Hartline, Santana Moss, Titus Young(?)) who can add a dimension, but not cripple our resources which should be spent on D.
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Last edited by TomRalph on Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need to utilize Vereen and Woodhead more in the 'dump off' passing attack too, I've seen so many teams consistently check down, which brings the LB'ers up without even having to use PA, a simple tendency will create a soft spot in the zone between LB and S and allow quicker scoring drives.

Too many times I've seen Brady go for the 1st down on 2nd and 10 when Woodhead will have been an option to check down and could have gotten 5-6 yards.
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NextBigThing


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
It should be clarified that I don't think the Pats need a deep threat as much to keep the safeties back, but to give them the potential for quick points. They're different concepts. I still hate the idea of Owens.

The Pats offense is too dependent upon needing lots of plays to score. They need to diversify the ways in which they can score. Otherwise, they're going to face the same problems in every post-season.


I understood the point. The thinking is someone who has over 150 receiving touchdowns, stands at 6'4 and runs a 4.43 can probably score point quickly.

Our offense would make a fairly average deep threat look better than he is. Lloyd, Gronk, and Hernandez underneath would create ample opportunities for back door exploring.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TomRalph wrote:
I assume that by starting with the defense in your post first, you are subscribing to the fact that we will read this an think; 'we don't need a dominant defense, just a decent one in order to execute the 'bend, but don't break' style'



Quote:
First problem with that, is we can't even execute that defense, the one that basically says you don't even have to defend properly (ie. shut them down) and that is the glaring hole.


The Pats finished 9th in points allowed this year. That's pretty darn good. Now, in the other thread you are boating about regular season offensive success and calling the D "Frankly bad"

So, I'm going to assume that you find the regular season defensive output (top 10 in points) with "frankly bad" talent to be pretty impressive. So I have no idea why you saw "we can't even execute"

Also, saying that a tested-and-true defensive philosophy responsible for 5 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Super Bowl wins equates to "not defending properly" is absolutely laughable.
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TKOhitter8737


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What they really are missing is a physical reciever like they had in Givens. One if not the most underrated player's in the super bowl run Branch gets more hype, but i Givens was more consistant.
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TomRalph


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
TomRalph wrote:
I assume that by starting with the defense in your post first, you are subscribing to the fact that we will read this an think; 'we don't need a dominant defense, just a decent one in order to execute the 'bend, but don't break' style'



Quote:
First problem with that, is we can't even execute that defense, the one that basically says you don't even have to defend properly (ie. shut them down) and that is the glaring hole.


The Pats finished 9th in points allowed this year. That's pretty darn good. Now, in the other thread you are boating about regular season offensive success and calling the D "Frankly bad"

So, I'm going to assume that you find the regular season defensive output (top 10 in points) with "frankly bad" talent to be pretty impressive. So I have no idea why you saw "we can't even execute" Talib and McCourty to FS was the reason for the huge improvement on D. Before the Talib trade/McCourty swtich, our D had played terribly against QB's like Jake Locker, Russel Wilson (early in the season) Mark Sanchez, Ryan Fitzpatrick etc. and that is what we'd go back to if we didn't sign Talib or improve the D and instead aimed at improving the O.

Also, saying that a tested-and-true defensive philosophy responsible for 5 Super Bowl appearances and 3 Super Bowl wins equates to "not defending properly" is absolutely laughable. Selective reading there? I specifically put in brackets IE. SHUT THEM DOWN this means the defense is predicated on not allowing big completions. The Pats don't try and stop the O on every play, by blitzing, playing tight man to man coverage, or being exotic or confusing etc. we just play a very conservative style. I'm not saying it doesn't work (it's proven it does) but teams like NO (in 2009) Green Bay (in 2010) whom blitzed and played man to man and tried to 'win' every defensive snap attempted (and had success) to defend by giving up '0 yards' as opposed to the Pats, who play 'not to lose' on every defensive snap.

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Sciz


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think speed is overrated, and the fact that people (although not so much on here) think Mike Wallace is the answer just reinforces that. The Pats need another reasonable outside receiving threat. I don't care if that guy runs 4.55 as long as he can beat man coverage on the outside and prevent teams from stuffing the middle of the field all the time.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The same argument you use for the defense (tried and tested, 5 SB appearances, 3 wins) is almost equally true for the offense (we'll throw out 07 because of the presence of Moss). Every other year they reached/won the Super Bowl, they never had a game-breaking burner wide receiver. Bottom line, I think a healthy Gronkowski does a lot more for this offense than a 4.3 burner. Signing or drafting a guy like that certainly wouldn't hurt, especially if they let Welker go, but its far from the main culprit behind why our offense has bogged down in clutch situations recently (injuries, [inappropriate/removed] playcalling, Brady not playing to his capabilities).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sciz wrote:
I think speed is overrated, and the fact that people (although not so much on here) think Mike Wallace is the answer just reinforces that. The Pats need another reasonable outside receiving threat. I don't care if that guy runs 4.55 as long as he can beat man coverage on the outside and prevent teams from stuffing the middle of the field all the time.

Depends on the context the speed is used. One of the biggest reasons I'm psyched for our RBs next yr is the way we can use Vereen and Demps. Vereen can use his speed and moving out to slot as WR and use his speed to get mismatches make big plays. Demps I expect big plays as a KRer and occasionally a few snaps to provide that homerun threat(that probably won't be much next yr but the yr after(next yr some threat as a KRer and depending on what we're doing w/ Edelman a PRer(I'd leave him there but if we plan to use him as a main starting WR I'd limit the hits he takes)))
Mike Wallace deep threat thing imo is bad move cap and game plan wise. Dude is lazy on his routes and that bother me 100x more than lloyd not going for yac. Though Troy Brown(the player not the member) said that belichick told him and other WRs just to go down(he said he didnt listen).

As for a deep threat I'd rather have guys that run good routes that are quick and based on what he sees goes deep because the DB makes an error. WW does it occasionally and drops the ball. Amendola when I watch STL does it well and catches the ball. I think those guys are more effective than a guy you know is going deep. Guys that make plays w/ ball in there hands are more valuable than deep threat. W/ the guys we have had I like playing the way and taking advantages of mismatches.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhunt2402 wrote:
The same argument you use for the defense (tried and tested, 5 SB appearances, 3 wins) is almost equally true for the offense (we'll throw out 07 because of the presence of Moss). Every other year they reached/won the Super Bowl, they never had a game-breaking burner wide receiver. Bottom line, I think a healthy Gronkowski does a lot more for this offense than a 4.3 burner. Signing or drafting a guy like that certainly wouldn't hurt, especially if they let Welker go, but its far from the main culprit behind why our offense has bogged down in clutch situations recently (injuries, [inappropriate/removed] playcalling, Brady not playing to his capabilities).


The 2004 offense was in many ways more dynamic (that's not to say better statistically, obviously it wasn't) than the 2012 offense. They could grind out yards with Dillon, work the deeper outside parts with Givens and Branch had great quickness and could get behind defenders.

I think the issue here really is more of diversity thing than a pure "need for speed". They have to have other ways to win the game on offense other than to just pound the intermediate and short passes and hope for perfect execution and lots of YAC.
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NextBigThing


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if we can get one

-Mike Wallace
-Greg Jennings
-Dwayne Bowe
-Kenny Britt
-Terrance Williams
-Cordarelle Patterson
-Justin Hunter

or even a Markus Wheaton/Marquise Goodwin (who runs like a bolt of lightening) type, and stay healthy, we will score 600 points next season. With Brady at the helm behind one of the top offensive lines in football, a unit of

-One of those guys as #1 wide out
-Lloyd as #2 wide out
-Gronk at TE
-Hernandez as #3 wr/tight end
-Edleman running Welker routes on occasion
-Demps/Vereen out of the backfield

would be unstoppable. Way too balanced, way too diverse. Just amazing.
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