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How Will We Replace Hernandez?
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mcmurtry86


Joined: 02 Mar 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
think this WR core is exceptionally better than in 2006.


Well Amendola is far better than anything the 2006 team offered. The rest though? Dobson has more talent, but who knows how he will pan out. Jones/Hawkins/Edelman/Jenkins are pretty close to washed up Troy Brown, Caldwell, Gabriel, Gaffney.

For as much as people are going to focus on Gronkowksi's health and Hernandez being gone, the development of Aaron Dobson is really the key to the offense's success. He's the only guy other than Gronkowski/Amendola that opposing defenses will (potentially) have to worry about/specifically game plan for. If he has a big season, the Pats will be an elite offense once again. If he is injured/doesn't pan out/develops slowly, they will probably be in the 7th-12th overall range.

Although honestly, do the aggregate numbers matter? What matters is being able to win games, and the offense needs to do three things in January:

1. Work efficiently - don't leave points on the board
2. Don't turn the ball over
3. Control the clock

The vaunted Pats offense of 2007 and 2010-2012 really struggled with #1 and #3 in the biggest games. So to that end, this year's offense has a lower bar to clear than some might think in order to be more "championship worthy".


I'd love for a return to the ideal of defenses and the running game win championships. Having Brady is definitely huge and I would never intentionally belittle his massive importance, but a good running game is the best way to be efficient, to not put the ball in the air and therefore reduce a chance of a turnover, and control the clock. Then the good defense inhibits 1-3 for the other team, disrupting their efficiency with sacks, swats, and TFL, forcing turnovers, and taking the other team off the field so that your team can control the clock.


Given Brady's INT% and the RB's on the roster, I'd think that it's more likely per snap for a turnover to occur on a run play than on a pass. Brady threw one INT per 79.6 passes last year. Ridley fumbled once every 72 carries and Vereen fumbled once in 62 carries. Neither Washington nor Blount have had great ball security in their careers.

It's really the clock control that has been the issue, but a lot of that is McDaniels's brain-dead playcalling (and O'Brien was good for some of that too). Passing on 2nd and 3 when the team is trying to kill the clock late in the game is a McDaniels specialty.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
think this WR core is exceptionally better than in 2006.


Well Amendola is far better than anything the 2006 team offered. The rest though? Dobson has more talent, but who knows how he will pan out. Jones/Hawkins/Edelman/Jenkins are pretty close to washed up Troy Brown, Caldwell, Gabriel, Gaffney.

For as much as people are going to focus on Gronkowksi's health and Hernandez being gone, the development of Aaron Dobson is really the key to the offense's success. He's the only guy other than Gronkowski/Amendola that opposing defenses will (potentially) have to worry about/specifically game plan for. If he has a big season, the Pats will be an elite offense once again. If he is injured/doesn't pan out/develops slowly, they will probably be in the 7th-12th overall range.

Although honestly, do the aggregate numbers matter? What matters is being able to win games, and the offense needs to do three things in January:

1. Work efficiently - don't leave points on the board
2. Don't turn the ball over
3. Control the clock

The vaunted Pats offense of 2007 and 2010-2012 really struggled with #1 and #3 in the biggest games. So to that end, this year's offense has a lower bar to clear than some might think in order to be more "championship worthy".


I'd love for a return to the ideal of defenses and the running game win championships. Having Brady is definitely huge and I would never intentionally belittle his massive importance, but a good running game is the best way to be efficient, to not put the ball in the air and therefore reduce a chance of a turnover, and control the clock. Then the good defense inhibits 1-3 for the other team, disrupting their efficiency with sacks, swats, and TFL, forcing turnovers, and taking the other team off the field so that your team can control the clock.


Given Brady's INT% and the RB's on the roster, I'd think that it's more likely per snap for a turnover to occur on a run play than on a pass. Brady threw one INT per 79.6 passes last year. Ridley fumbled once every 72 carries and Vereen fumbled once in 62 carries. Neither Washington nor Blount have had great ball security in their careers.

It's really the clock control that has been the issue, but a lot of that is McDaniels's brain-dead playcalling (and O'Brien was good for some of that too). Passing on 2nd and 3 when the team is trying to kill the clock late in the game is a McDaniels specialty.


Wasnt really saying we had the personnel for that style, but I miss the days of a Tedy Bruschi led defense with McG, Sey, Law, Vrabel, Rodney and a Corey Dillion led run game. I hope they go that way when Brady eventually retires, or at least attempt to.

Hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:


Wasnt really saying we had the personnel for that style, but I miss the days of a Tedy Bruschi led defense with McG, Sey, Law, Vrabel, Rodney and a Corey Dillion led run game. I hope they go that way when Brady eventually retires, or at least attempt to.


Well 2004 was a unique year. That defense was scary good (both in terms of talent level and knack for a big play) and they ran Dillon into the ground to compensate for a lack of receiving talent. The other Dillon years weren't nearly as successful. The 2005 team struggled on D (and Law was gone) and Dillon was useless. 2006 saw a transition to Maroney and an oddly high-scoring offense thanks to a lot of short-fields set up by the D.

If the Pats can put together a D on that 2006 level - top 10 in yards and points allowed along with being top-half of the league in takeaways, the offense can withstand a big dip in production.

I also don't know if that 2004 model can work in the NFL anymore. That defense was built on aggressive play which would draw a lot of penalties in today's game. Without a suffocating defense like that, they wouldn't have gotten away with running more than they passed and riding Dillon so hard. It's so much harder to limit your opponent's yards/points that you need to be able to keep up. Philosophically, the NFL has really shifted to an arms race type scenario where you essentially have to build your team to win a shootout and be prepared to have a high scoring game every week.

Quote:
hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.


I don't see how you would draw that conclusion. He's a terrible "closer."
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:


Quote:
hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.


I don't see how you would draw that conclusion. He's a terrible "closer."


I draw that conclusion just because they have added to the stable and added a guy who doesn't seem to fit in the general offensive model of recent years. Change begets change, and hopefully its a return to late game running. It definitely seemed like there was more emphasis on running late last year, but still not enough.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:


Quote:
hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.


I don't see how you would draw that conclusion. He's a terrible "closer."


I draw that conclusion just because they have added to the stable and added a guy who doesn't seem to fit in the general offensive model of recent years. Change begets change, and hopefully its a return to late game running. It definitely seemed like there was more emphasis on running late last year, but still not enough.


How does he not feel the offensive model? He's a more useless version of Green-Ellis. Physically, he's a bit different, but his style isn't anything new.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:


Quote:
hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.


I don't see how you would draw that conclusion. He's a terrible "closer."


I draw that conclusion just because they have added to the stable and added a guy who doesn't seem to fit in the general offensive model of recent years. Change begets change, and hopefully its a return to late game running. It definitely seemed like there was more emphasis on running late last year, but still not enough.


How does he not feel the offensive model? He's a more useless version of Green-Ellis. Physically, he's a bit different, but his style isn't anything new.


Bolden can be described in the same terms, and he quickly fell out of favor. So why bring in someone even more one-dimensional and hot headed?
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:


Quote:
hopefully Blount's addition is a sign that they may run more late in games.


I don't see how you would draw that conclusion. He's a terrible "closer."


I draw that conclusion just because they have added to the stable and added a guy who doesn't seem to fit in the general offensive model of recent years. Change begets change, and hopefully its a return to late game running. It definitely seemed like there was more emphasis on running late last year, but still not enough.


How does he not feel the offensive model? He's a more useless version of Green-Ellis. Physically, he's a bit different, but his style isn't anything new.


Bolden can be described in the same terms, and he quickly fell out of favor. So why bring in someone even more one-dimensional and hot headed?


I'd actually call Bolden a more useful Green-Ellis and I don't know that he fell out of favor.

As for why they brought in Blount - why not? They didn't give up anything of value (Demps) and the team needed more depth in their RB group for camp.

I think people are over-thinking the Blount pickup. It was a chance to get something of (fairly minimal) NFL value for a virtually worthless asset and they were thinner at RB than pretty much anywhere else at the time of the trade. Blount has shown some ability and upside, and while I don't like him (or his chances to improve), he has shown he can be an OK NFL player/backup. If Ridley blows out his knee in August, I would feel better with Blount than a random undrafted FA and I suspect that's the way the team viewed it. They needed another body at RB, and Blount is more talented than anyone there were likely to pick up off the street or as an undrafted player.

I really don't think it had much to do with "style" or a philosophical change because anyone who has watched Blount extensively - and I assume Belichick and McDaniels have - knows he isn't the up-the-middle pounding workhorse that people envision. He dances behind the line and goes down on first contact too often. Sure, he's good for some genuinely impressive highlight reel plays but the other 95% of the time he touches the ball he isn't much better than a generic off-the-street backup.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
he has shown he can be an OK NFL player/backup.


outside of this point, I'd rather have some of the UDFA's on the market. While he has proven he CAN be an NFL caliber player, I think there were some UDFA's with more talent at drafts end.

Quote:
I really don't think it had much to do with "style" or a philosophical change because anyone who has watched Blount extensively - and I assume Belichick and McDaniels have - knows he isn't the up-the-middle pounding workhorse that people envision. He dances behind the line and goes down on first contact too often. Sure, he's good for some genuinely impressive highlight reel plays but the other 95% of the time he touches the ball he isn't much better than a generic off-the-street backup.


I actually completely agree with this. I was one of those people advocating against him because he wasnt what everyone thought. He reminds me a lot of Maroney but with less potential.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
he has shown he can be an OK NFL player/backup.


outside of this point, I'd rather have some of the UDFA's on the market. While he has proven he CAN be an NFL caliber player, I think there were some UDFA's with more talent at drafts end.


Sure, there will probably be one or two UDFA's who turn out to be decent NFL players (and possibly better than Blount has ever been) but I imagine the team wanted something of a "known" quantity. As much as any team trusts their scouting, they have to know that a late round pick/UDFA is much more likely to be out of the league in 2 years than ever be a solid player.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
he has shown he can be an OK NFL player/backup.


outside of this point, I'd rather have some of the UDFA's on the market. While he has proven he CAN be an NFL caliber player, I think there were some UDFA's with more talent at drafts end.


Sure, there will probably be one or two UDFA's who turn out to be decent NFL players (and possibly better than Blount has ever been) but I imagine the team wanted something of a "known" quantity. As much as any team trusts their scouting, they have to know that a late round pick/UDFA is much more likely to be out of the league in 2 years than ever be a solid player.


It's true the chance he is a solid contributor are higher, probably about 30% higher, but with at least 1 established back, possibly 2 with ridley and vereen, and with Bolden and Leon in the wings, one of which is a veteran, wouldnt the risk be worth taking? I would have to assume Blount is at the very end of the 5 back depth chart. With four guys in front of him I think I'd rather take the risk with the virtual unknown rather than the known but no boom potential. Matter of preference maybe.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
Deadpulse wrote:
mcmurtry86 wrote:
he has shown he can be an OK NFL player/backup.


outside of this point, I'd rather have some of the UDFA's on the market. While he has proven he CAN be an NFL caliber player, I think there were some UDFA's with more talent at drafts end.


Sure, there will probably be one or two UDFA's who turn out to be decent NFL players (and possibly better than Blount has ever been) but I imagine the team wanted something of a "known" quantity. As much as any team trusts their scouting, they have to know that a late round pick/UDFA is much more likely to be out of the league in 2 years than ever be a solid player.


It's true the chance he is a solid contributor are higher, probably about 30% higher, but with at least 1 established back, possibly 2 with ridley and vereen, and with Bolden and Leon in the wings, one of which is a veteran, wouldnt the risk be worth taking? I would have to assume Blount is at the very end of the 5 back depth chart. With four guys in front of him I think I'd rather take the risk with the virtual unknown rather than the known but no boom potential. Matter of preference maybe.


They can still bring in the UDFA type (they brought in Winn semi-recently and added Quentin Hines right after the draft), but finding a serviceable veteran option - even if it's just camp competition - isn't as easy. When the opportunity presents itself, it makes sense to take advantage of it. I could still see the Pats adding another RB in camp of either the young unproven or mediocre veteran variety. It's a position that wears down easily as we all know and there's not as much preparation a RB needs to do in terms of pre-season (i.e. getting in synch should be easier than for a WR/OL/QB). The less we see Ridley and Vereen on the field in camp and exhibition games the better. If Blount/Bolden/Winn can step up and show to be a quality #2 option to the Ridley/Vereen duo, great. If not, at least there will be reduced wear and tear on the important guys.
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FirstDownFaulk


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure it's been mentioned but Aaron Hernandez averaged 4 catches, 51 yards per game for his NFL career. Yes he was a matchup nightmare for teams , but the actual production shouldn't be all that difficult to replace....
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Tzimisce


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FirstDownFaulk wrote:
Not sure it's been mentioned but Aaron Hernandez averaged 4 catches, 51 yards per game for his NFL career. Yes he was a matchup nightmare for teams , but the actual production shouldn't be all that difficult to replace....
Yeah, people need to stop looking for a magic bullet to be a 1:1 replacement. It's going to be a whole group of guys cycling in and out of the lineup who will get that shot to match his production. I don't think there's anyone else in the league of his caliber and with his particular skillset. Still, I think it would be wise for BB to pull the trigger on a trade for a guy like Brent Celek. Celek isn't as versatile but Vereen can be that guy motioning out of the backfield when Brady is in the gun.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tzimisce wrote:
FirstDownFaulk wrote:
Not sure it's been mentioned but Aaron Hernandez averaged 4 catches, 51 yards per game for his NFL career. Yes he was a matchup nightmare for teams , but the actual production shouldn't be all that difficult to replace....
Yeah, people need to stop looking for a magic bullet to be a 1:1 replacement. It's going to be a whole group of guys cycling in and out of the lineup who will get that shot to match his production. I don't think there's anyone else in the league of his caliber and with his particular skillset. Still, I think it would be wise for BB to pull the trigger on a trade for a guy like Brent Celek. Celek isn't as versatile but Vereen can be that guy motioning out of the backfield when Brady is in the gun.


I see what you did there.....
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FirstDownFaulk wrote:
Not sure it's been mentioned but Aaron Hernandez averaged 4 catches, 51 yards per game for his NFL career. Yes he was a matchup nightmare for teams , but the actual production shouldn't be all that difficult to replace....


Hernandez - 4.6 catches per game, 51.5 yards
Gronkowski - 4.3 catches per game, 61.9 yards.

I guess Gronkowski wouldn't be hard to replace from a production standpoint either?

Averaging out aggregate numbers is a poor way of looking at a player's impact and the ease with which that player can be replaced. You can only spread the ball around so much and logic dictates that the more the ball is spread, the more the ball is being thrown at guys who are inferior on a talent basis. Those inferior players are very rarely capable of putting up numbers like:

9 catches 129 yards
7 catches 138 yards
7 catches 103 yards

Sure, Fells can haul in 4-51 if he's thrown at 6 times a game. Do you really think Fells can make up the slack for those games where Hernandez's production was the difference in the game (or a huge contributing factor)?

I'm not the biggest Hernandez fan (before the murder) and I felt he was a bit overrated, but let's not overstate the ease with which he can be replaced. At least not until we know what the team has with their fringe backup TE's and unknown WR's.

For a non-Patriots example - Torrey Smith only had 3 catches and 53 yards per game. I'm sure most WR's are capable of putting up those numbers here and there. Most receivers aren't capable of making the plays Smith is (and he's another guy I feel is badly overrated but the point is the same).

Numbers are fairly meaningless. The ability to make big plays when it counts and the ability to have a big impact on individual games and individual plays is the name of the game in the NFL.

The question shouldn't be "can the Patriots replace Hernandez's aggregate numbers" and "can the Patriots replace Hernandez's numbers on plays where an inferior player would fail (or be unable to get open/make the right read/make the tough catch etc)". Those 10-20 plays per year are often the razor thin margin between winning and losing, between a playoff bye and a 1st round game, between winning a Super Bowl and having one go through your fingers when you could make a game ending 3rd down conversion or game ending INT.
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