2020 Game Goat Thread: WCG vs Titans

JMDurron

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,923
It’s all on the shit-ass play calling, and the offensive personnel’s failure to perform. First and goal from the one and come away with only 3 points is downright criminal.
I don’t understand how you think we can separate the play calling from the personnel failing to perform. Do we not think that the coaching staff are calling plays based on what the offensive personnel are least likely to fuck up? The coaches have eyes and brains too, hence the trick/desperation plays (Roberts) to try to get around personnel issues all over the offense.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
2,943
Bow, NH
I don’t understand how you think we can separate the play calling from the personnel failing to perform. Do we not think that the coaching staff are calling plays based on what the offensive personnel are least likely to fuck up? The coaches have eyes and brains too, hence the trick/desperation plays (Roberts) to try to get around personnel issues all over the offense.
The fullback dive at the goal line was the dumbest play call I’ve ever seen from McD. On the goal line, all the gaps are covered. An inexperienced ball carrier has zero chance of getting beyond the LOS.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
The fullback dive at the goal line was the dumbest play call I’ve ever seen from McD. On the goal line, all the gaps are covered. An inexperienced ball carrier has zero chance of getting beyond the LOS.
What play are you talking about? They didn't give the ball to an inexperienced ball carrier on the goal line.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
Yup you guys are right. I was drunk.
However, I stand by my point that that was a shitty play call, and that the goal line sequence was equally as pathetic.
I don't think you'll find a single person disagreeing with you on that.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
2,943
Bow, NH
I don't think you'll find a single person disagreeing with you on that.
Agreed.
Last year when McD was heading to Indy, I was bummed. Really wanted him to stay. Now I am bummed that he stayed. Seriously though, I wonder if a different offensive mindset can jump start this offense.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
34,718
I don't think you'll find a single person disagreeing with you on that.
Which on this board says something :)

A team that prides itself on doing all the little things right failed so miserably on this front last night. We’ve seen them line up and just get beat many times in the playoffs. We rarely see them execute so poorly, which was the jarring part of last night and the 2nd half of the season, really.
 

NortheasternPJ

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 16, 2004
14,320
The fullback dive at the goal line was the dumbest play call I’ve ever seen from McD. On the goal line, all the gaps are covered. An inexperienced ball carrier has zero chance of getting beyond the LOS.
I’d go with them throwing the ball to Brady and almost destroying his knee last year. Thank god that didn’t cost them the Super Bowl.
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2002
26,107
Melrose, MA
I'm still pissed that they only tried end around to Harry once. It worked the one time they did it, and it was good for 10 yards a pop during the regular season.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Special teams should have been a big edge to the Pats, but it went the opposite direction.

The red zone struggles were not a surprise. That said, I don’t think anyone has brought up this point: for the last several years, red zone offense has been owned by Chad O’Shea. His departure left a gap there, seemingly.

And beyond O’Shea, I think we collectively as fans didn’t quite appreciate the entirety of brain drain this year. Every year you see some turnover. But there was a crap ton of it this year. As Curran wrote today:


The Patriots need more coaches. That’s not even taking into consideration that some – most prominently Josh McDaniels – may be leaving.
Belichick was the defensive czar in 2019 even if Steven Belichick was the one on the headset talking to Donta Hightower.
It was a role the elder Belichick kind of had to take. Brian Flores, Brendan Daly and Josh Boyer all left the organization a year after Matt Patricia went to Detroit. Greg Schiano backed out of the defensive coordinator job he seemed to have taken so Belichick basically said, “Screw it, I’ll do it myself.”
On offense, Joe Judge was splitting time between his specialty – special teams – and working for the first time with wide receivers. And not experienced wide receivers, either. With N’Keal Harry, Gunner Olszewski and Jakobi Meyers, Judge was working to get NFL kindergartners ready to play with the Steven Hawking of quarterbacks.
McDaniels will probably leave a year after receivers coach Chad O’Shea and quarterbacks assistant Jerry Schuplinski left.”

That is a ton of coaching turnover for one year, and I think it caught up.
 

Ralphwiggum

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
5,906
Needham, MA
Because @Ralphwiggum is a good poster and deserves better than game thread sniping back-and-forth, I'm going to continue this conversation here:







You said:

(1) last years team doesn’t make the top 10 Pats teams of the Bb/Tb era.

What's your top-10 list that excludes the 2018 team? The playoff games count when evaluating a team, even if they shouldn't be the only consideration. I'll spot you 2004, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2016. But if you're going to ignore that there's an argument the 2018 team was better than two other SB-winning teams, or somehow then come up with a top 10 that excludes half of the title-winning teams... I'm not sure we're going to agree on much. Like the direction the sun will rise tomorrow.

(2) the run really should have been over after the Philly SB loss.

This is obviously subjective, but this is kinda contradicted by the fact that our OL was nails the later the 2018 season got, the D had a player turn into a DPOY candidate, and the entire team (including two underpaid players who would become market-setting FAs after the season, Trent Brown and Trey Flowers) continued clicking on all cylinders, including turning in one of the all-time great defensive performances in the super bowl. None of that was an accident, unless you want to call their relative health an accident. Much less suggestive of rot at the core that was concealing an end to title contention.

And then this year, we were probably a few non-football misfortunes from being a top contender this year. Andrews blood clot, Wynn turf toe, Antonio Brown being borderline psychotic, Gostkowski hip, Develin neck injury (and likewise to his replacement), Jason McCourty groin injury. You could argue adding "Gronk retiring while still being an impact player" to the list, too. With last year's health, I bet we get a bye and probably make the AFCCG. And despite what did happen, the team still came away with the 4th-best point differential in team history, even if they were a paper tiger to some degree.

---

My position going into the offseason is that there's tons of reason for optimism. Brady and Belichick clearly still have their fastballs. The defense is good, and could be great. And if enough of the injurees return to productivity, our OL and talent level across the board could suddenly see many holes plugged. There are reasons for pessimism too, the cap situation and McDaniels / Scarnecchia situation chief among them, but we're a good draft from being right back in this thing.
Sorry for the late reply on this. I can't quibble with anything you wrote, 2018 not being a Top 10 Pats team was a drunken post-game frustration hyperbole post.

I did feel like the Eagles SB loss was sort of the start of the decline, and then last year's regular season, at least up until the very end, seemed to validate that, but they did find an identity and the rest is history and of course that matters a lot. But for most of the year I didn't feel like that team was as good in general as most of the teams from the 2010 - 2018 time frame. It just felt to me that they were a notch below some of the other championship caliber Pats teams of the 2010's, but they played their best when it mattered the most, got a few bounces, and won another Lombardi. Coming off of that my expectations for this year were fairly measured, and while it looked like they might have something special again early on, the back half of the year was up and down and so I wasn't all that broken up or surprised about Saturday night's loss.

In terms of optimism for next year, a lot obviously depends on what happens with the QB but so long as BB is coaching this team they'll be competitive. The question is just whether we are beyond the point where anything short of a trip to the SB is considered underachieving (which is massively unfair, but that's what this team has delivered for the last 20 or so years).
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Sorry for the late reply on this. I can't quibble with anything you wrote, 2018 not being a Top 10 Pats team was a drunken post-game frustration hyperbole post.

I did feel like the Eagles SB loss was sort of the start of the decline, and then last year's regular season, at least up until the very end, seemed to validate that, but they did find an identity and the rest is history and of course that matters a lot. But for most of the year I didn't feel like that team was as good in general as most of the teams from the 2010 - 2018 time frame. It just felt to me that they were a notch below some of the other championship caliber Pats teams of the 2010's, but they played their best when it mattered the most, got a few bounces, and won another Lombardi. Coming off of that my expectations for this year were fairly measured, and while it looked like they might have something special again early on, the back half of the year was up and down and so I wasn't all that broken up or surprised about Saturday night's loss.

In terms of optimism for next year, a lot obviously depends on what happens with the QB but so long as BB is coaching this team they'll be competitive. The question is just whether we are beyond the point where anything short of a trip to the SB is considered underachieving (which is massively unfair, but that's what this team has delivered for the last 20 or so years).
As long as Brady is QB then yes, sadly, it will be Super Bowl or bust. Speaking personally though if say Stidham is QB next year I’d be pretty fired up by a playoff appearance.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
As long as Brady is QB then yes, sadly, it will be Super Bowl or bust. Speaking personally though if say Stidham is QB next year I’d be pretty fired up by a playoff appearance.
Totally agree. It actually will feel fresh of sorts when the new era begins.
 

CoffeeNerdness

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 6, 2012
4,424
On offense, Joe Judge was splitting time between his specialty – special teams – and working for the first time with wide receivers.
I saw that written somewhere recently and was actually slightly shocked. I wonder what the thought process was here because the results sure seem to indicate that this was a terrible, terrible idea.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Totally agree. It actually will feel fresh of sorts when the new era begins.
I felt kind of the same in 2008. Coming off 2007, I wasn't really excited for 2008, as 2007 was such a nut punch. But the "challenge" of trying to make it back with Cassell made the season more interesting, at least to me.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
I saw that written somewhere recently and was actually slightly shocked. I wonder what the thought process was here because the results sure seem to indicate that this was a terrible, terrible idea.
A lot due to necessity - so many coaches left. And I think BB thinks highly of Judge, so he wanted to give him an opportunity to grow. Not unlike how BB began his career in special teams and grew from there.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,753
Mansfield MA
A lot due to necessity - so many coaches left. And I think BB thinks highly of Judge, so he wanted to give him an opportunity to grow. Not unlike how BB began his career in special teams and grew from there.
Probably meant a bigger role for Cameron Achord as assistant ST coach this year. And they brought on Troy Brown to do a lot of work with the WR this year. He doesn't have an official title or anything, but he was helping.

I can't tell whether the Patriots coaching staff is actually smaller or if they are just conservative with titles. It's probably a little of the former, but I think it's mostly the latter. We know Bill O'Brien, Matt Patricia, and Brian Flores were de facto coordinators before they got the title. DeMarcus Covington, Cole Popovich, and Bret Bielema have been on staff in ambiguous "coaching assistant" roles for a few years before this one, when they got actual titles; I'm not sure they are actually doing much different this year.
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
32,719
A lot due to necessity - so many coaches left. And I think BB thinks highly of Judge, so he wanted to give him an opportunity to grow. Not unlike how BB began his career in special teams and grew from there.
Joe Judge is now interviewing for the Giants HC job.
 

Shelterdog

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 19, 2002
11,771
New York City
You can draft a RB early but he damn well better be a game-breaker. Sony is...fine, but year’s run blocking would have made anyone look good.

Fair to give Harry a full and hopefully healthy offseason. Receivers struggling early is more of the norm but it looks bad for the guy we decided to pick when other 1st and 2nd year guys have been flashing in worse offenses with much worse quarterbacks.
That's the question isn't it? The patriots system with Brady at Qb seems like a pretty wonderful place for James White or Burkhead or Edelman (or Brown/Branch/Faulk/etc)--and those guys might be producing a lot more here than they would in any other system--but is the team sacrifing something because the comination of the system and a 43 year old GOAT perfectionist qb is too demanding for the vast majority of players?

Usually the discussion is a pretty short one because there aren't a ton of guys who have left and performed at a good level. But I'm a little less sure now. Hollister couldn't make the field, got traded at draft time, and then pops off with 41 receptions this year. Maybe Sanu was injured but he's been a pretty consistent pro for a while and he didn't accomplish much. Harry was a first round pick not long ago and while he had a terrible drop and was a bust in this offense this year I think there's pretty obviously a good amount of talent there. And you can't tell me that Brown and Metcalf and the other Brown and Samuel and McLaurin are all just running perfect routes and identifying the coeverage precisely and we got the one rookie WR who can't play worth a lick.

Anyhow, my goat is Wise. That man got run the fuck over time after time. Tough position and he's a little undersized for the job but that was as bad a performance as I've ever seen by a DL against the run.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

family crest has godzilla
SoSH Member
Jul 26, 2007
2,284
The Short Bus
I thought the play calling was pretty bad all night, and cost them badly. The one that bothered me the most was the throw back/double pass on the first drive. Why are they calling that at the Titans' 25, unless Brady throws it underneath? A play like that takes forever to develop, and you need some space to get open behind the D-Tennessee had guys in the endzone, so there was no space to get open. They had two big chunk plays right before that, the pass to watson and the dump off to White that gained 30 yards-good rhythm going. Why waste a down with a gimmick play there? I also didnt like the calls on the drive at the start of the 4th when they got the ball at the 41 after the pick-they really should have been looking just to get a first down (which they did via a penalty) but everyone in the stadium knew a shot downfield was coming on first down.

Saying Edelman's drop cost them the game is like saying the Tuck Rule call won them the Raiders game-even if Edelman caught that, a bunch of other stuff had to go right for the Pats to win.
 

Captaincoop

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
10,004
Santa Monica, CA
Agreed.
Last year when McD was heading to Indy, I was bummed. Really wanted him to stay. Now I am bummed that he stayed. Seriously though, I wonder if a different offensive mindset can jump start this offense.
Not with the current players.

They need guys on offense who can make plays. Until that changes, it won't matter who is calling the plays. And regardless, McDaniel is better than most.
 

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,409
39.932N, -85.848W
...but is the team sacrifing something because the comination of the system and a 43 year old GOAT perfectionist qb is too demanding for the vast majority of players?

Usually the discussion is a pretty short one because there aren't a ton of guys who have left and performed at a good level. But I'm a little less sure now. Hollister couldn't make the field, got traded at draft time, and then pops off with 41 receptions this year. Maybe Sanu was injured but he's been a pretty consistent pro for a while and he didn't accomplish much. Harry was a first round pick not long ago and while he had a terrible drop and was a bust in this offense this year I think there's pretty obviously a good amount of talent there. And you can't tell me that Brown and Metcalf and the other Brown and Samuel and McLaurin are all just running perfect routes and identifying the coeverage precisely and we got the one rookie WR who can't play worth a lick.
This is where I'm at. The "give him more weapons" argument drives me crazy. This is an offensive system built entirely around TB12 and his evolution as a QB... "answers to the test" and all of that bullshit. Precision, timing, decision-making, option routes all work great for a 20-year veteran who is basically operating off of memory at this point. Example: First play of the game. Harry releases off the line and runs an 8-yard out. Brady, with plenty of time, releases the ball early as if it's a 7-yard out and everyone shits on Harry (who was open) for not running the route precisely enough. 31 other QBs wait the extra split second and throw the ball where the receiver is. Instead, Brady releases the ball early to the spot where HE thinks it should go and we all throw our arms up in the air because the rookie doesn't get it. Brady operated on auto-pilot way too much this season, imho.

Brady's lack of investment in this team finally caught up to him. I don't begrudge him at all for taking the off season to spend with family at this stage of his career; just don't turn around and whinge about your weapons or have the Gaspers of the world bemoan the talent around you.

I think if he goes to another team without McDaniels, his performance this season will be his ceiling in his next destination.

Game goats:

    1. McDaniels
    2. Run D
    3. Edelman (sorry, the drop was a game-changer)
    4. Brooks
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
Interesting article here:


But I mean, Barnwell starts this chain of events back in....2009 with Gronk's back injury at Arizona.

So sure, this chain of events that led to this year's playoff exit....also included 8 straight trips to the AFC Championship game, five Super Bowl appearances, and three Super Bowl titles.

So....come on, Bill. Really?
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Interesting article here:


But I mean, Barnwell starts this chain of events back in....2009 with Gronk's back injury at Arizona.

So sure, this chain of events that led to this year's playoff exit....also included 8 straight trips to the AFC Championship game, five Super Bowl appearances, and three Super Bowl titles.

So....come on, Bill. Really?
Had the same thought. Gronk getting injured in 2009 is arguably what ALLOWED the Pats to even draft him in the first place, which led to Dynasty v 2.0.

He also makes assumptions like Cooks would have helped, and Chandler Jones, and Solder... but doesn't take into account the fact that there's no way they could have constructed the team and fit all those guys under the point.

So it was a creative article, but kind of missed the point. I don't regret Solder leaving AT ALL. I don't regret trading Chandler Jones AT ALL (hello, Thuney). I don't regret either Cooks trade AT ALL.
 

johnmd20

figuratively like ebola
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2003
43,708
New York City
Interesting article here:


But I mean, Barnwell starts this chain of events back in....2009 with Gronk's back injury at Arizona.

So sure, this chain of events that led to this year's playoff exit....also included 8 straight trips to the AFC Championship game, five Super Bowl appearances, and three Super Bowl titles.

So....come on, Bill. Really?
Seriously. Hey Bill, how about you do the Steelers? They haven't been to the Super Bowl since the 2010 season. And they lost that game.

Where did the Steelers go wrong? This column is pretty bad.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,753
Mansfield MA
This is where I'm at. The "give him more weapons" argument drives me crazy. This is an offensive system built entirely around TB12 and his evolution as a QB... "answers to the test" and all of that bullshit. Precision, timing, decision-making, option routes all work great for a 20-year veteran who is basically operating off of memory at this point. Example: First play of the game. Harry releases off the line and runs an 8-yard out. Brady, with plenty of time, releases the ball early as if it's a 7-yard out and everyone shits on Harry (who was open) for not running the route precisely enough. 31 other QBs wait the extra split second and throw the ball where the receiver is. Instead, Brady releases the ball early to the spot where HE thinks it should go and we all throw our arms up in the air because the rookie doesn't get it. Brady operated on auto-pilot way too much this season, imho.
Watch that play again. There was unblocked rusher in Brady's face immediately. There was no "extra split second" to be had.

As for the idea that the Patriots / Brady are the only team that holds receivers to precision and timing ... just stop. This is a staple of passing games going back to the 70s and Sid Gillman. Bill Walsh wasn't going to put up with a receiver running a route a half-yard too deep either. This is NFL WR 101 stuff.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Other stupid assumptions in the article:
- that Jimmy would have stayed on a modest deal if Brady hadn't gotten suspended / Jimmy hadn't gotten to play those two games. Jimmy wanted a chance to actually play. This is his 6th year. Coming into this year he had started what, like 11 games?
- that if Jimmy was around he would have been a "more promising option than as-yet-untested rookie fourth round pick Jarrett Stidham". If Jimmy hadn't gotten to play those two games, he'd also be completely untested (aside from what would be six preseasons at this point). Stidham had a better preseason than Jimmy did his rookie year. Just terrible logic.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
10,024
Barnwell's assumptions that Solder and Cooks would have been contributors to this year's team are, to put it politely, idiotic.
 

Bergs

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
13,752
I swear, when I read people bitching about Brady (especially with this set of "weapons"), I can only assume they haven't watched any other QB's play an entire gasme.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
Last 10 games, 23 catches on 41 targets for 287 yards. He was banged up a bunch.
Yes, but I'm assuming he wouldn't be dealing with the same injuries if he was playing on the Pats this year.

He's also occupied over $15M in cap space this season, and will do so again next season (actually $16M in 2020).
Yep, but that wasn't the question. It was whether he'd be helpful for the Pats this year and I think he would have been.

Barnwell's article is still stupid.
 

Prodigal Sox

lurker
Jul 15, 2005
226
between the buttons
This is where I'm at. The "give him more weapons" argument drives me crazy. This is an offensive system built entirely around TB12 and his evolution as a QB... "answers to the test" and all of that bullshit. Precision, timing, decision-making, option routes all work great for a 20-year veteran who is basically operating off of memory at this point. Example: First play of the game. Harry releases off the line and runs an 8-yard out. Brady, with plenty of time, releases the ball early as if it's a 7-yard out and everyone shits on Harry (who was open) for not running the route precisely enough. 31 other QBs wait the extra split second and throw the ball where the receiver is. Instead, Brady releases the ball early to the spot where HE thinks it should go and we all throw our arms up in the air because the rookie doesn't get it. Brady operated on auto-pilot way too much this season, imho.
This is also what I’m wondering. The Patriots have been running this type of offense since Gronkowski and Welker showed up. I think it fits well with a mid-late 30’s/early 40’s quarterback of Brady’s current skill-set. Quick thinking “answers to the test”, limited mobility, accurate short mid-range middle of the field throws. This requires a specific skill set and ability for receivers

With his historical knowledge of the game and willingness to adapt, Belichick has always shown the ability to adjust to what the league’s rules and other teams’ personnel abilities are. I think we saw this start at the end of last year with the short timing throws combined with a power running game. That’s the offense I believe they wanted to continue this year. Injuries to the OLine and James Devlin, especially Andrews, hampered that approach. It’s possible that the AB acquisition was an attempt to change that offensive approach in season.

I’m wondering if Belichick is looking forward to what the next offensive evolution in the game will be and doesn’t think Brady is part of that approach. That his current skills set doesn’t match with what he may want to do and what players abilities are. And if retaining Brady and acquiring the resources to play to his current skill set is has too much uncertainty and is going to hamper the team going forward in 2-3 years he may just be willing to move on.
 

NomarsFool

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 21, 2001
3,968
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
10,024
Yes, but I'm assuming he wouldn't be dealing with the same injuries if he was playing on the Pats this year.



Yep, but that wasn't the question. It was whether he'd be helpful for the Pats this year and I think he would have been.

Barnwell's article is still stupid.
The first assumption regarding injury is unknowable.

The salary cap hit is indeed part of the question. The Pats were snug against the cap this year, and had to borrow from 2020 just to deal with in-season injuries. That $15M cap hit for Cooks would have cost the team elsewhere. Anyway, it's a moot point, and we agree on Barnwell.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
24,231
Hingham, MA
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
Brain drain is a real thing.

So is complementary / situation football. If the Pats stop Miami on the last drive last week are you still saying this? If they punch it in from the 1 yard line at the end of the first half? If Bailey doesn't have a terrible game?
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
2,943
Bow, NH
Watch that play again. There was unblocked rusher in Brady's face immediately. There was no "extra split second" to be had.

As for the idea that the Patriots / Brady are the only team that holds receivers to precision and timing ... just stop. This is a staple of passing games going back to the 70s and Sid Gillman. Bill Walsh wasn't going to put up with a receiver running a route a half-yard too deep either. This is NFL WR 101 stuff.
I mean, holy shit. QBs at the high school level throw to a spot. 7-8 yard out passes are supposed to be thrown before (or at the same time) the receiver makes his break. Timing and precise route running is absolutely critical.
That's why a good pass rush is critical, as it screws up the QBs timing (as in the play you mention).
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
10,024
This is also what I’m wondering. The Patriots have been running this type of offense since Gronkowski and Welker showed up. I think it fits well with a mid-late 30’s/early 40’s quarterback of Brady’s current skill-set. Quick thinking “answers to the test”, limited mobility, accurate short mid-range middle of the field throws. This requires a specific skill set and ability for receivers

With his historical knowledge of the game and willingness to adapt, Belichick has always shown the ability to adjust to what the league’s rules and other teams’ personnel abilities are. I think we saw this start at the end of last year with the short timing throws combined with a power running game. That’s the offense I believe they wanted to continue this year. Injuries to the OLine and James Devlin, especially Andrews, hampered that approach. It’s possible that the AB acquisition was an attempt to change that offensive approach in season.

I’m wondering if Belichick is looking forward to what the next offensive evolution in the game will be and doesn’t think Brady is part of that approach. That his current skills set doesn’t match with what he may want to do and what players abilities are. And if retaining Brady and acquiring the resources to play to his current skill set is has too much uncertainty and is going to hamper the team going forward in 2-3 years he may just be willing to move on.
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
Guys, personnel matters. Talent matters. A lot. The Pats didn't have it this year. The reasons have been mentioned: unproductive drafts, injuries, retirements, free agent defections, pursued free agents signing elsewhere.

Brady may or may not be part of the talent downgrade. I personally think he's declined a bit, but so did the weapons around him. Missing the route by a yard is a huge deal in any NFL offense, unless you have Lamar Jackson back there.

As for the bolded, let's look at the past 5 Super Bowl winning coaches not named Belichick:

Doug Pederson: lost on Sunday.
Gary Kubiak: Unemployed
Pete Carroll: Playing next weekend, but hasn't advanced past the Divisional Round since Malcom Butler.
John Harbaugh: Playing next weekend. Has won one playoff game in the previous 6 seasons.
Tom Coughlin: Unemployed after consistently violating the CBA.

If I want to add in Super Bowl losing coaches:

Sean McVay: Golfing
Dan Quinn: Won one playoff game since James White scored the TD.
Ron Rivera: Hasn't won a playoff game since. Will be coaching the Redskins next year, so the streak is likely to continue.
Pete Carroll: See above.
John Fox: Unemployed.

And, if we look at the coaches of the remaining playoff teams:

Andy Reid: Ah yes, the guy that everyone thinks has Belichick's number. Yes, the same Andy Reid who's 12-14 in the playoffs, with 3 of those losses coming against none other than Bill Belichick.
Bill O'Brien: Won his 2nd playoff game on Saturday.
Mike Vrabel: Won is first playoff game, but to be fair it's only his 2nd year.
John Harbaugh: See above.
Matt LaFleur: Rookie coach playing next weekend.
Mike Zimmer: See Bill O'Brien.
Kyle Shanahan: First playoff game next weekend after 2 losing seasons prior.
Pete Carroll: See above.

There are undoubtedly talented coaches in that list. But are any of them truly a better option than Bill?

As Belichick has repeatedly said: Winning is hard in this league.
 
Last edited:

Dick Pole Upside

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 6, 2003
4,409
39.932N, -85.848W
Watch that play again. There was unblocked rusher in Brady's face immediately. There was no "extra split second" to be had.

As for the idea that the Patriots / Brady are the only team that holds receivers to precision and timing ... just stop. This is a staple of passing games going back to the 70s and Sid Gillman. Bill Walsh wasn't going to put up with a receiver running a route a half-yard too deep either. This is NFL WR 101 stuff.
I didn't say the Patriots were the only team that holds receivers to precision and timing. Not worth starting an argument in this thread.
 

johnmd20

figuratively like ebola
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2003
43,708
New York City
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
This is crazy. A team cannot win the Super Bowl every year or make the AFC Championship every season. It's not possible. Sometimes, you just get beaten with better execution and talent. Belichick is, by far, the best coach in the NFL. Did losing to Baltimore in the playoffs in January of 2010 make Belichick a terrible coach?

I should note, after that season, the team won three super bowls and make the AFC Championship 8 straight seasons. All of a sudden, Bill has lost it because his skill players weren't that good?
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
12,753
Mansfield MA
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
I think there are two things here:
1) With the success the Pats have had, something like 20-30% of the league's coaches and personnel executives have a background in their system. So they're facing a lot more competition for "their players" than they might have been 10-15 years ago. Does Trey Flowers, with his modest sack numbers, sign a top-of-the market contract if it's not with a Quinn / Patricia team that runs a similar system? It's no coincidence they missed out on Adam Humphries' FA bidding to Robinson / Vrabel, again from a similar background. They are competing for talent with more teams that think the way they do, so the market inefficiencies are harder to find.
2) I can't find this quote now, but I remember when Hightower was drafted, Belichick said (about High's versatility) something like "Maybe we'll use him where he's best, maybe we'll use him where he's needed." When the team is loaded, you can pick your spots with guys. Elandon Roberts looked much better the past two years as a run-downs defender than he did in 2017 when injuries forced him into major playing time. Patrick Chung is maybe the best example; he looked like a completely different player after he came back, paired with a real FS in McCourty that meant he didn't have to play nearly as much deep zone. You can't optimally use all the talent all the time, and the more holes you have, the more sub-optimally you have to deploy your talent to fill those holes.

I think we saw that this year. Harry really struggled with press in college, but they had no X receiver so he had to line up outside, where he faced a lot of press. Dorsett, too, shouldn't have been playing outside as much as he was; he had two long TDs week 1 working out of the slot. But someone has to play X. Any of LaCosse / Watson / Izzo might have been fine / useful as a TE2 or TE3, but they were mostly TE1s when on the field and struggled accordingly. Marshall Newhouse is a swing tackle but he wound up starting 8 games at LT. Jakobi Meyers shouldn't have had to play 35% of snaps this year. But you gotta play somebody.
 

OurF'ingCity

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Apr 22, 2016
4,294
New York City
Over the last two decades, the one constant I always believed in was that the Patriots had the smartest coaches on the field, and would always be able to take whatever players they had, and put them in the best positions to succeed. Sadly, I don't think I believe that anymore after this season.
Yeah, not to pile on but at minimum if you make this statement you need to provide which coaches you do think are now the "smartest coaches on the field" and what makes you think that. I'm actually willing to accept the argument if there is some evidence to support it.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
8,764
This is crazy. A team cannot win the Super Bowl every year or make the AFC Championship every season. It's not possible. Sometimes, you just get beaten with better execution and talent. Belichick is, by far, the best coach in the NFL. Did losing to Baltimore in the playoffs in January of 2010 make Belichick a terrible coach?

I should note, after that season, the team won three super bowls and make the AFC Championship 8 straight seasons. All of a sudden, Bill has lost it because his skill players weren't that good?
Preach.

And I will reiterate because it's worth reiterating. Patriots' opponents the last two games fumbled the football FIVE times. They recovered ALL FIVE of them. The odds of that are 1 in 32 - great odds for winning the lottery; bad odds for recovering fumbles. If the Pats recover even ONE of the five, they are almost certainly playing next weekend and we aren't even having this conversation.

So in order for the Pats to NOT be playing next weekend, it required teams to outplay them, the Pats to have a *down* year, AND fumble luck had to go their way.

This team wasn't as good as some past Pats' teams, obviously. And they lost fair and square. But it was a very good football team. And every single season, a bunch of very good football teams do NOT win the Super Bowl, or even make it there (or to their conference championship teams). IT. HAPPENS.
 

Shelterdog

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Feb 19, 2002
11,771
New York City
Watch that play again. There was unblocked rusher in Brady's face immediately. There was no "extra split second" to be had.

As for the idea that the Patriots / Brady are the only team that holds receivers to precision and timing ... just stop. This is a staple of passing games going back to the 70s and Sid Gillman. Bill Walsh wasn't going to put up with a receiver running a route a half-yard too deep either. This is NFL WR 101 stuff.
I'm sure every team is looking for precision and timing with receivers, but every subjective piece of commentary that we get on this--alll the quotes from former players, the comments by announcers, the commentary by tape guys--suggests that Brady and the Pats are on an extreme on this point. Now I'll bet some of that is media bull (Edelman may have been a late round pick but he's not putting up multiple thousand yard seasons on precision and work ethic and game knowledge-he's also a super athletic guy) but is any of it real, and if so is there a cost.

To put it differently does a team like, I don't now, Pittsburgh--which gets great production out of rookie wide receivers pretty frequently--do things a little differently? Do they let the young guys play and make some mistakes that don't end up on the stat sheet but affect games? Or are they just uniquely good (or the Pats uniquely bad) at finding and coaching productive rookie players?
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
10,024
I'm sure every team is looking for precision and timing with receivers, but every subjective piece of commentary that we get on this--alll the quotes from former players, the comments by announcers, the commentary by tape guys--suggests that Brady and the Pats are on an extreme on this point. Now I'll bet some of that is media bull (Edelman may have been a late round pick but he's not putting up multiple thousand yard seasons on precision and work ethic and game knowledge-he's also a super athletic guy) but is any of it real, and if so is there a cost.

To put it differently does a team like, I don't now, Pittsburgh--which gets great production out of rookie wide receivers pretty frequently--do things a little differently? Do they let the young guys play and make some mistakes that don't end up on the stat sheet but affect games? Or are they just uniquely good (or the Pats uniquely bad) at finding and coaching productive rookie players?
There have been rookies that have failed here in New England. None of them succeeded elsewhere, in particular rookie WR's. I think the causes are mostly because the players they drafted in that position haven't worked out. Or, like Malcolm Mitchell, got hurt.

A closer look at the players drafted since Gronk and Hernandez for the offensive skill positions (TE/WR/RB):

Vereen: Didn't play much first 2 seasons before he came into his own as a productive 3rd down back (Woodhead and Faulk were in place when drafted).
Ridley: Became a rotation RB before injuries derailed his career.
Lee Smith: 5th round pick TE that is still active in the league! Mostly a blocking TE and special teams player.
------
Jeremy Ebert: 7th round pick that didn't pan out.
-----
Aaron Dobson: His rookie season was his most productive. Zero production after he left the Pats. Basically a bad 2nd round pick.
Josh Boyce: 4th rounder that didn't amount to anything.
------
James White: Didn't play much his rookie year, but became productive 3rd down back in his sophomore year after Vereen left.
Jeremy Gallon: 7th round pick who didn't pan out.
------
AJ Derby: 6th round pick that didn't pan out at TE.
-----
Malcolm Mitchell: Promising rookie year is all we got.
Devin Lucien: 7th round pick that didn't pan out.
-----
Sony Michel: Promising rookie year, but struggled this year.
Braxton Berrios: 6th round pick got caught in the roster crunch; primarily ST contributor for the Jets.
Ryan Izzo: Expected production from a 7th rounder.
------
N'Keal Harry
Damien Harris

Half of the players on that list (7 of 14) are 5th round or later picks; unfortunately, none of them panned out. It may be that the Pats offense is difficult for rookies. But I think we are also blinded to some extent by recency bias with the disappointing seasons from the recent high round picks (Michel, Harry, and Harris).

The Steelers have had some good drafts recently.