2020 Pats: WRs and TEs...Enough?

mwonow

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Caspir

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If they get OBJ when Brady leaves after watching their IG bromance, I’ll chuckle heartily to myself.
 

vadertime

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What about Auden Tate? Inactive this week and seems to fallen out of flavor with Cincy. Had decent numbers last year. Could probably get him for a late round pick.
 

streeter88

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Might be 1 game too early to bump this thread, but Cam threw for 397 last night with this group of WRs, RBs and TEs. Seattle’s secondary was pretty banged up, but I thought Byrd and Harry complemented Edelman well. Only thing missing was a true deep threat (a faster - or fresher - player likely catches that 40 yarder in stride and scores).

Weird though that Izzo played 70 of 72 snaps, and still only had 2 catches for 18 yards. Asiasi saw only 10 snaps. They could definitely have helped yesterday - the WRs looked gassed by the end.
 

DJnVa

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Byrd (86%) and Harry (85%) both logged more snaps than JE again last night (72%). That doesn't mean much for JE obviously, but Harry is still trusted to be on the field.
 

ehaz

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If they can get Cam another receiver and Damien Harris shows something, this team is suddenly a deep playoff threat. I trust BB to tweak the defense over the course of the season. But the skill positions are a big question mark. Relying on 34 year old Edelman will kill us eventually, and Sony is washed.
 

DJnVa

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SSS, but only 2 WRs (and Kelce) in the AFC have more catches than Harry so far.
 

gtmtnbiker

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It was nice to see Byrd & Harry get a lot of action. I don't know why Tom could not connect with them.
Is Cam doing timing throws like what Brady use to do? From what I can tell, they seem to be simple routes/throws, nothing fancy.
 

Super Nomario

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The biggest difference between Harry in 2019 and Harry in 2020 is his usage. They're moving him around, putting him in the slot, putting him in motion, giving him designed touches. Last year they wanted him to line up at X and beat press. He stunk at that, and in limited opportunities in 2020 he still stinks at that, but they're not asking him to beat tight coverage one-on-one as much.
 

Kliq

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It is hard to stress enough how much improved the O-line was last night as compared to most of last season. The time Newton has to throw gives our receivers so much more time to get open and I think that was reflected in the performances of Edelman, Harry and Byrd last night. A lot of guys taking a lot of time to pop open over the middle.
 

Super Nomario

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It is hard to stress enough how much improved the O-line was last night as compared to most of last season. The time Newton has to throw gives our receivers so much more time to get open and I think that was reflected in the performances of Edelman, Harry and Byrd last night. A lot of guys taking a lot of time to pop open over the middle.
The run blocking was dismal though.
 

johnmd20

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The run blocking was dismal though.
It doesn't help that their RBs are Sony and Rex. Nothing White hurt, too, poor guy.

But Rex and Sony are not good, and especially bad when compared to the RBs of basically every other team. Wilson on SF(4th string) is better than Sony or Rex.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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Is this a coaching thing?

In other words... is it "don't be Barry Sanders, take what you have, put your head down, and hold onto the ball. Get Positive yardage". When was the last time that the Pats had an "exciting" back as their lead back? I am sure I am missing someone, but when I think of Dillon, Ridley, Law Firm, Michel... those to me say "possession runners", which BB seems to value as much as possession receivers. Just a top of the head thought...

EDIT ... I guess LGB could be the exception... but he also did have what could have been a killer fumble against the Falcons in the Comeback Game. I don't know how much he saw the field after that.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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The run blocking wasn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that Seattle has better personnel to stop it (good DL, Wagner, and Adams) but a rather porous secondary. Can’t be good against everything.

Re Harry...Harry has lined up plenty as the X this year...the biggest difference is Cam. Izzo, Myers and Harry supposedly created "no separation" last year but now are open because they suddenly decided to scheme?
 

Super Nomario

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The run blocking wasn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that Seattle has better personnel to stop it (good DL, Wagner, and Adams) but a rather porous secondary. Can’t be good against everything.
Seattle had a bottom-five run defense in league last year. Adams is new and maybe he's the difference-maker. Most of those other guys were there in 2019.

Re Harry...Harry has lined up plenty as the X this year...the biggest difference is Cam. Izzo, Myers and Harry supposedly created "no separation" last year but now are open because they suddenly decided to scheme?
Harry has lined up plenty at X this year, but has very little production on those snaps. Almost all his catches are from the slot, or from a tight alignment, or on schemed touches. I haven't charted last night, but I charted the first game. His issues against press and tight coverage persist. Fortunately Byrd's presence lets them use Harry at Z way more.

I'm not sure why you bring up Izzo and Meyers. Izzo averaged 19 yards per game last year before he got benched after Week 6; he's averaging 22 yards per game now. Progress I guess? Meyers has one catch for 7 yards in two games; he was doing a lot more last year.
 

tims4wins

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CeeDee Lamb has looked good so far, not that the Pats could have had him without trading up. But it's tough seeing all these first and second year guys succeeding. Promising start for Harry so far though.
 

joe dokes

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Seattle had a bottom-five run defense in league last year. Adams is new and maybe he's the difference-maker. Most of those other guys were there in 2019.
Doesn't Edelman going deep a few times suggest that Adams was a crucial part of the run defense?
 

Super Nomario

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Doesn't Edelman going deep a few times suggest that Adams was a crucial part of the run defense?
Sure, and Adams is a great run defender, but usually one player doesn't make the difference between a bottom-five run D (which Seattle was last year) and a top-five run D (which through two games, they are in 2020). Probably they are an averageish run D and we should be at least somewhat concerned that the running game was so thoroughly shut down Sunday night.
 

BigSoxFan

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CeeDee Lamb has looked good so far, not that the Pats could have had him without trading up. But it's tough seeing all these first and second year guys succeeding. Promising start for Harry so far though.
CeeDee is going to be awesome. Pats could have gotten him but opportunity cost would have been Dugger and Uche.

Curious about what they would have done had Justin Jefferson been there at 23.
 

Jimbodandy

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Sure, and Adams is a great run defender, but usually one player doesn't make the difference between a bottom-five run D (which Seattle was last year) and a top-five run D (which through two games, they are in 2020). Probably they are an averageish run D and we should be at least somewhat concerned that the running game was so thoroughly shut down Sunday night.
There's a lot of shuffle on the OL this year from last and no preseason to work out the kinks. They looked awesome in one game and run blocked poorly in the other. Even in the first game there were some glaring misses in pass protect (some of that was on Cam). It's a work in progress. I'd give it a few more games before being concerned. For the purposes of this thread, it seems that there is hope for pass protection.
 

Shelterdog

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Sure, and Adams is a great run defender, but usually one player doesn't make the difference between a bottom-five run D (which Seattle was last year) and a top-five run D (which through two games, they are in 2020). Probably they are an averageish run D and we should be at least somewhat concerned that the running game was so thoroughly shut down Sunday night.
Haven't rewatched it yet, but it seems like they had a full box and were blitzing wagner and adams during run plays and absolutely wreaking havoc with whatever the pats were trying to do--I didn't get the sense that the line was being manhandled, more that seahawks were being aggressive and were hitting the right gaps.
 

Super Nomario

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There's a lot of shuffle on the OL this year from last and no preseason to work out the kinks. They looked awesome in one game and run blocked poorly in the other. Even in the first game there were some glaring misses in pass protect (some of that was on Cam). It's a work in progress. I'd give it a few more games before being concerned. For the purposes of this thread, it seems that there is hope for pass protection.
The defenses they're facing are dealing with the same reality. The OL will be good, at least. My issue is that running the ball generally is pretty inefficient, so the run game execution has to be outstanding to make a run-first offense worthwhile. I think the run game will be pretty good, with weeks where it looks great (like Week 1), but my fear was that it would be shut down at times and we saw that in action Sunday. And the run game wasn't just inefficient; it was awful, like the worst games of 2019 awful.

Harry has lined up plenty at X this year, but has very little production on those snaps. Almost all his catches are from the slot, or from a tight alignment, or on schemed touches. I haven't charted last night, but I charted the first game. His issues against press and tight coverage persist. Fortunately Byrd's presence lets them use Harry at Z way more.
I took a quick watch of Harry's targets on All-22 and it was the same story Week 2 as Week 1: schemed touches, slot / tight split alignment, working against soft zones. He only got one target when pressed from X and he couldn't get open. He's being used better than last year but I'm not seeing a lot of development.
 

Jimbodandy

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I took a quick watch of Harry's targets on All-22 and it was the same story Week 2 as Week 1: schemed touches, slot / tight split alignment, working against soft zones. He only got one target when pressed from X and he couldn't get open. He's being used better than last year but I'm not seeing a lot of development.
If we presume that he's simply not a fit for X, then being more productive at other roles is development. There's value in 8/72 on 12 targets, even if not first round value.
 

Super Nomario

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If we presume that he's simply not a fit for X, then being more productive at other roles is development. There's value in 8/72 on 12 targets, even if not first round value.
6 yards per target is actually pretty bad. But it is a step forward from where he was last year, so point taken. I was never a fan of Harry as an X, so his usage so far has been encouraging.
 

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How many times in the last 5 years or so have the Pats looked like dogshit in at least one or two of the first 4-5 games? We as fans read so much into it, but I think BB is simply using these games as the real pre-season where he can get his top units reps against other top units to figure stuff out. Who has made the leap? How do pieces fit together? What schemes fit this year's personnel? etc.

Then he can use that info to figure out what he needs to do differently, as coach or as GM, and then make adjustments over the next 4-5 games, before trying to rev up the machine to carry you through the latter part of the schedule and into the playoffs.

It's not unlike Billy Beane's theory of a baseball season divided into thirds, with the first being evaluation, the second being correction, and the final being acceleration.
 

BigSoxFan

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How many times in the last 5 years or so have the Pats looked like dogshit in at least one or two of the first 4-5 games? We as fans read so much into it, but I think BB is simply using these games as the real pre-season where he can get his top units reps against other top units to figure stuff out. Who has made the leap? How do pieces fit together? What schemes fit this year's personnel? etc.

Then he can use that info to figure out what he needs to do differently, as coach or as GM, and then make adjustments over the next 4-5 games, before trying to rev up the machine to carry you through the latter part of the schedule and into the playoffs.

It's not unlike Billy Beane's theory of a baseball season divided into thirds, with the first being evaluation, the second being correction, and the final being acceleration.
I think this is true but Belichick also had the luxury of the GOAT at QB so he always pretty much knew the offense would be fine in most years. This year is a little different since Cam has more variability but he probably has more upside than recent Brady too.

Ultimately, I think BB has to be encouraged. 1 yard from 2-0 start with potential key guys like Harris, Uche, Jennings, JoeJuan, the rookie TEs, etc. not yet making an impact. Couple that with the expected growth of guys like Harry, Dugger, etc. and you have some reason for optimism. The secondary had a rough game but should be fine.

If we’re 3-2 heading into the bye, we’re right where we need to be.
 

joe dokes

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Sure, and Adams is a great run defender, but usually one player doesn't make the difference between a bottom-five run D (which Seattle was last year) and a top-five run D (which through two games, they are in 2020). Probably they are an averageish run D and we should be at least somewhat concerned that the running game was so thoroughly shut down Sunday night.
Seems that Seattle was making a concerted effort to shut down the run, which is how Newton was able to throw for 400 yards. Even when an average defense sells out like that, it's going to have an effect.
 

Captaincoop

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Seems that Seattle was making a concerted effort to shut down the run, which is how Newton was able to throw for 400 yards. Even when an average defense sells out like that, it's going to have an effect.
Seattle's pass defense may just be that bad. Didn't Matty Ice hit them for 400 the week prior?
 

BigSoxFan

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Seattle's pass defense may just be that bad. Didn't Matty Ice hit them for 400 the week prior?
In fairness, Matty Ice has Julio, Ridley, and Hurst so they’ll be lighting up almost everyone this year. I do think that Seattle looked like a mediocre pass defense, even when factoring in the injuries.
 

Captaincoop

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In fairness, Matty Ice has Julio, Ridley, and Hurst so they’ll be lighting up almost everyone this year. I do think that Seattle looked like a mediocre pass defense, even when factoring in the injuries.
Yeah, I'm just saying Seattle doesn't look like a team that has to totally sell out to stop the run in order to give up 400 yards passing.
 

Saints Rest

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I think this is true but Belichick also had the luxury of the GOAT at QB so he always pretty much knew the offense would be fine in most years. This year is a little different since Cam has more variability but he probably has more upside than recent Brady too.

Ultimately, I think BB has to be encouraged. 1 yard from 2-0 start with potential key guys like Harris, Uche, Jennings, JoeJuan, the rookie TEs, etc. not yet making an impact. Couple that with the expected growth of guys like Harry, Dugger, etc. and you have some reason for optimism. The secondary had a rough game but should be fine.

If we’re 3-2 heading into the bye, we’re right where we need to be.
Agreed.

I would also point out that it's a rare rookie who shines right away for BB. And some of those who were starters or key contributors by season's end, were non-factors early. Gronk, Murderer, Jamie Collins.
 

tims4wins

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Agreed.

I would also point out that it's a rare rookie who shines right away for BB. And some of those who were starters or key contributors by season's end, were non-factors early. Gronk, Murderer, Jamie Collins.
Was Collins even a contributor by the end of his rookie year? I don't recall him playing much at all.

On the second point, as long as the Pats can stay at or above .500, I think they'll be in good shape. They finish with home games in week 16-17 against Buffalo and the Jets. 8-6 going into those games would probably put them in position to win the division. 9-7 might do it too based on tie breaks. Buffalo has a ridiculously hard schedule too.
 

Super Nomario

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Agreed.

I would also point out that it's a rare rookie who shines right away for BB. And some of those who were starters or key contributors by season's end, were non-factors early. Gronk, Murderer, Jamie Collins.
Murderer was one of the few who was good right away - he had 436 yards in his first 8 games, then tailed off down the stretch.

Was Collins even a contributor by the end of his rookie year? I don't recall him playing much at all.
He basically played exclusively on special teams in the regular season but then balled out at LB in the playoff game against the Colts.
 

lexrageorge

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6 yards per target is actually pretty bad. But it is a step forward from where he was last year, so point taken. I was never a fan of Harry as an X, so his usage so far has been encouraging.
I thought the ball was badly thrown on some of Harry's targets.

Regarding his usage, wondering if it's due to him being more familiar with the offense. There were some rumblings that Harry was struggling on that regards; I thought Brady made a comment insinuating the same. I'm sure going on IR didn't help in that regards.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Murderer was one of the few who was good right away - he had 436 yards in his first 8 games, then tailed off down the stretch.


He basically played exclusively on special teams in the regular season but then balled out at LB in the playoff game against the Colts.
Was that the playoff game where Collins made a ridiculous INT dropping high-middle zone? I recall thinking that he was gonna be a game changer after that; turned out not quite that well.
 

Super Nomario

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I thought the ball was badly thrown on some of Harry's targets.
They're also getting him in the ball in space a lot and he's not making anyone miss. We saw him make some YAC plays last year so I'm no too worried, but he hasn't been getting the job done on those.

Regarding his usage, wondering if it's due to him being more familiar with the offense. There were some rumblings that Harry was struggling on that regards; I thought Brady made a comment insinuating the same. I'm sure going on IR didn't help in that regards.
This is a good point. It seems to me they tend to put new arrivals in one spot to make things easier, especially at X receiver. At X, while it's physically more challenging to deal with press and more top corners, the adjustments / choices are easier, so it's less of a mental grind. If Harry's moving around / playing in the slot, it indicates some level of trust in him to make the right reads of the underneath defenders and work through middle-of-the-field traffic.

(I will always hate the decision to put him on IR last year - he had already returned to practice - and he wound up hurting the team badly late in the year)
 

BaseballJones

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N'Keal Harry is on pace for a 72.2% catch rate, 104 receptions and 888 yards. Not a great yds per reception number (8.5), but if he ended year two with those numbers, that's a huge success.
 

lexrageorge

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Cam is also going out of his way to stick up for his teammates. I'm sure, like any QB, he would love to have a set of All Pro receivers and tight ends. He also knows that there is nothing he can say publicly that will improve the roster situation. Seems fully bought into Belichick's way of doing things.