2020 Pats: You Cam Go Your Own Way

Super Nomario

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Yeah, but you were beating this same drum when the team was winning SBs. You've never been much of a fan of this defense. It certainly hasnt been good down the stretch, but when a team goes several games without being able to find the endzone, I'd argue that should be at the forefront of focus. Maybe those stats arent telling the full truth of what's playing out on the field.
The offense (which is awful) is worse than the defense (merely below-average) this year. But the offense is not making the defense look worse by TOP ... it's actually doing an admirable job holding the ball. It just can't generate explosive plays to save its life, so it doesn't put points on the board.

I’m not making excuses for the defense. I’m saying there are contributing factors to the loss. A big reason the Bills were able to run up the score on us is because we couldn’t put together any semblance of an offense and therefore kept giving them the hall. Yes, of course the defense plays a role in that too. That was my point.
The defense gave up a 6+ - minute drive to START the game, when it was completely fresh. The Pats went three-and-out, and the Bills put together another 5+ - minute drive, resulting in a TD (in there a ST foible, too; they were also awful last night). Then the Pats held the ball for 4+ minutes in a TD drive (that should have tied the game). Did this breather help the D? It did not, immediately another 5+ minute TD drive. Three drives in and the Bills already had 16 1/2 minutes of possession.

The Bills put up 38 points last night on 7 real possessions (not counting end-of-half kneeldown) when Josh Allen was in there. It was the team's worst defensive performance by Expected Points Added (-26). The JETS defense has not played a game that bad all season.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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I think all of this is right. I think Belichick built this team planning to win on defense and running the ball and the defense has let him down considerably. I think it's telling he keeps tinkering with playing time among the defensive players but has basically run the same offensive guys out there game after game. The O in the first half last night was competitive; the defense was not.
If that was the plan it was incredibly flawed as the defense is simply not built to stop the run. They have no linebackers and very little up front. Folks can’t blame it all on Hightower opting out. They didn’t replace Van Noy, Collins, Roberts, Shelton, etc. Butler, Guy and Cowert are simply not enough to cover for the drop off in talent.
 

djbayko

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The offense (which is awful) is worse than the defense (merely below-average) this year. But the offense is not making the defense look worse by TOP ... it's actually doing an admirable job holding the ball. It just can't generate explosive plays to save its life, so it doesn't put points on the board.


The defense gave up a 6+ - minute drive to START the game, when it was completely fresh. The Pats went three-and-out, and the Bills put together another 5+ - minute drive, resulting in a TD (in there a ST foible, too; they were also awful last night). Then the Pats held the ball for 4+ minutes in a TD drive (that should have tied the game). Did this breather help the D? It did not, immediately another 5+ minute TD drive. Three drives in and the Bills already had 16 1/2 minutes of possession.

The Bills put up 38 points last night on 7 real possessions (not counting end-of-half kneeldown) when Josh Allen was in there. It was the team's worst defensive performance by Expected Points Added (-26). The JETS defense has not played a game that bad all season.
Once again, I'm not only talking about freshness but ball control / possessions (Bills can't score 38 if we have something resembling an offense). And I've never said that the defense played well - only that as bad as they were to begin the game, they got progressively worse as the game wore on. I was NOT making excuses for the defense but rather saying that Cam Newton's offense contributed to the loss. If you want to challenge what I'm actually saying, go ahead, but if it's more strawman about the D playing poorly then we aren't going to get anywhere.
 
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BaseballJones

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The Patriots' D was already worse in the 2nd half of last year compared to the 1st half. So really the question was whether NE could be a top 10 defense, not the #1 defense in the league.

Well...

They lost two starters - Hightower and Chung - to covid opt-out, at a point in time when they had no way of replacing them. They thought Chung still had enough in the tank that they extended him a couple more years back in May. They signed Beau Allen, who would have been a huge help on the defensive line, but he got hurt. They drafted help in the secondary and at linebacker, and there's some promise there, but it's not fully realized yet (obviously). They added veteran help in guys like Phillips (who's been good) and Copeland (who didn't work out). They added Terez Hall as an UDFA to help with the linebacking (and he's actually been pretty good).

There's lots of holes to fill, obviously. But I don't know that it will take a whole lot to fill them.

Now, as to the question that's being batted around on WEEI all day about how much blame BB should get....it's like people forget that he put together the greatest winning machine in the history of the NFL. For 19 years, they ruled the NFL, with not one single bad season in there. Nothing but winning at historic levels. It's *impossible* for it to last forever. As good as the Steelers and Ravens have been during this era of Pats' dominance, even they had down years along the way to reboot and retool. The Pats never had ONE of those. Well, now they're having one. I am not in the least, not even one iota, upset at BB for this season. It's a wacky year, Covid messed with everything, and the Pats were due for a rebuilding year. So ok, take your lumps this year, no sweat. Use the decent draft position and make good picks, use the enormous amount of cap space (3rd most in the league as of now) to your advantage, give the young guys an actual training camp and let them develop, and for pete's sake, try to find a semi-decent quarterback, and 2021 will be MUCH better than this year.

And if it's not....BB still gets grace from me. At some point it would be nice to win again. And I think they will. But no team ever has gone as long as the Pats did without taking some lumps in there somewhere.
 

Super Nomario

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Once again, I'm not only talking about freshness but ball control / possessions (Bills can't score 38 if we have something resembling an offense).
I guess I'm not sure what you mean by this. The Bills did not have many possessions last night. And over the course of the season, the Patriots defense has faced by far the fewest number of opponents' possessions in the entire league.

And I've never said that the defense played well - only that as bad as they were to begin the game, they got progressively worse as the game wore on.
The Bills scored on their first five possessions, so I don't agree with this, unless you're limiting the beginning of the game to just the first FG stop and the stop prior to the fake punt.

I was NOT making excuses for the defense but rather saying that Cam Newton's offense contributed to the loss.
The offense definitely was a problem too, as they only scored 9 points. But there's no reason to also blame the offense for the defense playing badly. The D did that on its own.

FWIW, Expected Points added backs up what I'm saying. The O was bad, at -2.4 points, and the passing O was very very bad, at -7.5. But the defense was a horrifying -26.2, NE's worst performance of the season.
 

djbayko

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I guess I'm not sure what you mean by this. The Bills did not have many possessions last night. And over the course of the season, the Patriots defense has faced by far the fewest number of opponents' possessions in the entire league.
Very simple. If the Patriots have any offense, then the Bills possess it even less. TOP: 39:41 to 20:19. The offense wouldn't be looking at having to overcome 38 points if they were able to get a first down.

I admit it's subjective but I had slightly more confidence in the defense early on. Yes, I'm referring to holding the Bills to a FG, stopping them before the fake punt, and potentially stopping them a couple other times if it weren't for mental lapse penalties. That long drive was a killer. If they're able to get off the field quickly, and the offense scores to take the lead, who knows what might have happened.
 
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Super Nomario

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Very simple. If the Patriots have any offense, then the Bills possess it even less. TOP: 39:41 to 20:19. The offense wouldn't be looking at having to overcome 38 points if they were able to get a first down.
The O could have done a better job last night at TOP, but the bigger reason the margin was so lopsided was the defense couldn't get off the field. The Patriots averaged 2:15 per drive, which is bad (though a lot of that was in the second half when they game was already out of reach). The Bills averaged almost four minutes per drive, which is stupefying awful. The defense cannot get off the field; it's been a problem all season, and it was a massive problem last night.

The Patriots defense faces the fewest drives in the league. They only faced 10 drives last night. It's not realistic to expect them only to face much less than that. At some point your defense has to defend.

I admit it's subjective but I had slightly more confidence in the defense early on. Yes, I'm referring to holding the Bills to a FG, stopping them before the fake punt, and potentially stopping them a couple other times if it weren't for mental lapse penalties. That long drive was a killer. If they're able to get off the field quickly, and the offense scores to take the lead, who knows what might have happened.
Probably nothing. The Pats got an early lead, and the D let the Bills tie it right away. The Pats almost tied it up, and the Bills went right down and scored another TD. It was a hot knife through butter last night when Buffalo was on offense.
 

DourDoerr

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Another reason why Cam is hurting this team extends to the opposing offense's strategy - at least the Bill's offensive strategy last night. They went on 4th down at least a couple of times and I think it's related to Cam's inability to pass downfield. The Bills knew they risked little if they bottled Cam up and let him throw the ball, so there was more latitude to go for it on 4th down. The Pats' D had a couple of stops, but the conversions on 4th down did a lot to break them.
 

cshea

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Eh, they went for it on 4th and 2 and 4th and 1 both from the NE 43. I think most teams go in that spot regardless of the opposing offense strength, I'm sure the analytics say to go. If anything, I think facing a shitty offense is more of a reason to be conservative and punt than to go.

You could include the fake punt but I think that wasn't necessarily called from the sideline. I think that was awareness by the Bills ST. They recognized the Patriots didn't have anyone on the gunner and executed a quick snap and throw out wide. Similar to the Chung debacle in the Jets playoff game that failed.
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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Now, as to the question that's being batted around on WEEI all day about how much blame BB should get....it's like people forget that he put together the greatest winning machine in the history of the NFL. For 19 years, they ruled the NFL, with not one single bad season in there. Nothing but winning at historic levels. It's *impossible* for it to last forever. As good as the Steelers and Ravens have been during this era of Pats' dominance, even they had down years along the way to reboot and retool. The Pats never had ONE of those. Well, now they're having one. I am not in the least, not even one iota, upset at BB for this season. It's a wacky year, Covid messed with everything, and the Pats were due for a rebuilding year. So ok, take your lumps this year, no sweat. Use the decent draft position and make good picks, use the enormous amount of cap space (3rd most in the league as of now) to your advantage, give the young guys an actual training camp and let them develop, and for pete's sake, try to find a semi-decent quarterback, and 2021 will be MUCH better than this year.

And if it's not....BB still gets grace from me. At some point it would be nice to win again. And I think they will. But no team ever has gone as long as the Pats did without taking some lumps in there somewhere.
Amen to all of this. The Pats were a DYNASTY! Think about that for a second. It's the pinnacle for a sports fan of any team to witness their team reigning as a dynasty, it simply just doesn't get any better than that. BB should never have to buy a drink in anywhere in New England ever again. BaseballJones is right that it's impossible for the ruling of the NFL to last forever. The fall was bound to happen eventually, and it took a confluence of factors for it to happen this year. Sure there are some what ifs; what if Hightower and Chung hadn't opted out , what if there never been a Brady-Belichick feud and had Brady stayed a Patriot We'll never know, but in some ways I'm looking at this as similar to the breakup of the Beatles. Just like the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo was the greatest of all time, the Brady-Belichick QB-coach combo is the greatest of all time. And maybe just like what happened between John and Paul, maybe the stresses between Tom and Bill had gotten to be too much. What I'm hoping for now is that just like after the Beatles breakup up Paul started all over again from scratch, formed a new band and led Wing's to the top of the charts Bill will pull together a new Patriots nucleus and lead them to the top of the NFL again,
 

biggreen

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Yes, if ever a team deserves some leeway for a rebuild, it’s the Pats after such amazing dominance... as another post-Beatle suggested:

it's gonna take money
A whole lot of spending money
It's gonna take plenty of money
To do it right

It's gonna take time
A whole lot of precious time
It's gonna take patience and time, um
To do it, to do it, to do it, to do it, to do it
To do it right, child

Haha.
 

rodderick

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That shocks you? One of the things that players around the league respect about BB is his refusal to throw players under the bus. I realize its Kill Bill time in NE, spoiled as we are but c'mon, shocked?
Has he ever said this about a player? There's a huge gap between "not throwing Cam under the bus" and "explicitly coming out in defense of Cam".
 

SMU_Sox

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Too much time wasted pointing fingers when the talent is lacking at too many positions. This group has a major talent and roster/personnel problem on the offense and defense. Feels like a waste of time to really do anything but look at FA needs and which young guys are worth keeping at what price.

Cam is not the answer but you could win with him, to a point, if he had a good supporting cast.

Spent a long time going over whether or not this was the year to draft a guy or not. Let's assume for the sake of the argument that Wilson or Trey Lance (or I guess Justin Fields) is their guy and they can trade up and get him. He is the guy they covet and they think he is the guy you can win because of. Also assume they address WR and/or TE in free agency enough so that it isn't a black hole. If that changes it will be noted.

Should they draft their guy if they have a guy? The situation with young talent is bleak. You'd likely be dropping a guy into a situation where he might need to sit for a year anyway and both the defense and offense are major issues. The passing offense in particular is a dumpster fire. Do you want to take the guy and put him in that situation?

My answer to that question is for any other position you don't trade up and take that guy. But for QB you do. 1) QB is the most important position in the game. 2) QB is the most important position in the game. 3) It is harder to find a QB than it is to rebuild offenses and defenses. 4) There is enough young talent at OL and RB that if you add some mid level talent to WR and TE it would look a lot better than the dreck they have now.

I think the question we are going to be asking ourselves the night before the draft is do they trade up for Lance, Wilson, or Fields? Do they take Mac Jones or Kyle Trask if they slip? Do they snag an athletic day 3 QB who they could develop like a Hill or a Hurts? My wild ass guess on 12/29/2020 is that 1/3 is their guy and I will guess Lance specifically is their guy and they pull the trigger on moving up.

Quick edit: I also have no issue with people saying that they wouldn't take a QB in such a bad situation like the Pats have it. I disagree but I think the other side of the coin is valid.
 

DourDoerr

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Eh, they went for it on 4th and 2 and 4th and 1 both from the NE 43. I think most teams go in that spot regardless of the opposing offense strength, I'm sure the analytics say to go. If anything, I think facing a shitty offense is more of a reason to be conservative and punt than to go.

You could include the fake punt but I think that wasn't necessarily called from the sideline. I think that was awareness by the Bills ST. They recognized the Patriots didn't have anyone on the gunner and executed a quick snap and throw out wide. Similar to the Chung debacle in the Jets playoff game that failed.
Fair. I can't prove it obviously, but I suspect that they would have gone for it on a longer yard count on 4th down too as they're less worried about giving up great field position if they fail. There's much less downside when you're fairly certain you can choke out the opposing offense. There's been a lot of pain dealt out at Foxboro over the years and it's a good thing this offense was able to run at times and burn down clock. Otherwise, there might have been more teams punching this defense in the teeth again and again, wearing them down with little to no fear of a quick strike counter.

Disagree on the bad offense giving more incentive to go conservative and punt - but I see your point.
 

McBride11

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What am I missing on Jones or Trask?

Guys more likely available in the teens. This year seems to have a lot of great to solid Qbs (potentially). Buckle up - we arent getting TB12 again ever, no one is.

Id love to pick a stud DL / DE / LB first, who generally have more immediate impact, but QB makes the world go round in the NFL these days.
 

SMU_Sox

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Going into NYJ game the Patriots are likely going to finish the year with a -16.1% offensive passing DVOA% which is 31st in the league. If those numbers hold it will be the worst passing offense BB has ever had in his Patriots tenure when measured vs league average.
 

Zincman

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Has he ever said this about a player? There's a huge gap between "not throwing Cam under the bus" and "explicitly coming out in defense of Cam".
OTOH, has there been a Patriot player in BB's reign that has been as universally trashed as Cam Newton? If we finally caught BB in a human moment where he was simply humane enough to defend the only QB he has that can play at all, well then, I don't find it shocking nor a huge gap. It's a good management skill
 

rodderick

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OTOH, has there been a Patriot player in BB's reign that has been as universally trashed as Cam Newton? If we finally caught BB in a human moment where he was simply humane enough to defend the only QB he has that can play at all, well then, I don't find it shocking nor a huge gap. It's a good management skill
He's done this with Cam since he set foot in Foxborough. Just constant praise and reassurance. I have no qualms with managing different players differently, but that has never really been the mantra in NE when they were winning, at least not outwardly and to the press.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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He's done this with Cam since he set foot in Foxborough. Just constant praise and reassurance. I have no qualms with managing different players differently, but that has never really been the mantra in NE when they were winning, at least not outwardly and to the press.
BB knows other players respect the hell out of Cam. BB himself respects Cam. Treating Cam with praise and respect isn’t going to go unnoticed by other players on the team and around the league.
 

rodderick

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BB knows other players respect the hell out of Cam. BB himself respects Cam. Treating Cam with praise and respect isn’t going to go unnoticed by other players on the team and around the league.
I thought the whole point was treating the star QB like any other player on the team. Is Cam getting ripped to shreds in post game film study like Brady would be after a bad game? That's what I'm more interested in finding out.
 

lexrageorge

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I thought the whole point was treating the star QB like any other player on the team. Is Cam getting ripped to shreds in post game film study like Brady would be after a bad game? That's what I'm more interested in finding out.
Belichick never ripped Brady publicly, and did, in fact, praise him many times.

The idea that Brady got ripped to shreds after every game was a media narrative that got overdone by writers looking to sell books.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Belichick never ripped Brady publicly, and did, in fact, praise him many times.

The idea that Brady got ripped to shreds after every game was a media narrative that got overdone by writers looking to sell books.
Yeah, this whole conversation is confusing. I dont remember Belichick shredding Brady. I vividly remember him smirking up a storm when media challenged Brady as starting QB after the KC loss a few years back.
 

rodderick

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Belichick never ripped Brady publicly, and did, in fact, praise him many times.

The idea that Brady got ripped to shreds after every game was a media narrative that got overdone by writers looking to sell books.
I obviously meant in film sessions and said that in my post. The fact that Bill went hard on Tom inside the building is corroborated by basically any source you can find, I wasn't talking about crapping on Tom to the press.
 

FL4WL3SS

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The situations are obviously clearly different. This might just be a case of Belichick trying to keep his guy puffed up while he's struggling. With Brady, the opposite was the case, he needed to make a point that he was just one of 53.

I appreciate the different approaches, it's clearly needed with Cam.
 

Beomoose

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Cam's working on an incredibly light contract compared to what he's used to and hasn't seen his family in person in months, I got no problem with Bill's efforts to make him feel welcome and valued. Cam's problems don't appear to be a result of shitty work ethic or delusions of grandeur, he doesn't need to be reminded that he's mortal.
 

DourDoerr

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The whole Cam/Stidham dust storm seems to follow everything the Pats have espoused since BB's day one. Cam's worked hard, has a skill that translates to success (moderate, unfortunately) but a skill nonetheless and he's worked hard with a great attitude. That's what BB expects and rewards. The noise around Stidham regarding work ethic, willingness to play through injury, if true, is exactly the best way to earn a seat in Foxboro. So far, our best guess is that he hasn't exhibited an overriding skill at practice either, so his handling is consistent with the way the Pats roll.

If Stidham isn't a slouch regarding prep, I fully expect him to be a Pat next year and think calls to cut him this offseason are shortsighted. At the least, they'll continue to groom him for a backup. He's cheap, has been learning the system for 2 years, and has some skills that show promise. It's the Hoyer model. They invested time in Stidham and they'll get a return of a cheap backup for as long as they can. That's his minimum value.
 

Super Nomario

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He's done this with Cam since he set foot in Foxborough. Just constant praise and reassurance. I have no qualms with managing different players differently, but that has never really been the mantra in NE when they were winning, at least not outwardly and to the press.
I think when players have come under attack, Belichick has rallied to their defense. I remember when a story came out that Aaron Dobson had gotten in an altercation with a coach, Belichick immediately and in strong language put out a denial. But when you're 12-3, a lot fewer guys come under attack than when you're 6-9.
 

djbayko

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Do we have official word on tomorrow's starting QB yet? I assume it will be Cam, but if it's going to be any week for Stidham it would be this one.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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He was either the second or third worst QB in the entire league, no kidding they're moving on from him. BB will get Cam his playing time incentives today as a good faith gesture as they've been very happy with his work ethic and leadership qualities. He just can't play any more.
 

Traut

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Do we have official word on tomorrow's starting QB yet? I assume it will be Cam, but if it's going to be any week for Stidham it would be this one.
There was Instagram video of Stidham drinking wine with friends without masks on New Year’s Eve. He’s not on the field for a reason - namely Cam gives them a better chance to win.
 

FL4WL3SS

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He was either the second or third worst QB in the entire league, no kidding they're moving on from him. BB will get Cam his playing time incentives today as a good faith gesture as they've been very happy with his work ethic and leadership qualities. He just can't play any more.
It's cool he can look like a competent QB against the worst team in the league though *eye roll*
 

BaseballJones

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Man I assume what you're saying is true, and assuming it is, could Stidham be any dumber? The guy's NFL career is really kind of hanging on a thread here. He needs to do everything right. This is just another one of those things that gives the Pats (and any other team) a reason to not play him.