How many catches are Welker+Watson going to have over the middle? I say 14 at least, if Watson isn't a major pussy.
Thought this was interesting from McDaniels:
Question: When teams have gone three-wide or four-wide against Jacksonville, how have they generally defended it? Do they play much six defensive backs, or it is pretty standard with just the one, Terry Cousin, coming on?
McDaniels: Yeah, I would say that they’re a nickel team, with Terry Cousin coming in. They’ve shown some dime - not a whole lot of it, but I would say this: not a lot of teams have really put that four-wide or anything like that out there against them ... It wouldn’t surprise me to see them put the dime in the game, but if it just was nickel than that’s probably what they’ve played the most of and what they feel most comfortable in, and that’s what we would anticipate [them] putting out there against us when we’re in any kind of three-receiver grouping.
Jags were mostly in the nickel against the Steelers during the second half but those were mostly against 3-wide sets. I can guarantee that won't be the case against the Patriots where they are likely to see 5-wide at times.
The Patriots offensive strategy against Philly came under a lot of criticism, but I could see them opening up in the controlled, no-huddle 4-wide offense with Faulk in the backfield. Jags obviously prefer keeping a linebacker over their sixth DB (whether it's the ancient Aaron Glenn or Scott "Not Duane" Starks), but that's an advantage for a deep receiving corps. Or the Jags make an adjustment to a less comfortable sub package. Either way, seems like a win-win.
Regardless, I do expect a lot of no-huddle from NE if for no other reason than to keep the Jags from rotating along the defensive line while possibly making Grady Jackson vomit in the process. Also something we saw against the Giants -- splitting Evans and Maroney wide to create a mismatch versus run stopping personnel -- could be used some more.
When considering how the Patriots' offense might attack the Jaguars' defense in tonight's divisional playoff game, a look back at last year's Dec. 24 regular season game between the teams could help.
Here is a look at the positional groupings utilized by the Patriots in that game:
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 30 of 67 snaps
4 WR/1 RB -- 14 of 67
4 WR/1 TE -- 7 of 67
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 6 of 67
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 4 of 67
5 WR -- 3 of 67
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 2 of 67
2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 1 of 67
ANALYSIS: The Patriots flooded the field with pass-catchers in the game, as 54 of 67 snaps came with either 3, 4, or 5 receivers. This was also a game where the Patriots lined up receivers in the backfield at times. So as kickoff nears tonight, it will be interesting to see if the team adopts a similar receiver-based approach. Based on the team's overall approach this season, that would appear likely.
Brady finished that game 28 out of 39 for 249 yards with 1 TD and no INT. Brady ran/scrambled 7 times for 34 yards (with one rush ending on a borderline spear by Clint Ingram), not counting three kneel downs at game's end. One sack allowed on 47 drop-backs. And that was with the likes of Reche Caldwell, Kelvin Kight and Bam Childress at WR.
How about Kaczur and Neal? I think this must be a Belichick ruse--either that our they've killed each other in practice the last 2 weeks.
I don't think Kaczur's injury is serious; I'd be surprised if he didn't start.
Neal's issue is his shoulder, which has already been surgically repaired twice (most recently in '03). The fact that he wasn't IR'd after missing the final four games is a good sign, I guess, as they must feel there's a chance he can play through it but chose to hold him out until the playoffs.
Edited by nazz45, 12 January 2008 - 09:58 AM.