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Leaving the starters in: catchall thread


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#1 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:07 PM

We've kinda had this discussion all over the place here recently, and I figured we could have a nice place now for such discussion going forward.

What triggered me to start this thread was seeing this on BSMW this morning:

I looked for it, but didn’t see the nationwide outrage last night as the New York Giants led the Green Bay Packers by 28 points and Eli Manning was in the game, throwing for the end zone on 4th down with 5:03 remaining in the game.

On Thursday night, just after halftime, for crying out loud, you had actual NFL beat writers (wait, does Buffalo count?) posting things like this:

(tweet)

Belichick is such a prick. Run the damn ball, kill clock n get the hell out of town. If guys get hurt, I'll smile. Sorry. No need to pass
22 Nov 12 (tweet)

I know the media roots for storylines, but rooting for injuries is cool?

Last night, not a peep. No hand-wringing over leaving Eli Manning in the game and risking the season. No accusations of hubris hurled at Tom Coughlin. Nothing. I’m sure the phone lines in New York are filled up with angry Giants fans embarrassed at their coach and his poor sportsmanship.


Last pass Brady threw: 7:00 left in the game

Last pass Manning threw: 4:53 left in the game

Brady came out of the game on Pats last drive. Manning never came out.

Others have mentioned that SF ran a fake FG up 24 points in the 3rd quarter this year. Brees passing the ball up big in the 4th, Rodgers the same. So why is it that only the Pats take shit for it? Discuss.

Also, we've argued here about the wisdom of leaving the starters in late in games, in the wake of Gronk's injury. My take is that looking at Belichick's record here in NE is justification enough for his methods. They clearly work. That can be discussed too.

Just trying to amalgamate all such talk into one thread for easy follwing.

#2 lexrageorge

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:28 PM

What I'm about to say applies solely to pro football (I treat college and high school and Pop Warner very differently). The "running up the score" meme is 100% a mediot creation. If your team can score 35 points in a quarter, it's certainly feasible for your opponent to return the favor. Therefore, no game is truly "out of reach" at halftime. Even if the game is "out of reach", the winning team has no obligation of any kind to stop playing football. Noone cares if David Ortiz hits a home run in the 8th inning while the Sox are winning 15-0. Noone expected the Celtics to let up when it was the 4th quarter of Game 6 of the 2008 Finals. I've seen Chara complete a hat trick in the waning moments of a 7-0 game, and noone criticized him of "running up the score". It's professional sports, and professional athletes and coaches are paid to deal with the occasional blowout loss.

The New York media hates Belichick, hates the Patriots, hates Tom Brady, and cannot and will not write anything rationally when it comes to the Patriots. I expect that some of them will withhold their HoF votes for Brady and Belichick when the time comes, although it will have no impact on their eventual election.

The "resting players" is almost as ridiculous. There are 45 players dressed, at least 3 of whom are specialists (LS, P, K). Due to positional groupings, there is no way to sub all 22 starters; no team dresses 10 offensive lineman. Also, during the game, there are usually at least 1 or 2 "did not return" type injuries, so by late in the 4th quarter it's not uncommon to have fewer than 40 positional players dressed and available.

No coach can succeed coaching to avoid injury. Freak injuries happen in football. Sure, a coach can do things to mitigate the risk late in a blowout; if Hernandez' ankle is bothering him, then he's a good candidate for sitting out the 4h quarter of a blowout. And Mallett has appeared in 3 games, so it's not like Brady is always being left in. It's a judgment call, and I'd rather trust the judgment of the guy patrolling the New England sideline than anyone writing from the press box or the confines of their heated offices on Morrissey Blvd.

#3 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

An oft-overlooked point is that there's a lot of value in additional reps, even in blowouts. The Pats mention this quite a bit - they continue to work on certain situations and plays if presented with the opportunity, and what better situation to try to execute new or to just practice old plays? With padded practices all but gone from the coach's in-season repertoire, gameday is often the only time during which players are actually hitting each other at anything resembling full-speed. I swear that some people - well, the ones who have ostensibly pure motives for criticizing the Pats' handling of blowout scenarios, though I hear nothing from them when other teams do the same - think that this is Madden video game football. It's not. In the real-life NFL world, players - yes, even stars - need as many reps and as much exposure to game-speed situations as is humanly possible; individual performance, not to mention continuity and cohesion, depends on it.

This is not to say that you ignore a game's context - certainly if a guy gets banged up or is scuffling, there's no reason to keep him in there. But removing a guy out of fear he WILL suffer an injury? Sorry, I'm not going for it. I'm not going to crow about 'PLAY 60 MINUTES OF FOOTBALL' one minute, then sit my top players for a quarter because I'm scared they'll get hurt.

#4 ifmanis5


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

Leaving the starters in 'controversy' is so First World problems, and it's a great sign of how far the Pats have come.

A few months ago we were discussing blowing second half leads with embarrassing regularity. Now it's a matter of embarrassing other teams to the point where their self-appointed human mascot decides to quit out of humiliation. I endorse this thread.

#5 collings94

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:43 PM

The rest of the country hates the Patriots and BB, and anything they do is going to be criticized. That's just the way it works.

I disagree with the whiners who complain about New England running up the score. In High School or College it's different, but in the NFL, everybody is a professional and every team is on a level playing field, more or less.

One thing I don't like is that the Patriots do tend to leave their starters in too long. For instance, on Thursday, I think it was in the 4th Quarter, the Pats had Welker back to return a punt. It just seemed like an unnecessary risk. Why not put Edleman back there instead?

#6 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:45 PM

The rest of the country hates the Patriots and BB, and anything they do is going to be criticized. That's just the way it works.

I disagree with the whiners who complain about New England running up the score. In High School or College it's different, but in the NFL, everybody is a professional and every team is on a level playing field, more or less.

One thing I don't like is that the Patriots do tend to leave their starters in too long. For instance, on Thursday, I think it was in the 4th Quarter, the Pats had Welker back to return a punt. It just seemed like an unnecessary risk. Why not put Edleman back there instead?


Edelman had been knocked out of the game in the 3rd with an apparent concussion. So the choices for a returner were Welker, McCourty (?)...who else, really?

#7 TheoShmeo


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:46 PM

Last pass Brady threw: 7:00 left in the game

Last pass Manning threw: 4:53 left in the game

Brady came out of the game on Pats last drive. Manning never came out.

Others have mentioned that SF ran a fake FG up 24 points in the 3rd quarter this year. Brees passing the ball up big in the 4th, Rodgers the same. So why is it that only the Pats take shit for it? Discuss.

Also, we've argued here about the wisdom of leaving the starters in late in games, in the wake of Gronk's injury. My take is that looking at Belichick's record here in NE is justification enough for his methods. They clearly work. That can be discussed too.

Just trying to amalgamate all such talk into one thread for easy follwing.

I'm going to go back and look tonight but I thought that Brady threw his last pass in the Jets game with around five minutes to go in the game.

From my perspective, the issue has nothing to do with "running up the score" and the opportunists' selective reaction to the Patriots. Whether it's because Belichick is perceived as a media meany, SypGate or some other supposed wrong, the fact is that the media covers the Patriots, and Bill in particular, differently than other teams and has for a while. Hell, I almost like that the Pats are disliked. No one much cared about them until Parcells showed up and they became consistently relevant, and I'll take this current status over benign neglect all day long. Plus, it's kind of fun rooting for the villain.

My concern is only related to unnecessary exposure to injury risk. In the Jets game, I believe that a lineman or other defender came reasonably close to Brady's legs on his last toss and I remember wondering what Bill could possibly be hoping to gain by putting Tom in harm's way while up by 37 points with around 5-7 minutes left in the game. True, the Jets cut it to 30 points thereafter (horrors) but even the most conservative among us would agree that the game was effectively over when Brady threw his last pass.
You're right, BB's methods work and we're beyond lucky to have him. I just don't want to ever be in a position to say or even think "see, THAT'S what I was worried about," when it comes to the best player on the Pats and possibly the NFL.

One more thing: Bill justified leaving some of his stars in late in the Indy game on WEEI by saying that he didn't like the idea of saying "X, you're not so important, so you stay in, and Y, you're very important, so you come out." Yet on the last Jets scoring drive, he took out many but not all of the regulars. I'm sure he didn't characterize what he did in terms of importance to the team, and if asked would have said that it was good for the guys who played to get some in game reps. Nevertheless, he did what many coaches do when a win (or loss) is virtually guaranteed with the likes of Wilfork, Spikes and Mayo, and I'm not sure how that's different than taking out Tom (and Welker and Gronk) in the last 5-6 minutes of a blowout.

I get it. Bill is tremendous. His methods work. There's literally no one I'd rather have as the HC of the NEP. Still, this one thing remains curious to me.

#8 Dogman2


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

I also think Welker was instructed to fair catch or let it go. In this instance, he caught it off one bounce right next to the sideline and then immediately stepped out.

#9 Shelterdog


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:52 PM

I get it. Bill is tremendous. His methods work. There's literally no one I'd rather have as the HC of the NEP. Still, this one thing remains curious to me.


It's really not complicated. BB thinks that the value of (toughness built by playing starters longer than most teams) + (chemistry/live execution from playing starters long minutes) > (risk of injury due to playing starters extended minutes).

He may or may not be right.

Also, his "I don't want to tell Joe that Steve is more important than him so I play both the whole game" is a total bullshit answer he gave to the media--he's always pulled elite starters earlier than other players in the pre-season, sat some starters and not others in end-of-regular season games, etc.

#10 lars10

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

I also think Welker was instructed to fair catch or let it go. In this instance, he caught it off one bounce right next to the sideline and then immediately stepped out.

IIRC didn't he also catch a punt and immediately give himself up at the 15 or so? Haven't rewatched the game, but it def made me think that he was instructed to not take any hits whatsoever on a return.

#11 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:54 PM

I'm going to go back and look tonight but I thought that Brady threw his last pass in the Jets game with around five minutes to go in the game.


The Pats started their last Brady drive with 9:36 left on the clock.

They went:
1st and 10 at NE 29 S.Vereen left end to NE 36 for 7 yards (B.Thomas).
2nd and 3 at NE 36 S.Vereen right tackle to NE 41 for 5 yards (M.Devito).
1st and 10 at NE 41 S.Vereen left tackle to NE 38 for -3 yards (L.Landry).
2nd and 13 at NE 38 T.Brady pass short right to W.Welker pushed ob at NE 46 for 8 yards (K.Wilson).
3rd and 5 at NE 46 (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short middle to D.Woodhead to NYJ 43 for 11 yards (C.Pace; E.Smith)
1st and 10 at NYJ 43 S.Vereen left guard to NYJ 41 for 2 yards (D.Davis).
2nd and 8 at NYJ 41 S.Vereen left end to NYJ 39 for 2 yards (D.Harris).
3rd and 6 at NYJ 39 (Shotgun) D.Woodhead right tackle to NYJ 39 for no gain (G.McIntyre).
4th and 6 at NYJ 39 Z.Mesko punts 39 yards to end zone, Center-D.Aiken, Touchback.

The Jets got the ball with 4:01 left. Given that there were 3 runs and then a punt after the last pass of the game, I'd guess those plays took up around 3 minutes of game time, which puts the final pass around the 7 minute mark.

#12 TheoShmeo


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:58 PM

It's really not complicated. BB thinks that the value of (toughness built by playing starters longer than most teams) + (chemistry/live execution from playing starters long minutes) > (risk of injury due to playing starters extended minutes).

He may or may not be right.

Also, his "I don't want to tell Joe that Steve is more important than him so I play both the whole game" is a total bullshit answer he gave to the media--he's always pulled elite starters earlier than other players in the pre-season, sat some starters and not others in end-of-regular season games, etc.

I should not have written "remains curious" as I really meant "seems wrong." But I'm glad I was imprecise as your reply is right on the money.

As to BB's calculus, since Tom is the one guy they really cannot afford to lose and remain a viable SB contender, I think it's hard to argue that the benefits you've noted outweigh the risks (however big or small they are).

#13 lars10

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

It's really not complicated. BB thinks that the value of (toughness built by playing starters longer than most teams) + (chemistry/live execution from playing starters long minutes) > (risk of injury due to playing starters extended minutes).

Does he really play starters more than most teams? How many teams sit their players before 5 minutes left in the fourth or so? Eli and Rodgers were both in the game late yesterday after the game was well in hand. This seems true generally. Houston is a team I've noticed will take out players like Foster early (I haven't noticed if they've taken out Schaub at the same time though.)

Also, his "I don't want to tell Joe that Steve is more important than him so I play both the whole game" is a total bullshit answer he gave to the media--he's always pulled elite starters earlier than other players in the pre-season, sat some starters and not others in end-of-regular season games, etc.

Again is that different than any other team?... in the preseason everyone knows how long the starters will play...you also have practice team players and others that are trying to make the team and are being evaluated...and the rosters are a lot bigger...it's a completely different situation.
Similar going into the playoffs...at that point the season is essentially over. I guess you could say that he's putting in 'non-essential' personnel, but I imagine to a player knows their rolls a lot better at that point in the season and realizes what's at stake if a player gets hurt at that point...but maybe you're right that it's a bs answer...When I heard it it made sense to me as a coach to player dynamic during the regular season to keep everyone mentally happy.

Edit: Eli threw a pass on 4th and 1 at the 1 with about 5 minutes left. Rodgers did not play the next series. 8 of 17 plays were pass plays on that final drive by the Giants (38-10 at that point). It'd be interesting to see what other teams do in similar situations.
Dalton was in to the end of the game up 34-10 and had his last pass at around the 4 minute mark.
Cutler was in the entire game up 28-10 with his last pass at about the 6 minute mark. There weren't really any other blowouts this week.

Edited by lars10, 26 November 2012 - 02:15 PM.


#14 Red(s)HawksFan


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

The Pats started their last Brady drive with 9:36 left on the clock.

They went:
1st and 10 at NE 29 S.Vereen left end to NE 36 for 7 yards (B.Thomas).
2nd and 3 at NE 36 S.Vereen right tackle to NE 41 for 5 yards (M.Devito).
1st and 10 at NE 41 S.Vereen left tackle to NE 38 for -3 yards (L.Landry).
2nd and 13 at NE 38 T.Brady pass short right to W.Welker pushed ob at NE 46 for 8 yards (K.Wilson).
3rd and 5 at NE 46 (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short middle to D.Woodhead to NYJ 43 for 11 yards (C.Pace; E.Smith)
1st and 10 at NYJ 43 S.Vereen left guard to NYJ 41 for 2 yards (D.Davis).
2nd and 8 at NYJ 41 S.Vereen left end to NYJ 39 for 2 yards (D.Harris).
3rd and 6 at NYJ 39 (Shotgun) D.Woodhead right tackle to NYJ 39 for no gain (G.McIntyre).
4th and 6 at NYJ 39 Z.Mesko punts 39 yards to end zone, Center-D.Aiken, Touchback.

The Jets got the ball with 4:01 left. Given that there were 3 runs and then a punt after the last pass of the game, I'd guess those plays took up around 3 minutes of game time, which puts the final pass around the 7 minute mark.


Probably also worth noting that the two passes that Brady did throw on that possession were on 2nd and 13 and 3rd and 5...both situations in which the passes were designed to gain the yardage necessary to get the first down and continue to eat up the clock. Once the first down was achieved and the ball was moved into Jet territory in the process, it was back to the ground game. It's not as though they were in full on attack mode going for another score.

The rest of the country hates the Patriots and BB, and anything they do is going to be criticized. That's just the way it works.


If this were the case, I don't know that it would be such a big deal. But it's not just the outside media, there are media members within the market that also seems to find fault with the Patriots' fourth quarter personnel decisions. WEEI gets a lot of run out of the topic because the morning show guys spend their show whining about the Patriots running up the score and the rump-swab afternoon guys spend their show defending Belichick. It's been their schtick since 2007.

#15 Al Zarilla


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:45 PM

The Pats started their last Brady drive with 9:36 left on the clock.

They went:
1st and 10 at NE 29 S.Vereen left end to NE 36 for 7 yards (B.Thomas).
2nd and 3 at NE 36 S.Vereen right tackle to NE 41 for 5 yards (M.Devito).
1st and 10 at NE 41 S.Vereen left tackle to NE 38 for -3 yards (L.Landry).
2nd and 13 at NE 38 T.Brady pass short right to W.Welker pushed ob at NE 46 for 8 yards (K.Wilson).
3rd and 5 at NE 46 (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short middle to D.Woodhead to NYJ 43 for 11 yards (C.Pace; E.Smith)
1st and 10 at NYJ 43 S.Vereen left guard to NYJ 41 for 2 yards (D.Davis).
2nd and 8 at NYJ 41 S.Vereen left end to NYJ 39 for 2 yards (D.Harris).
3rd and 6 at NYJ 39 (Shotgun) D.Woodhead right tackle to NYJ 39 for no gain (G.McIntyre).
4th and 6 at NYJ 39 Z.Mesko punts 39 yards to end zone, Center-D.Aiken, Touchback.

The Jets got the ball with 4:01 left. Given that there were 3 runs and then a punt after the last pass of the game, I'd guess those plays took up around 3 minutes of game time, which puts the final pass around the 7 minute mark.

Good, no, really good guess. CBS Sports has times at start of plays in their full play by play summary. Last pass was at 7:00.

1-10-NE29(9:36) S.Vereen left end to NE 36 for 7 yards (B.Thomas).
2-3-NE36(9:00) S.Vereen right tackle to NE 41 for 5 yards (M.Devito).
1-10-NE41(8:18) S.Vereen left tackle to NE 38 for -3 yards (L.Landry).
2-13-NE38(7:43) T.Brady pass short right to W.Welker pushed ob at NE 46 for 8 yards (K.Wilson).
3-5-NE46(7:00) (Shotgun) T.Brady pass short middle to D.Woodhead to NYJ 43 for 11 yards (C.Pace; E.Smith) [D.Harris].
1-10-NYJ43(6:18) S.Vereen left guard to NYJ 41 for 2 yards (D.Davis).
2-8-NYJ41(5:37) S.Vereen left end to NYJ 39 for 2 yards (D.Harris).
3-6-NYJ39(4:53) (Shotgun) D.Woodhead right tackle to NYJ 39 for no gain (G.McIntyre).
4-6-NYJ39(4:09) Z.Mesko punts 39 yards to end zone, Center-D.Aiken, Touchback.

#16 abty

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:50 PM

Well, for the record, I can't say what a coach should or should not due but when the Patriots were still on the field I was baffled. I just didn't realize it was the norm to keep 'em in. I didn't view it as a way of 'rubbing it in' I just felt it would increase their odds of an injury. Sure enough, Gronk got hurt. Well, it happens I guess.

As for yesterday, I didn't want our starters on the field with 4+ minutes left because I wanted those fuckers healthy for the RedSkins. Now our key RB is out for the year. Not sure if it was that late in the game or just before but I have always felt that, in a blowout, put the scrubs in. That's what happens when you have a team that always seems to have 1/2 key injuries a week - you think too much about it. A team like the Patriots doesn't have to because they never had a tanked season with an injury - they are a fucking machine. 11-5 without Brady. Super Bowl with a hobbled Gronk. Few teams can do that.

So, in short, my 'philosophy' may not have been right, but my paranoia, by coincidence, was 'justified' for 2 straight weeks. Such is life in football.

#17 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

Well, the Gronk play happens even if Scott Zolak parachutes from the booth to replace Brady and Jermaine Wiggins comes in for Gronk - it happened on an extra point. They actually took him out of the offense around the 9-10 minute mark, IIRC. Teams don't sub out in that package, and certainly not for the winger in protection.

#18 DrewDawg


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Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

Adding another team to the list, the Skins had RGIII throwing 2 weeks ago with a 25 point lead against the Eagles with 5 minutes left.

But it's fun to call BB evil.

#19 crystalline

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:51 PM

What I'm about to say applies solely to pro football (I treat college and high school and Pop Warner very differently). The "running up the score" meme is 100% a mediot creation. If your team can score 35 points in a quarter, it's certainly feasible for your opponent to return the favor. Therefore, no game is truly "out of reach" at halftime. Even if the game is "out of reach", the winning team has no obligation of any kind to stop playing football.


I have heard people say this before and if I were the one playing the game, I would not agree. When you're in a competitive situation, the way to respect the other team is to play hard, even if you're ahead. It stinks when you're on the losing side of a blowout. Think about those times you've been in a game and losing by a lot -- is it worse when the other team starts fooling around or puts their scrubs in?
If it's a high school or college football game where a wide talent disparity means the other team is risking injury, I can see it.
But a high school or amateur baseball or basketball game? If you signed up for the game presumably you think you have a shot.
I'd much rather lose big to a team that's trying. And if I'm on a team that's winning by a lot, I want to continue to try as long as I'm in the game.

I should not have written "remains curious" as I really meant "seems wrong." But I'm glad I was imprecise as your reply is right on the money.

As to BB's calculus, since Tom is the one guy they really cannot afford to lose and remain a viable SB contender, I think it's hard to argue that the benefits you've noted outweigh the risks (however big or small they are).


What I've seen is that Belichick tends to scale down snaps when the game is out of hand for guys that are hurting. Gronk has not been 100% this season which is why he was sitting on that last drive; Welker too, I believe.
Once you do that, there's very little room to sub other guys - start with 46 actives, subtract guys that are out for the game (Jones in the Colts game), subtract the guys who are not 100%, and you still have to field 11 guys on offense plus your normal subs.

I think what you're really saying is "Why is Tom Brady still in there". Because he's a special case.

Edited by crystalline, 26 November 2012 - 07:52 PM.


#20 crystalline

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

As for yesterday, I didn't want our starters on the field with 4+ minutes left because I wanted those fuckers healthy for the RedSkins. Now our key RB is out for the year. Not sure if it was that late in the game or just before but I have always felt that, in a blowout, put the scrubs in. That's what happens when you have a team that always seems to have 1/2 key injuries a week - you think too much about it. A team like the Patriots doesn't have to because they never had a tanked season with an injury - they are a fucking machine. 11-5 without Brady. Super Bowl with a hobbled Gronk. Few teams can do that.


Nice, I see how you're subtly rubbing it in there. Yes the Patriots MADE IT to the Super Bowl with a hobbled Gronk but WHO WON?!?!

For the record your team looked good last night, once the TV started working after I threw the remote during the "Tyree retrospective". I don't want Brady to face that d-line in the playoffs.

#21 rodderick

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:32 AM

Adam Jones on the Patriots Post-Game Show on patriots.com was talking about how the Patriots deserved what happened to Edelman against the Jets, because they were running "gadget plays" at the end of a blowout, and that play-call didn't have any intent other than to show up the Jets. That's the kind of dumb bullshit the freak Gronkowski injury brings upon us. The Edelman play happened with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. The Patriots led 35-3, but there were still 24 minutes of football to be played. What were they supposed to do? Take a knee? Run it up the gut on every down? And why the fuck is running a reverse that egregious, how is that a play called only to spite the Jets? Teams run reverses all the time, winning or losing, on every down and distance. It's a reasonably common play, the guy was talking about it as if they had called a statue of liberty, or something elaborate like that. When there is that much time left in the game, you should do nothing else but run your normal offense. At the very least you build chemistry, and work on some plays. Bitching about how they deserved losing a guy to a concussion because they called a reverse with half the game to go is absolutely ridiculous. What if they took a deep shot out of play action? Would that be a play called only to spite the Jets too? Fucking stupid.

Edited by rodderick, 27 November 2012 - 10:34 AM.


#22 DrewDawg


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

TMQ also mentioned BB not sitting his guys today.

No other coach, just BB.

#23 rodderick

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:43 AM

TMQ also mentioned BB not sitting his guys today.

No other coach, just BB.


Easterbrook is a notorious Belichick hater. Nothing surprising here. He's always good for a couple of Spygate references a month.

#24 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:46 AM

I don't know why anyone reads TMQ.

#25 lexrageorge

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

Adam Jones on the Patriots Post-Game Show on patriots.com was talking about how the Patriots deserved what happened to Edelman against the Jets, because they were running "gadget plays" at the end of a blowout, and that play-call didn't have any intent other than to show up the Jets. That's the kind of dumb bullshit the freak Gronkowski injury brings upon us. The Edelman play happened with 9 minutes left in the third quarter. The Patriots led 35-3, but there were still 24 minutes of football to be played. What were they supposed to do? Take a knee? Run it up the gut on every down? And why the fuck is running a reverse that egregious, how is that a play called only to spite the Jets? Teams run reverses all the time, winning or losing, on every down and distance. It's a reasonably common play, the guy was talking about it as if they had called a statue of liberty, or something elaborate like that. When there is that much time left in the game, you should do nothing else but run your normal offense. At the very least you build chemistry, and work on some plays. Bitching about how they deserved losing a guy to a concussion because they called a reverse with half the game to go is absolutely ridiculous. What if they took a deep shot out of play action? Would that be a play called only to spite the Jets too? Fucking stupid.


This goes back to my earlier point: the mediots hate, hate, hate Belichick, and continually let that hate color any sort of rational analysis when it comes to his decisions. We've seen this with "4th-and-2", Spygate, "running up the score", drafting Seymour/Light instead of David Terrell, "they hate their coach", and countless others. BB doesn't coddle the media, doesn't give them little tidbits of breaking news, doesn't allow anyone on his staff to provide tidbits, and treats injuries as state secrets; the press hates that, because they feel they are owed more information than anyone else, fans included. TMQ and Adam Jones are just 2 members of the Borges/Jackson club, and are about as useful as them when it comes to post-game analysis.

#26 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

I don't know why anyone reads TMQ.


He took the weasel way out too, claiming this time that it's not because it's unethical (a change from his numerous past statements) but because it's stupid due to risk of injury (not that Brady's ever gotten hurt in such a situaton). I guess the Giants and the Niners and the Saints and many, many other teams are stupid too.

#27 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:51 AM

The Edelman play wasn't even a reverse, it was an end around. That's something they frequently run two or more times a game; usually with Hernandez but he was still limited, so running it with Edelman makes all the sense in the world. I don't see how it qualifies as a gadget play whatsoever, particularly with 24 minutes of game to go.

#28 lexrageorge

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

The Edelman play wasn't even a reverse, it was an end around. That's something they frequently run two or more times a game; usually with Hernandez but he was still limited, so running it with Edelman makes all the sense in the world. I don't see how it qualifies as a gadget play whatsoever, particularly with 24 minutes of game to go.


Correct; an end around is a fairly standard running play that you see most teams run pretty frequently. It's about as far from a gadget play as a screen pass. The fact that Adam Jones called it a gadget play or reverse is all you need to know about the quality of his analysis.

#29 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:14 AM

Even if it was, who cares? If I'm the Patriots, and I wanna gets some reps in on certain plays, I'm going to. Write your ill-conceived articles, I'm not stopping.

#30 Shelterdog


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:19 AM

I don't know why anyone reads TMQ.


If Yammer were half the man he used to be he'd fire off a post explaining that Greggg is a fantastic analyst who introduced the world to FO and on that basis alone is worthy of being one of the eleven best national NFL writers.

#31 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:22 AM

Yammer's a busy man these days, what with banging all of our mums.

#32 Super Nomario


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

  • Tight ends and undrafted players are awesome
  • BB is arrogant
  • Public officials have too many bodyguards
  • Then they punted on 4th-and-1, and I wrote in my notebook, "Game over"
  • The latest big-budget Hollywood movie doesn't understand science
  • Christmas gets earlier every year!
  • [Picture of a hot cheerleader]
  • Paragraph (no pictures) about some play where the offensive team has a good play design to get someone open. Sweet! But the defense didn't cover the guy. Sour!
I just saved you all 30 minutes. You're welcome.

#33 Bergs

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

  • Tight ends and undrafted players are awesome
  • BB is arrogant
  • Public officials have too many bodyguards
  • Then they punted on 4th-and-1, and I wrote in my notebook, "Game over"
  • The latest big-budget Hollywood movie doesn't understand science
  • Christmas gets earlier every year!
  • [Picture of a hot cheerleader]
  • Paragraph (no pictures) about some play where the offensive team has a good play design to get someone open. Sweet! But the defense didn't cover the guy. Sour!
I just saved you all 30 minutes. You're welcome.


That is some really nice work right there.

#34 TheoShmeo


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 04:01 PM

The comment by Jones about Edelman was ludicrous given the timing of when the injury happened and the fact that the Jets had not offered to forfeit. Similarly, only mentioning the Patriots with reference to leaving the starters in with reference to injury risk was classic Easterbrook and symptomatic of many in the national media.

And the points made above about getting extra reps for the offense and instilling a 60-minute mentality on the Pats are understandable.

Still, getting some of the starters out is a matter if, not when. That is, Belichick apparently agrees with taking out Brady and other key players at a certain point as he did so in the last few minutes of the Colts and Jets blowouts. Mallett finished up both times, for example. Many of the posters here seems fine with Brady dropping back to pass with seven minutes left while up by 37 points. I am risk adverse and don't think that the score at that time or the value in getting additional reps or reinforcing the 60-minute message jusifies taking any risk that Jets defenders might Pollardize Tom Brady (or Welker or Gronk, if the latter was in there).

In short, that the media is often moronic or biased regarding all things Patriots doesn't skew the risk-reward calculus.

Edited by TheoShmeo, 27 November 2012 - 04:06 PM.


#35 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:55 PM

Why is Brady more likely to be injured late in the game than earlier?

For me this boils down to the reasonable assumption that BB sees value in having his starters play most of the game, Given the results over the years, I'd say his approach certainly sees to work out OK.

#36 TheoShmeo


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:22 PM

Why is Brady more likely to be injured late in the game than earlier?

For me this boils down to the reasonable assumption that BB sees value in having his starters play most of the game, Given the results over the years, I'd say his approach certainly sees to work out OK.

I'm not arguing that Brady is more likely to get injured later in a game so we can dispense with that straw man. I mean, I guess it's possible that players on the receiving end of a blow out could act irresponsibly but that notion does not underly my thoughts here.

The Pats have no choice but to expose Brady to injury risk before games have been decided. It's a cost of doing business. Conversely, they don't have to expose Brady to injury risk when games are in the bag and, as I said above, they do take him out at around the two minute mark from time to time; the question is not if they should take him out but rather when.

Respectfully, it seems like it comes down to "In Bill I Trust" for you on this. And that's understandable. Only confirmed Pats Haters would argue that Bill is not among the very best at what he does and his record is freaking glorious. Happily, his approach has indeed worked exceptionally well until now.

But I'll keep wondering why Brady is in there when games have been clearly won and hoping that I never get to experience my worst Pats fears being realized.

#37 There is no Rev


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

NFL football is the only place I know where people demand that professionals at the absolute apex of their craft should at times not strive for excellence. Bracketing everything else, this rubs me a bit oddly philosophically, and though I think he's generally BSing in press conference, I think Belichick has at times given a nod to that. Sometimes, you just do shit the right way because that's how you should do it.

I think lexrageorge's post earlier spoke to this well. I literally cannot think of another example, although I would be open to them.

#38 rodderick

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 09:53 PM

NFL football is the only place I know where people demand that professionals at the absolute apex of their craft should at times not strive for excellence. Bracketing everything else, this rubs me a bit oddly philosophically, and though I think he's generally BSing in press conference, I think Belichick has at times given a nod to that. Sometimes, you just do shit the right way because that's how you should do it.

I think lexrageorge's post earlier spoke to this well. I literally cannot think of another example, although I would be open to them.


I can't for the life of me understand it either. I'm from Brazil, and I grew up watching soccer pretty much exclusively. Now, this is a sport in which the behavior considered disrespectful is to just pass the ball around aimlessly around the back line when up 3-0 with 25 minutes to go. I mean we even have a very common saying here in Brazil that amounts to "you have to respect the opponent", that is commonly used when teams appear disinterested in a game in which they are winning handily. If you don't give your best, then you really don't think your adversary has the ability to come back. You're basically saying "hey, those guys quit, so we should quit too and not make it too hard on them". That, to me, is disrespectful. I know this only tangentially touches the topic at hand, and that the "leaving your starters in late" discussion, while correlated to the "running up the score" spiel, doesn't necessarily involve it, but I just find this kind of mentality fascinating.

Edited by rodderick, 27 November 2012 - 09:54 PM.


#39 crystalline

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:05 PM

minutes to go. I mean we even have a very common saying here in Brazil that amounts to "you have to respect the opponent", that is commonly used when teams appear disinterested in a game in which they are winning handily. If you don't give your best, then you really don't think your adversary has the ability to come back. You're basically saying "hey, those guys quit, so we should quit too and not make it too hard on them". That, to me, is disrespectful. I know this only tangentially touches the topic at hand, and that the "leaving your starters in late" discussion, while correlated to the "running up the score" spiel, doesn't necessarily involve it, but I just find this kind of mentality fascinating.


This is the way I feel too. You respect your opponent by playing hard. It is terribly insulting to you when your opponent starts messing around; as you said, the message is "you are so bad that we have zero concern about a comeback".

ps Peter King got into the Coughlin debate today; he claims that Belichick does it all the time but Coughlin runs up the score rarely; the Giants looked rusty so they needed the extra reps. Barf.

#40 TheoShmeo


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:54 PM

NFL football is the only place I know where people demand that professionals at the absolute apex of their craft should at times not strive for excellence. Bracketing everything else, this rubs me a bit oddly philosophically, and though I think he's generally BSing in press conference, I think Belichick has at times given a nod to that. Sometimes, you just do shit the right way because that's how you should do it.

I think lexrageorge's post earlier spoke to this well. I literally cannot think of another example, although I would be open to them.

Was putting Mallett in for the last drive of the Jets game an indication that BB and the Pats were not striving for excellence? Nope. And neither was removing Gronk in favor of HooMan and Shiancoe on the second to last drive of the Colts game.

Baseball managers sometimes take out several of the regulars in the latter innings of an absolute blowout. Basketball coaches often do the same in the last few minutes of games that are no longer in doubt. The reason in those sports probably has more to do with resting the starters than avoiding injuries but the fact remains that taking out some of the starters at the end of a game is not unique to football and is not an indication that coaches in any of those sports aren't trying to achieve excellence.

#41 lars10

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:00 AM

Respectfully, it seems like it comes down to "In Bill I Trust" for you on this. And that's understandable. Only confirmed Pats Haters would argue that Bill is not among the very best at what he does and his record is freaking glorious. Happily, his approach has indeed worked exceptionally well until now.


More or less NO other team does what some are saying Bill should do (take out stars early in the fourth)... his behavior has been shown to be more or less exactly the same as every other coach in the league in terms of use of his players and stars. I don't think it means that you simply have to be a 'truster' in Bill to disagree with taking out stars early... or earlier... just think that maybe he does exactly what every other coach does more or less, but just gets criticized more.

#42 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:49 AM

The Celts bringing in Eric Fernsten, the B's bringing in whoever their 4th line in is, and the Sox bringing in Punto (ok, bad example) are things that happen in all the sports when teams have big leads. It's very common to "let up" late in the game. harder to do so in Soccer due to limited substitution rules.

#43 TheoShmeo


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:53 AM

More or less NO other team does what some are saying Bill should do (take out stars early in the fourth)... his behavior has been shown to be more or less exactly the same as every other coach in the league in terms of use of his players and stars. I don't think it means that you simply have to be a 'truster' in Bill to disagree with taking out stars early... or earlier... just think that maybe he does exactly what every other coach does more or less, but just gets criticized more.

I'm not sure that who is advocating that Bill take stars out early in the 4th. And yes, Bill is held to a different standard by many, which is ridiculous. As a huge fan of the head coach, I'm specifically saying that when the Pats are up by 37 points at or around the 7 minute mark, I don't see any reason for the one player the Pats cannot afford to lose to be subjected to a pass rush. And I similarly don't see a lot of reason why a few of the other most critical players be on the field in the last several minutes of a game that is well in hand. There are lots of good reasons to disagree with me...not the least of which is Bill's track record in all respects.

PS: Lose, my basketball example would have been Hank Finkel, the proverbial victory cigar.

Edited by TheoShmeo, 28 November 2012 - 07:55 AM.


#44 rodderick

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:00 AM

The Celts bringing in Eric Fernsten, the B's bringing in whoever their 4th line in is, and the Sox bringing in Punto (ok, bad example) are things that happen in all the sports when teams have big leads. It's very common to "let up" late in the game. harder to do so in Soccer due to limited substitution rules.


That's a very good point, actually. Hadn't really thought of that aspect.

Edited by rodderick, 28 November 2012 - 08:00 AM.


#45 lexrageorge

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:26 AM

I'm not sure that who is advocating that Bill take stars out early in the 4th. And yes, Bill is held to a different standard by many, which is ridiculous. As a huge fan of the head coach, I'm specifically saying that when the Pats are up by 37 points at or around the 7 minute mark, I don't see any reason for the one player the Pats cannot afford to lose to be subjected to a pass rush. And I similarly don't see a lot of reason why a few of the other most critical players be on the field in the last several minutes of a game that is well in hand. There are lots of good reasons to disagree with me...not the least of which is Bill's track record in all respects.

PS: Lose, my basketball example would have been Hank Finkel, the proverbial victory cigar.


You make it seem as if this is a common problem with the Patriots. I believe most of here are arguing that it is not. Ryan Mallett has appeared in 3 games, including the Jets game. The Pats were mostly running during Brady's last series. Again, no head coach becomes an NFL head coach by being afraid of his players getting hurt; it's not in their mindset. The chances of Brady getting hurt during his last series are pretty small; not zero, obviously, but small nonetheless.

As to your point about other players, there are only so many substitutes to go around. It's not a college roster. By the time the latter half of 4th quarter came around, Edelman had been hurt, and I am fairly certain that Hernandez was used only sparingly by that point. But someone still has to play WR and TE spots. Yes, the problem is real in that the last 5 minutes of a game like the Jets game are meaningless; but the solution is not nearly as obvious as you make it seem to be.

#46 TheoShmeo


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:04 AM

You make it seem as if this is a common problem with the Patriots. I believe most of here are arguing that it is not. Ryan Mallett has appeared in 3 games, including the Jets game. The Pats were mostly running during Brady's last series. Again, no head coach becomes an NFL head coach by being afraid of his players getting hurt; it's not in their mindset. The chances of Brady getting hurt during his last series are pretty small; not zero, obviously, but small nonetheless.

As to your point about other players, there are only so many substitutes to go around. It's not a college roster. By the time the latter half of 4th quarter came around, Edelman had been hurt, and I am fairly certain that Hernandez was used only sparingly by that point. But someone still has to play WR and TE spots. Yes, the problem is real in that the last 5 minutes of a game like the Jets game are meaningless; but the solution is not nearly as obvious as you make it seem to be.

Why is the solution complicated or difficult? It's not as if I'm arguing that Brady and several other players should have been out for the entire 4th quarter.

Left to my own devices, I would have not had Brady and Welker on the field for the Pats' second to last drive in the Jets game. And I would not have had Wilfork on the field after that (and I don't think he was). Similarly, I would not have had Brady, Welker and Gronk on the Pats' second to last drive (a scoring drive to move the score from 52 to 59) in the Colts game. BB agreed re Gronk and commented on WEEI that he saw a value in playing the other TEs.

Look, the area of disagreement here is not radical. I'm talking about one drive earlier in the last two blowouts and about the same in some other games over the years that have been well in hand at the very end. And I'm talking about 3-5 players maximum, with a particular focus on Tom. Some will say that if the point of departure is so small, then what's the fuss? That's fair. But we're fortunate enough to be rooting for a team that is often way ahead at the end of the game, and we have a coach whose decision making is just about impeccable. Between the Sox and Pats (and whoever else we follow), we've all experienced a lot of bad and much more game determinative decision making. Said differently, I guess I'm glad that THIS is my pet peeve with Belichick.

Edited by TheoShmeo, 28 November 2012 - 10:10 AM.


#47 BigJimEd

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

1-10-NE12(8:21) Ryan Mallett in at QB NE-61 reports eligible S.Vereen right guard to NE 13 for 1 yard (J.Dunbar).

So on at least one occasion Belichick felt the need to pull Brady fairly early.

#48 There is no Rev


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

Was putting Mallett in for the last drive of the Jets game an indication that BB and the Pats were not striving for excellence? Nope. And neither was removing Gronk in favor of HooMan and Shiancoe on the second to last drive of the Colts game.

Baseball managers sometimes take out several of the regulars in the latter innings of an absolute blowout. Basketball coaches often do the same in the last few minutes of games that are no longer in doubt. The reason in those sports probably has more to do with resting the starters than avoiding injuries but the fact remains that taking out some of the starters at the end of a game is not unique to football and is not an indication that coaches in any of those sports aren't trying to achieve excellence.


I wasn't speaking to your point, exactly. I think there are two related but analytically distinct issues. On the matter of taking starters out, I can see both sides of the issue. Should a team choose not to, though, complaining about running up the score strikes me as fundamentally ridiculous; it would be like asking a pitcher not to put as much break on the ball.

#49 TheoShmeo


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

I wasn't speaking to your point, exactly. I think there are two related but analytically distinct issues. On the matter of taking starters out, I can see both sides of the issue. Should a team choose not to, though, complaining about running up the score strikes me as fundamentally ridiculous; it would be like asking a pitcher not to put as much break on the ball.

Violent agreement. The "running up the score" angle is silly.

#50 Super Nomario


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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

I'm not concerned about injury (and certainly not about "running up the score"), but I would think the Pats would feel more comfortable if Mallett had a little more game experience. He's thrown 3 passes in his NFL career. If Brady gets dinged up and needs to sit out a couple plays to get his ankle taped or something, what is Mallett going to do? Pretty much just hand off a couple times, right? What if Brady gets a concussion and can't return?

I guess the counter-argument is that Brady and the first team have struggled in closing out games at times, so giving the varsity squad reps in "grind out the clock" scenarios is good situational practice to prepare them for doing the same in one- or two- score games.




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