2020 Pats: You Cam Go Your Own Way

54thMA

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I appreciate everyone chiming in on this thread with hard numbers to back up their opinions................I really can't think of a Boston athlete I've wanted to succeed more than Cam. Bottom line is he's an extremely likeable human being, I hoped that he'd come here with a hair across his ass and light up the league and march the Patriots to another Super Bowl win and prove all his doubters wrong.

Well 11 games in and it's safe to say none of that is going to happen, Cam is not the answer at QB for this team, there is not going to be a great finish to this story I'm afraid, which is too bad because as a fan, I'm all about great stories as that's the beauty of sports, there is no script and literally anything can happen, I've been a sports fan all my life and have seen some incredibly good and bad things.......needless to say this is bad, it's actually sad seeing how badly he's doing, he's toast and they need to move on from him.

Pains me as a fan to say it, but it is what it is.

This thread sadly really needs to be changed to "Cam is cooked".....................
 

Cellar-Door

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Football is a team game, and Philly's skill position group may be the only one in the NFL that I wouldn't trade the entire Pats skill position group straight up for this season. Their leading rusher, Miles Sanders, missed 3 games (Wentz is the 3rd leading rusher on the team, behind Boston Scott), their leading receiver, Greg Ward, played QB at Houston, Ertz and Goedert have both missed almost half of the games, and Richard Rodgers is the 4th leading receiver on the team. If it wasn't for the out-of-nowhere emergence of Travis Fulgham, Wentz' numbers would be even worse. They are a mess.
I would trade skill position groups with the Eagles in less than a second, they have been injured (as have the Pats) but if you put the WR/TE groups into a pile and had a draft, the Eagles would probably have 5 of the first 6 players taken.
Their RBs aren't as good as Harris, but it's not that bad either and RB is a much easier position to get production from. That Rodgers is the 4th leading receiver is telling of a few things, 1. their line sucks, and 2. Wentz hasn't even been making progressions. Last night had a great example... Jalen Reagor, their talented if a bit raw 1st round pick notices something.... the Seahawks screwed up in coverage, nobody is covering him. He throws up his hand to signal Wentz.

Wentz never looks at the side of the field (which had 3 WRs on it) instead he makes a terrible incomplete throw to the other side.

Their skill position players are pretty decent if young at WR, their line is a big part of the problem, the rest is that Wentz looks broken, his footwork is as bad as Cam's and his reading of the field is awful.
 

Super Nomario

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The issue is not all in his TD/INT ratio. He's 23rd in the league in passing yards. He's thrown for half as many 20+ yard plays as the better QBs in the league. You can counter with the fewer attempts, but there's a reason the team won't let him throw the ball even though they've been behind in every game - because he's erratic and unreliable.
My read is that the fewer attempts is by design. They have built the team around the run game. They've invested in OL and RB and barely at all in WR and TE. They seemed to buy into the idea that the run game defined the team down the stretch in the 2018 Super Bowl run. I think they wanted to do a run-first offense last year, except they went out in Week 1 and the run game was terrible and it never really got on track. But I think they would be trying to run the ball a ton if Brady or Stidham or whoever was the QB, too. It's how the team is built.

So I think the arrows point in the opposite direction - I don't think it's that they don't want to pass because of Cam or even because of the receivers, but that Cam (and his impact on the run game) and budget receivers is appealing because they want to build a run-first team. I don't hold the lack of attempts against Cam. And he's been reasonably efficient on a yards / attempt basis, and his sack rate has been OK. So I see it as a TD / INT problem. And Cam's TD / INT ratio is bad, but those stats tend to be less consistent than Y/A or whatever.

EDIT: taking this to a 2021 view ... if I'm right, Cam's future is as much about the philosophy and direction of the offense as anything. If they're going to continue playing "bullyball," Cam makes a lot of sense, despite his flaws. If they decide that's not a viable strategy (and I have my strong reservations, personally) and want to invest in the passing game, Cam doesn't make as much sense.
 

SMU_Sox

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Re: Play-action. I have listened to a few different podcasts like The Football Analytics Show as well as FO's Aaron Schatz Off The Charts podcast to name 2 where what SuperNomario said about PA is correct. There is no relationship between how successful a run-games running is and PA passing. You can be completely awful as a team at running and still be great at PA passing. The one thing that hasn't been researched is if there is a minimum threshold to the number of runs per game. For example if a team hardly ever runs the ball but uses a lot of PA passing would that diminish the effectiveness? To my knowledge that has NOT yet been researched. But I've heard from enough people I trust that I wouldn't question what SuperNomario reported.

@Deathofthebambino I would make the trade with the Eagles because they have a potential stud inline TE who is an excellent receiving weapon. They also have Fulgham, Ward, and Reagor. Reagor is a high upside RAC monster. I like Meyers as much as the next guy but Philly has a better core. RB-wise I think Harris is better in pass pro but Sanders is overall equal as a runner although a different style and better as a receiver. Let's call it a draw even if I would give Sanders a slight edge. Philly wins by default because of Goedert.

I think bully-ball is a viable strategy but a dual-threat QB helps a lot/is-best, a mobile QB is preferable, and you need receiving threats. Bully-ball is being able to run or pass equally well out of 11, 12, 21, personnel. You can't run bully-ball when your receivers and tight ends are: UDFA Damiere Byrd, UDFA - Jakobi Meyers, 1st round nothing-burger N'Keal Harry, and 7th rounder Ryan Izzo. Teams are loading up the box to play the Pats and they can still run the ball. The problem is they are atrocious at passing. They don't get enough explosive plays. The 49ers ran a version of bully-ball last year. Minnesota and Cleveland run types of bully-ball. It can work and it can be a successful strategy. For example Minnesota was 7th last year in PPG, and 12th this year. SF last year was 3rd in PPG. Cleveland is up to 22.5 PPG from 20.9 last year. The Patriots are one of the best running teams in the league. If they just had a WR1 type, an inline guy who gives you a lot more than Izzo as a receiver, a QB who is mobile and accurate, and if you don't have an elite unicorn inline TE then a good to great WR2. WR1 can be any position - doesn't have to be an X but one of WR1 and WR2 has to be an X or play it well. Ideally both guys can play all 3 positions. But it's a lot easier said then done when you need 3 top end pieces you don't have on the roster. 2 of those positions are hard to get, unicorn TE and a dual-threat QB. But drafting a good to top-end WR is easier now then in recent memory and with this coming draft you'd think that they would continue to restock that position. Also, this off-season is the time for Bill to splurge on receiving talent.
With Cam there are things he does well. He has been effective as a runner. As a passer he has been very much up and down. PFF has him 17th, Football Outsiders has him as 26th DVOA as a passer and 15th as a runner (his high DYAR being from volume). He's probably somewhere in the middle. 20th or so in the league. He's had problems making it worse for him: 1) shortened time with the team, 2) COVID, ND 3) his supporting cast is lackluster. He hasn't been consistent as a passer at all. If he gets a full off-season into the program, a summer of practice, and the Patriots upgrade their skill personnel I think Cam could be a top 10-15 QB. But there is also the chance that he doesn't get much better and he is too inconsistent especially with processing, decision making, and accuracy to sustain success. He hasn't shown you he is dependable yet and that's not a good place for a QB to be. For me I would absolutely love one of Lawrence, Fields, Lance, or Wilson. If not then I hope they draft one of the day 2 guys. Mac Jones is getting a lot of buzz and I like Desmond Ridder quite a bit.
 
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Cam had a pretty good year in 2015 (Rating 99.4 - QBR 67.0 - ANY/A 7.20) but really hasn't done anything exciting since...

2016 - 75.8 / 48.0 / 5.46 (15 games)
2017 - 80.7 / 53.3 / 5.28 (16)
2018 - 94.2 / 55.0 / 6.15 (14)
2019 - 71.0 / 24.6 / 5.09 (2)
2020 - 79.8 / 50.8 / 5.48 (10)

I don't see any real reason to believe he's really significantly better than what we've been seeing from him.

To put those numbers in context his Rating+ - ANY/A+ numbers (where 100 is average and higher is better) are

2015 115 / 115 (the good year)
2016 81 / 90
2017 88 / 88
2018 105 / 100
2019 72 / 85
2020 85 / 90

(Unfortunately PFR doesn't give QBR+ numbers but they wouldn't be massively different)

FWIW Brady's + numbers over the last five years

2016 133 / 138
2017 117 / 119
2018 110 / 115
2019 95 / 100
2020 104 / 105

So even Cam's high point year was only about the same Brady's 2017/2018 combined performance and nowhere close to any of Brady's best seasons.

Also FWIW there's a guy who will likely be available next year and who probably won't cost very much, who has actually performed pretty well in recent years despite having been messed about a lot on largely bad teams...

2015 98 / 104 (16 games)
2016 72 / 83 (14, 11 starts)
2017 95 / 102 (6, 3 starts)
2018 114 / 125 (8, 7 starts)
2019 92 / 94 (15, 13 starts)
2020 102 / 102 (8, 7 starts)

Furthermore this is a guy whose QBR does perhaps indicate some reason for optimism over those numbers since it has been pretty decent at 62.1 (2018), 66.6 (2019) and 73.8 (2020)

(For comparison Brady 66.6 / 54.5 / 69.7 and again Cam 55.0 / 24.6 / 50.8)

Now he's not going to be the QB of the future, but as a stopgap for a year or two while the Pats rebuild and try to find the next big thing? Maybe we should be thinking more about...

Ryan Fitzpatrick
 

BigSoxFan

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I had given some thought to FitzMagic, but he just turned 38 last week. That cliff has to be in sight.
Going from the GOAT to non-sarcastically considering a 38 year-old FitzMagic is quite sobering. We've been spoiled. If BB could find another top 3 NFL QB in the draft this year, I'd really appreciate it.
 

wilked

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Going from the GOAT to non-sarcastically considering a 38 year-old FitzMagic is quite sobering. We've been spoiled. If BB could find another top 3 NFL QB in the draft this year, I'd really appreciate it.
I love Fitz and was hoping for him on the team

Had no idea he is 38 tho. Maybe not....
 

joe dokes

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My read is that the fewer attempts is by design. They have built the team around the run game. They've invested in OL and RB and barely at all in WR and TE. They seemed to buy into the idea that the run game defined the team down the stretch in the 2018 Super Bowl run. I think they wanted to do a run-first offense last year, except they went out in Week 1 and the run game was terrible and it never really got on track. But I think they would be trying to run the ball a ton if Brady or Stidham or whoever was the QB, too. It's how the team is built.

So I think the arrows point in the opposite direction - I don't think it's that they don't want to pass because of Cam or even because of the receivers, but that Cam (and his impact on the run game) and budget receivers is appealing because they want to build a run-first team. I don't hold the lack of attempts against Cam. And he's been reasonably efficient on a yards / attempt basis, and his sack rate has been OK. So I see it as a TD / INT problem. And Cam's TD / INT ratio is bad, but those stats tend to be less consistent than Y/A or whatever.

EDIT: taking this to a 2021 view ... if I'm right, Cam's future is as much about the philosophy and direction of the offense as anything. If they're going to continue playing "bullyball," Cam makes a lot of sense, despite his flaws. If they decide that's not a viable strategy (and I have my strong reservations, personally) and want to invest in the passing game, Cam doesn't make as much sense.
If the team is committed to throwing fewer passes, doesn't that put a premium on making those passes count? Like hitting the 5 yard crosser in stride so the WR can run after the catch, or turning the RB upfield on the catch. Or throwing it to the slightly open WR 15 yards downfield before he breaks, instead of checking down. To my eyes, those are "lost yards" that aren't showing up in the analyses. And with a non-dominant team like these Patriots, those yards are critical.

QB play has changed a lot in the last several decades. But one thing that hasn't, IMO, is the importance of accuracy and timing. (Throwing the ball through the swinging tire hanging from the tree). Accuracy is what allowed late-career Brees and Manning to continue to succeed even with relative noodle arms. Or even someone like Chad Pennington. Cam's lack of arm strength and lack of accuracy really puts a ceiling on his performance. And his inaccuracy seems to cause him to shy away from throws that rely on timing. Maybe its all related to bad mechanics. But those bad mechanics could be a response to getting blasted a million times. Ultimately, whether it's a run-happy or pass-happy offense, I dont see Cam making much sense beyond this year.
 

Super Nomario

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If the team is committed to throwing fewer passes, doesn't that put a premium on making those passes count? Like hitting the 5 yard crosser in stride so the WR can run after the catch, or turning the RB upfield on the catch. Or throwing it to the slightly open WR 15 yards downfield before he breaks, instead of checking down. To my eyes, those are "lost yards" that aren't showing up in the analyses. And with a non-dominant team like these Patriots, those yards are critical.
I don't disagree and this is one of the reasons why I'm skeptical of their whole offensive philosophy. Even a great running team isn't going to run effectively every single time, so rather than de-emphasizing the QB you're often just putting him in bad spots. We saw that on the first drive vs AZ - run for zero, run for 4, now it's 3rd and 6 and Cam has to throw, the Cardinals know he has to throw and send a blitz, it doesn't get picked up, Cam gets drilled and it's a pick.

The problem is they basically are starting from zero in building an effective passing game. Harry looks like a bust, the young TEs have given them nothing, they don't have a QB of the future, Byrd and White are both free agents, etc. Edelman is 33. Pieces you feel good about are Meyers and that's about it. I get why they're trying to build the O the way they are and why Cam makes sense for that; I just think it's an offense that's like 35 years out of date.
 

RedOctober3829

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I don't disagree and this is one of the reasons why I'm skeptical of their whole offensive philosophy. Even a great running team isn't going to run effectively every single time, so rather than de-emphasizing the QB you're often just putting him in bad spots. We saw that on the first drive vs AZ - run for zero, run for 4, now it's 3rd and 6 and Cam has to throw, the Cardinals know he has to throw and send a blitz, it doesn't get picked up, Cam gets drilled and it's a pick.

The problem is they basically are starting from zero in building an effective passing game. Harry looks like a bust, the young TEs have given them nothing, they don't have a QB of the future, Byrd and White are both free agents, etc. Edelman is 33. Pieces you feel good about are Meyers and that's about it. I get why they're trying to build the O the way they are and why Cam makes sense for that; I just think it's an offense that's like 35 years out of date.
Agreed. This offense would have a better chance to work if the defense had to at least give a second thought to the passing game. Arizona lined up in what looked to be goal line packages most of the game and did not even respect the pass. Having Meyers and Byrd are nice complimentary guys, but they need a bona fide #1 threat and an actual tight end who can work the seams to loosen up the defense. Teams could not afford to put extra people around the LOS if they had to worry about a competent passing game. I do agree that Cam is put into impossible spots at times when it's 3rd and long and teams know he has to pass. That's when he tends to make mistakes(as most QBs do). I don't think Cam has been as bad as others in here have said. He's not going to have big usage numbers because that's not what they're asking him to do. It's really, really hard to criticize Cam too much because of the personnel he was dealt. He's certainly made his fair share of mistakes, but he's also working with a bottom 2 or 3 caliber WR/TE group.
 

BaseballJones

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I feel really good about Harris and White at RB, the OL, Meyers, and Byrd, who looks like a pretty solid receiver. Byrd, BTW, even with Cam at QB, is on pace for 51 rec and 730 yards. Give that guy a competent QB and he could be a 70 rec, 1,000 yard receiver. His career catch percentage is virtually identical to Julian's, but his career yards per target is about a yard more than Edelman's.

I'm not saying he's as good as Julian, who's proven it on the biggest stage. I'm just saying that Byrd looks like a totally legit NFL receiver.
 
To be clear, I'm not *excited* about the prospect of 38-year-old Fitzmagic leading the team (well, a little bit excited, but not really). I'm just looking at the options and preferring him to the others. I kinda feel like Cam is a mediocre QB with a reputation for being good and Fitz is a mediocre QB with a reputation for being bad.

Fitz or Cam? I'd rather have Fitz.
Fitz or Stidham? Kinda looks like Stidham isn't the future either, I'll take Fitz.
Fitz or Lawrence? Well, Lawrence obviously. But I'm assuming the Jets aren't going to fuck up the draft so badly that we end up with him*.
Fitz or whoever we can get with wherever we're drafting? How about both?. Fitz for next year and draftee for 2022 onward (hopefully).

Here's Fitz v the other QBs on his own team.

Attempts - Rate - QBR - ANY/A - Record

2020
Fitz 254 / 93.1 / 73.8 / 6.43 / 4-3
Tua 97 / 100.1 / 62.5 / 6.16 / 3-1

2019
Fitz 502 / 85.5 / 66.6 / 5.78 / 5-8
Rosen 109 / 52.0 / 20.7 / 2.15 / 0-3

2018
Fitz 246 / 100.4 / 62.1 / 8.04 / 2-5
Winston 378 / 90.2 / 69.7 / 6.38 / 3-6

2017
Fitz 163 / 86.0 / 59.7 / 6.32 / 2-1
Winston 442 / 92.2 / 54.0 / 6.70 / 3-10

2016
Fitz 403 / 69.6 / 37.9 / 4.99 / 3-8
Petty 133 / 60.0 / 16.1 / 3.25 / 1-3

2015
Fitz 562 / 88.0 / 63.5 / 6.46 / 10-6
Smith 42 / 87.9 / 53.1 / 5.36 / NA

Winston was drafted 1st overall in 2015. Tua 5th overall in 2020. Rosen 10th overall in 2018. I think it's reasonable to say that none of them has dramatically outperformed Fitz, if anything it's been the other way round. We can certainly hope that anyone we draft will be better than Fitz but I don't think we can expect it.

You can look at those numbers and those comparisons and say he's beating out a pretty shitty set of QBs (I agree) and his numbers aren't good (they're not good, but at least for the last 3 years they're ok). But this is the reality of the situation - Fitz might be better than what we've got and he might be better than what we can get.

(Fitz or Jimmy G? I'm taking Jimmy G, of course, and hoping he shows up with both legs. But that depends on Jimmy G getting cut and the relative price tags. Jimmy G at $30m per v Fitz on a Cam-esque contract isn't nearly so clearcut.)

Anyway, enough about other teams QBs. Sorry for the diversion. Back to Cam...



*Though it's the Jets, so....
 

Van Everyman

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There's clearly an issue with him from a timing perspective -- I do think the question is whether the fault lies with Cam's ability or a range of other things (practice/no camp, COVID, receivers' timing, etc.). Has he historically had a problem getting the ball quickly? Or is this a new-ish/recent thing?
 

EL Jeffe

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I like Chatham and he's a fun Twitter follow, but he tends to do this; he'll pick out a couple of plays and then extrapolate them into being the norm. There's always going to a play here and there every week where the QB makes the wrong read, is a little off on his throw, etc. I just don't see how you can view this offense and say the receiving corps is fine. Just look at how teams defend NE, they dare them to throw the ball. Arizona's base D on Sunday was basically a short yardage type package. How often do you see one of the NE WRs or TEs do anything of note after the catch? When do they come down with a highlight 50/50 type jump ball? It just doesn't happen with any regularity whatsoever. Cam is part of the problem but the overall talent level just isn 't there.

Look, this isn't any kind of breaking news. We all know what happened over the past couple of seasons. 2018, you had a monster OL (with Brown and Cannon at OT), a dominant run blocking TE in Gronk, Devlin at FB, Allen as a complimentary blocking TE...that was one of the most physical offenses we've seen. They just beat the snot out of teams. When they needed to throw, they still had Brady, Gronk, Edelman, White, and a couple of competent complimentary receivers in Hogan, Gordon (when available), Patterson, and Dorsett (these weren't world-beaters, but they weren't street free agents, either). Combined with an excellent defense, that's a recipe for a Super Bowl (which of course they won). Then what happened in 2019...Brown left and Wynn was largely unavailable, Andrews had the blood clot, Gronk retired, Devlin got hurt early and was done, Gordon washed out, Hogan and Patterson left...there wasn't a pathway to offensive success. Then 2020 arrives where Brady leaves, Edleman's been unavailable, there was zero cap room during the meaningful free agency period...it's just been a two-year steady stream of personnel losses without any reinforcements. Byrd has been okay, but he is what he is. We'll see on the rookie TEs. I'm a Harris fan, but he's having to run against defenses keying on him every week (without the Gronk/Devlin benefit..Jak Johnson is a nice story, but he's not Devlin). The team plays hard and the coaching is still excellent, but there's just so little margin of error due to the talent level (on both sides of the ball).

You can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, but this team needs a serious overhaul of talent. Fortunately the cap room will be there; let's just hope BB doesn't try to get too cute and overvalue comp picks ahead of acquiring talent. (I don't think he will, and I hope he plans a 2007 type overhaul).
 

Super Nomario

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I like Chatham and he's a fun Twitter follow, but he tends to do this; he'll pick out a couple of plays and then extrapolate them into being the norm. There's always going to a play here and there every week where the QB makes the wrong read, is a little off on his throw, etc. I just don't see how you can view this offense and say the receiving corps is fine. Just look at how teams defend NE, they dare them to throw the ball. Arizona's base D on Sunday was basically a short yardage type package. How often do you see one of the NE WRs or TEs do anything of note after the catch? When do they come down with a highlight 50/50 type jump ball? It just doesn't happen with any regularity whatsoever. Cam is part of the problem but the overall talent level just isn 't there.
My view is that Chatham has his perspective on the offense (they need to run more! They should run on first every time! But only up the middle! The receivers are fine and only fanboyz don't think so!) and finds evidence to support those opinions rather than doing critical analysis. He constantly lambastes his followers for "weaponz!" criticisms and thus he almost never criticizes the receiving corps.
 

BigSoxFan

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I like Chatham and he's a fun Twitter follow, but he tends to do this; he'll pick out a couple of plays and then extrapolate them into being the norm. There's always going to a play here and there every week where the QB makes the wrong read, is a little off on his throw, etc. I just don't see how you can view this offense and say the receiving corps is fine. Just look at how teams defend NE, they dare them to throw the ball. Arizona's base D on Sunday was basically a short yardage type package. How often do you see one of the NE WRs or TEs do anything of note after the catch? When do they come down with a highlight 50/50 type jump ball? It just doesn't happen with any regularity whatsoever. Cam is part of the problem but the overall talent level just isn 't there.

Look, this isn't any kind of breaking news. We all know what happened over the past couple of seasons. 2018, you had a monster OL (with Brown and Cannon at OT), a dominant run blocking TE in Gronk, Devlin at FB, Allen as a complimentary blocking TE...that was one of the most physical offenses we've seen. They just beat the snot out of teams. When they needed to throw, they still had Brady, Gronk, Edelman, White, and a couple of competent complimentary receivers in Hogan, Gordon (when available), Patterson, and Dorsett (these weren't world-beaters, but they weren't street free agents, either). Combined with an excellent defense, that's a recipe for a Super Bowl (which of course they won). Then what happened in 2019...Brown left and Wynn was largely unavailable, Andrews had the blood clot, Gronk retired, Devlin got hurt early and was done, Gordon washed out, Hogan and Patterson left...there wasn't a pathway to offensive success. Then 2020 arrives where Brady leaves, Edleman's been unavailable, there was zero cap room during the meaningful free agency period...it's just been a two-year steady stream of personnel losses without any reinforcements. Byrd has been okay, but he is what he is. We'll see on the rookie TEs. I'm a Harris fan, but he's having to run against defenses keying on him every week (without the Gronk/Devlin benefit..Jak Johnson is a nice story, but he's not Devlin). The team plays hard and the coaching is still excellent, but there's just so little margin of error due to the talent level (on both sides of the ball).

You can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, but this team needs a serious overhaul of talent. Fortunately the cap room will be there; let's just hope BB doesn't try to get too cute and overvalue comp picks ahead of acquiring talent. (I don't think he will, and I hope he plans a 2007 type overhaul).
Yup. They need a major overhaul. We don't have a long-term QB on the roster. Harris/Michel are fine as the runners. White is a FA and is probably joining Brady in Tampa. Burkhead just suffered a major injury and is old for a RB so you probably need a passing down RB this offseason.

At WR, Meyers has emerged as a solid #3 option on a good team. Harry is a complete and total bust whose "best case" is probably as a #3 at this point. Byrd probably profiles as a solid #3/4. Edelman may be close to being done. This team desperately needs a WR who can separate and draw attention. The TEs are a complete unknown and both rookies have basically redshirted this year.

The OL is in good shape.

So, to summarize, on offense this team needs to figure out QB, passing down RB, TE, and its primary WR options. Good luck...
 

RedOctober3829

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Yup. They need a major overhaul. We don't have a long-term QB on the roster. Harris/Michel are fine as the runners. White is a FA and is probably joining Brady in Tampa. Burkhead just suffered a major injury and is old for a RB so you probably need a passing down RB this offseason.

At WR, Meyers has emerged as a solid #3 option on a good team. Harry is a complete and total bust whose "best case" is probably as a #3 at this point. Byrd probably profiles as a solid #3/4. Edelman may be close to being done. This team desperately needs a WR who can separate and draw attention. The TEs are a complete unknown and both rookies have basically redshirted this year.

The OL is in good shape.

So, to summarize, on offense this team needs to figure out QB, passing down RB, TE, and its primary WR options. Good luck...
Well the year to do it in is going into next year with all the cap room they have. They need to spend actual money on difference making WR's and a TE like Jonnu Smith. I honestly believe that if they do and Cam is back, the offense will all of a sudden look a lot better. Not a hard concept to get in that increasing the talent will get better result. I am not holding out hope that they will be able to draft difference makers at WR, so it has to come through free agency.
 

BaseballJones

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Yup. They need a major overhaul. We don't have a long-term QB on the roster. Harris/Michel are fine as the runners. White is a FA and is probably joining Brady in Tampa. Burkhead just suffered a major injury and is old for a RB so you probably need a passing down RB this offseason.

At WR, Meyers has emerged as a solid #3 option on a good team. Harry is a complete and total bust whose "best case" is probably as a #3 at this point. Byrd probably profiles as a solid #3/4. Edelman may be close to being done. This team desperately needs a WR who can separate and draw attention. The TEs are a complete unknown and both rookies have basically redshirted this year.

The OL is in good shape.

So, to summarize, on offense this team needs to figure out QB, passing down RB, TE, and its primary WR options. Good luck...
Only need one high-level WR. Because that bumps the other guys - who are already pretty decent (Meyers/Byrd) down a notch, where they probably should be.

If one of the young TEs pans out, that's huge, so the answer there might already be in-house.

Taylor might be the next good pass catching RB. He's already shown flashes.

QB obviously is the major issue. Nothing on the horizon, sadly.
 

BigSoxFan

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Only need one high-level WR. Because that bumps the other guys - who are already pretty decent (Meyers/Byrd) down a notch, where they probably should be.

If one of the young TEs pans out, that's huge, so the answer there might already be in-house.

Taylor might be the next good pass catching RB. He's already shown flashes.

QB obviously is the major issue. Nothing on the horizon, sadly.
Agreed.

Looking at the UFA WR list, there are some intriguing names:

Allen Robinson
Chris Godwin
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Corey Davis
Will Fuller (a bit of meh after PED bust)

If you pony up for Robinson or Godwin, everything starts to look a lot better. Going into next year with Robinson/Godwin, Edelman, Meyers, Harry, Byrd (though he is UFA as well) would make me feel a lot better about where things stand. You'd also want to supplement with a pick or two in the 2021 draft as well.
 

RedOctober3829

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Agreed.

Looking at the UFA WR list, there are some intriguing names:

Allen Robinson
Chris Godwin
JuJu Smith-Schuster
Corey Davis
Will Fuller (a bit of meh after PED bust)

If you pony up for Robinson or Godwin, everything starts to look a lot better. Going into next year with Robinson/Godwin, Edelman, Meyers, Harry, Byrd (though he is UFA as well) would make me feel a lot better about where things stand. You'd also want to supplement with a pick or two in the 2021 draft as well.
Any one of ARob/Godwin/Juju and also either Jonnu Smith in FA or Kyle Pitts in the draft would be a great way to fortify everything.
 

BaseballJones

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Any one of ARob/Godwin/Juju and also either Jonnu Smith in FA or Kyle Pitts in the draft would be a great way to fortify everything.
Yep, so it seems like the skill position players could be taken care of relatively easily, given their cap space situation. Once again, it's the QB that's the main issue (at least on offense). But if they somehow were able to get Garoppolo....

QB - JG, plus another guy in the draft that could fall to the 3rd round
RB - Harris (beast), White, Taylor, Michel (will be a solid backup at this point)
WR - Robinson (let's say), Edelman (for one more season), Byrd, Meyers...that's a good group
TE - Jonnu Smith, Asiasi, Keene
OL - already excellent, and even though they likely will lose Thuney, they have a lot of quality pieces there

You then use the draft to shore up DL and LB and add a QB (as I stated above) and the team should be in pretty good shape.
 

EL Jeffe

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Because Cam almost NEVER gets them the ball in a place where they can catch it in stride and pick up YAC. It's one of the most frustrating things about him.
I will 100% agree with you that Cam hasn't been doing his targets any favors with ball placement on crossing routes and quick hitters. That being said, at some point, you need your WRs/TEs to just go make plays once the ball is in their hands. Stiff arm someone. Break a tackle. Make someone miss with a juke in a confined space. Every week we see skill players across the league do this; make something out of seemingly nothing. It just doesn't seem to happen for NE.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I will 100% agree with you that Cam hasn't been doing his targets any favors with ball placement on crossing routes and quick hitters. That being said, at some point, you need your WRs/TEs to just go make plays once the ball is in their hands. Stiff arm someone. Break a tackle. Make someone miss with a juke in a confined space. Every week we see skill players across the league do this; make something out of seemingly nothing. It just doesn't seem to happen for NE.
Again, they cannot do any of these things if the ball arrives late. Or requires a stretching catch, or doesn't arrive when the receiver is in space (and as shown above, the receivers are getting open).

Look at the play where Cam kept motioning Harry deeper on Sunday. Harry was in space. Get him the ball and give him the chance to juke or break a tackle or something. The ball is never there in time for them to do any of this.

Just once I would like to see a crossing route where the ball gets there in a position for the WR to run after the catch.
 

RedOctober3829

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Again, they cannot do any of these things if the ball arrives late. Or requires a stretching catch, or doesn't arrive when the receiver is in space (and as shown above, the receivers are getting open).

Look at the play where Cam kept motioning Harry deeper on Sunday. Harry was in space. Get him the ball and give him the chance to juke or break a tackle or something. The ball is never there in time for them to do any of this.

Just once I would like to see a crossing route where the ball gets there in a position for the WR to run after the catch.
Are you referring to the 3rd and 14 play at the end of the 3rd quarter with Harry? IIRC, he was sitting in zone way short of the first down marker with multiple Cardinals around him ready to make the tackle. I don't have any idea what kind of route he was running on a 3rd and 14. He was trying to maneuver Harry to get closer to the first down marker so he'd have a chance at making a first down easier. I remember yelling at the TV for Harry to get deeper in his route. Another one on the list of absolutely mind numbing things Harry does.
 

Captaincoop

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Again, they cannot do any of these things if the ball arrives late. Or requires a stretching catch, or doesn't arrive when the receiver is in space (and as shown above, the receivers are getting open).

Look at the play where Cam kept motioning Harry deeper on Sunday. Harry was in space. Get him the ball and give him the chance to juke or break a tackle or something. The ball is never there in time for them to do any of this.

Just once I would like to see a crossing route where the ball gets there in a position for the WR to run after the catch.
Even on screen passes - he floats the ball and it gets there high and late, and the RB has lost his chance to catch the defense flat-footed. Certainly on the crossing routes, when guys are forced to stop and reach back for the ball. It doesn't matter who the receivers are, Cam isn't quick or accurate enough to run a consistently dangerous offense.

I know it's not a binary choice, but if I could choose to run it back with the same weapons and an upgraded QB, or Cam and a real #1 WR and a good TE...I'd take the former all day long.
 

EL Jeffe

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SJH: Sure, I'd love to see that too. Has Harry demonstrated that if he even completed that catch, he would have done something special with it?

You can go back to last year with Brady; outside of Edelman, did you see much after the catch from the likes of Meyers, Izzo, LaCosse, Watson, Sanu, Dorsett, etc.? Playmakers make plays. Yes, it exponentially helps when ball placement and timing synch up, and then you watch someone like AJ Brown run through and by people and you remember that it's a talent-driven league.
 

Super Nomario

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Yep, so it seems like the skill position players could be taken care of relatively easily, given their cap space situation. Once again, it's the QB that's the main issue (at least on offense). But if they somehow were able to get Garoppolo....

QB - JG, plus another guy in the draft that could fall to the 3rd round
RB - Harris (beast), White, Taylor, Michel (will be a solid backup at this point)
WR - Robinson (let's say), Edelman (for one more season), Byrd, Meyers...that's a good group
TE - Jonnu Smith, Asiasi, Keene
OL - already excellent, and even though they likely will lose Thuney, they have a lot of quality pieces there

You then use the draft to shore up DL and LB and add a QB (as I stated above) and the team should be in pretty good shape.
I know they have a ton of cap space, but signing Jimmy G, Robinson, and Jonnu Smith as well as re-signing White, Byrd, and probably at least one of the OL (Thuney, Andrews, and Elu all hitting FA) is going to eat basically all of it, and that's without addressing any of the defensive issues or general depth stuff. I mean, if they can sign a true #1 WR, a true #1 TE, and a legit starting QB in one offseason while retaining key pieces, it will improve the offense loads, I just don't see it as very realistic.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Cam seems sluggish to me. Mentally and physically. On the play where he was hit out bounds for example and it was disputed whether it was a penalty or not, I thought he easily could have gotten out of bounds and gotten the first down without slowing down. As it turned out his sluggishness there is what caused the penalty to be called perhaps. But again it almost felt like mental sluggishness -- like maybe his decisionmaking about whether he had attained the first down was not quite up to elite athlete quick twitching and he was just a beat tentative. He is also that way in the pocket. It just feels like he's always just a beat slow. He also seems deliberate in the huddle and not always to pick up the play clock immediately or to be able to keep it all in mind.

For a chunk of his career, Cam played by different rules. Because he looks like a tight end there was a double standard on roughing penalties called against him and other QBs, or at least he wasn't given the same protection all the time. I can remember some massive hits. Watching him play this year I'm very concerned about his post-career health with respect to possible head hits.
 

BigSoxFan

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I know they have a ton of cap space, but signing Jimmy G, Robinson, and Jonnu Smith as well as re-signing White, Byrd, and probably at least one of the OL (Thuney, Andrews, and Elu all hitting FA) is going to eat basically all of it, and that's without addressing any of the defensive issues or general depth stuff. I mean, if they can sign a true #1 WR, a true #1 TE, and a legit starting QB in one offseason while retaining key pieces, it will improve the offense loads, I just don't see it as very realistic.
Is this team really going to re-sign a 29 year-old White to another contract? I feel like he is almost certainly gone, maybe to TB on a short deal and is replaced by Taylor or another cheap option. Byrd has been solid but you can afford to let him go as well if you're bringing in a #1 WR like Robinson or Godwin. I figure Thuney is also a goner and I think there's a decent chance Gilmore has a new helmet this spring as well.

They're definitely not doing all of the above but I think they have the cap space/draft assets to knock off the big ticket items, assuming there actually is a big ticket QB option to spend on.
 

Super Nomario

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Is this team really going to re-sign a 29 year-old White to another contract? I feel like he is almost certainly gone, maybe to TB on a short deal and is replaced by Taylor or another cheap option.
Maybe, if the price is right. He's a super Patriotsy player, almost never missing time, playing great in big gains, captain / leader / etc. They kept Kevin Faulk in a similar role to age 35. But maybe he prices himself out. We haven't seen much from Taylor in the receiving game (1 catch for 2 yards); he's likely an immense downgrade, and that's a tough position to ask a rookie to fill.

Byrd has been solid but you can afford to let him go as well if you're bringing in a #1 WR like Robinson or Godwin. I figure Thuney is also a goner and I think there's a decent chance Gilmore has a new helmet this spring as well.
OK, but you gotta replace all these guys then. Robinson >>> Byrd but if you don't add a new guy you're still relying on 34-year-old Edelman or Gunner or Harry as your 3rd / 4th / 5th guys. That's pretty tenuous. Thuney goes, that's your best OL, and Andrews and Elu are also FA. Likely can't bring back all of them, but I don't think you can let all three walk either (and they have zero C depth, with Froholdt now gone and Ferentz also a FA). Keep guys, it costs, replace guys, it costs. Gilmore leaves, that's some savings, but now you don't have a #1 CB; Jackson struggled a bit in that role earlier this year (and is an RFA himself), JMac is a FA, Joejuan looks like a bust ... so maybe you don't need a $15 MM CB to replace Gilmore, but a replacement ain't gonna be cheap either.

They're definitely not doing all of the above but I think they have the cap space/draft assets to knock off the big ticket items, assuming there actually is a big ticket QB option to spend on.
Might be some bargains with a COVID-depressed cap but just filling out the roster costs a lot more than we think, especially for a team like the Patriots that values depth and experience.
 

RedOctober3829

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Is this team really going to re-sign a 29 year-old White to another contract? I feel like he is almost certainly gone, maybe to TB on a short deal and is replaced by Taylor or another cheap option. Byrd has been solid but you can afford to let him go as well if you're bringing in a #1 WR like Robinson or Godwin. I figure Thuney is also a goner and I think there's a decent chance Gilmore has a new helmet this spring as well.

They're definitely not doing all of the above but I think they have the cap space/draft assets to knock off the big ticket items, assuming there actually is a big ticket QB option to spend on.
They also have the ability to create an easy $13.88 million in additional cap space by releasing players who didn't play this year and might not have a role next year in Marcus Cannon, Beau Allen, Dan Vitale, Brandon Bolden, and Matt LaCosse.

If by chance Hightower and D-Mac retire(which I hope they don't because we see how much of a difference Dont'a makes and we definitely know what hole would be there without D-Mac), that would be another $18.9 million.
 

EL Jeffe

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2021 will be a pretty unique free agent market with the lowered cap. I wouldn't focus too heavily on the current list of 2021 free agents because a lot of players are going to have to be let go and others will be very available in the trade market. Think about a guy like John Brown from Buffalo; the Bills will be tight against the cap and may very well decide he's a luxury with Diggs, Beasley and Davis on the roster. Cutting Brown would save Buffalo just over $8m against the cap. Brown's speed (and NE's familiarity with him) would be a BIG upgrade to that Dorsett/Byrd role. A guy like him would cost significantly less than a top of the market guy like Robinson. Sammy Watkins is another value I could NE being very interested in. He doesn't put up big numbers and isn't the most durable (what a sales pitch!), but you can see the attention NE gave him in the prior KC matchups. BB seems to be a fan and Watkins would be pretty affordable. I think those are the sort of moves NE would make versus handing out top of the market contracts.

You also have to consider they'll need to spend on defense, as well. One of Gilmore or JC Jackson will need a new contract. They'll need to rebuild their DL. They'll probably want an upgrade at ILB, too.
 

RedOctober3829

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2021 will be a pretty unique free agent market with the lowered cap. I wouldn't focus too heavily on the current list of 2021 free agents because a lot of players are going to have to be let go and others will be very available in the trade market. Think about a guy like John Brown from Buffalo; the Bills will be tight against the cap and may very well decide he's a luxury with Diggs, Beasley and Davis on the roster. Cutting Brown would save Buffalo just over $8m against the cap. Brown's speed (and NE's familiarity with him) would be a BIG upgrade to that Dorsett/Byrd role. A guy like him would cost significantly less than a top of the market guy like Robinson. Sammy Watkins is another value I could NE being very interested in. He doesn't put up big numbers and isn't the most durable (what a sales pitch!), but you can see the attention NE gave him in the prior KC matchups. BB seems to be a fan and Watkins would be pretty affordable. I think those are the sort of moves NE would make versus handing out top of the market contracts.

You also have to consider they'll need to spend on defense, as well. One of Gilmore or JC Jackson will need a new contract. They'll need to rebuild their DL. They'll probably want an upgrade at ILB, too.
I do think they could do 1 or 2 top of the market contracts and fill in on other spots with quality depth guys they usually go after.
 

Super Nomario

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2021 will be a pretty unique free agent market with the lowered cap. I wouldn't focus too heavily on the current list of 2021 free agents because a lot of players are going to have to be let go and others will be very available in the trade market. Think about a guy like John Brown from Buffalo; the Bills will be tight against the cap and may very well decide he's a luxury with Diggs, Beasley and Davis on the roster. Cutting Brown would save Buffalo just over $8m against the cap. Brown's speed (and NE's familiarity with him) would be a BIG upgrade to that Dorsett/Byrd role. A guy like him would cost significantly less than a top of the market guy like Robinson. Sammy Watkins is another value I could NE being very interested in. He doesn't put up big numbers and isn't the most durable (what a sales pitch!), but you can see the attention NE gave him in the prior KC matchups. BB seems to be a fan and Watkins would be pretty affordable. I think those are the sort of moves NE would make versus handing out top of the market contracts.
Cut players also don't factor into the comp pick formula. If they sign Allen Robinson, it likely offsets what would presumably be a 3rd-round pick they'd get for Thuney. If they sign a cut John Brown, it's doesn't.
 

joe dokes

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Even on screen passes - he floats the ball and it gets there high and late, and the RB has lost his chance to catch the defense flat-footed. Certainly on the crossing routes, when guys are forced to stop and reach back for the ball. It doesn't matter who the receivers are, Cam isn't quick or accurate enough to run a consistently dangerous offense.
I think this has directly reduced White's effectiveness.

Cam seems sluggish to me. Mentally and physically. On the play where he was hit out bounds for example and it was disputed whether it was a penalty or not, I thought he easily could have gotten out of bounds and gotten the first down without slowing down. As it turned out his sluggishness there is what caused the penalty to be called perhaps. But again it almost felt like mental sluggishness -- like maybe his decisionmaking about whether he had attained the first down was not quite up to elite athlete quick twitching and he was just a beat tentative. He is also that way in the pocket. It just feels like he's always just a beat slow. He also seems deliberate in the huddle and not always to pick up the play clock immediately or to be able to keep it all in mind.
For a chunk of his career, Cam played by different rules. Because he looks like a tight end there was a double standard on roughing penalties called against him and other QBs, or at least he wasn't given the same protection all the time. I can remember some massive hits. Watching him play this year I'm very concerned about his post-career health with respect to possible head hits.
I've used "glacial" in a gamethread.
 

DJnVa

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From Kyed's latest:

Newton led qualified NFL quarterbacks in accuracy from Week 8 to Week 11 with an 85 percent adjusted completion rate. So, it’s tough to say all of those weeks were flukes and Week 12 is reality. It feels like something must have caused his accuracy to drop.

Newton, by the way, is seventh among qualified QBs in adjusted completion percentage this entire season. Only Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers have completed a higher percentage of targeted passes. Newton ranks higher than guys like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Justin Herbert, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson.
 

Harry Hooper

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From Kyed's latest:
GIGO, Kyed. Just for a start, adjusted completion rate excludes pass attempts batted down. These data are blind to inappropriately lobbed tosses to RBs on screens for another.
 

joe dokes

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From Kyed's latest:
Not all "completions" are "accurate." "Adjusted completeion rate" does not seem to take into account completions that can only be completed by the intended receiver stopping or turning and breaking stride.
Removing throwaways, spikes, batted passes and passes released while being hit creates a completion percentage that's more indicative of quarterback accuracy and success.
 

Captaincoop

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Is it helpful to leave out batted passes? That doesn't seem like a random occurrence over which QBs have no control.

Also, it would be interesting to view Newton's passing chart these last few weeks versus some of the QBs ranking behind him in that metric. Josh has really had the training wheels on the offense, at least from what I have seen (I know sometimes eyes/memory deceive). The throws he's completed have had a pretty low degree of difficulty.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Is it helpful to leave out batted passes? That doesn't seem like a random occurrence over which QBs have no control.

Also, it would be interesting to view Newton's passing chart these last few weeks versus some of the QBs ranking behind him in that metric. Josh has really had the training wheels on the offense, at least from what I have seen (I know sometimes eyes/memory deceive). The throws he's completed have had a pretty low degree of difficulty.
Same with throws while being hit. If you're taking too long to go through your reads or holding onto the ball too long, it is very dependent on the QB.
 

RedOctober3829

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Same with throws while being hit. If you're taking too long to go through your reads or holding onto the ball too long, it is very dependent on the QB.
A lot of the time, the QB is holding onto the ball too long because nobody is getting open down the field. That's where the term coverage sack comes from. Sure, some of the time a QB holding onto the ball is indecisiveness but the vast majority of the time it has to do with the coverage.
 

Captaincoop

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A lot of the time, the QB is holding onto the ball too long because nobody is getting open down the field. That's where the term coverage sack comes from. Sure, some of the time a QB holding onto the ball is indecisiveness but the vast majority of the time it has to do with the coverage.
I don't know if I believe that's right the "vast majority of the time." When Brady got hurt in 2008 and Cassell took over, Cassell got sacked 47 times that year. Brady hadn't been sacked more than 26 times in any of the previous 5 years. When Manning went down in 2011, the Indy QBs were sacked 35 times, after Manning was sacked no more than 21 times in the previous 8 years.

The ability of a QB to go through reads quickly and make a decision seems to impact sack and pressure numbers quite a bit. If avoiding sacks is a skill, it stands to reason that avoiding throwing while being hit is a skill, too.
 

Super Nomario

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I don't know if I believe that's right the "vast majority of the time." When Brady got hurt in 2008 and Cassell took over, Cassell got sacked 47 times that year. Brady hadn't been sacked more than 26 times in any of the previous 5 years. When Manning went down in 2011, the Indy QBs were sacked 35 times, after Manning was sacked no more than 21 times in the previous 8 years.

The ability of a QB to go through reads quickly and make a decision seems to impact sack and pressure numbers quite a bit. If avoiding sacks is a skill, it stands to reason that avoiding throwing while being hit is a skill, too.
This is true. Historically Brady has been very good at avoiding sacks. Historically Cam has been right around league average (which is good for a QB who runs a lot). This year, true to form, he's been right at league average.
 

Pandemonium67

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Yeah, really there are three or four things in play: the O line protection, receivers getting separation, and QB getting through the reads (or doing an effective pre-snap read) quickly and releasing. The fourth thing is scheme, both offensive (getting receivers free) or and defensive (getting pressure on the QB).
 

BaseballJones

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Or even seemingly simple (nothing is actually simple in the NFL) thing of the QB making the right read pre snap and calling for the right protection.