OK, I am going to ask the question: Has BB lost his fastball?

Cellar-Door

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The problem with this year's team was that both the offense and defense feasted on bad units, struggled badly with good units. The offense shredded bad defenses, but couldn't consistently do much against good defenses, the defense was similar. It feasted on certain offense types (passing attacks with pocket QBs, young QBs who had to pass), but others ripped it up (running QBs, dynamic pass catching backs, efficient ball control). The overal ranks were a product of those demolitions of the worst teams/units.
 

BaseballJones

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The problem with this year's team was that both the offense and defense feasted on bad units, struggled badly with good units. The offense shredded bad defenses, but couldn't consistently do much against good defenses, the defense was similar. It feasted on certain offense types (passing attacks with pocket QBs, young QBs who had to pass), but others ripped it up (running QBs, dynamic pass catching backs, efficient ball control). The overal ranks were a product of those demolitions of the worst teams/units.
Cleveland's defensive ranks: #13 points, #5 yards
Dallas' defensive ranks: #7 points, #19 yards
Tennessee's defensive ranks: #6 points, #12 yards

Those were three pretty good defenses. How did NE do against these good defenses?

vs Cle: 452 yards, 45 points
vs Dal: 335 yards, 29 points
vs Ten: 394 yards, 36 points

I'd say pretty well.
 

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Much of this thread lately is about BB, the GM. In terms of BB, the coach, my biggest disappointment in the playoff game was that there didn't seem to be anything new in terms of game plan, strategy or tactics, for attacking Buffalo either on offense or defense. They just seemed to roll out the same game plan that had failed just a few weeks earlier. I had really expected to see some significant change-up, especially on defense, to try to limit the Bills.
 

Cellar-Door

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Cleveland's defensive ranks: #13 points, #5 yards
Dallas' defensive ranks: #7 points, #19 yards
Tennessee's defensive ranks: #6 points, #12 yards

Those were three pretty good defenses. How did NE do against these good defenses?

vs Cle: 452 yards, 45 points
vs Dal: 335 yards, 29 points
vs Ten: 394 yards, 36 points

I'd say pretty well.
THey weren't when they played them, TEN was missing half it's starters, CLE had 1 positive defensive EPA in the 5 weeks before us and had gotten TORCHED twice in that span (they put up 3 positive defensive performances in 11 non-division games, CHI, MIN, DET so 2 of the worst offenses in the league), Cowboys also started off terrible before a post-bye turnaround. Our yardage in that game was the least they had given up all year, even with OT.
 

Shelterdog

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It is a problem, isn't it? They've got their work cut out for them.
Sure. I'm more optimistic than others are because I think there are more good useable pieces on defense than it looked like on Saturday night (that's assuming Barmore plays more like he did before he got carted off the other week, Judon plays like he was the first two months of the season, Duggar plays like he was before he busted his hand, Mills comes back and is kind of adequate, JC Jackson plays next year). I think there are guys like Hightower or maybe DMC you have to replace who aren't easy to replace but then they're not really difference makers either. You don't have a ton of cap space and your draft picks aren't too high so you've really got to nail a lot of your picks/acquisitions for it to work.

The flip side of this is, can you really compete with the Chiefs and Bills in a shootout anyway? They both have amazing QBs and at least one dominant receiver. Mac will probably never be as good as Mahomes or Allen and he'll probably never have a receiving target as good as Kelce / Hill or Diggs, so aren't we better off trying to invest elsewhere and win in a different way?
So I agree with you. I think you need to find a different way to win and I think building a defense oriented team with a physical (largely run based) offense is the way to do it.
 

BaseballJones

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In Cleveland's three games leading up to the NE game, and the two games following (with NE sandwiched in there):

Defense allowed
vs Den: 14 points
vs Pit: 15 points
vs Cin: 16 points
vs NE: 45 points
vs Det: 10 points
vs Bal: 16 points

One of these things is not like the others.

Cle was allowing 21.8 points per game going into the Pats game. NE lit them up for 45. Tennessee wasn't missing "half its starters" (at least on D). They were missing LB Evans (a starter), LB Long (a starter), DB Mabin (a bench guy who played in just 5 games), and DL Tart (backup who made 16 tackles all season). The LBs were important losses, but that's not exactly "half its starters".

Dallas had allowed an average of 23 points a game going into the Patriots' game. NE scored 29 on them.

So I mean look, we can say NE didn't actually ever do anything offensively against good defenses, except that they did on some occasions, but oh wait there must have been reasons why they did so that doesn't count.

Every team deals with injuries. Every team has ups and downs. The Pats, like it or not, had some good offensive games against some good defenses. Doesn't mean their offense is this juggernaut or anything and doesn't mean it shouldn't be improved. But they actually played well against some good defenses this year. It's ok.
 

BaseballJones

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Sure. I'm more optimistic than others are because I think there are more good useable pieces on defense than it looked like on Saturday night (that's assuming Barmore plays more like he did before he got carted off the other week, Judon plays like he was the first two months of the season, Duggar plays like he was before he busted his hand, Mills comes back and is kind of adequate, JC Jackson plays next year). I think there are guys like Hightower or maybe DMC you have to replace who aren't easy to replace but then they're not really difference makers either. You don't have a ton of cap space and your draft picks aren't too high so you've really got to nail a lot of your picks/acquisitions for it to work.


So I agree with you. I think you need to find a different way to win and I think building a defense oriented team with a physical (largely run based) offense is the way to do it.
Using this past weekend as some sort of gauge for how good or bad this team is on defense is a bad idea. It was an historically bad performance that we'd never seen before and will almost certainly never see again. It was the perfect storm of everything that could possibly happen to a defense. They were just so incomprehensibly awful, that the best thing to do would be to just bury the game tape.

The more useful thing would be to go back to the last quarter of the season and see what we learn there. THAT is more likely than not a fair gauge of the team's defense. And while there's some good things, there's also a bunch of bad things. But not ALL bad, like it was in that WC game.
 

tims4wins

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Using this past weekend as some sort of gauge for how good or bad this team is on defense is a bad idea. It was an historically bad performance that we'd never seen before and will almost certainly never see again. It was the perfect storm of everything that could possibly happen to a defense. They were just so incomprehensibly awful, that the best thing to do would be to just bury the game tape.

The more useful thing would be to go back to the last quarter of the season and see what we learn there. THAT is more likely than not a fair gauge of the team's defense. And while there's some good things, there's also a bunch of bad things. But not ALL bad, like it was in that WC game.
But does the fact that it basically happened twice against Buffalo change this narrative? We can't write off the playoff game as a pure anomaly given that they more or less didn't stop them three weeks earlier either.
 

Captaincoop

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But does the fact that it basically happened twice against Buffalo change this narrative? We can't write off the playoff game as a pure anomaly given that they more or less didn't stop them three weeks earlier either.
And they looked almost as bad against Miami and Indy. It was not an anomaly, IMO.
 

BaseballJones

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But does the fact that it basically happened twice against Buffalo change this narrative? We can't write off the playoff game as a pure anomaly given that they more or less didn't stop them three weeks earlier either.
No because it's one thing to struggle to stop someone. It's another thing to NEVER stop them. The Pats actually held Buffalo to two FGs and did, incredibly, keep Buffalo from scoring on one possession in their last regular season matchup. And Buffalo "only" scored 33 points (compared with 47), and you can win a game if the other team "only" scores 33. Moreover, the Pats had a GOLDEN opportunity to hold Buffalo to 26 points in that game as Jackson missed what was for him a pretty easy interception. So while that was bad, it wasn't 2021 Wild Card game bad.

What those two games do show though is that NE has a major problem with the Bills, and that's likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
 

RedOctober3829

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Sure. I'm more optimistic than others are because I think there are more good useable pieces on defense than it looked like on Saturday night (that's assuming Barmore plays more like he did before he got carted off the other week, Judon plays like he was the first two months of the season, Duggar plays like he was before he busted his hand, Mills comes back and is kind of adequate, JC Jackson plays next year). I think there are guys like Hightower or maybe DMC you have to replace who aren't easy to replace but then they're not really difference makers either. You don't have a ton of cap space and your draft picks aren't too high so you've really got to nail a lot of your picks/acquisitions for it to work.


So I agree with you. I think you need to find a different way to win and I think building a defense oriented team with a physical (largely run based) offense is the way to do it.
I just don't think you can win with just a running game and good defense in this league anymore. Along with a solid running game, you also have to be able to challenge the opposing defense through the air to win championships. Everyone wants to point to the '18 team as led by Sony Michel and the running game, but it's Brady who shredded the Chargers/won the game in Kansas City/made the crucial throw to put them in position to win the Super Bowl. Tennessee's ground and pound offense went to another level when they added AJ Brown.

You can certainly have elements of what you are talking about and want to play a more physical brand of offensive football, but doing that exclusively is going to limit a team's ceiling. You have to be at least capable of hanging with KC or Buffalo in a shootout.
 

tims4wins

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No because it's one thing to struggle to stop someone. It's another thing to NEVER stop them. The Pats actually held Buffalo to two FGs and did, incredibly, keep Buffalo from scoring on one possession in their last regular season matchup. And Buffalo "only" scored 33 points (compared with 47), and you can win a game if the other team "only" scores 33. Moreover, the Pats had a GOLDEN opportunity to hold Buffalo to 26 points in that game as Jackson missed what was for him a pretty easy interception. So while that was bad, it wasn't 2021 Wild Card game bad.

What those two games do show though is that NE has a major problem with the Bills, and that's likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
The Bills more or less totally blew a 4th down play as well in the first game. That was the only "stop". That game could have just as easily been 40 too. If they hadn't blown the play and ended with 40 and 47 in the two games would that change your opinion? They could not stop Buffalo.
 

BaseballJones

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The Bills more or less totally blew a 4th down play as well in the first game. That was the only "stop". That game could have just as easily been 40 too. If they hadn't blown the play and ended with 40 and 47 in the two games would that change your opinion? They could not stop Buffalo.
They definitely have a Buffalo problem that they need to figure out. 100%. But to your point, the fact that Buffalo "blew" a fourth down play is partly my point. That is, it's almost literally impossible for a team to play a perfect offensive game (score a TD every time they have the ball). Because AT SOME POINT, the defense is going to make a play or the offense is going to make a mistake. I think the play you're thinking of was the previous possession, when Sanders dropped a wide open pass in the end zone and the Bills kicked a FG.
 

Shelterdog

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I just don't think you can win with just a running game and good defense in this league anymore. Along with a solid running game, you also have to be able to challenge the opposing defense through the air to win championships. Everyone wants to point to the '18 team as led by Sony Michel and the running game, but it's Brady who shredded the Chargers/won the game in Kansas City/made the crucial throw to put them in position to win the Super Bowl. Tennessee's ground and pound offense went to another level when they added AJ Brown.

You can certainly have elements of what you are talking about and want to play a more physical brand of offensive football, but doing that exclusively is going to limit a team's ceiling. You have to be at least capable of hanging with KC or Buffalo in a shootout.
I'm not saying you run it 75 percent of the time or that you can win with Trent Dilfer at QB. Looking at the numbers the pats were roughly 50-50 this year--maybe something like that depending year to year on how different units progress? But given where the units are I'd be much happier adding mostly defensive players with the high draft picks than adding them on offense.
 

tims4wins

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They definitely have a Buffalo problem that they need to figure out. 100%. But to your point, the fact that Buffalo "blew" a fourth down play is partly my point. That is, it's almost literally impossible for a team to play a perfect offensive game (score a TD every time they have the ball). Because AT SOME POINT, the defense is going to make a play or the offense is going to make a mistake. I think the play you're thinking of was the previous possession, when Sanders dropped a wide open pass in the end zone and the Bills kicked a FG.
Right so they only played SB52 bad against Buffalo in the first game. It was still a horrible defensive performance. It might just be a Buffalo problem, I don't know.
 

RedOctober3829

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I'm not saying you run it 75 percent of the time or that you can win with Trent Dilfer at QB. Looking at the numbers the pats were roughly 50-50 this year--maybe something like that depending year to year on how different units progress? But given where the units are I'd be much happier adding mostly defensive players with the high draft picks than adding them on offense.
Yeah I do agree that they have to focus on defense in the draft. They need a infusion of young, athletic talent at all 3 levels of the defense. But, they also need some additions on offense in order to make it more explosive.
 

tims4wins

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Yeah I do agree that they have to focus on defense in the draft. They need a infusion of young, athletic talent at all 3 levels of the defense. But, they also need some additions on offense in order to make it more explosive.
Yeah to me it's not an issue that the offense isn't built for shootouts; you can win other ways. The issue is the reliance on dink and dunk / 3rd down conversions without being able to pick up a lot of chunk plays.
 

BaseballJones

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Right so they only played SB52 bad against Buffalo in the first game. It was still a horrible defensive performance. It might just be a Buffalo problem, I don't know.
Correct. They played very very poorly in the second Buffalo game. Terribly. But it wasn't the worst defensive performance of all time, like it was in the WC game. And though they struggled against some other teams, clearly they didn't play THAT badly against, say, Miami or Indy. Those weren't very good performances either, but nothing at ALL like the WC game.
 

lexrageorge

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Correct. They played very very poorly in the second Buffalo game. Terribly. But it wasn't the worst defensive performance of all time, like it was in the WC game. And though they struggled against some other teams, clearly they didn't play THAT badly against, say, Miami or Indy. Those weren't very good performances either, but nothing at ALL like the WC game.
The poor performances against Indy and Miami are a concern. Especially Miami, who did not possess a good offense by any measure. Slow and old is a bad combination in the modern NFL.
 

RedOctober3829

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Right so they only played SB52 bad against Buffalo in the first game. It was still a horrible defensive performance. It might just be a Buffalo problem, I don't know.
Something is going on with the Pats defense vs. Buffalo because if you look at Josh Allen's numbers against other teams down the stretch they were mediocre to bad. 3 of the 4 teams besides New England were Atlanta, Carolina, and the Jets which aren't exactly world beaters.

View: https://twitter.com/michaelFhurley/status/1483442856861786119


On Saturday night, they did not blitz Allen nearly enough to make him make quicker and sometimes worse decisions. They schemed him up and played like they are scared of him IMO. They did not rush him, but also did not hold contain him well which means they are stuck in neutral against him. Either commit to blitzing him or you better not let him out of the pocket if you don't. Now, in the 2nd game they were playing with a secondary that looked more like a 4th preseason game so I get it. But, if you have deficiencies in the secondary that means you need to try to make up for it by getting to the QB so that he has to get rid of the ball quicker. That did not happen and IMO it was a big mistake.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Sure. I'm more optimistic than others are because I think there are more good useable pieces on defense than it looked like on Saturday night (that's assuming Barmore plays more like he did before he got carted off the other week, Judon plays like he was the first two months of the season, Duggar plays like he was before he busted his hand, Mills comes back and is kind of adequate, JC Jackson plays next year). I think there are guys like Hightower or maybe DMC you have to replace who aren't easy to replace but then they're not really difference makers either. You don't have a ton of cap space and your draft picks aren't too high so you've really got to nail a lot of your picks/acquisitions for it to work.
I think a healthy Jonathan Jones changes this team on defense significantly as well.

Am curious to see what happens with James White too...
 

tims4wins

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I think a healthy Jonathan Jones changes this team on defense significantly as well.

Am curious to see what happens with James White too...
Given that there was little / no market for him this year, I can't imagine there will be next year coming off an injury like this. So, it will really just be about where he wants to play for short $$.
 

Super Nomario

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Every team deals with injuries. Every team has ups and downs. The Pats, like it or not, had some good offensive games against some good defenses. Doesn't mean their offense is this juggernaut or anything and doesn't mean it shouldn't be improved. But they actually played well against some good defenses this year. It's ok.
I agree with this. The offense was just inconsistent. Like, the first time they played the Jets, they struggled, only compiling 260 total yards and needing ridiculous field position to get them to 25 points. The next time, they piled on more than twice as many points (54) and yards (551). They obliterated the Browns but put up stinkers the week before vs Carolina and the week after vs Atlanta (scoring in the 20s in both but only with the aid of pick-sixes). The Jacksonville game similar came amid offensive struggles. They were great when they were great but a lot of weeks they were mediocre.

And they looked almost as bad against Miami and Indy. It was not an anomaly, IMO.
Against Miami and Indy, the pass defense was still very good; they just struggled vs the run. They held the Dolphins to just 103 passing yards and the Colts to a mere 49. Other than the two Bills games, the only tough stretch for the pass defense were the Cowboys and Texans back in Weeks 5/6. I think Allen's mobility gave them problems in a way that wasn't exposed by the rest of the schedule.

I just don't think you can win with just a running game and good defense in this league anymore. Along with a solid running game, you also have to be able to challenge the opposing defense through the air to win championships. Everyone wants to point to the '18 team as led by Sony Michel and the running game, but it's Brady who shredded the Chargers/won the game in Kansas City/made the crucial throw to put them in position to win the Super Bowl. Tennessee's ground and pound offense went to another level when they added AJ Brown.

You can certainly have elements of what you are talking about and want to play a more physical brand of offensive football, but doing that exclusively is going to limit a team's ceiling. You have to be at least capable of hanging with KC or Buffalo in a shootout.
You have to be good enough to hang, but you also can't try to follow the same team building philosophy with players who are only 75% as good. I think you're looking for good enough in those areas, and then superiority elsewhere to compensate. Where is that line? That's the question, I think.
 

RedOctober3829

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You have to be good enough to hang, but you also can't try to follow the same team building philosophy with players who are only 75% as good. I think you're looking for good enough in those areas, and then superiority elsewhere to compensate. Where is that line? That's the question, I think.
Sure, if you don't have Mahomes or Allen you can't be the greatest show on turf. But I think the way you beat them is balance. You need 1 game breaking type pass catcher whether it's a TE or a WR, a QB who is dynamic enough to make some plays off script, and a good running game. Defensively, I think the TB model works. Elite ends who rush the passer, run stuffing DT's who let fast and athletic LBs fly around and make plays , and a good enough secondary.
 

Jimbodandy

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No because it's one thing to struggle to stop someone. It's another thing to NEVER stop them. The Pats actually held Buffalo to two FGs and did, incredibly, keep Buffalo from scoring on one possession in their last regular season matchup. And Buffalo "only" scored 33 points (compared with 47), and you can win a game if the other team "only" scores 33. Moreover, the Pats had a GOLDEN opportunity to hold Buffalo to 26 points in that game as Jackson missed what was for him a pretty easy interception. So while that was bad, it wasn't 2021 Wild Card game bad.

What those two games do show though is that NE has a major problem with the Bills, and that's likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
Agree with all of this.

We gave up 31 to KC and beat them on the road in the AFCCG just three years ago.

We haven't shown an ability to shut down grown up Josh Allen unless there are 60mph winds. But we don't have to shut them down. We can keep him to 31 and win.

That said, it seems that he's going to be a big pain in the ass for years. Funny how the worm has turned.
 

BaseballJones

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Josh Allen certainly is a problem for the Pats. But last year, New England did a great job on him in the game in Buffalo on Nov 1. NE lost, and that was the Cam fumble game as they were driving for the win. But they held Allen in check:

11-18 (61.1%), 154 yds, 0 td, 1 int

So it's not impossible to stop him. Last year Allen was an MVP candidate so very much "grown up" Josh Allen. But this year...very tough sledding.

The good news is that next year it's going to be nearly impossible for Allen to duplicate these numbers against NE. Regression to the mean, anyone?
 

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That said, it seems that he's going to be a big pain in the ass for years. Funny how the worm has turned.
Allen can do amazing things but I'm still sticking to my guns that they way he plays right now is not going to be a problem for years--he's almost 26 and I'll bet anyone a nickel he stops running as much fairly soon because of age, injury, or self preservation. He's a mobile guy and he can make amazing throws on the run but losing the running threat is a big change if he ends up being more of the 60 percent passer that he's usually than the perfectly accurate guy he was saturday.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Sure, if you don't have Mahomes or Allen you can't be the greatest show on turf. But I think the way you beat them is balance. You need 1 game breaking type pass catcher whether it's a TE or a WR, a QB who is dynamic enough to make some plays off script, and a good running game. Defensively, I think the TB model works. Elite ends who rush the passer, run stuffing DT's who let fast and athletic LBs fly around and make plays , and a good enough secondary.
I think the blueprint is to build a flexible and consistent offense which has a very dangerous running game and the ability to spread you out in the passing game wtih reliable guys out of backfield (White, perhaps Stevenson); two quality TEs (hopefully a true statement next year); a couple reliable route-runners (Meyers and TBD); a slash threat (Bourne) and a good X to threaten vertically (probably more production than they got this year, though could still be Agholor). They can pick on your weakness and use pre-snap motion to identify where to go. It is not 5000 yards passing good, but executed well there's a material amount of production there. Mac developing and reducing mistakes is the biggest uncertainty here, imo.

The defense needs to be top 10, ideally top 5, to be a contender around that kind of offense. YMMV on how close they are to that.

The special teams needs to be top 10 and generate some big plays over course of the year. This was a big gap this year--especially given the $/roster commitment to it.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Hightower's cap hit was north of $12 MM this year, so I'm sure you're right you can replace his production for less. The problem is he's not under contract at all, and neither is Bentley, and there's not much cap space to speak of to fill that hole, as well as several others.

I'm not sure whether people realize this or not, but we basically haven't begun to pay for last offseason's spending spree.
2021 cap hits: Jonnu: 5.6 MM, Henry 6.8 MM, Agholor 6.9 MM, Godchaux 4 MM, Judon 6.3 MM
2022: Jonnu: 13.75 MM, Henry 15 MM, Agholor 15 MM, Godchaux 10.2 MM, Judon 16.5 MM
Those 5 guys are going to cost ~$40 MM more on the 2022 cap than they did in 2021.

And the other issue is they don't really have young guys waiting in the wings, like, anywhere on the roster. I mean, on paper you can say, well, they drafted Cameron McGrone last year in the 5th, he can take Hightower's snaps, but that's a lot to put on a dude who played zero snaps this year.
This is true, but ~$25 million in added cap space helps. All the talk during the Pats spree was that BB saw the coming cap increase and took advantage. Some of the contracts aren’t looking great, but the actual dollar amount should be offset by the cap increasing to over $200 million.

also, I just scanned the thread, so apologies if this has been discussed
 

leftfieldlegacy

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Allen can do amazing things but I'm still sticking to my guns that they way he plays right now is not going to be a problem for years--he's almost 26 and I'll bet anyone a nickel he stops running as much fairly soon because of age, injury, or self preservation. He's a mobile guy and he can make amazing throws on the run but losing the running threat is a big change if he ends up being more of the 60 percent passer that he's usually than the perfectly accurate guy he was saturday.
Also, let's see how the Bills and Josh Allen react next season if they lose Dabol and or Frazier. McDermott is a good HC and maybe he has a solid succession plan in place, but hasn't Josh Allen given a lot of credit for his improvemnet as a QB specifically to Dabol. Things change quickly in te NFL. Getting to the top and staying on top are two very different things.
 
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Also, let's see how the Bills and Josh Allen react next season if they lose Dabol and or Frazier. McDermott is a good HC and maybe he has a solid succession plan in place, but hasn't Josh Allen given a lot of credit for his improvemnet as a QB specifically to Dabol. Things change quickly in te NFL. Getting to the top and staying on top are two very different things.
I agree this will be worth watching. Aside from crushing us 2/3 times, Buffalo arguably regressed this year. They could still make a deep run but they were very inconsistent. And that’s with Daboll and Frazier. Don’t discount lower level staff leaving with them for promotions either. Allen is a beast, but next year could be tumultuous.
 

BaseballJones

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When have the Patriots under Belichick ever had a true #1 WR? Obviously, it depends on how you define that, but I usually think of a game-breaker type who puts up major production (not just a fast WR who doesn't actually catch many passes). So clearly Randy Moss was a true #1, but he only played for NE for three full seasons plus part of a fourth. Moreover - and this is so painful - they never won a SB with Moss. They won all their Super Bowls with non-#1 wide receivers.

Now they did it differently for sure. Here's who, IMO, were the "#1" receivers on the team each year under BB (starting in 2001):

2001: Troy Brown - 101 rec, 1199 yds, 11.9 ypc, 5 td (Pats go 11-5, win SB)
2002: Troy Brown - 97 rec, 890 yds, 9.2 ypc, 3 td (Pats go 9-7, miss playoffs)
2003: Deion Branch - 57 rec, 803 yds, 14.1 ypc, 3 td (Pats go 14-2, win SB)
2004: David Patten - 44 rec, 800 yds, 18.2 ypc, 7 td (Pats go 14-2, win SB)
2005: Deion Branch - 78 rec, 998 yds, 12.8 ypc, 5 td (Pats go 10-6, lose in divisional round)
2006: Reche Caldwell - 61 rec, 760 yds, 12.5 ypc, 4 td (Pats go 12-4, lose in AFCCG)
2007: Randy Moss - 98 rec, 1493 yds, 15.2 ypc, 23 td (Pats go 16-0, lose in SB)*
2008: Randy Moss - 69 rec, 1008 yds, 14.6 ypc, 11 td (Pats go 11-5, miss playoffs, no Brady)*
2009: Randy Moss - 83 rec, 1264 yds, 15.2 ypc, 13 td (Pats go 10-6, lose in WC round)*
2010: Wes Welker - 86 rec, 848 yds, 9.9 ypc, 7 td (Pats go 14-2, lose in divisional round)
2011: Rob Gronkowski - 90 rec, 1327 yds, 14.7 ypc, 17 td (Pats go 13-3, lose in SB)
2012: Wes Welker - 118 rec, 1354 yds, 11.5 ypc, 6 td (Pats go 12-4, lose in AFCCG)
2013: Julian Edelman - 105 rec, 1056 yds, 10.1 ypc, 6 td (Pats go 12-4, lose in AFCCG)
2014: Rob Gronkowski - 82 rec, 1124 yds, 13.7 ypc, 12 td (Pats go 12-4, win SB)
2015: Rob Gronkowski - 72 rec, 1176 yds, 16.3 ypc, 11 td (Pats go 12-4, lose in AFCCG)
2016: Julian Edelman - 98 rec, 1106 yds, 11.3 ypc, 3 td (Pats go 14-2, win SB)
2017: Rob Gronkowski - 69 rec, 1084 yds, 15.7 ypc, 8 td (Pats go 13-3, lose in SB)
2018: Julian Edelman - 74 rec, 850 yds, 11.5 ypc, 6 td (Pats go 11-5, win SB)**
2019: Julian Edelman - 100 rec, 1117 yds, 11.2 ypc, 6 td (Pats go 12-4, lose in divisional round)
2020: Jakobi Meyers - 59 rec, 729 yds, 12.4 ypc, 0 td (Pats go 7-9 and miss playoffs, Cam as QB)
2021: Jakobi Meyers - 83 rec, 866 yds, 10.4 ypc, 2 td (Pats go 10-7, lose in WC round, Mac as QB)

*Wes Welker those years put up sick, sick numbers. But I contend that Moss was still their #1 receiver.
**James White had more catches and TD than Edelman, but it's really hard for me to put a RB as a #1 receiver.

I mean, the've won a TON of games and a TON of Super Bowls without a true #1 receiver (depending on how you define that). Clearly you don't need a true #1 WR in order to win a Super Bowl. What you need is GOOD receivers, and preferably a lot of them. So you spread out a defense with 4 WR, and if you've got 4 quality WRs who can all win against man coverage, generally teams don't have enough quality DBs to cover that many good receivers, so you're going to get a really good matchup somewhere. Right now the Pats don't have that. They've got basically 2 good WRs and 1 good TE, and it's not *that* hard to defend.
 

Shaky Walton

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Speaking of WRs, Sosh Member @Chad Finn comments today about the regrettable and unfathomable choice of N'Keal Harry over Deebo Samuel in 2019.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/01/18/sports/few-postmortem-thoughts-patriots-season-that-ended-decisively-buffalo/

▪ It’s easy to lament when a young player the Patriots passed up in the draft succeeds elsewhere, even if it was understandably unlikely at the time of the draft that they would select him. (Dez Bryant and Lamar Jackson being two examples.). But it’s different with Deebo Samuel, the Niners’ electrifying receiver and runner.

Virtually everyone thought the Patriots would take Samuel in the first round of the 2019 draft, including Samuel himself. After he interviewed with and worked out for the Patriots, he posted a message on Instagram that said, “Hey Billy, I’ll see you in a month, my man.”

It’s unfathomable now that Bill Belichick would choose N’Keal Harry over him. It was pretty close to unfathomable then, too.
Given how good the draft looked this year, I wonder how much the change from Nick Caserio to Dave Ziegler affected things. Sure, the buck stops with Bill, but maybe Caserio was a part of the problem during his tenure as GM without the title of GM.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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How does one define #1 WR? Several of the Welker / Edelman years could qualify. Walker led the league in receptions three times as a Patriot.
 

BaseballJones

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How does one define #1 WR? Several of the Welker / Edelman years could qualify. Walker led the league in receptions three times as a Patriot.
Agreed but he wasn’t a real game breaker type. My point wasn’t that the Pats haven’t had some excellent receivers over the years; just not a “true #1” type besides Moss, really.

Their best receivers aside from Moss have been slot guys, tight ends, or running backs (if you consider White to be their best receiver a year or two ago).

They just haven’t had, aside from Moss, anyone like Diggs or Hopkins or Chase or Julio Jones.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
24,843
Speaking of WRs, Sosh Member @Chad Finn comments today about the regrettable and unfathomable choice of N'Keal Harry over Deebo Samuel in 2019.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/01/18/sports/few-postmortem-thoughts-patriots-season-that-ended-decisively-buffalo/



Given how good the draft looked this year, I wonder how much the change from Nick Caserio to Dave Ziegler affected things. Sure, the buck stops with Bill, but maybe Caserio was a part of the problem during his tenure as GM without the title of GM.
Maybe it was the “Hey Billy” that doomed both him and us. I know it sounds petty but this can be construed as disrespectful and I’ve seen other examples of innocuous comments changing the playing field. I remember watching “Shark Tank” and Cuban was prepared to make an offer until the guy called him “Cubes” at which point the guy got a snarky look followed by the words, “And for that reason I’m out!”
 

Eddie Jurak

Go Leafs Go
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I mean, the've won a TON of games and a TON of Super Bowls without a true #1 receiver (depending on how you define that). Clearly you don't need a true #1 WR in order to win a Super Bowl. What you need is GOOD receivers, and preferably a lot of them. So you spread out a defense with 4 WR, and if you've got 4 quality WRs who can all win against man coverage, generally teams don't have enough quality DBs to cover that many good receivers, so you're going to get a really good matchup somewhere. Right now the Pats don't have that. They've got basically 2 good WRs and 1 good TE, and it's not *that* hard to defend.
Obviously the definition matters, but Gronk (when healthy), Welker, Edelman all count as "#1 equivalents" to me. Welker and Edelman were great slot receivers who gave Brady the most reliable "move the sticks" option in the whole leage for over a decade. That's not what Mass did, but it is immensely valuable. And Gronk - who is without NFL precedent as a player - I think actually was that #1 guy at his best, even though he wasn't a WR.

Mac would have done much better last year if his slot receiver was prime Edelman. I like Meyers, but he's not even close.
 

Shaky Walton

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Maybe it was the “Hey Billy” that doomed both him and us. I know it sounds petty but this can be construed as disrespectful and I’ve seen other examples of innocuous comments changing the playing field. I remember watching “Shark Tank” and Cuban was prepared to make an offer until the guy called him “Cubes” at which point the guy got a snarky look followed by the words, “And for that reason I’m out!”
Given the manifest absurdity at the time at reaching for Harry, on the hopes that maybe he would be like Anquan Bolden, a very rare type WR, over an obvious stud like Samuel, that explanation is as good as any. It's not hard to see a HC who seemingly alienated the best player of all time by not giving him some deference after twenty odd years together be the kind of man who would shy away from a kid referred to him in an arguably disrespectful way.

What a shame, if that is true. What a shame, no matter what, actually.
 

Super Nomario

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Given the manifest absurdity at the time at reaching for Harry, on the hopes that maybe he would be like Anquan Bolden, a very rare type WR, over an obvious stud like Samuel, that explanation is as good as any. It's not hard to see a HC who seemingly alienated the best player of all time by not giving him some deference after twenty odd years together be the kind of man who would shy away from a kid referred to him in an arguably disrespectful way.

What a shame, if that is true. What a shame, no matter what, actually.
I don't think Samuel was an obvious slam dunk, to be honest. He was hurt a lot in college, and as a result didn't really have a great season until his senior year, which usually bodes poorly for prospects. Harry was a lot more productive (in a worse conference, sure), at a lot younger age, had a cleaner injury history, and is two years younger. I had Samuel ranked over Harry based on tape but I think it was close enough that picking Harry makes sense.

AJ Brown is the one I couldn't and can't really fathom.
 

Granite Sox

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Additionally, Belichick was bros with Todd Graham, who coached Harry for a couple of years at ASU. So, rightly or wrongly, it fed into the narrative of Belichick discounting the feedback of his scouting staff (to some extent) in favor of taking a player previously coached by one of his buddies (Graham, Meyer, Saban, Schiano, etc.)
 

Old Fart Tree

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Much of this thread lately is about BB, the GM. In terms of BB, the coach, my biggest disappointment in the playoff game was that there didn't seem to be anything new in terms of game plan, strategy or tactics, for attacking Buffalo either on offense or defense. They just seemed to roll out the same game plan that had failed just a few weeks earlier. I had really expected to see some significant change-up, especially on defense, to try to limit the Bills.
That was very confusing to me as well.Maybe I didn’t pick up on it but it seemed like they didn’t even add a wrinkle.
 

lars10

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Obviously the definition matters, but Gronk (when healthy), Welker, Edelman all count as "#1 equivalents" to me. Welker and Edelman were great slot receivers who gave Brady the most reliable "move the sticks" option in the whole leage for over a decade. That's not what Mass did, but it is immensely valuable. And Gronk - who is without NFL precedent as a player - I think actually was that #1 guy at his best, even though he wasn't a WR.

Mac would have done much better last year if his slot receiver was prime Edelman. I like Meyers, but he's not even close.
I think we’re all underestimating the loss of White.. even though he’s aging he’s still a huge part of the offense.. especially for a young qb that could really benefit from check downs.
 

SMU_Sox

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I think for Bill historically he doesn’t blitz when he doesn’t believe his secondary can hold up. He wants to win in structure. He doesn’t want to give up chunk plays. So if he doesn’t trust the secondary he won’t blitz much. I know others here feel the opposite approach is better. I probably would have started blitzing him early given that the secondary wasn’t going to hold up anyway so best take your chances with pressure. I heard on the FO podcast that Allen is one of the rare QBs who handles pressure well but not blitzes which is odd.
 

Reggie's Racquet

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Obviously the definition matters, but Gronk (when healthy), Welker, Edelman all count as "#1 equivalents" to me. Welker and Edelman were great slot receivers who gave Brady the most reliable "move the sticks" option in the whole leage for over a decade. That's not what Mass did, but it is immensely valuable. And Gronk - who is without NFL precedent as a player - I think actually was that #1 guy at his best, even though he wasn't a WR.

Mac would have done much better last year if his slot receiver was prime Edelman. I like Meyers, but he's not even close.
Or even Braxton Berrios who had a good year for the Jets as both a slot receiver and punt returner.
 

pappymojo

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I didn't want to pollute the other threads, but the mess in New Orleans post-Brees really shines a light on how well Bill managed the Patriots through the post-Brady transition. Still work to do for us, but, my god, the Saints are a mess. There but for the grace of Bill....
 

BaseballJones

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I didn't want to pollute the other threads, but the mess in New Orleans post-Brees really shines a light on how well Bill managed the Patriots through the post-Brady transition. Still work to do for us, but, my god, the Saints are a mess. There but for the grace of Bill....
Yep. For all the complaints about Belichick as GM - some of which are justified - someone name me a better run organization over the last 20 years. You can't do it.
 

Geocomm2001

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May 15, 2022
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I came across this post after googling for any signs of the Krafts recognizing Bill's decline. I don't think BB has "lost it" exactly but he's more than ever set in his ways and some of the quirks that once made him great now work against him.

Signs show he's been declining over the past 5 years IMO, and when you consider how he's handled the GM role in general, it's clear that if BB was truly doing what is best for the team, he'd have always had a strong GM in place He's treated his GM responsibilities like a guy going thru the motions checking off tasks/work he hates doing. When he traded Jamie Collins to Cleveland in 2016 for a late round 2017 draft pick, I'd say he spent less than a minute considering seeking the best return for the asset. Instead he just called his pal and got it done. Same thing, though with higher stakes on the Jimmy G trade. This is a guy who has little regard for GMing, but who wont share power. What you get is subpar performance from a role that is most important for team composition. As he gets older it gets worse. He doesn't want to deal with jerks. Good for him but you can only get away with it if you have competent people in coordinator and/or assistant roles. He's still a great coach though and while that's not enough to make fans happy it will spare him from the spectacle of complete implosion in 22-23. But I doubt the Krafts will let him go on beyond next season
 

Mystic Merlin

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I came across this post after googling for any signs of the Krafts recognizing Bill's decline. I don't think BB has "lost it" exactly but he's more than ever set in his ways and some of the quirks that once made him great now work against him.

Signs show he's been declining over the past 5 years IMO, and when you consider how he's handled the GM role in general, it's clear that if BB was truly doing what is best for the team, he'd have always had a strong GM in place He's treated his GM responsibilities like a guy going thru the motions checking off tasks/work he hates doing. When he traded Jamie Collins to Cleveland in 2016 for a late round 2017 draft pick, I'd say he spent less than a minute considering seeking the best return for the asset. Instead he just called his pal and got it done. Same thing, though with higher stakes on the Jimmy G trade. This is a guy who has little regard for GMing, but who wont share power. What you get is subpar performance from a role that is most important for team composition. As he gets older it gets worse. He doesn't want to deal with jerks. Good for him but you can only get away with it if you have competent people in coordinator and/or assistant roles. He's still a great coach though and while that's not enough to make fans happy it will spare him from the spectacle of complete implosion in 22-23. But I doubt the Krafts will let him go on beyond next season
He hasn’t had a true power center in the GM/Personnel role since Pioli left….after 2008. So to the extent your theory depends on whether Bill has true ultimate personnel authority without another power center in the front office, that’s been true since the Bush administration, and Bill has obviously had some good drafts since then.

It’s also a theory contradicted by some - by Patriots standards - well publicized collaboration with Ziegler/Wolf/Groh over the past two drafts.