The Game Ball Thread: Wk. 11 vs NYJ

Al Zarilla

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Also, when a kicker tries to kick it out of bounds, say to his left, he may overdo it and kick it at too much of an angle and lose 10 yards or worse compared with just booming it as far as he could down the middle. We've all seen the referee walk the ball back 10-15 yards on an OOB kick, as they "triangulate" it or whatever it's called, all lost yardage for the kicking team. 10 - 15 yards, especially when the Patriots only needed a field goal to win, was like a first down, a big deal. Problem with belting it to the middle of the field though is the returner usually gets some yards on a return. Marcus got it all! Tough decision.
 

Euclis20

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I can't blame the punt for that. As mentioned the danger of the wind or a shank (he'd already hit one off the side of his foot earlier in the game, called back because of a flag) causing a short field seems a lot greater than the danger of a 50+ yard return (which is what the Pats needed to be within 1 reasonable play of FG range). Unless you can run out the clock, you kick it deep. It was too much of a line drive (man he had a lot of space) but blaming the punter for a 52 yard kick into the wind instead of the coverage team for allowing an 84 yard return seems wrong.

On the other hand, here's how much room Jones had to operate:

57912

That's as much space as a punt returner will ever have.
 

8slim

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The punt coverage seemed poorly designed to me. It certainly was no given that the Pats could pick up 20-30 yards in a single play and get into FG range, even if they had a decent return and got the ball out to near midfield. Jones escaped the flailing punter around the 50? Not sure why there wasn't someone hanging back a bit and playing CF to prevent what happened.
 

Al Zarilla

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I can't blame the punt for that. As mentioned the danger of the wind or a shank (he'd already hit one off the side of his foot earlier in the game, called back because of a flag) causing a short field seems a lot greater than the danger of a 50+ yard return (which is what the Pats needed to be within 1 reasonable play of FG range). Unless you can run out the clock, you kick it deep. It was too much of a line drive (man he had a lot of space) but blaming the punter for a 52 yard kick into the wind instead of the coverage team for allowing an 84 yard return seems wrong.

On the other hand, here's how much room Jones had to operate:

View attachment 57912

That's as much space as a punt returner will ever have.
Wow! Talk about outkicking the coverage! Jets punter was between a rock and a hard place though. Intentionally kick it high and the wind might grab it and result in one of those 10-20 yard windy day punts. The Jets punt coverage team has to do better/happy they didn't.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Wilson's off-the-field comments may do more harm to his career than his on-the-field performances. Jets players are liking tweets criticizing the embattled QB:

View: https://twitter.com/NFL_DovKleiman/status/1594720887449624576?s=20&t=LHTnhHHJSOCapyJ_6plfwA

@NFL_DovKleiman
#Jets QB Zach Wilson is having a really tough month.
His stock is down 15% on @mojo, he lost to the #Patriots despite his defense only allowing 3 points and then avoided accountably post-game.
Now his teammates are "Liking" tweets criticizing him.
 

joe dokes

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Wilson's off-the-field comments may do more harm to his career than his on-the-field performances. Jets players are liking tweets criticizing the embattled QB:

View: https://twitter.com/NFL_DovKleiman/status/1594720887449624576?s=20&t=LHTnhHHJSOCapyJ_6plfwA

@NFL_DovKleiman
#Jets QB Zach Wilson is having a really tough month.
His stock is down 15% on @mojo, he lost to the #Patriots despite his defense only allowing 3 points and then avoided accountably post-game.
Now his teammates are "Liking" tweets criticizing him.
Teammates liking tweets is not a good look. But I guess Wilson brought it on. By contrast, I think about how McCourty and Judon handled questions about "overcoming the offensive futility" or somesuch. They both said, basically, that that is *exactly* what you *dont* do. Something like, "we have confidence in the other units, so we don't try to do too much. Just do our jobs and trust our teammates." And Jones kept it simple: "3 points isn't good enough. Watch the film and see if we can do better"
 

johnmd20

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Teammates liking tweets is not a good look. But I guess Wilson brought it on. By contrast, I think about how McCourty and Judon handled questions about "overcoming the offensive futility" or somesuch. They both said, basically, that that is *exactly* what you *dont* do. Something like, "we have confidence in the other units, so we don't try to do too much. Just do our jobs and trust our teammates." And Jones kept it simple: "3 points isn't good enough. Watch the film and see if we can do better"
Wilson flatly refusing to take even an iota of responsibility is alarming.

All he had to say was, "I didn't play my best, I need to work harder and do better, we did let the defense down because they played exceptionally but we only scored 3 points."

Easy, done, then it isn't a story. Now, it's a big story and everyone hates Zach.
 

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The wind was a huge factor. In that game situation, they may have been worried about a short punt, and his previous few punts that he had kicked OOB had been pretty short. So he had a football Sophie's Choice: punt it OOB and risk setting up the Pats on the 50 just needing a FG (with the wind) to win, or boom it deep, risk a return, knowing that the Pats' offense had been unable to sustain long drives all day.

He decided to go for distance in order to keep the Pats away from FG range. But he outkicked the coverage.
I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
 

Salem's Lot

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I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
The game was in Foxboro. Wind was a factor.
 

cornwalls@6

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I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
Mostly agree, but the game was in Foxborough. Wind was pretty sharp in MA yesterday, but I think your point stands. Forcing Mac and the offense to beat you would've been the better call.
 

johnmd20

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I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
Gano hit a kick yesterday at Metlife and the wind moved the ball 25 yards to the right. So there was certainly wind enough to mess with kicks in both NJ and MA yesterday.
 

PortlandSoxFan

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I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
I froze my ass of in my seats that you love so much. It was freaking windy and raw :)
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I was in the area (NYC and NJ) yesterday and there was certainly wind, but it wasn't like a hurricane or anything. I feel like the wind was not "so strong it should alter your strategy with 24 seconds left." It was a dumb decision by a coach who has generally been very good with decision making in the moment this season, IMO. Not to hammer on Jones even more, but if I am Saleh I am putting Jones on the 50 and making him go 15-20 yards to give Nick Folk a shot ALL DAY LONG.
100% agree with the bolded. Saleh himself indicated after the game that he was unhappy with the punter's decision. The punt was from the NYJ 32, so even a 30 yard punt OOB would put the Pats on the 40 or so with about 20 second left. Highly unlikely Mac moves the team the 20 yards needed for a Folk FG.

I just suspect that the punter was torn between two outcomes and was so worried about a potentially short kick that he boomed a line drive instead. I'd put that on Mann, not Saleh. In the wake of the infamous L'Affaire Matt Dodge I read a lot about directional punting from Chris Kluwe and it's not as easy to kick it OOB as one might think without risking a shank. That may also have been on Mann's mind. Plus the guy was likely tired from punting 9 times already, plus one more that was called back due to a penalty.

It's crazy that Jones' TD return was the first punt return for a TD in the entire league this season.
 

joe dokes

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I just suspect that the punter was torn between two outcomes and was so worried about a potentially short kick that he boomed a line drive instead. I'd put that on Mann, not Saleh. In the wake of the infamous L'Affaire Matt Dodge I read a lot about directional punting from Chris Kluwe and it's not as easy to kick it OOB as one might think without risking a shank. That may also have been on Mann's mind. Plus the guy was likely tired from punting 9 times already, plus one more that was called back due to a penalty.
Two were called back. He had 3 straight punts in the 1st Q; only 1 counted:

  • 4th & 7 at NYJ 36
    (7:59 - 1st) B.Mann punts 47 yards to NE 17, Center-T.Hennessy. Ma.Jones to NE 19 for 2 yards (J.Sherwood). PENALTY on NYJ-J.Sherwood, Ineligible Downfield Kick, 5 yards, enforced at NYJ 36 - No Play.
  • 4th & 12 at NYJ 31
    (7:52 - 1st) B.Mann punts 18 yards to NYJ 49, Center-T.Hennessy, out of bounds. PENALTY on NE-R.McMillan, Running Into the Kicker, 5 yards, enforced at NYJ 31 - No Play.
  • 4th & 7 at NYJ 36
    (7:43 - 1st) B.Mann punts 44 yards to NE 20, Center-T.Hennessy, downed by NYJ-J.Hardee.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I was there yesterday. The wind was howling. The Jets punter absolutely killed that punt into the wind, don't care if it was a line drive or not. It was a monster kick that outkicked the coverage, but a lot of kicks have outkicked the coverage and not been taken to the house this year. It was basically a perfect special teams play by the Pats at the right time. I was hoping he would kick it out bounds as I didn't think he could kick it more than 35 yards in the air, which means it probably nets 25-30 if he kicks it OOB. That would have given a chance at a field goal to win, downwind.

When Nick Folk is hitting the cross bar from 44 yards out, you know it's blowing.

The defense was otherworldly, and the running backs played great. Mac deserves a lot of credit for doing what he needed to do, IMO.
 

Al Zarilla

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100% agree with the bolded. Saleh himself indicated after the game that he was unhappy with the punter's decision. The punt was from the NYJ 32, so even a 30 yard punt OOB would put the Pats on the 40 or so with about 20 second left. Highly unlikely Mac moves the team the 20 yards needed for a Folk FG.

I just suspect that the punter was torn between two outcomes and was so worried about a potentially short kick that he boomed a line drive instead. I'd put that on Mann, not Saleh. In the wake of the infamous L'Affaire Matt Dodge I read a lot about directional punting from Chris Kluwe and it's not as easy to kick it OOB as one might think without risking a shank. That may also have been on Mann's mind. Plus the guy was likely tired from punting 9 times already, plus one more that was called back due to a penalty.

It's crazy that Jones' TD return was the first punt return for a TD in the entire league this season.
Why didn't Saleh just tell his kicker to kick it out of bounds? Didn't want to overrule the special teams coach?
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Why didn't Saleh just tell his kicker to kick it out of bounds? Didn't want to overrule the special teams coach?
I’m sure he did. But ultimately the punter has to make the decision and most coaches know the punter knows the situation best.

And as I noted above, it’s actually not as easy as it sounds to kick the ball OOB a decent length down the field. Especially in that wind. Mann may have just figured he’d be better off booming it.
 

Al Zarilla

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I’m sure he did. But ultimately the punter has to make the decision and most coaches know the punter knows the situation best.

And as I noted above, it’s actually not as easy as it sounds to kick the ball OOB a decent length down the field. Especially in that wind. Mann may have just figured he’d be better off booming it.
Agree completely about the difficulty of kicking out of bounds. Wrong angle and you can lose a lot of yards.
 

Eddie Jurak

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One thing I noticed: throughout Mac's time here, and especially this season, he has competed a lot of passes for very short or even negative yards. Not so much yesterday - he has completions of 3 and 4 yards to Jonnu (on a 1st and 10 and 2nd and 21) and one 3 yard completion to Rhamondre (on a second and 7), but everything else was at least 5.

The week before the bye, Mac was 20 for 30 for just 147 yards, and that was partly because he completed 7 passes of 3 yards or less. One of those was a TD, so leave that aside. Henry, Rhamondre, Jonnu, and Bourne combined for 6 catches for a total of 3 yards. Four of those were run on first and 10, 2 on second and 10.

The week before that, against the Jets again, Mac was 24-35 for 194 yards. That included 6 <5 yard completions for a total of 8 yards. Four 1st and 10 plays, a 2nd and 12 play, and a 2nd and 16 play.

The Bears game where Mac got benched, he was 3-6 for 13 yards and an interception - but that included completions of -1 (on second and 10) and 2 (on second and 7).

If we just consider all of those passes to be incompletions, then:

Bears: 1 of 6 for 14 yards
Jets #1: 18 of 35 for 186 yards
Colts: 14 of 30 for 144 yards
Jets #2: 20 of 27 for 236 yards

That looks like progress, though I would think it is less attributable to improvement from Mac and more to fixing the offense. But if that is the case, man, what a broken offense before the bye.
Lousy passing plays have been a feature all season.

Here's Zappe against the Bears: 14-22, 185 yards. That included 5 completions of 4 yards or less, but one went for a first down on 3rd and 3. His useless completions were 4 for 7 yards, his line without them 10-18 for 178 yards.

Zappe against Cleveland: 24-34 for 309, but he had 7 completions of less than 5 yards. One was a 2 yard TD, one was a -6 yard fluke completion to himself. Still 5 completions for 3 yards.

Zappe against Detroit: 17-21 for 188. But 5 completions for 3 yards.

Not having many of these plays was either a fluke or an indicatin that they have fixed something in the offense.
 

Super Nomario

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Lousy passing plays have been a feature all season.

Here's Zappe against the Bears: 14-22, 185 yards. That included 5 completions of 4 yards or less, but one went for a first down on 3rd and 3. His useless completions were 4 for 7 yards, his line without them 10-18 for 178 yards.

Zappe against Cleveland: 24-34 for 309, but he had 7 completions of less than 5 yards. One was a 2 yard TD, one was a -6 yard fluke completion to himself. Still 5 completions for 3 yards.

Zappe against Detroit: 17-21 for 188. But 5 completions for 3 yards.

Not having many of these plays was either a fluke or an indicatin that they have fixed something in the offense.
You really need league-wide context for these sorts of stats. Obviously every team are going to have some of these plays; do the Patriots have an unusually high number, average, below average?

One quick measure is the delta between passing success rate (i.e., not just whether passes are completed but whether they improve the team's chances of getting a first down). RBSDM has the league wide passing success rate at ~47% of dropbacks (eyeballing), completion % is around 65%. But dropbacks also includes sacks (another 7%). So league-wide, around 13-14% of completed passes are "unsuccessful."
 

Eddie Jurak

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You really need league-wide context for these sorts of stats. Obviously every team are going to have some of these plays; do the Patriots have an unusually high number, average, below average?
No argument about that, but I think within-team context can also be useful. The Jets game was markedly different on this front than the previous 5 Pats games ( I haven't looked at the others) including another Mac start against the Jets where he was also sacked 6 times.

At this point, I think "Pats did something with their offense over the bye to limit the number of non-sack negative passing plays" is possible. "Fluke" is also possible. "Fluke" is less likely if this continues beyond the one game.
 

Super Nomario

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No argument about that, but I think within-team context can also be useful. The Jets game was markedly different on this front than the previous 5 Pats games ( I haven't looked at the others) including another Mac start against the Jets where he was also sacked 6 times.

At this point, I think "Pats did something with their offense over the bye to limit the number of non-sack negative passing plays" is possible. "Fluke" is also possible. "Fluke" is less likely if this continues beyond the one game.
I don't know if I'd say 3x vs 5x is "markedly differently." But beyond that, they got in so many behind-the-sticks situations that a lot of ineffective completions were happening that didn't fit your criteria. Like, on the first drive of the game, Mac got sacked on first down and wound up throwing a seven-yard completion on 3rd-and-13. That's more than 5 yards but the distinction is not meaningful.
 

BigJimEd

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You also have to take into account the defensive approach. Did the Pats do something different or were they just slightly more successful due to differences in defense? You'd need to look beyond just the results, delve more into the routes run and where passes were thrown to draw any sort of conclusions that the offense made significant changes.
 

Deathofthebambino

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You also have to take into account the defensive approach. Did the Pats do something different or were they just slightly more successful due to differences in defense? You'd need to look beyond just the results, delve more into the routes run and where passes were thrown to draw any sort of conclusions that the offense made significant changes.
I think you need to delve into who the Pats are throwing the ball to as well....

Kendrick Bourne is a slot guy.
Hunter Henry is a short yardage guy.
Agholor is useless
Meyers is a possession guy.

Jonnu Smith is averaging 9.7ypc. He's also averaging 8.9 YAC, which means his average catch is .8 yards down the field.
Stephenson, who is 2nd on the team in receptions, is averaging 6.9ypc. He's averaging 7.4 yac. His average reception is behind the LOS.

I hoped for years that BB, the GM, would recognize that 2007 wasn't a fluke. You bring in a stud receiver, and your offense can go, even with a marginal QB. Put AJ Brown in Philly, and they're a Super Bowl contender. Miami goes and gets Hill and Waddle, and Tua looks like an all pro. Josh Smith wasn't JOSH SMITH until they went and got Diggs for him. The Vikings will never win a Super Bowl, but they only have 2 losses because of Justin Jefferson. San Diego has been a mess all year, because Keenan Allen was hurt. Take away Adams, and Aaron Rodgers is getting exposed. Geno Smith looks like a decent QB, not because he is, but because he has Metcalf and Lockett. Take those guys away from Russell Wilson, and you get Denver.

This Pats team, and every NFL teams needs a #1 receiver to succeed, IMO, with some very rare exceptions. Baltimore and KC just happen to have their own Gronks. BB hasn't learned yet, and Mac is going to suffer for it.
 

BigSoxFan

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I think you need to delve into who the Pats are throwing the ball to as well....

Kendrick Bourne is a slot guy.
Hunter Henry is a short yardage guy.
Agholor is useless
Meyers is a possession guy.

Jonnu Smith is averaging 9.7ypc. He's also averaging 8.9 YAC, which means his average catch is .8 yards down the field.
Stephenson, who is 2nd on the team in receptions, is averaging 6.9ypc. He's averaging 7.4 yac. His average reception is behind the LOS.

I hoped for years that BB, the GM, would recognize that 2007 wasn't a fluke. You bring in a stud receiver, and your offense can go, even with a marginal QB. Put AJ Brown in Philly, and they're a Super Bowl contender. Miami goes and gets Hill and Waddle, and Tua looks like an all pro. Josh Smith wasn't JOSH SMITH until they went and got Diggs for him. The Vikings will never win a Super Bowl, but they only have 2 losses because of Justin Jefferson. San Diego has been a mess all year, because Keenan Allen was hurt. Take away Adams, and Aaron Rodgers is getting exposed. Geno Smith looks like a decent QB, not because he is, but because he has Metcalf and Lockett. Take those guys away from Russell Wilson, and you get Denver.

This Pats team, and every NFL teams needs a #1 receiver to succeed, IMO, with some very rare exceptions. Baltimore and KC just happen to have their own Gronks. BB hasn't learned yet, and Mac is going to suffer for it.
57954
 

BaseballJones

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SB Winners
2011 Giants - Victor Cruz was their best receiver, and he was a slot guy
2012 Ravens - Anquan Boldin was their best receiver, and he was a possession guy
2013 Seahawks - Golden Tate was their best receiver, and he was a possession/slot guy
2014 Patriots - Rob Gronkowski was their best receiver, and he was a tight end (a great one though). Or go Edelman, more of a slot guy.
2015 Broncos - Demariyus Thomas was their best receiver, but was he a true #1? Only 6 TD all year.
2016 Patriots - Again, Edelman.
2017 Eagles - Nelson Agholor was their best receiver, who you already just said is useless.
2018 Patriots - Edelman.
2019 Chiefs - Either Tyreek (great) or Kelce (great, but a TE).
2020 Bucs - Mike Evans, who's really good, but even he only had 70 receptions.
2021 Rams - Cooper Kupp, who obviously is phenomenal.

Of those 11 most recent SB winners, I'd say that just 3 - Chiefs, Bucs, Rams - had true #1 stud receivers. Now, they also happen to be the three most recent SB winners, so maybe that's how the league is going. But for the most part, recent SB winners didn't have the stud #1 WRs.
 

BigSoxFan

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2011 Giants - Victor Cruz was their best receiver, and he was a slot guy
2012 Ravens - Anquan Boldin was their best receiver, and he was a possession guy
2013 Seahawks - Golden Tate was their best receiver, and he was a possession/slot guy
2014 Patriots - Rob Gronkowski was their best receiver, and he was a tight end (a great one though). Or go Edelman, more of a slot guy.
2015 Broncos - Demariyus Thomas was their best receiver, but was he a true #1? Only 6 TD all year.
2016 Patriots - Again, Edelman.
2017 Eagles - Nelson Agholor was their best receiver, who you already just said is useless.
2018 Patriots - Edelman.
2019 Chiefs - Either Tyreek (great) or Kelce (great, but a TE).
2020 Bucs - Mike Evans, who's really good, but even he only had 70 receptions.
2021 Rams - Cooper Kupp, who obviously is phenomenal.

Of those 11 most recent SB winners, I'd say that just 3 - Chiefs, Bucs, Rams - had true #1 stud receivers. Now, they also happen to be the three most recent SB winners, so maybe that's how the league is going. But for the most part, recent SB winners didn't have the stud #1 WRs.
4 of those teams had the GOAT, which skews the analysis a bit. I think the impact of adding an elite WR (however one wants to definite ‘elite’) is real. AJ Brown has transformed that Philly offense. Miami is now a ton tougher with Tyreek. Adding Chase to Cincy made them a handful.

Personally, I would love to see Mac with a true #1 option. Not sure how we get one though.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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A #1 receiver without an OL that can block is like a figurehead on the Titanic. The pats could have Tyreek Hill today and it wouldn't matter because the OL isn't holding the pocket long enough to throw down the field.
 

Deathofthebambino

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SB Winners
2011 Giants - Victor Cruz was their best receiver, and he was a slot guy
2012 Ravens - Anquan Boldin was their best receiver, and he was a possession guy
2013 Seahawks - Golden Tate was their best receiver, and he was a possession/slot guy
2014 Patriots - Rob Gronkowski was their best receiver, and he was a tight end (a great one though). Or go Edelman, more of a slot guy.
2015 Broncos - Demariyus Thomas was their best receiver, but was he a true #1? Only 6 TD all year.
2016 Patriots - Again, Edelman.
2017 Eagles - Nelson Agholor was their best receiver, who you already just said is useless.
2018 Patriots - Edelman.
2019 Chiefs - Either Tyreek (great) or Kelce (great, but a TE).
2020 Bucs - Mike Evans, who's really good, but even he only had 70 receptions.
2021 Rams - Cooper Kupp, who obviously is phenomenal.

Of those 11 most recent SB winners, I'd say that just 3 - Chiefs, Bucs, Rams - had true #1 stud receivers. Now, they also happen to be the three most recent SB winners, so maybe that's how the league is going. But for the most part, recent SB winners didn't have the stud #1 WRs.
Sure, if you're focused on one game. I don't personally define success by "Win a Super Bowl or not." Or I guess, in the case of the Broncos, I should have prefaced it with "Alternatively, you can have an all world defense that cleans up the mistakes your offense makes," but I don't need to. Demaryius Thomas is the epitome of a #1 receiver at the time. It wasn't his fault Peyton Manning had a noodle for an arm at that point.

Let's look at who those teams played in the Super Bowl:

2011: Pats: Welker, Gronk and Aaron Hernandez (and the GOAT throwing the ball). No true outside #1, but you don't need one with those other guys. The current Pats don't have a single guy that could lift any of their jock straps. So, I'll grant you, if Mac Jones has Gronk, Welker and Hernandez in their prime, he wouldn't need a true outside #1.

2012: SF, a prime Crabtree, Vernon Davis who lit it up, and well, Frank Gore (and a running QB)

2013: Denver: DT, Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas.

2014: Seattle; No #1, which is why they should have run the ball. Instead, Malcolm.

2015: Carolina, No real #1, but had Olson, and of course, Cam running the ball all over the place.

Now, let's move into more of the present day game:

2016: Atlanta: Julio
2017: Pats: Gronk, Cooks, GOAT (and James White)
2018: Rams: Cooks, Woods, and that guy, Gurley
2019: Niners: Deebo, Kittle
2020: KC: Obviously Hill, Kelce, etc.
2021: Bengals: Chase, Boyd, etc.


If you want to change it and say they don't need a #1 outside threat, fine, but you need some explosive skill position players. Right now, the Pats offense has 2 above average players at their position on offense, maybe. And they are both running backs. Nobody in the receiving corps is a top 2 wide receiver for a contender in this league.

Folks can blame Mac all they want, but he's got no offensive line, and even if they do give him time, it's a cold day in Foxboro when one of those receivers is going to beat a defender 30+ yards down the field. You need speed at the skill positions in the NFL in 2022, and the Pats have almost none of it.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I don't know if I'd say 3x vs 5x is "markedly differently." But beyond that, they got in so many behind-the-sticks situations that a lot of ineffective completions were happening that didn't fit your criteria. Like, on the first drive of the game, Mac got sacked on first down and wound up throwing a seven-yard completion on 3rd-and-13. That's more than 5 yards but the distinction is not meaningful.
Against Bears, Jets #1, and Colts, Mac completed 14 passes of <5 yards on mostly 1st or second and long, for a total of 12 yards. That's 20% of his pass attempts, 30% of his completions, on plays that went nowhere. That seems quite different to me than 3 completions (out of 27) for 10 yards. 11% of his attempts, 13% of his completions.

Anyway, cut off of <5 yards was arbitrary, I just chose it because most of these plays are coming on first and 10 and a 5 yard gain in that situation is OK. A 7 yard gain on a 3rd and 13 is a different kind of situation.
 

Toe Nash

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SB Winners
2011 Giants - Victor Cruz was their best receiver, and he was a slot guy
2012 Ravens - Anquan Boldin was their best receiver, and he was a possession guy
2013 Seahawks - Golden Tate was their best receiver, and he was a possession/slot guy
2014 Patriots - Rob Gronkowski was their best receiver, and he was a tight end (a great one though). Or go Edelman, more of a slot guy.
2015 Broncos - Demariyus Thomas was their best receiver, but was he a true #1? Only 6 TD all year.
2016 Patriots - Again, Edelman.
2017 Eagles - Nelson Agholor was their best receiver, who you already just said is useless.
2018 Patriots - Edelman.
2019 Chiefs - Either Tyreek (great) or Kelce (great, but a TE).
2020 Bucs - Mike Evans, who's really good, but even he only had 70 receptions.
2021 Rams - Cooper Kupp, who obviously is phenomenal.

Of those 11 most recent SB winners, I'd say that just 3 - Chiefs, Bucs, Rams - had true #1 stud receivers. Now, they also happen to be the three most recent SB winners, so maybe that's how the league is going. But for the most part, recent SB winners didn't have the stud #1 WRs.
I don't think this refutes the point and you're glossing over a lot of stuff.

Cruz may be a small guy but he averaged almost 19 yards per catch in 2011.
Anquan Boldin is an HoFer and he was incredible in that playoff run. They also had Torrey Smith to take the safeties deep.
Seahawks' strength was their defense and run game but they also had Doug Baldwin who was pretty dang good.
Gronk is the GOAT TE
Thomas was absolutely a true #1, he had 1300 yards that year. Plus Manning missed half the regular season and their defense was the best in the league.
Then you get into the last three years where you acknowledge they all had a great WR.

Some of these teams may not have had #1 with a bullet stud WRs but most of them did and the ones who didn't had studs at TE or had multiple WRs who the defense had to pay attention to. Or they had Tom Brady who with Edelman could always move the chains. The only exception really is the 2017 Eagles (who also had Ertz, Jeffery and Torrey Smith).

Obviously the OL is more important but I think it's definitely a valid complaint that the current pats just have a bunch of average or meh pass-catchers and their only above-average guy doesn't have a ton of speed. Maybe Thornton will help in the next couple years, too bad on the injury there.
 

BaseballJones

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Avg 40 time for TE: 4.70. Jonnu Smith: 4.62.
Avg 40 time for WR: 4.48. Nelson Agholor: 4.34. Tyquan Thornton: 4.21.
Avg 40 time for RB: 4.49. Pierre Strong: 4.37.

I know Strong doesn't play. Yet. But Smith is fast for a TE, and Agholor and Thornton are very fast for WRs. But are they GOOD?
 

8slim

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I hoped for years that BB, the GM, would recognize that 2007 wasn't a fluke. You bring in a stud receiver, and your offense can go, even with a marginal QB. Put AJ Brown in Philly, and they're a Super Bowl contender. Miami goes and gets Hill and Waddle, and Tua looks like an all pro. Josh Smith wasn't JOSH SMITH until they went and got Diggs for him. The Vikings will never win a Super Bowl, but they only have 2 losses because of Justin Jefferson. San Diego has been a mess all year, because Keenan Allen was hurt. Take away Adams, and Aaron Rodgers is getting exposed. Geno Smith looks like a decent QB, not because he is, but because he has Metcalf and Lockett. Take those guys away from Russell Wilson, and you get Denver.

This Pats team, and every NFL teams needs a #1 receiver to succeed, IMO, with some very rare exceptions. Baltimore and KC just happen to have their own Gronks. BB hasn't learned yet, and Mac is going to suffer for it.
And as we all know, getting Moss and Welker in '07 was only done because of the WR corps disaster of 2006. I think Bill has always felt that he doesn't want to pay for a #1 WR because he can build an effective O with great OL play, a solid running game, and good QB play. Of course with Brady gone and the OL struggling we're seeing the impact.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Avg 40 time for TE: 4.70. Jonnu Smith: 4.62.
Avg 40 time for WR: 4.48. Nelson Agholor: 4.34. Tyquan Thornton: 4.21.
Avg 40 time for RB: 4.49. Pierre Strong: 4.37.

I know Strong doesn't play. Yet. But Smith is fast for a TE, and Agholor and Thornton are very fast for WRs. But are they GOOD?
Jonnu Smith is fast for a TE, but his average reception occurs .8 yards from the LOS. I've been arguing about getting him the ball more for 2 years. But they aren't splitting the seam with him, or getting him outside on a linebacker like they did with Gronk. It's just vanilla screens and dump offs, and hope he can make a play. Whereas the Titans used him a lot of different ways, like Gronk:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_CD12nBVY8


But 40 times don't translate to game speed, do they? Davante Adams ran a 4.56 40. Cooper Kupp ran a 4.62. Justin Jefferson was smoked by MeCole Hardman, which do you think plays faster coming in and out of breaks, etc?

Pierre Strong has 1 fucking carry in his career. Why would I care if he's fast or not? Agholor ran a 4.34 40 7 years ago, he ain't running that time now, and Thornton can't run a route, and has been hurt most of the season. How does any of that help Mac today?
 

BaseballJones

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Jonnu Smith is fast for a TE, but his average reception occurs .8 yards from the LOS. I've been arguing about getting him the ball more for 2 years. But they aren't splitting the seam with him, or getting him outside on a linebacker like they did with Gronk. It's just vanilla screens and dump offs, and hope he can make a play. Whereas the Titans used him a lot of different ways, like Gronk:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_CD12nBVY8


But 40 times don't translate to game speed, do they? Davante Adams ran a 4.56 40. Cooper Kupp ran a 4.62. Justin Jefferson was smoked by MeCole Hardman, which do you think plays faster coming in and out of breaks, etc?

Pierre Strong has 1 fucking carry in his career. Why would I care if he's fast or not? Agholor ran a 4.34 40 7 years ago, he ain't running that time now, and Thornton can't run a route, and has been hurt most of the season. How does any of that help Mac today?
So what you're looking for are GOOD players, not necessarily FAST players. Which is kinda the point, right?
 

Deathofthebambino

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So what you're looking for are GOOD players, not necessarily FAST players. Which is kinda the point, right?
I'll settle for NFL talent.

The Pats receiving corps is an abysmal mess, and asking a young QB to succeed in that situation, with a shit offensive line to boot has been an ongoing problem. Tom Brady can cover that up for a team.

Nobody not named Tom Brady can do so. Exhibit A, Aaron Rodgers.

This goes back to how this conversation started. Mac Jones is going to be dumping off, throwing 3 yard passes all over the place, and managing the game, because he doesn't have the guys at skill positions to open it up. And that's a Bill, the GM, problem, and has been for a long time.
 

SMU_Sox

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Didn't Jefferson run a 4.43 or something? Just saying he’s plenty fast.

Meyers is a good WR2 who wins with route running and can line up anywhere including outside. Excellent blocker. Parker is in the mix as a below average WR2 or decent WR3 X. They don’t really have a third receiver who moves the needle for me. Bourne is a slot who struggles with route running. IMO they could use a versatile guy who can line up anywhere with some speed and above average RAC. Jonnu is still a stiff-ass route runner but they’ve done a good job lately scheming him open like for example getting him out on leaks or that nifty full-house corner. Henry is a better blocker than last year but still not his forte. He’s probably as a receiver in the good WR3 conversation. If the line was really good they could work with these guys! If your line isn’t good you really need some good receivers and preferably ones with both twitch and juice. It’s probably more prudent to rebuild the line before going big for a receiver.
 

BaseballJones

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Oct 1, 2015
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I'll settle for NFL talent.

The Pats receiving corps is an abysmal mess, and asking a young QB to succeed in that situation, with a shit offensive line to boot has been an ongoing problem. Tom Brady can cover that up for a team.

Nobody not named Tom Brady can do so. Exhibit A, Aaron Rodgers.

This goes back to how this conversation started. Mac Jones is going to be dumping off, throwing 3 yard passes all over the place, and managing the game, because he doesn't have the guys at skill positions to open it up. And that's a Bill, the GM, problem, and has been for a long time.
The Pats have NFL talent at WR. They don't have high end NFL talent at WR, but they have legit WR talent.
 

mwonow

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Sure, if you're focused on one game. I don't personally define success by "Win a Super Bowl or not." Or I guess, in the case of the Broncos, I should have prefaced it with "Alternatively, you can have an all world defense that cleans up the mistakes your offense makes," but I don't need to. Demaryius Thomas is the epitome of a #1 receiver at the time. It wasn't his fault Peyton Manning had a noodle for an arm at that point.

Let's look at who those teams played in the Super Bowl:

2011: Pats: Welker, Gronk and Aaron Hernandez (and the GOAT throwing the ball). No true outside #1, but you don't need one with those other guys. The current Pats don't have a single guy that could lift any of their jock straps. So, I'll grant you, if Mac Jones has Gronk, Welker and Hernandez in their prime, he wouldn't need a true outside #1.

2012: SF, a prime Crabtree, Vernon Davis who lit it up, and well, Frank Gore (and a running QB)

2013: Denver: DT, Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas.

2014: Seattle; No #1, which is why they should have run the ball. Instead, Malcolm.

2015: Carolina, No real #1, but had Olson, and of course, Cam running the ball all over the place.

Now, let's move into more of the present day game:

2016: Atlanta: Julio
2017: Pats: Gronk, Cooks, GOAT (and James White)
2018: Rams: Cooks, Woods, and that guy, Gurley
2019: Niners: Deebo, Kittle
2020: KC: Obviously Hill, Kelce, etc.
2021: Bengals: Chase, Boyd, etc.


If you want to change it and say they don't need a #1 outside threat, fine, but you need some explosive skill position players. Right now, the Pats offense has 2 above average players at their position on offense, maybe. And they are both running backs. Nobody in the receiving corps is a top 2 wide receiver for a contender in this league.

Folks can blame Mac all they want, but he's got no offensive line, and even if they do give him time, it's a cold day in Foxboro when one of those receivers is going to beat a defender 30+ yards down the field. You need speed at the skill positions in the NFL in 2022, and the Pats have almost none of it.
Just so I am clear, the point here is that if the O-line was better and the WRs were better, Mac would probably look better, too?