Explain the Defense?

-by DNOMN8R314

About halfway through the third quarter, I tweeted that this is probably going to be an avoid-sports-social-media week, almost exclusively because of the piss-poor performance of the unit that is attempting to be passed off as a defense. What I should not have done, and I have to remind myself to never do? Read comments. (Or on Twitter, read replies to beat writers’ tweets. Same thing.)

These “instant takes,” or at least the ones I was able to read before I couldn’t, generally fell under the following categories:

  • Stephon Gilmore is to blame
  • Matt Patricia is to blame
  • The loss of Logan Ryan is to blame
  • Lack of communication is to blame

I’m not a fan of instant, rapid takes, but since the defense’s problems are undeniable, these claims have to be addressed. But before I do, here’s a comment I saw here from Hugo, which I noticed was an actually sane take.

Some regression from reliable players. But the numbers just don’t add up right now. 2 DTs at a time who can’t rush the passer. 1-2 LBs at a time who can’t drop into coverage. The Panthers (and everyone else) are just taking what we give them while the Pats defense scramble around to cover for each other.

Starting with the secondary, one of the most obvious units that has regressed from 2016: Despite the high-profile and high-paying signing of Gilmore, the defense has allowed countless big plays, even to offenses that have struggled to play well this season. (I’m sure the number of big plays is a finite number, but it doesn’t feel that way.) Before the season, Gilmore was expected to replace Ryan in coverage of bigger receivers, but as the #1 cornerback instead of the #2, while Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones were projected to alternate as the third corner depending on matchups, both improving after a full summer in the system. Similarly, the re-signing of safety Duron Harmon was expected to maintain the stability at safety behind Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung.

However, that has not happened. (A significant understatement, I know.) Gilmore has been particularly penalty-prone, with two hands-to-the-face flags wiping out third-down stops against Carolina, but no one in the secondary has been regularly able to shut down opposing pass-catchers. (To be fair, Butler’s play has improved the past two weeks.) Communication has clearly been an issue, with players drawn off coverage by motions and formation adjustments. How much of that is player regression versus poor play-calling or coaching I am not sure, but no one is playing up to their expectations or, in Gilmore and McCourty’s case, their pay.

Moving down to the front seven,Β the linebacker group has been poor as well. Dont’a Hightower (who has already missed time with injuries) has been used on the defensive line, but no one has been able to take charge in his stead. Despite Kyle Van Noy’s contract extension, he has yet to show mastery at either pass rushing or coverage, being capable of both but not outstanding at either. Elandon Roberts is still good against the run but is a liability in pass coverage. Marquis Flowers is a pure special teamer, David Harris is too slow to see the field, and Harvey Langi is also being used mostly on the edge instead of off.

The linebacker group is the one where I’m most certain personnel is the main part of the problem. Van Noy and Roberts are good reserves, but neither should be taking on as major a role as they are. I don’t see Harris having a role on this team for much longer, as he cannot find his way to snaps. (Maybe Akeem Ayers is brought back? Just a though.) I’d expect someone to be acquired, and soon. I’d also like to see Hightower return to linebacker rather than playing on the edge, as I think the Patriots have enough edge personnel right now to be fine without him there.

Regarding the defensive line, I see the main problem as being unable to generate any interior push. Adam Butler and Lawrence Guy were the team’s best at that during the preseason, but neither has yet been able to regularly get after the quarterback and collapse the pocket. Alan Branch received a brief benching, and Malcom Brown is still steady but a run-stopper. Last year, New England used Trey Flowers as an interior rusher to great success; this year, with Flowers as the top defensive end, no one is taking his role on the inside.

This may be an area where coaching is an issue. With Cassius Marsh and Deatrich Wise Jr. coming into form as DEs, a return to the NASCAR-package mimic may help. Of course, the Patriots still need someone to generate push on rushing downs, but I think Guy (first-year Patriot) and Butler (UDFA) will get there.

Of course, there are other reasons for the problems on defense: the stripping of two draft picks the last couple years, changes among positional coaching personnel, and countless others I’m sure have been proposed by Hot Takers.

But after Thursday night’s game against Tampa Bay, the Patriots have a 10-day week. That will be a brutal week. For that matter, I’m sure Bill Belichick will be cramming a 10-day “brutal week” into preparation for the Buccaneers. And that he won’t let up after that.

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itsBradyBaby
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Wow a coach and qb that has delivered consistently but don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt after 4 games ,wow grab a Bills jersey its on sale and they lead the division.Report

Jonc77
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are you new here?Report

itsBradyBaby
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Wont be surprise if it happens but all the trade talk is just pure bs panic talk .Report

rondo723
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But they need to carry David Harris on the roster because he tells good jokes in the locker roomReport

itsBradyBaby
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He teaches history in the locker roomReport

NorthShore
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This might be the first time where I actually think (outside of game time) that the Pats are going to miss the playoffs this season. Something’s not quite right.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Doesn’t seem like the chemistry is that good.Report

itsBradyBaby
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Its not but I will will bet a lot in favor of them making the playoffsReport

Calipatsfan3473
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Time will tell.Report

itsBradyBaby
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YepReport

itsBradyBaby
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Wow , after just four games , do U know why U even believe in this staff and QB ?Report

NorthShore
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I wasn’t like this after the infamous KC game two years ago. Something is just off this year. It almost feels like the lost locker room from 9/10Report

NorthShore
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One guy can make a huge difference. I also think they’re sorely missing Slater’s leadership.Report

NorthShore
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it’s not the same, though. He’s one of the souls in that locker room.Report

itsBradyBaby
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Slater has been to every game on the sidelinesReport

itsBradyBaby
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Umm ok but sorry this team will be playing in the playoffsReport

NorthShore
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I’d love to think so but this year I think is going to be a lost year. We won’t even get WC.Report

itsBradyBaby
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Well thats on U but Im not even thinking about that , just want things fixed by December thats when it counts , no way this team isn’t making playoffs.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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When the other children were running around the playground, playing on the swings, and sliding down the slides, Bill Belichick was thinking about two minute drills and onside kicks. When the other kids were coloring in their coloring books and trying to stay within the lines, Bill was breaking down film and thinking about the advantages of cover-2 vs quarters defense. When Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, Rex Ryan, Andy Reid, and Mike McCarthy were having their mom change their poopy diapers, Bill Belichick was changing his own diaper while thinking about the cost-benefit analysis of 52-man rosters and what percentage… Read more »
NorthShore
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I want to read Dino’s article!Report

LaFeteMattDog
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#ScapelliLivesMatterReport

LaFeteMattDog
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#StopCensoringDinoReport

NorthShore
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Dino probably has the Pats graves dug alreadyReport

LaFeteMattDog
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Good. We can make fun of him when they win another superb owl.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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I’m sure DNOM will post it when he gets a chance.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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So.. we’re done having Boger as the ref, right?Report

NorthShore
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We better. I read a history of him and reffing Pats games. Suffice it to say, he’s not exactly fair.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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I think he hates Gronk.Report

NorthShore
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He hates the whole team, it seemsReport

LaFeteMattDog
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Don’t apologize for him. He’s evil.Report

LaFeteMattDog
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Booger is incompetent.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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He talks like Leon Phelps.. if nothing else I crack up everytime he speaks.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Who knows.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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was reading a convo below.. If Dorsett starts to get more playing time, I say do it to give Amendola a spell. That way, if the Pats need him for punt returns he’ll be fresh.Report

DinoScapelli
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That about does it for this hungry old man. I hope DNOM posts my article at least an hour before his Y Factors! You all deserve to read it.

Good night, you demanders of answers!!!Report

jdlboot14
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I bet we scrape by and beat the Bucs, then BB uses the 10 days to retool some things. Even look for a surprise cut and/or trade in that time.Report

MrScratch
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I don’t see a need to make a trade when you have to give something back and there are tons of guys who can be had for nothing right now.Report

jdlboot14
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Yes, D was horrendous vs. Panthers. But, we can’t let offense off the hook either. How many three and outs in the 2nd half when we were in crunch time? Yes, they came back to score twice in the 4th, but too many times they go flat in the 3rd (or even 2nd) Right now, with a porous Defense, they have to be more consistent and urgent to score every time. And I think longer sustained drives are more important than big plays down the field, to help protect the D.
(easier said than done, obviously)Report

BoSoxJim
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Wow.Report

Neil X
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I just have to remind folks who want to blame the O: The O put up 30. If the requirement from the O is to but up more than thirty, every week, then really it’s not the O that’s the problem.Report

jdlboot14
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we know they’re not the “problem”, but that’s what it takes. When one unit is struggling, the other has to be even better. Our O should be that good.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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The offense is missing the move the chains guy: Mr. Edelman

But still the points they have been scoring would be enough with last year D to be 4-0Report

jdlboot14
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Brady had a shocking number of bad throws too. I think he may have been hurt. He got pounded a couple times.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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yep, he missed some he usually doesn’t.Report

jdlboot14
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true. 30 should be enoughReport

DinoScapelli
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The O-line needs to play better.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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Devin Funchess slips by Patriots secondary undetected for a 10-yard touchdown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n18s7hqc_gMReport

DinoScapelli
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No question, Rowe thought Funchess was Gilmore’s man, Gilmore thought Rowe’s man was his man.Report

jdlboot14
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This game on a short week in TPA is almost a must win. We can’t go under .500 right now. I think the D needs to play simple but aggressive. They seem like they were afraid from the getgo, overthinking. Use the guys strengths. And on O, I think they need to just play uptempo and tire the D out by halftime. JMD always struggles with balance, but last week it was better. Stick to that plan.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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WR Vs DB Malcolm Butler Vs Kelvin Benjamin/ Devin Funchess 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqOk3FTwGsU

Let’s also not get soft with Malcom Butler that really seems affected that the Pats didn’t give him a better dealReport

rondo723
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That’s absurd. He’ll be a UFA, so why should he care whether the Pats gave him a great contract or not? He’s playing for his next deal now.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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He thought after 2 SB wins, Pats would viewed him as CB1 and offered him a long term deal of much more than 4 million per yearReport

rondo723
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You’re talking about a guy who has fought hard and beaten insurmountable odds to get where he is. Now he has the opportunity to get a huge payday by playing well, and you think he is sitting there licking his wounds because the Pats didn’t give him a long-term deal? I would entertain pretty much any reason for Butler’s poor play other than hurt feelings.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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A guy that doesn’t know if an injury ends his pro career while just playing for 4 million.
A guy that was big part of the Pats last 2 SB wins and thought they were valuing him more than that.Report

rondo723
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So what are you saying, that he’s playing scared? Playing with a broken heart? Man, I wish I could see Butler’s reaction if you suggested this to him.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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I’m not saying scared, but with less heart and confidenceReport

rondo723
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It’s just silly. He can’t afford to do that and he knows it. Even for a weaker-minded player, the importance of playing well in a contract year would far outweigh hurt feelings. And Butler is not weak-minded; his track record shows that. He’s never just been given what he has deserved, he’s had to work for it. This is no different. Might not be fair, but he’s been here before and hurt feelings have never stopped him.Report

DinoScapelli
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He is definitely emotionally hurt.Report

DinoScapelli
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That and his inability to play between the numbers.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Trevathan’s suspension reduced to 1 game————————————–>Report

DinoScapelli
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Well, it’s not like he trashed his phone, or anything.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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Donald Hayes was pretty terrible.. so was Monty BeiselReport

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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It is also very telling that the Bills lost last year 2 starting CB’s: Gilmore and Darby

But they are playing lights out defense, didn’t allow more than 17 points in any of their games this season.Report

jdlboot14
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yikes, not making me feel better

Neither is being near the bottom of the standingsReport

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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But that changes in the future, but for now those are factsReport

jdlboot14
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I know. Bills will crash. PIT, OAK, DEN will remain towards the top, but are totally beatable. KC is the king of the mountain right now.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Albert Haynesworth or Joey Galloway.Report

TS13
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Ocho cincoReport

Calipatsfan3473
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How about Tim Tebow??Report

jdlboot14
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Adalius ThomasReport

jdlboot14
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Seriously though, I had to laugh when Rowe and Gilmore were running around with their hands up and spinning around lost, and then sprinting the opposite way as their man, or both chasing the same guy side by side with a half of field uncovered. Because otherwise I was going to throw a coffee table at my new TV.Report

DinoScapelli
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Bill should never have hired Mack Sennett as DB coach.Report

dp73
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And I do. I can even here the music. lolReport

dp73
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So who can the Patriots get before the trading deadline and who or what would they have give up?Report

DinoScapelli
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Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of the season.Report

DinoScapelli
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I was told there would be no math!Report

DinoScapelli
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Any one of dozens of DEs and LBs would be an upgrade.Report

MrScratch
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I don’t see a need to make a trade when there are tons of guys that can be had for nothing.Report

dp73
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Name names.

It is easy to say “somebody ” or anybody.

The truth is that get lot of new players now is unrealistic. Maybe a role player or two but it won’t be easy.Report

DinoScapelli
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Bill has gotten nice payoffs with several mid-season trades in the recent past. He can do it again.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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It’s coming next week.Report

DinoScapelli
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That is my hope.Report

DinoScapelli
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“Name names” makes no sense! I am not on the phone to other teams GMs, and I don’t have time to look at 31 rosters to find possible matches for trades. Bill and Nick can find players.Report

dp73
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Who?

Who do you give up?Report

DinoScapelli
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Why do you ask? There are teams with decent players who might be willing to trade for someone they need at another position.Report

dp73
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Who do you trade.?The Number 1 pick?

My point is that it is easy to be general about this but Nick and Bill need to have an idea as to how far they have to go.Report

DinoScapelli
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Trades are all about complementary needs. You can’t decide whom or what you are going to trade until negotiations begin.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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Johnny Manziel… Jimmy GarrapoloReport

dp73
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Great quip.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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When the Pats signed Revis, i was ecstatic. Revis was not only a great player back then but also a smart one, he was always lauded how he studied his opponents, how his football IQ was so high.
Gilmore is a gifted athlete, but he lacks that mental part that Revis was a master.Report

jdlboot14
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That’s the risk we take in signing a big money, talented player without knowing whats between the ears… or how much personal drive in study.Report

DinoScapelli
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Gilmore might yet be able to learn to play with more intellect. He has to unlearn years of bad habits.Report

DinoScapelli
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Ryan is far smarter than Gilmore, too, but not suited to the outside coverage assignments. Bill and Matt Pat have to alter the defense to fit the new personnel.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Hey the defense improved- they’re only 31st this week- things are looking up!!Report

jdlboot14
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I can’t even take this. Patriots are officially the team to face if you want to get an anemic offense back on track. Even though we beat the Saints, they started clicking during and after us. Texans sucked until Watson became an all-pro vs. our D. Panthers could barely manage 1 TD in previous 3 games, and blew up against us. This is unchartered waters. And for all you who think they’ll just flip a switch like in the past… there might not be a switch this year, we have to prepare for that.Report

MrScratch
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I can understand not doing it in a short week, but IMO they need to go get a bunch of reinforcements. I mean these guys out there right now without jobs– they’ll take vet minimum, which prorated is very short NON-GUARANTEED money and hope to catch lightning in a bottle from 1-2. With the long week ahead they can start working them in. Because, let’s be honest, even with a good showing against Tampa would anyone really trust the defense going forward? The secondary should improve with time and (hopefully) health but I just don’t think they guys in the… Read more »
jdlboot14
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If Branch can return to form (and desire), and HT can resume his MLB playcalling, then I think they can improve with Wise and Marsh really maximizing their roles.Report

MrScratch
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Branch is 33– riding that train into the ground never seemed like the best idea to me. Wise has definitely flashed, but Marsh looks like a sub package guy. And having a rookie there in a big role probably isn’t the best idea. Not to mention, they don’t have much depth especially at DE and LB. And they won’t even put Harris on the field.Report

DinoScapelli
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Nice take on this. If only someone would write an article about it….Report

dp73
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I don’t think that we can flip a switch nor do i think this is a team where we can call this the worse defense they ever had and start talk about the not making the playoffs.

Patience Grasshopper πŸ™‚Report

jdlboot14
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agree. but, it may be among the greatest deficit to overcome as far as the number of guys with little to no experience playing together. so much transition, and not many with years in the Patriot way.Report

DinoScapelli
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There is a limit to how much better this personnel group can play. If they can’t raise the level way higher than it now is, they are not a championship contender.Report

dp73
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Patience Grasshopper πŸ™‚Report

DinoScapelli
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Read my upcoming article. You’ll like it!Report

DinoScapelli
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I think that Matt Patricia is to blame for the loss of Logan Ryan, which is to blame for the signing of Stephon Gilmore, which is to blame for the lack of communication, which is to blame for the blown assignments, which are to blame for the three hideous defensive games.Report

dp73
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Explain?

Didn’t you dislike Logan Ryan?Report

DinoScapelli
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Read my subsequent posts below.Report

jdlboot14
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how is Matty P to blame for a personnel move? other than that, I agree. I wasn’t happy when they let Ryan go, and even when they signed Gilmore for way more than Ryan would’ve cost to stay.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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Gilmore is way more talented than Ryan. But Ryan seems to be smarter and he played many years with DMAC and Harmon even before coming to the Pats.
If Gilmore can understand he has to know his assignments, switches, study more, etc the ceiling is much higher than Ryan. IF…..Report

DinoScapelli
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Different types of player entirely. Ryan is a short distance physical cover guy, Gilmore is a sideline speed cover guy.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Now if only he would cover.Report

jdlboot14
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Which doesn’t look good. Because the stupid mental errors of facemask penalties is indicative of where his concentration level is.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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That’s why i wasn’t in love with Gilmore when the Pats signed, i remember well his miscues against the Pats.
But i trusted BB and his guys could put him in a better place. Let’s see if that happens in the futureReport

DinoScapelli
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He is not a max-contract player, in my opinion.Report

DinoScapelli
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[I am just using the four “instant takes” from the article above!]Report

jdlboot14
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oh, I get it now!Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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Can you just blame Gilmore for being dumb?Report

jdlboot14
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He and Rowe were constantly involved in the stupidity, I’m not sure who was the problem…Report

DinoScapelli
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Both are pure man-to-man coverage guys, not sophisticated read and react guys.Report

DinoScapelli
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I blame our flawed public education system for that.Report

Neil X
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I just rewatched Do Your Job Part 2.

VERY therapeutic.Report

DinoScapelli
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We don’t care about last year. We’re all about this season.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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We have to care at least about the seasons when Pats won the SB, we are not the Yankees or Real MadridReport

Neil X
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The Patriots are close to becoming the Yankees of the NFL.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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Not at number of titles, just the part of being the team with more titlesReport

DinoScapelli
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Steady, boy….Report

Neil X
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The Patriots players and coaches are **paid** to do that. We fans are not.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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NFL has been very entertaining to watch this season, i can’t remember a season with more upsets after 4 weeks than this one.
Yes, i would like the Pats to be 4-0, but that’s part of sports and still every Pats game has been thrilling almost until the end. But i also like to watch the rise of many teams that where in the bottom, not long time ago. That’s something you don’t watch in other sports like soccer.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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I’m avoiding all politics in this blog, unless politics try to take advantage of PRIVATE SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS like the NFL, NBA, and others.

I won’t stay silent when NFL and NBA are being attacked and the people that dislike my attitude can go watch the USFL and avoid the great league that is the NFL.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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NRA releases new ad after NFL anthem protests (26/09/2017)
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nra

I’m waiting for their new video dedicated to the Las Vegas events, instead of trashing the NFLReport

DinoScapelli
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Given that TB’s pass defense is as bad as the Pats’, I assume that the Pats will score their normal number of points, say 30, even though the TB rushing defense is very good (5th).

So it’s all up to the defense.

TB is 26th in rushing offense; NE is 26th in rushing defense.
TB is 3rd in passing offense; NE is dead last by a wide margin in pass defense.

This is a tough one for New England to win on the road.Report

MrScratch
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Well, it’s going to be always. The reality here is, if you have to score about 36 to win and lose if you don’t break 30 (how it’s been so far) it’s going to be a rough year.Report

dp73
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It will be.

In your opinion do you think they will pull it off?

Is it this years ” On to Cincinnati” for the defense?Report

DinoScapelli
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It’s 50-50. I think they can become sharper in the secondary, but it will take time.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Well- they will be breaking in their new plane- so that will be fun!!Report

dp73
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Having see this defense and having heard that it is the worst in NFL history:
Tampa Bay 55
New England 52

TB gets 49 in the first half and we play catch up. πŸ™‚ lolReport

BoSoxJim
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You won’t be happy until my heart explodes.Report

dp73
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Do you have anyone ready to post for you in case it does?Report

BoSoxJim
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My wife will be too busy celebrating.Report

dp73
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Fair point.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Boyce πŸ™‚Report

BoSoxJim
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Dammit, Cali!Report

Calipatsfan3473
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He has the time.Report

BoSoxJim
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Wait…..he’s staying in our spare bedroom. If my heart explodes and my wife is celebrating…..Report

Calipatsfan3473
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He’ll be there to celebrate with her πŸ™‚Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Who is going to stock the shelves then?Report

BoSoxJim
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[insert middle finger jpeg here]Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Caldwell.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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He makes eye doctors uncomfortableReport

Calipatsfan3473
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You’ll be ok πŸ™‚Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Ready for your trip?? Will be cool tomorrow but up in the 90’s by Friday.Report

dp73
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Yes I am. Thanks for asking.

Where are located again?Report

Calipatsfan3473
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About 20 miles east of Pasadena.Report

dp73
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How far from Mission Viejo?Report

Calipatsfan3473
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40-50 miles north of MV.Report

BoSoxJim
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Hey, you’re pretty close to Leonard and Sheldon. πŸ™‚

How far are you from Shawn & Gus?Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Too far.Report

NewEnglandBlight
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What did he tell you to go hug today?Report

Calipatsfan3473
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A cat.Report

Deadsmack #NoDaysOff
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I have been asking for a pick 6 for almost 3 years. I can’t forget it was Tavon Wilson that scored the last oneReport

Calipatsfan3473
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DJ Killings to the Eagles practice squad——————————————>Report

MrLucky
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It would be great if the Twins win tonight.Report

redemption50
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Playing with “house money” at this point. Nobody expects them to win. Nobody expected them to be in the playoffs in the first place. They can go in loose and see what happens.Report

MrLucky
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Ya not bad for a team that lost 100 times last year. Can’t seem to ever beat the Yankees though so it would be a pretty big upset.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Agreed (Sorry not sorry, dp & mattsky)Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Interesting. I never knew this is Brady’s first time playing AT Tampa (Regular Season). Found that hard to believe but the other time it was supposed to be AT Tampa, it was in London.Report

Opinion Slayer
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Lets hope his first time there is a winning experience and he can finally break the tie with Favre and Manning for most regular season wins. Another notch on the goats belt!Report

dp73
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Allen has been bad as a receiver no doubt about it but that one throw to him in the Carolina game was low and Brady didn’t have a lot on the throw. Allen had to wait for it.

Allen needs to prove this worth as a blocker . Something he hasn’t done yet.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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I thought Allen was proving himself as a blocker. I haven’t kept up with his blocking but lots of people are saying he should stick to blocking so I assume he was doing okay.Report

dp73
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I could be wrong but I haven’t notice him in the 3rd and 1 packages.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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I haven’t paid attention but I think I will now to see if he’s in short yardage.Report

Opinion Slayer
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I hope they get Dorsett more involved in this game, so far his hands have proven to be anti Dwight Allen like and he’s got a nice burst. Been pleasantly surprised with him so far.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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IIRC, he’s caught everything they’ve thrown at him, including a couple bombs. I just hope he’s studying the playbook so he can get on the field more. But at the same time, if you play Dorsett, who do you take off the field?Report

Opinion Slayer
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I’m not sure but with his speed and hands I think he could be a huge help in the slot for Brady with some quick two second throws. This has something to do with Brady getting hit a lot to and I think this could help remedy that and move the chains.Report

dp73
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It is not an all or nothing situation. Dorsett can play a backups role and still help.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Well the statement was getting him involved more. He can spell guys like Hogan and Amendola when they need a breather, but if he’s playing more, it means you’re taking one of those guys out more often. I do want to see what’s Dorsett is capable of with an increased workload, but I think you have to sacrifice someone to put him in.Report

dp73
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This is going to be a tough game for the Patriots . A tough game that Bill will have his team ready for and win.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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I like your optimism. I think the Pats will come better prepared but I’m still a little leery/skeptical — they need prove it and shut people up.Report

dp73
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All true. In the end the defense has to prove themselves on the field.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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There is still also a scenario that the defense is still terrible but the offense has enough fire power to outscore Tampa and win.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Pats have an all white color rush uni?Report

Opinion Slayer
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Tampa has one sack so far this year, watch them get 5 this game. I swear every time a team is struggling with something all they have to do is play the pats and all of the sudden they miraculously become good at it. Oline really need to step up and keep Brady upright this game. Dude is on pace to get sacked over 50 times.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Quite the opposite in previous years when the opponent is good at one thing then the pats expose them and that team sucks the rest of the year.Report

itsBradyBaby
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Dont be fooled J Jones will be ready to take Gilmore place if mental errors continues or whoever starts losing focus in the secondary.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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With Rowe hurt, they’ll need both Gilmore and Jones anywayReport

Jdog Lemon Head
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RE: The 2011 Pats and the bad defense. Lest not forget that we also did get lucky in the AFCCG that year when Lee Evans didn’t hang onto the ball in the endzone (nice play by ___ [had a brain fart by the guy who knocked the ball out]) and a missed chip shot FG by Cundiff (I think he was the kicker).Report

redemption50
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Well, it’s not really luck with the first play,imo. Not like Evans slipped or lost sight of the ball. Moore made a textbook play to knock the ball out. The Cundiff miss is more luck. The Patriots didn’t block the kick or make him miss. He just shanked itReport

Jdog Lemon Head
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Thank you. I couldn’t remember the DB. Sterling Moore.
With that play, I thought it was an incomplete but there are still folks that think he held onto the ball long enough.Report

redemption50
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It was a close as it gets. I don’t think they reviewed that play and I remember Harbaugh being upset right after the play and after the game as well over it. I think it was knocked out in time, thoughReport

JLStokes
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To be fair, the Pats were winning fairly handedly until Gronk went down. Then Tom through an UGLY pick to keep Baltimore in the game (remember the deep pass to Slater when they should have been eating up clock).Report

BoSoxJim
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This from the guy who thinks winning a game 14-13 means you are in complete controlReport

JLStokes
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You’ve never seen a close game where one team is essentially dominating TOP? C’mon man.Report

BoSoxJim
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The Patriots weren’t dominating TOP when it became 14-13. What game were you watching?Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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What game are you referring to with this?Report

BoSoxJim
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TexansReport

BoSoxJim
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To make it 14-13, the Texans kicked a FG after an almost 5 1/2 minute drive.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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ThanksReport

Jdog Lemon Head
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Thanks for reminding us about Slater lolReport

itsBradyBaby
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Feel bad for Tampa , will be first to face a focus defense that knows its better than what the doubters are saying , again the Pats are not losing more than 2 more games .Report

JLStokes
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I think the defense ends up look extremely improved, almost like a different unit, and the Pats make a (positive) statement game this Thursday.

The Panthers game is turning into the defense’s very own “2014 Chiefs” game.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Hope you’re right but we also thought that about the KC game this year too with the Saints game right after. Then we kept regressing and here we are.Report

JLStokes
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To be fair, the defense got stops against Houston when they needed to. Almost did the same to Carolina if not for the penalties.

Pats could just as well be 3-1 right now.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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Could also be 1-3 if not for Brady bailing them out.

The Falcons could be 1-3 right now instead of 3-1 as well.Report

JLStokes
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If Brady didn’t throw a pick six, he might not have needed to bail them out.Report

redemption50
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I think they rules that a fumble, not a pick. Same result, thoughReport

BoSoxJim
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Blaming that on Brady is ridiculous.Report

JLStokes
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So it’s not the QB’s responsibility to take care of the ball?Report

redemption50
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It would have been nice had he seen Mercilus coming in time but it’s hard to put that one on Brady. Expecting a lot from a guy we already expect too much fromReport

BoSoxJim
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LOL! It’s the OL’s job to actually block the person he’s supposed to block. At least lay a finger on him so he doesn’t get a free pass at the QB!Report

redemption50
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No, that one is fairly on Mr. SolderReport

BoSoxJim
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What pick 6? Oh, you mean when Solder whiffed on yet another block and let Mercilus go untouched into Brady’s blindside and forced the fumble as he was throwing? That the play you were blaming on Brady?Report

JLStokes
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Tom was already running for his life, he should have already thrown that ball away, especially because he looked back and SAW the whiff.Report

BoSoxJim
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He rolled to his right, JaVon. He didn’t see the whiff, he saw Mericlus at the last second and tried to throw the ball.Report

redemption50
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I will say that the Bucs are the type of team to fall flat on the primetime stage right when they think they have the Pats just where they want them. Could the Bucs put up 30+ points themselves? Sure they can. They have offensive talent to do it. But I don’t trust Winston or their coach or their culture enough yet to think that they will do it. Just a gut feeling more than anythingReport

HunterCenter
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I agree with that gut feeling. I could see the Pats trouncing them on national TV, just because everyone in the nation thinks its going to be the opposite.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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It’s also a short week for Tampa (I do know it’s also a short week for the Pats) but our team and coaching staff should have the advantage.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Bucs licking their chops at the Pats “Swiss cheese defense”- that about says it all.Report

redemption50
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It is what it isReport

Calipatsfan3473
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And it’s not good.Report

HunterCenter
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Bulletin Board Material.

of course, the Pats bulletin board is dry rotted and crooked and about to fall off the wall.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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It depends on if it offends them or it’s just stating the obvious and they know it.Report

HunterCenter
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I said the same thing, just much more poetically

πŸ™‚Report

HunterCenter
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No Solder or Rowe at practice. Great.Report

JLStokes
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Not worried about Solder. He’s been dealing with a shoulder injury, this might be a maintenance day considering there is such a short turnaround.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Rowe won’t be playing this week.Report

HunterCenter
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thus, Gilmore will not be benched, so everyone calling for that can take a dose of reality now.Report

Calipatsfan3473
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Maybe Gilmore should cut his hair and start fresh.Report

Jdog Lemon Head
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I agree
-Michael Vick (re: Kaep)Report

HunterCenter
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The Anti-Sampson?Report

JLStokes
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A couple of things:

Let’s not forget that you don’t have to go as far as 2014 to see a Pats defense struggle, have a REALLY bad performance and then turn things around.

Last season after the Seahawks game, many in the media, fandom and this very board, thought the Pats defense was not good enough to make/win a Super Bowl.

And that was WEEK 9!!!

Adjustments were made and the defense improved. There is precedence for improvement. This scenario has legit happened at least every other year.Report

redemption50
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I agree but the 2014 team did not struggle defensively through the first 4 games to the level that this year’s team has. This year has been historically bad, hence the concern. I find it hard to believe that they will be this bad the whole year. It WILL improve. It will get better. Will it be enough? TBD.Report

JLStokes
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Remember though, Carson Palmer was a missed FG away from beating the Pats in the 1st game. The defense run through by the Bill AT HOME. Russell Wilson was basically playing pitch and catch with his receivers in Foxboro.

They had many struggles.Report

redemption50
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They had some bad games, sure. But not “many struggles”, imo. They had some rocky moments after the Collins trade and then they stabilized and went on a good run into the playoffs. But it’s still early, I’m still confident things can be worked out.Report

JLStokes
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My point is there were defensive struggles due to new players, scheme, etc and they turned it around.

We can argue all day about the severity of last year’s defensive struggles.Report

redemption50
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You’re preaching to the choir, Stokes. I agree that it will get betterReport

SamiG
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Well put^Report

dp73
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They do have the talent in the secondary. But this team has lost Long, Nickovick, and Sheard upfront. That is a lot to lose in one year. I think that has to be at least acknowledged.Report

JLStokes
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Which is true, but I don’t think the front 7 is the problem, per se.

All these big plays are purely breakdowns in communication/fundamentals. They aren’t getting beat cause they are worse than the other team, they are getting beat because they are just plain not in the right positions.Report

dp73
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I don’t think the pas rush was the problem in the Houston or Carolina game but I think it was a problem in the KC game and to a lesser degree in the New Orleans game.

But communication and fundamentals have been a problem. Gilmore making the same mistakes and being a repeat offender probably isn’t going over well with Matt and Bill.Report

JLStokes
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The problem with the KC game with the D-Line was Branch getting thrown around like a rag doll, Hightower’s injury, Jordan Richards playing LB (groan) and Marsh being forced to play a ton of snap even thought he JUST got there.

They are seemingly starting to settle down there.Report

HunterCenter
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and replaced with Ealy, rookies, and then Marsh in desperation.Report

redemption50
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It does seem Bill did not address the front 7 enough in the off season. Especially at LB. But maybe that’s hindsightReport

HunterCenter
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he at least addressed DE in the draft. But LB was completely ignored. Amazing, for a coach who values LBs highly.Report

JLStokes
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I think the Ninkovich retirement/Derek Rivers injury threw a wrench into Bill’s plans. Not only that, but McClellin not being ready to go and David Harris essentially not being good enough to get on the field didn’t help either.Report

dp73
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All true.I would add that the 2017 Branch has not played like the 2016 Branch and that has hurt too. It all adds up. It is not just one thing.Report

JLStokes
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Butler’s slow star, Rowe’s inconvenient injury, Chung being a bit slower than normal.

I could go on and on.Report

HunterCenter
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but magically no other negative things are going to happen this season and the Pats are going 12-0 from here on out, right?Report

JLStokes
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I didn’t say they WOULD go 12-0, I’m saying it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s hard to go 14-2.Report

HunterCenter
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a perfect storm, yesReport

HunterCenter
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again, I’m not sure the “starting floor” has ever been this bad, defensively. And look what happened in 2007 and 2011 with “incredible Patriots offenses”. I for one do not want to depend on winning shootouts in the playoffs. I definitely do think the defense will improve, don’t get me wrong. Pats have dug themselves a hole though, as bad a hole as we’ve ever seen defensively.Report

JLStokes
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True, but there is precedent for Bill/Brady to carry a bad/struggling defense VERY far.

In 2011, they were statistically the worse defense in NFL HISTORY.Report

HunterCenter
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they are worse currently than that 2011 defense, right? I could be wrong on this.Report

SamiG
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Statistically, I think so. Talent wise? They are far superior. Just not playing like it.Report

HunterCenter
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fair enough. at least there is slight reason for optimism here.Report

SamiG
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Honestly, its the only optimism im perhaps blindingly clinging to.Report

JLStokes
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At this point, I’m not sure. Defense gave up 411 ypg. with pass yardage being almost 300 ypg.Report

HunterCenter
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lets agree they both sucked. and in the end, in 2011, it definitely caught up with them. of course, they probably still win if Gronk wasn’t playing on a high ankle sprain.Report

JLStokes
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Hell, they win if Welker catches the damn ball.Report

HunterCenter
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“Or if Brady catches his own pass”

— GiselleReport

JLStokes
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Last year, remember, the Pats were incorporating quite a few new pieces as well which took some time to gel.Report

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