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Monthly Archives: September 2006
Is it me or does it seems like Patriot Nation is ready to riot??!
How can Bradyís look so frustrated and perform so poorly? Bledsoe and Manning never do thatÖ.
Brady agreed to a cheap contract to keep guys like Branch and Vinatieri now has no weapons to throw to and the rookie Gost has been blocked twice in 2 games!!!!
The Patriots lost to a team that has beaten them repeatedly the last few years and the Broncos stopped the run as their main defensive objective and succeeded. The Broncos Defense has been consistent all year and dominated the Patriots. Jake Plummer found his rhythm as Jevon Walker had his Broncoís coming out party.
On the other hand, the Patriots are playing inconsistent and must rely on Brady and those around him to step up. Once Dillon went down and the Patriots missed a field goal falling behind 10-0, they needed to pass, but the receivers (incl tight-ends) were not getting open. Ben Watson had his career best game, but no points. Doug Gabriel came to life in the forth quarter catching his first Patriots pass and even scoring a touchdown and was a definite surprise to most of us. Even Laurence Maroney had the best receiving night as a Patriot. So Branch would not necessarily have made a difference in this game in terms of delivering a win.
The loss of Dillon and the absence of Chad Jackson did have a negative impact offensively for the team. Loses in the secondary continue, as Randall Gay is now on IR and Patriots stand-by hank Poteat is brought back in to help the family.
If the Patriots were not getting it done offensively, then at least we can take a look at the other side of the ball. Defensively, Richard Seymour has been quiet so far this year and to some seems to be the 3rd best defensive lineman. HhmmmÖ imagine what happens when he gets his engine running.
The secondary gave up 2 big plays and again this lead to points on the board. Harrison may be a step slow, but he is not getting beat. So he cannot chase, but if the others do their job and get in position then he would not have to run across the field to try to make a play. I know Rodney loves to play and does not mind running across the field, but he has had too way too often.
Special teams? Gost might have had 2 blocked kicks in 2 weeks, but he is still performing better the Vinatieri did at this point in his rookie season. So cut the kid some slack. But he should avoid using school term paper references when making examples to the mediaÖ.
So there you have it 2-1. We are what we are and still atop our division and improving little by little. Too little too late? We shall see. The next challenge will be a different animal altogether.
The Cincinnati Bengals.
The Patriots play the Denver Broncoís this Sunday night.
The press, teams and fans are all abuzz about the outcome of last yearís playoff game and the revenge factor the Patriots must have for the Broncos.
If anything it may be fear factor. The Broncos ëowní Tom Brady and the PatriotsÖ Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is an offensive genius that can out strategize the defensive master Bill BelichickÖ
Last week as Master v Student, This week O Master v D MasterÖ.
If you record says you are what you are then the Broncos 4-1 over the last few years have no fear of the Patriots. The one win the Patriots did have was a close one and against back up QB Kanelle.
So where does that leave us now? All the press and pundits? A repeat of previous games? The revenge factor?
The reality is this is different. Both teams are having a mediocre start by playing inconsistently. The Patriots have established a good ground game so far the year (3rd in the league), but have not established a real threat with their receivers. It will be a matter of time when Brady and the receivers connect; maybe this will be the week? The Patriots defense on the other hand is also not playing consistently and allowed the Jets to make a comeback instead of slamming the door.
The Broncos running game is suspect and their receivers have not help Jake Plummer much this season. WR Rod Smithís concussion last week could mean he will not play, but current reports suggest he will. Smith has torched the Patriots in the past; maybe this time will be different due to his injury. The Denver defense is a bit suspect as well, but Champ Bailey has intercepted Tm Brady twice.
As Champ Bailey showed last year: Timing is everything. The risk the Patriots have this time around is that Brady and the receivers are not as connected as they were a year ago. If the Broncos continue to blitz 11 and are able to pressure Brady and limit the Patriots running attack (no one else has yet ñ but we only played the Bills and Jets), then the Patriots will need to reply on the passing gameÖ.
Denverís strength this year seems to be passing, but Jake Plummer hasnít been able to find the support to carry the Broncos by himself. So if the Patriots can pressure Plummer, then there could be the opportunities to force turnovers.
The key to wither team winning will be defense applying pressure, forcing turnovers and not giving up big plays. Offensively who ever can run the ball and control the clock (Clock-killer Corey Dillon??), will be in the best shape to put up points and where down the opposing defense.
But I truly beleive even given this – it will be down to the best coaching and decision making that turns the game.
Overall the Patriots will improve on the passing game and Gabriel will score his first TD.
End of the day: Pats 17 ñ Broncos 13
So Patriots fans can gloat that we won two in a row and beat two division rivals and sit 2-0 atop the AFC East – looking to host a poor performing – and we thought last year a mediocre Denver Broncos – sure 5 turnovers will hurt anyone and it did – enough said.
No my friends this is not the team of the ‘old’ (3 outta the last 5?) Super Bowl Dynasty – this is the team of Bill Belichick’s legacy.
We can all say what we want about older leaders (Browns – how ya doin’?), clutch performers (did Bill and Scott know Adam was on the decline?) and the team player (hey – I really think it is great Branch is getting paid – it worked for him!), but in the end ‘your record tells you where you are’. . .
It isn’t pretty, but when has Patriot football been a thing of beauty? I can only think of the playoffs for that and that also including the ’85 Patriots! ‘Squish the Fish’ and ‘Berry the Bears’ – ok not all dreams come true. . .
So anyway, here we are the very next day and we see potential – perhaps more potential then we did in 2001-02 and definitely more then 2002 -03.
So what are the things we need to do?
Play Patriot football and this year it is running and stretching the field with a multitude of receivers that in reality is starting out like a start up franchise. The receiving corp. has not gelled yet with Tom Brady. Brown, Faulk, Watson and Graham are good guys to go across the middle and take the hit for the short yards – but we need to stretch the field.
The poor execution y’day still delivered when it needed to against a team it needed to beat. There is still time to learn and adjust for the guys like Jackson, Gabriel, Caldwell, Smith and Childress. The guys mentioned earlier help take that pressure away from every play. These new guys need to perform when the others are ‘occupied’.
Add to that a running game we have never seen before in New England – Dillon, Maroney, Faulk and Evans and you combine a back field of runners and receivers. Guys able to pick up the blitz and block as well as go north and south when it matters. . .
No my friends – this is not our ‘Dynasty’, but it just might be our ‘Destiny’!
There are still 14 more games to go and as we know anything can happen, but as the season continues this team will get better and others should be afraid – very afraid.
In Bill We Trust!
Like any other Sunday during the NFL season, I look forward to relaxing and thinking about nothing else but football and enjoying the game. Yep – preparing my homemade wings, homemade salsa for the chips and beer (extra in the spare fridge ñ just in case) ñ makes me look forward to the day ñ Game Day!
However, this week there has been quite a few things taking away the emphasis of football and preparing for Sunday.
This week it is the New England Patriots facing the New York Jets!
So for starters there are the Parcells, Belichick, Carroll and Al Groh stories ñ oldies yes. But this week it is again the student facing the master ñ Eric Mangini versus the master Bill Belichick.
Add the twist of Deion Branch and the Patriots filing ëtamperingí charges against the Jets and you get the typical ëthis is businessí quotes from both camps.
Add into the mix the interviews of Tom Brady before the season and how much Deion Branch means to the team and then this week on how much it impacted his play last week and obviously we had another personnel decision impacting the team for the first game.
Or will it stop there? The Patriots this week sent Deion off to Seattle for a 2007 first round draft choice ñ good play on the team to get rid of him now instead of having him show up to finish his contract ñ bad in terms of the type of player Deion is and how much respect the players had for him.
All the comments were the same from the players ñ he was a playerís player ñ someone you could count on and someone that knew he would not get the ball 100 times a game but still knew how much value he brought to the team. Obviously trading Branch negatively impacts the Patriots – more for Tom Brady then anyone else.
Dan Goldman from the Buffalo Bills MVNís ëCircle the Wagonsí had this to say ìIf New Englandís two running backs canít produce against a more stout run defense, New England could be in troubleÖ. This could be a true test for Tom Brady. He played great last year without coordinator Charlie Weis and without a running attack. If he can keep New England atop the division without a dominant receiver, he should be considered among the best in the league right now.î
From my perspective that could be true, however, the Patriots have not had any ‘big name’ receivers. Belichick and Pioli have always drafted or brought in players to develop.
I think the Pats have decent talent to ‘get by’ at the moment as this talent it too new and raw in the system to be effective this early in the year.
With the schedule easing up a bit compared to last year, this should allow for a certain period of time (like now!) for the new guys to catch on and get healthy. Gabriel and Jackson are potential threats like the Patriots have not seen in years…..Smith should be able to support in special teams, a place we need work on after losing two key players to IR.
If these guys do not learn and stay healthy – I do not think even Deion could have been an impact player as he would have been double teamed (something he has trouble dealing with).
In the end it came to dollars and sense. The Patriots only pay dollars when it makes sense. Tom Brady is not making #1 money, but he is definitely the #1 guy on the team. Deion is not a #1 receiver accept in the Patriotís system ñ or so they thought.
I have predicted the Pats will play Seattle in the Super Bowl this year. This will still happen.
But first the Patriots have today ñ the next game, before we get too far ahead of ourselves. The Jets offense has Chad Pennington and Laverneas Coles. These guys are a threat the Patriots need to contain. I would comment that the Jets running game is suspect, but after the Bills ran through our top defensive seven last week ñ I think there is cause for concern.
The key here is Patriot Defensive football ñ take away the pass and force them to run. Eric knows this, but does he have the players to stop the Patriots defense? It is still too early to tell, but today is a big test!
Offensively, the Patriots have to score points and quickly. That means moving the ball and the chains. Last week it was with the running game, but if the Patriots get behind too much too quickly ñ how will the running game help them? They will need to show today that they can stretch the field and tear up teams underneath ñ whether this is through receivers, tight-ends, running backs or converted defensive backs ñ someone has to catch the damn ballÖ
I think the best defense owns this game and if Bruschi is back or not ñ I still think the Pats are the top D. The Key will be Hobbs on Coles and how Harrison can cover to avoid giving up the ëbig playí. Gostkowski misses his first NFL field goal today. Pats over Jets 20 ñ 10
So here we are folks another season of Patriots football!
The New England Patriots kick off today against division rivals, Buffalo Bills. This could be a good view of what the Patriots have in stock as the Bills have a new coaching staff and therefore an unfamiliar look for Belichick and CoÖ
The Bills bring a great running back in McGahee that will provide a challenge for the Patriots front seven on running and passing plays.
Pressuring Bills QB Losman will be key to disrupt an already poor passing game. This should allow the Patriots secondary to shut down the passing game and also support stopping the run. I would not be surprised if the Patriots give up a lot of passing yards in order to take away the McGahee running threat. As long as the Patriots secondary do not give up the ëBig Play.
As the Patriots did in the preseason, they will utilize their running game and a two tight-end set against and spreading the field against a decent Bills secondary. Takeo Spikes has returned to the Bills linebacking corp. so it will be interesting to see how the Patriots play against the Bills key middle player. The key will be how the Patriots play across the middle with the tight-ends and the running backs coming out of the backfield.
As we look forward to the beginning of the game ñ there has been a roster update as Bam Childress is brought back in off of the practice squad and Jonathan Smith was cutÖ a few Bills fans may think it was due to ëinsider infoí but the reality is the Pats will not have newly acquired Doug Gabriel or Chad Jackson for this game. That means the outside receiver would have been Smith ñ who has no experience at that position ñ whereas Bam knows the Patriots systems and has played there in the preseason.
Also out from todayís game are FB/TE Garrett Mills, ILB Tedy Bruschi, C/G Gene Mruczkowski,
OT Nick Kaczur, DE Marquise Hill, and NT Johnathan Sullivan.
MVNís own Dan Goldman, Bills Circling the Wagons, writes on how the “Bills Prepare”
We shall see how the games goes, but I see it as 24 ñ 10 Patriots!
Tops Games to Watch!
Buffalo v New England: This is not your Super Bowl Patriots of past years. They are younger and stronger on the O and D-lines then they have been in years. The biggest concern is the age and back up for the Linebackers and the lack of talent and depth of the receivers. The Bills wonít be able to take advantage of either development areaÖ The Pats front seven can handle McGahee and will confuse the limited JP LosmanÖ. Patriots 24 – Bills 10
Atlanta v Carolina: This sets the stage early in this division ñ the Panthers Steve Smith is sitting out the game and Keyshawn Johnson will need to step it up early for his new team Ö. But the team that wins this game will have to do it while running the ballÖ. Panthers 22 – Falcons 21
Cincinnati v Kansas City: Carson Palmer is back and looking healthy and they have all the right parts in place offensively, but letís see how the new Chiefs D-backs look. OtherwiseÖ. Bengals 24 – Chiefs 17
Indianapolis v New York Giants: Peyton v Eli ñ sibling rivalry to start off the season? The overall team talent offensively lies with the Colts passing game and we get to see Vinatieriís first miss as a Colt. The Giants have a better defense and running gameÖ. Giants 24 – Colts 21
Minnesota v Washington: The Vikings finally finished airing out their laundry and it isnít enough to beat Gibbs and the much improved offenseÖ. ‘Skins 20 – Viks 13
Check the old Coaches
New York Jets v Tennessee: I donít even think there will be any highlights from this game, but Manginiís coaching abilities will be viewed by someoneÖ. Jets 12 – Titans 10
New Orleans v Cleveland: Browns are the better of these two rebuilding teams ñ one is still rebuilding a franchise and the other a home with too many new partsÖ Browns 17 – Saints 12
Check out the scores and see how it goesÖ.
Seattle v Detroit: Seahawks shake off the Super Bowl loss and the Lions are still having off the field issues with their management and coachesÖ. Seahawks 24 – Lions 6
Philadelphia v Houston: McNabb and crew are coming off of a bad year and the Texans are still trying to improve over last years disappointing season. In the end Eagles have more talent and a better coachÖ. Eagles 20 – Texans 13
Baltimore v Tampa Bay: Not sure who the Ravens have on offense this year and the defense it getting older. The Bucs have a good young quarterback in Chris Simms and have the talent to go far this yearÖ. Bucs 8 ñ Ravens 13
Dallas v Jacksonville: Parcells is looking forward to retiring and taking Drew Bledsoe with him. Until then they have to play football and hopefully win T.O. wants the ball and no one on the Jaguars will be able to stop him. As long as Drew can make the passesÖ. ‘Boys 21 – Jags 9
Denver v St. Louis: Denver was not that great of a team last year and the Patriots beat themselves with the 5 turnovers ñ to me Denver is still suspect as is the olí Turf Show Ö. Broncos 20 – Rams 17
Click by or Snooze through
San Francisco v Arizona: The Cards will not dominate, but this is a good game for them to start off the season. The O-line and defense needs work, where as the 49ers need help everywhereÖ. Cards 27 ñ 49ers 15
Chicago v Green Bay: Brett, Brett, Brett ñ we will all regret. Da Bears are back defensively, but what about the offenseÖ. Bears 18 – Packers 6
San Diego v Oakland: Chargers start the season off right 22 – 10
Like all sports writers I have an opinion and I like to express it multiple waysÖ
Below are my predictions for the 2006 season
AFC EAST: Patriots ñ Miami will threaten, but it will not be enough to knock off the Pats as Belichick brings back the basics.. and ending the season with what seems to be a light schedule will help overcome any injuries going into the post season. The Jets will surprise a few people and the Bills are still in retirement modeÖ
AFC North: Steelers ñ A quality QB and a top defense will take them back into the playoffs, as long as Big Ben can stay on the field. I would love to the see the Bengals do well, but I am still not too confident on Palmerís return and the defense is still suspect. The Browns will bring a tough defensive presence, but until they can turn the lights on the offensive side of the ballÖ and the Ravens good defense and less offense then the Browns? Huh? Yep I said it.
AFC South: Colts ñ This division is not so tough and Peyton gets another chance to go into the playoff season, but his receivers better stay healthy as the running game is not one the Colts can rely on. The Jaguars have improved, but are still inconsistent. Titans and Texans are two big question marks as neither team can seem to get out of its own wayÖ.
AFC West: Toss-up but would have to say Chargers ñ This is a mediocre division in that not one team can dominate all the others and yet none are strong enough to make it to the Super Bowl. I like the Chargers if the QB can play half as expected, Broncos are always tough but are getting old, Chiefs need to find a dominant defense and running offense again. The Raiders are the weakest link, but look offensively fine, but still suspect on defense which used to be their strength.
NFC EAST: Redskins ñ This conference is a tough place to be this year as T.O. will still is too much of a distraction which takes Dallas down before Parcells retires, the Eagles are still lost in the huddle and the Manning family curse continues..
NFC North: Bears – As long as the defense holds up and the offense finds renewed life no matter which QB they go with (as this will change during the season), Vikings finally finished airing out their laundry adn look to find a rebirth, the Lions tale is in the front office which again will haunt this team. Brett you should have Packed it in!
NFC South: Panthers ñ I think the top two teams are the Panthers and Bucs, but feel the Pnthers have the best balance. The Bucs are still improving and I like Chris Simms, lets see what they bring to the table this year. The Falcons have a lot to build on The Saints have a home, but there is no place like home ñ they still stink even with Reggie Bush.
NFC West: Seahawks ñ The Seahawks bring back a solid team from last year minus a few parts just like any other SB team. I like the Cards, but feel the O-line still needs a bit of work and the defense needs to step up. The greatest show on turf has long since been buried and the 49ers are still digging for gold.
Sleeper Teams: Bucs, Cards, Jaguars and Miami
I havenít thought of any AFC / NFC winners as yet, but let me know what you think of this so far!
AFC Championship game: Patriots versus Colts
NFC Championship game: Seahawks versus Redskins
Super Bowl: Patriots versus Seahawks
World Champions: Patriots
As the roster became shorter – it is still not at the 53-man usually required. this is because – since Deion Branch has not yet reported to camp he is not counted against the roster spot.
Dan Klecko who has since signed with the Indianapolis Colts
Patrick Cobbs who was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Doug Gabriel a wide receiver from the Oakland Raiders for an undisclosed draft pick. Gabriel has been in the mix the past 4 years with the Raiders and was to start at the number 2 position. At 6’2″ and 215 lbs – he is definitely an improvement and different asset to the Patriots receiver class – with or without Deion Branch.
Interesting turn on the Deion Branch affair seems to be determining his value now that we all know the money is there and a few points were outstanding in terms of future draft picks.
Even after the 4pm Friday deadline, rumors a nd press stories still indicate the Seattle Seahawks still are in the negotiation phase for Deion. Even so far as to agree to a number one draft pick and possibly a mid-level pick to the Patriots. Since the Seahawks are still at the top of their game, it is not evident Deion would be a number one receiver for them, but good for Deion if has can get the cash.
The other team interested was the Jets. Though even if it is for a few more million, would someone really want to go to a team that has no winner at the quarterback position and will be slowly rebuilding under brand new head coach Eric Mangini for the next 3 years?
At any rate, I think the Patriots blew this one and obviously the position on money was – thinking no one would really shell out that kind of money. The rumored 2 first round draft picks would have also scared off any team in need even if the money numbers were only slightly higher then the Patriots offer.
So now we know.
It is what it is….
That being said, it will probably only get worse before it gets better. As mentioned above, the Patriots now have Doug Gabriel. We will never know the intent behind that choice – but it does look like the Patriots are hedging their bets….
In Bill we trust!
Hello Patriots fans!
Sorry this week has been a bit hectic and I am not even traveling yet!!
As a catch up – the Patriots this week closed out their their preseason losing 21-22 to the New York Giants in what could be considered the most competitive effort they have so far this off-season.
Coach Belichick conceded he will not be able to determine what kind of team he has until there has been a certain level of competition and comparison of live game interaction between different teams.
This line leaves open the fact that the Patriots are never commit to any stereo-typical program and the recent news of Maroney being injured, Branch trade discussion continuing and even the hopeful training camp by-product of Patrick Cobbs success has been traded to the Steelers (oi nei!! he comes from the same school as the bus! ok I think) for an undisclosed draft pick……
So offensively we are flat and not on a the expected high to start the season….
defensively we have not really improved, but have improved players from last year and made an exception to bring in another retiree – to support the dynamics of an already old linebacker corp. and little back filler to to step in when help is needed (especially with Gardner out for the rest of the season….) .
So in recent weeks we get rid of an offensive lineman, running back, cannot close on the Branch deal… this may be the way front office works for the future and may deliver, but if this is a ‘rebuilding’ year then call it that – otherwise we will quickly turn from the Red Sox to the Pats and then back to the Red Sox in hopes of a local victory at some level.
I know I am complaining since the AFC East is ‘sown up’ but never underestimate the heart and desire of the under dawg! Coaches and front office guys (ala Magnini and Levy) can only get so much done outside of the game…. if the team decides to come out an play and play w heart – the AFC East can be that much harder – we have seen the Patriots do this in the past – so do not think it cannot happen to them…
At any rate.. the Pats will finish 11-5 win the AFC East and face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
I will break down the different divisions and why I think this tomorrow – ’til then mull over the fact that Deion may ply for either the Patriots or Seahawks in the Super Bowl…. which tema will then value him as an MVP??!!!