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Old 09-04-2012, 04:19 PM    (permalink
Don Vito
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How lucky are we that Britt isn't playing? I know he is banged up but we would have some serious troubles with him, cook, wright, Washington, and cj. Big receivers have been a problem for us in the past, and I think he would pound on his old college teammate mccourty because that is an awful matchup for devin and britt has lots to prove. Still will be a tough game but we might be dodging a bullet with britt suspended
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Old 09-04-2012, 04:26 PM    (permalink
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How lucky are we that Britt isn't playing? I know he is banged up but we would have some serious troubles with him, cook, wright, Washington, and cj. Big receivers have been a problem for us in the past, and I think he would pound on his old college teammate mccourty because that is an awful matchup for devin and britt has lots to prove. Still will be a tough game but we might be dodging a bullet with britt suspended
I'm right there with you on that point. I'm already having nightmares about Fitzgerald and Floyd week 2 even though there is the Skelton factor. Honestly from this point forward I'd rather take my chances with Dowling opposite any big receivers. Let McCourty try to regain what he lost against the smaller guys. It's going to be interesting to see how they incorporate the guys who press better (Dowling and Dennard) into game plans. It at least gives them more tools in their kit in case McCourty and Arrington just can't cover certain guys as was the case last year.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:41 PM    (permalink
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How youre scared of Arizona's putrid passing game is beyond me. Fitz might be amazing, but if you watched any of their pre season tape you wouldn't have a second thought about it. We should run all over that team.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:49 PM    (permalink
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Skelton may have a better time throwing to McCourty than Fitz.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:14 AM    (permalink
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McCourty's struggles last year were across the board last year, not just bigger WRs. It just so happens that the better WRs in the NFL are bigger guys. Remember though that McCourty's best game was his rookie year against Calvin Johnson and they don't get much bigger than him
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:24 AM    (permalink
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How youre scared of Arizona's putrid passing game is beyond me. Fitz might be amazing, but if you watched any of their pre season tape you wouldn't have a second thought about it. We should run all over that team.
Fitz still did plenty of damage last year with Skelton throwing him the ball. I watched 2 of their preseason games, but we struggled even against bad QB's last year. Need I remind you of Henne, Grossman, Young, Campbell, and Orlovsky all did a lot of damage against us last season, so I wouldn't consider the Cardinals passing offense not a threat yet because we still don't have a great pass rush to disrupt their putrid line. Even if Skelton can throw in the vicinity of Fitzgerald I'd trust him to make a play over McCourty.


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McCourty's struggles last year were across the board last year, not just bigger WRs. It just so happens that the better WRs in the NFL are bigger guys. Remember though that McCourty's best game was his rookie year against Calvin Johnson and they don't get much bigger than him
Trust me I'm in agreement with you on that fact. It's more for me on players who play the sideline well, which coincidentally are often the bigger guys. I know Marshall and V-Jack absolutely killed McCourty last year. I think K. Wright and Washington is a good way for him to get his feet wet. I trust him more with guys who go vertical or inside. Fortunately there aren't too many big guys on the schedule this year with Marshall out of the division.

He was damn impressive against Detroit, and he also owned Harvin in the Minnesota game. I just wish that guy could reappear. We'd be in such amazing shape if that happened.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:38 AM    (permalink
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McCourty's struggles last year were across the board last year, not just bigger WRs. It just so happens that the better WRs in the NFL are bigger guys. Remember though that McCourty's best game was his rookie year against Calvin Johnson and they don't get much bigger than him
While McCourty did struggle last season, it's important to contrast his first three games (in which he was asked to cover Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, and Stevie Johnson) against the last 16 (including the playoffs.) He allowed an average of eight completions for 126 yards and a touchdown over the first three games, and 2.8 completions for 43.5 yards over the last sixteen. I think for the most part it was a case of the struggles at the beginning of the year being magnified rather than a consistently low level of play continuing through the season.

First three games: 24/37, 378 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

Average: 8/12, 126 yards, 1 TD

Last 14 games: 45/74, 696 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Average: 3.2/5.3, 49.7 yards, 0.2 TD, 0.1 INT

For some perspective, here are Joe Haden's numbers from last year:

42/85, 657 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:47 AM    (permalink
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While McCourty did struggle last season, it's important to contrast his first three games (in which he was asked to cover Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, and Stevie Johnson) against the last 16 (including the playoffs.) He allowed an average of eight completions for 126 yards and a touchdown over the first three games, and 2.8 completions for 43.5 yards over the last sixteen. I think for the most part it was a case of the struggles at the beginning of the year being magnified rather than a consistently low level of play continuing through the season.

First three games: 24/37, 378 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

Average: 8/12, 126 yards, 1 TD

Last sixteen games: 45/74, 696 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

Average: 2.8/4.6, 43.5 yards, 0.2 TD
Wow I really didn't think it would have been such a reduction just watching. He did get better as the season wore on but I wasn't expecting an 80 yard per game improvement.

Hopefully this continues going forward but I would like to see the completion percentage go down to around 50% or less
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:53 AM    (permalink
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Wow I really didn't think it would have been such a reduction just watching. He did get better as the season wore on but I wasn't expecting an 80 yard per game improvement.

Hopefully this continues going forward but I would like to see the completion percentage go down to around 50% or less
I actually just realized that McCourty was inactive for two games, but even removing those (the recalculated averages are in my original post), his average yards allowed declined by 76.3. I'm expecting about 650 yards allowed, 4 TD, and 4 INT this season from McCourty on 60% completions.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:00 AM    (permalink
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I definitely feel pretty good about our CBs at this point. Not great, but the potential is there with McCourty, Dowling and Dennard.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:27 AM    (permalink
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Any sort of improvement from the safety position (which can't be hard) should really improve the pass defense. I really think the biggest issue last year was miscommunication. Chung and Gregory should be a nice combo and Wilson and Ebner look very promising from a depth perspective. This team was just horrendous on 3rd down last year. I am really looking for a marked improvement on that aspect.

I really, really like the front 7. It's never going to be a defense who leads the league in sacks, however it will be a top 10 run defense and has some real nice pieces against the pass. The secondary is the place were it could go wrong, but hopefully that changes this year.

A nice start against Jake Locker and John Skelton could really give this group some confidence going forward. Even on the entire schedule there is no elite passing offenses to face
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:08 PM    (permalink
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I'm posting a list of the Patriots' potential FAs as people to watch this year. I posted my thoughts on some of them below.

Players due to become FAs this year (per ESPN/Boston):
CB Kyle Arrington
TE Jake Ballard (ERFA)
S Josh Barrett
DL Ron Brace
S Patrick Chung
CB Marquice Cole
WR Julian Edelman
LB Dane Fletcher
CB Sterling Moore
DL Myron Pryor
OL Jamey Richard
LB Mike Rivera
DE Trevor Scott
TE Visanthe Shiancoe
OL Donald Thomas
OT Sebastian Vollmer
G Brian Waters
WR Wes Welker
LB Tracy White
RB Danny Woodhead

* If brought back Danny Woodhead could be in a camp battle to prove himself useful against Jeff Demps. So could Julian Edelman. Woodhead and Demps play basically the same role, but Edelman's biggest contributions are where Demps was brought in to improve. If Edelman doesn't show improvement this year, he could be on his way out. There is a reason why Greg Salas was traded for (and it wasn't just familiarity in McDaniels system). I doubt both of them would be allowed to walk for Demps (as I doubt he could handle the workload given his size)

* Patrick Chung and Sebastian Vollmer both need to show they can stay healthy. Both are big contributors to the Patriots, when healthy. The problem is health. Great tackles are rarely allowed to hit FA, but with Vollmer's bad back constantly giving him issues, he might be one of those exceptions. Safeties are not quite the same. They hit FA more often, but I think the team would like to have Chung back if he stays healthy in 2012. I personally think a guy like Barrett Jones could be a target for NE (he can play both guards, center, and RT) if they decide that Vollmer's back can't be trusted.

* Dane Fletcher is the Patriots best backup LB (so it was mildly surprising to see them expose him to waivers). With Spikes' and Mayo's usual leave of absence, I was shocked they didn't do more to protect against someone swooping in to keep him for next year. Maybe they are more worried about his ACL tear that most.

* It's fairly obvious the Patriots will let Welker hit FA. They are not going to pay a 32 year old slot WR with a major knee injury on his record a salary over 11 million for 1 year. They might use the tag on him if they get a deal in place as a means of preventing him from hitting FA... but that seems unlikely. The reality is his next contract (no matter who it comes from) will either be after he hits FA or after he's tagged. I've not given up the idea that he's coming back, but like Moss I expect him to at least explore his options elsewhere.

* Kyle Arrington seems (to me) like the most important FA on this list. It's almost shocking to say that, but Arrington has been a good corner. There will be a fair amount of competition next season in the corner spot (with the guys currently on the roster all being young). Arrington might be allowed to walk if he has a good season. We shall see.

* Jake Ballard will be paid the veteran minimum next year (as an Exclusive Rights Free Agent) and be kept in place of another TE. It'll be a salary cap move. His value to the team is as a backup TE and special teamer who will have a great salary for the team that already has 2 outstanding TEs. Anything above that will be great.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:43 PM    (permalink
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I think the most important FA to be resigned is going to Vollmer with a major asterisk beside it. If he stays healthy he is such a boost to the offensive line. Arrington is a nice player to resign, however not as vital as Seabass.

If either Wilson or Ebner really perform this year I wouldn't be overly disappointed to not resign Chung. He is a hard worker and appears to be a team leader, however he is made of glass and isn't very disciplined in pass coverage.

If Vollmer does walk though I really want them to target a guy like Jake Matthews in the first. Belichick loves bloodlines and he would be a major upgrade over Cannon
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:23 PM    (permalink
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* Kyle Arrington seems (to me) like the most important FA on this list. It's almost shocking to say that, but Arrington has been a good corner. There will be a fair amount of competition next season in the corner spot (with the guys currently on the roster all being young). Arrington might be allowed to walk if he has a good season. We shall see.
Have to disagree with you there. Arrington didn't play particularly well last year, and most of his interceptions were off of bad throws. He gets beat deep too easily, and probably would be a more natural fit in the slot. I'm fine with having him here to be in the cornerback rotation, but if he tries to get the Pats to pay him more than $3 million next year I'd let him walk and never look back.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:02 PM    (permalink
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Have to disagree with you there. Arrington didn't play particularly well last year, and most of his interceptions were off of bad throws. He gets beat deep too easily, and probably would be a more natural fit in the slot. I'm fine with having him here to be in the cornerback rotation, but if he tries to get the Pats to pay him more than $3 million next year I'd let him walk and never look back.
My point is more about how little we could be losing if we didn't retain many (any) of our free agents. If neither chung or vollmer can stay healthy, do any other names really jump out as must keep?
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:49 PM    (permalink
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My point is more about how little we could be losing if we didn't retain many (any) of our free agents. If neither chung or vollmer can stay healthy, do any other names really jump out as must keep?
My point of objection was more with the idea that Arrington is a good corner. Even with playing only part of the time Chung and Vollmer are more difficult to replace than Arrington IMO.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:11 AM    (permalink
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So.... The Patriots have removed Brian Waters' name plate in the locker room. This comes after giving his number to Dont'a Hightower earlier this week. I think it's safe to say that Waters isn't coming back. Damn....
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:14 AM    (permalink
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How much does everyone think Sebastian Vollmer is worth on a long-term contract?
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:19 AM    (permalink
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How much does everyone think Sebastian Vollmer is worth on a long-term contract?
I can't see any team giving him a deal that doesn't include a ton of incentive/performance and team protection type clauses. He's just too big a risk for a large contract that doesn't include some serious protection for the club that signs him, be that NE or some other team.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:33 AM    (permalink
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How much does everyone think Sebastian Vollmer is worth on a long-term contract?
The injury makes it complicated. If he was fully healthy, he'd command a top 5 OT contract. Maybe top 10. He'd have to be paid like a left tackle. I really don't know what contracts are like, but I can see him getting that kind of money on the open market.

With the back being what it is, I'm scared to pay him left tackle money.
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Old 09-07-2012, 11:39 AM    (permalink
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I think Vollmer is about 7 mill per year even with his injury. You can always incorporate some options into the contract which would save the organization a lot of money in case of injury and such.
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Old 09-07-2012, 06:21 PM    (permalink
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I really want to see Hoomanawanui catch a few balls just to listen to the announcers struggle to pronounce his name.
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:55 PM    (permalink
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My Patriots/Titans preview has been posted over at NEPatriotsDraft:

http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2012/...-week-one.html
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:39 PM    (permalink
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That's a good read, Matt. Here are my thoughts on the game tomorrow:

Vince Wilfork is going to have a great, great season and it'll all start tomorrow. As Matt points out the Titans' interior OL isn't very good, but after watching the playoffs games earlier today and Vince having shed some weight this off season I think he'll be very disruptive this year. I expect a huge year from him.

The Patriots are going to kill the Titans. BB usually does really well against one dimensional teams. The Titans are going to hand the ball of to Johnson a whole lot, but with more athletic ends and a clear advantage in the middle of the defense he won't have anywhere to go. He might get up to about a hundred yards (he did it the last time the two teams played each other), but the Titans aren't going to score a lot of points.

Jake Locker is going to struggle. Locker has great potential, but he's effectively a rookie. And rookie QBs don't do well against the Patriots.

Not a lot of sacks, but the defense is much improved from last year. Again, as Matt mentions in his preview, the Titans has great book end tackles who've played together for seven years or so now. Both are very underrated and can shut down elite pass rusher. The defense will be getting their sacks through the middle (if any), but as a unit they take a big step forward.

Offense will look shaky, but don't worry. Solder will have to prove his worth now and Brady will have to develop a chemistry with Lloyd before this offense starts clicking. I expect it to take a few games before the offense starts coming together. When it does it will be awesome.

Preditction: Patriots 34 Titans 20
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Old 09-08-2012, 02:59 PM    (permalink
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Move Hernandez to WR and draft Jordan Reed out of Florida to take his spot at TE.
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