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Patriots LBs Overmatched


falcndave
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I just rewatched several Patriots games. All of a sudden I'm not real concerned about our offense. Hightower is just a complete liability in coverage. If I know this, I know that Sark knows this. If we come up with a game plan that puts Hightower in coverage against Freeman, Coleman, Hooper, or whoever is in the slot, I think we can gash them all day long. 

This makes 1st and 10 the key down. If we succeed on 1st down, they will not have a chance. Our average is better than their best in the matchups described above. You say Belichick knows this and will adjust schemes to avoid mismatches for Hightower? Fine. That makes sense. I'm not sure why they typically have Hightower on TEs in the redzone anyway.  If not Hightower, who is he going to cover those guys with? 6 DBs? We run all day long. Van Noy is equally bad to Hightower in coverage. Roberts is average at best. They could play Flowers and Harris more. They are at least average in coverage, but Ryan is smart enough to check to runs. Flowers is a complete goof in run stop situations. 

This board is so caught up in the emotion of last week that we have forgotten that x's and o's still mean something. The same offensive effort we had last week will put up 40 on this defense. They simply can't generate the four man pressure that Miami did, and the only two respectable pass defenders they have on the field are Gilmore and Butler. If the Falcons want Julio, there are no two Patriots who can defend him. If they Falcons take what is open, the athleticism of Hardy, Freeman, Coleman, Garbriel, Hooper and Sanu are all superior to the men who will typically be found in coverage against them. 

I'm not predicting victory, but I do think it is almost certain that we score north of 30 points. I'm not sure Ryan will need more than 250 passing yards to get there. I see a whole lot of Freeman, Coleman, and Hooper schooling the second level of the Pats defense. In the Superbowl Belichick was forced the move defenders up in the 1st quarter. As soon as he did, Julio started getting involved. IF the Falcons avoid getting behind the chains, the Patriots will literally be defenseless to stop them. 

So, yes, I'm confident in the offense. If our defense doesn't extend the Dolphins first possession of the 2nd half on three different occasions, the level of confidence on this board would be huge with a 4-1 record. Always remember that in the NFL, outcomes are somewhat random. If you play one score games, you tend to lose about half of them. That is pretty much where we are at right now. We just need to avoid mistakes and play fundamentally sound. We don't have to be perfect, or even very good to win this one. We literally just need to be solid. 

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Just now, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

I like the confidence.  I think the analysis.  Hightower is a liability in coverage, which is why in the past they've used him as a rusher on obvious passing downs... now if only Atlanta would comply and play a clean game.

If we do that, we’ll win. Simple as that.

we are the more talented team.

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1 minute ago, Vandy said:

If we do that, we’ll win. Simple as that.

we are the more talented team.

That's has been the most frustrating thing about watching this team the past few weeks, it all came down to mistakes, avoidable mistakes.  If Atlanta plays to their talent they are the best team in the NFL.  

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1 minute ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

That's has been the most frustrating thing about watching this team the past few weeks, it all came down to mistakes, avoidable mistakes.  If Atlanta plays to their talent they are the best team in the NFL.  

I agree. Their Lack of focus really since day 1 has been incredibly frustrating....

for some reason, I believe they needed this game against pats to rediscover that. Maybe they’ve been pointing to it all year and overlooked the lesser teams like Miami and bears?

It’s the only thing I can come up with, PMF.

 

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11 minutes ago, PeytonMannings Forehead said:

I like the confidence.  I think the analysis.  Hightower is a liability in coverage, which is why in the past they've used him as a rusher on obvious passing downs... now if only Atlanta would comply and play a clean game.

In the film this year, he seems to be in coverage in running situations in the redzone. Its almost like the word is out, if Hightower is on the field in a running situation...pass it.  I think that Hightower is just to the point in his career where he only needs to be on the field in passing situations. 

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16 minutes ago, CeilinFanOfDeath said:

Guess you didn't watch the game vs the Dolphins last week 

In what way is the front 7 of the Patriots similar to the front 7 of the Dolphins. To expect the same offensive results against dissimilar defenses would not be logical. 3rd and long against the Dolphins is a problem for any team. 3rd and long against the Patriots is not the end of the world. The Jets converted 3 or 4 3rd down situations in just their first drive against them last week. 

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1 minute ago, falcndave said:

In the film this year, he seems to be in coverage in running situations in the redzone. Its almost like the word is out, if Hightower is on the field in a running situation...pass it.  I think that Hightower is just to the point in his career where he only needs to be on the field in passing situations. 

Yeah.  New England finds themselves in a conundrum because Hightower has always been the classic tweener.  They've used him a lot in the middle as a thumper, but he's got the body-type of a defensive end.  But he's not a true end/olb either.  Bill has made a career getting the most out of guys like that, but I think Hightower has lost a step with that knee injury from the season opener... and he didn't have one to lose.

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The difference is they have Bill and we have Dan...the Patriots have a way of exploiting the weaknesses of their opponents, the Falcons have proven they don't know how to exploit their opponents weaknesses.

I'm just ready for the game to get started. 

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28 minutes ago, falcndave said:

In what way is the front 7 of the Patriots similar to the front 7 of the Dolphins. To expect the same offensive results against dissimilar defenses would not be logical. 3rd and long against the Dolphins is a problem for any team. 3rd and long against the Patriots is not the end of the world. The Jets converted 3 or 4 3rd down situations in just their first drive against them last week. 

Yep, we'll see how your theory works out Sunday 

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In the Jets game, this is the look that the Jets were really picking on. 2 TE formations in running situations.  Below I have pasted the screenshot of the all 22 of what it looks like on the field and the PFF grade chart of what it looks like in matchups. Remember, grades are individual and based on historic 1v1 matchups. They are not intended to forecast future team results. All the PFF chart tells us is two of the Pats LBs have consistently lost their 1v1 matchups. This chart also show why people say the Patriots D isn't playing up to their potential. The sum of the parts is much better than the whole. Individually, with the exception of 2 LBs, they do pretty well. Football is a team game. 

On this particular snap, the NE safety (23, Chung) has come down into the box to cover ASJ who is in motion behind the QB. Watching the whole play, the saftey moved down to his current position as soon as ASJ started his motiion. However, he only moved with him when he was on the defensive left side of the center. I'm no PMF, but it looks to me after the snap like its the ole box in one college BB defense. Chung is in man vs. ASJ and the remaining defenders are playing zone on the weak side. Belichick is certainly attempting to take way the Jets best weapon...they just aren't good enough.

The net result of this play is a very open ASJ receiving a ball that was thrown a bit late at the first down marker on the bottom side of the field. An ontime throw to Julio, would have left enough room to turn it up the sideline for 10-15 extra yards. This a fairly common look for the Atlanta offense and we run similar plays from a variety of personnel packages. Sometimes for us its 11 personnel with Gabe or Sanu playing ASJ's look. It wouldn't even shock me this week to see some 21 with Coleman or Freeman playing the ASJ role in this look. It might read as a pure pass situation to the Patriots defense (one less true blocker), which could lead to some interesting strategy. I think Coleman plus Freeman is the wrinkle we will roll in in this game. There are limited things you can do, because one of them is clearly a better pass blocker than the other. However, the more LBs we can get in coverage situations they better. This was one of the few plays where the safety came down. They did try jamming ASJ with LB/DEs in more obvious passing situations.

 

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2TD - Copy.JPG

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20 hours ago, falcndave said:

I just rewatched several Patriots games. All of a sudden I'm not real concerned about our offense. Hightower is just a complete liability in coverage. If I know this, I know that Sark knows this. If we come up with a game plan that puts Hightower in coverage against Freeman, Coleman, Hooper, or whoever is in the slot, I think we can gash them all day long. 

This makes 1st and 10 the key down. If we succeed on 1st down, they will not have a chance. Our average is better than their best in the matchups described above. You say Belichick knows this and will adjust schemes to avoid mismatches for Hightower? Fine. That makes sense. I'm not sure why they typically have Hightower on TEs in the redzone anyway.  If not Hightower, who is he going to cover those guys with? 6 DBs? We run all day long. Van Noy is equally bad to Hightower in coverage. Roberts is average at best. They could play Flowers and Harris more. They are at least average in coverage, but Ryan is smart enough to check to runs. Flowers is a complete goof in run stop situations. 

This board is so caught up in the emotion of last week that we have forgotten that x's and o's still mean something. The same offensive effort we had last week will put up 40 on this defense. They simply can't generate the four man pressure that Miami did, and the only two respectable pass defenders they have on the field are Gilmore and Butler. If the Falcons want Julio, there are no two Patriots who can defend him. If they Falcons take what is open, the athleticism of Hardy, Freeman, Coleman, Garbriel, Hooper and Sanu are all superior to the men who will typically be found in coverage against them. 

I'm not predicting victory, but I do think it is almost certain that we score north of 30 points. I'm not sure Ryan will need more than 250 passing yards to get there. I see a whole lot of Freeman, Coleman, and Hooper schooling the second level of the Pats defense. In the Superbowl Belichick was forced the move defenders up in the 1st quarter. As soon as he did, Julio started getting involved. IF the Falcons avoid getting behind the chains, the Patriots will literally be defenseless to stop them. 

So, yes, I'm confident in the offense. If our defense doesn't extend the Dolphins first possession of the 2nd half on three different occasions, the level of confidence on this board would be huge with a 4-1 record. Always remember that in the NFL, outcomes are somewhat random. If you play one score games, you tend to lose about half of them. That is pretty much where we are at right now. We just need to avoid mistakes and play fundamentally sound. We don't have to be perfect, or even very good to win this one. We literally just need to be solid. 

so what was the deal last week?

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1 hour ago, The Great American said:

That same LB Hightower who us such a liability also played in the Super Bowl against the Falcons.  Sorry, OP.  Not buying into this one.

Because he made a sack in a situation in which the Patriots were playing pass all the way, he is not a liability in coverage?

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1 hour ago, UGABOZ said:

so what was the deal last week?

Read above. Its covered. 

21 hours ago, falcndave said:

In what way is the front 7 of the Patriots similar to the front 7 of the Dolphins. To expect the same offensive results against dissimilar defenses would not be logical. 3rd and long against the Dolphins is a problem for any team. 3rd and long against the Patriots is not the end of the world. The Jets converted 3 or 4 3rd down situations in just their first drive against them last week. 

In addition, the Dolphins are similar to what we faced in the Eagles last year. They were just a bigger stronger team at the LOS on both sides of the ball. After we gifted them that drive as the start of the 3rd quarter, they just went back to basics and pushed us around. While the Patriots are better team, they don't present the same matchup problems that purely big physical teams do. 

Now, there was also just a whole lot of general ugliness last week. I've said in several other posts I just think it is an unfortunate problem with focus. They circled the Packers and played well against them. I think this may be the next game they had circled. Say the right things, do the right things, try to keep it straight in your own head: At the end of the day they are still human and factors like pride and focus are not to be overlooked.  I don't like it being a focus issue, but we will all know by the end of the day. If I'm right, prepare for the parade of: "The Falcons are playing to the level of their competition," threads.

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