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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Mon May 10 | 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Ask PFW: Passing thoughts II

After this week's game, one thing is clear. If we don't get the running game going, we have a slim chance of moving the ball. A lot of people will say the Pats have no WRs, and I do agree with that to an extent but also believe that isn't the problem. Denver's defense was able to sit back in coverage because our running game couldn't get off the ground. There were some questionable play calls in the game, and my question to you is do you think the Pats should go back to the "play calling by committee" approach of last year and put less responsibility on Josh McDaniels, or do you think that isn't a factor at all?Jay Corbeille

I think that isn't a factor at all. Mostly because I believe McDaniels called all the plays last year as well, Belichick just didn't tell everybody that was the case. Also, I disagree with your assessment of the Broncos game. Denver did not sit back in coverage but rather stacked the line to stop the run. They played with eight men in the box for most of the first three quarters and only backed off when it was 17-0 and they had the game won. So while I agree the running game could not get going (that was pretty obvious) that wasn't the reason why the passing game struggled until very late.
Paul Perillo

I have questions about where certain positions line up on the field. In the Bronco game I saw Mike Vrabel lining up on Jake Plummer's right side. Doesn't the ROLB line up on the other side? I'm asking this because in Madden, Vrabel lined up behind Seymour and in real life he's not. It's a little confusing.
Woori Kwon

Well, your first problem is you're equating a video game with real life. And I certainly don't want to give you any grief for that because I'm always amazed how many people make similar references to Madden like it has anything to do with the actual NFL. Vrabel and Colvin have played on either side and I've seen them stick to one side over the other. Belichick has switched them based on the strong side of the formation (tight end side) or he's chosen to lock them into one side or another. The problem with a video game, no matter how realistic, is it's tough to predict Belichick's game plans.
Paul Perillo

OK, I can just see the weekly Ask PFW column being inundated with mail blaming last night's loss to the weaknesses in the team's passing attack what with the departure of Branch and Givens during the offseason. But don't you think the MAIN reason the Patriots lost is due to a lack of a running game? The receivers caught 320 yards from Brady. That's still a lot of passing yards. Sure people might say that he threw a record number of times to get that much, but he had to do this because they simply have no other option. The running game was non-existent.
J. Bains

In a word, no, I don't think the main reason they lost is the poor running game. The Broncos defensive game plan was to allow the Patriots to throw while they shut down the run. Through three quarters the Patriots had 175 yards passing and no points. Obviously they weren't too successful doing exactly what Denver was allowing them to do. Now I'm not absolving the poor running game by any means. Just because the other team is game planning against you running doesn't mean it's acceptable to get shut down. But the passing game should have been able to move the ball better when the game was still close. Don't talk to me about 320 passing yards because a large chunk of those (45 percent) came when the Broncos were already thinking about flying back to Denver with a win in hands.
Paul Perillo

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