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Thread of the Week

Hey, Patriots fans! Yes, it REALLY is back. Given the duration of time since the last TOTW, we decided to diversify.


Each week a topic is chosen from the bulletin board and highlighted on the site. Here are some excerpts:

Contents of Original Post:

Hey, fellas. Yup, it REALLY is back. Given the duration of time since the last TOTW, we decided to diversify. This week, there are 3 topics. Comment on any and all that you wish. Just remember to abide by normal BBS conduct rules.

* Please keep in mind, this thread will be seen by the players, coaches, and Patriot's staff members. Please keep your responses proper, thoughtful and specific. Crude remarks within a post will cause that post to be deleted.*

Response cutoff time will be: Kickoff Sunday

Now, let's get to the topic for this week.

TOTW #1: Give your thoughts on the red zone offense thus far.

TOTW #2: Give your thoughts on the Offensive Line and the problems it's having.

TOTW #3: Give your thoughts on the high number of sacks that Bledsoe is taking.

So, there it is, fellow Patriot Fans. Let's have some good participation, and get ready for Miami this weekend. Given that a post only allows 10 responses, I will start a new thread, continuing the topic when this original thread fills up. After Friday, I will not be available, so if the person with the 10th post doesn't mind, it would be greatly appreciated if they would start any new threads, if needed. Thanks again, and enjoy. We look forward to your responses.

GO PATS '00!!!!!

**Title:**RE: THREAD OF THE WEEK!!!!!!

TOTW #1: Give your thoughts on the red zone offense thus far.

2 words - BEN COATES. 7 trips into the red zone a 1 TD in 2 games. Drew has no security blanket. No one to catch the ball with 3 guys draped all over him and still catch the ball and score the td. The TD to FG ratio would be different if Ben (even if he isn't the player he was) had been treated a little better. Also would help if the offense was a bit more creative on 1st down. Still stuck in 2nd and long too much in the red zone.

TOTW #2: Give your thoughts on the OL, and the problems it's having.

Very disappointing. Belichick has had all off-season to address this issue. Injuries have occurred but then the Jags have lost 2/5 of their O-line and have a 50% fit Boselli and have not given up 12 sacks. Admittedly Brunell is more mobile and has a lot more weapons than Drew BUT that is another topic. Yet at the moment we seem to be in a worse state than last year in many ways. O-line needs time to gel. No question and I feel that Woody, Robinson-Randall, Fletcher with Klemm will develop but that isn't gonna solve the problem of Drew getting the snot kicked out him. Armstrong should never have been brought back. It's scary when we are praying for the return of a fit Rucci.

TOTW #3: Give your thoughts on the high number of sacks that Bledsoe is taking.

Drew is playing like a warrior. With our small wide receivers still getting jammed at the line of scrimmage, no O-line and a small RB who is running well but can't protect his quarterback, I can't see much changing for a while. Have been impressed with his roll outs but still close my eyes and pray every time he takes off. He is the franchise and he is being jeopardized criminally by this team. One thing I would like to suggest is to bring in Chris Floyd more. He's proven he can catch and is a better blocker for the runner and protecting Drew than Carter. Also he doesn't run the wrong route like Carter did on Monday. Drew needs a bodyguard like Sam Gash used to do. Floyd could be the answer until the O-line gets settled.

**Title:**RE: THREAD OF THE WEEK!!!!!!

TOTW #1:

In regards to the red zone: Kevin Faulk needs to become more involved. It is obvious by now that Bledsoe has minimum time to throw the ball, but when you're in the red zone the pressure from the defense seems to intensify and the time to throw downfield for Drew is even worse. Dump offs and screens to Faulk could be the key.

TOTW #2:

The offensive line: Other than Damien Woody, would any of the lineman starting now be starting if Klemm, Rucci & Lane were healthy? Probably not. So with a patched up O-line and a drop back passer it spells trouble right off the bat. Drew can't even set himself to throw most of the time. It is a shame because Bledsoe, when given time, is outstanding.

TOTW #3:

In regards to Bledsoe's sacks: Bledsoe is the most durable QB in the league today. Week after week he gets pummeled but always bounces back, but this year worries me , he is on pace to get sacked a NFL league high 96 times if something doesn't happen soon to help him he might not be around that long.

**Title:**RE: THREAD OF THE WEEK!!!!!!

TOTW #1 Red Zone Offense

This will improve and they are trying different things. Week 1 they tried to pass and couldn't protect Drew. Week 2 they tried a few draw plays and to establish the running game. Establishing the running game will be a key in the red zone and for this I would recommend more two back sets with a lead blocker. Even if they don't run the ball I would rather keep a fullback in the backfield that is a better blocker than Faulk or Redmond. The tight end position also is a problem and would help in the red zone. It's possible that in a two back/two tight end set we could get some misdirection and someone like Rutledge could draw a linebacker in coverage over the middle. I miss Ben Coates in the red zone.

TOTW#2 OL status and problems

I think the Pats tried to invest in the offense this offseason with drafting Klemm and Robinson-Randall. They also retained Lane and Rucci and re-signed Armstrong so the only players missing from last year are Irwin and Moss. They cut Ed Ellis for being out of shape, but he had a big body. In any event, he wasn't a savior either.

I see Armstrong lacking speed and getting beat by faster ends that can sprint around him. I wonder if he is still hurting from his knee surgery in training camp, but when John Abraham planted Drew late in the 4th quarter he basically ran around Bruce. The real problem here is that injuries in training camp and currently are preventing the team from naming a stable group of starters.

I guess it can't get much worse. But with Robinson-Randall getting injured and Lane still questionable and Armstrong looking like he is playing hurt. We are left with guys we picked up off waivers like Sale Isaia or guys who were on the bench last year like Andersen and Fletcher logging lots of minutes.

In the end, Klemm, Woody, Robinson-Randall, and possibly Fletcher and Andersen will form the core of next year's line and the team will be forced to invest more draft picks for the offensive line. Re-working Drew's contract will happen and instead of $9 million against the cap he will count much less and the Pats need to go get a veteran tackle during free agency.

For this year, it's hard to add a good player so if they can cut loose Rucci or Lane and take the cap hit entirely this year to free up even more space for next year we may not spend as long in a re-building phase.

TOTW#3 High # of sacks

This has a lot to do with the OL, but also the number of empty backfields and one back (halfback) sets. A more traditional 2 back offense where we keep the FB in for protection would help pick up some of the guys who are coming in clean. Also, I am not that thrilled with the group of WRs and TEs aside from Terry Glenn that any of them are really getting open quickly enough.

Drew has gone two games without a fumble or an interception and he should be commended for playing error free. I don't mind when he takes a sack if it means he doesn't fumble or toss it to the other team. I know he is big and strong and in my opinion courageous and I hope he signs a big extension this offseason to free up room to provide him a better supporting cast on offense.

**Title:**RE: THREAD OF THE WEEK!!!!!!

TOTW #1,2,3:

Well, All three of the questions: OL, red zone and Sacks are all intertwined. It all boils down to the offensive line. In the Patriots case it doesn't seem to be there at all. To score points in the red zone, the offensive line needs to either A: Push the D-Line back and open up holes so you can smash it into the end zone or B: Protect the QB to let the receivers make something happen. The field shortens up down there and if the play isn't a quick out then the WRs have to improvise and that takes some time to find the holes. As far as the sacks are concerned, that's obvious. If they continue to block like they have been, Drew will be holding a clipboard or crutches by the time the Patriots hit the bye week.

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