2017 Season Blog.


Super Bowl Champs.

7 Things for Saturday: Part IV.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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Pats Win.



5. Pats D Vs Jets O- The first thing the Pats D has to do is stop Fournette. "Fournette? Just a big, strong, physical runner. A guy that really can get the ball vertical into the defense quickly," Patricia said. "He has a great combination of size and power and athleticism that makes him very difficult to bring down. So I think his run game obviously fits the style that they block in front of him. His ability to continually just be that workhorse for the offense definitely just pops out on tape. The speed and his ability to make big plays are a big problem.

"If you've got an easy play he can just get outside or get through the line of scrimmage quickly and into the secondary, then he's very dangerous in those situations. [Just a] really, really good player that has just been very explosive for them and been able to kind of carry their offense." He can single-handedly devastate a defense.

So they have to stop the run first. "I think the run defense, there was some good and some plays that I think that we've got to do better on so we looked at those on the sidelines and tried to get those improved as we went through the game," Patricia said. "That was kind of a focus for us there [Titans last week]. It's a good run team. They do a really good job up front like similar to what we'll have to face this weekend too. But I think those guys really tried to come out and play aggressively in the run game, tried to play physical and really make sure everybody was disciplined with their assignments." It is even more important to stop the run game this week.

Jags are run first, then second, then run play action if they have to team. "So I think that was something as the game went on that we got a little bit better with. They had a couple big plays in the run game that we've got to try to improve on [that]," Patricia said. "Certainly early downs always relates to 3rd down. Obviously the better you do on 1st and 2nd down then the better situation you hope to be in on 3rd down. We kind of got to defend whatever those are though. There was definitely some third and shorts in there that we had to try to stop and then some third and long situations that you had to go out and defend. I think for the most part on third down, like I said earlier, those guys tried to really do a good job of executing the game plan." This is an odd offense where it is more important to stop Fournette than it is to stop Bortles.

Hell, their HC even said he would prefer to run on all three downs this week. "For me, I like to run the ball every play," Marrone said. "[Pass? I'd prefer] none. Zero. I want to go back to the old way. I want to change the game." They obsessively run the ball early often, and as much as they can.

The key to beating the Jags is more stopping the run than any other team in the NFL. "I think if you look at the NFL, it's probably a lower number [passing] than what people think [leads to wins], and a higher number running," Marone said." When you have that, you're usually in control of the game and you're going to win the game in general. That's a general statement." If you stop their run game? You win.

Bortles is not as effective without play action. "I think Blake Bortles does a really good job of understanding the skill players that are around him," Patricia said. "So it's going to start with the run game. Their offensive line, we're talking about a really big, strong, consistent offensive line. A group that does a great job of both the run game and the play action game which obviously complement each other." You stop their run game you win.

But that is easier said than done. "I think they did exactly what they wanted to do and what they've been able to do with giving the ball to Fournette and allow him to get downhill and get those tough yards," Patricia said. "He's obviously a very dangerous player. So when he does get out in space that ability to just make those big plays. You're talking about a group that's basically led the league in rushing all year. Very dangerous from that standpoint." So the LBs and Safeties have to keep creeping forward.

Which is what the Jags want the defense to do. "Then what that allows them to do is open up that space maybe behind the front line there for the play action passes, and those big plays downfield," Patricia said. "So they're certainly doing a great job of complementing the run game with the play action game, the play action game with the run game." That's the basis of their whole offense.

Heck, they'll even move Bortles out of the pocket and let him run. "They'll move the quarterback quite a bit. They'll get him out of the pocket," Patricia said. "They'll run some boots, try to get him in space and then be able to use his other skill players whether they're moving in the horizontal direction across the field, the tight ends, big targets in that situation also." Their WRs are good, but without Allen Robinson they are not great. 

They have some young speedsters, but they cannot control a game like Fournette can. "I think they did a great job of executing that game plan which they've done here the last several weeks," Patricia said. "I think, again, and with the ability of Bortles to sneak in a run or a scramble situation, his athletic ability and his ability to run just makes it a very dangerous group." Stop the run game, stop the game plan.

6. Pats-O Vs. Jags-D- You really have to start with the linebackers. "It's as fast a group as we'll play, no question. As I said before, I don't know what they don't do well because they: run and tackle, they make plays behind the line of scrimmage in the running game, they blitz well, they're very fast," McDaniels said. "So run and chase from behind? They can do that. They play with great effort. They cover well. They're asked to cover a decent chunk of the time. They're asked to cover well. Whether that's backs or tight ends, and they do that. You saw Jack make an interception yesterday on 3rd down and in man-type coverage on a tight end.

"So they make plays on the ball, they pressure, they tackle well, they run, they hit, they give great effort, they blitz well, so this is a very, very talented defense, period, and their linebacking corps obviously is certainly one of the best we've played all season and definitely the fastest." Their speed is like nothing I've ever seen.

They also have as good as group of edgerushers we've seen since their Seattle Super Bowl. "They're very well balanced and you don't see that a lot," BB said. "You don't see that type of balance with good pass rushers, but as you said, they have a lot of good ones and they do a good job. They have good players that do a good job with their scheme, so yeah, it's all good." They get after the QB like Atlanta did last January.

I loved Ngakoue at Maryland, and I think he has looked positively Vic Beasley like this season. "He has a great motor. He is a great, really good edge rusher. He has a great get-off, a great first step. He wins a lot early in the down with his get-off, but he has a tremendous motor so even when he is blocked, he is still not really blocked because he plays relentlessly," BB said about Ngakoue. "He plays with a very aggressive and non-stop effort [like Beasley]. Seeing him making plays 30, 40, 50 yards downfield sometimes chasing the ball so it is not just rushing the passer. I know that is what shows up in the stats and it is what everyone wants to talk about, but he makes plays, like I said, 30 or 40 yards downfield on a screen pass that maybe don't show up in the stats but to me they are more impressive than some of the plays he makes behind the line of scrimmage. He plays hard. He is quick. He is a smart player. He diagnoses and is very instinctive. He sees things well. He has a tremendous motor." I thought he was great last week in Pittsburgh.

The good news is that Pitt's young tight end MacDonald devastated the Jags defense, so can you imagine what Gronk will do. "Rob's played a lot of football in the games he's been healthy and he certainly makes an impact in a lot of different ways. We've tried to use him in the ways we feel like we can be most productive with him, both as a run blocker, pass protector, pass receiver," McDaniels said. "Sometimes that has to evolve as the season goes on. People play us differently and sometimes you get played a certain way where you need to change some things and adjust and adapt. And Rob has always been a guy who can do that pretty quickly on the fly. He studies the game hard. He knows the game plan and his role in it. We try to do as much as we can to put him in a position to help us win by being successful in his role. So he's done a nice job in what we've asked him to do." They are going to need Gronk to catch 10 dimes for over a buck.

7. Pats Win- This is going to be a tough 1st Half. I think things start off slow for both teams. The good news is that Bortles had the best game of his career against Pitt. Players never have their two best games of their career in a row. He will not be nearly as good tonight. That is huge factor for me on why the Pats will win.

Also Fournette sprained his ankle again last week. "He brings everything to the table," Branch said. "He's a powerful running back that can run like a 4.4 forty probably or something. He's pretty fast and he has a great ability to find the hole so he's a great running back to play this game against, especially as a defensive line. We like stopping the run and he's definitely going to bring that to the table for us to try defend." He is the real key to their offense.

When he is running well Bortles can kill you with play action. Look for Brown, Branch, and Guy to get some heavy run stuffing minutes. When those three guys are on the field it is very difficult to run on the Pats.

The Jags have some WRs who can hurt you outside. "They're pretty good. They're talented," Butler said. "They've got a couple older guys. They've got some young guys too that can fly up and down the field. We've battled against these guys in training camp so we're kind of familiar with them but nothing else matters but Sunday. It's all about the performance on Sunday." When Hurns and Allen Robinson are on the field together they are impossible to cover, but Robinson is out.

I don't think there will be a lot of scoring in the 1st Half. This game will be won in the 2nd Half, when things get cold. The later this game goes on, the colder it gets, and the more of an advantage it will be for the Pats. The only question left is will Brady's finger allow him to dominate in the 2nd Half? From what I'm hearing he was spinning it in their last practice.

But that was still just talk on 'EEI. "We'll be ready to go," Amendola said. "We had a great week of preparation in our room, and you know, running well. We're going to continue to prepare well for the rest of the week and be ready to go, but our room is going to be ready." The key to this game will be whichever QB throws it the most accurately.

The Pats will have to run up the middle to take pressure off Brady. "It's always important. I think we just have to be balanced," Dion said. "The run helps the pass and the pass helps the run. We'll [try to] be as balanced as possible. The more success we have early the more we stick with it so we just have to execute. It's a team effort." That might mean more Burkhead or Gillislee (I haven't seen whose inactive yet).

They saw this defense in preseason, which is important because they haven't seen a defense like this all season. "A little bit different. I think they definitely do some different things schematically coverage-wise, front-wise," Brady said. "The players are a little bit different. It is a very unique challenge. I think their front is great. Their linebackers are very instinctive, very fast. Great cover guys in the secondary. A ball-hawking defense. They strip it off of you. They sack you. They scored eight or nine touchdowns on defense. They are a great defense." It is speed-wise were this defense is truly different from any other defense this season.

But usually speed defenses are smaller defense and struggle to stop power runs inside. That is why they traded for Darius. "They've got a whole bunch of guys in the front four that are ridiculous," Dion said. "Their linebackers are fast. And they've got Dareus that rotates in as well. It's definitely going to be a challenge/ But I think we're up for it. We've still got the next 48 hours or so to keep preparing and get ready for that." Pitt was not able to run effectively on them.

The Jags will try to get Fournette or Yeldon going to take pressure off of Bortles. Whoever gets the run going first is going to take a lot of pressure off the QB. But Brady can win without a run game, and Bortles has yet to prove he can do that. 

The biggest factor to me is that the Jags vaunted defense couldn't slow down Pitts average TE MacDonald all game long. "That is a big challenge. They have very talented players on both sides of the ball," Gronk said. "Especially on defense, they have many, many great players. It is going to be a big challenge. It is the best team we are facing all year coming up in the AFC Championship Game this weekend. We have to be ready. We have to be prepared. It is going to be a big, tough challenge, for sure." Gronk is going to lead this team to a win in the 2nd Half.

Pats Win.


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