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Preview: Part II.
Pats play better in December because the defense is smarter and the build
their run game during the season. "[The]
urgency of everyone starting with the coaches, from the older guys on the
team, because it's what you come into," McCourty said. "When you
get here it's the first thing you hear about right after Thanksgiving and
you continue to hear it week in and week out. I think addressing it and
talking about it gives you a chance to go out there and try to play your
best football, and like you said, last year, but it's something that you
have to do every week. Just talking about it doesn't mean that it's
automatically going to happen but I think it gives you a chance and then
it's up to the guys to go out there each day in practice and try to get
better at a time in the season when some people are just trying to get by
and hurting and it's a long season and you have to really mentally try to
do those things which is tough this time of year."
When you have a strong defense and Brady, and you add in a run game to
that equation then you are impossible to stop.
year the O-line was in complete disarray coming into the Denver game.
"It's been pretty amazing what he's been
able to accomplish to come back from his injury last season," Brady
said about Blount. "He was having a great year for us last year and
then got injured, but this year he's been so consistent, dependable. He's
running the ball great, long runs. He looks very decisive. He's catching
the ball whenever we throw it to him, so he's been a great factor for our
team. We've got a great backfield."
Now the O-line has come together, and they have the thunder in Blount, and
Dion is just starting to bring some lightning.
have-have-have to win this game to all but secure Home field advantage in
the AFC Champ Game, which they will because Brady, the O-line, and Blount
are healthy. "He's had some big games this
time of year. It's tough if you get wet weather or cold weather. It
certainly gets harder to tackle, and he's hard to tackle anyway given that
he's 250 pounds," BB said. "It's tough to bring him down. You've
got to be able to win in a lot of different styles this time of year. You
don't get too many great days to throw the ball, so you've got to be able
to be multi-dimensional and to hand it off to him and then to force that
defense to tackle him is a big challenge."
Play tough defense, power run the ball, and then play action pass this
team to death.
things are different. Cannon is a completely different player than he was
last year. He is worlds better at washing the speed rusher past Brady. A
very large part of his improvement is that he dropped 15-pounds this past
offseason. After getting beat by Von Miller's speed to the Corner in the
AFC Champ Game, he has dropped from 350 to 335.
he garnered a ton of experience last year, in the Regular Season and
Playoffs, and especially matching up against Miller twice. "He's been
a good player for us," BB said. "I mean, everybody improves with
experience and more time, so forth. There really hasn’t been a point
where he’s played tackle and hasn’t played pretty well." Cannon
is going to be the most important player in this game for the Pats.
he either protects his QB's back, or Brady can't throw. One of the reasons
they signed him to his new contract is that he has improved dramatically
in pass pro this season. His size hurt him last year, but his length is
helping him this year.
has to use his long arms and nimble feet to shut Miller down, with some
help. "He hasn’t used his length," Scarnecchia said. "His
arms are really long, but he doesn’t use them like a guy that has long
arms needs to use them. The more you keep the defenders out and away from
you, instead of letting them get into your body and grab things, the
better off you’re going to be at tackle. He seems to grasp that very
well and embrace it. If he will continue to play that way, he’ll be
fine. And he has been fine." The Broncos can't win if Miller and Ray
aren't hitting the quarterback.
will not be hit 23 times in this game. He will not be sacked 4 times in
this game. A healthy Solder and a lighter Cannon from this year have
stopped the speed rushers when they've been in. What happened in the Champ game
is irrelevant to this game. The Pats led the NFL in games lost do to
injury by O-linemen last season (by like double, maybe). This years O-line
is happy, healthy, and wiser.
has been terrific blocking speed on the edge this year, which he wasn't
great at last year. "The improvement we've noticed has really been
this year," Scar said. "We asked him to play a different way and
do things differently. He's such a good guy, he really tries to do them
that way, and I think he's made great strides. He's improved over the
course of this season, and that is all you can ask of any player. He's a
big man that moves very well and uses his hands much better in pass
protection. He can be a real force in the run game, so I'm pleased with
where he is. But neither one of us is satisfied, so we just keep moving
forward." When he clamps his hands on a rusher he is done.
he has been a beast in the run. "Marcus is having a good
season," BB said. "He’s been a good player for us. He’s had
to fill in for Sebastian and Nate in previous years. We’ve felt like
we’ve had three good tackles, and usually two of the three of them wound
up playing, however it went, varied from year to year over the last few
years." He needs to hit, knock down, and hurt Miller by moving him
backwards in the run game.
needs to move forward into Miller and knock him back when they run Blount
into him on a Smash. "Marcus has always done a solid job for us
whenever he's played," BB said. "So, I’m glad we have him
moving forward. Works hard, quiet kid, but he’s very dependable, team
oriented. He’s done a good job for us in the running game, passing game,
good player." They can hit Miller in so many ways that it better be
fun to watch.
cannot pretend that this is just any defense. The Ravens are a better
team, and have a better defense than Denver. But, the Broncos have the
best defensive player in the NFL, and the Pats offense has to start acting
like they understand that fact. Miller can single-handedly make the
Broncos defense better than the Ravens defense if you play him one on one
if you want to watch the real game, focus in on the ORT in this game. If
Cannon is moving Miller back we are winning. When Miller gets either one of
Cannon's shoulders they are winning. Josh McDaniels sole job in this game
is to not let Miller make the Broncos defense better than the Ravens'
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