2016 Season Blog.

Pat Vs Jets.



Greetings Pats Fans,

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On To Jersey. Part II.


5. Offensive Explosion!- If Branch is out after this game, the defense will be going through another transition. Just as things seemed to be settling down, the League throws another bizarre curve ball at the Pats. We just seem to have overcome the loss of Mr. Jones and Jamie Collins. Plus the story that Sheard was injured or sick has made the rounds, to excuse his absence in San Fran for the still unknown infraction. Then Branch fights the suspension so he can play this week. So he is likely to miss the Raiders, Baltimore, Denver, and Jets part II games.

Right now the guy who is going to have to step up the most is the rookie Valentine. "I think just talking about him in general, what we've seen so far and what we're trying to do, is we've got a young guy who is working hard to get better," Patricia said about Valentine. "He's shown some improvement. He has good length and good size. So when goes out there, and plays with good technique and is able to get that extension and get the blockers off of him, he does a good job of finding the ball. Being able to shed and make some plays in there.

"Consistency is what we're trying to find, just pushing him to be a more consistent player down in and down out. He does a good job in the transition to the passing game when it does go on early down situations into that scenario and trying to work offensive linemen and get pressure in the pocket. [He is a] good, young player trying to get better, trying to improve, really trying to understand the game at this level from a knowledge standpoint: understanding what we're doing, how that affects what the offenses do, how that relates to what we do, understanding the individual matchups with the offensive line, he can be in a couple different positions for us and play against some different opponents. Just that week in, week out trying to understand what we're trying to do as a defense, what the offense does and how they attack us and just kind of that whole knowledge along with improving fundamentals and techniques is where we're at. He's a good young player who's trying to do everything the right way." He should be starting next week for Branch.

The Pats loaded up on big DTs in order to stop the run, because you have to stop the run to beat the Bills, Miami, and the Jets. "It's really kind of the same for all of our guys here. You guys know how we kind of do it," Patricia said. "Malcom Brown going into his second year trying to just kind of build on what he was able to do last year. With him it's still a lot of learning the system and the fundamentals and being consistent as a player. He's a really hard-working guy, he really studies the game, he's smart. Malcom is really smart. He understands sets and he understands the alignments of the offense. [He's] just really trying to put all that together to be a better player. He's obviously further along than those other two guys but he's done a good job for us and we'll put him in some different spots and do some different things.

"Woodrow [Hamilton] is just another young player trying to get better. He has gotten to see some live action which is good, and we put him out there in practice and just try to improve and be consistent. He has definitely shown the ability to do some of the things we're asking him to do and for him, he just needs to do it on a consistent basis down in and down out." Those three young guys are going to be the first line of defense against some top competition in the final five weeks of the season.

6. Defensive Explosion- It looks like Gronk is back. He came with the team to Jersey, and he will be active, and the Pats are going to need him this week. "They're good. There is no question about it. They're consistent, they're certainly well-coached. I have a lot of respect for their staff, Coach Bowles and what they do defensively," McDaniels said. "They always present a great challenge for you. I think they've got very talented players at all three levels of the defense. Certainly, that starts with their defensive front, which is, if it's not the best one, it's close, and it probably is the best one we'll play all season. They're just that disruptive and they create a lot of negative plays to stop the run [and] rush the passer. They're hard to block. They've got so many guys up there that can create problems for your offense that they get you off track pretty quickly.

"They can create turnovers. They do a good job of stopping the run and trying to make you one-dimensional. They're one of the best teams in the league on first down, which is always a critical down for us and for any team when you're trying to play the game in third-and-short and those types of things. You've got to do a good job of making sure you start the series of downs with a positive play and there are very few teams that are better than they are on first down on defense, so they'll give you a lot of different looks.

"There are some new players that we haven't played before: [Jordan] Jenkins, [Darron] Lee, [Leonard] Williams is playing exceptionally well. Along with the usual cast of characters: David Harris, Richardson, Wilkerson, Pryor, Gilchrist, [Buster] Skrine, Revis, certainly. They've got a lot of good players, a lot of talented players. They make it tough with their scheme. It's hard to know what they're going to do on every snap because they're so multiple on defense and they challenge you in a lot of different ways. We've got to go back to work on them and really re-familiarize ourselves with their players, the talent that each guys has, and what we've got to be heads up for on Sunday and prepare for a great challenge on Sunday afternoon in New York." This is going to be another huge AFC East battle.

Miami is only two games behind us, and we have to go down to Miami on the final week of the season. The good news is that we have a new Thunder and Lighting to make Brady's job a lot easier. "It was great to have him back out there. We've got three guys that all have different roles and I think that all three guys impacted the game in a positive way, whether that was with the ball or without it. I thought that Dion [Lewis] made the most of his opportunities, made some good runs with the ball in space and caught the ball out of the backfield. He got an opportunity in his first game back to handle the ball, to do some things in there, run some routes, be in the backfield in protection, so it was good to have him get through that first game, playing 20-something snaps in that first game, and put him back into the mix and in the flow of our offense. We'll try to build off of that, but I have confidence in all three of those guys and look forward to continue to use all three of them the best we can each week." Dion and Blount are going to do a ton of damage in the rest of the season.

Plus, the new combo of White and Dion in the passing game is just nasty. "I think it presents a couple of different options to a defense. If you have a tight end and a back in there then I think they're pretty sure the tight end isn't going to handle the ball in the running game. When you have two backs in there then that's a little bit of a different story. The tight end routes and the back routes are a little bit different, so tight ends have certain advantages, certainly in our case size, length. There's a little bit of diversity with a back relative to a tight end so certainly a tight end is a better on-the-line blocker," BB said when asked about White and Dion in the backfield last week. "Both [are] skill players, both can do things. They're different. We can put two backs in there like what the Jets do. They do some of that, too, with Ivory and Powell, or Forte and Powell this year. They move a guy out of the backfield so which guy is it? It's not a tight end and a back. It's now two backs and how do you treat them and so forth. It's another way to use those guys and put another log on the fire for the defense that they've got to make some kind of adjustment to. I'm not saying it's the hardest adjustment in the history of the game, but it's another one that you just have to deal with." But both White and Dion are so much more dynamic in the passing game than the Jets RBs.

Valentine made some plays last week. "I thought he did a good job," BB said. "I'd say he has good plays every week and there are plays that he could have played better on in the games that he's played. He's definitely, I'd say an improving player. I don't know, but it's headed in the right direction and he's certainly had some positive plays, I'd say pretty much in every game. There might have been a couple more last week, but I'd say it's trending the right way." He could be the difference between stopping the run and not stopping the run in December.

Interestingly I think you could argue that the Pats built a Jets-like D-line the past couple of years. "I think really, I think all of our players are in good condition this year. I think Moses [Cabrera] has done a good job," BB said. "Guys like Branch have played more snaps than he's ever played. Malcom [Brown] has played a lot of snaps, [and] Vincent [Valentine].

"Our offensive line, those guys have played a lot of snaps. I'm talking about the bigger guys, now. I think our conditioning has been good and we've had a lot of guys play. Again in those positions, a lot of those guys have played a lot of football, a lot of snaps. And I haven't gotten the sense [they got tired]. Last week was a good test defensively because of the tempo of the game, and so forth, that it didn't feel like that was an issue. I think overall the team's trained hard. They trained hard in the offseason; they worked hard in training camp.

"Again, we've been relatively healthy so we've been able to stay out there. A lot of times the conditioning declines a little bit when a player misses three, four, five weeks then comes back [like Branch will]. He's back, but he's maybe not in the same condition he would be in if he hadn't missed that amount of time. I'd say all those guys are doing a good job on that. But look, it's always a little bit more of a challenge for the rookies, but overall, this group, we really haven't had any issues with any of them, especially on the weight end of it. I mean, Thuney, Karras, [Vincent] Valentine, [Woodrow] Hamilton, none of those guys have been weight issues at all." While they don't get the credit, the Big Uglies on both sides of the ball are responsible for winning and losing more often than not.

7. Pats Win- I think this is a long hard fought game. But I think the Pats are too good on offense for the Jets. But they sure have a big D-line, and they look like they just added a new young superstar to the line, in their 2015 1st round pick Leonard Williams. "Really good. Tough to block, disruptive player, impact player; running game, passing game," BB said. "They put him on the nose a decent amount when they play their five-down look and get him isolated on the centers. He's been very disruptive there, been hard to block. He plays some three-technique when they get into their four-man rush and they put him out at end. So they go with Richardson, Wilkerson and him, and then whoever the fourth guy is.

"So he can play out on the tackle when they play three-technique, and then they use him some on the nose in their five-down scheme, so he's hard to block no matter where he is. He's long, quick and has very good leverage and strength for as long as he is. He plays with a good pad level and he's got good leverage. He's a good power rusher but he's long and he can use his arm overs and his length and he's got the quickness on stunts and games to be disruptive, too. He's just a really good player; plays hard, makes some plays from the back side. He's a good player; hard to block, long, can tip balls. He's a problem." Those three guys make the Jets an instant problem on defense.

You have to stop the run to win the AFC East this year, and some have been comparing Williams to Seymour. "Yeah, Seymour, Tommy Kelly, that kind of six [foot tall] whatever he is: 6-4, 6-5, however big he is. He looks big, I mean, he's got long arms, he plays long," BB said. "Those guys are tough matchups inside when they can do all those things, when you're not just moving a big guy in there to take up space, but when they can actually play like a tackle and play like an end at either spot. Just like when you move him out to end, they kind of power out there. For some of the taller tackles that have trouble getting down low, he just kind of powers through them and they can't handle his quickness; reaches blocks and he undercuts them, things like that. He's a tough guy to block everywhere; really good player." He has similar size to Branch, though I think Branch is a little taller.

The Pats defense came together a little last week against the Worst O-line in the League. Now it is time to come together against a top run game, and really stop these guys. If they play like they did last week the Pats win. But, I think the Pats can pass on these guys. The Jets might have the best D-line in the NFL, but they have not been great at stopping the pass. They are giving up 260-yard per game passing.

Their run defense however is terrific. The Jets are only giving up 85-yards a game, which is almost exactly 33-yards less than what the Pats are getting a game. So spread them out and throw-throw-throw, especially if Gronk is playing. Okay, that's it. As you can probably tell I've had a busy and exciting weekend, and I'm just out of time.

AND! I just to reboot the damn modem, as the cable and internet do not seem to be working, yay.

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