Things For Sunday.
off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been
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you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft
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1. To Trade or Not To Trade- All this talk of trading Brady or
Jimmy-G now is stupid. They will not, under any circumstance, trade either
during the season. That is a decision that will be made this off season.
There are still too many variables left unknown for them to trade either
during the season. So chill out. Plus, we still don't know who Garoppolo
He was spectacular this week, but was that an average game for him or was
it his best. We don't know how consistently he can be that spectacular yet
apologies, I am going to write the word "spectacular" about a
100 times in the next week).
play last week changed everything for this Franchise, and we don't know
what the fall out will be. "He was a good player when he got here,"
BB said. "He's worked hard and he's improved every day since he's been here. It's gone all the way back to his initial rookie minicamp."
He is still an ascending player as well.
If they trade Brady or Jimmy-G to Cleveland for their 1st during the
season, than that pick instantly becomes less valuable. Cleveland would
suddenly have a winning QB as a starter. Which would knock them out of a
top ten picks. Instead of one or two wins, they could have seven or eight
wins. Then your precious 1st is in middle of the pack instead of a top ten
pick. That is just plain dumb.
You trade one of them after the season when you know what you are
getting. You trade one of them to a team with a top five pick after the
season, because if you trade one of them before they won't have a top ten
pick with Brady or Jimmy-G at QB. Then you won't have a shot at a guy
like: Fournette, Dalvin Cook, or Malik McDowell.
The reason you have to trade one is because of their value. That
Value is diminished during the season by their value during the season
winning games. A Cleveland, Dallas, or Rams 1st suddenly goes from top
five to 20th with Brady at QB. Or, you trade him to one of those three
teams that you have made deals with after the season, when you know who
has the best pick. You have more information.
Plus if one gets injured, you still have the other. They still have
to get through a very long season. Wacky things always happen during the
season. This is a time when patience is important for the Franchise. They
have two guys who can play QB in the NFL better than most. That leaves
them with an excruciatingly painful decision, but it also leaves them in
the power position. They have the time to gather all the facts. And then
make a painful decision that will affect the franchise for the next decade
plus. You don't make that decision on a whim.
This is a time for strategy and quiet contemplation. The Pats
Franchise is about to go through a terrible and painful change. Rushing
this change will just make it worse. Brady is going to come back to the
Pats and lead them to the never done before fifth Super Bowl victory. And
then everything in the Patriots Franchise has to be evaluated carefully
and quietly, because everything in the Patriots organization changed last
Sunday night. And it all likely isn't going to come down to a 1st, but
more likely a 2nd and 3rd to a team like Dallas, San Fran, or Cleveland.
we don't know if they are going to go Elway, and keep him to the bitter
end. Or if they want to go Rogers, and trade the 40-year old Hall of Famer.
I suppose it comes down to value. If you can get a top ten pick for
Garoppolo from the Rams, Dallas, San Fran, or Cleveland, and add an RB to
help out the over aged Brady like Fournette, Cook, or McCaffrey? Than you
probably have to do that.
after this season Brady has two years left at the most. That is trading
ten years of winning QB play for a top five offensive impact player in the
Draft. Or do you keep the young QB who is not as great, but has 12 to 15
years left to play QB in the NFL. In which case you're likely looking at
lower picks. I keep going back to 2nd and 3rd round picks, because Brady's
career has so eerily followed his hero, Joe Montana's, career.
2. Garoppolo- Jimmy-G was spectacular last Sunday. "It's been good," BB
massively understates when he was asked about Jimmy-G's play. "He
made some good plays. It's not perfect, but he made a lot of good plays.
Like I said, it's a tough place to play and it's a good defense." It
is easy to forget what an unknown he was before the game, and how much
crap he got from the media after the 3rd Preseason game for some reason (I
still don't understand what the trollers were talking about).
They needed him to be spectacularly efficient to win that game, and
he was. You can't get any more efficient than 24 of 34. It was an amazing
performance that cannot be overblown. This game was on the road, against
one of the top four teams from last season, and his most important
players, Gronk and Solder, were out. Not only was this the teams first
game of the season, it was Garoppolo's first start.
"Heís incredible," McCourty said. "All game he went
out there and made the plays he was supposed to make. We knew as a team,
we believed in him. There was no doubt in this locker room that Jimmy
could go out there and play. Iím happy he went out there, did it. And
everyone can shut up now and watch the guy get better and grow, and us
keep improving as a team in the early part of the season. I believe in
everybody on this team.
"You watch us from April until now, we put a lot of work in. We
do things that sometimes we hate as players and the coaches tell us to
believe in it and itíll work out. We have a team of 53 guys plus the
practice squad doing that every day. You have no reason not to believe in
every one of your teammates. Today was a great team win. Everybody stepped
up and played well and made plays."
I think any reasonable person with any kind of football intelligence
couldn't have predicted that the Pats would win this game, and that
Garoppolo would be the man who did it. We just didn't know who he was, and
we still don't. Garoppolo led this team to a victory, period. He was as
near perfect as a QB can be in that game, on the road, against a near
Super Bowl Defense from last season.
I predicted the Pats would win this game, but I openly was blaming
it on my homerism (brilliantly warning everybody not to bet on the Pats in
that game). I didn't really think they would win. The only way to victory
I saw was with the defense. I desperately tried to put together a scenario
were the Pats would win before the game. Everything I plotted was not just
wrong, but the exact opposite of what happened. I thought the Cards would
go up early, and get gassed. But it was the Pats who got up early and then
got gassed. I thought that if Garoppolo played well he could lead them to
17 points, and if the defense couldn't hold the Cards under 17-points they
He surpassed that with spectacular play, especially on 3rd downs.
"I didnít really think about it too much I guess," Jimmy-G
said about his spectacular play on 3rd down. "They are a very
talented defense and thatís a good group of players out there. They gave
us all we could handle tonight. It was a good test for us. Whoever is out
there, we have confidence in one another and thatís a good thing we have
going for us." He was spectacularly Aaron Rogers like on 3rd downs.
Garoppolo won this game on 3rd down. "I'd say on the penalties
[hurt us]," BB said. "The third-down conversions helped on some
of those where we put ourselves in long-yardage situations with penalty
infractions and then were able in a couple of cases to convert on
third-down and overcome that. Or on one case, I think we overcame a sack
that got us into a long-yardage situation, and then converted on
third-down. So, those third-downs got us out of a couple of negative plays
that we had on earlier downs which we've got to do a better job of
avoiding." He made so many clutch passes on 3rd down that it is hard
to remember them all. So I broke them down:
The first 3rd down was 3rd and 10, and he hit Edelman on an Out.
"The game comes down to third down, red area, and turnovers,"
Edelman said. "We lost the turnover battle which kept the game closer
than we wanted to, gave them a little more opportunity. But we were able
to go in there and do well on third down, I donít know what the stat is,
I havenít seen it. And the red area, we didnít really get in there too
much. It would have been good to get some more touchdowns but third downs
were a big help."
Edelman turned to the corner and dived for the first to keep the
first drive alive. Garoppolo went 8 for 10 on 3rd downs in that game. That
is a spectacular stat. Everything has just changed in the Patriots
organization (I told you I was going to say "spectacular" until
it annoyed you).
On his next opportunity it was 3rd and 5, after he just took a big
hit from the Safety Tony Jefferson. Which is when you want to judge young
QBs: what they do after they take a big hit? They lined up Empty, with
trips on the left. Edelman and Mitchell were lined up outside of Hogan.
They both slanted inside in front of Hogan, and Hogan turned back towards
Garoppolo as he ran straight down the line to the sideline. He caught it
in stride off a perfect throw by Garoppolo, with four DBs fighting Edelman
and Mitchell inside. Hogan turned up field, and was past the four
defenders by the seam, who tried to get outside to him. He flew past all
three and was final hit out of bounds by the Honey Badger.
Just a great play by Garoppolo and Hogan. "Just having
confidence in your teammates," Jimmy-G said. "When they have
confidence in you, and you [have] confidence in them, itís easy to stay
poised out there. Youíre in the huddle, youíre all looking at each
other and itís a good feeling. The play with Chris, he had a great
release and it makes it an easy throw for me." He had faith in Hogan
on that 3rd down.
His fourth 3rd down conversion showed how he is different from
Brady. The pocket was collapsing around him. He had to move to his right
as Mr. Jones was screaming behind him on his left. He saw the zone
defense, and that all the defenders were well past the marker. He up
faked, and got Golden to jump, and Cannon slammed
him to the ground. Then he bolted forward in a flash.
He was past the magic yellow line before a defender could get within
10-yards of him. Then he took off aimlessly to his left, with a linebacker
chasing him. In very un-Brady-like fashion, the LB couldn't close on him
at all. I was expecting Minter to rip him down from behind, but he
actually pulled away from him a little. Then he realized that a DB was
charging at him, and he was about to be sliced in half by a high-low from
Minter and Mathieu. He slid down safely to the ground with a 1st down.
On Garoppolo's fifth 3rd down, he did a remarkable job again. The
Cards had an odd front, and all three DLs went. Then they blitzed three
LBs as well. Two blitzers crashed into each other in front of Karras and
Cannon, which allowed them to grab shirt and hold on. Bennett had the edge
on that side. White, Thuney, and Andrews took care of two on the other
With all this chaos in front of him Jimmy-G just dropped, hitched
forward, and calmly lofted the ball to Mitchell on a comeback on the left
sideline at the marker. He caught it, shook off Brandon Williams, and took
off down field and almost scored.
On Garoppolo's sixth 3rd down throw, it was right after the Cards
took all the momentum when Blount fumbled the ball, and the Cards scored.
He 3-stepped dropped and planted his back foot. And there was trouble in
the pocket. Golden jumped over Cannon's cut block. Fleming cut Mr. Jones
right in front of him, and he was getting up. Gunter was shoving Thuney
straight back into Garoppolo's face. Garoppolo threw calmly to Bennett
dragging short. He hit him with just enough room for him to make a radical
move and get the First.
On his seventh 3rd down completion, it was 3rd and 15 with the game
on the line. The Pats were suddenly down 1-point. "The line did a
great job, first of all, giving me that time," Jimmy-G said.
"3rd and 15, you got to let your guys get down the field. And Danny
found the opening in the zone. It was a great job by him. He made it a
pretty easy throw for me and he made a nice catch too, so it was a good
play all the way around." He juked deep after he saw the DBs staring
at Jimmy-G and not just watching him.
Then Jimmy just had to throw it over the two DBs who came up a
little in reaction to his fleeing the pocket. "The 3rd-and-12, or
whatever it was, was a big play," BB said. "We made it look like
we were trying to set up a screen. They kind of played the screen.
Fortunately, that took away some of the pass rush. Jimmy's able to
"As usual, Danny came up big for us. He made a big catch down
there and took a hard hit. The slant route to James White was a great
throw and a great catch in really tight coverage. Then really in the third
down play, we wanted to make sure we had the ball close enough for the
"LG (LeGarrette Blount) made a good run. He had some good space
in there and it looked like he broke a couple tackles. He was short of the
first down and he dropped his pads and got it. So that was a big run. It
definitely shortened the field goal for us, which we might have made it
from there anyways, but it definitely would've been a tougher kick."
That play set up the whole win. It really got them to within striking
range of the field goal attempt that ultimately won the game.
On his final completion on 3rd down, he jammed the ball into White's
gut with Jefferson on his back. This catch was spectacularly important to
this game. Not only did it give the Pats a 1st down. It also brought them
into field goal range, which allowed them to work the clock a little, and
forced the Cards to burn off their timeouts.
This was such an
spectacular victory for Jimmy-G, because of his play
on 3rd downs. "I think itís good for the whole team, especially the
first game of the season coming into a tough environment like this,"
Jimmy-G said. "Itís good to see how everyone responded. We had a
couple of young guys playing, especially up front, making their first
starts and I think everyone responded pretty well to it. The crowd was
rocking at times and they didnít flinch at all. It was a good
He passed so many tests in this game it is hard to count. But you
can count him to go out on 3rd down against Miami and go 8 for 10? There
are still a lot of questions when it comes to Garoppolo. We still don't
know who he is.
3. Fleming- Fleming was also spectacular in this game. Now he is a sub,
so he is graded on a curve, but he kept an all-pro passrusher off
Garoppolo's back every snap except one. He was solid in the run. He was
solid in pass pro. And, he was spectacular chop blocking D-ends to the
ground. he is going to have to be better this week.
Just do your job. When a backup gets shoved into the starting
lineup, and he just does his job, that is a spectacular performance. He
faces a similar challenge this week with Patriots-Killer Cameron Wake
lining up on his side, or Patriots-Killer Mario Williams on his side. They
both have primarily lined up as the Strongside DE/OLB, so we don't know
who will be on his side this week yet.
He held down the left side better than I think you could expect. He
wasn't inside where they could help him like Karras last week. "I'd
just say the overall exposure to this type of an offensive system,"
BB said about Karras. "Again, different protections, different
adjustments, more variety in the running game than what he probably had at
Illinois. I'd say definitely more. He has played all three interior
positions, both guards and center, so again, he's a smart guy. I think
some of that playing different positions actually helps him play whatever
positions he's playing a little bit better because he understands what's
going on around him.
that's part of the centers job, is to quarterback the whole line, if you
will, in terms of line-calls and adjustments that they have to make. We
have the same five guys but sometimes how you block them - do you bump him
and go to the linebacker? Do you go straight to the linebacker? I mean
just how all of that works. There are a lot of fine points in there but
they're critical really to the success of that unit and naturally to the
success of the play. It's just a lot more exposure, a lot of different
things that he I would say didn't have a lot of experience with. He has
gained a lot, he's smart, he works hard, he understands football concepts
well, as Joe does, as David does.
kind of in the same boat coming from the offense he came in, which is they
threw the ball five times per game. In terms of protection it's just a
whole new world. Those guys have all grown quite a bit in the last year,
or two years, whatever the case might be, in terms of systems. David
obviously came from Brian Schottenheimer's system in Georgia so he had a
change of I'd say NFL-type of offensive schematics."
Shaq are going to be facing Suh this week, and that matched could make or
break this game.
will be out on that edge again this week. Wake is a speed rusher like Mr. Jones,
but Williams is much more of a power rusher. "Well,
the third-down scheme is a little different than the first and second-down
scheme," BB said about Wake. "So, I'd say whether he's in there
or not, on first and second-down its going to be similar to what it is.
Aand whether he's in there or not on third-down its going to be more of a
third-down scheme, if that makes any sense." Williams is
slowing down, but we will see what he has left in the tank tonight.
and David Andrews are going to have to help Karras and Shaq a ton today.
it's a critical relationship," BB said. "Especially in the
National Football League and an offense like ours where there's a lot of
communications, and protections, and recognition and so forth. Those two
guys being on the same page is enormous. But David's very good, Jimmy's
good. They communicate well, each of them individually and together, and
they both understand the importance of it, of not taking something for
granted and then "Oh I thought it was this," and then "I
thought it was that," and then somebody runs free because we weren't
on the same page. There's not very much of that, nor should there be. It's
critical. It's a huge part of both of their jobs, to be able to be in sync
with the other positions, the center and the guard, the quarterback and
the quarterback to the center." Jimmy-G has to make the right
calls, and Andrews has to communicate with the ORG and slide over and help
him a ton.
Fleming lined up on the QB's blindside, alone on an island, and
kicked ass. "We play our offensive linemen at a lot of different
positions," BB said. "So I'd say really all of our tackles have
played both sides and we just felt like that was the right thing to
do." I just didn't see that coming.
He wasn't perfect. But he had been an ORT his whole life,
until last year when plaque of injuries murdered the Pats Super Bowl
chances. But maybe the best news is that Fleming played so well that no
one from the media asked BB any questions about him hits week. When you
are a backup OLT, and no one notices you when you have to play? Than you
had a spectacular performance.
He wasn't the best player in the game, but when an O-linemen pretty
much goes unnoticed that means he is winning most of the battles. "We
weren't sure of Nate's situation going into the game," BB said.
"As you know, he practiced last week and so rather than switching
everybody around, moving Marcus [Cannon] over to the left. and making two
moves instead of one. We weren't even sure who would have to make the one
[move] depending on if Nate would've been able to turn the corner then
that wouldn't have even necessitated that." So they stuck Fleming in
at OLT against the Giants and Cards.
You can say what you, but even I, his biggest fan, didn't think it
was possible for him to go unnoticed in that game. "We would've just
had a third swing tackle," BB said about Fleming. "All of those
things kind of played a part of it but in the end we did what we felt like
was best for the game. I thought Cam did a credible job over there, again,
blocking a couple of good pass rushers but he hung in there and gave us
some plays in the running game and hung in there on pass protection, so I
thought he did a pretty solid job."
If Garoppolo hadn't been so spectacularly efficient (which he
wouldn't have been without Fleming), I would say that Fleming was the player of the
game. That's right, that's my story and I'm sticking with it. But
everything considered along the O-line: two backup O-tackles, two rookies
on the O-line, and a two-year
veteran on the O-line? It was a spectacular performance all around.
"I think the world of Dante," BB said. "I think he is
as fine of a coach as anybody that I've coached with and I've had the
opportunity to coach with a lot of them, certainly. Him and Coach [Saban
are up there pretty high along with a lot of other great coaches, and
Scott O'Brien in the kicking game. But yeah, it's great to have him back
and he does a tremendous job with the individual techniques of the players
and also in terms of making them aware of their assignments and
adjustments and scheme things that come up, too. Those two components are
just huge for the offensive line, not only individually but so that all
five guys understand the same thing at the same time because that's really
what makes an offensive line a good line, is that they can all work
together and do it cohesively.
"He does a great job of all of those things. But, you know, we
really played three guards last night. Joe [Thuney] on the left side and
then Shaq and Ted [Karras] on the right side. They [Arizona] have a good
defensive line. They gave us some problems. We blocked them a lot but not
always. They were able to have a couple of disruptive plays in there and
they're a very talented group so, you know, we hung in there, we competed
with them and we had some good ones and some not so good ones, but we hung
in there and kept slugging it out."
I mean right from the first snap, he just did his job. They ran a
play action to his side, and
Garoppolo rolled out to the other side and whipped the ball wildly at
Hogan. Fleming just calmly washed the DE in the opposite direction of
Garoppolo. He doesn't have to be Orlando Pace, he just has to do his job.
On the first 3rd down of the game for the Pats, he took on Mr. Jones. He hit him with his hands, and Jones knocked him down. He turned
and shoved him past Garoppolo as he threw. We was beat, but got in a
second hit, and luckily it was a quick pass. When he faces Wake
he will have to have the same hand usage, and recovery. Because Wake can
beat you as fast as Mr. Jones.
On Garoppolo's first 3rd down attempt, it was 3rd and 11. He didn't
let the pressure get to him at all. He 3-stepped back into the pocket,
hitched forward, and hit Edelman in the hands quickly enough for him to be
able to turn up field for the first.
On the third 3rd down of the game. He had Mr. Jones one on one
outside. Garoppolo three stepped and threw in rhythm, but Fleming was
grabbed by the 5-Tech on his inside shoulder as Mr. Jones went outside. He
shoved him off and punched Mr. Jones past Garoppolo as he threw. That was a
On Garoppolo's fourth 3rd down, where he took off and ran
with it. Mr.
Jones blasted off and tried to beat Fleming around the other side. Fleming
did a great job pushing outside a little, and then shoving him past
Garoppolo. Then he ran all the way around Garoppolo and met him on the
other side and hit him hard enough to allow Garoppolo to escape for the
On Garoppolo's fifth 3rd down conversion. He was out on an island with
Gunter again, and the Cards brought six. He slid back smoothly,
and got both hands up and shoved him outside. Gunter tried a Rip, but
Cannon hit him again. He lunged a little, and this allowed Gunter to spin
past, but the ball was gone by then. Again not perfect, but great for a
backup thrust into a very difficult situation.
They not only need Garoppolo
to be as good this week against Miami. They also need Fleming and Cannon
to be as good. They need all four interior guys to be as good as well. The
thought of Karras and Shaq facing Suh down after down is scary. They can't
allow Suh to be the key to the game.
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