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Patriots Preseason

Pats Vs Bears

 

Pats Preseason Blog.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

2nd Quarter: Pats Defense.

By TOM

They finally run a play action, that is impossible not to fall for after all the power runs. Jimmy-G play actioned to Gaffney, hopped back, spotted Bennett wide open crossing the field from right to left. He caught it without slowing a bit. Then turned up field and ran past the Ten. The DB covering him dived on his back as the safety came up to hit him. They all tumbled inside the Five.

1st and goal from the Three. The Pats came out in the Big-Ugly Singleback, with Fleming and Bennett lined up outside of Cannon. They gave it Gaffney and ran him to the opposite side of the power. The ILB snuck through the whole between Stork and Kline. Gaffney ran through him, lowered his head into the NT, and dug for a couple. Not the best blocked play of the drive.

2nd and goal from the two, Pats lined up in a 3-TE I. The Pats bring in Derby and Clay Harbor in a 3-TE I. Gaffney went to the right this time. The blocking was good at the line, but no one got to the second level. Gaffney ran into Cannon's back as he sealed the DE outside, but a LB crashed into him at full speed and knocked him sideways. Both Derby and Harbor blocked well on the strongside. 

1st and goal from One. Pats stayed with the 3-TE I. Harbor went in motion to the right. like a beacon telling the Bears they are running to the strongside. Derby got a great block on the edge and sealed the strongside DE. But then he was thrown to the ground after Gaffney got tackled. The Bears read it, and four guys crashed into Gaffney behind the LOS. Gostkowski hit the FG.
Pats-3.

After Cyrus Jones great interception, the Pats come out 1st and 10 at the Fifteen. They lined up in a 3-wide Strong shotgun, with Derby down on the line outside of Cannon. He took off down the seam and angled a little towards the numbers. Then he angled back inside a little to the seam. Garoppolo never took his eyes off him. He threw it a little late, and the ball died in the air in front of Derby. That was Garoppolo's second worst throw of the half. It was low and inside, and yet the way Derby adjusted to the ball in the air it looked like he was going to catch it. He leaped up at full speed, turned back in midair, and got his hands on the ball thrown behind him. But a Bear DB was also dragging him down from behind when the ball arrived. and another defender cracked him in the back as he was flying backwards.

2nd and 10, Pats in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. Cannon got beat right off the snap by the DE. He was able to recover a little and tried to shove the rusher past Garoppolo. But it was a center screen. The offensive line was in disarray. The timing of the screen was very preseason like. Thuney ran outside and grabbed the OLB and held on for a while. Solder got beat badly inside, but was able to wash the DE past White with a great recovery block. Kline and Stork took off, saw Garoppolo in trouble, and turned back and ran towards the backfield. 

By the time Garoppolo got the ball to White it looked like the Keystone Cops were blocking the play. It was pure chaos. But once White got the ball, all the rushers were completely out of position except the DT #53. White made him miss with a great quick move inside. Which also brought him face to face with two strongside D-linemen. He exploded straight up field and left both DLs in the dust. Then he turned outside behind Thuney. Stork and Andrews changed direction again. White turned up field and by blocks by Stork and Andrews. Harper flew over and threw the final block that sprung him outside. He ran around 19, and cutback behind a Hogan block at the Three. He was finally hit at the 2-yard line by the safety and rolled into the endzone. That was an unbelievable run by White. He should have been tackled four yards behind the LOS and took it to the One instead. 

1st and Goal from the One, Pats come out in a 3-TE I. Cannon and Derby double team the DE. Cannon stopped him, and Derby drove him inside. Harbor sealed the DB outside. With most of the Bears defenders inside, Blount read those three blocks, cut outside a little, and ran between the tight ends for the TD. Pats-9.

Pats go for the 2-point Conversion. They line up in Twins-Twins Singleback. They run Bolden, and he got swarmed over by the Nose Tackle, and a gaggle of defenders soon followed. 

1st and 10, Pats come out with less than two-minutes to go in the Half. After the defense, led by some guy named Anthony Johnson, stopped the Bears again. Pats came out in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. The blocking was good. Garoppolo hit Derby dragging outside. He tried to turn up field, but got swarmed over by two Bears. 

2nd and 9, Pats come out in the same formation. Jimmy-G looks right, and then goes across the field to his third option. He hit Hogan right at the marker in the left slot. "I think Jimmy has got good presence for the position." BB said. "I think he always has. Again, it's always a work in progress. There's always development. Every player develops throughout the course of their career as they gain experience. That's no different than him or anybody else, but I think his demeanor is good." Nice play by Jimmy-G.

1st and 10 as the clock winds down to under minute. They line up in the same formation. Garoppolo got his eyes stuck a little on the two WRs on the strongside. Cannon protected the outside very well. But the OLB pushed him back and cut inside as Garoppolo stepped up in the pocket. Kline turned and crushed the OLB, as he broke inside, with a great block. Stork and Thuney are very efficient inside. Garoppolo turned to his third option (as far as I can tell by watching his head twist), and hit Derby on the Seam. Derby tried to lose the 1st down by turning back to the LOS. But then turned back up field and got the 1st down back.

1st and 10, Pats stayed in the same formation (can you tell it's Preseason). The blocking was excellent. Derby stayed in and blocked. He helped Cannon block the DE, and then stepped out and blocked the OLB on the late blitz. That was two nice blocks by Derby on the edge. Garoppolo went all the way across the field with his head, as he bounces a little to his left. Solder and Thuney dominated the rushers on the blindside. He looked at all four receivers and then threw the ball away smartly. That was a great play by Garoppolo. And a sign that he has matured as an NFL QB in just one week since the Saints game.

2nd and 10, Pats came out in the same formation. White stayed in to block this time, which is something he excelled at in Wisconsin. Garoppolo looked back to his first or second option, and hit Hogan crossing over the middle. He fought for extra yardage and got to the Sixteen. 

1st and 10, same formation, though the WRs are mixing it up a little. Cannon got beat outside. Which forced Garoppolo to step up. He fired a bullet too strong for Hogan to reach it. That could have been a big play.

2nd and 10 with 21-second left. They stayed in the 4-Wide strong shotgun. Derby lined up outside of Solder this time with his hand down. He had been lining up on the other side this whole drive. He just curled slightly around the DE. Slashed inside of the LB zoning outside. He turned back and leaped up for the ball as two guys hit him and pushed him to the ground for the great TD catch. "Then AJ on the touchdown play, he had a nice grab," Garoppolo said. "I didn't really see it, but I heard he took a nice hit after too. So it's always nice to have a guy making a catch after he gets hit like that." That was a great catch where he was turned backward in the air, and took a big hit in the back and held on.

#65: Preseason Superstar.

By TOM

The Pats D-line is in such great shape that it is remarkable. Ninkovich hasn't played, and Sheard missed this week, and nobody noticed that the Pats two projected starters at D-end were out. Because they found their Preseason superstar last week in Flowers. He not only lined up outside, but was amazing as an inside rusher this week. He was the best D-end in the past two games combined.

Then this week some second year guy from LSU wearing #65 jogged out onto the field from out of nowhere. He explosively impacted the game on the first play he was in, and then jogged calmly off the field. He was the best D-linemen in that game. He has made himself the second Preseason superstar this August.

He kept bursting into the backfield. "Thatís my game: vertical, up the field, just try to disrupt stuff in the backfield," some guy named Anthony Johnson wearing #65 said. "I like to categorize myself as a silverback gorilla. Man, just go out there and be ferocious and just play." He really only started practicing in the joint practices against the Bears, because he was rehabbing some unnamed injury.

Anthony Johnson played like everything that BB thought he would get from Dominique Easley when they drafted him in the 1st round. "This is a week that he was able to get back on the field and get more reps in practice and play in the game," BB said. "We didn't see very much of him last week. He was out prior to the New Orleans game. So some of the players that didn't play as much against New Orleans played more against Chicago. Some of the players that played more against New Orleans played less against Chicago, so I want to try and take a look at everybody and he would certainly fall into the category of ĎNot much against New Orleans and more this week', but there were other players that it was flipped on. Again, personally, I don't see that as any big signal to anything. It's just when you get an opportunity to take a look at the player then you take a look at him." Suddenly they have two 2nd-year D-linemen who are Preseason Superstars.

Johnson was a guy who was completely miscast last season as a rookie with the Dolphins, who tried to bulk him up to play NT next to Suh. "I just didnít feel right when I was down in Miami playing nose tackle," Johnson said. "I got too big. And just wasnít moving the way I thought I could. Iím a quicker guy. [Now I'm a ] quicker defensive lineman just trying to use my techniques and everything to the best of my ability." His game is not power. He is a 3-Tech who needs to get up field.

The Dolphins had him bulk up to 330-pounds, and he looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy after a month long cookie binge. "[He looks] quite a bit different," BB said. "Yeah. A lot different than when we saw him at LSU. Honestly, I didn't even recognize him when we brought him in for a workout. I looked at him and said, 'Do we have the right guy here? Is my memory is even worse than I think it is?' He's kind of gone in the other direction from being a big guy and really trimming down and his skills are different." Forty to fifty pounds later, he was the most explosive up field D-tackle the Pats have had since Easley was actually healthy (which was never).

He decided to take his career into his own hands. "I love to get off the ball," #65 said. "Just trying to be the quickest guy on the field. I know interior linemen hate little guys on the inside that can move around a little bit." It really has been a long time since the Pats had a real 3-Tech to disrupt the right side of opponents O-line.

The Pats really never picked up someone to replace Easley. They didn't have that smaller explosive 3-Tech who can rush inside. "[#65 is] a guy that's a lot different than most of our other interior defensive lineman," BB said. "So we thought in signing him that his skills might complement some of the other players that we have. So we'll just see how that plays out." They have all big NT types, and were looking at Sheard, Flowers, Long, and Grissom as their interior rushers.

When #65 stepped onto the field against the Bears he had sweat his Pillsbury dough down to 280-pounds. "He's faster, he's quicker, he's obviously lighter," BB said. "He doesn't have as much power, but he was an interesting guy. He was a good player coming out of college. [He had] an interesting workout." He looked like Warren Sapp.

He jogged out onto the field at 12:19 mark in the 1st quarter for Kuhn. Long gave him a little five as he jogged by. No one said anything, because no one knew two he was. He was just some guy wearing #65 who was coming in as a sub-package rusher. I simple said, "who the hell is that guy?" I'm still not sure who he is, but his quickness and explosion was unstoppable Thursday night.

Now he played perfectly Thursday night. He will not likely play that well again for a while. He simply did everything right. But he clearly showed that he could shoot gaps, disrupt blocking schemes, and get into the backfield as an inside rusher. That was something the Pats were clearly missing on the D-line. But having a legit 3-Tech in the Pats new aggressive 4-3, who can step inside and consistently burst past OGs was a clear need for the Pats.

Now they can put an actual 3-tech into sub packages to rush the QB inside, and still stand up to the run inside. "Youíve got to stay persistent," #65 said. "If this is what you want to do, youíve got to understand this isnít a job for the weak. Thatís how it is in the NFL. Youíve got to be ready to go out there and play every day." He said his added weight didn't work for him. So he made himself into an amazing 3-Tech that the Pats didn't have on their roster.

He has a great opportunity this week to show he can do it again. "At the end of the day when you work hard you get opportunities," Johnson said. "[BB] told me I have a great opportunity and to go out and just take it. Thatís what Iím going to do every time I get one." If he plays close to what he did against the Bears the rest of the way, this young Preseason superstar could turn into a legit NFL star.

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On the first play he was in, he matched Flowers burst up field. He burst into the ORT, got his shoulder, and moved towards Cutler. "I love to get off the ball," #65 said. "Iím just trying to be the quickest guy out there on the field. I know interior guys hate little [explosive rushers] in the inside that can move around. So thatís a part of my game. Thatís how Iím trying to help my team." He completed a swim to get past the ORT, and leaped up into Cutler's face as he threw. Then he jogged unnoticed off the field.

The second time he was on the field it was 3rd and 9 in the Redzone. He was the only guy who was set when the ball was snapped. The rest of the front seven was milling about to confuse Cutler. He burst into the OLG, and bulled him back three yards. Then they stopped. He got his eyes on Cutler. When he threw the ball, Johnson got his hand on the ball and slapped it back at Cutler to force the field goal.

With 6:33 to go in the 1st they brought Johnson back in on 3rd down. He lined up on the left side. He powered into the OLG. The OLG grabbed his shirt with one hand and jammed his fist up into Johnson's facemask. But Johnson was already under his pads and kept powering him back. Cutler threw it over his head, right as he got his hands on him. Then he jogged like a ghost off the field.

It was 3rd and 7 when Johnson got back in the game. He beat Kyle Long to his outside shoulder and sent him backward. After Chris Long flushed Cutler, he ran to his side. Johnson shed Probowler ORG Kyle Long, and chased Cutler outside, and forced him to throw the ball away. He is just killing it every time they put him in the game. He came in again a few plays later on 3rd down, and almost the exact same thing happened: Long broke inside, and Johnson chased outside. Only this time Cutler completed the pass for the 1st. Then he jogged off the field in silence.

After Bolden's disastrous fumble. Johnson got back in on 3rd down. He lined up at 3-tech next to Flowers in a passrushing sub package. He got doubled at the point by the ORG and the OC. Flowers tossed the OLG aside like a used tissue, just as the ORG turn to double Chris Long, who just beat the ORT around his outside shoulder. Johnson looked up and saw Cutler fleeing from Flowers. He tossed the OC to his right, and slammed low into Cutler and stopped him like he just ran into a fire hydrant. Then Flowers flipped Cutler to the ground from behind. He has been in on five plays in rushing sub packages, and has harassed Cutler every single time.

He was so dominate that they changed his role already. They stopped playing him as just a 3rd down sub-package 3-Tech. They put him in on regular downs to see if he could handle it. He played on three straight downs for the first time in his NFL career.

After the Pats got to within two, the Bears came out 1st and 10. They lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. Johnson was in at 3-Tech. He burst inside the ORG, and kept him on his back. Flowers and Valentine got a good push on the other side. The RB was trying to run off tackle, but they shut down the edge. The RB had to slow as Johnson burst in front of him. As he tried to cut back Johnson dived at him, hit him head first in the gut, and spun him down like a spinning top for a 3-yard loss.

On the next play he lined up at 3-Tech again, and exploded almost untouched into the backfield. He almost decapitated the RB, but it is a play action.

He stayed in for his third straight play right at the two-minute warning. It was 3rd and 10, he lined up at 3-Tech. He stunted outside of Long. He did a great job slicing inside past the RB trying to chip him. But the ORT shoved him in the back, right in front of Hoyer waggling outside. He regained his balance with one hand on the ground. Got after Hoyer, and forced him to throw the ball away. This was on 3rd down and forced the Bears to punt the ball to the Pats. It set up the great two-minute drive by Jimmy-G that won the 1st Half.

Now the question is can their two Preseason superstars turn those amazing flashes into regular season production. The best news is that these two guys did it in the 1st Half of Preseason games against starters, and not in the 2nd Half. They didn't have the Michael Bishop effect, where they are superstars of the 2nd half against non-NFL players. Johnson completely dominated the starting O-line of the Bears. Now he was to take that play to Charlotte, continue dominating at 3-tech, and show he make plays in the backfield again. 

1st Quarter: Pats Defense.

By TOM

The Pats come out with a nice surprise start by Trey Flowers. Marcus Kuhn also got a surprise start, because Branch got detention and wasn't allowed to go to recess. "That is a club matter," BB said. Brown and Long got starts, and it looks like that is going to continue well into the Regular Season. 

Johnathan Freeny also got a surprise start as Shea McClellin was apparently in detention with Branch. Freeny is more of an ILB than an OLB like McClellin. So it will be interesting to see what they do. The rookie Cyrus Jones did not get his second straight start at CB. Coleman got the start on Jeffries. But Jones did get his second straight turnover against the starters. "Turnovers are key, they're always key," Long said. "They're a big lift for the team and that's a big deal. Creating turnovers is huge. It really does sway the outcome of a game so anytime you're able to score on defense, it's huge and when you're maybe able to do it multiple times and create multiple turnovers, that's big." He recovered the first fumble against New Orleans. 

1st and 10, the Pats come out in their aggressive 4-3 with five guys on the line, and Collins and Freeny behind them. Flowers sets the edge nicely, but then abandons it a little quickly. This will prove to hurt him later this quarter. Langford hits the hole, but Long and Kuhn had closed down the point. So he bounced to the blindside a little. He turned up field right into Brown who held on, until Flowers jumped on top of them.

2nd and 5, they stay in the 4-3 with Hightower on the strongside outside of Long. Collins and Freeney in at LB, and Chung up as the Will. They run a great play action, that only Flowers reads correctly. He is 7-yards up field and in Cutler's face, before all the other front-four start rushing. So Cutler is very comfortable in the pocket and has time to throw a 29-yard pass to Jeffries. Coleman had great coverage. But Jeffries pushes him off, steps in front of him, and leaps up for the ball.

Pats stay in their 5-2 looking 4-3. The D-line gets dominated again, and Cutler has enough time to have a tea party in the pocket. So after a sip or two he finally throws to 17. Flowers got the best rush again, but he slipped as the OLT punched off balance. He recovered and got to Cutler's side, but by the time he got there he had no chance to turn the corner. Coleman had great coverage again, but when you face a veteran QB and a veteran Number One WR, they can make DBs look silly.

1st and 10, the Pats match up in a Nickel with Long standing up. Flowers stunts inside, and misses everyone, including the OLG. Langford runs off tackle to his side, but Brown was stunting outside behind Flowers. Coleman read it perfectly. He ran past Jeffries, who didn't even pretend to try and block a CB in the Preseason. Langford tried to cut back, but Coleman and Brown jumped him. Hightower got in on the tackle as well. That was a great run by Langford to get three. He was grabbed behind the LOS by Coleman and had no business get a cloud of dust.

2nd and 7, the Pats stay in an Odd front, and Freeny comes in to complete the 3-4, with Hightower and Long at OLB and Collins and Freeny at ILB. Langford cuts outside to the strongside. He runs through traffic at an angle until Collins and Kuhn dive on his legs from behind. Chung hits him in the front, and Flowers jumps him from side as well. 

3rd and 4, some-guy-wearing-#65 jogs in. The camera's focus in on him like it means something. But no one knows who he is. He stunts into the ORT. Long stunts under him, but couldn't beat the OLG. But #65 gets the ORT's shoulder. Cutler threw around #65, and hit Kevin White in the dirt, and the refs said he caught it. 

1st and 10, the Pats stay in their aggressive 4-3, only Hightower goes to the Blindside this time. Hightower sets the edge beautifully. He powers the tight end back four yards, and forces Langford to cut back. Only that is one of Langford's strengths. Long and Freeny finally take him down, but the refs call holding. 

1st and 20, Pats go Odd in a real 3-4. Then Hightower backs off the line. Flowers gets chipped by the TE and looses his balance. But Long gets a great rush. He gets the outside shoulder of the ORT, and dips under him. Cutler has to dump it off to Langford. Collins takes him down outside. 

2nd and 12, Pats go into a 3-3 Nickel. Flowers gets frozen by the play action, and then plays Cutler like he is going to run. Cutler throws the slip-screen past Flowers. He spins and dives at the WR's feet, but can't reach them. Coleman, Collins, and Butler get in front of the screen and slow it down. But it is Chung and Kuhn who make the tackle. With another flag, yay.

2nd and 17, Pats go into a 4-3 with the Bears in a 3-wide Weak shotgun. Flowers gets another good rush, and leaps up into Cutler's face as he throws. Cutler is a numbnut, but when he is hot he can look as good as any QB in the NFL. He hits Moeaki in the flat with a bullet. Coleman makes another tackle.

3rd and 9, Pats mill around in the Nickel sub-package. Long and Flowers get up field quickly, but can't turn at all. Cutler fires another bullet. But some-guy-wearing-#65, who apparently is now a big deal in 3rd-down sub-packages, reaches his big mitt up and bats the pass backwards right back at Cutler to force the field goal. Bear-3.

1st and 10, Pats come out in their aggressive 4-3. Flowers is great on this play. He sets the edge perfectly, and sends him inside. Collins was blitzing into the hole Flowers and Vellano made slanting outside. He bumps the RB and falls down. Meanwhile, Flowers swung back inside the OLT and jumped on top of the RB, as Collins grabbed his shoelace. 

2nd and 11, Pats go Nickel. They bring four. Long gets some push up field, but is doubled by the ORG. Cutler has a perfect pocket. He throws it low to Moeaki. He catches it sliding to the ground in front of Hightower.

3rd and 7, they have Long (blindside) and Hightower standing up, and #65 and Flowers with their hands down. #65 gets a great bull rush right up to Cutler. Thus allows Flower to twist behind him and leap up on Cutler as he throws. Both Flowers and #65 gets their hands on Cutler and drag him down after he throws. Chung defends the pass, but the refs said he got their early to convert the 3rd down. 

1st and 10, Bears come out with a bunch on the blindside. They line up in a tight 3-3 Nickel. Collins sneaks up to the line eyeing Langford. They give it to Langford. Flowers goes low and Vellano goes high to take him down. 

2nd and 7, Cutler goes under center. The Pats stay in the 3-3 Nickel, but bring Chung up into the box. The line slants to the right and gets controlled by the O-line. Cutler has time and misfires to 13, who was able to reach back and get his hands on the ball but couldn't pull it in. Cyrus was in coverage. Long was able to break inside the ORT, and get his hand up a little in Cutler face. 

3rd and 7, Pats in a 3-4 Nickel. They bring six. Long burst past the outside shoulder of the ORT. He turns inside but just can't get his big mitts on Cutler. #65 gets up field and makes Cutler continue to the sideline and throw the ball away. But, the refs converted the 3rd down again for the Bears with a pass interference call of one kind or another.

1st and 10 over midfield. Pats match up in their aggressive 4-3. The D-line gets stuffed as everyone is looking for the run. Cutler has time and hits Moeaki in the flat between Butler and Collins. Moeaki was unstoppable in this game. 

2nd and 5, Pats stay 4-3. Collins blitzes up the gut. He crashes into the FB, as Flowers sets the edge. Langford feints inside. Flowers gives up the edge and swings into the OLT, as Collins falls down. Then Langford is outside and turning up field. McCourty meets him at the Forty, but Langford spins off of him. But he is only able to stumble past the marker and dive for a few more. That was a great run by Langford called back by a holding on Flowers. I am definitely drafting Langford on my Fantasy team. He was unbelievable in this game.

2nd and 11, Pats go into a 4-3, with Hightower on the line. They bring Grissom at Long's Strongside DE position. He charges straight forward with both hands extended like Frankenstein, grabs the ORT, and falls down. He has so much physical talent, but just doesn't have the instincts yet. Meanwhile, the Bears had to chip Flowers with the RB, and attack him with the OLT to keep him out of Cutler's face. Butler has great coverage on 14, and got his hands on the ball. But he dropped it. He was clearly pissed at himself for not intercepting it. He got inside position on 14, and dived in front of him and got both hands on the ball. 

3rd and 11, Pats in a 2-4 Nickel. Flowers gets a little pressure after Hightower runs into him. But it was Long who broke inside the ORT that flushes Cutler outside behind him. #65 gave chase outside again, but Cutler was able to make a nice throw this time. He hit 19 short of the marker. Chung tackled him just short, but the refs gave it to him. 

1st and 10, Bears in a Bunched up Singleback. Pats match up in a 2-5, with Grissom lined up on the TE in the Bunch. They run a great misdirection play action, and everyone falls it. Except of course Flowers. He was the only one who read the tricky misdirection, and got up into Cutler's face and forced the incompletion. 

Grissom was spectacular on this play. He jammed the inside WR with a violent two-handed jam that took him out of his pattern. Then the outside WR went inside, and he cut him off. Then the WR jerked back outside and Grissom stayed with him, matching him step for step. Then he falls down as the pass sailed over the WR's head. He was just as important in stopping that play as Flowers, because he got great jams in on two WRs. Which slowed the second WR in getting outside. He destroyed the timing of the play, as Cutler's pass was high and outside.

2nd and 10, there really wasn't a lot there. The D-line did not get blown off the line. Knighton had his big paw on the OC when Langford slashed behind him. Vellano popped outside, just as a cracked open next to Knighton, and took himself out of the play. Langford cut back in front of Vellano and behind Knighton with a burst that sent him five yards downfield before a defender could react. He is going to be a steal as the second or third RB taken in someone's fantasy draft (certainly mine). He bobs and weaves through, past, and over Patriots like he is Tony Collins on crack, until Coleman takes him out at the Five.

1st and goal from the Five, Pats go into their 5-3 with Chung at the Will. The whole O-line zone blocks to the left, and Langford cuts back against the grain like he is eating cake for an easy touchdown. Bears go for two. Cutler has way too much time, and he hits the TE for Two. Bears-11.

That was not the best played quarter by the defense. "We didn't start off [very GD well]," BB said. "I mean really. We didn't do much in the first quarter period. We made a red-area stop, gave up the touchdown, the two-point conversion, couldn't make a first down on offense. Maybe we made one there. We only had the ball for seven or eight plays in the first quarter, so it was combination of not being able to move the ball and not being able to get off the field on third down. We had a bunch of penalties on those drives which are always costly; defensive holding, defensive interference. Then they converted a couple of plays. Just overall we've got to coach better, we've got to play better, we've got to get off to a better start. I thought the team responded well after a slow start to come back and really compete for the next three quarters. But that first quarter, we've got to do a better job than that." Yes they do. Arizona won't be as forgiving if they get an 11-point lead. 

2nd Quarter: Pats Defense.

By TOM

The Pats defense comes out deep into the 2nd quarter. The Pats come out in the aggressive 3-4, and even Chung sneaks up to the line. The Bears run to the strongside. Hightower was lined up at OLB. He jammed the TE back three yards into the backfield. Jacquizz Rogers tries to run around him, and he throws the tight end to the ground and tackles him from behind. McCourty flies in from the front and gives him a thunder crack hit. Freeny got into position behind Hightower, but he missed Rogers.

They stay aggressive 4-3, only this time Hightower lines up on the Weakside. Collins and Freeny stay in at ILB. Long takes inside leverage on the ORT, and the Bears run off tackle to his side. But Collins was twisting outside off of Long's inside move. He crashes into Rogers and stops him cold. Brown shuffled down the line, shed the OG, and then slammed into Rogers so hard that he knocked him sideways right out of Collins hands. That is the Brown we've been looking for.

3rd and 9, they bring in Long, #65, Flowers, and Hightower as the rushers. Long and Hightower stand up, and #65 and Flowers have their hand down, with Collins behind them. This is a very interesting front five in a Dime sub package. Flowers simply destroys the OLG. He pushes him back with a great burst that got the ORG standing up and off balance. Then he pulled himself past as he threw the ORG aside. There a not a lot of DEs who are strong enough to do that to a 330-pound NFL OG.

Cutler panics, and takes off to the other side. Flowers turns in his rush and dives at Cutler. He grabs his shirt and spins in the air. Meanwhile at the Bat Cave, #65 pushed his way off the double team and was right in front of Cutler pushing off the OC. He turned and rammed straight into Cutler's gut, as Flowers tore him to the ground spinning like a spinning top to force the punt. Cyrus Jones had a good return. He actually ran straight up field and made one guy miss with his quick feet.

1st and 10, with a scant 3:52 to go in the 1st half, with the Pats not doing as good as we hoped. Which brings us to the play of the game. The Pats go into a 3-3 Nickel. Cyrus Jones is lined up outside on the Blindside. He has inside leverage, and turns sideways and shuffles downfield eyeing the QB. This great play was no accidental. He sees Hoyer eyeing his man, and when Hoyer winds up, Cyrus stops and runs around the WR. I mean, he was three-friggin-steps past the WR when the ball arrived (you have to say that sentence out loud like your are Doctor Evil). That was the best reaction to a pass I have seen by a CBÖ inÖ I don't know how long. Then he is returning a punt. He makes one guy miss, but runs inside towards all the big O-linemen instead of outside to keep them out of the play. Logan Ryan better get his ass on the field, because Cyrus Friggin' Jones is jumping some routes.

That really was the play of the game, because the Pats were really struggling to match the Bears before that INT. "Yeah, that's a big play for us," BB said. "Really that's when you have an opportunity to go on a run in football, is the score, have good kick coverage, get good field position, and either get the ball back in good field position or turn it over and be able to convert that to points. We ended up starting the second half with the ball so that was another scoring opportunity. I think we got a field goal out of that on the first drive of the third quarter, so we were able to string some points together consecutively there, which is obviously what we want to try to do. But the turnover was good. Cyrus made a good play undercutting the route, obviously has good hands, made a good play on the ball and set the offense up. It was good complimentary football for us: good defense, good offense, good special teams, good defense, good offense, good special teams. Hopefully we can play like that more consistently." It was all gravy for the Pats after that play.

They scored on the drive before this play, and got a couple of TDs after to be miraculously up six at halftime. After being down 11 with under five Minutes to go in the half. It didn't start with Cyrus's interception, but the comeback was clearly powered by his great INT.

The Pats defense comes back out after the offense gets them within two. They match up in a basic 4-2 Nickel. Flowers hops inside the tight end and burst straight up field with his inside arm and elbow on the OLT. He gets up field so fast the RB has to stop running outside on the off tackle play. Valentine got a nice rush inside of Flowers that forced the RB to stop and try to cut back. #65 read the play and crushed the RB and tossed him spinning to the ground like a spinning top. He was the best D-linemen in this game.

2nd and 13, Pats go 3-3 Nickel against a bunched-up Shotgun. They run play action, and #65 explodes off the snap so fast that he ducks under the ORG's arm and is otherwise completely untouched. He smashes into the RB four yards deep in the backfield, and ducks into his legs. The collision caused him to flip over in front of Cuter. Who throws a quick slip-screen to the WR. Collins flies outside and tackles the WR as quick as #65 is off the snap. Long and Coleman get in on the tackle as well.

3rd and 10, Long does a nice job stunting inside. He drags the ORT inside, and slams into the ORG. This allows #65 to stunt outside of him. He gets blocked in the back by the ORT (which wasn't called). Then he stumbles towards Hoyer, and slaps his shoulder pad as he throws the ball away to force the punt. The punter actually had a great punt. He knocked it all the way to the Pats-26. But Cyrus is starting to show more and more why the Pats targeted him in the 2nd round. He retuned it 15-yards to the 42. He really put the Pats defense in good position to score before the Half ends.  

 

Surprise-Surprise?

By TOM

The game started out with surprise start for Jimmy-G. "Pretty suddenly before the game," Jimmy-G said about Brady cutting his wittle-fwinger. "I didn't think I was going to, but then some stuff came up and I got tossed in there. It was a good test I guess, it always keeps you on your toes. Coach [Belichick] always preaches, you never know when you're going to go in or when your number is going to get called. You just have to be ready for it." It all still reeks of BS to me.

This was another nice way for BB to try and simulate some surprise situations for Jimmy-G. "I made the decision for him not to play tonight," BB said. "That's part of football. Things happen that are unexpected. He's been prepared for that since the day that he got here. I think all of our players are. Sometimes things happen and they change and you have to adjust to them. On offense, for the quarterbacks, we refer to that as an audible." He loves to mess with young QBs and see how they handle the mental stuff, like suddenly thrusting them into the game when least expected, and then they have to produce.

Jimmy-G started off a too slow again. "It was still not our best start," Jimmy said. "We started with another three-and-out which is never good, but after that, I think we got into a nice rhythm offensively. Obviously, the defense playing good always helps us. It's just complementary football." If he starts out like this against Arizona it will be trouble.

The offense's bad start in the first two drives led to big trouble for the team. "I don't know exactly what we were in the red zone tonight, but we just have to finish some of those drives," Jimmy-G said. "We got the ball down there, we were moving it well, had some long drives, slot plays, but we've got to finish at the end. The two-minute drive before the half, we executed pretty well all the way across the board. Just good play calling. Got the ball in the end zone. That's always what you hope for. And then the two-point [conversion] to top it off." He did a good job pulling things together after it looked like it was going to be a long night.

They cannot put themselves in a hole like that against Arizona. "We didn't start off [very GD well, GD-it]," BB said. "I mean really. We didn't do much in the first quarter period. We made a red-area stop, gave up the touchdown, the two-point conversion, couldn't make a first down on offense. Maybe we made one there. We only had the ball for seven or eight plays in the first quarter, so it was combination of not being able to move the ball and not being able to get off the field on third down. We had a bunch of penalties on those drives which are always costly: defensive holding, defensive interference. Then they converted a couple of plays. Just overall we've got to coach better. We've got to play better. We've got to get off to a better start. I thought the team responded well after a slow start to come back and really compete for the next three quarters but that first quarter, we've got to do a better job than that." But you have to love the surprise start, and the mental games by BB to put Jimmy-G into surprise situations and see how he recovers.

The goods news is that he recovered nicely, remained efficient, and still hasn't thrown an interception in the Preseason. "I think Jimmy's been pretty consistent through camp," BB said. "We'll look at the film and take a look at everything tonight, but again, taking care of the football and taking advantage of our opportunities offensively. If the goal line had been the 3-yard line we would've scored two more touchdowns but it wasn't, so finishing those drives is an area we need to do better in, but had we done that we'd be looking at a lot more production offensively than what we actually had. You get up there in the 30's where you'd like to be. I thought it was a decent performance by everybody offensively. Again, it's hard to evaluate each player when you've got 11 of them out there running around all at the same time. I like us taking care of the ball and not turning it over and creating some field position in the kicking game or the turnovers that we had defensively. Those things all bode well." The best news is that once Jimmy-G gets going he can get real hot for a long time.

1st Quarter: Pats Offense.

By TOM

Garoppolo finally cam out under center with 8:55 on the clock. The Bears had controlled the ball for almost half the 1st quarter on their first drive. The Pats come out in an I, with Garoppolo surprised he got the start. I love this move by Belichick. He hands it off to Blount, and you can see he is on already. He makes a great subtle cut outside, as two Bears burst up the gut. He slices outside of Solder's shoulder, as he is driving the DE inside. Then he lowers his head for four. They pulled Kline to the left, so maybe it was a designed cutback. Andrews got beat inside, but had a tough block to cut left into the DT lined up in front of Kline, but he did keep the DT out of the play. Thuney helped him out with a double team block that put them and bunch of other guys on the ground.

I like that Blount didn't turn his shoulder pads sideways like last week, which helped to make the run game more consistent for the other backs as well. "I think you characterized it perfectly," BB said. "It was more consistent, more consistent plays. Whereas last week we had, whatever it was, six or seven negative runs. We had a couple of longer ones that kind of made the yardage look OK, but when you put those negative runs in the drive you end up in long yardage and cant convert on third down and give the ball up and it really starts with the negative runs. Always our number one goal is: to keep the ball moving forward, to make forward progress, to obviously stay out of long yardage by making positive plays. I thought we did a much better job of that this week. There were a lot of three and four yard plays that weren't highlight looking plays but kept us in second-and-medium, third-and-medium, third-and-short. That being said, we still need to do a better job on third down conversions, but they were a lot more convertible, if you will, this week than some of the third-and-13's and 11's that we had last week." He kept his pads angled forward as consistently as he could. Then lower his head while punishing into defenders on the 2nd level. 

2nd and 6, Pats go 4-Wide Strong Shotgun. They put Bryce Williams in motion going left to right, and run a draw to Blount cutting back behind him. It turns into a huge scrum again. Solder seals the DE outside. Thuney attacks the DT, and falls down. Blount turns up field and runs between Solder's seal, and Thuney's body on the ground. He lowers his head and stumbles for four.

3rd and 2, Pats go 4-Wide Strong shotgun. The O-line gives Garoppolo time. He hits Dopson, who completely burned the CB on a quick out, on the wrong shoulder. That is almost unforgivable. I don't know what the heck Fauria is talking about. He never would have made that catch. Dopson was so wide open he was already thinking about turning up field, and the ball is behind his back shoulder, almost into the shoulder of the CB. He twisted back and his arms got jammed. Jimmy-G turned a simple pitch and catch into a near disaster. That non-3rd down conversion was 100% on Jimmy-G.

4th and 2, The Pats are forced to punt and Grissom makes the tackle on a kick return again. He has been the surprise special teams player of the Preseason so far.

So far the difference in this game is that the veteran QB Cutler was converting 3rd downs, and Garoppolo wasn't. "I thought tonight was a little bit of an up and down night," BB said. "We did some good things. We improved on some things from last week. [We] need more consistency in several areas I think we need to work on. So we'll do that. It seemed like once we got going a little bit there in the second quarter we were able to get off the field a little bit defensively, move the ball offensively, score some points. I thought the drive at the end of the half was a well-executed drive; good situational football there offensively. I thought we played much better in the kicking game. That was a big point of emphasis this week and I thought the players responded to that well. Our coverage was much improved. There were some positive things there to work with tonight but we just need to have another good week here." That is why they are down 11 as Garoppolo comes out for his second drive late in the 1st quarter.

1st and 10, Pats in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. Jimmy-G hits White on a screen to the strongside. Kline gets out in front first. Andrews flies outside and hits the DB out in front of White that allows him to cut back. Then he hops behind Cannon and dives down for Three.

2nd and 7, Pats come out in a 4-Wide Singleback. Jimmy fakes the WR screen, and hands the ball underneath to Bolden. Thuney, Andrews, and Bennett already have most of the D-line cleared out, but Kline is in a battle in front of Bolden. Bolden slash past them, but the DT sheds Kline and prevents Bolden from running up field behind his three good blocks. So he has to continue at an angle for a nice run. It had been able to turn up field he would have gotten a lot more than five.

3rd and 2, Pats go 3-Wide shotgun. The whole O-line is great in pass pro. Jimmy holds onto it for too long. But Bennett finally breaks open in the left flat. He catches it smoothly for a 1st down.

One thing about Bennett is that he has great soft hands. "Heís a big player," BB said. "Heís talented, blocks well, runs well, he has got skills in the passing game and the running game. I'd say thereís really not a whole lot that it looks like he canít do. It looks like he can do pretty much everything you want a tight end to do. Heís smart, very smart. He handles the formations and adjustments and things like that, which are a big part of our offense at that position. He handles those well, and itís been pretty easy." He makes it look easy.

1st and 10, Pats come out in an I. They give it Blount. He comes up to the line a little slow. Sidesteps a defender, and then cuts behind a great Cannon block. He drove the DE three yards inside. He was heading for the 1st, when three defenders dragged him down from behind.

2nd and 8. Pats go Singleback. They give the ball to Blount again. He slashes to the right behind the right side of the line and the twin TEs they lined up outside of them. He has one man to beat, and he beat him with a great straight arm. Then he turns up field and makes a nice herky-jerky move to cut back over midfield, and finally gets tackled at the 46 for a 21-yard run.

1st and 10, Pats go Empty. Jimmy-G fires a bullet at Harper. But he is tackled by the CB before the ball arrived. The O-line was terrific. They bring four and blitz the ILB late. Kline catches him and stuffs him to give Jimmy-G the time he needs to draw the pass interference call.

1st and 10, Pats come out in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. They run a screen to Hogan to force Jimmy-G to throw him the ball. But there are more defenders than blockers outside and Hogan has no place to go.

He has been the missing piece in the Preseason games so far. "For me, itís another game, another opportunity to play with this team," Hogan said. "For them to get to know me and to get yourself ready for the season. Weíll be excited to get back to work and get ready for this third preseason [game]." He needs to start making plays within the offense.

2nd and 10, Pats stay in the 4-wide shotgun but put the twin TEs on the blindside, the twin WRs on the strongside, and Bolden on Garoppolo's right. Garoppolo hits Bolden, who was uncovered swinging out of the backfield for nicely gift-wrapped 1st down. He ended up running for 17-yards and into the Redzone. The O-line had excellent protection. Cannon got beat a little to the outside. The DE got his hand up a little in Garoppolo's face as he threw, but that was it.

1st and 10, Pats in their Big-Ugly-I. They give it to Blount and he cuts back for six. Kline cut blocks right off the snap, and Andrews blocked over his body. Thuney helped Andrews turn the NT, and then hit the ILB on the second level. That was a great block. Solder tried to seal the DE outside, but he slipped him. However, he did keep him out of the play. Fleming had a nice block on the OLB outside of Solder.

2nd and 4, they stay in the Big-Ugly-I. "I want to see the LeGarrette that I know can be a dominant player when he's playing up his ssshhhh," Pats RB coach Ivan Fears said. "I want to see him get back to that. He's been hurt, he's been away from us. There's a lot of opportunity there for him. Let's see what he can do. There's got to be some consistency in his play, there's got to be production. Of course with his size we expect to see some physicality." They run a dive to Blount again, and he skips for the 1st.

This time Kline pulls to the left. Andrews and Thuney handles the NT, and Thuney slips off and hits the ILB on a great combo block again. Blount skips between the pulling Kline and Andrews holding on, and straight arms Thuney as he cuts past him for the 1st. Solder and Fleming were just effective enough on the edge again.

1st and goal from the 7, they line up in the Big-Ugly-I again. "I look for the physical toughness," Fears said. "I hope they can execute what we've taught them at this point, and I want to see them play the game and make plays.  Everything's about: making plays, doing the right thing, playing the game, executing the offense, and then being productive. It's no fun if they're: not productive out there, making guys miss, running over a couple of ssshhhh's, and that kind of ssshhhh, and let's go. So we'll see what happens." Bears hold up the line a little, and force Blount to dance in the backfield. He falls down for one.

Andrews gets jammed back right off the snap by the NT, which blocked Kline trying to pull to the left again. Develin met the blitzing linebacker head on head, and they both fall down. Solder knocked the DE off the line, but can't hold on. Fleming sealed the OLB outside. Cannon and Bennett were efficient on the Strongside again. Blount tries to follow Kline, and has to redirect a little. He lowered his head and got what he can. The play was really just blown up by the Nose Tackle.

2nd and goal from the 7, Pats go 4-Wide shotgun. They run a draw to Bolden. He dances behind Thuney and Andrews. Then he bursts outside. There is a ton of green as the Bears had over pursued inside. He sprints to the corner, and he gets wiped out by three defenders and fumbles the ball.

That was just a brutal way to end the drive for everyone. "Like I said before, finishing with the touchdown is obviously what we wanted to come away with," Jimmy-G said. "I forget how many seconds exactly, but I think it was like 12 or 13, something like that left on the clock. Taking the last shot, especially in the first half like that is really what we always try to do. We don't want to give them another opportunity to score. It was executed pretty well. It's just something good to build off of." So they essentially end the 1st quarter down eleven, even though this drive continued to almost the 11-minute mark in the 2nd.

 

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