Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

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    Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    Cosell Talks: 2011 Elevated Belichick’s Legacy

    by Greg Cosell

    A little more than a week has passed since the New England Patriots lost Super Bowl 46. The feeling always persists that a loss by the Bill Belichick /Tom Brady tandem in a big game signifies an upset of major proportions. Much has been written and said about the negative impact the championship loss to the Giants will have on the respective legacies of the head coach and the quarterback.

    Let’s inject some reality into the discussion. It can easily be argued that Belichick did one of the best coaching jobs of his career this season. I broke down every game on tape, ending of course with the Super Bowl. It struck me as I finished reviewing all my notes that New England was not an overly talented team in 2011. What they achieved was remarkable given their overall deficiencies.


    Aaron Hernandez (AP)

    We know that Brady is a Hall of Fame quarterback. We also know that Wes Welker is an outstanding slot receiver, the preeminent player at the position over the last 5 years. In addition, the tight end combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez is the NFL’s best. Hernandez evolved into the league’s ultimate chess piece, a player difficult to locate and more challenging to cover.

    The general perception is New England’s offense was dynamic and explosive. The regular season numbers substantiated that. They led the league with 72 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Certainly, that’s very impressive. In the final analysis, however, it’s misleading.

    Let’s dig a little deeper, as I did in conversations with some defensive coordinators this past week. Coaches speak about dimensions when game planning, and despite the presence of Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez, the Patriots did not possess any vertical threat in their passing game. They could not stretch the field. They could not attack with the deep ball. It was a dimension they lacked, and in fact, one they have been missing since the 2007 season, Randy Moss’ last productive year in New England.

    Did they compensate for it more often than not in 2011? Absolutely. Was it an issue against the Ravens in the AFC Championship, and the Giants in the Super Bowl. Without question. They could not camouflage that limitation against either defense.

    I understand that a more fortuitous bounce of the ball on 2 occasions could have given the Patriots another championship, but that only validates the point. This team won 15 games, and was in position to win the Super Bowl without a critical offensive component, one that every team covets and is necessary for a complete and multi-dimensional offense. The ability to overcome that deficiency was the result of outstanding coaching and elite quarterback play.

    Let’s turn our attention to the Patriots’ defense. In a passing league, you must be able to rush the quarterback, and cover in the secondary. New England did neither well. They allowed almost 300 yards passing per game, the second highest total in the NFL, and more completions of 20 plus yards than any team in the league. They had a revolving door in the defensive backfield that featured street free agents and wide receivers, and they did not generate consistent pressure on quarterbacks.

    Julian Edelman (AP)

    Belichick made it clear just how poor his team was in the back end with his use of personnel. Matthew Slater? Julian Edelman? I know he’s utilized offensive players in the past (Troy Brown) with some success, but this year’s version was not genius, it was desperation. My guess is Belichick felt the same way. If he felt comfortable with the play of his defensive backs he would not have taken this course of action. It was not a surprise that Edelman, who had been the slot corner much of the last month of the season, did not play a defensive snap against the Giants in the Super Bowl.

    The simple truth was the Patriots had a poor defense in 2011. We can blame personnel decisions but that’s a different conversation. They still had to line up and play with what they had, and the fact that Belichick was able to get this team to the Super Bowl was extraordinary.

    The Patriots competed for their fourth Super Bowl championship in the Belichick /Brady era with a flawed team, a team with significant limitations. Think of it this way: In a league now defined by explosive passing, the Patriots could neither throw the ball deep nor stop opposing passing games. Yet, they were a few plays away from winning the Super Bowl. The respective legacies of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady should be enhanced by the 2011 season, not diminished.

    FEEL BETTER?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from JimfromFlorida. Show JimfromFlorida's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films.

    AMEN
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from pezz4pats. Show pezz4pats's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    The only thing I think he should have noted is that BB did make attempts to correct these things.
    The problem is that; Carter, Cunningham, Tarpinian, Barrett, Dowling, Pryor, Lockett, all ended up on IR.  To mention a few.
    Ocho....  Mental IR....who knew?
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from BabeParilli. Show BabeParilli's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    Like I say, we wouldn't even sniff the playoffs without Brady leading this collection, with exceptions you can count on one hand, of nobodys.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.


    Yep.  A couple of us on this site have been saying pretty much the same thing for weeks.  The team lacks talent and BB did a masterful job getting it as far as he got it.  
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    There have been some people saying this all along and we have been bashed harshly for it. What's the big deal? We have no deep threat and despite what some say...it is important. We have a sub standard defense and despite that when you have a coach like BB they will improve enough until they have to face a real challenge (I didn't consider Denver or Baltimore good offenses, just good fortune to be playing them on our part).

    With 20 plus million to spend they can solve a lot of these problems if they want to.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rocky. Show Rocky's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    Very well written and unbiased.......So true----  :)  and :(
     
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  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from pezz4pats. Show pezz4pats's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation. : as a non-pats fan and not one who follows them I have an honest question: why has BB the GM given BB the coach/defensive wizard such a collection of players as this to begin with? he's done well but with the subpar talent he assembled on D
    Posted by JintsFan[/QUOTE]

    1/3 of the original defense was IR'd and others were cut for medical reasons.  Also McCourty, Spikes, Chung, missed significant time on D.  Not many free agents available to replace those players, so they promoted PS players, picked up guys off the street, converted offensive players and went with what they had.  They ended up in the SB with 13 undrafted FAs.  Not too shabby for a patchwork team.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from newenglanderinexile. Show newenglanderinexile's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation. : as a non-pats fan and not one who follows them I have an honest question: why has BB the GM given BB the coach/defensive wizard such a collection of players as this to begin with? he's done well but with the subpar talent he assembled on D
    Posted by JintsFan[/QUOTE]

    Ask the GMs of the twenty-five teams that have not done much in the last decade why they can't put together a consistently competitive team despite having high draft choices year after year.  Given the fact that the Patriots never get a chance to select the very best players in the draft (unless, like Gronkowski, they somehow slip through the cracks), Belichick the GM has not done badly.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from carawaydj. Show carawaydj's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.:
    [QUOTE]Yep.  A couple of us on this site have been saying pretty much the same thing for weeks.  The team lacks talent and BB did a masterful job getting it as far as he got it.  
    Posted by prolate0spheroid[/QUOTE]

    What I liked about this year is that what they lacked in talent they made up for in heart.  Looking forward to next season.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    "The general perception is New England’s offense was dynamic and explosive. The regular season numbers substantiated that. They led the league with 72 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Certainly, that’s very impressive. In the final analysis, however, it’s misleading."

    I love that line....The regular season numbers substantiated that. It is perfect because it was the same in 2007 when we had the best "field stretching wr" in NFL history. Regular season was great but with no run game a pass heavy offense can be contained in the post season.

    Wait so how is 72 pass plays for over 20 yards misleading?

    Because we had a lot of yac?

    Because we couldn't stretch the field??????

    Tom Brady just had his highest ever yards per completion of his career

    20071639857868.94,8068.32506984117.2

    20111640161165.65,2358.573999124105.6


    How are we not stretching the field when we have 72 plays of over 20 yards?

    In 2007 we had 57 plays of over 20 yards. We had 2,000 yac in 07 as well. The number goes up in 2011 with more 400 more receiving yards.

    A 6ft 6 TE running routes 20 yards down field is as good as a 6ft wr running 20 yard routes down field. The field is stretched both horizontally and vertically in our system.

    Sure I would like to see a 6ft3 4.3 40 yard guy running 50 yards down field but that is a very low percentage pass to throw,(especially at Brady's age) and if it is only to "stretch the field" then why pay a guy who would demand that attention(V-Jax etc) a lot of coin when you already have a passing offense that is one of the best ever???

    The real problem with our offense is that teams in the playoffs know at the 1st sign of adversity (or before in recent playoff history) we will fall back on our crutch Brady and they game plan to take it away.

    It happened in 07,2010, and this year. Until we have a real threat of a run game teams will play the pass and slow our one dimensional offense down in the playoffs. Play action doesn't work when you know we are going to throw it.
     
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    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    If the Pats had won that SB (and let's be honest, they were one dropped pass away from it) then this team and its miraculous march to the SB would have been disected 6 ways from Sunday.  The talking heads would have been talking about Brady having one of the best years ever by a QB.  BB would once again be have the word genius liberally applied to his name. 

    Sadly though, they lost and since we live in a what have you done for me now and losers suck like society, this year somehow has would up being more of a smudge on their legacy than a further building block to it. 

    I'm looking forward to the 2012 season like I've never looked forward to a season before.  Locking up a few key players, adding a few FA's, and drafting with defense in mind is going to make this team a powerhouse.  Granted things need to fall right, but still, you can't help but feel good about their chances considering the year we just had. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from CommChairman. Show CommChairman's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    What makes you say this article is an unbiased observation? His fawning mention of 'elite QB play' and 'outstanding coaching' has to be considered in context with never beating a team with a winning record all season. That was why the Pats were able to progress so far with a flawed team. The Patriots faced a weak schedule that didn't prepare them for the higher standard of the playoffs. In fact, Tebow saved them from potentially facing both the physical Steelers and the Ravens back to back. I'm not sugar coating it like Greg Cosell. The time may have come for Belichick to find a GM he can work closely with. There is evidence that his ability to handle both coaching and GM responsibilities at a high level is waning.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from BostonTrollSpanker. Show BostonTrollSpanker's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    " I'm not sugar coating it like Greg Cosell."

    so you consider this season a failure then? 

    Let's hear you say it. 

    Every other AFC team sitting at home and the Pats failed eh?  

    You're not sugar coating it, your crapping on it. 

    Tell us, what did you achieve in your own life while the Pats went to the Super Bowl? 

    Oh, and what if they had won? Would you have kept it real for us then as well?
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kaib. Show kaib's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    Pats offense in 2011 did not have any deep threats  so were not able to stretch the field, then what happened in 2007 that was built on stretching the field with long bombs ended up with just 14 points.

    This game atleast you can say they left some points on field by key drops and some bad decisions by Brady.

    In SB 42 TB was getting hit and was under constant pressure which he did not have to deal with in this SB.The offensive line did a great job and also all quck passing game negated the passrush most of the game.

    Reality is Giants match up well with Pats on defense and they have QB who is not overwhelmed on big stage and last but not least luck also played major part in Giants winning both Sbs.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation. : as a non-pats fan and not one who follows them I have an honest question: why has BB the GM given BB the coach/defensive wizard such a collection of players as this to begin with? he's done well but with the subpar talent he assembled on D
    Posted by JintsFan[/QUOTE]


    In fairness to BB the GM, because of the Pats' consistent high finishes, he has earned low draft picks each year and also lost a few draft picks thanks to spygate and the compensation paid to the Jets when BB came on board.  He's traded down or into future years to try to increase both the quantity of current picks and the quality of future picks, but the Pats' exceptional record of winning means we earn bottom-of-round picks every year, so we start out a bit behind most other teams. 

    That said, there have been mistakes in talent evaluation that have led to a number of busts.  BB's success at judging talent isn't terrible, but it isn't vastly above average either.  The heavy reliance on complicated schemes has its toll, as well, because players need to be smart as well as physically talented and it's not always easy to get both. 

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation. : In fairness to BB the GM, because of the Pats' consistent high finishes, he has earned low draft picks each year and also lost a few draft picks thanks to spygate and the compensation paid to the Jets when BB came on board.  He's traded down or into future years to try to increase both the quantity of current picks and the quality of future picks, but the Pats' exceptional record of winning means we earn bottom-of-round picks every year, so we start out a bit behind most other teams.  That said, there have been mistakes in talent evaluation that have led to a number of busts.  BB's success at judging talent isn't terrible, but it isn't vastly above average either.  The heavy reliance on complicated schemes has its toll, as well, because players need to be smart as well as physically talented and it's not always easy to get both. 
    Posted by prolate0spheroid[/QUOTE]

    This is a great statement.

    As a coach he's the best without question

    As a personal guy... well he's average at best and subpar at worst but things are starting to look brighter as some of our personal guys are gaining traction and I think BB is giving them a little more leverage in personal decisions
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    Oh, wow. He basically said what I was saying before the season started. NE is a few pieces away. 

    A deep threat and a couple good players on defense. 

    NE was, ahem, 2-18 on pass attempts over 30 yards. Even in the world of low percentage passes, that is incredibly low percentage. It severely limits the options you have.

    The saddest part is that they acheived those numbers with practically no attention paid to their deep game. Most of those incompletes were in one-off coverage. And the book against all NE is letting the safeties come close to the line (10-15 yrds). It makes defending their short passes easier, and defending the run easier. 

    It's as old as the forward pass. You need to challenge the deep part of the field -- and geriatric WRs on the edge aren't going to do that. 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from pezz4pats. Show pezz4pats's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    His fawning mention of 'elite QB play' and 'outstanding coaching' has to be considered in context with never beating a team with a winning record all season

    This stat, although true on the surface, is very misleading.
    There were only 12 teams with winning records this year.  (12/32)

    There were 8 teams with 8-8 records.  The Pats played 6 of them (7 if you count the Jets twice) which means 6 of 8 of those teams would have had winning records if the Pats hadn't beaten them.
    The entire AFC West was 8-8 except for KC which was 7-9. Again, they would have had winning records if the Pats hadn't beat them.

    There were 5 teams with less than 5 wins.  The Pats only played 1 of them (indy)
    You can't always take stats at face value.

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    When you boil the entire season down, we get two things:  #1 - the offense was there most of the time; #2 - the defense wasn't there much of the time.
     
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  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from GO47. Show GO47's posts

    Re: Great article on the Pats by Greg Cosell of NFL Films. An unbiased observation.

    I still think they had the right formula when Charlie was the coordinator. They didn't depend so much on Brady's arm. They ran with Smith then Dillion grinding out the yards keeping the defense off the field and the other teams offense on the side lines. It opened up the passing game.

    It's all about balance and keeping the other teams off balance.
     

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