Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

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    Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

         Are the 2009 New Patriots a great team? At the start of this season, many of us thought that the answer to that question was obvious. Great teams are those that find ways to win close games, and are teams capable of winning on the road. So, what do we make of the fact that the Patriots have now lost five games in twelve tries...two by one point, and one in OT...and that all five of their losses have come on the road? 

         The answer? The 2009 Patriots are obviously not a great team. Owners of a 7-5 record, the question now is whether they are even a good team? The lack of pride, poise, leadership, and urgency that this team displayed in the key five game stretch of their season (Miami, @ Indy, Jets, @ New Orleans, @ Miami) has been disheartening, to say the least.

         This latest debacle in Miami, coming off the embarrassment in New Orleans, is inexcusable. Here are my richly deserved grades:

          A.) OFFENSE:
    Once again failed to perform anywhere near expectations in the clutch. The Pats blew a chance at blowing away the Dolphins when they failed on two tries to gain a yard from the Miami 6 yard, late in the first half. Had they finished that drive, they would likely had gone off with a 21-7 halftime lead, and the ball game. Instead, the momentum changing stop resulted in a 10 point swing, with cut the lead to just 14-10. Then, after scoring a quick TD in the second half to go up 21-10, the offense allowed itself to be shut-out over the final 27 minutes.

    1.) QB: A great performance was negated by one boneheaded play, in which Brady threw an interception from the Miami 4 yard line, with 8 minutes remaining in the game. Such a play is something that might be expected of a rookie...not a battle harden SB champion. Though it wasn't the only reason why the Patriots lost this game, it was a certainly a significant factor. The play ruined Tom's 19/29 for 352 yards performance.

         In some ways, this was an even more disheartening defeat than the one point loss in Indy. Sad too was the fact that the so-called "great" Patriots' offense was unable to respond with a comeback of their own in the closing minutes...as rushed Brady was picked again:
    GRADE: D+;

    2.) RBs: Had their moments early, but couldn't get the tough yards when needed in the closing minutes of the first half. In fairness to the RBs, its' hard to gain yardage when the OL provides no running room. The fact that the Pats couldn't gain at least 100 rushing yards against a marshmallowy Miami middle is further evidence of the finesse team that the Patriots have become:
    GRADE: D;

    3.) OL: Aside from the usual Nick Kaczur problems on the right side, the unit did a fair job of protecting Tom Brady for the majority of the game. But, Kaczur nearly got Brady killed, yet again. Poor protection also contributed to the game ending interception on the Pats' last ditch drive. Of course, had the big uglies been able to get even a little push in two tries from the Miami Miami 6 late in the first half, last second heroics would not have been needed.

         For those of you who think that BB should have kicked a FG...if the "mighty" New England Patriots cannot gain a single yard in two tries against the front-seven challenged Dolphins, they deserve to lose. Also, I'm sure BB is very much aware that his defense is not exactly the second coming of the "85 Bears. 
    GRADE: D;

    4.) TEs & WRs: Might as well use another offensive tackle instead of a TE. The last time I can remember the TEs being a big part of the passing attack was week one against Buffalo. As for the WRs, Wes Welker is the Patriots' offense. With 10 more receptions for 167 yards, the diminutive Welker nearly carried the Pats' on his back to victory. For the third straight game, Randy Moss had his difficulties. Once again, the Patriots' lack of a quality 3rd WR to play opposite him led to Moss being constantly double-teamed...and minimal production. Sure, Sam Aiken had the one big play for 81 yards and a TD. But, how much more damage could the offense accomplish with a freed up Moss...and, for that matter, with freed up TEs?:
    GRADE: B- (but an A+ for Welker).

          B.) DEFENSE: I find that its' getting increasingly more difficult as the weeks go by to comment on this group without using profanity. No pass rush, a soft secondary that seems to have problems tackling. This group can't get off the field on 3rd downs, and who can never be counted upon to make a game saving stop. It a gutless, rudderless crew, with a  defensive coordinator who doesn't seem to have a clue.

    1.) DL: Did a good job in containing RB Ricky Williams. But, could apply no pressure to young Dolphin QB, Chad Henne. As a result, the secondary got exposed, yet again:
    GRADE: D;

    2.) LBs: The ILBs, Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton, continue to consistently hold the fort in the middle, and make plays. But, as been the case pretty much throughout the season, the OLBs contributed little in pass coverage, and less as pass rushers. Did Adalius Thomas and Derrick Burgess even bother to suit up for this one?
    GRADE: D;

    3.) SECONDARY: This unit embarrassed itself again, as it allowed Chad Henne...yes...Chad Henne, to pass for 335 yards and 2 TDs. When given the opportunity to ice the game, this crew allowed Henne to convert on a 4th and 6, leading to the game winning FG. Why was this bunch playing so far off the talent challenged 'Fins' receivers? Its' the equivalent of Terry Francona playing his outfield deep while pitching to Mario Mendoza. Too many yards after catch...too many missed tackles...too many sorry performances such as this one:
    GRADE: F;

          C.) SPECIAL TEAMS:
    Did a good job on kick coverage containing Ted Ginn, Jr. Horrible job on kickoff returns. The Mathew Slater experiment as a kick returner is clearly not working. While Mathew has the straight ahead speed, he seems to lack the vision and "the wiggle" that the good return men all seem to have. It shouldn't have been necessary for Chris Hanson to punt five times. Nonetheless,  Hanson did his job, averaging 50 yards per kick. Wes Welker once again chipped in with good work as a punt return. For what he does for this ream, the Pats should at least be paying him time and a half:
    GRADE: C+;

         D.) COACHING: This team needs a kick in the pants. The poise, pride, and dignity that was the hallmark of this team throughout this decade appears gone. This team has now lost three games that they should have won...in Denver, in Indy, and in Miami. This loss was more reminiscent of the Denver loss than the Indy loss, yet they are all similar. They stem from an offense that can't pick up key first downs when needed, and a defense that couldn't stop a three year old on a tricycle in a clutch situation. The disturbing habit of being outscored, outplayed, and outcoached in the second half of games, reared its' ugly head one again today. 

         Can somebody please explain to me why, on a 3rd and 2 from the New England 43, the Patriots' chose to throw a one yard pass to Kevin Faulk? Didn't the coaches learn anything from that dreadful 4th and 2 play call in Indy? Agreed with going for it on 4th and one from the 6. But, once again, whose calling the plays? QB sneak, play action pass...or even the old unreliable one yard pass (when two yards are needed) to Kevin Faulk would seem to have made more sense...especially with their all finesse all the time OL? 

         Can someone please explain to me why more isn't being done to muster a pass rush on a relatively inexperienced QB like Henne? Over the decade, the Pats' "D" have eaten guys like this for lunch. Why were the CBs playing so far off the Dolphin WRs? 

         Too many questions, and far, far too few answers:
    GRADE: F

         E.) PLAY OF THE GAME: The dreadful Brady interception in the endzone;

         F.) GAME BALL: In a losing cause...Wes Welker. In the winning cause, Chad Henne...for showing the poise that the Pats' team has been lacking throughout the season in converting on a 4th and 6...leading to the game winning FG.

         Here are the sickening stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=291206015

         Thoughts?
                   
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from harleyroadking103. Show harleyroadking103's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    TexasPat the oline deserves an F minus. 3 and 4 man rushes should never touch Brady... inexcusable.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from harleyroadking103. Show harleyroadking103's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    TP3, they have one pass rusher-TBC and he would be a backup on most teams. Burgess-invisible, A.T.-invisible, Warren-invisible, Green-invisible
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from TheFantasyBaron. Show TheFantasyBaron's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Playoffs?! Did you say playoffs?!

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from K-max. Show K-max's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    I think your being overly kind to Mayo and Guyton but other then that what can you say this is a bad team. 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from jedinate. Show jedinate's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    A tough but honest assesment. It all rolls down hill and BB is having his worst year, decision-wise, of his Patriot's career. We don't honestly have a corner that is a clear #1 and trading Seymour is looking worse every game as Wilfork continues to be double teamed all day.

    And I don't agree with the 4th down call; Miami games are always tough, take the points.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from LifeTimePat. Show LifeTimePat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Tex...the answer, as we ALL know it and have been saying it over and over and over again does NOT lie with the NE players but with the coaches who put them in a position to either succeed or fail.  A fade route to a double covered Moss that's picked May be blamed on Brady for not checking  down, but it lies on O'Idiot for making that call...similarly, THREE left tackle runs to pick up a yard?? what happend to a stretch etc....

    In our winning days, our coaches put a bunch of MEDIOCRE players (except for a few) in a position to win and they came thru.  Now, the opposite is true.
    The first step remains to demote Pees and Obrien to line coaches where they belong and hire real DCs and OCs

    BB had Dom capers last year and squandered him away...look what he's done this year...

    Nothing will change till we have the right coordinators...

    great post btw

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from mountainmonkey. Show mountainmonkey's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Tp3...richly deserved grades to be sure.....I also gave them a P...an A...T...H...E..  T...I...C...and creates a word I never though I would use in reference to this team in this era....
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD:
    A tough but honest assesment. It all rolls down hill and BB is having his worst year, decision-wise, of his Patriot's career. We don't honestly have a corner that is a clear #1 and trading Seymour is looking worse every game as Wilfork continues to be double teamed all day. And I don't agree with the 4th down call; Miami games are always tough, take the points.
    Posted by jedinate


         Part of the reason why BB is chosing to gamble so much on 4th down likely stems from lack of confidence in his defense. After all...can you really blame him? What happened after the Pats turned the ball over on downs? The relatively weaponless Dolphins marched right down the field and kicked a FG.

         Pleeaassseee...stop with the trading Seymour was a mistake nonsense. For whatever reason, Seymour stopped being a major factor for this team ever since he got paid big money...and after a Kevin Maewae illegal chop block took out his knee in NY, in 2004. BB should be arrested for grand larceny for getting what will likely be a top 10 draft pick for Seymour, in 2011.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from nyjoseph. Show nyjoseph's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    TP.  You nailed it in every area.  Always a pleasure to read your recaps (even after another horrible loss).
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ricky1554atl. Show ricky1554atl's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Agree with most of everything you posted, with the exception of two things. First, going for it on 4th down in the 2nd quarter. You kick the field goal and take the points. It's only the 2nd quarter. Real bad call. Second, the game ball should go to....nobody. As a matter of fact, the coaching staff should take back some of the game balls they have already handed out in previous games.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from DBAZ22. Show DBAZ22's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Spot on TP with your grades.  Brady's throw if you look at it - back shoulder was at worst an incompletion.  Guy had inside coverage and that is exactly where the DB was.  Awful.  Missed Aiken deep two weeks in a row.  Say what you will about Aiken, but Brady's insistence on going to Moss and Welker is the deeper concern.  Team was killing guys up front with Volmer, think him out really hurts the OL.  Play calling a disaster at times.  Agreed on the Seymour Monday morning QBs - that ship sailed several years ago, and he wanted big $$.  They need a true pass rusher, and I still believe this secondary will improve.  Safeties are decent, Butler will get better, but the rest is in need of major work.  This team could still finish 10-6 win the division, and host a playoff game.  Far from the glory years, but in a year of transition, I will take it.  Most teams in transition, usually flounder around 5-11/4-12 for several years.  Expectations always huge around here, and rightly so, but take this year, and build on next.  
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from touchdownpats. Show touchdownpats's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    I agree with the analysis except for that 4th down attempt. Take the points, you're only in the 2nd qtr. 

    Overall, I don't see this team going anywhere this year, and will be lucky to win the division if this keeps up. Wes Welker reminds me of Troy Brown in the Pete Carroll days...the only one out there making plays. I think BB has hit the Kool-Aid one to many times...
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from underdoggg. Show underdoggg's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    If I am right about the stats, Brady was only 6-15 in the second half.  A flawless 13-14 in the 1st.  Big change.  Was he or was he not healthy?
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD:
    If I am right about the stats, Brady was only 6-15 in the second half.  A flawless 13-14 in the 1st.  Big change.  Was he or was he not healthy?
    Posted by underdoggg


         I believe your stats are correct. Interesting point, Dogg. But, its' inexcusable that the Pats' can't pick up a yard on two tries against a mediocre Dolphins' defense. Horrible play call in particular on the 4th and one. It was equally inexcusable to throw that redzone pick. 
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD:
    I agree with the analysis except for that 4th down attempt. Take the points, you're only in the 2nd qtr.

    RESPONSE: Totally disagree. The strength of this team is their offense. The Pats had the chance to put a stranglehold on the game by making a lousy yard against a mediocre defense. If they can't accomplish that, they don't deserve to win. 

    Overall, I don't see this team going anywhere this year, and will be lucky to win the division if this keeps up.
     
    RESPONSE: No argument here.

    Wes Welker reminds me of Troy Brown in the Pete Carroll days...the only one out there making plays.
     
    RESPONSE: Wes Welker is the Patriots' offense. 

    I think BB has hit the Kool-Aid one to many times...

    RESPONSE: Being agressive and going for the throat when the opportunity presents itself has always been BB's way...with the exception of last season. Do you remember the Indy game, when BB decided to kick a FG inside the 5, tying the game at 15? He did that, rather than go for a 4th and one, and get the go-ahead TD. The Pats lost that game, 18-15, and BB was actually criticized for being too comservative! 
        
    osted by touchdownpats

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Tex- don't have answers to your questions. Not sure BB does either.This is definitely his worse year as Pats coach.And he's earning the failing grades. I know Piloli wasn't on the field- but it's obvious the cast of characters on the field are not as you so aptly put it demonstrating any kind of pride or talent. Bad news bears comes to mind. Missing McDaniels as well. Pees has no answers- and the execution or lack there of on the field is embarrassing week after week now.
    Wes Welker is the the only consistent bright star. Don't know waht to say about TB and the red zone debacles. Your assessments are right on. Can you pick up and come on over to Gillette? BB needs some strong counsel and the team needs someone to kick their #$@!
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from ricky1554atl. Show ricky1554atl's posts

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    RESPONSE: Totally disagree. The strength of this team is their offense. The Pats had the chance to put a stranglehold on the game by making a lousy yard against a mediocre defense. If they can't accomplish that, they don't deserve to win. 

    You win a game by accumulating points during the course of the game. You don't put a strangle hold on a game in the 2nd quarter.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    TP:

    I am EXTREMELY frustrated with this - it seems we show semblance of greatness in every game - in the first quarter and probably in the first half. What the bloody heck happens in the second half ???? Maybe we should not go back to the locker room at half time?

    The body language of the players and coach is very discouraging. They seem to PANIC in the clutch!! As much as I hate to say this, with 2 road games coming up, I am not pessimistic on our ability to make the playoffs this year.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat3. Show TexasPat3's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    In Response to Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD:
    RESPONSE: Totally disagree. The strength of this team is their offense. The Pats had the chance to put a stranglehold on the game by making a lousy yard against a mediocre defense. If they can't accomplish that, they don't deserve to win.  You win a game by accumulating points during the course of the game. You don't put a strangle hold on a game in the 2nd quarter.
    Posted by ricky1554atl


        
         You win games in the NFL by scoring TDs, not FGs. Going up 21-7 would have taken Miami out of its' game...and put the 'Fins' on their slimy back-fins. Thats' worth the gamble. The Pats deserved to lose, if for no other reason than being so soft that they couldn't pick up a lousy yard against a very mediocre defense. 

         If you want to criticize BB, criticize his choice of play on the 4th down call...not the decision.   
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from unclealfie. Show unclealfie's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Let's face facts. We're a mediocre team at best. We don't deserve to be in the playoffs. If we should get there through the incompetence of our equally mediocre division we'll only be one and done.

    Today was obviously not an isolated incident. Any team can have a bad day but we're clearly not in that situation. We've been having bad days all year. That means we're just simply not as good as many, including myself, had thought at the beginning of the year.

    We're also a long way from a single issue fix. A pass  rusher is not going to make us an automatic contender again. We need help pretty much across the board, including coaching, exceot QB. We need to build around brady, he's a HOF QB with 7-10 years left in the tank and our best player.  Blaming him for our current problems is ridiculous.

    Look at the stars that surround both manning and brees, on both sides of the ball. We lost all our stars!! tedy, vrabel, seymour, graham, woody, branch, dilllon, asante, etc. etc. We have to draft, coach up and create new stars.

    We need a OC and  DC for starters. Not some hospitality clerk that gets "promoted from within" but top level, experienced NFL guys, who buy into belechick's methods. He's still the best coach in the NFL.

    On defense, we need at least one stud OLB/DE, a shut down corner and an ILB. We need to resign fork  and upgrade at DT with a guy who can also rush the passer. 

    On offense, we need at least one robert meachem type receiver, one stud TE, at least one guard to groom for the future, a RT who can actually block ,a highly rated RB and re-sign logan mankins.

    This can be done within 2-3 years with the draft picks we own and a little luck.
     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from auchhhhhhhhhhh. Show auchhhhhhhhhhh's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Today was a sad sad day... i saw a team with not enough leadership, not enough pasion, zero hunger.

    :(

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from PAT-from-India. Show PAT-from-India's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    Very Sad weekend...

    I saw the last game highlights as we do not get live games here in India. I felt what has happened to the defense and TB looks like I have never seen.

    Hope they can run the table which was a sureity but now at best I can hope that they will and do find some schemes to contain opposition offense..
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from BostonTrollSpanker. Show BostonTrollSpanker's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Dolphins REPORT CARD

    "  If you want to criticize BB, criticize his choice of play on the 4th down call...not the decision. "

    Amen Texas Pat. Your post-game summaries are better than any other Pats coverage on the Globe site, period.
     
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