Re: Patriots Draft REPORT CARD
posted at 5/4/2011 2:04 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Patriots Draft REPORT CARD
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: Patriots Draft REPORT CARD : Kentucky Babe: Again, I think you're being too harsh on BB. How many teams have been as successful as the Pats over this past decade? True...they were one and done two years in a row, with playoff losses at home. In 2009, they lost one of their biggest offensive weapons, Wes Welker, for the year. You must admit that BB has improved his defense after that loss, with the additions of Devin McCourty, Brandon Spikes, Ras-I Dowling, Jermaine Cunnigham, Kyle Arrington, Dane Fletcher, Eric Moore, Brandon Deaderick, and Rob Ninkovich. In 2010, they lost to the Jets. Admittedly, the "D" made Jets QB Sanchez look like Joe Montana. But, it can also be argued that the strength of the team, the offense, llost that game. Tom Brady threw that awful interception, killing what appeared to be a TD drive. TE Alge Crumpler had a horrible drop of a TD pass in the next series. There was also that ill advised, poorly executed fake punt late in the first half, which gift-wrapped a FG for the Jets. The OL played poorly, as Tom Brady was taken out of his comfort zone. This from Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News: "The Patriots finished the 2010 regular season with the best record in the NFL at 14-2. But for the second consecutive post-season, New England was beaten at home in its first playoff game. The problem was pass protection — Brady was sacked five times by the Jets and eight times total in those two January losses. Belichick needed to find someone who could help keep Brady upright in the pocket.": http://www.projo.com/patriots/content/NFL_Draft_Patriots_Belichick_05-02-11_V0NRVPN_v2.aa61a0.html
The Pats are coming off an incredible 14-2 season. LT Matt Light is a fading, UFA ...who needed to be replaced. Don't you agree that protecting Tom Brady is job one? So...the selection of OT Nate Solder at #17 was necessitated. The disappointing play of CB Darius Butler, the fact that Kyle Arrington is best suited as a reserve, and the aging Leigh Bodden coming back from a season ending injury necessitated the selection of CB Ras-I Dowling. Unlike past Pats' CB picks, he's a tall corner, who stands nearly 6'2". He'll help put the clamps on tall WRs, like the Jets' Braylon Edwards. One can argue that DE/OLB Jabaal Sheard would have been the better choice. Because BB says that it takes several years for a hybrid player like Sheard to learn the position...and due to the high rate of busts for these type of players. Plus, as described above, the Pats needed another CB...especially a tall CB. I tend to agree with you about how BB handled the 56th and 60th picks. I think he could have gotten more value than he did. But, the value at that point wasn't necessarily on the defensive side of the ball...except perhaps for OLB/DE Justin Houston. RB Mikel Leshoure and WRs Torrey Smith and Randall Cobb were also both available. Shane Vereen may be a good player, but likely could have been had at pick #74. Still, who am I to second guess BB? He has scouting reports and information on players, that neither of us have access to. We can't discount his acquisition of an additional first and second round pick in 2012. Furthermore, getting QB Ryan Mallett and OT/OG Marcus Cannon with the 74th and 138th overall, respectively, could turn out to be steals. Even though the Pats went 14-2 last year, they were far from a complete football team. They oveerachieved last season. Going into this draft, the Patriots had holes at LT, OG, RB, DE, OLB, WR, and CB. That's a ton of holes for a 14-2 team. BB addressed the need on the OL with a LT (Solder), an OG (Cannon), and a blocking TE (Smith). He also addressed the RB position (Vereen and Ridley), and CB (Dowling). It's too much to expect that BB would be able to fill all these holes in one draft.
Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]
You are an intelligent and reasonable Pat's fan, so it is a pleasure to discuss this with you. I'm really not that hard on BB. I just don't rationalize his every move as the perfect one.
He is an outstanding COACH. He is a shrewd trader.
His team building skills overall are above average but lack well behind his coaching skills. He is far from the head of the class in drafting or FA signing. His legend was primarily built on the three SB wins and those were gained largly by having a number of outstanding players he did not acquire. He has benifitted greatly by having a HOF QB for most of his years with the Pats. His record without Brady has been rather dismal, making the playoffs only once in 7 tries. His collossal blunder of spygate boggles the mind.
Actually, Brady's PR in the playoff loss to the jets was right about on his career playoff number. But yeah, he obviously didn't play his best. But I can almost assure you, if you allow a career 70 passer who has thrown more picks than TDs to put up a 127, you are going to lose.
BB has tried to fix the D. But high picks like Butler, Spikes, Cunningham, Chung, Brace, Wheatley and Merriwheather have done little to fix the problem. Seven picks in the 2nd round or better on D and we have a dismal D to show for it. Nobody is winning a SB with a D this bad.
The offense clearly was not a problem last year. So the holes you mention have a priority. The formula for success in the league these days is an elite QB and a stout D. Other formulas can work but are not nearly as likely. The very strong O and blah D formula will win you a ton of games during the season but when you face good D in the playoffs your outstanding O just might get stopped and you need that stout D to keep you in it.
Basically, BB has turned us into the Colts. And this draft shows just more of the same failed philosophy. I would have preferred he traded up a few spots to get Quinn and taken Carimi at 28. I have no real problem with him going for a CB with 33. I had the needs as OLB, OL, DE, CB in that order.
I don't see much of a change to the team from this draft. We are still the Colts North. Maybe he will sign a FA that will dazzle me and change that perception.