In response to anonymis' comment:
In response to zbellino's comment:
As far as your first idea goes .. why reduce the plays? Just reduce the playing time for the guys who don't get more than 100 plays. That way you are maximizing the plays for everyone and getting the most out of your available talent. That is exactly what BB and the rest of the NFL does now. Just ease the rookies in as they assimilate more material.
Your second idea, that just will never, ever (really not in a million years) happen.
Why? Let me explain the offense NE uses.
Because the Erhardt-Perkins offense uses words, like Alabama (for instance) to conjure up an image of two routes on one side of the field. OK. Now that word for the outside recievers conjures about three different things they are supposed to do. Maybe two for the inside recievers (be he a TE, slot or FB/HB). Now those routes are designed to be run together. They operate synergistically. The QB (Brady) has been running that concept in mutliple formations for 13 seasons or something, and the inside receivers (TEs and slots and RBs) all around three.
If you tinker or reduce the outside route ... you ARE overhauling the entire system. You need to also reduce the inside route. I'll illustrate how.
We'll call our concept "Crusher."
So let's say your "Crusher" concept involves a two man route combination where the inside WR runs a quick flat route, and the outside WR runs an "DIG" pattern -- it's actually a commonly used concept as they cross and clear each other but at different levels. The inside player takes his man outside clearing a throwing lane for the "DIG" pattern, while the outside receiver runs his "IN" clearing a RAC lane for the inside guy should he get the ball.
Let's add that "Crusher" is like most EP concepts, and has been the same for decades. It used to just be the FB who ran the "flat" route 25 years ago ... that you have a slot WR running the "flat" now is insubstantial as the "concept" of two routes clearing each other is the exact same .... only the personnel package has changed. Everyone on the team knows crusher, except your rookies. They all know it from all the packages they are in that employ "Crusher."
Let's also say that "Crusher" has three options for the outside WR, and two for the inside WR. For the outside WR on a "hot route" he converts to a slant, and the inside WR keeps his "flat" route, so you get a common "crossing" notion, that functions like a pick if you coach it right.
Now let's say the other option for the inside WR in the event that he sees Cover One coverage shaded to the other side of the field is to run a "GO" route (NE does this all the time with their slot), and the outside WR in that circumstance converts to a quick "Comeback" so he doesn't cross up with the Go route, and in fact, the "GO" reciever can block for him downfield should he slip his CB upon reception.
Now lets say you "reduce" the outside route for Dobson (or whoever, because these are the guys you are talking about). In every single circumstance he runs an "IN" ... great ... simple for him, just like college.
1.) Brady has to re-learn that in Cover One he still only has a DIG pattern. Or he could end up throwing to a comeback that isn't there for an INC.
AND You either have to ...
2.) Reduce the inside WR's options to just the flat route as well, "reteaching" him the concept, or ...
3.) When you see cover One your inside WR is going to cross up and crash with outside WR as he runs his "Dig" route, or possible that Brady expecting a slant on a "hot route" could throw the ball into space, or a linebacker the is shading over because he sees the "Crusher" concept developing it's "Dig" route.
This is even a stripped down version because they often have MORE options than that based on different coverages the defense gives them. It's a color-by-numbers representation of Erhardt-Perkins.
Long story short, everyone on the offense, but most particularly the inside WRs and Brady, would have to learn something entirely new. Even if it's stripped down and has less options, it's still relearning it.
Then you multiply that about 100 times so you have some kind of playbook to draw from and you aren't running the same bunch of stripped down plays every single week.
Then later you have to come back and re-establish that concept key word to mean what it fully means ... ie., all the hot route options and the second level concepts it indicates, that is to say, the stuff that college WRs on every NFL team have trouble with.
Presumably by midseason you would have to be teaching the kid that "Crusher" (and all the other concepts you've stripped down) means something more, and having everyone shift gears.
The long and short of it? It would be a complete sh!tshow. You would confuse everyone. It would be much, much better just to do what BB and the NFL at large does ... just teach them as fast as you can and work THEM in as they acquire more concepts they can run.
Say Dobson has about 20 concepts down by week one, and adds another five each week. Those will pair with a large handful of runs based on the personnel packages they relate to. You use him sparingly at first, and gradually increase the number of plays he is involved in. You organize the concepts you teach him so you can use him in "situational" packages (i.e., maybe you teach him a bunch of concepts that you might use in a clock killing or opening drive?). That way he is capable of being out there for a whole drive and you don't have to sub. You teach the vets 75% of the playbook, and you piece together a full compliment of players that can run almost all the plays, getting that kid in on drives where he can stay on the field and run everything right.
If you strip it down?
I won't even mention how broken the offense would be running college level routes. Everyone in the NFL would be all over it after a few games. As soon as you saw one formation with that WR out there a few times ... you'd know his route.
It's like trying to replace a piece in a clock with an enitrely different piece because it's easier to make. You can't do that. You just need to build a different clock, that is, have a new system. Or wait until you can replace it. Or get a used stop gap piece until the new piece is ready.
NE will do all the latter. One or two of the vets will "learn" the system well enough, or maybe one of the rookies will take to it well.
What they won't do is strip the system down to suit a second round selection who might never pan out anyway. It would just confuse the rest of the team and derail the offense for an entire season.
Sorry to be a wet blanket ... but it doesn't work the way you are thinking that it does.
I understand what you're saying, but we're talking about "professional" athletes; both rookie and veterans, who are having difficulty grasping the offense. I think this is supported by the fact that more WRs have failed w/ the Patriots vs. succeeded.
Secondly, apart from Gronk and Hernandez - both who have several years under their belt now - most of the other WRs and TEs are either new or have less than 1 years experience. So, wouldn't they be learning the first time? If they're learning the first time - and then the coaches expand on what is learned - they don't have to re-learn as you've said.
So, with so many new receivers on hand - how to you propose the Patriots deal with the situation? go 3 and out at a higher rate? accepte more INTs and incompletions?
Those WRs have failed for different reasons. Only Ocho had trouble grasping the offense -- and somehow that has spilled over into this narrative that NE's offense is a rubix cube for veterans. He is dyslexic. he came from a system that like the old Coryell system uses numbers to designate routes, and a generic tree to assign their adjustments. Adding him to an offense that uses words instead of numbers was an iffy proposition to begin with, as dyslexia displaces word association ability.
Tate failed because he couldn't catch balls that hit him on the hands, and had trouble adjusting deep. He actually came along at a normal rookie rate.
True, Lloyd had lost a step, as evidenced by his low RAC yardage and the fact that he was never open deep, but he was removed because of some kind of personality conflict. But the guy caught 75 balls and was in there for the lions share of the snaps ... and he isn't exactly a genius. He also has yet to be signed.
Slater wasn't cut out to be a WR anyway, but was really drafted as a STer anyhow.
Chad Jackson, a while back, just was terrible. He didn't work elsewhere as well.
Taylor Price has yet to catch a pass, all in 2011 with the Jags, and was waived in 2012, then reverted to the IR.
On the other hand: while some of them just stunk because they weren't good WRs to being with Caldwell, Stallworth, Gaffney, Patten, Gabriel, and Aiken all got it enough to get significant reps.
I don't see this issue you are talking about outside of the fact that NE hasn't scouted WRs very well in the draft, and has basically grabbed a lot of scrubs in FA to go with the few standouts they've nabbed as well.
Moreover, just about everyone they've put in the slot has been good to some degree, disregarding Edelman's dropsies and injuries.
NE's perimiter WR problem has to do with scouting, the normal NFL learning curve (WRs have one of the highest bust rates), and the fact that NE hasn't devoted *quality* selections often enough, and have preferred to go bargain hunting.
I have no doubt that a consumate pro like Amendola will have the offense down pat by game one. He already has experience in the system (Josh installed it in 2011 in St Louis when he brought Lloyd in). Ballard is coming in from NY where they use EP verbiage and run most of the same concepts. Leon Washington (the presumtive 3rd down back/WR) also is coming in from the Jests, where they run EP as well.
And although they might not light the world on fire because neither are exceptoinal talents, Jones and Jenkins will probably get it as well.
Second. Gronk (who will be out), Edelman, Hernandez, Ridley, Vereen, Amendola, Ballard, and Washington all have experience with the EP offense (the Jests run the same thing). For a Two-TE base offense ... that is a complete compliment.
At any given point there will likely only be one guy who isn't familiar with the concepts to start training camp on the field. They will know some but not all.
You aren't feilding a team of rookies, you are developing a couple of them. It takes time. And you don't re-order your offense to ease the curve. It would be a nightmare and you'd just have to reteach them anyhow.
Third, its not about expanding a concept, it's about committing to memory what a word means. Memory doesn't "add" the way you are talking. It replaces in this instance. You aren't adding a "new word" for the changes to the concept, which would qualify as expanding, but asking them to overwrite the old word with a totally different, manifold concept. It's actually very, very difficult. I've tried it years ago regarding comma usage. By the end of the semester I had a class doing something two different ways.
At some point they will have to understand the word "Crusher" (and dozens and dozens of other concept words) in its fullest anyhow. So what happens at that point? You are back at square one. You have to reduce their role in the offense anyhow. You don't run a split playbook with some plays of one variey and another of a dumb variety.
Also, it's about reteaching the veterans who are here and have been doing the same thing for three years, and slowing the curve of guys who are NFL vets and will find this much easier to suit a rookie or two.
You just don't do it.
Finally, you propose a totally false dilemma. NE isn't going to throw more incompletes or interceptions. Say you have Jenkins, who gets 75% of the material out there most of the time. You bring Dobson along ... he has 40%, mostly tailored to non-hurry up situations.
You run Dobson for 3-4 drives in the game. You run Jenkins for 8-9 drives a game. As Dobson and Jenkins come along learning more, you let them compete for the middle ground they both understand. Whoever is executing at a higher level takes the snaps from the middle, and as each week goes by both of them are adding more and more concepts to their repoirtoire.
There is no "hit" you are taking here, outside of the hit you take losing any vet and standout performer like Welker and a monster like Gronk to injury.
I like your sentiment, but you can't run a team like that. Just teach the guys 5-10 concepts whch could get them in on 20-40 plays/personnel variations. Use them for those. That is what NE does ... as does every other NFL team. This is the NFL, everyone has to run NFL routes and use NFL caliber ideas. Otherwise your team will get left in the dust.