State of the Offense

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

    State of the Offense

    I think the defense has greatly improved over last year, and I love the fact that it looks like BB wants to get back to winning with defense.  So I am nothing but happy with the defensive roster we've ended up with. 

    The offense, however, is less clearly improved.  In a way, that's not such a big deal, because we had the third best offense in the league last year so it's hard to seriously say the offense was a problem.  But we also know the offense hasn't been as effective as we'd like against good defenses and in big games. With a better defense this year, that won't be as big an issue, because we won't have to rely on the offense as much to win the big games . . . but still, it would be nice to be confident that our offense wouldn't stall out quite so much in the playoffs as it has over the past few seasons.  

    So how does the current offensive roster look?  Based on the personnel we kept, I think our "base" set is going to continue to be two TEs, two WRs, and one back.  Last year, we used Welker, Branch, Hern, Gronk, and either BJGE or Woodhead.  This year, I think we'll use Welker, Lloyd, Hern, Gronk, and either Ridley or Vereen.  When you look at that, the base set is significantly improved.  Lloyd adds a much more threatening deep/perimeter threat than Branch and the Ridley/Vereen rotation has (I believe) much more potential to be explosive in both the passing and running games than the BJGE/Woodhead rotation. 

    One of the big problems last year was that while the "base" offensive set was very good (at least for short passes), we didn't have much beyond it.  We had no third TE, no pure two-back set, and weak perimeter/deep WRs.  One of the major problems of the offense last year was that it didn't present defenses with challenges in personnel beyond the challenges presented by the starting five. If a defense could control the starting five (hard to do, but possible if a defense was very good), there wasn't much else for us to turn to.  In the playoffs, this became a real problem.  (O line play was also an issue at times, but that's not the main point of this thread.)

    So is the diversity of alternative personnel packages improved this year?  I think yes.  The obvious change is the ability to go to a third TE.  (Fourth TE may also be possible, but I don't see that as a common scenario.)  This gives us a formation that can easily morph from a heavy run formation to a passing formation.  If Lloyd is in with three TEs and Hern is one of the TEs, defenses are going to have to keep an eye on the back of the field while also focusing on the LOS.  This will be tough.  

    Even if we don't end up picking up a FB, I think we still have more opportunity for two-back sets.  Bolden can probably play a hybrid FB/TB role.  I thought he caught the ball okay in the last preseason game too (though I didn't see the whole game), which is something that's nice to have in a second back, since it means he's not just a blocker and defenses have to watch out for the pass to the second back.  In general, I think the backs are better receivers as well as better runners, which will make the backfield a lot more diverse and therefore much more threatening to defenses.  I see this as a major upgrade over last year's weak backfield and something that will result in more diversity of play calling. 

    The one area that I'm mildly disappointed in is outside/perimeter receiver.  Lloyd is a big upgrade over Branch, but I had really hoped for one more outside/perimeter guy.  In fact, I thought Gaffney was a lock to be that guy.  I assume it was the injury that led BB to cut him--and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up back on the squad if the injury isn't bad--or if BB brings in one more WR with outside/perimeter skills before the season starts or soon afterwards.  The advantage of having one more guy with those skills is twofold.  First, there's a back-up if Lloyd gets hurt and second, there's the possibility of creating an offensive formation that forces the safeties and corners to worry about two deep/perimeter receivers being on the field at the same time.  Lloyd, Gaffney, Gronk, Hern, and a back (or Welker as a fifth receiver) is a scary look, I think, for a defender because it can attack any part of the field with more than one player.  

    One possibility to get more deep/perimeter presence is that Slater will be used more frequently as a receiver this year.  Slater has the speed to scare defenses. In the past, though, he just wasn't a good enough receiver (nor was he utilized enough) for defenses to worry about him.  Maybe that changes this year, since Slater apparently did make some good catches in practice (I'm not sure I remember many from the preseason games though).  Even if Slater is not a big threat, putting him and Lloyd on the field together will still keep defenses guessing, especially if Slater shows up with a catch periodically.  BB could very well have felt Slater was good enough in this second role to make Gaffney and Stallworth expendable.  

    Despite that, I still would like to see that 53rd slot filled with another wideout.  Add that to the offense and I see this offense as potentially the best we've ever seen in Foxboro.  Still this is looking like an improved offense to me even if we don't pick up that extra receiver. Of course, a lot of these guys are young and untested (particularly in the backfield), so the reality could be different. But on paper, at least, the offense seems likely to be even better than last year's--both in the base set and in the alternative sets.  Can't wait for next Sunday to see how it clicks . . .



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

    Re: State of the Offense

    Good post Prolate, it sounds like you actually address each one of your own concerns though. Adding that 3rd receiver is really the only issue right now and if we bring back Branch or Gaffney I think we would be all set(my preference is Gaffney if healthy). We have the TE's, we have the horses int the running game(we assume) and we have 4 pro bowlers as our top 4 skill position players(as Hern would be a probowler on another team) In short we are loaded. I hope we have a FB somwhere as McD has said he wants one. A FB wouldn't be a main part of the offense but as you said it gives the defense other looks to defend and I think particularly in the red zone he would be effective(more difficult to anticipate our play call). Bolden seems big enough and we have a history of using BJGE,Morris in the FB role...maybe Kettani makes it to PS but I didn't see much from him and don't think he can contribute on ST's, Larsen would have been a perfect fit imo as he could block, run, catch and play ST's well.

    Anyway I agree it is nice to see us focusing more attention on building around the defense! Taking us back to the winning way imo! As much as this is an offensive league, defense still wins championships, and I think we are geared up to have our 1st really good defense since 2008.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from seattlepat70. Show seattlepat70's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    if we do not see improvements on the running game this year, the more i believe that the running game problem is an OL problem. except for the dillon season, the crew has had more talent than the pats has had in over a decade.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Seattle, you make a good point: the o-line could be the Achilles heel of this offense.  Everything starts there and we didn't see much from them in the preseason. The hope, though, is that when all the starters are back on the field together, the line will be much improved. 

    With access to the coaches film on NFL Game Pass now, I've watched some of the coaches film from last year and have been surprised at some of the inconsistency in run blocking.  BJGE is not the kind of back that is going to make things happen all by himself, but in fairness to Benny, there were times when he had no chance at all because of missed blocks. I haven't watched enough film from good running teams to really get a sense of how our line compares with others when it comes to run blocking, but I have seen that a lot of the problems in the running game come from the blocking.  

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

    Re: State of the Offense

    ^ I really think the O-line is suited to run block. 2 Pro bowl guards(assuming BW returns) usually means you have a line built for the run. I think poor running last year was due to a combination of personnel(as Prolate has stated) and predictable play calling. Perhaps 1 is due to the other but I think it is an OC's job to get the most out of talent we have. In any case I think Ridley has an opportunity to have a real break out year. I see 1,000 yards and 10 tds as the floor for this guy. Vareen might have trouble staying healthy and imo Woody should be used less frequently this year.(might lead to better production). As long as Ridley doesn't start fumbling right off the bat then we should ride this young man to well over 200 carries. Take pressure off Tommy and bring back some versatility to this offense!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    And also, Ridley ran for 5 ypc behind the same line Benny faltered in down the stretch. I think his toe injury affected him and of course teams didn't game plan for Ridley so he might have got the 5 ypc due to being unkown, but he has the saem average this pre season. Point is, I think the O-line has the skills and coaching to do anything well, and it may just be we were so focused on pass blocking in practice etc..they may have been rusty in the run game when called upon.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In response to TrueChamp's comment:

    And also, Ridley ran for 5 ypc behind the same line Benny faltered in down the stretch. I think his toe injury affected him and of course teams didn't game plan for Ridley so he might have got the 5 ypc due to being unkown, but he has the saem average this pre season. Point is, I think the O-line has the skills and coaching to do anything well, and it may just be we were so focused on pass blocking in practice etc..they may have been rusty in the run game when called upon.



    Ridley seems to be a bit more decisive than BJGE and has a quick first step and the ability to make quick cuts in tight space.  He can make things happen, I think, in situations when Benny really had to rely on the blockers making it happen.  I haven't looked at enough film to be absolutely positive about this, but it seems to me like Light had become more prone to whiffing on running blocks this year.  Maybe if I have some time, I'll look back over more film and see what I can learn.  
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Nice thread! I was not a fan of BJGE, but I thought the things he did well were follow the blocks and run at a good pad level - I think if Ridley could do those things well, it will be a big upgrade. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Ridley can do with more reps - I think it could go either way with him.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    It would only be a slight upgrade if the blocking up front doesn't get better when running.  I wasn't a big fan of BJGE but maybe his toe was a lingering issue most of last season and I thought the OL could have done a better job of run blocking also.

    Is this season's backfield an upgrade over last season's.  Should be but that remains to be seen. 

    Will Ridley have fumbling issues?

    Can Vereen stay healthy?

    Will the Pats pick up a FB from the waiver wire?  I read somewhere (don't have a link) that McD still wants a FB.

    I never really liked OB.  I think the offense had success in spite of him.

    McDaniels should be an upgrade.






     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Talking about Slater as the other outside/perimeter WR.  Outside of Demps who is IR'ed Slater is the fastest man on the team.  If he can show that he can catch the ball every now and then he could be used in this position.  He needs to be more than just a special teams contributor.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In response to Salcon's comment:

    Talking about Slater as the other outside/perimeter WR.  Outside of Demps who is IR'ed Slater is the fastest man on the team.  If he can show that he can catch the ball every now and then he could be used in this position.  He needs to be more than just a special teams contributor.



    He's a pro bowler on special teams and BB has always been willing to keep one or two special teams specialists, so Slater's spot is probably secure even if he doesn't contribute on offense. That said, if he can contribute on offense it will greatly help, especially since other than Slater no one else on the team seems to be a non-slot wideout.  That's a bit odd in my mind, even if we are going to centre the offense around the TEs and RBs with receivers basically limited to Lloyd (perimeter) and Welker (slot). 


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

    Re: State of the Offense

    ^ I meant "other than Slater and Lloyd" there aren't any non-slot wideouts . . . (need the edit function back!)
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from NYC. Show NYC's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Prolate

    I hear you wanting another WR but OL is really the issue and key to our success. We have enough fire power if the OL can hold up. We are all hoping for Waters to come back but even if he does we are vulnerable if injury strikes. Some of this is the price we paid for going so strong on D during the draft and trading up to get Jones and Hightower. Arguments can be made either way as we needed to upgrade the D but it would have been nice to select on OL in the second round.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from stegall85. Show stegall85's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Excellent initial post Prolate.

    Reiss has reported that Gaffney is indicating an interest in returning once healthy.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In response to NYC's comment:

    Prolate

    I hear you wanting another WR but OL is really the issue and key to our success. We have enough fire power if the OL can hold up. We are all hoping for Waters to come back but even if he does we are vulnerable if injury strikes. Some of this is the price we paid for going so strong on D during the draft and trading up to get Jones and Hightower. Arguments can be made either way as we needed to upgrade the D but it would have been nice to select on OL in the second round.


    Supposedly Brian Waters' locker is now filled with equipment. 


    I'm taking that as a sign that he is expected back. 
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In response to NYC's comment:

    Prolate

    I hear you wanting another WR but OL is really the issue and key to our success. We have enough fire power if the OL can hold up. We are all hoping for Waters to come back but even if he does we are vulnerable if injury strikes. Some of this is the price we paid for going so strong on D during the draft and trading up to get Jones and Hightower. Arguments can be made either way as we needed to upgrade the D but it would have been nice to select on OL in the second round.




    Quality depth at tackle is my biggest concern, especially given Vollmer's recent injuries and Solder's inexperience.  The interior line isn't quite so problematic, but the tackles do present some issues.  Maybe the reason we don't have as many wideouts is BB isn't certain we have the tackles required for the deep passing game?  That would be sad . . . but it is possible.

     
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from sporter81. Show sporter81's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Excellent post prolate, thanks.  I hope that the pick up another wideout too, I'd be happy to see Gaffney back. He knows what he's doing out there and works well with Brady. Too bad that Slater can't catch the football, if he could he'd make a nice reciever with that speed.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: State of the Offense


     It would nice to get more out of Slater's speed.

    Something tells me this offense is going to be a work in progress.

    I think in the begining we are going to see more of the same 'ol same 'ol until the real offense takes shape. You know: Alot of short to intermediate routes by the wide receivers and tight ends with some running mixed in.

    Are we going to see more catches out of the backfield? I hope so.

    Are we going to see more throws downfield? I hope so.

    I just don't see this happening in the first game or so.

    What do you think?


     

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Did I mention that this site needs fixin' real bad?  It's very frustrating.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In response to Salcon's comment:
    [QUOTE]


     It would nice to get more out of Slater's speed.

    Something tells me this offense is going to be a work in progress.

    I think in the begining we are going to see more of the same 'ol same 'ol until the real offense takes shape. You know: Alot of short to intermediate routes by the wide receivers and tight ends with some running mixed in.

    Are we going to see more catches out of the backfield? I hope so.

    Are we going to see more throws downfield? I hope so.

    I just don't see this happening in the first game or so.

    What do you think?

     

     

    [/QUOTE]

    Agree. BB tends to make lots of roster moves early in the season. With the o-line still in flux, maybe he thinks the early game plans are going to use limited deep routes and therefore is holding out till later in the season to begin adding guys like Gaffney back in the mix. This gives him more time to sort out thedefensive players and see who really is a keeper at the bottom of that part of the roster.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from NYC. Show NYC's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    Bedard is reporting that Matt Tennant (former BC and Saints interior lineman) has been signed. May not bode well for Waters?
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rajon-Hondo. Show Rajon-Hondo's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    I don't think that signing Tennant affected whether Waters is coming back or not. We need to get some more OLs anyway.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    OL and WR already added . . . is there a FB in the mix next?  I tend to think another WR or OL is more likely, but FB is still a possibility.   
     
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  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: State of the Offense

    In short the addition of Josh McDaniel's, another Ridely clone in Bolden, heavy tightend depth, more fullback play using Hernandez primarily at FB (I believe they'll bring Kettani or another free agent FB in at some point) means the offense is much improved from a philosphical standpoint.

    A more "ground and pound" offensive game will work better with BB's "bend don't break" defensive scheme as well as Tom Brady's play action strengths.  Receivers abound on this team, Woody, Vereen and Demps eventually can moonlight at WR as can Hernandez.  Now all of our runningbacks are good to great receivers and with Josh they may actually get some use.  The minute Josh signed with this team, the offensive automatically improved dramatically.



     
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