Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

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    Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Remember the 2000 New England Patriots? I didn't think so. First year of Belichick's career here in NE, and it did not go well at all. I mean, it was awful. Obviously he was inheritting the mess from Grier and Carroll, but here are some numbers:

    -1390 total rushing yards as a TEAM, and a robust 3.3 average! Leading rusher? Kevin Faulk - 570/3.5 average. JR Redmond had a tick over 400, and Drew Bledsoe (!?!?) was third with 158 and 2 rushing TDs.

    -Troy Brown led the team with 83 catches for just 944 yards (second to Glenn's 79/963).

    -Ty Law, Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy shared the team lead with an impressive 2 INTs apiece.

    -Bledsoe, always known for his numbers, threw for 3291 yards, 17 TDs to 13 INTs, and a 77 QB rating while completing less than 59% of his passes...while getting sacked 45 times.

    Ouch. The whole team was just bad. Obviously he only helped one or two aspects, but enter: Antowain Smith.

    Fans in NE had been cursed at the RB position for some time. Before Smith there was leading back Faulk mentioned above, Terry Allen in 99, 1 year of Robert Edwards in 98 (thanks rookie beach football game), before getting to Curtis Martin who was great, and then stolen away by the Tuna. Before Martin was an assortment of has beens (Marion Butts), disappointments (Leonard Russel) and less that stellar, if servicable lifers (John Stephens). You'd have to go back to the 70s to find a backfield that was exciting, and my memory doesn't go that far.

    Smith changed all of that. Some knew of him from his days in Buffalo. If I recall correctly, he was also one of the oldest rookies ever drafted (26/27?) after serving in the armed forces and taking care of some family issues. I liked him in Buffalo, and never understood why he fell out of favor, but he came to NE with little fanfare, and even fewer expectations. He proceeded to rush for over 1100 yards, 12 TDs, and probably got every tough yard the Pats asked of him that whole season. He was a pleasure to watch, always initiating contact never shying away, and often winning those individual battles. I know "unsung" is a stretch, in NE, I find there is a very intelligent fanbase, guys don't usually fall through the cracks without there contributions being appreciated. But I feel he has been overshadowed because of Belichick, Curtis Martin being here, then just down the road in NY, and obviously being replaced by Corey Dillon, who kind of did the same things, but just did them even better. But I won't forget what Smith did. Before him I'd never appreciated a tough running game, I didn't know how valuable a good, tough OLine was, I didn't appreciate a guy that could get a 3rd and 1 better than 90% of the time. He was the stabilizing force Brady HAD to have to get this dynasty started. He always knew he had a bull behind him that would come in and do the dirty work while wearing down the defense so he could go about figuring the game out and dinking and dunking his way down the field, never fearing a 3rd and short because he had the human battering ram behind him to pick it up.

    We had it with Smith, were fortunate to continue it with Dillon, and now eagerly await the next guy who can take that spot. Maroney was supposed to be that guy...oh well. I'm sure they'll figure it out, they always seem to. Anyway, thanks again Antowain, 01 would've never happened without you.

     
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    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Good post! I always liked Antowain Smith and his running style. I was excited when we got him because I always feel teams need big backs to wear down a defense and Smith was good at that. Corey Dillion was a bit of everything where he could pound away if he wanted or make tacklers miss. Maroney was uh well, I wish him luck in Denver and glad he's gone. I hope we draft another big back in April who has a similar style to Smith or better yet Dillion. Had Bledsoe not got injured that year and remained the starter, I'm not sure Smith would have had the year that he did. I think he and Brady complimented each other and Brady would not have done as well without Smith either.  As far as him leaving and then aquiring Dillion, well BB always wants to upgrade every position no matter who the guy is and what he did for you. Bigger backs with a physical run style also tend to have shorter careers from the pounding they take as well.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Dessalines. Show Dessalines's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    I remember Antwain Smith very fondly and your write up says it all about him.  A selfless guy who produced.  Thanks for posting.
     
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    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    In Response to Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith:
    Remember the 2000 New England Patriots? I didn't think so. First year of Belichick's career here in NE, and it did not go well at all. I mean, it was awful. Obviously he was inheritting the mess from Grier and Carroll, but here are some numbers: -1390 total rushing yards as a TEAM, and a robust 3.3 average! Leading rusher? Kevin Faulk - 570/3.5 average. JR Redmond had a tick over 400, and Drew Bledsoe (!?!?) was third with 158 and 2 rushing TDs. -Troy Brown led the team with 83 catches for just 944 yards (second to Glenn's 79/963). -Ty Law, Tebucky Jones and Lawyer Milloy shared the team lead with an impressive 2 INTs apiece. -Bledsoe, always known for his numbers, threw for 3291 yards, 17 TDs to 13 INTs, and a 77 QB rating while completing less than 59% of his passes...while getting sacked 45 times. Ouch. The whole team was just bad. Obviously he only helped one or two aspects, but enter: Antowain Smith. Fans in NE had been cursed at the RB position for some time. Before Smith there was leading back Faulk mentioned above, Terry Allen in 99, 1 year of Robert Edwards in 98 (thanks rookie beach football game), before getting to Curtis Martin who was great, and then stolen away by the Tuna. Before Martin was an assortment of has beens (Marion Butts), disappointments (Leonard Russel) and less that stellar, if servicable lifers (John Stephens). You'd have to go back to the 70s to find a backfield that was exciting, and my memory doesn't go that far. Smith changed all of that. Some knew of him from his days in Buffalo. If I recall correctly, he was also one of the oldest rookies ever drafted (26/27?) after serving in the armed forces and taking care of some family issues. I liked him in Buffalo, and never understood why he fell out of favor, but he came to NE with little fanfare, and even fewer expectations. He proceeded to rush for over 1100 yards, 12 TDs, and probably got every tough yard the Pats asked of him that whole season. He was a pleasure to watch, always initiating contact never shying away, and often winning those individual battles. I know "unsung" is a stretch, in NE, I find there is a very intelligent fanbase, guys don't usually fall through the cracks without there contributions being appreciated. But I feel he has been overshadowed because of Belichick, Curtis Martin being here, then just down the road in NY, and obviously being replaced by Corey Dillon, who kind of did the same things, but just did them even better. But I won't forget what Smith did. Before him I'd never appreciated a tough running game, I didn't know how valuable a good, tough OLine was, I didn't appreciate a guy that could get a 3rd and 1 better than 90% of the time. He was the stabilizing force Brady HAD to have to get this dynasty started. He always knew he had a bull behind him that would come in and do the dirty work while wearing down the defense so he could go about figuring the game out and dinking and dunking his way down the field, never fearing a 3rd and short because he had the human battering ram behind him to pick it up. We had it with Smith, were fortunate to continue it with Dillon, and now eagerly await the next guy who can take that spot. Maroney was supposed to be that guy...oh well. I'm sure they'll figure it out, they always seem to. Anyway, thanks again Antowain, 01 would've never happened without you.
    Posted by ma6dragon9


    dragon, that was nothing less than a fantastic post.
     
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    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    In Response to Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith:
    I remember Antwain Smith very fondly and your write say it all about him.  A selfless guy who produced.  Thanks for posting.
    Posted by Dessalines


    I didn't touch on that side of it, but I agree, he was a true gentleman. I remember hearing a few interviews during the season (radio interviews) and he always came across as exceedingly humble, and extremely grateful to be playing in NE. And he felt that way before the titles started rolling in. He was the exact type of guy that the Pats targeted; high football IQ, tough, selfless, just a true "football player". In 07/08 it seemed the Pats got away from blue collar guys and went with the "measurables" (40 time, height, weight, bench presses)...and saw the error of their ways.

    Danny Woodhead and the Law Firm have Smith's mentality, but were not blessed with his physical gifts. Even so, I'm glad the Pats are getting back to what works.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Getzo. Show Getzo's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    As Laz said, fantastic post!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Mungomunro. Show Mungomunro's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

     Someone once said if you needed two yards for a first down Antowain would get you 2 yards every time. 
     If you needed 4 yards Antowain would still get you 2 yards every time. He was a very tough inside runner.
     
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  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from CablesWyndBairn. Show CablesWyndBairn's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    I agree with this post, this team could use another Antowain Smith.  Not a superstar, just someone who got the job done.  I like BJGE and Woodhead, but this team needs to add to its stable of RBs next year since Taylor is an injury waiting to happen and Morris seems to have aged as well. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from DaBlade. Show DaBlade's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Before Smith the other two RB's of mention were Sam Bam Cunningham and Curtis my favorite Martin. A train Antwon was a great back, hopefully we can find one in 2011 draft or steal someone away from another team... I just know Law Firm is a good RB that would do better with a better Oline, but he's not the equal of those three! With BJGE the only back under contract after this year I suspect we will see quite a change with the RB stable.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ma6dragon9. Show ma6dragon9's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Thanks for the comliments, but I got the easy part, just shining a little light in the corners people tend to forget about.

    And though I LOVE that quote mungro, I have to point out that an old time RB once said that about himself. I can't remember his name, but that line is burned into my memory. Good use of it though, you get points for finding another home for it.

     
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    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Keep postin this stuff!
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from JohnHannahrulz. Show JohnHannahrulz's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Great post. There are players who are overated and players who are underated. Smith is the latter. Running between Tackles is never an easy job and most respect the player that does it consistently. Defensive players know there are running backs you dread tackling (Campbell Payton, Bam etc...) and who'll go low and punish during the run. I wouldn't rank Smith in the same class as those aforementioned RBs, but he got tough yards. I count Smith and Martin as players who helped the Patriots organization ascend to prominence. Same as Bledsoe, Armstrong, Coates , and Ted Johnson. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Macrawn. Show Macrawn's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    It's been a while since we've had a guy like that. A durable guy who was around all season and could produce game after game. Someone mentioned Curtis Martin. He was the last guy we drafted that could carry the egg in that way. It took years and a lot of band aids to semi-recover from Martin's departure. 
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from jedinate. Show jedinate's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    I remember when we got him and I was just glad we didn't have to play against him anymore. Great post!
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    Nice post! People forget one thing about him, he was a first round pick and had some very good talent. He was a tall back, that had size and very underrated speed. His vision was ok (certainly better than Maroney), and if he had a little wiggle to him he probably never would of gotten out of Buffalo. You always knew he was going to run hard and not turn the ball over...a guy you could win with and we did. 
     
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    Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith

    In Response to Re: Unsung Hero #3: Antowain Smith:
    Thanks for the comliments, but I got the easy part, just shining a little light in the corners people tend to forget about. And though I LOVE that quote mungro, I have to point out that an old time RB once said that about himself. I can't remember his name, but that line is burned into my memory. Good use of it though, you get points for finding another home for it.
    Posted by ma6dragon9


     You could be right about the quote. It was along time ago and I'm old.
     
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