Re: Where Is The Hunger/Intensity?
posted at 6/18/2013 6:28 PM EDT
In response to zbellino's comment:
I think there is plenty of intensity. Mostly from Brady. The guy looks dialed in, as do a number of other players. They always come out playing fast on both sides.
Though I DO think the NE defense is soft. Everyone in the league knows it too. You can bully them, score on them, run the ball at them.
Not one of them is "feared" outside of the nose tackle.
I think the big moment last post-season was the Ridley fumble ...
Not so much in that Ridley fumbled it, but that it showed what real defenses do.
NE came out ... ran the ball what 28 times right at the Ravens in the first three quarters ... tried to play power football, and in a close game ... the Ravens smacked them in the mouth.
NE's defense at that point was doing what it normally does ... folding up like a lawn chair and allowing (yet) another 28 points in a post-season game.
In order to play tough defensive hockey, you need a tough defensive line; in order to play tough running football, you need a tough defense that can create turnovers and stop the opponents from winning the battle of field positions/TOP.
You have a close, one score game ... two teams are battling it out on the ground.
It was won by the defense that made the play for their offense.
Everything that happens after that was a fait accompli.
If NE had put a helmet on Rice or Flacco and they coughed up the ball on the 15 at that juncture it would have been a totally different game ... AND Flacco would have been throwing 15-20 times for his life with 5 minutes to go and probably would have thrown a pick to ice it.
This is how you can tell the new fans from the fans who have been here: they watched NE win this way with defense like that. It didn't matter what the game plan was ... they had the same overall strategy: keep it close. If you need one score Brady will get it ... if you need a stop/turnover the defense will get it.
But NE hasn't had that kind of defense in 7 years at least.
I'm not convinced that Brady shows hunger/intensity anymore. Maybe at one time. Now I see him as an accomplished QB who behaves like a prima donna, whining player. There are only a couple of players on D who play with intensity and hunger - one of who is Spikes. He's a playmaker, but is not the greatest coverage guy and sometimes chooses the wrong hole to stuff.
I also disagree that a good running game is dependent on a defense that can create turnovers. IMO, a good running game is more dependent on having quality blocking in front of them. The last time it seemed that the Patriots could run "at will" was when they had Crumpler and Gronk blocking up front. Once Crumpler was gone - it left Gronk; which was bad for the offense because if he's blocking, he can't be a receiving threat at the same time.
I would agree that our defense has been very soft for more than 5-6 years.
I would heartily disagree with those who think the two most recent SB losses are soley Brady's fault. I've said it numerous times. In the two SB losses - the Giants were a great matchup against the Patriots. They made just enough plays offensively and defensively. The Patriots were outcoached and outplayed in all three phases of the game (which includes Brady's poor showing)