Re: Where is the Run Run Run Crowd Tonight?
posted at 1/20/2014 8:01 AM EST
In response to palookaski's comment:
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
There are times when there is no strategy that works with the players you have. Football is not merely an intellectual exercise. Strategy is part of it, but talent and execution are critical. If you don't have the talent, or you just don't execute, all the scheming in the world won't save you.
I said before the game that the key was for the defense to be able to get Manning out of rhythm (with pressure on receivers and the QB) and keep him from moving the ball and scoring because there was no way the Pats' offense could win in a s h o o t out. Unfortunately, the defense couldn't do that, so we ended up in a gun fight without enough guns. Our passing game isn't good right now because we don't have good receiving TEs and WRs beyond Edelman. If we had been able to get the running game going, that would have helped a bit, but with our weak receivers, Denver was able to focus on shutting down the run and we couldn't sustain drives with it. The reality is that moving the ball and scoring in the NFL tends to require an efficient passing game and we just don't have that. When you don't have that, you better play well on defense.
So defensive play was key in this game. The lack of pass rush, though, was a huge problem for us. We got absolutely no pressure on Manning and, especially without Talib, our DBs and LBs aren't good enough to cover all those good wideouts and TEs when Manning has all day to throw. You can't scheme your way out of that.
As it has been every year, our problem is mostly about talent.
Good comment Pro. I won't impose you with my own view of the (bolded above) but what do you suspect is the reason for the lack of talent every year? Not meant to be a loaded question but only to hear what you have to say.
Drafting low, poor talent evaluation, Value over more skilled talent, top level pay for few core players, or could It be too much wishful thinking, etc.
Always Enjoyed your comments.
Thanks Palookaski. I think you've got to start with the simple fact that the draft system is designed to disadvantage winning teams. Consistently low draft picks (year after year) create a challenge for Belichick that most other teams don't face. Most other teams have up and down years, so they end up with a few high draft picks in a ten year span as well as low ones. We end up with only low ones. Add to that the loss of first-round picks to spygate and because of the acquisition of Belichick and the Pats have been in "pick hell" throughout Belichick's tenure.
So start there.
Then you need to look at Belichick's strategy for dealing with the situation. His approach is designed to allow a lot of flexibility with players. He's reluctant to invest too much in any one player, he wants to keep lots of cap flexibility so he can move players in and out to tweak his team, and he likes to have lots of depth and versatility. He trades down a lot to maximize the number of picks, he avoids potential dead money, and he keeps enough cap room to be able to move players all season. This is a winning strategy for Belichick because he's so good at adjusting his schemes and player combinations to get the most from the players he has. He's very much a team builder rather than a talent acquirer.
At the same time, however, Belichick's strategy, does leave the team with a shortage of true impact players and, at times, with big holes in certain positions. We've seen this with the defensive backfield and WR for years now. Those are expensive positions to fill where top individual talent is hard to find and costs big dollars. So we've gone without. But unfortunately, we've needed those players in big games.
Belichick also tries to maximize his talent by taking chances on guys who slip in price or draft position because of injury, character concerns, or age. This sometimes works, but there have been a fair number of failures too. The two TEs (Gronk and Hern) are perfect examples. Brilliant talent who both fell in the draft because of injury concerns and character concerns, respectively. How has it worked out? They both contributed at levels way above their draft position--but both have been lost because of the issues that caused them to slip in the draft. Then you have the Ras-I Dowlings of the world . . . or the Tavon Wilsons. Some of those evaluation problems are unavoidable (there's no way to know the future with certainty) . . . but I wonder if BB just tries to get too cute too often hoping to find guys who are worth more than their price or draft position? Maybe sometimes it's better just to go for guys who have higher odds of working out.
Overall, I think Belichick is a great team builder and has done a good job given the disadvantaged draft position he's been in for over a decade. I just think his approach has its downsides too and I'm not 100% sure it's clear one way or the other whether the upsides outweigh the downsides or not. The winning record speaks for itself. But so do the losses in the playoffs.