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Thread: YJF'S Training Camp Team Previews-New England Patriots

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    YJF'S Training Camp Team Previews-New England Patriots

    All 32 teams are being previewed by me as we get closer to NFL training camps. I have started with The AFC East and have covered Buffalo, Miami and New York. Now it's time to take a deep look at The New England Patriots.

    THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

    TEAM OVERVIEW

    How long can a champion stay a champion?
    For the last 6 years. The Patriots have been one of the best run franchises in all of sports. They have three championships during that span to prove it. A championship model has been built and the machine is so powerful because it embodies the term... "the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts". In the past, New England has been able to survive any individual losses because the operation is so strong. In 2005, The Patriots finally lost in the playoffs. They had never done that under Bill Belichick. At some point all championship teams fall off the mountain top and don't get back on it. Is this that point for the pats?....The last time, New England didn't win a superbowl. They went on to win the next two championships. They dominated the sport. This time, it's going to be much more difficult to get back on top. Like most championship teams, You become a victim of your own success. The last two years, they have lost alot of key compenents. Despite having this generations best head coach, New England's staff has been weakened and is not as strong as it was when they won 3 out of 4 superbowls. New England also lost some key veteran leaders the last two offseasons. With all that being stated, The Pats have a powerful operation and they have the best head coach/qb tandem in the sport with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. They will continue to be a championship contender as long as they have those two at the top. The question is, Can they become a champion again?

    PATRIOTS COACHING

    Bill Belichick is a one man coaching staff. For many years, He was known as a "defensive genius" and rightfully so. He has been this generations Bill Walsh on the defensive side of the ball. What was not known about Belichick was how brilliant of an overall football coach he is.He has gone from defensive genius to football genius. He proved it in 2005. Belichick's fingerprints were all over every aspect of his team. He coaches every area and every position. There are many head coaches who have great knowledge of just one area. Belichick is so involved and hands on with every aspect of his team. He has evolved as a head coach. He had to become this way because of all the top lieutenants he lost on his staff. Belichick took over his own offensive staff last year and he groomed QB coach Josh McDaniels into an offensive coordinator. McDaniels is running the same system that was in place when Charlie Weis was on board. McDaniels is a bright young coach with a bright future. On defense, Dean Pees is expected to retain every aspect of The Pats defensive system during this championship run. It's The Pats third defensive coordinator in as many years but the transition should be smooth because nothing has changed. The Pats have a very good support staff. Dante Scarnecchia, the assistant head coach and o-line coach is the most valuable member on the entire staff outside of the head coach of course. Dante is an amazing coach who doesn't get enough publicity around The NFL. Brad Seely has always been a good veteran special teams coach. The staff is a good one but it is not as strong as it was in the past.

    THE PATRIOTS OFFENSE

    Alot of what The Patriots have done during this run on offense has been smoke and mirrors. The Pats have not had alot of elite players on offense. The reason for their success has been the system and their QB. Tom Brady is the coolest and the most comfortable qb in the nfl and this system fits him prefectly. The scary thing with Brady is that he hasn't reached his peak yet. That's big for a guy who is already the games best QB. When Brady first started out as a starting NFL QB. He had flaws. There were areas of his game that needed refinement. He has evolved and has very little if any flaws now. That wasn't the case when he first started. The Pats love to run the spread offense and Brady is great at spreading the ball around. That's really what makes their passing game go. The Pats best WR is Deion Branch. Believe it or not,Branch has never had a 1,000 yard season. He seems unhappy with his contractual situation and despite the fact that he is not a top 5 wr. The Pats need him this year more than ever. David Givens another quality under the radar WR is gone. The Pats may have found their best talent at WR in 2nd round pick Chad Jackson. Jackson has the makings of a star. The question is how long will it take for him to become that type of player. Troy Brown can help in his development. Brown is at the end of the road but is so well schooled in this offense that his presence and leadership alone make up for whatever limitations he has because of age. The Pats reached out and signed Reche Caldwell from The Chargers. Caldwell is similar to David Givens in talent but he hasn't had that kind of career. These are The Pats top 4 wr's and the team is not as deep as it has been in the past. What The Pats lack at WR, They make up for at TE. Ben Watson is ready to become a star. The argument can be made that he is the most physically gifted player on the entire team. Daniel Graham is as solid as they come and is a balanced player. He can start on almost every team in the league because of how well rounded he is. The Pats added two good young receiving TE's in the draft in David Thomas and Garrett Mills. The depth is here and don't be shocked if Graham's playing his final season with the pats. The Pats backfield should be better in 06. Corey Dillon had his worst nfl season last year and is motivated to bounce back. The Pats wasted no time in finding his successor in first round pick, Laurence Maroney. Maroney is an inside and outside runner, who is very similar to Dillon. The Pats missed third down specialist Kevin Faulk last year. Faulk is a tremendous asset to the teams passing game. He's a great role player and is excellent at his role but he is getting older. Patrick Pass is a versatile player who can do it all and fits the pats model perfectly. The Patriots o-line has a chance to be the best it has been in a long time. The key will be the health of their two best players, LT Matt Light and C Dan Koppen. Logan Mankins, Nick Kaczur and Stephen Neal should be long time fixtures on this line. Mankins has Steve Hutchinson type talent. The Pats depth has been improved because their former starters are now swingmen on the bench like Hochstein, Gorin etc

    THE PATRIOTS DEFENSE

    The best overall defensive lineman in all of football is Richard Seymour. While he has never posted more than 8 sacks in a single season. Seymour is the perfect two gap defensive lineman. This d-line is strong and young.Vince Wilfork has become a monster inside and is one of the league's best NT's. Ty Warren is a solid player. This 3 man d-line is as good as it gets. Jarvis Green is a quality backup and an important player in the rotation. The rest of the depth is questionable. The Pats picked up a very talented player in Jonathan Sullivan, who has never lived up to his billing. At the very worst, He's an upgrade over what The Pats had depth wise. The Pats have DE depth but their problem spot is behind Wilfork. They can't afford to lose him. For a team that traditionally covers all bases. They have dropped the ball behind Wilfork. Mike Wright is not going to cut it. Tedy Bruschi not only returned to play last year but by seasons end, He returned to his all pro form. Bruschi is an awesome player but he's getting older. Gone is Willie McGinest who was a great leader and a clutch player. The Pats have two very good OLB's in Rosevelt Colvin and Mike Vrabel. Vrabel was forced inside last year but is best on the outside. Monty Beisel is just an ok player. The Pats depth at LB is a question mark. Tully Banta Cain will finally get a chance to play more and The Pats have some interesting young backups but this area is an uncertainty. The Pats secondary desperately missed Rodney Harrison last season. Harrison is the games most intimidating safety and he's a fierce leader. Can he return to his prior form?, he's getting up there in age as well. The Pats had 6 db's last year end up on injured reserve. For the second straight year, They had to rely on scrap heap players. The two most physically talented defensive backs on the pats roster are Asante Samuel and Eugene Wilson. Samuel has pro bowl ability. So does Wilson. They both struggled at times last year. Ellis Hobbs did a nice job as a rookie last year. His skillset would seem to indicate that he'd be better served as a slot CB but he was a quality starter last year. The Pats depth at corner and safety is questionable. Randall Gay only played 5 games last year and while he is a very smart corner, He doesn't have great tools. The Pats have two veteran backups in Eric Warfield and Chad Scott. Both physical players who have lost a step or two. Tebucky Jones is back with new england and The Pats went out and signed Mel Mitchell to back up at safety.

    THE PATRIOTS SPECIAL TEAMS

    There may not be a kicking job with more pressure on it this year than the pats kicking job. Gone is a kicking legend in Adam Vinatieri. Mr. clutch who was so reliable on big kicks, that he was taken for granted. The task of replacing him is being put on the legs of rookie Steven Gostkowski and journeymen Martin Gramatica. Gostkowski has a really strong leg and Martin was a good kicker in Tampa before injuries did him in. Kicking in the northeast is already a difficult task but trying to fill the shoes of Adam Vinatieri will be much more difficult. Even if Adam's replacement makes every single kick in the regular season. That kicker will be judged by what he does when the game is on the line in the playoffs. The Pats other two specialists are quality in long snapper Lonnie Paxton and punter Josh Miller. The return and coverage units need work. These two areas are question marks.The Pats have lost some good special teams players and the kick return roles are up for grabs. Most of teams coverage unit players come from the linebacker and secondary depth players. The problem with The Pats is that their depth on defense is older players especially their backup db's. This might not be a very strong unit unless some fresh young players emerge.

    FINAL PREVIEW

    The Patriots are still a championship contender. As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are in place, but this is the most flawed, I have seen this team since their first superbowl. The Pats took the right steps the last two years building for the future on offense with the moves they made on the offensive line, te and this past draft at rb and wr but New England's back 8 on defense is getting older and can't be expected to perform at a premium level forever. At some point, The Pats need to invest in their future on that side of the ball. New England has great leadership and team chemistry and they are the class of The AFC East and will contend for a superbowl this year again but it's not as certain as it was in the past.
    Last edited by YJF; 07-18-2006 at 11:28 AM.

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    wow. not one response. lol

    I guess no one here cares about The Pats. Thanks for the 5 star ratings though.

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    It is a great read, as usual. I think the thing is that most of us are sick of hearing about the Pats, thanks to our Patsy brethren.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYSF
    It is a great read, as usual. I think the thing is that most of us are sick of hearing about the Pats, thanks to our Patsy brethren.
    I hear ya. That's the feeling, I get as well. People are bored with The Pats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YJF
    wow. not one response. lol

    I guess no one here cares about The Pats. Thanks for the 5 star ratings though.
    Very well done YJF.

    I'm pretty much in agreement (maybe to varying degress) with everything you stated.

    Not sure how you can discuss the Pats offense without mentioning Ben Watson.

    Trust me on this one, Watson will have a monster year from the slot position.

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    Can you post a link to your thread on the Miami Dolphins? I'm actually starting to think their offense could be explosive this year IF Daunte is healthy. Ronnie Brown with a year of experience under his belt, Chris Chambers, Randy McMichael and a mobile Daunted has the potential to be quite a show. I missed your write-up on the Fish. Thanks.
    Last edited by jetstream23; 07-18-2006 at 12:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX
    Very well done YJF.

    I'm pretty much in agreement (maybe to varying degress) with everything you stated.

    Not sure how you can discuss the Pats offense without mentioning Ben Watson.

    Trust me on this one, Watson will have a mostset year from the slot position.
    I did mention Ben Watson. You must have skipped through the part where I called him the most phsyically talented player on your entire team. lol... You are slipping man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YJF
    What The Pats lack at WR, They make up for at TE. Ben Watson is ready to become a star. The argument can be made that he is the most physically gifted player on the entire team.
    This is for you PatsFanTX.

    It was directly from my preview on your team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YJF
    I did mention Ben Watson. You must have skipped through the part where I called him the most phsyically talented player on your entire team. lol... You are slipping man.
    Damn, that's what happens when each one of your paragraphs are 5 miles long.

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    Great write-up. I see the Pats winning the division but probably suffering the same fate as last year....home playoff win and then traveling and losing on the road in the Divisional Playoffs. JMHO.

    There is no doubt that their offense could be one of the youngest and most talented in the NFL over the next few years if Brady, Watson, Maroney, and Jackson all continue or become what they should be.

    YJF hit the nail on the head though. For once, the defense may become the liability especially the second and third levels but as we all know, what Belly lacks in personnel he often makes up for in schemes so that is probably the thinking there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX
    Damn, that's what happens when each one of your paragraphs are 5 miles long.
    You got a point. I had to edit alot of it to try and make the paragraphs shorter. I covered Watson. I think his emergence is going to open the door for Graham's departure. Graham's a good player but Watson can be a Gates/Gonzalez type threat. I like the future of The Pats offense. They have alot of young rising talent.

    The defense is another story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetstream23
    Great write-up. I see the Pats winning the division but probably suffering the same fate as last year....home playoff win and then traveling and losing on the road in the Divisional Playoffs. JMHO.

    There is no doubt that their offense could be one of the youngest and most talented in the NFL over the next few years if Brady, Watson, Maroney, and Jackson all continue or become what they should be.

    YJF hit the nail on the head though. For once, the defense may become the liability especially the second and third levels but as we all know, what Belly lacks in personnel he often makes up for in schemes so that is probably the thinking there.
    I agree with you. The Pats have as good of a chance as any team in The AFC to get to the superbowl because I don't really see a clear cut favorite. Pittsburgh must be respected and Indy is an elite team but do you really trust them. Hard to bet against Belichick and Brady but I do see some problems on the horizon for them and thanks for the kudos for my remarks about the back end of their defense and their lack of depth in certain areas. Their special teams right now doesn't really look that good to me. They have the worst unit in the division without question.

    By the way jetstream, I bumped the other previews on to the first page.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetstream23

    YJF hit the nail on the head though. For once, the defense may become the liability especially the second and third levels but as we all know, what Belly lacks in personnel he often makes up for in schemes so that is probably the thinking there.
    The number one problem with the Pats defense this year will be the age and depth of the LB position. BB used to intercchange LB's for specific down and distances. I'm not too sure the Pats have the depth at the LB position to do that like they did in the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX
    The number one problem with the Pats defense this year will be the age and depth of the LB position. BB used to intercchange LB's for specific down and distances. I'm not too sure the Pats have the depth at the LB position to do that like they did in the past.
    Well, that's because the Patriot LBs are noodle legs.

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    YJF, which division are you going after next? These previews are good, but most of it is common knowledge at least to me being in the Jets division. Interested to read about what's going on with other teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NYSF
    YJF, which division are you going after next? These previews are good, but most of it is common knowledge at least to me being in the Jets division. Interested to read about what's going on with other teams.
    The AFC North is next.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YJF
    The Patriots are still a championship contender. New England has great leadership and team chemistry and they are the class of The AFC East and will contend for a superbowl this year.
    Wait...I thought the Pats were doomed? I thought is was all over?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FoxboroFanatic2
    Wait...I thought the Pats were doomed? I thought is was all over?
    You notice, I didn't state anything about The Pats winning a superbowl. Contending...yes...winning.....i don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YJF
    You notice, I didn't state anything about The Pats winning a superbowl. Contending...yes...winning.....i don't know.
    Some one else told me they SUCK.

  20. #20
    Excellent analysis of the Pats. I think most people would be concerned about the age of the linebackers and depth at that position. Its what has made the defense go for 4 or 5 years now and its certainly the weakest it has been.... This is a put up or shut up year for Ben Watson. You will see alot of 2 or maybe even 3 TEs on the field at the same time lined up wide. Mills is probably projecting as a fullback or H-back so he could be in and then go wide in some of these formations.

    I have a feeling Chad Jackson is awhile away from contributing on a team like this one. He's really fast, but so was Bethel Johnson, though Jackson is a far more polished WR and not a Moss-like deep threat despite the size and speed. I think he will have some trouble running routes at the NFL level, at least this season. He needs alot of work in that area. This is common for WRs anyway. If he does develop I think he will surprise because he will be used more in the mid level passing game rather than deep, which is where alot of people see him being used.

    Maroney is a huge pick up. I thought Dillion was done going into 2004. I think I was off by a year just like we all were about Curtis....All in all I think the Patriot offense is the second best in the NFL behind the Colts. If Plamer is healthy maybe Cincy as well.

    New England has to gear up for the season by planning on going 6-0 in the division. More than ever they need home field to make it to the Super Bowl. They have to avoid Denver, especially in Denver, who has just given them fits for 5 years now. They are not good enough anymore to have give away games to a bad team like they did Miami in 2004. If they drop a game to the Jets or Bills you can probably kiss home field good bye. Their first 6 games should be telling. Denver, Cincy, and Miami plus 2 against Buffalo and an away game versus the Jets. They probably have to go 5-1 to get a good grip on a homefield slot, especially since Denver and Cincy are potential tiebreakers. They should breeze through the second half of the season. But if they decide to coast through it and drop a game to Green Bay or Minnesota they will probably be seeing another second or first round exit from the playoffs.

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