Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I was concerned before the Monday night tilt against the Broncos - and rightfully so. The Patriots defense has struggled this season, and at times Denver has moved the ball at will against opponents. So you will pardon me if after watching Delta O'Neal get burned against the Chargers more often than the Mekong Delta during a napalm attack I lacked some confidence in the Pats ability to fend off a high-powered offense.

While I still have concerns about the offense (they looked great, but it was against one of the league's worst defenses), I have to give the defense props.

Yes, I'm a little worried moving forward about the lack of a healthy Rodney Harrison, but let's take a look at who made the plays on the "aging" Patriots defense.

The Patriots had two interceptions - one each from their pair of young safeties, Brandon Meriweather and James Sanders. Sanders was drafted in 2005 and Meriweather in 2007.

Three men on defense forced fumbles - undrafted defensive lineman Mike Wright (26 years old), Ty Warren (27) and the oldest - veteran corner Lewis Sanders (30).

The men who recovered those fumbles - rookie linebackers Jerrod Mayo, Gary Guyton, and back-up defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith - are all no older than 26.

Including the combined two sacks from Adalius Thomas and Richard Seymour (not including the shot at the beginning of the game from Sey and Tedy Bruschi that seemed to throw Jay Cutler off his game), the average age of the game-changing players on the Pats D in the Monday night tilt - 26.1 years.

Not exactly the NFL equivalent of AARP membership, is it?

In other NFL news...

So, it's been reported that Brett Favre contacted the Lions before their game against Green Bay and spent an hour on the phone giving the Detroit coaches details regarding the nuances of the Packer offense. While technically not against NFL rules, it is incredibly slimy.

It's one thing for a team to bring in someone cut from an opponent to pick their brain. It's another thing for a player to go out of his way to contact the former team's upcoming opponent.

Favre has, of course, denied doing so. Lions coaches, on the other hand, have refrained from comment.

What really got me was the following passage from the article -

Packers wide receiver Ruvell Martin shared Woodson’s concern.

“If it’s true, then you’ve got to question motives,” Martin said. “I don’t know what to say.”

But Martin downplayed the actual damage leaked inside information could do to a team.

“In my opinion, there’s not too much you can gain,” Martin said. “You can give them our hand signals, (but) those are on tape already. If we find out you’ve got our hand signals, we try to find a way (around it).”

Okay -does anyone else out there see what I'm seeing? Anyone? Any of the outraged about the Pats Spygate scandal?

Remember, during that total lack of digging done by the pundits and sports reporters in which few beyond Michael Silver noted that taping is commonplace through the NFL? That time period during which the Jets it turned out had been caught, but no one whined about that? That time period during which Jimmy Johnson admitted to doing it while coaching the Dolphins and the Cowboys? When people ignored the fact that Mike Shanahan was caught doing the same in the 1990's?

So now, based on that comment, you have to believe that not only the Pats, Jets, Phins, Broncos, and Cowboys have engaged in this, but evidently it's a common enough practice in the NFC North that a Packer wide-out publicly asked what an opponent really could have garnered by talking to a former teammate because they had all the signals on tape.

Yeah, right, this wasn't a common practice.


Staying on Favre for just a moment longer -

Jets fans should consider the following very telling statistic an indictment of Eric Mangini's ability to pick a talented offensive coordinator who can use the talent he's given.

Brett the Jet has averaged 9.9 yards per completion this season. Chad Pennington is currently averaging 11.8 yards per completion. Last year Pennington averaged 9.86 per completion in Brian Shottenheimer's offense.

Coincidence? Maybe, but unlikely.

1 comment:

Chris Stone said...

The pats did do well... and i've promised to lay off Cassell for at least a week...

but really the Denver defense stunk. and Cutler was not throwing well.

tho i was impressed again by the young players on the pats team. mayo continues to look great, and guyton's catch was quite nice. and i like how BenJarvis Green-Ellis (they have to keep him for the name alone) made a touchdown. nice call by the coaches.