Sunday, October 26, 2008

The defense is still a bit offensive

The Patriots have clawed their way back into a share of first place with their win over the Rams combined with the Bills loss to the 'Phins.

Once again, Matt Cassel was solid in his role as signal caller, and could have been even better if not for drops from Randy Moss (two touchdowns missed, and a deflection of his hand ended as an interception), and normally sure-handed Wes Welker (dropped a sure first-down, and fell in his route leading to interception two). Cassel led the offense to 23 points on 63 percent passing in spite of an erratic and often ineffective running game (although Kevin Faulk did average 4.1 yards a carry and was the Cassel's best weapon, accounting for a combined 107 yards and a highlight reel touchdown reception).

While I believe the offense could have been better - the team needs to do a better job of helping Cassel out - I don't have too many complaints about the offensive performance other than those noted above.

The defense, however, continues to bother me.

Overall, they did what they needed to do, coming up with the big third down stops pretty regularly. What wasn't good was the regularity with which the Rams hit big plays. Three St. Lois receivers had catches of at least 19 yards, two of them averaged more than 20 yards per catch and one, with six receptions averaged more than 27 yards.

These are not reassuring numbers.

They are a step backwards from last week when the Pats gave up virtually nothing deep.

Will they adjust sans Rodney Harrison? I hope so - but this really wasn't the sort of adjustment I was hoping to see, and I don't care what the record says, next week's Sunday night tilt against the Colts looms large. Even a wounded Peyton Manning is dangerous, and I would like to see that the secondary has made the necessary adjustments to win in Indy next week.

And on a separate note, for those of you who missed it, check out my last post on commercial viability. It's a gas.


Chris Stone said...

i agree with you about the pats defense. except, i really didn't think they would hit their stride, defensively, before week 8... because of the number of rookies relied upon. and this was before harrison got hurt! from what i can tell, they were hoping tank williams would be harrison's sub, and he got hurt in the pre-season. no one else fits harrison's profile... someone that can flex forward to the linebacker role.

and i'll lay off cassell.... for one more week. (he is doing alright..) something i've wondered about the drops... whether its the pass. from what cris carter said, brady has a sweet pass. he preferred it over peyton manning's. something about the way it is thrown. its just, if moss and welker are both dropping.... (but i'm laying off cassell!)

Kevin Smith said...

What bothered me about the drops - particularly the Moss ones, is that the ball was put just about perfectly in front of him on the TD attempt, and Moss tried to catch it with his wrists. The other one (that resulted in the INT) Moss just wasn't looking.

I agree that the rooks are an issue - but O'Neal, a long-time veteran, just has not looked good. Sanders has been in the system for four seasons, and just made the wrong read on the deep pass that resulted in the TD.

There are some little things that continue to bother me.

Ironically, the defense played its best ball in the fourth quarter, when it was largely manned by rookies and first year players (and I will give O'Neal props on the INT).