December 11, 2016

Patriots Roundtable – September 7, 2007

logo97by the Patriots Daily Staff
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The opening of the 2007 regular season is near, and that means it’s time to get the Roundtable gang together for our traditional Friday pre-game chat.

There’s plenty of gristle for the boys to chew on, including the unexpected loss of Pro-Bowler Richard Seymour and the NFL’s suspension of team leader Rodney Harrison, due to his admitted use of performance enhancing drugs.

Oh, yeah, there’s also a game – a season-opening matchup with divisional rival New York – to talk about.

Let’s get started.

Rodney Harrison has admitted to using the banned substance Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to reclaim his place in the Patriots lineup after a series of debilitating injuries. As a result, he’s discredited himself and his league, and left his team without one of its best players as a new season opens. Your reaction?

Dan Snapp: Crime and punishment. He got caught, and he – and the Patriots – get penalized with the four games. Harrison tried to draw a line between HGH and steroids, but I doubt the public’s going to care about such nuances. He cheated, got caught, and the blemish will follow him the rest of his career. It won’t keep me from rooting for him, though.

Tim Jordan: That news hit me like a ton of bricks. I wish I could tell you that my first reaction was anger at the offending player, but it wasn’t. I was disappointed and sad about such jarring news so close to the beginning of the season. A few days later I’ve rationalized because it feels more like a normal season with some obligatory pre-season adversity. It was too surreal before the Harrison and Seymour setbacks, too much to like about their chances – it made me dubious. Also, I am sure it makes me a flaming fan-boy worthy of derision and scorn, but I’ve felt for a long time that NFL players use PEDs and I don’t have a problem with it. One could make numerous analogies to similar measures taken by people to survive or thrive at their own vocations. I think it’s naive to think that it’s not prevalent in the NFL considering the nature of the work and the compensation involved.

Bill Barnwell: If people think Harrison is the only player in the league using HGH, they need to get their heads out of the sand. There’s going to be more players who are outed as a result of the ongoing investigation into Signature Pharmacy, which is the only reason Harrison (or any of the other athletes) are admitting to usage. If there was a test that reliably detected HGH, that would be one thing, but there’s not. The only way to find users at this point is to find evidence of purchases, which is why Harrison’s squawking. This doesn’t change how I feel about the guy, to be honest, because if I didn’t like players who use HGH, I’d like about 20% of the league.

What will the loss of Richard Seymour for the first six weeks mean to the Patriots?

Travis Graham: When I first heard the news that they PUP’d him I was disappointed. After a few minutes of thinking about it, I actually feel good about this decision. Arguably, the deepest position on the team is the DL. It’s not like they need him right away. With the rotation of Green/Wright/Smith/Brown (and possibly Thomas) they shouldn’t have any trouble finding fresh legs to fill that hole. Having a fresh Seymour down the stretch will be a nice bonus, especially after what happened in Indy last year. I wonder if Seymour was close to coming back when he came into camp and Belichick told him to take his time with his knee and save his energy for this winter when they really need him… sort of like a Roger Clemens agreement.

Dan: I don’t want to underestimate Seymour’s absence. Six games is a significant portion of the season, and they have the Jets, Chargers, Bengals and Cowboys in those first six games. With the competition so tight for a playoff bye, those games are important. Since Harrison’s suspension was announced prior to Saturday’s decision to put Seymour on PUP, the team could have used that open roster space for Seymour and not need to make another roster move ’til Harrison came back in week five. So, does this mean Seymour’s injury is serious enough to require the full six weeks of recuperation?

Kevin Thomas: Of course, now the rumors are that it could be the entire season. It seems to me that the Patriots aren’t trigger-shy when it comes to IR’ing players, so my guess is their legitimate timetable for Seymour’s return is sometime between weeks 6-10. I don’t think they would go this route if there was only a small chance of Seymour returning at all this season. If they know that the earliest he could be back is, say mid-December, he would be on the IR now. I really don’t see an upside to playing games with the PUP/IR designations, unless Seymour’s health situation is so uncertain they really have no way of knowing when he might be ready. On the field, this one is going to hurt, I think, especially in the running game. The Chargers game will be a challenge, to say the least.

Bruce Allen: The Seymour absence definitely troubles me more than the Harrison one…perhaps because of the uncertainty surrounding the injury and surgery. The reports of some sort of infection following the surgery don’t sound good. While the Patriots have some nice depth on the line, Seymour is the keystone. Ty Warren got some well deserved recognition and praise last season, some even said he was their top lineman. It will be interesting to see how he does as the main focus on the line.

Bill: It’s a problem for me. Wilfork and Warren are very good, but they look better than they actually are because Seymour draws so much attention.

Scott Benson: I think there might be some merit to that thought. I wonder how the Pats will fare over a prolonged period with Seymour out. The closest comparison is a four game stretch he missed in 05, and they didn’t cover themselves in glory then.

Tim: As Bruce mentions, Warren is a young player and is seemingly getting better. I think they have experienced talent to spare here for 6 games, while they probably don’t at other positions. This preseason introduced us to LeKevin Smith and Kareen Brown to add to the stable of back-ups along the line. Jarvis Green has played Seymour’s position in some very big games that they won, including the playoffs. The line looks like it’s been built to withstand such absences since it is so vital to what the team does defensively.

Let’s take at look at Sunday’s game. What a way to start the season, with a road game against their top divisional rival. We’ll start with the Patriots offense vs. the Jets defense. What will you be looking for?

Greg Doyle: An emphasis on throwing. In contrast to many, I actually feel the Patriots will continue to try to be pretty balanced, on the whole, this year. But in this game, I think the Jets will have more trouble defending the pass than the run with the Patriots new weapons going against their mediocre secondary. It will be a week to week thing, I think, but this week look for more throwing than running.

Scott: 147, 146 and 158. That was the Patriots net rushing in three games with New York last season. Run the ball down their throats. Spread it out and get them all flying to the quarterback (as they did in Foxboro last fall), and then run it right past them.

Tim: Yup, lots of disguised blitzes with no set formation pre-snap so Brady isn’t allowed to recognize the formation and make the call. Last year the Patriots countered with the no-huddle and it worked out very well. I think the Patriots offense will put together some solid drives to complement the defense and make this one out of reach by the 4th quarter. I’m typically terrified of the Jets (irrationally) every year, but when I think back to 06 I feel more frustration than fright. They stole that game in Foxborough and, other than some fluke plays you won’t see again in a lifetime of watching games, the Patriots dominated them in the other two. It’s also noteworthy that no one outside the locker room has any idea how Moss will be used. No one. That can’t be an easy wild card to game plan against. I can’t wait to see how he’s used this week.

Travis: I’m curious to see how the Pats offense operates with all of their new weapons in place. We still haven’t seen what Moss and David Thomas can bring to the offense this year in a game situation. I agree with Scott that the Pats will try spreading out the receivers in no-huddle situations, which would set up Maroney for an occasional draw play (where he excels). I don’t know if Mangenius will trust the rookie CB Darrelle Revis enough to put him out there in only his third week in the NFL, but if he does, look for Brady to pick on him.

Bill: Running game is everything here. The Jets defense was the worst in football last year at stopping the run. They’ll be slightly better this year, but this is still a very weak front seven with no nose tackle of consequence. The Patriots can dominate this game by running the ball, and if they don’t, it will be a huge shocker.

Let’s flip it around. Pats defense vs. the Jets offense.

Kevin: It looks like Asante Samuel will play, which is key, because Pennington is a guy who will turn the ball over if you have a playmaker like Samuel out there. I am somewhat concerned about the safeties. The Pats gave up more than their share of big plays against the Jets last year. Sanders and whoever else they put back there need to be cognizant of that and not get burned on those big gains. That’s probably the only way the Jets win this game–I can’t see the Jets dominating this defense for 60 minutes. Cotchery is almost an Official Patriots Killer at this point of his young career. They absolutely must contain him.

Bill: Cotchery last year: three games, 16 catches, 291 yards, three touchdowns. A lot of that was due to weakness at linebacker and safety. This year, Adalius Thomas and Brandon Meriweather are there, and Eugene Wilson is here until he gets hurt again. They need to be able to handle Cotchery as a deep threat and as an underneath receiver playing off Laveraneus Coles.

Tim: Pennington has had his fair share of multiple interception games against this defense – my favorite being the infamous Kolber-Namath game. Samuel put the lights out on the playoff game with the interception that he returned for the TD. I am not worried about the Jets offense, unless they can find a way to run consistently against New England. That’s one of the reasons for the loss in Foxborough last year. With the bad field conditions Kevan Barlow looked like Jim Brown on two drives and their defense did a good job of confusing Brady the rest of the way.

Travis: Without Seymour and Harrison, the strength of this defense is the linebackers. I don’t think we’ve ever seen a group of linebackers this good in New England. Think about who they have: Bruschi, Vrabel, Thomas, Colvin and Seau. There could be four or more hall of famers in that group. That’s amazing. When the Pats had all four starting LBs healthy last year (10 games), they gave up 76ypg on the ground. When Seau broke his arm, in the remaining 9 games they gave up 121ypg. This year they’ll start out with five solid linebackers and the newest one is one of the best in the league. What does this mean for the Jets? Well, I think they’ll have difficulty running the ball especially if Tom Jones hasn’t regained all of his speed yet. The Pats will have to force Pennington to beat him with his arm strength. They’ll have to take away the short stuff that Pennington throws because when Chad tries to go deep it can be a horror show for the Jets. The Pats DBs should try to force the issue by playing close to the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

Scott: Tom Jones? I love that. “It’s not un-u-sual to be stuffed, on third and one…..”

Tim: While the swooning offensive line throws bouquets and soiled jockstraps at him.

Dan: You were kidding about the HoF, right, Travis? I think it’s even debatable whether this is the best linebacker grouping they’ve had. The 2003 and 2004 seasons, with Bruschi and Vrabel in their primes, a still-contributing Ted Johnson and Roman Phifer, Colvin coming on strong in the ’04-’05 playoffs, and a resurgent Willie McGinest, might trump this season’s. The wild card, of course, is Adalius Thomas. The collective age of the group, though, could turn a team strength into its biggest vulnerability.

Greg: I think the Jets will try to run and control the clock. They do have two good receivers though, so it would be dumb to not try to get the ball down the field with them. I think with Pennington you have to try to force him to throw it downfield from the pocket. He doesn’t have the arm to do it very well. He can hit the short stuff. He can hit a pass if he’s flushed a bit. But make him stand there and he can’t consistently. So I guess that would mean the gameplan is to take away the run early and force Pennington to throw from the pocket where he has many times made mistakes against the Pats.

Scott: I wonder if we underestimate their offense a little. Aside from the playoff loss last year, the Jets have been pretty close to the Pats in time of possession, total yards and most importantly, on the scoreboard. Whether its big plays or long drives, they seem to find a way to stay in these games.

Anything about the special teams matchup that stands out?

Travis: The Pats might be catching a huge break in this one if Justin Miller is unable to return kicks because of his hamstring injury. He can be a difference maker when he’s out there. The other question mark is how the Pats punter de jour will perform. I’m not too worried about this one, though. I don’t see the Pats giving up the ball much on Sunday.

Greg: I’m interested to see Wes Welker return kicks. We really didn’t get too good a look at that in preseason and they were trying different combinations out. I think Brad Seely is a really good special teams coach, so I’ll be interested to see how Welker flourishes under his coaching.

Let’s look at the coaching matchup. The Jets have clearly focused on one thing since last January – unseating the Patriots. How close are they getting?

Bill: They’re closer than they were last year, but not as close as they appear to be, if that makes any sense. The Jets were an incredibly lucky team defensively in a number of ways last year: missed field goals against them, recovering an inordinate number of fumbles, no defensive touchdowns against them, etc. They had a great draft for their needs and they’ve brought in more depth at defensive line, but they still don’t have the proper personnel for the 3-4. Offensively, Chad Pennington’s a good quarterback, but he’s not going to be the quarterback that takes the Jets to the Super Bowl. Kellen Clemens is, and it won’t be for another two years at the earliest.

Bruce: Mangini clearly tries any trick in the book to gain an edge, even if it is just trying to annoy the Patriots. Bringing in Caldwell, Elgin and Hawkins is just that…annoying. The players aren’t likely to give up anything that the Jets don’t already know. As far as Mangini approaching the level of his mentor, I thought this Football Outsiders Extra Point bit on Mangini as a coach was pretty interesting. If the things in there hold true, then we should wait a bit and see how Mangini does for a little while longer before putting him on the level of Belichick.

Tim: Part of you hopes that the challenge that Mangini presents to BB within the division is a good thing. Belichick was clearly upset about some of the things that Mangini has done during and since his transition to the Meadowlands, and he is very familiar with how Belichick runs a team. He’s a great foil to have within the division, but let’s remember the guy is in his early thirties with relatively limited experience in comparison to the Hooded Houdini. The Patriots have the superior coach and the superior talent. The Jets haven’t caught up. Also, Belichick is consumed with winning and football. Mangini likes those things, but in truth, he’s consumed by the smell of fried Ho’Ho’s and canadian bacon.

Dan: Jets fans lived through Herm Edwards, so to those poor heathens, Mangini must seem a God. I’ll say this: they’re very creative, on both offense and defense, so you can’t overlook them. I just don’t think Mangini can see the game the way Belichick does. And the Jets just don’t have the horses to unseat the Pats. But the gap is narrowing.

Scott: Close enough to be a pain in the ass. The Patriots took them in the playoffs, but those two games last year were the proverbial knothole games, meaning you get dragged through them. To me, the Jets don’t seem to do anything particularly well, yet there they are.

Okay, it’s time to nut up and lay a prediction out there. Conference runner-up New England on to road to open the season with the 2006 wild card Jets. Now…who drew the short straw?

Bruce: Patriots 17, Jets 13. At least a couple of weird plays along the way, as there usually are when these two teams meet up.

Dan: Just got around to watching the 2006 Colts “America’s Game” episode. Apparently, the Patriots tipped off to Peyton Manning the way to beat the Ravens by the way they beat the Jets. Great, just what we need! More pressure. So now that Manning’s monitoring Patriot games for strategy tips (Tony Dungy’s hugs can only carry a team so far), they’re gonna have to protect the family secrets until Manning changes the channel. Or they could just put him to sleep by running the ball, which is what they should do anyway. 24-13, Pats.

Tim: Patriots carry a 10 point lead for 3 quarters and put them away in the fourth. Mangini is bludgeoned by Patriots cheerleaders during a 3rd quarter TV timeout. The Jets coach, upset after a cheerleader gets too close to the sideline, starts verbally abusing intrepid choreographer Tracy Sormanti. Tracy, after several minutes of trying to rationalize with the (heavily buttered) Toast of NYC, silently signals to her three best dancers that there may be trouble. Within moments Dinna Yap and Sandra Smyly have Mangini subdued and they gesture to Jessica Wanzie that it’s time for the submission move that they’ve been practicing all offseason – the Flying Wanzie. Jessica doesn’t hesitate to climb section 100 and pounce like a sequined panther. A bloodied Mangini lies catatonic on the ground twitching while the paramedics race to his side. As he’s lifted into the stretcher he burps up something that smells like apple butter, scrapple, maple syrup, and goose fish.

Bill: They’ll be fine. Patriots 23, Jets 9.

Scott: As I said earlier: knothole. Pats prevail, 21-19, but the whole affair turns out to be rather unpleasant.

Comments

  1. I’m pretty sure Tim has the most accurate account of what is going to happen on Sunday.

  2. The part about scrapple? I agree.

  3. Kevin Thomas is right about the Pats not being “trigger-shy when it comes to IR’ing players,” but that applies only to players who would take up roster spots. With Seymour being eligible for the reserve PUP list, there’s really nothing to be gained by putting him on the IR.

    If you’ll recall, nobody expected Bruschi to come back in 2005, but since the Pats were keeping him on the roster, and he never practiced in pre-season, they put him on the PUP because there was no upside in IRing him.

    I can’t think of any player of note who’s been eligible for the PUP but IR’ed instead.

  4. Bill, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with you pretty strongly about Wilfork and Warren looking “better than they actually are because Seymour draws so much attention.”

    I know it’s only preseason, but the tandem has looked absolutely dominant no matter who’s been lining up next to them all season.

    Wilfork in particular. Seriously, this guy is making “the leap” this year. During the Panthers game, the man was practically “three-gapping.” Heck, he’s looked so good so far that Tomase, in today’s Herald, is ready to call him one of the Pats’ three best players… and while that’s typical Herald hyperbole, I’m not entirely sure that I disagree.

  5. Fair N Balanced says:

    Our guys are gonna &^&*%*) kill their guys

  6. Tomase’s Wilfork praise is pretty eye-opening. But it’s backed up by Breer’s quote from Belichick: “the most complete nose tackle I’ve ever coached.”

  7. Do you think guys like Wilfork get a lot of fan mail?

    I mean, it’s mostly kids who write fanmail, and kids aren’t usually known for their appreciation of interior line play, so I could imagine that guys like Wilfork might sometimes feel left out because guys like Brady + Bruschi get all the adoration.

    I’ve never written a fan letter to anyone in my life, but if I knew that the Pats’ ‘Fork-lift wasn’t getting any fan-love, I might reconsider.

  8. This comment by Travis really struck me:

    “Think about who they have: Bruschi, Vrabel, Thomas, Colvin and Seau. There could be four or more hall of famers in that group. That’s amazing.”

    Seau’s going to the Hall of Fame, and the others have been nice players, but they’re not going to Canton. Having LB depth is nice (and definitely needed with the mileage on these guys), but there’s little doubt that Bruschi, Seau, and Vrabel are on the downside of their fine careers, and even Thomas is 30 years old. I think maybe Travis got a little carried away with that remark.

  9. Maybe they’re going to the Humanitarian Hall of Fame just like Drew.

  10. Dweeb Ewbank says:

    Bruschi may well get to the HOF. Not that it should be this way, but if the Patriots win another SB (maybe even if they dont), he could go the way of som many mid-70s Steelers. And everybody likes him, too. If your point was he doesn’t deserve it, you might be right.

  11. The Hall of Fame seems such a pointless exercise nowadays anyway. There’s very little in the way of set parameters that the voters need to use in their decision-making.

    They all seem so swayed by bias, revealed often in both Peter King’s and Paul Zimmerman’s columns (why do they both have a vote, anyway?). Zimmerman’s already said he’s not likely to vote for Randy Moss based on what he determines was a lack of effort in Oakland. I think we can all agree on Moss’s behavior in Oakland, but does that really wipe out what he accomplished in Minnesota, and what he’s yet to accomplish?

  12. I may have gotten carried away with the HoF. Seau – definetly and Bruschi has a very good shot, especially if he’s able to get another ring.

    I just looked up the NFL HoF and I see that LT was the most recent LB inducted (14 years ago) out of 16 total LBs in it. So, the chances of Vrabel, Thomas and Colvin getting in are probably slim to none.

    I knew I shouldn’t have thown in the HoF reference, because I hate HoF talk. Dan’s right it’s just a popularity contest. I do stand by my comment that as long as they stay healthy, the LBs are going to hold down the fort by shutting down the run because this is a GREAT group of LBs.

  13. HOF voting is a self-congratulatory exercise in masturbation by sportswriters who believe they are somehow entitled to be the Guardians at the Gate, when in fact their POV is more muddled than someone who observes at a distance who won’t be swayed by personal feelings.

    Eff them all.

  14. Bruschi has a very good chance? Lord knows he was a lynchpin of one of the greatest teams ever, but once in his career was he deemed one of the best LBs in the NFL (’05 Pro Bowl). I don’t see how that translates to the Hall.

    Then again, he’s a media darling, so who knows?

  15. A bunch of Steelers got voted in, and some more recently than you’d think (Swann and Stallworth this decade). Obviously, some were deserving, but others got in by virtue of the Super Bowl wins, which doesn’t seem fair when you look at the 49ers (or lack thereof) in the Hall.

    I’d love to know the back story to those votes. Was Art Rooney’s sway that strong? I doubt you’ll see it happen again. The Pats are going to have the same sort of representation as the Niners dynasty.

  16. I hate HOF talk too, but here goes. Gotta look at their peers as well. Since so few guys can be inducted at one time.

    They’ll have guys like Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks, Zach Thomas, Joey Porter and I’m sure others all being under consideration around the same time.

    As well as players at other positions.

  17. This is cool – one line in the RT ends up extending/expanding the discussion and bringing in new perspectives. I just wanted to make note that this is exactly what we hoped for by adding a comments section. Thanks to all.

  18. If he had mentioned Drew The Dignified Statue, I may have gone home sick just to have enough time to opine.

  19. Dignified Drew is always good for some 30 comments. Speaking of which, here’s the Humanitarian HoF thing I referenced earlier: http://www.sportshumanitarian.com/2005_Inductees/bios/bledsoe.html

  20. I’m going to go out on a limb (and not very far, IMHO) and say that *both* Wilfork and Warren are going to take advantage of the time sans Seymour to prove that they are elite DL in their own right.

    In hindsight, Seymour was injured more than many realized last year, but it is a true statement that he was the worst of the Big Three last year.

    Also, I see the whole “the last time BOTH Seymour and Harrison missed time together the defense collapsed” topic brought up, but it is extremely misleading. {bolded for effect} EVERY SINGLE DEFENSIVE POSITION IS BETTER THAN IT WAS WHEN THAT LAST HAPPENED. EVERY SINGLE ONE. Wilfork, Warren, Green, Colvin, Bruschi, Samuel, Vrabel and Hobbs are all either better or healthier than they were at that time. Then add in an improved Sanders, Meriweather, AD, Gay and I just don’t see a realistic comparison at all. If you really want to challenge my statement, the only two places would be Wilson and Vrabel. And even then the worst that they would be is the same.

    Then on top of that, NE likely won’t lose their top 3 RBs and two best OLs at the same time.

    Again, I just don’t see it.

  21. Fair N Balanced says:

    Oswlek we also don’t have that Mangini guy as DC any longer, he was around in ’05 and that was about the worst the Pats D has been. I don’t know where he went.

  22. Oswlek, you really think Bruschi is a better player than he used to be? Vrabel too?

    We’ll have to wait and see in terms of the impact Seymour’s loss will have, but I see those 2 guys as significantly declining over the past few years.

    And Wilson’s best year was his first year. He hasn’t improved a bit since then I don’t think.

  23. This is where the addition of Thomas and the re-signing of Seau really helps: Added depth means less snaps for the old legs to play. Older LBs have been the rule since Belichick has been here – even when the Pats were “rebuilding” in ’00 and ’01, he brought in vets like Vrabel, Phifer and Cox to play LB alongside Ted Johnson, Bruschi, and McGinest. (Let’s not discuss Monty Beisel, OK? Good.)

    Vrabel/Colvin/Seau/Bruschi/Thomas also provide a problem for opposing offenses: their versatility not only will enable Dean Pees to use them ILB, OLB, even DE.

    It’s a good situation to have.

  24. Fair N Balanced says:

    yeah Ironhead, A little hard for the QB to read which one is the Mike

  25. Brad,

    during those lost Harrison/Seymour games, Bruschi was just returning from a stroke and playing at the SILB position. I think it is a *very* safe bet that Bruschi will play better this year than he did in the first 5-6 games after returning in 2005.

    With regard to Vrabel, he was the one guy that I thought might not be better, but he will be just as good. He is also a better OLB than he is an ILB, so he has that going for him.

    Wilson was excellent in 2004. Borderline probowler. I harp on this all the time, but you cannot use 2005 in any meaningful manner because the entire defense was pitiful for most of the year. You cannot find one person who was having a good season prior to the Jet game. Not one. Wilson got caught up in that, and he certainly wasn’t ready to switch over to SS, so that is something.

    He also gets far too much criticism for last year. Other than a couple bad plays against the Jets, Geno was good in 2006. In fact, in the Denver game immediately after the NY game he had two TD saving, open field tackles. Additionally, BB and DP have openly admitted making a mistake in giving Geno too many tasks in the 2006 PS. He actually looked very good prior to getting hurt in the Carolina game. I fully expect Geno to play a surprisingly good season.

  26. You could argue that Bruschi could be at his best since 2004. In 2005, he was recovering from the stroke. In 2006, he had the hand injury most of the season. This is the first year he’s been truly healthy since the last Super Bowl win.

  27. Yeah, he has lost a few steps though. Still love the guy, but he can’t cover anyone anymore. That’s why they needed to make the changes they did after the Indy game.

    As for Wilson, I think you made my point. His borderline Pro Bowl year hasn’t been repeated. Whether due to injury, everyone else sucking, or whatever – he hasn’t gotten better. It’s time for that to happen.

  28. Brad,

    2004 was Wilson’s second year. He had a very good rookie year, a borderline PB year his sophomore season, a crappy year when everyone else was just as bad and another good year that ended early due to injury. I don’t see how that backs up your claim that he didn’t repeat a good year. He has 3 good to great years and one bad one that really cannot be counted on to have any predictive value whatsoever. The data contradicts your viewpoint, not supports it.

    With regard to Bruschi, he has been playing out of position for two years now. He also played with injuries both of those years as well. I agree that the 2004 Tedy is long gone, but even if the 2007 Tedy is the same guy who ended the 2006 season he will still be an improvement over the Tedy that played in his first few games in 2005 and even more so, he is a vast improvement over the Monte Beisel that played a couple games after Seymour’s injury.

    Even if you disagree with any of that, it is impossible to ignore the dearth of quality LBs behind any of the 4 starters in 2005. There was no Alexander on the bench in 2005, let alone him and Seau.

  29. Brad,

    Wilson’s history goes like this:

    1 – Excellent rookie year
    2 – Borderline probowler
    3 – Poor year when everyone else was just as bad.
    4 – Good start with the exception of the NYJ game. Made TD saving open field tackles in the Denver game (twice) and Buffalo game (where he was injured).
    5 – Having a great camp before getting hurt.

    If you want to say that the guy has health issues, fire away. But the data shows that his one bad year was the anomaly. It does not back your suggestion that he is a one year wonder.

    With regard to Bruschi, I agree with you that he is slowing down. But that is not relevent to my example. Even if 2007 Tedy is nothing more than 2006 year end Tedy, he will still be an upgrade over the Tedy that played his first few games after returning in 2005. And he will be a vast upgrade over Monte Beisel, who played in the first few games after Seymour went down. Now consider the fact that Tedy was playing out of position as the SILB and he will be sliding back to WILB this year.

    Add to all of that, NE actually has some depth behind the LBs this year. In 2005, even after Bruschi returned and Vrabel slid over, they had nobody behind them. They didn’t come close to having a 2007 Alexander, let alone Seau.

  30. Never said he was a 1 year wonder. I said he hasn’t improved in several seasons, which is true.

  31. As for Bruschi, perhaps you’re right. Perhaps not. I like the optimism for sure, but I’m not convinced that every single player on that side of the ball has taken steps forward – that’s all.

    Some of them have to actually prove it when it counts.

  32. Brad,

    Let’s take a look at the defense in the game that Seymour got hurt.

    DL
    Warren-Wilfork-Green

    Warren and Wilfork are obviously much better than they were then and Green was playing with a neck brace. ALl three clearly better

    LB
    McG-Beisel-Brown-Vrabel/Colvin

    Willie was playing with and oversized cast on his hand. Vrabel is easily as good as Willie played that year. Beisel and Brown were terrible. I suppose that YOu could make a case that the Vrabel/Colvin combo was as good as Colvin is this year, but the others are uncontestable.

    S
    Samuel-Sanders-Wilson-Starks

    Samuel is definitely better. Sanders is worlds better. Wilson you contest, but in no other year has he played as poorly as he did that one, including last year, so it is *very* safe to assume he wil be at least a little better. And please don’t even try on Starks. Clearly better across the board.

    So there you have it. Just like I said before, all positions are clearly better – in some cases light years better – with the exception of the Vrabel/Colvin combo and Wilson. And those are likely to be the same at worst.

    With regard to Wilson HE DID IMPROVE! He was better his second year than he was his rookie year. You are buying too much of what 2005 was selling. He is a good player and you will see this year.

  33. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    My head is going to explode with all this great Patriots content, plus the fact that the season premiere of Patriots All Access, with the sublime Mike Lynch, was last night.

    I don’t know how I’m going to last another 24 hours before I see some Patriots football that counts, but this site, as I said the first time I logged on, has been a godsend. Kudos to all involved, and let’s get ready to moider dem J-E-T-S.

  34. Isn’t Drew in the Hamburger Hall of Fame?

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