December 10, 2016

Take A Lap – The Secondary

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Yes, Drew Brees is an impressive quarterback. Sure, he’s the most accurate passer the Patriots have faced and (Heavens allow) will face this season. But I’d like to think that, given a wide-open receiver downfield, even I would have scored a TD against what passed for a New England secondary Monday night.

A quick rundown:

secondaryWilhite Reaches Wil-low: My wife’s cousin Tracey is getting married in New Orleans next March. I mention this because even she won’t get toasted as much as Jonathan Wilhite did last night. Whether reaching in vain to knock down a touchdown pass or a receiver with the ball (like on Marques Colston’s 68-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter that set up a touchdown), Wilhite seemed one step off all game.

Stagger Leigh: The Saints started the contest with a 33-yard completion over Leigh Bodden, who also seemed to develop a habit of allowing third-down completions just long enough for the first.

Ropin’ The Brandons: Surprising to see that Brandon Meriweather had eight tackles, because he sure seemed to miss a few. Brandon McGowan failed in coverage on yet another third-down conversion. The two collided at the goal line on Colston’s game-sealing TD (which, if you have self-loathing issues, you can watch here). Plus, someone needs to take the blame for Devery Henderson’s ridiculous 75-yard TD catch against a two-deep zone where no safety was deep enough.

At the beginning of the season, we at Patriots Daily felt excited about this new secondary, assuming they would gel by December. Now we’re just hoping they can stop the likes of Miami’s Chad Henne. For your lackluster performance under Monday night lights, Patriots secondary, PD asks you to take a lap.

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Comments

  1. Dude, I think the *entire* D has to take a lap – with maybe the exception of Wilfork. Yeah, the secondary was gutted, but look at the poor tackling at the linebacker position too. How many times did the Saints RB’s get that extra push that turns a 0 or 2 yard gain into a 2 or 4 yarder? I mean, not massive stuff, but the difference between 3rd and 4 vs. 8

    Honorable mention (if you’ll permit me?) to Bill O’Brien, and the inability to get rhythm against a D ranked about 15th across the board. I seems like someone answered the moss/welker riddle: Double Moss (shouldn’t be hard, he played so much time in the slot) and LET welker catch the ball – only you cover with the LB’s and gang tackle him.

    That, of course, relies on facing 3rd and 6+, not 4-, and you can pretty much force the throw with big rushes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the Patriots usually eat those teams alive with screens, in the past?

    Where were the hard counts, getting to the line quick, slowing down the blitz the old fashioned ways? It looked like there were personnel changes on every play, play calls were coming in late (saw Brady motion for the call more than once), and can someone give Mr. O’Brien some Ritalin, so he can concentrate on the run game? That first drive of the half was EXACTLY what Brady needed to do all game long – pound the ball, play action, move the chains, slow the tempo.

    There may be VERY good answer to the questions above, I am, after all, a pion compared to such knowledge, but it just kind of reminded me of the first game against the Jets (from a coaching perspective) – not taking the traditional routes to slow a pass rush.

    I don’t know, your thoughts?

    • Chris Warner says:

      I have no idea why they seemed to abandon the run game after the first half. I agree that Maroney should have gotten more touches. Reiss actually touched on the use of 2 TE sets early but not late.

      As far as the LBs go, I agree to some extent, but the Saints didn’t win this game by running the ball. Poor tackling by the DBs, poor coverage (at times non-existent) made for NO’s big plays. A poor game overall for the D, but especially lousy for the secondary.

      Brady was off, too. Had Aiken deep and Watson on at least one play down the seam but couldn’t connect. I can’t blame O’Brien for those.

      • I agree Chris – as for Brady missing the deep options, you know, in his defense he was dealing with a constantly collapsing pocket – and hey, that happens. The Saints brought all they could, I just think the traditional remedies for countering such measures weren’t taken.

        We’ve seen it in the past – @ San Diego in the playoffs a few years ago (2006 I think?), sure, it was an unbelievable game (that we could have easily lost), but Brady was getting to the line quickly, improvising, keeping key members of the Chargers D on the sideline.

        It’s not like Brady can’t do it, it just seems the team has decided *not* to do it. Is Brady being utilized in the right manner? Are we getting all we can out of him? When I look at Peyton Manning I see an offense that has no problem just letting him come to the line and call a play – you saw that against the Texans a few times.

        I know we’re splitting hairs here, but I just find it perplexing, and a little frustrating, to be honest. We’ve beaten better defenses than the Saints.

  2. The Patriots need a pass rush. The difference between the time Bree’s had to step up and throw and Brady getting rushed and mostly being unable to step up inteh pocket was glaring. The difference in tackling was a wide gulf as well.

  3. I agree with the column and comments with the exception of “even I would have scored a TD against what passed for a New England secondary Monday night”.

    I love this site but nothing irrates me quite as much as journalists, bloggers and posers, I mean “posters”, who claim that they could have had success in an NFL game (see also Gresh or Tanguay vs. Maroney). Say what you want about the Pats but spare me the writer’s bravado please.

    The Saints execution was perfect on MNF and they are undefeated so c’mon, give me a break. If the Pats don’t make it to the superbowl, I will dig out my old Kyle Turley replica saints jersey and root for the Saints over the dolts or whines hard and the squeelers. Remember when he tore off that jets helmet and shot it down the field? Priceless.

    As I have suggested before, your local semipro New England Football League teams are always looking for players and they would love to meet you on the field.

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