September 25, 2017

PD Game Ball – ‘Backs and ‘Ends

By Bruce Allen, Patriots Daily Staff

Two rushing touchdowns of 20 yards or more, and two touchdown passes to tight ends?

Fred Taylor Takes It In Against Atlanta

These aren’t the 2009 Patriots.

The 2009 Patriots were entirely too reliant on passing to Wes Welker and Randy Moss, and while they had a decent running game, too many times they couldn’t get into the end zone. Outside of the opening night win over the Bills, when Benjamin Watson caught two late TD passes from Tom Brady, the tight ends were really not a factor at all last season.

Last night was encouraging from a play calling perspective, despite the tepid defense of the Falcons. While Brady did look to Welker early, it was to get him into the game and established. When Fred Taylor broke a 28-yard TD run, bouncing to the outside after a hit, he looked more like the Fred Taylor of the early 2000’s than he did the 2009 version. When Brady threw a TD pass to Aaron Hernandez in the exact right spot, and Hernandez caught it and got his feet down, he was more wide receiver than the brand of tight end we’ve become accustomed to here in New England in the Belichick era.

Later in the game, Sammy Morris broke free for a 20 yard TD run, and Brian Hoyer tossed an absolutely beautiful, perfect spiral to Rob Gronkowski, who caught it in stride and had a couple of defenders bounce off him as he entered the end zone.

Just four plays in all, (and in a preseason game against a pretty soft opponent) but they should encourage us that things might be a little different on the offensive side of the ball this season.


  1. Anytime you don’t have Sam Aiken as your go to guy has to be an improvement. Why it took so long is beyond me. I was also encouraged by the play of the defense. We’re not there yet but at least we’re mixing in some new blood–all in all very encouraging.

  2. classless says:

    I agree, the playcalling is actually original and designed to keep the Defense off-balance. The last 2 years, the Pats have been in “F-You” mode, declaring no team could defend the Shotgun spread no matter what.

    I’m slightly encouraged with the running game, but you said it yourself; ATL’s defense is tepid (remember last year?)

  3. AZPatsFan says:

    SCott your query about who backs up Connoly & Neal was a question and worry of mine too. That is why I slo-moed and graded all the reserve Offensive linemen.

    Connolly has won the LG job hands down, until Mankins returns.

    But IMHO Rich Ohrnberger, the trade -up 4th round draft pick in 2009, has won the backup job for RG uncontested, for C over Guiacuic, and is in a mild contest with Wendell for the LG reserve job too. He has been on the field when two TDs were scored running over his position. Maroney and Taylor scored their TDs through his hole with assistance. Interestingly Connolly has played FB behind Ohrnberger at LG!, for one score.

  4. They finally got some tightends with decent hands Watson had bad hands. I dont know if he had small hands. Most tightends can catch the ball with one hand. He was lucky if he could catch it of his chest. They should admit maroney was a mistake and get rid of him before he gets hurt. He has no timing he cant find the hole and tap dances.

    • oldskool138 says:

      Why get rid of Maroney? It makes no logical sense. Yes, his tenure here has been maddening and he hasn’t even come close to living up to his draft position but he’s the youngest RB on the team and is in the last year of his rookie contract. The Pats will not resign him (I’ll eat my Bruschi jersey if the do) so you have to put up with him for only one more season.

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