October 26, 2014

Worry Wart – Bye Week, Hello Worries

by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff

Something about New England’s 41-14 mastering of Miami caught our eyes. What do you think it was?

a)     Special teams scoring twice.

b)    Tom Brady reaching 100 wins.

c)     The defense giving up 400 yards of offense.

If you considered anything other than c, welcome to Worry Wart, first-time reader!

While we appreciated the contributions of linebacker Rob Ninkovich (two interceptions), running back Danny Woodhead (TD catch), returner Brandon Tate (kickoff TD) and safety Patrick Chung (too numerous to mention), we had trouble getting past the Patriots’ inability to stop the Dolphins. Sometimes this team looks as defenseless at a porcupine on its back.

All we’re saying is, the Pats can’t depend on three non-offensive scores all the time (although, with Randy Moss traded, they may have to). Thus, we have some concerns for the following three quarters of the season as New England rests this week at 3-1. Due to a more relaxed attitude for this coming Sunday, we shall present each point as ska song title in honor of Chung, whose mom had a hit in Jamaica in 1985 (see her perform that catchy ditty here).

A Message To You, Randy: Though The Specials actually spoke to Rudy in this seminal ska rebirth tune, our version seems appropriate given what the hell happened with Moss. How, exactly, does subtracting him from the offense make the team better overall? And who’s going to take Moss’ place in the lineup? Brandon Tate? Rookie Taylor Price? A third-round pick in 2011?

No, no and no. Those are your answers.

Ranking Full Stop: Third and short. Third and long. We’ll be calling it the “Third-And-Pick-A-Number” defense soon if this run of giving up first downs continues. Let’s face it, New England’s D blew more stops than Steve McQueen in a car chase.

Too Much Pressure: We’ll repeat it as much as the song by The Selecter does; Brady needs more time to throw the ball. The fact that Miami pass rusher Cameron Wake gave New England such problems says much more about the Patriots’ offensive line that it does about the former superstar for the British Columbia Lions.

(Was that previous sentence even real?)

You’re Wondering Now: On the other side of the ball, Miami QB Chad Henne had enough time in the pocket to adjust his helmet, make his reads and check his email before delivering each pass. What to do? Who can get to the passer? Does New England expect enough defensive help in a trade with Minnesota to make up for the loss of Moss?

Oh, wait, I forgot: they got a third round pick. Hooray. Pop the bubbly.

One Step Beyond: Why on earth did the Dolphins stop running the ball to the outside, out of reach of Pats defenders? Just like the band who performed the aforementioned tune, you can call this Madness. Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham and Tully Banta-Cain all do solid work at outside linebacker, but setting the edge doesn’t seem a strength with this D.

Pretty Boys: An underrated Joe Jackson song begs the question, are the Patriots tough enough on both sides of the ball? On offense, the tight end situation reminds one of a Ming vase: it’s great to look at, it’s well-crafted, and we wouldn’t touch it. Kudos also to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Woodhead, two undrafted free agents who have gotten us past the former number one pick traded to Denver. But, with the game on the line, can this offense pick up the tough yardage and keep the football out of opposing team’s hands? Can they return to the grind-it-out ways of the past? Let’s hope guard Logan Mankins gets back in the picture.

On defense? Well, we feel like we’ve already made our point, so it’s your turn. In the comment space below, start a sentence with “This Patriots defense is so,” and give us your best. “So invisible the Where’s Waldo guy sent out a search party,” “So loose it moonlights as the ‘before’ pants on diet ads,” “So bad Michael Jackson named an album after it–and that was 23 years ago,” etc. Good luck!

Wrong ’Em Boyo: This ska-influenced tune from The Clash goes out to the kicker-snapper-holder combo of Stephen Gostkowksi, Jake Ingram and Zoltan Mesko, who have somehow avoided hurting the team thus far, but only just. While Gostkowski seems to have gotten over his early season inconsistency, Ingram’s hikes have kept Mesko busier than a catcher at a knuckleballer convention. Look for coaches to tighten up that exchange (a Clampdown, if you will).

Do Rocksteady: Based on a hit by The Bodysnatchers, this goes to New England’s lack of consistency over the first four games. What team do we have here, exactly? The one that handled Cincinnati and Miami, or the one whose defense got hammered by Buffalo and New York (and, while we’re at it, during the second half of the Cincy season opener)?

If the Patriots can figure all that out and come together as a team in the second half of the season, their fans will be Walking on the Moon.

(Sorry. I’ll never do that again.)

Email Chris Warner at [email protected]

Comments

  1. oldskool138 says:

    “On the other side of the ball, Miami QB Chad Henne had enough time in the pocket to adjust his helmet, make his reads and check his email before delivering each pass”

    And yet he still threw three picks (one returned for a TD)…but yeah, you’re right, the Pats D was awful.

  2. Well, since I have no knowledge about pop music I have no idea what your talking about. It’s like a foreign language. But I will say this. As of this week the Patriots are #1 in the Football Outsiders statistical DVOA. And THAT IS saying something. Beyond that I am thrilled about them dumping Moss. The guy’s a loser in every sense of the word and he brings losing with him to the team he happens to be on. I don’t know why people get so caught up in stats. He does absolutely nothing in big games and that’s what counts. Who knows who’s going to replace him but someone will and that someone was blocked from doing that as long as we strung along with Moss. He was never going to be extended anyway as I said a couple of weeks ago so why not get rid of him now and see what the young kids can do. I’m going to really enjoy our offense now because it’s going to start getting creative. As for the defense let’s just let it play out. They’re young, eager and seems like very coachable. Just maybe the sky’s the limit.

    • Chris Warner says:

      BobD, although I’m intrigued to see what this O can do without Moss, we can’t say he did nothing in big games: remember who caught the TD pass that gave the Pats the lead with three minutes to go in The Game That Shall Not Be Named? Besides that, his presence makes a difference on the field. Let’s see how Welker produces getting double-teamed every play before we get too excited.

  3. Classless says:

    While I agree the Pats D is still getting shredded to some extent, they made big plays against a tough opponent on the road on Monday night. If this D can make plays consistently (much like New Orleans did last year, remember their D was very similar) then I can live with the 400 yards being put on us.

    As for the Offense, in the long run, getting rid of Moss is fine by me. He’s useless in tight games. He refuses to grit it out through tough coverage. BUT…I think the timing of the trade is bad because now we’re down a WR. We received no players in the trade, so really, Belichick must be banking on addition by subtraction.

    • oldskool138 says:

      The timing of the trade is perfect. If you’re going to lose someone like Moss, best to do it during your bye weeks so you have a chance to retool and practice with the new-look offense.

  4. Can I just mention that the Pats do NOT need Price or Tate, or whomever, to be the next Randy Moss or to replace him: they need one of them to be the next Deion Branch. Before Moss, there was Branch, a terrific possession receiver who also could stretch the field at opportune times. If Brandon Tate is that player by Thanksgiving, it’s all good.

    As for the defense: the lack of a pass rush is brutal. That’s why the 3rd-and-whatever’s are being converted all the time. To me, that’s the biggest deficiency (same as last year); everything else can be fixed (and appears to be on the way to being fixed, actually). Perhaps Cunningham will come on strong by the end of the season. Otherwise, expect a lot of safety and corner blitzes going forward, I think.

  5. jeeze Chris, I used to come here because it was an alternative to the Ron Borges’s and Felgers of the world….now you sound just like them…….can we at least wait until the Pats play a game without Moss before you get all hysterical?

  6. Ok, but not worrying about Belichek’s coaching genius are we? I mean, criticize the players all you want but he made the sweetest jug of lemonade and poured it all over the dolphins.

    @ Tony, you are the sage in calling for Branch. Essentially the Pats trading a 4th to Seattle for their 1st rounder. That was brilliant, c’mon.

    And finally, trading Moss just before the 1st snow, not too shabby. No sense in trading him during the warm months and look how he helped mr look-at-my-junk vs the team that won’t be mentioned? HA, still losing.

    I love Sundays.

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