Sifting Through Week 2:
Congratulations to the Jets on their Super Bowl Victory in 40 years!
OK. We lost. To the Jets. I know, it pains me just as badly as the rest of Patriot Nation but we have to move on. But before we do, there are some things that we should talk about:
* JULIAN EDELMAN: This kid looked good. He looks like the Wes Welker prodigy we were all hoping he would be. The former Kent State QB caught 8 passes for 98 yards with a long catch-and-run for 29 yards. A bright spot in a dark week.
* LEIGH BODDEN: On Sunday, the stats show that Bodden recovered a fumble. That’s all really. Oh, except for the fact that he allowed 0 passes and completely shut down the whole right half of Giants Stadium. Another thing that I like about this guy: when he hits you, he hits you like you stole something. Good stuff, Leigh. Keep it coming.
* TULLY BANTA-CAIN: I called it in the preseason. He’s got 2 sacks, a handful of tackles, and a lot of pressure in just a few snaps. I personally think he’s a beast and will bring plenty of positives throughout the season.
* GARY GUYTON: What else can I say? He’s our linebacker now. The burden is on him to make good decisions and I like what I’m seeing out of him. He doesn’t mess up often and he recorded to most tackles on Sunday. His experience plus the return of Jerod Mayo is something I await with intense anticipation.
* JOEY GALLOWAY: Seriously, I believe that during this off-season Joey Galloway inherited a disease, known in the sporting world as stone hand syndrome (a.k.a. 37-year old WR syndrome). The veteran speedster may still be fast, but he damn sure can’t catch. He dropped three passes while being targeted by Brady an astounding 14 times. One of these second down passes would have given the Pats a first down on the final drive. Whatever is wrong with him, it needs to be fixed or his Patriot days are up. Brandon Tate? (pray) Jabar Gaffney? (come back)
* DERRICK BURGESS: Is he even on the team?
* OFFENSIVE LINE: Through two weeks, our wall up front is beginning to resemble Swiss cheese or the Steelers in the early weeks of last season where Big Ben was sacked like a million times. Even though Brady wasn’t sacked during the Jets game, he was pressured on 33-47 drop-backs. Brady was knocked down more times than I can count on two hands. If we want this offense to be in sync, the line needs to be more consistent with the protection.
* OFFENSIVE TIMING (Tom Brady): The timing between Tommy boy and the wide receivers is off. Very, very off. It did, however, look better than during week 1. He hadn’t thrown in a real game for almost 20 months before this season, so naturally he is going to be slow to get back on track. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done during practice this week. Dump passes to the backs and short slants to Welker (who is injured and has missed time as well) need to be in 2007 form in order for this offense to get its wheels spinning early in the games to come. Tom hasn’t looked too sharp to say the least. He has thrown 2 interceptions, 0 TDs, completed less than half of his attempts and stunk up the red-zone… We all know he’ll get there. (That killed me to type)
I’m wiping my hands clean of the loss, moving on, and looking forward to week 3 with: (I know. You can’t wait)
The Critically-Acclaimed Weekly Match-Ups:
* Tony Gonzalez vs. Brandon McGowan – McGowan is looking like he’ll be filling the void that Rodney Harrison left. Rodney Harrison also doesn’t think the Patriots will be able to consistently contain 10-time, Pro-Bowl tight end Tony G. Brandon needs to devote himself to being Gonzalez’s blanket and keeping him quiet; a few good hits here and there might not be too bad either. Eliminating Tony from the passing game is a huge part in diluting a multi-dimensional, potent offense. The Patriots have struggled with covering the tight end position since losing Harrison in 2008. Since the Atlanta tight end runs routes like a wide receiver, I expect CB Shawn Springs to see some time at safety matched up against Gonzalez.
* The Falcons’ WR’s vs. The Patriots Secondary – Taking away Tony G. only opens up Roddy White and Michael Jenkins more. QB Matt Ryan has been able to pick apart defenses that have tried to remove Gonzalez by coming back to White and Jenkins. These guys, especially White, can and will play their position well this Sunday. Jonathan Wilhite, Leigh Bodden, and friends need to do whatever it takes to stick to these guys like glue. No doubt in my mind that Bodden will play a killer game and Wilhite and Shawn Springs should be able to contain the left side. The Patriots defense is 1/6 of the League Of Interception-Less Defenses this year; this needs to come to an end on Sunday.
* Michael Turner vs. Whoever Can Stop Him – The Patriots defense will need to work as a whole unit to shut down the beast that is Michael Turner. Sloppy and missed tackles cannot occur by any means when the Falcons try to hammer the ball down our throats with the run. Turner has 50 carries for 170 yards and 1 TD thus far. We cannot afford to be the team that he stomps all over for 130 yards and 2 TDs. The d-line needs to close the holes and the linebackers need to stuff them up. Shutting down one element of this offense just won’t cut it, the defense needs to stick together and clock in 60 minutes of well-executed Patriots defense.
* Tom Terrific vs. Matty Ice – Matt Ryan has thrown for 3 more TDs than Brady with almost half the attempts. In fact, Ryan has only attempted as many passes as Brady as completed. If our trusty, MVP quarterback shows up to play this week, I’m not worried. With some solid o-line work and competent receivers, Brady and the Patriots always have the ability to rack up the points and come away with a win. If he struggles like he has so far this season, Matt Ryan will come out victorious and the Patriots will incur their first losing record since being 0-1 after losing to the Bills in ’03.
* The Front Lines – Who gets the bigger push and/or the better rush? I feel like a broken record, but if the offensive line can flex their muscles and win the battle up front, not only will Tom soar, but the RB committee will have the opportunity to establish a running game. I found out the hard way in fantasy football last year that the Falcons o-line can make room for Turner. The Patriots have struggled bringing pressure up to this point. If Big Vince can eat up his double-teams and Mike Wright can bring some heat, guys like Guyton, Banta-Cain, and Green will be able to get to Ryan, Norwood, and Turner. The boys need to get into their heads and confuse the game. The Falcons, on the other hand, have created enormous amounts of pressure with just their front four. (Insert O-line rant here) This won’t be cake if Tom falls victim to Babineaux, Abraham, Peterson or any of the other young defensive studs in Atlanta.
* Randy Moss’ Disposition vs. ATL’s Young Secondary – Randy Moss was kept quiet last Sunday and I anticipate that he is due for a big game. Bart Scott called him out and told him to ‘man up’ on Wednesday and I believe he will do that every week from now on. This season I’ve seen Moss more pumped about playing in general and he doesn’t need to hear garbage like that to get him going. It’s only fuel to the fire. If Randy can get going early and put the moves on these CBs, I except him to near 100 yards receiving and demand double-teams that will open up Welker, Galloway, Baker, Edelman and Watson.
h your mouth Bart Scott; see you in November.
Breathe easy New England,
Tags: Pre-Game Meal