Patriots vs Saints: Film Room Breakdown

Ras-I Dowling Patriots Cornerback

How did Ras-I Dowling perform in his first game back from injury? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Mike Loyko

For those of you that are fans of our NCAA film room reports, I will be breaking down the Patriots during their four pre-season games. These reports consist of a stream of constant observations, both good and bad, of what players did during the game.

These posts will give readers an idea who stood out and who struggled after reviewing the game film.

First Quarter

– First team kick off unit consists of Brandon Bolden, Rob Ninkovich, Bobby Carpenter, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner, Dane Fletcher, James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Stephen Gostkowski
– On Brees’ first pass attempt Chandler Jones stood up LT Jermon Bushrod and collapsed the pocket. Brees’ rolled out to right, but the coverage in the secondary was solid.
– 3rd and 5, Pats go to Nickel package. Bring in Ras-I Dowling as extra CB and Tavon Wilson as safety. Kyle Arrington moves inside to slot.
– Wilson gets manned up with RB Darren Sproles and sticks with him. He was Brees’ initial read but, threw it deep to David Thomas who was covered by Devin McCourty.
– Patriots open in tight spread with Lloyd, Welker (slot) on the right and Hernandez (slot) and Gronkowski on the left. Stevan Ridley motions out of backfield. Protection is good, but Brady off-target with the throw.
– Ridley looks quick to the edge, runs off of Solder / Gronkowski double team. No wasted steps.
– Gronkowski with an aggressive block on Woodhead draw, opens big running lane.
– Koppen snaps the ball when Brady not expecting it, busted play, Brady throws back shoulder pass to Lloyd for incompletion.
– Koppen struggles to pull and get out in front of Ridley.
– Donald Thomas beaten badly on 3 and 8, took false step and reached, completely misses the DT and forces Brady to throw early.
– Solder with good backside cut block on Broderick Bunkley, created cut back lane for Ridley.
– Brady attempts to hit Lloyd down deep middle, doesn’t lead him enough and pass gets broken up.
– Solder sets up for outside rush and beaten to the inside two plays in a row.
– Stevan Ridley screws up attempted screen pass.
– Big hit on Brady by Will Smith, Brady scrambled to his right and defender never stopped. Held on to ball too long and Nate Solder stopped, thinking the play was over.
– Dont’a Hightower moves laterally well, stays square to the line of scrimmage and nice run fit
– Jerod Mayo, back to back big time plays covering Darren Sproles one on one in pass coverage. One results in pass breakup, other tackle short of 1st down marker. Mayo looks fluid and quicker than last year.
– Dan Koppen replaced at center by Ryan Wendell.
– Nice trap block by Gronk to open hole for Ridley, if you want to know where the Pats are running it, follow Gronk.
– Brady to Lloyd over the middle, nice hands by Lloyd. Play negated by Solder holding penalty, questionable call, but Solder beat when re-directing again.
– Matthew Slater just does a great job on coverage units, first one down the field again.
– Hightower over ran the hole a little bit and gets sealed off, leads to 10 yard run by Pierre Thomas.
– Kyle Love splits double team, Chandler Jones seals off the edge, run stuffed 5 yards in the backfield.
– Jones overpowers Bushrod again, Bushrod can’t seal him off and gets called for a hold.
– Patrick Chung is always late closing the gap between the CB (Sterling Moore) and sideline. Saints convert on 3rd and 22, he needs to recognize the the route and react quicker.
– With Fletcher out, Bobby Carpenter is the 3rd LB, plays in Nickel situations, slides out to cover the slot.
– 3rd and 10 Pats go into Dime defense with McCourty, Arrington and Moore at CB. Wilson, Chung and Gregory at Safety. Mayo looks great .covering the flat, Wilson physical with TE David Thomas, Jones owns Bushrod once again.
– Poor job pulling and “looking inside” by Connolly, instead blocks no one and leads to loss of yards.
– Hoyer lofts ball for Edelman, weak pass lucky it’s not picked.

Second Quarter

-Hightower solid in his run fits again.
– Cunningham in at LE opposite Chandler Jones – Ninkovich out.
– Chung once again late to recognize developing route, leads to 15 yard gain.
– McCourty aggressive in run support, cuts off the corner and makes the tackle.
– Mayo stands out once again in coverage, reads QB eyes tips ball, intercepted by Gregory.
– Deaderick creating good pressure from the DT position.
– One first offensive drive of 2nd Quarter both Cannon and Solder do nice job of creating “pocket”.
– Marcus Cannon is powerful, still a little slow to react and needs refinement, but can overpower people.
– Mallet into the game, first throw he drops his back shoulder and lets the ball go to high.
– Hightower keeps his legs moving after contact, his shoulders stay square to the line, tough to move.
– Mike Rivera the 5th LB to enter the game before Tarpinian.
– Patriots playing vanilla, soft coverages, just base type defenses.
– Cunningham looks explosive off the edge, has forced a quick throw 2 times.
– Patriots finally blitz up the middle, with Hightower and Rivera.
– Mallett lacking touch and velocity on short passes, needs to shorten his delivery.
– Solder with good run block vs. Turk McBride, stays engaged washes him 10 yards downfield.
– Mallett good footwork in the pocket, goes deep to Britt Davis, good touch and arc, should have been PI.
– Connolly dominated by Akiem Hicks, bull-rushed into Mallett leads to INT, 2 plays after he “ole’s” a DT and nearly gets Mallett sacked.
– Defense all running to ball and gang tackling. Playing with intensity and having fun.
– Cunningham moves inside to RDT next to Chandler Jones in obvious passing situation and beats his man.
– Mallett ends the half with a pretty good 2 minute drill, steps up well in pocket and throws on the move. Screen to Woodhead nicely executed. Still has to work on delivery and ball placement

Second half breakdown is on page two.

Third Quarter

– Patriots open up the 2nd half with Nick McDonald at LT, Donald Thomas at LG, Ryan Wendell at OC, Jeremiah Warren at RG and Marcus Cannon at RT.
– Shane Vereen looks quicker than Stevan Ridley, runs with better pad level and protects the football.
– Lines up in slot on 3rd and 3 catches first down pass on 3 yard out.
– Vereen very good cutback and jump cut runner. One cut and go, gets to the edge and can outrun defenders, keeps feet moving after contact which allows him to break a tackle.
– Has shown good patience, let’s blockers get out in front and set up blocks, Vereen shows the ability to change speeds and stay under control.
– He just looks more sudden and explosive, feels where the defenders are, should be a very good compliment to Ridley.
– Derek Dennis in a OG, solid first run block attempt. Keeps pads over his feet and drives man 5 yards down field.
– Marcus Cannon steamrolled on 3rd down, ends up on back.
– Britt Davis #17, wide open, doesn’t get his head around and ball bounces off shoulder pads, Davis has also struggled to catch the ball in practice.
– Josh McDaniels goes to the split back formation with Shane Vereen and Eric Kettani as the two RB.
– Line doing a much better job at run blocking, Warren’s technique is sloppy and he is slow to get to the next level, but McDoanld, Thomas and Wendell open big holes.
– Trevor Scott finally in on defense at LE with Jake Bequette at RE.
– Dowling closes on the ball quick, gets hands in their for PBU.
– Scott able to get arms extended, get penetration and set the edge. Looks strong in the run game albeit vs. the 3rd team of the Saints.
– Justin Francis at RE, brutally slow off the ball and question effort on 2 our of 3 rushes. Doesn’t look explosive or sudden. Dropped into coverage once and covered the slot and rushed from their on the next play.
– Shane Vereen way too patient and hesitant on carry off tackle. Instead of just getting up field he waits too long for something to develop and is tackled for a loss.
– Scott – Harrison – Forston – Francis in on DL – Francis looks better this series, chasing down the play backside and coming down the line flat against the run.
– Sterling Moore beat badly by Joseph Morgan, Moore recovers in time, but doesn’t find the ball and interferes with Morgan. 40+ yard penalty, the kind of thing this defense did last year.
– Pats LB – Tarpinian – Rivera – Koutivides.

4th Quarter

– Bolden able to escape defender in the backfield, most explosive he’s looked tonight. Jeremiah Warren whiffed completely on block attempt.
– Alex Silvestro can’t block what so ever
– Ebert wide open and drops the ball on 3rd down. Mallett threw it hard, but it needs to be caught
– Jake Bequette has a good motor, doesn’t stop until the whistle
– Marcus Forston gets off the ball quick, cheats the snap a little bit, buts gets explosive start. He’s unable to get off blocks though.
– Mike Rivera exhibits power on blitz attempt, initially blocked up the middle, stayed of feet and kept working, forces erant throw
– Tarpinian picked on in pass coverage, late getting there and left a hole in the middle of the field
– Bequette keeps working, blocked initially, coverage down the field is good. McCown scrambles to his right and Bequette runs him down for the sack
– 4th Quarter Offensive line – Darrion Weems, Derek Dennis, Nick McDonald, Jeremiah Warren, Marcus Cannon
– OL not giving Mallett anytime. Mallett rushes a couple throws and in turn is off target
– Bequette does great job at staying square and coming flat down the line when left unblocked on runs. Smart player with good fundamentals
– Justin Francis is getting blocked way too easily. If he doesn’t initially overpower the OT, he struggles to create pressure and can’t get himself free
– Dowling closes quickly, delivers big body blow, timing up the arrival of the ball and contact.
– It appears as though James Ihedigbo has lined up at LB the past few plays. Will Allen and Nate Ebner at safety.
– Sergio Brown doesn’t get reps on defense until the final series on defense. That can’t be good for Brown.
– Scott was the best defensive player on the field in the 2nd half and he should be. Sack and FF ends the game.

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One Response to “Patriots vs Saints: Film Room Breakdown”

  1. FiveNine says:

    Very much like the details. You painted a pretty picture of the game, keep em coming!

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