Patriots Defensive Tackle Casey Walker Quietly Making His Name

No. 98, defensive tackle Casey Walker, has left a mark in his short stay with the Patriots. (NFL Game Rewind)

No. 98 – defensive tackle Casey Walker – has left a mark in his short stay with the Patriots. (NFL Game Rewind)

NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas

Not much was known about Casey Walker when the New England Patriots claimed him off the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad.

He was the corresponding move to defensive tackle Sealver Siliga landing on short-term injured reserve. He was big, listed at 6’1” and 334 pounds. And he was a 2013 undrafted free agent by way of Oklahoma, where he played 33 in games, started 22, and finished with 49 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recoveries and two pass deflections.

For the rest, you’d have to dig a little deeper.

Walker did not have a Wikipedia page, nor did he have an NFL tackle on his resume. The 24-year-old had spent part of the 2013 season on Carolina’s practice squad, and returned for the 2014 preseason. He logged 95 snaps over the course of it, and received the fifth lowest Pro Football Focus grade among the Panthers’ 39 participating defenders.

Walker was waived during 53-man roster cuts on Aug. 30, subsequently rejoining the team’s 10-man roster after clearing waivers the following day. But there were no expectations when the Patriots filled the active roster with him on Sept. 27.

Even so, he has done his part to exceed the status of an enigma since then.

It began on Oct. 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Garland, Texas native was suited up for his first career regular-season game. And on a 2nd-and-10 in the second quarter, he proceeded to record his first regular-season tackle, shooting the gap vacated by Cincinnati’s pulling guard to slam rookie halfback Jeremy Hill down for a four-yard loss.

No. 98 played 14 snaps versus the Bengals in Week 5, filtering in with the likes of Vince Wilfork, first-round pick Dominique Easley, Chris Jones and Joe Vellano. He held his own when called upon in the rotation, leaning on his size and pad level to get underneath blocks as well as the offensive backfield.

He was not easily moved off the line of scrimmage in his Patriots debut. And leading up to Week 6, when cornerback Brandon Browner and wide receiver Brian Tyms were activated from their suspensions, he was not moved off the roster.

Perhaps it was positional need, as Vellano – weighing some 30 pounds lighter, and not in the mold of a stout run defender – was waived along with wideout Kenbrell Thompkins. Perhaps it was the shoulder injury suffered by Easley, which forced him to leave the Bengals game.

Perhaps it was something else.

But Walker stayed in the fold for Week 7, and he stayed in the game for an expanded sample size of 33 plays. Along the way, he was met by double teams, including a 1st-and-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The mobility for a man of his magnitude was not there on every down. The collective gap integrity of New England’s defensive line wasn’t there consistently, either. Yet as Bills quarterback Kyle Orton stepped up and tossed a shovel pass to halfback Fred Jackson for a gain of eight, Walker rolled out of engagement shipped downfield as the ball-carrier cut back.

He closed the door.

Walker did so in another fashion on a 1st-and-goal later in the second quarter against Buffalo, occupying both A-gaps. He stood up center Eric Wood at the snap, in turn, congesting the lanes for Jackson to drive through following the exchange.

Then, he finished what he started.

The second-year pro did so one more time against the Bills, aligning as the nose tackle in a three-man front on 1st-and-10. With he and Wilfork manning the middle and strong side, respectively, the Bills returned to the run with Jackson, who was set to split the difference in the midst of the third quarter.

It was a task neither simple in theory, nor practice. Jackson pivoted and veered into the right side of the line. Walker grabbed him at the point of attack, and Wilfork stepped in front to ensure the 33-year-old rusher would not rush for more.

The end result was no gain.

He is aiming to be a part of more of those results moving forward. The next chance for him to do so is Thursday night at Gillette Stadium against the New York Jets.

Moving forward, Walker may not be able to replicate Siliga’s role as a two-gapper or pocket-pusher. He may not be able to replicate what he has done in his first two showings in a Patriots uniform. He may not be more than a stopgap in a game of attrition. But what he’s shown through the early stages of his tenure in Foxborough is more than what was forecasted only three weeks ago.

He is in the process of making his own name. And even a Wikipedia page has come along with it.

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23 Responses to “Patriots Defensive Tackle Casey Walker Quietly Making His Name”

  1. MaineMan says:

    Yeah, I’m pretty familiar with averages and probabilities and medians and standard deviations and regression analysis, etc.

    I also understand that “talent” is an undefined concept, that draftees and UDFAs are all just “prospects” who have yet to prove their value (if any) on the NFL level before the draft. I also understand that how early or late a prospect ends up getting selected in the draft is actually NOT determined by any vague notion of “inherent talent” (your assumption), but exclusively by how popular he is among the people who are charged with guessing how likely a prospect may be to contribute value to THEIR team and scheme. These are not Gods doing the evaluations, they’re just more flawed humans who may err in those evaluations for a whole laundry list of reasons. I also understand that, even when these evaluators get it right about a particular prospect NOT being likely to contribute value, they are often overruled by owners who know way less about football and players than they think they do.

    I also understand the concept of “sunk costs” and “ROI” and that there’s a lot of money and ego involved in draft selections and that all of this often plays a far bigger role in pre-determining a prospect’s ultimate fate in the NFL than any vague notion of inherent talent, and that all of the above often leads to higher-round draftees receiving significantly more development opportunities – coaching, practice reps, playing time – than later-round draftees and undrafteds. More often than most people know. Because owners’ egos won’t allow them to be “wrong” and GMs want to keep their jobs. IOW, how high a prospect is drafted all-too-often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that sometimes actually syncs up with a prospect’s real potential and drive to succeed in the NFL. And the same holds true – in reverse – for guys who are drafted late or not at all.

    First rounders often end up playing more and starting more because they’re EXPECTED TO, because, after all, “we drafted the guy in the first round!”

    I understand all this because I’ve studied – in depth and over long periods – teams other than the Patriots. I’ve seen how they handle their drafts, their draftees and their rosters generally (AND their coaches and play calling, sometimes from the owners’ box). There are significant differences in approach to these issues between consistently successful teams (Patriots) and consistently unsuccessful ones (Lions), even though the teams in the latter group have enjoyed far more consistent access to, hypothetically, “better talent”.

    I also understand that the fact that consistently successful teams have such similar ratios among 1st-3rd rounders, mid/late rounders and UDFAs (roughly equal numbers among the three groups), in addition to the similar numbers of starters and critical role players on the various teams, is a far better indicator of the ACTUAL distribution of prospect success in the NFL than draft status. If it were the other way around, with draft status being the more reliable indicator, 1st-3rd rounders would dominate every roster, 4th-7th rounders would be well in the minority, and UDFAs would be nearly non-existent.

    —–
    So, mid/late-round and undrafted OL will no longer work now that Scarnecchia is gone? As has been proven by the numerous big games and post-season games the Pats have played since Scarnecchia left?
    —–

    BTW, the short, “finesse” passing game with it’s emphasis on a slot receiver didn’t originate with McDaniels or come in with Welker. It started mostly with Brady and his specific abilities and then Weis tweaking the offense to make optimal use of Brady’s best attributes. And, back in 2001-2004, the legendary attitude of the offense was, “This is what we do; try to stop us.” Predictability anyone?

    And on the defense, for all the problems they supposedly have because of how BB has selected players for it (and apparently “failed” to get the right type or level of talent) and how it’s too complicated for any of them to know what they’re doing, they’ve only been outside the Top-10 in points allowed ONCE since 2006. You did know that, right?

  2. Matt says:

    Walker isn’t to bad of a player. I’m still waiting for Easley to do something. He has not done much this year at all.

  3. DMC413 says:

    Another game or two I feel the Pat’s will have it all figured out on both sides of the ball!

    THE OFFICIATING WAS HORRIBLE LAST NIGHT!!!!

  4. Jack T says:

    Didn’t get to see the game because of other commitments but am glad Walker’s getting his due here. When he came on the scene he was pretty hard not to notice. First time I saw him I wondered, what did the announcer just call that guy? Welker? On defense? No, Walker. Walker who? Who TH is that? Thought he was Vince’s svelter doppelganger twin. Great pick up, Nick. BTW Vince looks like he’s pushing the better part of 400 lbs… time to drop a few before he blows out another Achilles.

    Pats were lucky Ryan’s still coaching. Told you the Jets were loaded this year. They’ve lost what, ten or twelve players so far this season? And Gino HAS improved dramatically. Will have to watch it tonight on tape. The next six games in succession will be the true test of this Patriots team – Bears, Broncos, Colts, Lions, Packers, Chargers.

  5. Russell says:

    Walker played well, better than Wilfork who does get more double teams. Moore was very good as well playing DE and DT, with limited time. LB is a troubling spot, and as I feared in the preseason, injuries with the starting 3 LB , and lack of depth at the Position. Drafting a LB or two next year may help long term, but is a question short term.
    It was good to see Brady roll out somewhat, some thing the Patriots need to continue. A shuttle pass or two would have worked well with what the Jets were doing.
    Jets Oline always gives the Patriots trouble, the match-ups are tough, we had better match-up against Cinny’s Oline.

    • steve earle says:

      The way BB drafts it seems we are always playing catch up. Easley still isn’t on the field regularly, LB positions now in trouble, SS hasn’t been addressed in years now, talk of Ryan to SAF hasn’t happened, o-line is just getting by and right now we don’t look like a playoff team. Enough of fans who believe Bill knows best, as GM he’s not that good, great x’s and o’s but also OC and DC aren’t being much help either.

      • MaineMan says:

        I still don’t get the whole complaint about “how BB drafts”. Compared to the other teams who’ve consistently drafted as late as the Pats over the past decade plus, his success rate on picks is about their average.

        As far as Easley is concerned, I’d bet there’s at least a half-dozen rookies who were taken within 10 spots either way of the #29 who haven’t seen the field any more than Easley, and maybe even less than him. Not really unusual for late-1sts/early 2nds.

        SS, in the Harrison mold, hasn’t existed as a position in BB’s defense since probably around 2010. With the current scheme, in nickel and dime packages, it’s somewhat difficult to tell who’s actually been a “corner” and who’s played a more “safety-ish” role. Seems to me that Ryan has sometimes been in zone near the line while others were playing man. Maybe that qualifies, maybe it doesn’t. Anyway, playing Ryan at “safety” not something that BB ever personally promised any of us that he’d do AFAIK, so I don’t see the problem there.

        Not sure what “BB knows best” means, exactly, but he sure as hell knows better than any of us do. In order to have a chance to win the Superbowl, a team has to get into the playoffs first. BB has managed to build rosters one way or another that accomplished that basic requirement in 10 of the 12 years since that first SB win. Can’t say that about any other team’s GM.

        • steve earle says:

          I concede your assessment of being avg among top teams though is it wrong to hope for even expect better? I know it’s an inexact process but still to many of Bills decisions raise serious concerns in the minds of many fans. He is able to cover his missteps as GM with his skills as head coach. I believe we should do better.

  6. acm says:

    Good points. As much as I like Siliga, I don’t think his absence has been felt by the team due to Walker’s play.

    Playcalling tonight was beyond pathetic for the Pats, both on O and D. It’s been a long-standing issue and for me the biggest reason for failing to win in the postseason for 10 or so years now.

    Thought Browner did pretty well, especially considering it was his first game – two holding calls but the second one was a tough break, imo.

    Big disappointment tonight was Jamie Collins’ overall effort, especially in stopping the run. He hasn’t exactly exploded this season yet either, making Mayo’s injury that much difficult to overcome. If the Pats are gonna make a splash this year, they will need both Hightower and Collins to play better than they ever have at the pro level and they aren’t getting that from latter just yet, with tonight’performance being easily his worse so far.

    • Tosh says:

      It just annoys me that they have Collins dropping into zone so frequently. Having him man up tight ends whenever possible seems like a better defensive game plan. It gets him involved in both defending the run and pass. Obviously it isn’t just that easy, i know that, just my 2cents. Also, would like to see him actually take Mayo’s role in the middle/weakside, with Hightower as more of a strong side, downhill player. Also, every time I see Logan Ryan on the field, I cringe now. was it just me, or did we not see as much of Arrington today working in the slot? He actually does great work in there, as a physical corner, surprised i didn’t see more of him.

      • MaineMan says:

        You’re correct about Arrington. According to Reiss’ snap counts, Arrington got in only 1 of 87 defensive snaps, with Dennard doing almost all the slot work. On the one hand, Arrington is certainly the better run-defender of the two and may have helped quite a bit against Ivory. OTOH, Kerley has been Geno’s go-to guy, but he was only targeted 5 times last night and caught only two. (Whack-a-mole.)

        WRT to man vs. zone on the TEs, I thought the on-field communication of coverage assignments was as much, or more, at fault as the coverage scheme itself, though I really don’t like the idea of Revis manned up on Cumberland or Amaro – ever. Part of the communication issue, I thought, was the result of concern about the run and from mis-reading the Jets offensive intentions way too often. There were several times I saw the three guys in the second level cheat up toward the line a step just before the snap that had me screaming at the TV.

        Right now, I’d say that getting the reads and communication issues straightened out is way more important than whether any one guy is in man or zone. If a guy isn’t in the proper position at the snap and the play is mis-read, things are likely to fail regardless of the scheme.

    • MaineMan says:

      On defense, I didn’t think the playcalling was bad. generally, the scheme seemed pretty sound, but the on-field, pre-snap adjustments were shaky at times and the execution was awful. I didn’t see anybody out there doing anything consistently well. And, when they DID make a good play, it seemed to always be negated by a penalty (two sacks by Chandler, for instance).

      On the other hand, Ivory is a tough guy to stop, even when a defense is playing well. He gets a lot of yardage after contact against pretty much everybody. Also, that might be the best I’ve ever seen Geno play, independent of how poorly the Pats defense performed. He’s very quick and appears to be developing a better sense for when a rusher is about to get to him. He escaped an almost certain sack by Nink by literally inches at least three times that I saw with just one quick step – keeping his eyes downfield at all times. He certainly showed way more accuracy and touch on his passes than he did the last time we played them. The guy IS definitely getting better.

      With a nod to the (ahem) actual topic of the piece above, though Walker was no more, or less, consistent last night than anyone else on the defense last night, holy cow, when he’s good he’s VERY good. Quick off the snap and very strong. Since he’s been playing, several times I’ve seen him push a double-team backwards on skates while splitting it. He’s also shown some very nice moves to get off blocks and grab ball-carriers as they’re coming up alongside him at the line. He’s also much faster than expected in the open field and pretty relentless in pursuit. Walker and Siliga are two examples of how BB isn’t nearly as bad a GM as a lot of folks seem to think he is. Both have been great finds and may well end up being more than sufficient for handling the NT role when Wilfork is done.

      WRT the offense, Rex’s defense is always tough to read, but I thought Brady did a pretty fine job of it last night. He obviously had several options in hand when he broke the huddle because he changed the play at the line numerous times, correctly most of the time, I thought. While Vereen and even Gray appeared to be making decent headway when they got carries, if they seemed underused, that was almost entirely Brady opting out at the line. What held back the offense was penalties (the LaFell pick-play for Amendola – AGAIN), poor blocking at left tackle, and poor execution – especially dropped passes. Besides Edelman’s two obvious drops, there were two more that he should have caught, plus Gronk had at least two drops on his 10 targets. Seems to me that Vereen had a drop as well. It’s a credit to the Jets’ coverage adjustments and relentless D-line that Brady had to throw the ball away four times. They also broke up at least three passes that I saw.

      On a positive note, I thought the interior OL was pretty solid in pass-pro. Again, most ot the pressure Brady got came off the edges, especially from the left side – Solder and Cannon were NOT good last night. If this continues the rest of the way, the Pats first pick in 2015 might be an OT.

      BTW, Devey was wrong for shoving Barnes after his late hit on Brady. Devey should have wrecked him, instead. I mean, if you’re gonna get flagged, dude, make it felt.

      • acm says:

        MM, I understand that it was a short week (for both teams), and that Chris Ivory is a very good RB and that divisional games are a story within the overall story (rest of the season) and are rarely indicative of the state of the opponents. But the same rushing attack that ran for only 40 yards on teh Broncos (hardly a vaunted run D), 4 days ago in NYC, just put up 220 rushing yards on the Pats at Foxboro. The same passing attack that has been the ridicule of the NFL all of sudden looked formidable vs the Pats. And it’s not like the Jets did anything overly exotic tonight either – it was just running the rock and hitting the Pats on the occasional crossing route underneath, first with Decker and when he faded (likely due to hamstring issues) with Curley and Cumberland, to keep the run-D honest. That was it for the entirety of the night, an O led by Geno f-ing Smith, no A. Rodgers or D. Brees involvement there.
        Now unless you and I believe in magic and bad luck, MM, there is nothing you and I can say, no feel-good excuse we can come up with, to diminish the significance of what the Pats’ play-calling on D (and O) ultimately means for the teams shortcomings that would ultimately prevent the team, yet again, from being truly competitive in the postseason, when the level of opposition and execution against goes up by several notches.

        I am not saying it’s all bad, I know that there are enough good things out there to allow one to find his silver lining, especially when one feels the need to do so, but ultimately what I see on show time and time again is why the Pats are always gonna be short of the big goal unless they make some drastic changes to their overall philosophy on O but especially on D.

        I know there are good things to the story of BB the GM – like Siliga and Walker – but one has to wonder good for what? Not every UDFA is the next Arien Forster i.e. a perennial pro-bowler. Most of these guys, likely both Siliga and Walker included, may be outplaying their draft level but are ultimately limited by their talent level and that has the nasty habit of showing thru when the games get bigger and the level of opposition gets tougher too. Just because they have exceeded the low, initial expectations, that doesn’t mean they are good enough to answer the big bell. It’s one thing to look good vs the Jets and the bills in the regular season, very different story to make the difference vs the Broncos or Ravens in the postseason. And when the number of such players becomes high enough, it starts to have a decisive influence, to define, the overall level of quality of your entire roster. In the age of free agency and salary cap, players like Siliga and Walker are a necessity for every roster, but when they start becoming the prevalent “species” on the roster, that’s when you are in trouble. And that’s where ultimately the issue of Bb the GM lies.

        But to finish off on a silver-lining theme – I agree that the OL was a non-factor tonight, in a good way, at least in pass protection. I was a bit late for the start of the game and the reality is that never during the game did I feel the need to even look at who was starting at OL for the Pats and I assure you I’d have done that if he was getting his rear kicked on a regular basis. 😉

        • Oppitz says:

          Speaking of the offensive play calling… I was REALLY hoping for the Jets to convert that 2 point attempt, I was sure if we get the ball with 2 minutes and the game tied our offense would move the ball to an FG range. As I was sure we would run the ball 3 times and the Jets would have a 1 minute drive against a defense that wasn’t playing good football if we got the lead.

          We always seem to badly play that type of situational football during the last few years. The focus should be moving the ball, get the first down and walk off with the win

        • steve earle says:

          Oppitz has a good point about end of game play calling. With 2:24 left we try to smash into a def stacked to stop the run, when we our running game has been at best inconsistent all game. A play action pass completed on first down would have at least given the run game a fighting chance. I know 20/20 hindsight but honestly I was yelling at the TV at that point. Our off is just so predictable and it nearly cost us last night and will at some point.

        • MaineMan says:

          Actually, Denver has had a pretty decent run-D so far this season, and the Jets have had a pretty formidable ground game in most games. Not sure why the Jets failed so miserably against the Broncos. Injuries? The Broncos totally selling out to stop the run? Anyway, Ivory has been very good at yards-after-contact since he came into the league.

          As far as the Jets passing attack is concerned, between Decker being closer to 100%, Amaro starting to figure things out and Geno obviously improving on his previous technique, they had all the pieces in place to have a good showing on offense. Add to that the fact that underdogs almost always bring their best game against the Pats and combine it with a Pats’ defense understandably in disarray, it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise to anyone that it looked really bad out there much of the time.

          And yeah, people can and DO improve. Even Geno. Sometimes a lot of things click for them all at once and their leap forward can seem like “magic”, but it’s not. Improvement, though, is typically uneven, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Geno take a couple steps backward next week or the week after.

          As for defensive playcalling, as bad as on-field communication and execution were last night, playcalling would have to be way at the bottom of my list of things to critique. It’s not as if the coaches always dictate every detail of every play from the sideline, giving the players on the field no options to adjust, no “if-thens”. Sometimes they do, but not for the most part. Plus, coaches can design and call the most brilliant gameplan and plays ever devised and the guys on the field can still eff it up enough to make it seem like crap. Same thing on the offense, really. I know a lot of folks believe otherwise, but it simply isn’t so for the Pats, offensively or defensively.

          The Pats are generally very good at what they do, but they’re not SO good that they dictate the fate of everything. They ain’t the X-Men. They’re ordinary humans and sometimes that shows. And sometimes – maybe just for once in their lives – the other guys are just as good as the Pats, and sometimes THAT is one of the reasons that the Pats look bad. I’m not sure what drastic changes to the Pats might be guaranteed to “fix” that. Especially without carrying the potential to make things much, much worse.

          “…outplaying their draft level but are ultimately limited by their talent level…” If you truly believe that where a guy gets selected in the draft (or doesn’t) is the final, written-in-stone, infallible grade of his inherent “talent level” (whatever the heck THAT is), then – oh, boy – do I have a bridge to sell YOU! Trust me, it isn’t true. Not even close. There are so many things that go into whether or not a guy becomes a starter, a successful starter, a rarely-used backup/special-teamer, a critically important role-player/situational sub. I mean, yeah, I know that there are some teams (owners, mostly) who will insist on continuing to start a guy who was a 1st-rounder over a 5th rounder who’s actually a better player (Lions), but most consistently successful teams don’t give a crap about draft pedigree.

          And “… when they start becoming the prevalent species…”? Here’s some current rosters (includes IR lists):

          Patriots: 21 UDFA, 20 draftees from rounds 1-3 (from wherever, originally)
          Seahawks: 23 UDFA, 19 draftees
          Broncos: 20 UDFA, 24 draftees
          Cowboys: 20 UDFA, 19 draftees
          Chargers: 24 UDFA, 23 draftees
          Packers: 21 UDFA, 19 draftees

          But how many starters? Every team in the league has at least two quality starters who were undrafted, several have more than that (including the Seahawks). The Pats 2003 starting OL included a 5th-rounder and two UDFAs. The point being that the Pats roster isn’t really significantly different wrt the proportion of high picks, mid-picks, late picks and UDFAs compared to other NFL teams, including the successful ones.

        • MaineMan says:

          REPLY TO steve earle:

          With 26 seconds remaining until the 2-minute warning, the Pats really had to run on that first down in order to get the Jets to burn their final time out. That said, there probably WAS a better run play than Vereen up the gut. Jet sweep (or fake), counter-trey, e.g.

        • acm says:

          @MM:
          injuries, Geno and the Jets passing attack improving, etc, etc … see told ya MM – silver linings are always there when you need them. You tell me how that works out for the Pats in the post season.

          MM, I think you are smart enough to realize how the law of probabilities and averages work meaning that there is a much higher chance to get the best talent in the draft early and that chance decreases steadily as one goes deeper into it. Just because there is an Arien Foster every now and then, you don’t see teams building the meat of their rosters in UDFA, do you? Just because there is an exception to the rule, that doesn’t mean there is no rule. Not sure why you think we need to revisit this one over and over again.

          As for high draft picks, I am not claiming that every high pick will automatically translate in a top talent of a player. If you need to “misread” what I say so that you can have your silver-lining, that’s fine, just know that it’s not something I would ever say. After all, there is the phenomenon of miscalculating and reaching for a player. And that’s where the Pats have had their issues in recent years resulting in a steady decrease/loss of overall level of talent in a number of areas as they’ve had to change generations – OL, DL, LB, and if not for splashing out in FA this year, DB as well. There is simply too much reaching and outsmarting oneself going on with high picks, while mostly missing out on majority of the middle and late round picks, which are more often than not created as a result of trading out of the top two rounds. Not to mention the perennial miscalculations on DB and WR position draft after draft after draft.
          On top of that you have issues related to strategic allocation of resources to some of the most important lines in football – OL and LB – where the team has way too heavily relied on the “numbers over quality” principle hoping that if they were to bring in a bunch of UDFAs, they’ll still get some decent players out of there and compensate for not investing in those positions higher in the draft. Of course, till this year, a heavy dose of Scarnecchia magic was a big part of that approach, as well. Unfortunately Dante S is gone now and “decent” or “serviceable” , Arien Foster odds aside, doesn’t quite cut it in the big games and on the big scene any more. Come to think of it, not sure it cut it before either it’s just that Dante S managed to mask the underlying deficiencies very well, only to see them come out and play their role in full swing when it mattered the most.
          And, hopefully for the last time as I am sure you must be running out of bridges to sell by now, I do understand that not all high picks translate to top level talent or that talent cannot be found later in the draft. It’s where however the best chances/odds are for finding the real difference makers are the highest – early in the daft.

          But that was just the draft-related part where I need the Pats need to make adjustments/changes. Even more important is the need to change the overall philosophy on D and O. More important because who they draft is ultimately tied to what their philosophy is on either side of the ball. I posted here on this pretty extensively before and am really running out of time now, so I will try to keep it short:

          On Defense – the schemes are two complicated and that’s why it’s tough to find suitable players. One can often see players asked to think too much on the field and that prevents them from acting on instinct and making plays. They are way too often caught in-between two actions, completing neither. Approach on D is way too heavily reliant on prevent defense, where the focus, without much success, is on preventing a play, as opposed to actually making one.
          There is/was a prevailing philosophy of having overly big, read fat and/or lacking athleticism, players in the front 7, which has lead to lack of pass rush (more time for opposing QBs), leaving the slow players at LB chasing after TE and RBs without much success. The withdrawn (prevent D) secondary leaves too big a playing field for those slow LBs to cover exposing them to underneath routs by the opposing WRs too. All this in an era where the best Defenses in the league have moved onto more athletic players both at the DL and the Lb corpse.
          Before you try to sell me another bridge, I am aware that BB seems to have made some adjustments in that regard recently – Collins and Easley – but that was too little too late.

          On Offense – too reliant on finesse passing and lack of mental toughness. Not enough balance between passing and running the ball. The O, under Mcdaniels, way too often falls into passing patterns that make it unbalanced and predictable, not to mention an easy target for good tough Ds to beat up on. Until Welker was around, they had a focal point of the attack (Brady’s over-used safety blanket), which was at the heart of it being predictable. The O is an extension of the coordinator and I have always said that the Pats will never win a SB with McDaniels as their OC. He is a mental weakling and so is his Offense.

        • Oppitz says:

          You dont have to run, you need to get the first down.

          What are the odds of an inconsistent running game get a first down running the ball against one of the best running defenses in the league that are expecting you to run the ball? VERY very low, the offense always got the ball back in those situations.

          So you have to think that we aren’t playing a 60 minute game like Belichick likes to say, because we are just trading a full drive for 1 minute of the game, and this put the other team in condition to win the game.

        • steve earle says:

          To MM: About play calling with 26 sec until 2 min warning. If I’m not mistaken a completed pass does not stop the clock. Take 6 sec for the play off the 26, get the warning then make them take the TO on the other side of the warning with a shorter distance for chance of a first down.

      • steve earle says:

        Yea, if your gonna draw a personal foul flag at least make it mean something.

        • MaineMan says:

          Exactly. Get up in the guy’s grill foaming at the mouth so he has to blink to keep your spit out of his eyes. That’s what Mankins would have done.

        • DMC413 says:

          Totally agree fellas, would of liked to see more aggression from the whole team at that point…. Would of been nice for the refs to throw some laundry on the field as well, I mean it was a blatantly obvious late hit on TB!!

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