How we should attack the Patriots
I've re-watched the Houston/Patriots game a couple of times and taken some notes on what I saw.
- The Patriots have a very very good offensive line, and can give Brady all day to throw, they aren't bad as a run blocking unit either. They are all tall athletic players who can get to the second level and do their jobs very well.
- The Patriots really don't have a deep threat element at all, but this is nothing new, they haven't had that since Randy Moss left. They are going to be pretty much the same offense we seen from Denver, just not as physical at WR, their receivers are much smaller. They will likely run the ball a ton like Denver did too, but unlike at wide out, their running game is much more physical than Denvers running scheme. The Patriots seem to run a variant of the power run scheme and the ZBS. The Patriots will likely be quicker to the snap than Denver were against us, so we must be prepared to deal with that.
- On defense the Patriots are big and physical up front, they have a large front 7, their LB's actually look more like D linemen with their size. Their secondary can tackle well, they come up and attack, similar to how Pittsburgh play, just not as good. They are still a liability in coverage, and we will need to throw a lot of deep ones like against Denver.
-The Patriots pass rush doesn't really scare me at all, they don't have any scary edge rushers, and certainly no where near the level of what Denver offered. If Oher and McKinnie play as well as they did in Denver, the Patriots wont have much of an impact off the edges. The rookie Chandler Jones has a lot of talent and can make plays, but he still appears to be fairly raw as an every down player.
- It is more the interior line of that defense that worries me, lead by Wilfolk, who as we all know is their best player on D and gave us fits last year. Birk is going to have to do a better job this time around, but I'm sure KO and Yanda will give him plenty of help, our Oline is much more physical and larger with KO playing guard and McKinnie at LT now. I'm not sure if there's a bigger Oline pound for pound when we have our current line up there.
What my gameplan would be:
- Their Oline is very effective, so Kruger and Suggs are going to have to be on top of their game, and Ngata has to push the pile up the middle. I would go to mostly a 4-3 base defense like we did last year. Have Kruger play LDE rotating with Upshaw, and Suggs play RDE, with Ngata and McPhee/A Jones on the inside. Have Ray and Ellerbe as the LB's, and Pollard should come in as the weakside LB dropping back into coverage covering Hernandez, and play Chykie Brown as the nikel corner and Ihedigbo at SS. There is no Grontkowski to worry about in this one. We are going to get nikel and dimed all up and down the park, so it's vital that our front 4 can create some pressure. We did a good job against a similar front @Denver, we were creating pressure with only 3 men at times, so hopefully it will be the same here.
- Stop the run, and you will stop Brady and the offense. We stepped up against the run against the Broncos, and we must do the same here. You would scratch your head at this one, but this years Patriots team has a very effective running game that is quick to the snap and is really hard to defend, we must make sure that Ridley has no room to run. If Brady is forced to throw the ball around, and we get after him, he doesn't like it. History shows that if you pressure Brady, he starts to crumble.
- On offense, use zone stretch plays. Arian Foster had somenice runs around the edges against the Patriots, but not many up the middle. Again this defense is built up the middle, and Wilfolk makes it very hard for the interior of the Oline. Hopefully Pierce can go for this one, as he's a very effective zone runner, and the Patriots are poor at setting the edge from what I seen.
- Throw over the middle, and take a significant amount of deep shots. The Patriots weakness on defense lies mostly through the middle in the passing game. Their big LB's can't cover that well, and their safeties are average. Shaubb at some success throwing down the middle last night. I think we could do a job with Pitta and Boldin excelling around that area. Then take the deep shots with Torrey and Jacoby. The Patriots are still not very good at defending the deep shots.
- No stupid penalties, fuck ups, silly drops in clutch moments, or ST fuck ups. I'm confident we can win this game if everyone does their job and avoid making boneheaded plays. We lost last year because of a stupid lack of concentration by Lee Evans, and a gigantic fuck up by Billy Cundiff. I don't expect Tucker to make the same mistake, but lets try and avoid the kicking to tie or win the game for once. Lets try and make this an outright win that isn't forced to OT, so I don't gain increased blood pressure.
I'm fully confident we can win this, but its going to be a very hard game, and I expect this game to be just as hard as the Denver game- maybe not as physically demanding due to the altitude and having to play 6 quarters of football.