Patriots vs. Raiders All 22 Thoughts: Defense Edition

Tuesday afternoon means All 22 review! You really haven’t watched the game until you’ve seen the whole field. I continue to be amazed by the thing I missed and what I pick up watching it. Here comes this weeks defense edition:

Dropping Easley out of rush and into coverage. Reward for his interception?

Seems like they’re getting a little more comfortable using Chung in Cover 2. Smart, can’t be in Cover 1 every time he’s on the field.

Really hope Siliga isn’t out for long, he and Wilfork are a tough combination inside to move. It’s really what makes the Pats run defense go. There’s been plenty of 34/43 talk as there is every year, but the overriding early down philosophy is have two space eaters inside with five athletic players around them who can make plays. 

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Three GIFs That Defined Patriots win over Raiders

It was (looking like) the best of times and the worst of times after the Patriots squeaker win over the Raiders last Sunday.

On defense there were quite a few different options of plays that defined the game, though one choice was infinitely obvious. Defensively I continue to think things are really coming together and again, defense wins championships. If nothing else I’m ready for a Patriots team that is better on the defensive side of the ball. I mean it’s been a decade since the last time that was true.

Offensively, the Pats can’t get much going and look like the same unit that lacked the necessary dynamics to truly take them to the next level. Things still look just a step off up and down the offense, but given the level of compete on this team, I expect we’ll see them take positive strides forward this coming week.

Here are the three plays that defined the game:

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A Gronk TD. Why not? It was just about the only really positive play we saw from the offense, not to mention it saw Gronk beat a double team. That’s a positive sign and as Gronk slowly eases into more and more snaps he should become even more of a factor. Three healthy games down, 16 to go!

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Possibly my favorite play of the game comes on this 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter with the Pats clinging to a four-point lead. I love the number o f hard hits that keep the Raiders from picking up the first down. That kind of swarming defense is just what we need.

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Finally, and most obviously, comes Vince Wilfork’s interception. I can’t say it enough — it’s just unreal how Wilfork has come off such a major injury and looks just as good as he was before it. If anything it appears the year off did the rest of Wilfork’s body some good. Let’s just hope they can keep him this way for the rest of the season.

Personnel

Offense

3 WR/1 TE/1 RB — 32 of 73 
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB — 30 of 73 
2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB — 6 of 73 
2 WR/1 TE/2 RB — 2 of 73 
3 WR/1 FB/1 RB — 1 of 73 
3 WR/2 RB — 1 of 73 
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB — 1 of 73 

Defense

Base: 30 of 60 

Sub: 30 of 60 (20 in nickel/10 in dime) 

2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/ 1 RB — base 4-3 
2 WR/2 TE/1 RB — base 4-3 
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB — nickel — Arrington (short yardage); dime (longer yardage) 
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB — base 5-2 
3 WR/1 FB/1 RB — base 4-3 and big nickel

Previous Three GIFs:

@ Minnesota Vikings

@ Miami Dolphins

Sports Friends Gronk Goofs

Hilarious!

New England Patriots Gameplan: Week 3 vs. Oakland Raiders

The Patriots finally have their home opener Sunday against the 0-2 Raiders! While on paper this might look to be a Pats’ blowout, we’ve seen far too many ugly early-season losses to write in a “W” just yet. Let’s remember this is a Patriots team that lost to the Cardinals at home in 2012. The Cardinals wouldn’t win another road game all year. Figure that one out.

The Pats have been saying all the right things this week — what a legend Charles Woodson is, how good Oakland’s pass defense is, that Derek Carr can make every throw. You know the drill.

But who the opponent is doesn’t really matter, it’s all about focusing on the Patriots and improving. The team has shown glimpses on both sides of the ball, but the consistency has been lacking especially on offense. 

Here’s my strategy and points of emphasis that will hopefully get the Pats to 2-1.

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Patriots vs. Vikings All 22 Thoughts: Defense Edition

Thank Hoodie the NFL puts All-22 film up now, it’s really so much better to help understand what kind of coverages and route combinations are being run. And the end zone cam is perfect for seeing gap alignment.

Early on the Pats rotated through odd and even fronts, running primarily Cover 1 Robber, with Chung in the box. Essentially the Pats traded Steve Gregory for Chung. Chung might get pulled off the field in coverage packages, but he’s definitely a better presence for the “Robber” spot that the Pats play a lot of. So far his weaknesses have been well-hidden.

One Chandler Jones’ 2nd quarter sack it was a great example of team defense. Jones got an initial hand on Cassel, though he probably had enough time to dump it off had the coverage not been perfect. Siliga came through on a stunt and destroyed the pocket. That’s when Jones finished him off.

On Revis’ interception he did the proverbial “ran the route better than the receiver”. His perfect outside leverage prevented the receiver from breaking out of his cut, from there Revis just sprinted right to where the ball was delivered and there was nothing Jennings could do.

Remarkable that even without Browner and Dennard the defense was still able to play a lot of press man. They slipped in some off-man as well, but Press Cover 1 Robber was the coverage of choice.

On third-and-three in the second quarter we saw some zone coverage with two deep, Mayo in the deep middle, four underneath defenders waiting to pounce on the underneath pass. It worked perfectly.

For all the talk of Hightower’s improved pass rush, dropping him into short zones eliminated the underneath passes that gashed the defense on the first drive. Hightower moves better in space than he’s gotten credit for.

Seemed like Ebner was the dime linebacker while Wilson was just the base strong safety to give Chung a breather. Interesting how they’re rotating a deep group of safeties.

Such a smooth Revis-esque play by Logan Ryan to undercut Patterson’s route on his interception. Cassel shouldn’t have tried that throw but there wasn’t anywhere else to go with it. That’s one thing sticking out with the All-22 — just how good the coverage is across the board.

Pats sent 6 rushers on Dont’a Hightower’s third quarter sack from their dime package. Man-to-man coverage was perfect behind it.

Easley was used entirely inside as a pass rusher, just like he should be. He showed good explosion and violence early on but I think he seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. Understandable considering how he saw no game time in the preseason.

Kyle Arrington’s blitz from the slot was well-timed. I thought the Pats did some experimentation being a little more aggresive. PFF had them blitzing on 10 of 44 snaps which is on the high end for BB.

Three GIFs that defined Patriots win over Vikings

Sticking with the positive this week with three plays that really stood out to me as game-defining. Could’ve put any number of the penalties in GIF form but that would feel like a waste, even though those really defined the game.

You’ll also notice I didn’t use the Chandler Jones field goal block because that one has already been GIFfed and everyone is well aware of what a huge play that was.

First, we start with Devin McCourty’s interception, a play that might been the unofficial start of the Patriots actually playing football this season. Things didn’t look good on the first drive for either side of the ball. Then, after a nice punt from Ryan Allen, McCourty makes this great play on the ball.

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There were a few throws of Brady’s that stood out (and weren’t nullified by penalties), but this one was just a much-needed strike. With the Vikes poised to get good field position of a punt, Brady threaded the needle on third-and-14 to pick up the first down en route to taking a 10 point lead. 

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No defender has been more impressive for the Pats this season than Dont’a Hightower. Hightower has been used more in a pass rushing role at times and he’s delivered with good pressure. He’s just so strong he can over power running backs trying to block him, but also get underneath a tackle like he does here. This sack effectively sealed any chance of a comeback from happening.

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Personnel

Sub: 45 of 68 (32 nickel, 13 dime) 
Base: 22 of 68 
Heavy/short-yardage: 1 of 68 

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB – 26 of 67 
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB – 21 of 67 
1 WR/2 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 12 of 67 
2 WR/1 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 5 of 67 
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB – 2 of 67 
3 WR/1 FB/1 RB – 1 of 67 

Previous Three GIFs:

@ Miami Dolphins

Pats Posits: Notes on the Patriots-Vikings Rewatch

The New England Patriots bounced back on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings to even their record at 1-1. It was still an ugly affair — with the Pats getting called for a whopping 15 penalties for 163 yards.

The general NFL sentiment and betting expectations were not favorable to the Patriots after their opening weekend loss, but with big games just around the corner, including a Monday Night Football matchup in Kansas City on the horizon, the Pats look to be coming into form. You can read more on the best NFL news here.

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Snap Judgement: Patriots show life in gifted Vikings victory

The 2014 Patriots have one in the win column and now seem on track to get their season going. Getting Oakland for their home opener is almost as big a gift as the win over the Vikings was.

Don’t get me wrong, defensively the Patriots had as solid a game as we’ve seen around here in a while. Still, it was a formula that the Pats have won a lot of games with — takeaways. 

Four interceptions, five punts and one blocked field goal should have this defense feeling good. But how much is a by-product of no Adrian Peterson and Matt Cassel at quarterback?

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Best of ‘13 Patriots Highlights