Great stuff from Frenz going even further in depth on many of the things I briefly touched upon in my Ten Keys article.
Two simple things to focus on: Patriots front seven playing disciplined and keeping track of the dump off passes to running backs and tight ends.
For this reason I think we’ll see less attacking Sunday Night and more two gapping and containment.
Great stuff from this week’s podcast guest Matt Chatham. Nothing makes me happier than when my amateur football analysis is backed up by someone who’s actually been there/done that.
San Francisco is rolling now with Colin Kaepernick, a track-fast quarterback brandishing a throwing motion somewhere between Byron Leftwich and crafty hurler Eddie Harris from the movie “Major League.” The Niners’ “pistol” offense looks undoubtedly bizarre from a professional football point of view, making you often do a double-take in film review just to remember which team is on offense— but it’s worked for them so far.
It will take a great week of preparation for the Patriots, because this is something you rarely see in the NFL. That said, the net effect is a grindingly modest offensive output based largely on move-the-pocket boot passing, and effective use of play-action crossers and checkdowns.
There are the occasional explosive elements, but most seem predicated off a mental or physical mistake on the edge of the defense, either in rush lane integrity or run force. With the similar Seattle game lessons of not falling prey to those kinds of plays presumably learned, and the near-miss lessons from the Houston game of not putting the ball on the ground themselves, shuttering those two small windows by the Patriots would seem to close off any reasonable paths for a ‘keep pace’ kind of game.
If the Patriots sit in zones all day, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will find the holes if he’s having one of his hot stretches. What the Patriots need to do is junk their conservative coverages and get physical at the line of scrimmage with the Bills, something we’ve seen more of in the past few weeks. The longer Fitzpatrick has to hold onto the ball, the more it plays into the Patriots’ hands. The rush will be able to affect Fitzpatrick, and he’ll start to throw the ball into bad spots or just be his normal inconsistent self. The Bills want Fitzpatrick to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible to keep him from making mistakes. Don’t give him easy, quick reads at the snap. And furthermore, the linebackers need to tee off on any crossing patterns. Don’t let them feel comfortable.
Assuming no dramatic turnover disparity between the two teams this weekend, whether or not the Bills can be competitive in this game will come down to whether or not they play to the strengths of their personnel and go positive on first down in critical situations. From the Patriots’ perspective, their ability to prevent success here is similarly critical.
The Bills aren’t a team that will really test you down the field. There are quick passes. Slants to the receivers. But it’s really built around those two tailbacks and you figure they’ll get the ball in Spiller’s hands early in the game to try to get him going. If you’re the Patriots, you know that is coming because the Bills made an error last week with one of their most explosive offensive players. He’s becoming a player where you have to account for him at all times, even when he doesn’t have the ball. He reminds me of LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia, or like a Marshall Faulk in St. Louis when he played. The Patriots might use a defensive end to chip him, which is a staple of what Bill Belichick often wants to do.
The Bills believed their defensive line to be one of the best in football prior to the season, but a lack of production and ability to stop the run has halted that notion in the eyes of many. Offensively, while the Bills have quick-strike ability and playmakers, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is already up to nine interceptions and four fumbles.
Lombardi predicts the Rams will attempt to take advantage of New England’s unimpressive defensive secondary by airing it out. “I think they’re going to,” Lombardi said. “The Rams have a unique team. What the Rams are saying when they play you is, ‘We think you’re going to mess up. So we’re going to be as conservative as we possibly can be. We’re not going to blow this game. We’re going to try to get this game to the fourth quarter, we’re going to take our shot.’ And I think you’ll see them take shots up the field. “I think they will throw it down the field if they can make a few plays. That’s part of what they want to do, anyway. They know they’re not good enough. They know their offensive line is really a work in progress, and that’s being polite. … They have to control the ball, stay in a lot of third-and-shorts, keep 10-play drives, and really the Rams don’t mind if you keep the ball for 10 minutes, either. They just want to keep you out of the end zone. They’ll let you have a field goal if you keep it for 10 minutes.”
Good read to get educated on the Rams a bit.
“Ultimately, there are three things for the Patriots to keep in mind: The Rams’ offensive line is a winnable matchup. Neutralize the rushing abilities of Chris Long and Robert Quinn — the tackles have to protect the edge. And watch for the inside-outside ability of the two backs: with Jackson and Richardson, they have a nice complementary element.”
Good stuff from Frenz here. Really I think this game comes down to one thing, whether Sanchez’s deep throws are complete/pass interference or incomplete/picked.