Editor's Note: I thought last week's cross-posting with Canal Street Chronicles went very well and so I thought we'd do the same thing with the fine folks at Pats Pulpit. I just posted the Niners Nation Q&A over at Pats Pulpit so as they ask questions I encourage you to answer them if you get a chance as we did last week. Just reply to the specific question to keep the thread organized. So for now, fire away at MaPatsFan.
Hey Niners Nation,
this is MaPatsFan, blogger at Pats Pulpit. Instead of doing the usual "5 Questions with..." segments, your fearless leader Fooch suggested we cross-post and directly answer your questions in a FanPost. Great idea, so here we go. Below is a brief summary of where the Pats are so far.
Brady's down! Brady's down! I think I blogged until about 2am that night when KC's safety, Bernard Pollard, ended Brady's season and threw the team into quarterback turmoil. Brady's been an ironman since 2001, a regular fixture under the center, so it was a bit jarring, to say the least. That being said, Matt Cassel, Brady's 4 year backup, is the starter for the forseeable future. Matt did a good job during his first outing with the Chiefs and handled his first NFL start against the Jets quite well, but our last outing against Miami was a disaster. Cassel had some issues, but I pin that loss on the defense - more on that later.
What we're missing with Cassel is the relationship Brady developed with his receivers, specifically Randy Moss. Matt isn't there yet as evidenced by the routes Moss is running. Randy is more of a vertical, long ball guy and lately, he's been running inside routes which scares the absolute daylights out of me. He's lanky and uncoordinated when turned inside and I can just see him getting smacked by some hungry linebacker or safety. I'd really like to see Moss stay on the seams for higher yardage passes.
As far as the running game is concerned, it was extremely weak during the Dolphins' game with 79 yards total. Miami's defense was reading the offense very well and plugging up holes. Even options to the RBs met with limited success to the tune of only 6 yards from the backfield.
The Patriots did not have a good day against Miami. Allowing 461 net yards, they were schooled, specifically by the infamous "Wildcat" play. Overall, I've been feeling like the defense is playing too soft and not creating enough pressure on the quarterback. They have traditionally run bend-but-don't-break 3-4, but it's doing a little more than bending. My belief is they're concentrating too much on man-to-man receiver coverage and forgetting about getting in the QB's face. What I'm hoping to see against the Niners is far more blitzing and pressure from our DE's Richard Seymour and Ty Warren as well as our OLB's Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas. Force the QB to make decisions too fast and you can shutdown an offense.
That's enough writing for now. I look forward to your questions and will check back often.