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Old 11-22-2010, 11:31 AM   #151
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Knee Jerk Reactions to Week 11: Pats vs Colts

Things to consider while wondering why nothing in my life… not love, friendship, health, sex, patriotism, religion, nothing… can fill my heart with joy the way Peyton Manning with that “I threw a stupid pick” puss on his face can:

*I know it probably constitutes a hate crime or blasphemy or violates some article of the Constitution to say this, but the fact is that Manning flat out blew this game. Football isn’t about passing yards, it’s about protecting the ball and he committed three unforgivably boneheaded turnovers. He admitted it afterwards. Just like with his awful Pick-6 in the Super Bowl, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms did their best Men in Black-like effort to cover it up. But the fact is that today when you call Manning “goat,” it doesn’t stand for “greatest of all time.”

*The James Sanders pick looked like that Levels play that’s such a staple of the Colts offense. Guy goes deep, another guy goes shallow under him, and the coverage dictates who’s getting the ball. They also had Jacob Tamme on a seam route. But Sanders came off the tight end to help Devin McCourty with Pierre Garcon at the flag. So you had three covering two and there was no chance for Manning. Nantz and Simms were right that Jermaine Cunningham knocked him off balance a little. But in that situation Manning could’ve jumped into JC’s arms and taken a nap and Vinatieri’s kicking the game tier.

*Unfortunately for the Colts, Bill Polian had been working the phones all game trying to get the Competition Committee to pass a “No Knocking Peyton Manning Off Balance Rule,” but ran out of time.

*For all its complexities, the Colts offense runs out of a few basic formations. And their favorite is a Posse look (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB). The idea is that they see their third wideout as a starter, whereas most team’s nickel back isn’t, therefore they have an advantage. The Pats countered that by going with three safeties, with Pat Chung on the slot guy and Sanders and Brandon Meriweather staying deep. It might not have been pretty, but 3 INTs and the win? That’s the most you can hope for against this offense I guess.

*I just don’t know what to make of Meriweather any more. Sure he had that pick. But he also looked lost on that Reggie Wayne touchdown. And on Donald Brown’s one decent run, he looked so slow and confused I thought maybe Bob Kraft was playing safety for a future episode of “Undercover Boss.”

*The Manning Apology Society was working overtime yesterday. And their jobs were never harder than the Devin McCourty interception. Simms said the Pats dropped into a 4-deep zone and that confused the Colts, but I disagree. McCourty was showing man principles, his hips turned, ass to the sideline, staying behind his man. The only reason he broke deep is because that’s where, you know, the ball was. But there’s still no telling who or what he was throwing at. Nantz said “Garcon was the receiver on that side,” which he was. If by “that side” you mean the Western Hemisphere.

*Without a doubt, Jim Caldwell has the NFL’s best “What just happened?” expression since Herm Edwards. The cameras cut to him right after the Pats first touchdown, and he had the exact same look as the butler in the Stooges’ “A Plumbing We Will Go” when water starts coming out of the lamps and he says “This house has sure gone crazy!”

*This wouldn’t be a Colts-Pats game without it taking years off my life. Up 17 I was feeling pretty good about things. Then they threw up that “New England led last year 31-14 and lost” graphic and it was like the foreshadowing in a “Twilight Zone.” By the time lead was down to 10 I was having violent sweats. The Pats go 3 & out and my pupils were dilating. Tully Banta-Cain’s stupid retaliation penalty caused tightness in my left shoulder. The Blair White touchdown brought on stroke-like symptoms. And when Bill O’Brien, two 1st downs away from icing the game decided to run out of an I formation on 2nd & 8 for no gain, I was floating down a tunnel of light toward my grandparents. So thanks, Peyton. Your boneheadedness saved my life.

*Just to review: When Julian Edelman let a ball go right through his palms on the 2, that was on Tom Brady for putting too much on the throw. But when Archie’s Favorite Son throws a pick in the Red Zone to lose the game, that’s just him trying to win the game. Got it.

*The Colts’ running game is as bad as any I can recall. Every time they hand the ball off, someone should run over from the other sidelines and hand them a nice Thank You note.

*But for some reason Simms kept telling us the opposite. He kept mumbling something about the clock or keeping defenses honest or somes such nonsense. I swear he must have a bumper sticker that says “I [heart] Ineffective Running Plays.”

*I don’t mean to keep harping on Simms and Nantz, but you’ve got to hand it to them. As soon as they pointed out what a great job Matt Light was doing on Dwight Freeney, you knew it was a bad omen. The very next play Freeney pulled that Disco Stu spin move of his for the sack. Light is having a phenomenal season, but no one man is powerful enough to defeat the Simms-Nantz Kibosh.

*But Sebastian Vollmer was flawless against Robert Mathis, who’s usually a Patriots killer. Seabass just overpowered him all game long. Seriously he dominated Mathis so much I got worried he was violating the state’s Anti-Bullying statutes. By the 4th quarter I think he was grabbing Mathis’ wrists, smacking his fists into his helmet and saying “Why are you hitting yourself? Huh? Why are you hitting yourself?”

*After that weird moment when the ref called a penalty on the Pats but it was supposed to be on the Colts he completely disappeared. I thought he wouldn’t make another call the rest of the game. Like an open mike comic who bombs and is gun shy about going back on stage. Of course they always manage to find the whistle when Indy is mounting a furious comeback. I just wish he would’ve caught Jeff Saturday tearing Gerard Warren’s helmet off and not just TBC’s retaliation, but that one is still on Tully.

*By far the oddest look the Pats showed happened to be on the McCourty interception. They had four down linemen, one of whom was Kyle Arrington. All 5’10″, 195 lbs of him came rushing in from the defensive end spot. He didn’t put much pressure on Manning, but I’d like to think there was just enough factor involved to have contributed to the bad throw.

*Congratulations, Jeff Bridges for landing that prestigious role in “Tron: Legacy.” I see winning that Oscar has really opened some doors for you.

*Is there any reason why BenJarvus Green-Ellis can’t be a featured back? Has he ever shown us a sign he can’t handle 25 carries a game? He’s decisive. He changes direction well. Makes quick cuts. He rarely if ever gets nothing out of a play. And his best quality is that Corey Dillon like ability to get 2 yards AFTER you’ve tackled him. BJGE is going to be one of those guys who make NFL Draft gurus tug at their shirt collars a look around the room nervously.

*A couple of more performances like this and Danny Woodhead is going to go from Interesting Football Story to full blown Pop Culture Icon. There’ll be songs written about him, pages of YouTube tribute clips, t-shirts, hats made out of wood. I just wish I owned his merchandising because mark my words, if the Pats make the Super Bowl, Woody will become more overexposed than Harry Potter and Twilight put together.

*That Woodhead touchdown run was an amazing effort and a tribute to the power of having a low center of gravity. But what made it truly great was the upfield blocking of Deion Branch and Wes Welker. The three of them run together should look familiar to TV addicts. They were doing the “Fire ants take down a much bigger prey” sequence from every Animal Planet insect special.

*One thing I’m noticing about the post-Randy Patriots spread offense is the emphasis on creating and exploiting a mismatch. I mean, that’s always been a part of it, but the last couple of weeks it’s been the focus. On the first TD, they had 4 wide with Welker in the backfield. He motioned to the H-back spot, which brought Pat Angerer over from the middle to cover him. Welker stutter-stepped him once and then released, signaling with his hand in the air as soon as he broke upfield. It was almost exactly what happened on Gronkowsi’s first TD last week, only with a corner covering him. Anyway, it was a great example of Brady and his receivers reading a defense with the same set of eyes.

*And you could tell Angerer wasn’t happy about it. Afterwards he looked even Angererer. (Note: I admit that was awful. But Austin Collie has a concussion so under the new emphasis on brain injuries I’m not allow to say “Collie played like a dog” and I need my pun/ play on words fix any way I can get it.)

*I can’t tell you how relieved I feel when an ad starts with a middle aged guy standing by a lake talking about his health and it turns out to be about his cholesterol and not about his penis. It’s the little victories in life.

*Now that the game is over, it can be revealed the bug in the Colts’ locker room is actually the microphone in the picture of Der Fuhrer and it’s connected to the coffee pot in Belichick’s office.

*If anyone in Mr. Kraft’s booth caught the conversation between Steven Tyler and Myra, I’m all ears.
http://boston.barstoolsports.com/ran...pats-vs-colts/

The Vollmer-Mathis shtick caused a mouthful of coffee to land on my desk, Jerry. Freakin hilarious.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:22 PM   #152
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Is there any reason why BenJarvus Green-Ellis can’t be a featured back?
He is great at following blocks, but lousy at getting something out of nothing. The team still needs an upgrade at RB next year.
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Old 11-22-2010, 02:36 PM   #153
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*Just to review: When Julian Edelman let a ball go right through his palms on the 2, that was on Tom Brady for putting too much on the throw. But when Archie’s Favorite Son throws a pick in the Red Zone to lose the game, that’s just him trying to win the game. Got it.



I guess Peyton's not just a quarterback, he's a football player.


He's a warrior.


He's a gun slinger.


He's a river boat gambler.











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Old 11-23-2010, 07:42 AM   #154
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:42 AM   #155
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:16 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Oswlek View Post
He is great at following blocks, but lousy at getting something out of nothing. The team still needs an upgrade at RB next year.
But how many negative yardage plays does he get? I can't recall many. He seems to get at least back to the line of scrimmage on those "nothing" plays, and usually gets a few + yards.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's the second coming of Jim Brown, and in today's NFL you need a stable of running backs, so I wouldn't be opposed to adding a quality player there next year. However, I think he is a solid player that can be counted on to contribute to the team's success.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:32 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by O_P_T View Post
But how many negative yardage plays does he get? I can't recall many. He seems to get at least back to the line of scrimmage on those "nothing" plays, and usually gets a few + yards.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's the second coming of Jim Brown, and in today's NFL you need a stable of running backs, so I wouldn't be opposed to adding a quality player there next year. However, I think he is a solid player that can be counted on to contribute to the team's success.
I disagree. He only gets a couple yards if there are a couple yards to get. He was great down the stretch against Minny, but historically BJGE isn't good at all against stacked run defenses. Some of this is on the OL, of course, but Woodhead gets 3 "how the hell did he find that crease?" yards with the same blocking.

I'm not kicking the guy off the team. I just think that the offense would be worlds better with a RB who is both bigger and quick.

EDIT: I meant to add a line about how BJGE gets a couple more yards after tackles once he gets going, but no as much on approach.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:41 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Oswlek View Post
I disagree. He only gets a couple yards if there are a couple yards to get. He was great down the stretch against Minny, but historically BJGE isn't good at all against stacked run defenses. Some of this is on the OL, of course, but Woodhead gets 3 "how the hell did he find that crease?" yards with the same blocking.

I'm not kicking the guy off the team. I just think that the offense would be worlds better with a RB who is both bigger and quick.

EDIT: I meant to add a line about how BJGE gets a couple more yards after tackles once he gets going, but no as much on approach.
Wait, do you disagree about the lack of negative plays?

That was the primary positive attribute I was talking about. Assuming that I'm correct in that assessment, I think that is a big +.

As far as Woodhead is concerned, IIRC, much of his running is done from a spread formation. As such, he doesn't see as many defenders packed in the box and so if he can squirt through that first line, there often isn't a linebacker or safety immediately filling the hole.

Am I mistaken in the formations he runs from?
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:12 PM   #159
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Wait, do you disagree about the lack of negative plays?

That was the primary positive attribute I was talking about. Assuming that I'm correct in that assessment, I think that is a big +.

As far as Woodhead is concerned, IIRC, much of his running is done from a spread formation. As such, he doesn't see as many defenders packed in the box and so if he can squirt through that first line, there often isn't a linebacker or safety immediately filling the hole.

Am I mistaken in the formations he runs from?
The lack of negative plays, IMO, goes more to the OL/TE than BJGE. When was the last time he should have been hit for a 3 yard loss and somehow worked his way back to or even past the LOS? His extra yards come after the play already started successfully.

To illustrate anecdotally, a borderline elite RB - I'm not talking surefire top caliber RB, just someone in the 2nd tier - gets the first against SD.

As for Woody, he does do the Faulk thing now, but he's had success in the I as well. He ran quite a few plays against Baltimore from that set.
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:58 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by Oswlek View Post
The lack of negative plays, IMO, goes more to the OL/TE than BJGE. When was the last time he should have been hit for a 3 yard loss and somehow worked his way back to or even past the LOS? His extra yards come after the play already started successfully.

To illustrate anecdotally, a borderline elite RB - I'm not talking surefire top caliber RB, just someone in the 2nd tier - gets the first against SD.

As for Woody, he does do the Faulk thing now, but he's had success in the I as well. He ran quite a few plays against Baltimore from that set.
I think BJE does a great job of getting positive yards. Maybe we are over impressed after suffering through so many years of Maroney dances, but I love how both these guys take what the defense gives. So while it has something to do with the OL and TEs, I think it is the attitude of these runners we like best.
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:29 PM   #161
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I think BJE does a great job of getting positive yards. Maybe we are over impressed after suffering through so many years of Maroney dances, but I love how both these guys take what the defense gives. So while it has something to do with the OL and TEs, I think it is the attitude of these runners we like best.
I'm a big fan of both guys, particularly Woody, who gives me his namesake.

But I think we'll see when Fred Taylor comes back that BJGE is a servicable guy who does his job. He is an excellent #2, but not a true #1, IMO. I want a #1.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:09 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Oswlek View Post
The lack of negative plays, IMO, goes more to the OL/TE than BJGE. When was the last time he should have been hit for a 3 yard loss and somehow worked his way back to or even past the LOS? His extra yards come after the play already started successfully.

To illustrate anecdotally, a borderline elite RB - I'm not talking surefire top caliber RB, just someone in the 2nd tier - gets the first against SD.

As for Woody, he does do the Faulk thing now, but he's had success in the I as well. He ran quite a few plays against Baltimore from that set.
How can you explain the noted profound difference in the switch from Maroney then?

Or the 2nd or 3rd in the league DVOA #'s?

The guy is legit. Not the HR hitter, but VERY solid carry after carry.

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I'm a big fan of both guys, particularly Woody, who gives me his namesake.

But I think we'll see when Fred Taylor comes back that BJGE is a servicable guy who does his job. He is an excellent #2, but not a true #1, IMO. I want a #1.
Fragile Freddie will be the #2. BJGE is the #1 for the remainder, with Freddie more than likely being the red zone guy.
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:11 AM   #163
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Plenty of reasons to be thankful this year
Wed, 11/24/2010 - 1:05am
By Jerry Thornton

There can be no doubt that Thanksgiving in the greatest holiday ever invented. There’s minimal shopping involved, no gifts, no wrapping or running around. It consists of nothing but football, drinking, eating to excess, more football and leftovers. Minus a half-dozen lingerie models, it really is the perfect day. And all the Almighty asks in exchange is that you give thanks for all you’ve been given. How easy is that? If gratitude is all that’s asked of me, I got gratitude by the truckload.

The only problem I see is that my in-laws have scheduled dinner for noon, and the Patriots-Lions game kicks off at 12:45. And I find myself living in the greatest sports town in America during the greatest time to be a sports fan in the city’s history. Which means if I try to list the things I’m thankful for at the dinner table, dinner will be colder than a Bruins Ice Girl’s shovel by the time I’m done. So if I can beg your indulgence, and because I’m sure the Creator is a regular visitor to WEEI.com, I’ll save myself and everyone in the family a lot of time and just list everything here.

In no particular order, the things for which I am most thankful:

The Pats have reloaded. It’s funny how the Anti-Patriot jihadists insist Bill Belichick has drafted badly the last few years. They’ll rattle off a carefully memorized list of the picks that didn’t work out as proof of His Hoodedness’ failings, like drafting is science or the rest of the league hasn’t had its share of JaMarcus Russells, Alex Smiths or Vernon Gholstons. But here’s what the Pats have to show for the last three drafts: Mayo, Chung, Vollmer, Tate, Gronkowski, Spikes, Hernandez, Brace and Deadrick, just for starters. And by that, I literally mean starters. On an 8-2 team. The Pats have done the impossible by NFL standards: torn the team down to the foundation and built it back up without having a down year. Incredible.

The 2010-11 Celtics. Does anyone else remember that this is the season that was never supposed to happen? In the days immediately after the gigantic kick in the testicles that was Game 7 of the NBA finals last year, it was a given that the current run of championship contention was as good as dead. Ray Allen was heading out of town to get a max contract somewhere else. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were both supposed to be checking in at retirement’s scorer’s table, with at most one or two years left in them. And Doc Rivers was all but gone. He was supposed to be moving back to Atlanta to work for TBS, watch his kid play and get going on his wife’s Honey-Do list. But miraculously, none of those things happened. Everyone’s back, they’ve added some veteran bench help, and for all intents, look like they’re a major force once again. Granted, Mrs. Rivers will have to wait a while longer on that spice rack, but that’s a sacrifice worth making.

Athlete’s sexual shenanigans. When you write for a tawdry, guy’s R-rated sports website like Barstool Sports, you’re at the mercy of the news to a certain extent. If ballplayers aren’t texting pictures of their junk around, making it rain in nudie bars or tomcattin’ around on their insanely hot wives, it makes my job tougher. Fortunately though, the world is full of wealthy, stupid, careless, reckless athletes with no moral compass, and covering them is the easiest job I’ll ever love.

Tom Brady. On a related note, I’m thankful that in a league full of quarterbacks who spend their free time sexting, harassing drunk coeds, running interstate dog fighting rings or tossing their uniforms into the stands and walking out on their teams, I’m grateful the worst thing our franchise player does is grow his hair long.

The Miami Heat.
Your average NBA season is unbearably long. Like Thanksgiving at my in-laws, but with way less passive/aggressiveness. But there’s nothing like a bitter, grudge-fueled rivalry to make regular season life worth living, and that’s exactly what Miami has given us. Winning a championship is the Celtics’ goal. Making the playoffs is the mission. But slapping the smug smile off the collective face of the insufferable Heat is a sacred quest for them; you can tell. That great, national media circle jerk that surrounded LeBron, Dwyane, and whatisname … Shemp … the other one… has given the C’s a focus and a purpose until playoff time. And like Clark Griswold’s “Jelly of the Month Club” membership, that’s a gift that keeps giving the whole year long.

Heidi Watney. I suppose this is as good a time as any to let the rest of you in on this, but you know when Heidi is doing one of those Fenway sideline reports on NESN? Well she’s looking directly at me. Sorry, fellas, but search your hearts. You know it’s true.

The Carolina Panthers. For the life of me, I don’t know how Belichick did it, but somehow the Patriots ended up with Carolina’s second-round pick in the 2011 draft. I think he might have used one of those scams that start out with you asking for two 10s for a 20, but that’s neither here nor there. The Panthers currently have the NFL’s worst record. And coach John Fox is currently weighing which failed former Division 1 Catholic school quarterback, Brian St. Pierre or Jimmy Clausen, will be throwing multiple interceptions for him this week. So as it stands, the Pats are looking at having three of the top 33 picks in the draft.

Massachusetts politicians have some sense of decency
. As much as I admire the owners of the local teams … well, the ones who’ve won titles, anyway [shoots a look at the Jacobses] … I’m glad they’re on the hook when it comes to building their own damn stadiums, unlike the way it works in other states. It’s grotesque for a government to confiscate money from wage-earners to hand it to billionaires so they can build ballparks and line their pockets even further. Even a cartoon character like Jesse Ventura, when he was running Minnesota and the Vikings came to him looking for a handout, had the sense to say, “When we build a library, we don’t charge people to get in.” Granted, our pols usually squander your tax money on something equally stupid. But I’m happy that they leave the taxpayer-funded stadia boondoggles to backwoods, podunk, jerkwater hellholes like Jacksonville, Scottsdale or New York.

The Bruins are relevant again. As recently as a couple of years ago, I subscribed to the “12,000 Hockey Fans” theory that states the only people who follow the Bruins are the ones who sit in the stands every game. But I’m convinced otherwise. I truly believe there’s a good percentage of the population that is dying for a Cup contender and thousands more ready to pink hat their way onto the bandwagon if it happens any time soon. It helps that the B’s seem to be using last year’s historic choke job as a riding crop, driving them forward instead of letting it crush them under its weight.

The Lilliputians
. Is it me, or are we in the middle of an unprecedented period of undersized superstars/folk heroes in this town? Dustin Pedroia. Wes Welker. Rajon Rondo. Kevin Faulk. Deion Branch. Danny Woodhead. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about watching diminutive athletes play at a high level that’s gratifying to a guy like myself who’s barely 5-foot-10. Woodhead’s touchdown run against Indy, with Welker and Branch blocking, had enough drama, danger, adventure and short guys for a “Lord of the Rings” deleted scene. It even had a brilliant wizard in a gray hood calling the shots. And lots of rings.

WEEI.
Go ahead and groan. Yes, I’m going to shamelessly kiss the hand that feeds me here. Among other body parts. I haven’t said this before, but being given column space every week by the major sports media outlet in the city is pretty heady stuff for a lifelong Boston fan with no background in journalism whatsoever. Plus I get invited to be on the air on a regular basis and do “Fanthropology,” a fan-in-the-street video segment. I’d be lying if I listed the things I’m giving thanks for this holiday and didn’t mention the opportunities I’m being given here.

And the best part is, 'EEI is letting me get away with the hackiest column idea in the history of writing, the “Things I’m Thankful For” Thanksgiving article. And for that, I’m truly grateful.
http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/ge...-thankful-year


Happy Thanksgiving, Jerry! Great article. I have one comment, though. After "Tom Brady", you could have written "'Nuf said" and that would have said it all. I'm kidding, of course. Or maybe not!

And we're all thrilled that you've gotten this gig with 'EEI, too!
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:06 PM   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwight Schrute View Post
How can you explain the noted profound difference in the switch from Maroney then?

Or the 2nd or 3rd in the league DVOA #'s?

The guy is legit. Not the HR hitter, but VERY solid carry after carry.

Fragile Freddie will be the #2. BJGE is the #1 for the remainder, with Freddie more than likely being the red zone guy.
I don't have to explain it. I used the same promising numbers to back LoMo for years, so BJGE's explemplary FO's rating has more to do with NE's offensive scheme and Brady than anything else.

BJGE is an integral part of the team, but I would bet dollars to donuts that, if healthy, Fred Taylor is who this team turns to in a big spot.
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:31 PM   #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oswlek View Post
I don't have to explain it. I used the same promising numbers to back LoMo for years, so BJGE's explemplary FO's rating has more to do with NE's offensive scheme and Brady than anything else.

BJGE is an integral part of the team, but I would bet dollars to donuts that, if healthy, Fred Taylor is who this team turns to in a big spot.
Maroney's weren't this high.

With the same cast of characters in front.

Not even close.
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