a blog by La Kifo
Not much to say about the Patriots wins, over the past couple of weeks. There was the dismantling of the Browns in Cleveland, and most recently was a typical Gillette Stadium beat down on the little brother of the AFC, the Bengals.
When it came to Cleveland, I only had one question and it had to do with Gronk. Was the Hamstring still bothering him, why didn't we see him in the full groove of things? I think if we rewatched the game, that question might go away. Gronk made at least two big plays in Cleveland a couple weeks back, including one catch and run that almost ended with #87 plowing his way through the entire Browns defense en route to the endzone. Gronk didn't find the endzone that game, and has only scored once this season.
If that question still stood by kickoff time in New England last Sunday, it was answered by the offensive clinic Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots offense displayed to the roaring home faithful. The offense did more than plug the synapses creating questions about them, against the Bengals. The offense, for the most part, no longer concerns me. They overwhelming eclipsed the struggles of the defense and cast into obscurity any noticeable chinks in the armor.
What was, and has been huge in the opening third of the season is the home crowd noise. For some time, Gillette has been a restrained cult-like church. The sons and daughters of this faith subdued under the guise of dominance. There hasn't been much to yell about here in Foxborough. But now that the savoir has died for our sins, it seems a beast, once thought extinct for centuries in the grand forests of New England has awoken, Crowd Noise.
Keep the noise coming, we need it and want it because the fan element makes everything about sports better.
As I was saying before, the offense masked an overarching issue. One that I was convinced would be a thing of the past but as I sit here today it looks like the Patriots defense has turned back to its old form. The bend, don't break looks to be alive and well at 1 Patriots Place. The New England Patriots rank 27th in 3rd Down Defense, not to get too confusing but they rank 2nd in points allowed. Those are two somewhat contradicting statistics, maybe more counter-intuitive than contradictive but I don't even know the difference. They also rank 15th in Turnovers per game, which indicates the type of defense this is. They are not aggressive, I can't tell you the percentage of Zone Coverage plays versus Man Coverage but I would bet it's around 75% Zone to 25% Man. Then If you can remember the amount of times they sent blitz pressure, you would say, "Oh yeah, they don't blitz either". The Patriots probably blitz 3% of the time, they also probably have blitzed 1% of the time on third down. The point is, this defense is overrated, injured, or under-performing. QBs like Cody Kessler, and Ryan Tannenhill have mucked up the Patriots secondary. As it stands right now, the Patriots defense will most likely struggle once they get to the playoffs. Every non-Super Bowl winning season for this franchise could probably boil all the way down to the mediocre roster/talent of the defense. This year, the Patriots have as much talent in the 11 defensive starters, as they ever had.
What's the problem?
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