It’s a big matchup this week, which means a big scouting report from two of the best Patriots blogs on the net. We asked NewEnglandPatriotsBlog.net and PatriotsDaily.com to help us out with the week four battle.
Everyone is talking about Tom Brady not being himself this season, what do you think about the situation and is he returning to form?
PB: Its going to take time for Brady to come back to 2007 form. We at the Blaugh are confident in him though. He looked very good last week, even though the numbers did not say so. There were a few drop balls and miscommunications that could have lead to big gains/touchdowns. His safety blanket in the Waterbug (Wes Welker) has not been in action the last two games which hurts Brady whenever teams bring the biltz. Brady will be fine and will start putting up better numbers as the season goes on. Hell be “wicked” good.
PD: Brady’s struggles thus far can be attributed to a number of reasons. He’s still recovering from the knee surgery, and getting comfortable with it, both in moving in the pocket, and setting his feet for his throws. He’s sailed a few throws this season, which is very un-Brady-like. Also, in the third preseason game, Brady was crushed by Albert Haynesworth, who tossed him to the ground and landed heavily (can Haynesworth land any other way?) on Brady’s shoulder, which knocked him out the game. I’ve got to think the shoulder has been a little effected by that. He’s also working with new receivers in Joey Galloway and rookie Julian Edelman, who haven’t always been where they’re supposed to be when Brady looks for them. Wes Welker has missed two of the three games, and that is a huge loss, as he is Brady’s safety valve when the pressure comes. Finally, Josh McDaniels, who served as Brady’s QB coach and OC has moved on to Denver, and his replacement as QB coach Bill O’Brien, is also calling plays in the NFL for the first time, though he doesn’t have the title of OC. I think all of those things together have contributed. I think as time goes by, Brady and the offense are just going to get better, and are hopefully hitting on all cylinders for the latter part of the season.
Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
The Ravens have been number one in ESPN.com’s power rankings for the past two weeks, as a fan of a team that usually takes that slot, what do you think this means for the Ravens?
PB: Its good to be on top but that means everyone is gunning for you. I am sure that the Pats are looking at that and seeing themselves as underdogs which could be motivation and bulletin board material. That being said the Ravens are looking very good, the run game of Rice and McGahee along with the maturation of Joey Flacco gives the Ravens an offense to go along with the stud defense.
PD: It means the Ravens are a very good team. Seriously. This is the best team the Patriots have faced thus far this season, and they deserve to be ranked that high. While the defense has given up a few more yards than perhaps we’re used to, they’re still the same old Ravens and will get better and clamp down on opponents. They Baltimore offense has already impressed, Flacco is a very good young quarterback, the running game is outstanding and the receivers are a steady, veteran group. The Ravens are in it for the long haul, and I can see them hanging onto the top spot for much of the season. With the Steelers struggling early, the division is theirs for the taking.
Give me the latest on Wes Welker’s health.
PB: Today the waterbug was limited in practice but did take the field. Its been the same story throughout the last three weeks. He will be listed as questionable again. THe last two weeks everyone and thier Ma’s thought he would play after watching him in pregame warm ups but you never know with William Bilcheck.
PD: He’s got a knee injury, and it’s believed that there is swelling in the knee which is keeping him from playing. He was very close to playing against the Jets two weeks ago, and it was reported by ESPN last week that Welker would be playing against the Falcons. Well, that didn’t happen. It’s still unclear whether he will be available to play against the Ravens. He’s still listed as having “limited participation” in practice. If Welker can’t go, that’s a big blow for the Patriots this week. Having Welker there to dump the ball off to when the pass rush is coming is a big part of what the Patriots do.
How do you think Joe Flacco will matchup against the Pats defense, who held Matt Ryan to under 200 yards and no TDs?
PB: I am wacco for flacco, and yes I have him on one of my fantasy teams. He has improved vastly over the last year and instead of being someone the Ravens are hiding he has become a weapon. The Pats kept the Falcons off the field last week which landed Matty Ice with 200 yards, I see a little bit more from Joey Flacco because if they are on the field the Pats secondary is not a strong point of New ENglands Defense.
PD: I’m not sure the Patriots are going to do anything special against Flacco, but they are going to try and make him beat them. A Bill Belichick defense always tries to take away whatever the opponent does best. I think they’re going to load up against the run and make Flacco beat them through the air. That could be a nice test for the young QB. There was a Baltimore writer on sports radio here yesterday, and he said that Flacco has never really been in a game where it’s been on him to win the game with his arm. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it should be interesting to watch.
The Ravens defense allowed 24 points to the Chiefs and 26 points to the Chargers, how do you think Brady and the Pats will do this week?
PB: The Chefs have no offense but the Chargers do. I think that the Pats will try to have a balanced attack with Fred Tractor Taylor getting at least 18 rushes to alevate all the burden from Brady. If Welker is playing Brady will have a pretty big day, if not I think they will have a hard time in the air especially if the Ravens key on Randy Swagger like Moss. I see the Pats putting up around 24 points.
PD: If Brady has Welker, and if his accuracy is better, I think he’s going to throw the ball a lot. I think they know they’re going to have a harder time running the ball, and will look to throw the ball, knowing the Philip Rivers was able to have some success throwing against the Ravens. If the Ravens are coming all out at him, having Welker and Kevin Faulk to screen pass to will be a necessity. Brady and the offense had no problem moving the ball against the Falcons, and even to an extent against the Jets. The problem they had was scoring touchdowns.
Tom Brady was noticeably upset in the Pat’s red zone issues last week, do you think New England will have greater success this week?
PB: This is the number one thing that BB and Brady have been upset about during the first thre games. The drives stall in the red zone and it cant happen this week (if they want to win). I know BB is working on fixing this. Galloway is not on the same page as Brady, I actually think that Galloway is reading a different book never mind page. If Welker is in, he will be the go to guy in the Red Zone and watch out if that happens, if he doesnt look for more runs down in the red zone.
PD: That’s really the key to this game, I think. As Brady said this week, they need to score touchdowns and not field goals. I know it’s a big focus in practice this week, but in the end, they need to execute better on the field. We’re anxious to see if they’re going to be able to do this. It’s not just Brady, last week Joey Galloway and Sam Aiken both ran poor routes in the red zone, which led to drops. They need to improve as much as Brady does.