Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Patriots have become the Yankees

Everybody hates 'em.

The Eagles showed the three things you have to do to compete with the Pats, and the Ravens did them even better:

  1. Use holding and take-downs to blunt the New England pass rush.
  2. Hold New England receivers on every down.
  3. Put immediate pressure on Tom Brady. Forget delayed blitzes. Double-overload one side to get a speed guy one-on-one with an offensive lineman.
One and two are about daring the zebras to throw their flags. Sure, there's holding on every play in the NFL, but this is a whole other level of clutch and grab. Get as much incidental contact as you can downfield. Grab jersey whenever you can screen the ref with your body.

To all the Raven DBs who think they got jobbed: Your coaches prepped you all week with a game plan that told you to hold. Now you object to being called for it?

What's Belichick, the evil genius, going to do about it? Well, he's good with video; maybe he'll put together a film about all the fingernail marks on his players. But he'll also adjust on both sides of the ball. More tight end plays, more passes to running backs, more pass routes that will expose holding. On defense, stunts and blitzes and more holding by the Pats themselves. Oh, and all the many things he knows that no one else knows.

Undefeated, though? I don't know about that.

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