Like most football fans who follow the NFL closely, I continue to consume the koolaid that makes me believe the New England Patriots are the best right now -- that was prior to the Monday Night matchup at Cincinnati -- and even moreso after the Pats thoroughly thumped/dominated/overmatched the Bengals 34-10 before a national television audience.
With Bill Belicheat's videogate scandal considered "old news" at the moment, it appears that the team of the 2000s -- with already THREE Super Bowl Titles this decade -- is poised to win it all again this season.
But earlier this morning, I went to thesportingnews.com and stumbled upon an interesting analysis piece by TSN's Vinnie Iyer, and he points out some intriguing observations that most people probably did not notice at this point of the season. As intriguing as Iyer's analysis sounds, it might just be a reach... but it is worth noting.
Please read the article, and let me know what you think.
[EDIT] I ask again, please do not post full articles from newspapers, magazines or other sources like that unless you have permission to do so. The way to handle this is to excerpt the parts you want to talk about and provide a link back to the original article. If anybody wants an explanation about why I ask this I will be happy to provide it.
Yes, the Patriots have a weakness
By Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Posted October 2, 2007
Source - http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn...
In Week 1 against the Patriots, the Jets went no-huddle to work themselves into the red zone in the first quarter. Chad Pennington then hit Laveranues Coles for a short TD strike. The same exact thing happened in the third quarter of that game.
In Week 2 against the Patriots, the Chargers also managed to score in their only two trips to the red zone, first on a short dumpoff to fullback Lorenzo Neal and second on a 12-yard bullet to tight end Antonio Gates.
In Week 3 against the Patriots, the Bills worked their way into the red zone early to get a 7-3 lead off of a run by rookie Marshawn Lynch. Last night, the Bengals' only trip to end zone was a TD pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh in -- you guessed it -- the red zone.
Yes, the Patriots are shockingly last in the league in something, allowing touchdowns on 100 percent of their opponents' red zone trips.
Of course, New York, San Diego, Buffalo and Cincinnati all had trouble moving the ball on New England on the rest of the field, but all those offenses are a bit out of sync at the moment.
So what's with this weakness? Consider that it's hard to get too creative with coverage looks and spreading out defenders in the tight space inside the 20. That means the Patriots have more one-on-one responsibilities at linebacker and defensive back.
So let's look at those six touchdowns. All but one came off passes (three to a wide receiver, one each to a fullback and a tight end), and the last one was a surprise run by Lynch on a third-and-8.
Other than super versatile outside linebacker Adalius Thomas, the Patriots have minor speed (inside linebacker) and size (cornerback, safety) concerns in their defensive back seven. Coles is simply a very quick receiver, while Gates and Houshmandzadeh are two of the game's smartest intermediate route runners. Lynch already is making his mark as just a special runner.