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11-11-2010, 11:01 PM
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View From The Press Box
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Another view
November 11th, 2010

Matt Boutwell, who covers the Patriots, is a radio co-host for Big Jab 96.3 in Portland, ME and the publisher of the “Maine Sports Network” website.

He recently took time to answer three questions about the Patriots and provided really good insight on the team that has been a nemesis of the Steelers.

Q: The Patriots have little star power aside from quarterback Tom Brady yet they continue to win and be among the best teams in the NFL. How are they doing it?

A: "There are times where I wonder if it’s smoke and mirrors or if they finally have a group of guys who have bought into the concept of team, much like the 2001 Patriots.

"If you look at the personnel they have jettisoned over the past year (Adalius Thomas, Shawn Springs, Derrick Burgess, Laurence Maroney, and Randy Moss) they seem to have gone back to the BCD-Era (Before Corey Dillon) trying to rebuild the team with young talent like Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Brandon Spikes, and Jermaine Cunningham, while keeping possible negative influences away from them.

"Talent-wise, this team probably isn’t in the top 10 of the league when compared to other NFL teams, but they somehow put it together each week (Cleveland game excluded, of course)."

Q: Was the loss in Cleveland an aberration or did it expose any glaring weaknesses that the Patriots have?

A: "The hope is that it’s an aberration, but it did expose the Patriots’ two biggest issues: stopping teams on third down and inexperience on offense. The Patriots are last in the league in third-down defense, allowing the hapless Browns to convert on 7 of 13 attempts last week (plus the horrible fourth-down conversion where Eric Mangini played the Pats defense like Charlie Daniels plays a fiddle).

"On the youth side of things, rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski should have received a paycheck from the Browns for all of the help he gave them last week, misplaying a kickoff, dropping passes, running the wrong route on a couple of occasions, and fumbling near the goal-line at the end of the first half.

"When Randy Moss was shuttled out of town, the belief was that the young tight ends, Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, could pick up some of the slack, but if Gronkowski doesn’t bounce back from the worst performance of his young pro career, this offense could struggle against the defense of the Steelers."

Q: The Patriots win Sunday night if...

A: " They avoid turning the ball over and if they come out with an aggressive offensive game-plan. Play-caller Bill O’Brien would be wise to pick up the tempo on offense by utilizing the no-huddle, which Tom Brady has been successful with this season.

"It would also be helpful for the Patriots’ defense to force some turnovers of their own, or at least not let Ben Roethlisberger convert over 50 percent of his third-down chances."
Filed under: Steelers Comment (0)

11-12-2010, 02:31 AM
i'd agree w/most of that and i think an aggressive offense plan is critically important. Look for Brady to throw a TON of 7/8 yard slant and outside throws. The Steelers must stop that early and if they do, it will be a good night. If Brady succeeds on this, its going to be a long night for Pittsburgh.
I'm sure they're preparing best they can as they know, i know, and you know that it's going to be pass, pass, pass, and more pass.