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Patriots: Will RB Dillon Make The Offense Run-Oriented?

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  • Patriots: Will RB Dillon Make The Offense Run-Oriented?

    Will the addition of Dillon make the Pats offense more run-oriented?
    Charlie Weis' game plan isn't going to change. Weis is a master of dazzling defenses with his quick-passing offense. The strength of the offense will always be Tom Brady, a 60-percent passer who plays bigger in the big games. But Dillon adds two dimensions to the offense. For one, he's a big back who can break away and dominate a game. Antowain Smith got his 16 or 17 carries, but only once averaged 4.0 yards a carry in his past four seasons. Only twice has Dillon not averaged more than four yards per carry. You can see how this should work. For three quarters, Weis will mix the pass and the run to try to get a lead. Then, in the fourth quarter, they will unleash Dillon, who can dominate plus have fresh legs. He will almost be like a closer in baseball. But Weis isn't stupid. He'll know the teams that aren't strong enough to consistently match up against Dillon's powerful running style. In those games, he'll lean more to the run. Dillon should end up being one of the five most important acquisitions of the offseason because he gives the Patriots a 1,300-yard runner to an offense that counts on 220-yards a game passing.

    John Clayton,

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  • laram0
    by laram0
    I hate the Patriots with a passion and when I saw this game on the schedule I almost threw up. Thinking that the outcome of this game was going to be real ugly for us. Then having to deal with all the Patriots fans around here. UGH!!!!

    Well the Patriots aren't as good as expected. At least not yet. Their offense is better than average but their defense is worse than average. I really feel like we have a shot to win this game. The key is our front 4 on defense. The Giants have shown the entire NFL the key to beating the Patriots and slowing down their offense is pressure on Tom Brady. Brady is like a surgeon in the pocket but as soon as he has to move his feet his surgical skills drop tremendously. Their secondary is probably the worst in the NFL. This past Sunday they managed to make Mark Sanchez look like an ALL-PRO.

    With that said and our RAMS looking better than I expected. (Kudo's to Jeff Fisher)
    I really feel like we can win this game.

    GO RAMS!!!
    -10-22-2012, 01:32 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Thomas: Rams Must Choose Their Poison vs. Pats
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams must choose their poison vs. Pats

    13 hours ago • BY JIM THOMAS

    LONDON • A future Hall of Famer at quarterback and multiple weapons at the skill positions. Sound familiar? It should.

    For the second week in a row, that's the challenge facing the young Rams defensive unit.

    "It's very similar in the fact that you've got two very prolific offenses that run right through the quarterback," said Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis. "But they also have different modus operandi in the way they work."

    Last week, it was Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' receiver corps. This week, it's New England QB Tom Brady and the Patriots' posse of skill-position players.

    "The (multiple) weapons are similar," linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "I think with Aaron, you're worried about him improvising; it's really hard to disrupt that. With Tom, you worry about he's so smart. So if you don't do a good job disguising and making things look all the same, he's gonna tear you apart."

    Rodgers obviously is more mobile than Brady, and can gain first downs or at least keep plays alive with his legs. Brady has some escapability, but no one will confuse him for a scrambler.

    "He's not the fastest guy in the world, we know that," Laurinaitis said. "If you make him move around and be uncomfortable, you've got a better chance."

    If you don't? Well, best of luck.

    "Everybody knows how Tom is as passer," defensive end Chris Long said. "And we'll just to deal with that."

    This year that translates into a completion percentage of 65.3, plus 2,104 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

    While Mr. Rodgers' neighborhood contains more deep threats, the Brady bunch relies much more on tight ends. Fortunately for the Rams, one-half of the Patriots' two-headed monster there — Aaron Hernandez — has been ruled out of Sunday's game becausse of continuing ankle problems.

    The fact that Brady has "only" 12 TD passes this season, a low total for him, hints at another way the Patriots' M.O. is different than Green Bay.

    "They can run the football," cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. "Green Bay just did it for the window dressing. New England can really run the football, which sets up play-action for them as a team."

    Many of the best Patriots teams under coach Bill Belichick were tilted heavily to the passing game. Not this group. New England runs the ball effectively and runs it often.

    The Patriots rank fifth in the NFL in rushing offense and have scored 10 rushing touchdowns, third-best in the league. In addition, they have 248 carries, which ties them with Houston for most rushing attempts.

    -10-27-2012, 12:23 PM
  • RamWraith
    Rams-Patriots: The Breakdown
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    When the Rams run the ball

    Don't be confused by those early rushing yards the Patriots gave up against Denver. For strategic reasons, the Patriots lined up in their nickel package when the Broncos came out in sets with two wide receivers and two tight ends. They were willing to give up rushing yards in order to limit Broncos tight ends in the passing game. New England's sturdy front seven, which includes five Pro Bowlers, remains tough to beat with conventional running games. The group is fundamentally sound, tackles well and has good gap discipline. Miami had success with an unbalanced line against the Patriots; don't be surprised if the Rams go that way on some carries.

    EDGE: Patriots

    * * * * * * *

    When the Patriots run the ball

    With Sammy Morris (knee) and Lamont Jordon (calf) expected to be sidelined Sunday, the Patriots will use a running-back-by-committee of Kevin Faulk, rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Heath Evans. Evans (6-0, 250) is a fullback by trade, but has 151 NFL carries, had 149 carries in college at Auburn, and could be used Sunday in some one-back sets. Faulk is the team's best pass protector and remains a productive third-down back at age 32. But he hasn't had more than 13 carries in a game since 2003. Green-Ellis was promoted from the practice squad two weeks ago and gained 65 yards on 13 carries against Denver.

    EDGE: Rams

    * * * * * * *

    When the Rams pass the ball

    The Patriots normally don't blitz much, but if they see or sense a weakness, they can adjust accordingly. It's the Bill Belichick way. The New England secondary obviously misses cornerback Asante Samuel, who signed a big-money deal with Philadelphia in free agency. The unit has had its ups and downs and has been vulnerable to the big play at times. (Donnie Avery, that's your cue.) The Patriots frequently scheme to protect their secondary. But with or without Steven Jackson, if the Rams can establish any kind of running game to keep New England honest, they should have some opportunities in the passing game.


    * * * * * * *

    When the Patriots pass the ball

    The key for St. Louis will be to force neophyte quarterback Matt Cassell into predictable passing situations. Because when he has to throw downfield, the sacks pile up. Last season with Tom Brady at quarterback, the Patriots yielded only 21 sacks. They've already given 26 in six games this season. Even so, the left side of the Patriots' offensive line remains formidable: Left tackle Matt Light, left guard Logan Mankins and center Dan Koppen are all Pro Bowlers. There could be pass-rush opportunities on the right side, however, where Rams castoff Mark LeVoir is expected to start again for the injured Nick Kaczur. LeVoir figures to need some help against...
    -10-26-2008, 06:15 AM
  • RamWraith
    ESPN Insider: Rams @ Patriots
    by RamWraith
    Insider Preview: Rams at Patriots
    ESPN Scouts Inc.

    St. Louis at New England
    Scouts Inc. Position Advantages:

    QB- StL
    RB- StL
    WR- NE
    OL- NE
    DL- NE
    LB- NE
    DB- NE
    ST- NE
    Coach- NE

    With interim coach Jim Haslett shaking things up in St. Louis, the Rams have been a different team. Meantime, Bill Belichick and his staff did a nice job of getting the Patriots back on track with a huge win over Denver last week. The Rams are flying around and playing with confidence, and the Pats seem revived by their efforts against the Broncos. With a difficult road win, St. Louis improbably has a chance to jump back into the NFC West race. New England needs this game to stay within striking distance of Buffalo in the AFC East.

    When St. Louis has the ball

    The Rams' offense ranks next to last in total yards, but it has shown drastic improvement since Haslett took over. Coordinator Al Saunders wants a hard-nosed ground game to set up a high-percentage passing attack. RB Steven Jackson has one of the best combinations of size, strength and athleticism among NFL running backs, and he is equally capable as a downhill power runner or using his speed and burst to press the edge.

    The Patriots' 3-4 defense has been inconsistent against the run, and a season-ending injury to SS Rodney Harrison (quadriceps) will make the challenge of containing Jackson even more difficult. QB Marc Bulger is coming off of arguably his best -- and certainly most efficient -- outing, and he is a capable passer to all levels of the field. Jackson is a big part of the Rams' passing game (screens, swing patterns and option routes), and the dwindling Patriots pass rush may give St. Louis a chance to create more plays for its perimeter targets (WRs Torry Holt and Donnie Avery) downfield.

    When New England has the ball

    The Patriots' offense came alive last week (41 points, 404 yards), as previously struggling QB Matt Cassel turned in a career-best performance. Despite being shorthanded in the backfield, New England rolled up 257 rushing yards at an impressive 6.8 yards-per-carry clip. Coordinator Josh McDaniels likely will try to establish the ground game early, but he may need to open up the playbook if the Rams' defense overplays the run. Cassel has excellent targets in WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker, TE Ben Watson and RB Kevin Faulk.

    St. Louis will want to force the game into Cassel's hands, but the Rams' 4-3 defense has had all kinds of trouble stopping the run this season. Haslett may decide to frequently align eight men in the box and crowd the Pats' perimeter receivers to make it tough for Cassel to complete high-percentage passes. Expect a variety of zone blitzes, interior stunts and combination coverages from the Rams in an effort to derail New England's running attack.

    Matchup to watch:...
    -10-23-2008, 02:39 PM
  • RamDez
    Pats try to avoid another collapse (pats press)
    by RamDez

    The Patriot Ledger

    You might recall the last time the New England Patriots tangled with the St. Louis Rams.

    OK, who are we kidding? The images of Super Bowl XXXVI are seared into your memory - Ty Law returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown; David Patten elevating in the end zone for a TD catch just before halftime; and Adam Vinatieri splitting the uprights at the final gun.

    Since the winners get to write history, what often gets overlooked from that 20-17 victory is the fourth quarter, when the Patriots nearly staged the greatest choke job in Super Bowl history by blowing a 17-3 lead.

    St. Louis' ‘‘Greatest Show on Turf'' offense, dormant for the first 45 minutes, erupted late. Partly that was because it was tough to keep Kurt Warner and company down for too long. Partly it was because the Patriots' offense went AWOL in the second half, leaving the tiring New England defense no time to catch its breath.

    Nearly three years have come and gone between that game and Sunday's belated ‘‘rematch'' at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis (4:15 p.m., Ch. 4). There is one carryover, though - should the Patriots' defenders' tongues be dragging on the carpet again, disaster will likely follow.

    As you no doubt have heard, the Patriots' secondary is in shambles with starting cornerbacks Ty Law (broken foot) and Tyrone Poole (knee) sidelined. That puts a high priority on limiting the exposure of their backups (some combination of Asante Samuel, Randall Gay and Eugene Wilson) to the Rams' high-octane offense.

    The Patriots' offense could be a huge help there, but only if it doesn't duplicate last week's effort in Pittsburgh when Tom Brady's guys held the ball for just 17 minutes, committed four turnovers, and - in a decisive four-possession stretch in the first half - ran only eight plays, none of which generated a first down.

    The Patriots' B team defensive backs can't give up any big plays if they're lounging on the sidelines, so hogging the ball instead of handing it right back to the Rams becomes imperative.

    ‘‘We are going to do everything we can to try to give our defense some help in terms of trying to stay on the field,'' vowed Brady, who accounted for three turnovers (two INTs and a fumble) in the 34-20 loss to the Steelers that snapped the Patriots' record 21-game winning streak. ‘‘... You don't want to go three-and-out and turn the ball over against (the Rams). You want to be able to control the clock.''

    That sounds like a plea for Corey Dillon to get healthy. The Patriots' leading rusher, who sat out the Pittsburgh loss with a thigh injury, could be the New England secondary's best friend on Sunday, especially with No. 1 receiver David Givens (knee/questionable) joining the usual WR suspects (Deion Branch and Troy Brown) on the injury report.

    In the good news department,...
    -11-07-2004, 04:03 AM