Hey Bolts fans,
this is MaPatsFan, blogger at Pats Pulpit. Instead of the "5 Questions with..." thing, we're doing these Q&A's that seem to work a lot better. So, enough of the introduction stuff; I'll lay down a brief overview of where the Pats are today and open the floor up to the Chargers faithful.
I'm stating the obvious when I say a Brady-less offense scares the hell out of me. He's been an ironman for us for the better part of 8 years and now he's down. 4 year backup Matt Cassel has stepped in and is doing a serviceable job, almost mirroring Brady's ascent after Drew Bledsoe went down in 2001. He doesn't, as of yet, have the game management skills as his mentor, but he's getting better, in my estimation. In particular, he seems to be making better reads with his receivers, throwing to the right man. He's struggled to develop a relationship with Moss, but the bye week before San Francisco proved to be well timed. A 66 yard bomb to Randy has helped to build confidence.
The running game needs some work, but not for lack of trying. Our main guy, Laurence Maroney, appears to be off to a slow start, bouncing off the line too much. Sammy Morris, Laurence's backup, is having a better go of it with Kevin Faulk doing his usual great job as our third down back. My favorite, LaMont Jordan, was hurt against San Francisco and may not see action this coming Sunday. At 5-10 230lbs, he's a bull and can blast through lines, so I'm concerned he's not there.
The offensive line is allowing too much pressure on Cassel; 5 sacks against San Fran was ridiculous. Specifically, right guard Billy Yates appears to be struggling.
The 38-13 trouncing by Miami proved it's not Cassel. Sure, he could've let the offense to more points, but the defense allowed 38 points. The now infamous Wildcat (Ronnie Brown lining up to take the snap) bit us hard for 4 touchdowns. In my mind, the defense was playing soft, especially the corners, up to the 49ers' game. I saw better things, but we still let Isaac Bruce get some key grabs for 2 TDs.
Normally a traditional 3-4 team, the Pats are employing a variation of the dime package - 1 downed lineman, 4 LBs and 6 DBs makes up the defense and they're calling it a "speed package". It's particularly useful in obvious passing situations, so we'll see how it goes.
San Francisco's dangerous RB, Frank Gore, was held to 54 yards in 16 touches, a 3.3 yard average, and no TDs. LT is a different beast altogether, so I'm curious to see how that pans out.
Ok, enough of that. Fire away, gang. I'll check back often leading up to the game and answer your questions. I'm looking forward to some cool interaction from fans of 2 great AFC teams.