Patriots give up on covering opponents best receiver

Nothing makes Bill Belichick happier than taking away the other teams best player and making them beat you with someone else. In the Falcons game Talib shut down Julio Jones. In the Saints game it was Jimmy Graham. In the Broncos game it was Peyton Manning. Belichick does this week in and week out, and he successfully did it this week.

Belichick focused his defense on running back Adrian Foster, and held Foster to no touches for no yards and no touchdowns. But Bill seemingly forgot that a) Foster is injured and b) Andre Johnson is a really really fucking good receiver.
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Johnson ended the game with 8 receptions and 121 yards and while he didn’t score a touchdown, almost every reception he had was a big play. That is not shutting down the other teams best player. Not in the slightest.

The Patriots seemed to be running a zone for most of the game, which would lead to cornerbacks passing off Johnson to linebackers or just huge holes due to miscommunication.

In the first drive, Johnson cut across the field and got behind the defender and caught a 29 strike from Keenum. Do you know who that defender was? Brandon Spikes. Spikes can’t cover a goddamn lineman, let alone one of the best receivers in the NFL. In other drives, corners wouldn't communicate and leave gaps in the zone where any decent receiver could just sit in and get the ball for a big gain.

What happened to playing man defense, lining up Talib across from Johnson and just shutting him down? Instead Belichick threw zone after zone at the Texans and Keenum was able to sit back and hit Johnson all day for big plays.

What worries me about this is that maybe Talib is not as healthy as we think, and playing zone helped mask that since Talib wasn’t directly responsible for Johnson. Obviously injuries have been hurting the secondary and a zone is not the worst idea to play when your second best corner is out and your best corner is recovering from injury. But injuries are just an excuse and even in a zone, the zone can be focused on one receiver and for some reason that person was not Andre Johnson.

Also, since we are talking about the cornerback group, Kyle Arrington, quick question, what the holy hell were you looking at on that pass to DeAndre Hopkins?
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Seriously! This has happened way way way too often to Arrington to justify keeping him on the outside. I understand that McCourty also messed up big time and needed to stay back since he was the only safety, but Arrington had great coverage on Hopkins, then just slows down. What was that!?

I don’t know how or why, but it seems every game he will give up a big play in coverage. With Logan Ryan starting to emerge as a strong corner, I would hope that Bill makes the change and starts Ryan on the outside and keeps Arrington in the slot. I like Arrington in the slot, just not outside.

Thats my rant. Here’s to hoping that we can figure out these problems asap since the playoffs are coming, and I personally would like to make it very deep into them.

- Pete Rogers