by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
October 9, 2009
My friend Chuck from Colorado is a lifelong Broncos fan. Before this season even began, you should have heard him complain about how Coach Josh “McEgo” McDaniels had ruined the franchise, a point of view repeated in numerous messageboards this August.
Now, of course, with Denver 4-0, Chuck and his orange-clad, oxygen-starved ilk have a different story to tell. Herewith, my concerns heading into Week Five:
Taking The Fifth: New England plays its fifth undefeated team in a row. You know what? That doesn’t matter. It’s a coincidence barely worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan film, and those are getting worse and worse.
Laurence MarOneYard: Running back Fred Taylor is out after ankle surgery, meaning that Laurence Maroney could see more snaps. Last week, Maroney had his worst performance of the year, gaining only slightly more ground than Atlantis (seven carries, six yards).
Hmm… Receiver Chad Jackson was drafted in 2006, the same year as Maroney. Jackson got two years in New England to prove his worth; Maroney’s gotten four. Will we see the straight-ahead Maroney of the 2007 playoffs this week, or Michael Jackson Maroney (The Dancing Machine)?
The Bells Are Ringing For Me And My Galloway: And not the fun, wedding-type bells, either. Joey Galloway was signed to be a deep threat opposite Randy Moss. He’s become an incompletion threat opposite the bench. Veteran receivers seem to either pick up New England’s offense right away (Jabar Gaffney) or not at all (Donald Hayes). The Patriots could use someone not named Moss to stretch the field, especially against Denver’s defense (ranked top five in three major categories).
Brandon Broncos: Last week, Raven receiver Derrick Mason had himself a great game in Baltimore’s opening drive, grabbing six passes including a touchdown. This week, Leigh Bodden, Jonathan Wilhite, Shawn Springs et al take on Bronco playmaker Brandon Marshall and similarly-named, differently-talented Brandon Stokely. Can the Pats secondary contain them?
The Outsiders: Remember when Adalius Thomas (one sack in 2009) seemed like a dynamic defender on the outside? What happened to that guy? And remember when Pierre Woods (zero sacks) looked like a viable starter, and Derrick Burgess (one sack) got signed as a pass rusher? Man, those were the days.
Email Chris Warner at email@example.com
Good to see Matthew Slater back on the field as he was the Pat’s best player on return coverage in the preseason. As his elbow gets better fans will get to see what a terrific special teams player he is becoming.
Speaking of special teams, when is Belichick going to take a chance on a return guy with potential to break a big one? Kevin Faulk is reliable but has no chance at a big gainer and, after a good effort in game one, Maroney’s kick returns are sadly resembling his runs from scrimmage. It would be nice to give the offense some field position off a kick return and it’s not going to happen with Maroney and Faulk.
I’m sure Bill B. would value my suggestions so here they are:
Punt returns….Welker is too banged up and too valuable to risk so why not give the rookie Edelman some whacks at it. He had some brilliant moments in preseason as opposed to Patrick Chung who was barely able to catch the ball.
Kick-offs….why not work out one of the several young, speedy and under-utilized players who are active for most games (Wheatley, Wilhite, Butler, Slater, Chung?). They did try Slater in preseason and he was the antithesis of Maroney, perhaps to his detriment. The way he slammed full-speed into tacklers he was an injury waiting to happen but it was exciting watching a guy hit the 20 yard-line at full speed instead of pulling up.
Wow, that Denver message board link is priceless. I wonder what those guys killing McDaniels during the first preseason game are thinking now…