by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
After a game where the Patriots did just about everything well, time to look across the field to hand out the infamous PD Lap (it is still the season of giving, after all). In light of New England’s 35-7 pasting of Jacksonville, we point our finger at Coach Jack Del Rio.
You ask for reasons, we offer the following:
A lame press conference: Reading Del Rio’s words after the loss, we see a coach using the deflection-by-attention approach. Basically, he said that quarterback David Garrard had a rough game, but he shouldn’t take the blame. Plenty of blame to go around – the coaches included – even though, “That’s an easy target for people, to want to throw David under the bus.”
We get it, Coach Jack. You’ll take the blame, even though your QB pretty much stunk.
The fourth down call: Hey, we love going for it on fourth down here in New England (especially the incessant discussion afterward). Still, to try a fourth down conversion from your own 35 on your first possession of the game didn’t make a lot of sense. Your defense had just stopped the home team on the goal line (thanks, Laurence Maroney). Punt the ball away and try to keep the scoreless tie.
The play itself had about as much chance as a house of cards in an avalanche (see the video here), as Maurice Jones-Drew got hit three yards behind the line of scrimmage before getting hogtied by James Sanders. Why no QB sneak? Garrard said that the defense would have been expecting that, so the coaches made a different call.
Sure. A different call up the middle, just slower to develop. Great.
The lack of preparation: After the Patriots’ success with the cocktail party formation in Buffalo (several linebackers milling around the line of scrimmage), you’d think Jacksonville would have had some basic pass-blocking schemes prepped for it. Instead, Garrard found himself under more pressure than a shaken can of soda, as evidenced by this sack by a stand-up D.
Also under-prepared? The Jaguars defense. If you’re going to employ behemoths on your defensive line who provide the lamest pass-rushing in the league (14 sacks and, uh, counting), you’ve got to stop the run. Instead, New England racked up a season-best 197 yards via terra. Hey Coach? When guard Dan Connolly lines up at fullback, it’s probably going up the middle.
The Jaguars look like they have the promise of a better-than-average team. On Sunday their coach couldn’t deliver on that promise. For Jacksonville’s poor performance, Coach Del Rio, PD asks you to take a lap.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org