Chris Wesseling

The Morning After

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Green Bay's Brass Ring

Monday, December 12, 2011


Belichick on Football

One of the small joys of working the Friday morning news shift is seeing the tweets from Patriots beat writers @RapSheet, @shalisemyoung, @MikeReiss, and @jeffphowe as Bill Belichick takes the scowl off his face and raps with the local media on the state of his team and the finer points of the game. Last Friday’s bull session was perhaps the most illuminating of the year.


Via the Boston Herald, Belichick on experimenting with offensive players such as Troy Brown, Julian Edelman, or Matt Slater on defense:

“At whatever point a coach takes a player from offense and puts him on defense, there is usually a reason for that. I would say the reason usually is that he’s not enough of a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. What coach is going to take your best playmaker and put him on defense?  You just wouldn’t do that, all the things being equal. If the guy can’t catch but he’s a good athlete or he’s everything but he doesn’t have great hands, at some point you get a receiver who is a better pass catcher and you put this guy over on defense.”

Belichick on defensive players deluded themselves into thinking they could help on offense:

“I tell the defensive players all the time, ‘Don’t kid yourself. If you were a big enough playmaker, you would have stayed on offense. Either at the high school or the college level they would have put you out there and you’d be out there having 100 yard receiving game or 150 yard rushing games. You’d be doing that. Don’t kid yourself.’ It’s like the defensive specialist in basketball, if you were that good of a shooter, you’d be the point guard but you’re not so start covering these guys or we’ll get somebody else in there.”

Belichick, a former Amherst center, on offensive linemen:

“You have a good football player, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s smart, he uses his hands well, he has good power he has good balance but he doesn’t run well, what do you do with him? You make him an offensive linemen. That’s his last stop. I tell the offensive linemen that too – ‘If you could run, you’d be on defense.’ Why are you on offense? Because you don’t run well enough to play on defense.”

Committee Report

Packers - Ryan Grant (11 touches, 98 yards, 2 TDs) / John Kuhn (10 carries, 46 yards) / Brandon Saine (3 touches, 21 yards)

Where was this the past two months? Grant broke a tackle and went 47 yards to the house on the Packers' first play from scrimmage. It was the longest Green Bay run of the season, and Grant's first over 10 yards in 67 carries and nine weeks. Although he was awfully slow to turn the corner, Grant was able to stick his foot in the ground and get downhill between the tackles. He started and played as the lead back for as long as Rodgers remained in the game. The majority of Kuhn’s work came in garbage time, as the Packers jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead. Saine played as Grant’s change-of-pace before exiting with a concussion in the second quarter. With James Starks’ (ankle) status up in the air for Week 15, Grant could be a low-end RB2 option at Kansas City.

Giants - Brandon Jacobs (19 carries, 101 yards, 2 TDs) / Ahmad Bradshaw (9 touches, 19 yards)

Jacobs produced his first 100-yard performance in a full year thanks to Bradshaw’s first-half benching for a violation of team rules. Jacobs ran wild in the first half with 62 yards on 13 carries, but rotated evenly with Bradshaw in the second half. Although Bradshaw looked better than his numbers would suggest, he and Jacobs are both in RB2/flex territory for Week 15 versus the Redskins.

Panthers - DeAngelo Williams (8 touches, 78 yards, TD) / Jonathan Stewart (12 touches, 56 yards)

It was Williams’ turn to outproduce Stewart, thanks to a 74-yard touchdown run -- the longest by more than 40 yards against Atlanta this season. Outside of that run, it was all Stewart, who led the team with nine targets in the passing game. Both backs are mere flex plays against the Texans’ league-leading defense in  Week 15. If forced to choose between the two, we’re still going with Stewart. He’s the better talent and sees more touches of late.

Saints - Chris Ivory (13 carries, 53 yards) / Darren Sproles (12 touches, 91 yards) / Pierre Thomas (12 touches, 57 yards)

Just as he did as a rookie, Ivory ran with power while filling in for Mark Ingram on obvious running downs. Ivory’s Week 15 role depends on Ingram’s availability. Thomas rotated with Ivory on early downs but came off the field in short-yardage situations. Sproles continued his role as the primary passing-down back, now averaging 5.7 catches and 44.6 yards per game on the season.

Lions - Keiland Williams (14 touches, 60 yards) / Maurice Morris (5 touches, 16 yards)

Morris barely saw the field after a second-quarter chest injury seemed to affect his ball-carrying arm. Williams took over as the feature back the rest of the way, but showed no explosion or burst while getting no more than what was blocked. Kevin Smith (ankle) has a good chance to return in Week 15 at Oakland, which would leave the pedestrian combo of Morris and Williams without value.

Colts - Donald Brown (10 touches, 22 yards ) / Delone Carter (5 carries, 6 yards) / Joseph Addai (2 carries, 16 yards)

Brown started over the veteran Addai for the first time this season, with Carter mixed in as a change-of-pace option. Expect Brown to continue to see the majority of the playing time down the stretch. He’s not only been Indy’s most effective back, but he also has a better chance of returning in 2012 than Addai does in a potential rebuilding season. Carter has shown nothing of late.

Patriots - Danny Woodhead (9 touches, 45 yards) / BenJarvus Green-Ellis (5 carries, 19 yards) / Kevin Faulk (4 touches, 12 yards)

The Pats went with a pass-heavy approach, leaving Woodhead as the primary back. As always, Bill Belichick’s backfield depends on game plan, matchups and momentum, leaving all Patriots backs as high-risk fantasy plays. Green-Ellis remains the most valuable of the bunch as he scores the majority of the touchdowns.

Chiefs - Jackie Battle (12 touches, 59 yards) / Thomas Jones (5 carries, 12 yards) / Dexter McCluster (4 carries, 1 yard)

Battle produced his best game in over a month only because the Jets sat back in zone coverage while protecting a prohibitive lead in the second half. Jones’ role was scaled back once the Chiefs went into comeback mode. McCluster’s Week 14 breakout game was a fluke -- as expected.

Injury Ward

Matt Hasselbeck, Titans - Calf
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals - Concussion
Matt Moore, Dolphins - Concussion
Josh Freeman, Bucs - Shoulder
DeMarco Murray, Cowboys - Broken Ankle
Maurice Morris, Lions - Chest
Brandon Saine, Packers - Concussion
Javon Ringer, Titans - Finger
Greg Jennings, Packers - MCL Sprain
Stevie Johnson, Bills - Hand
Jeremy Maclin, Eagles - Hamstring
Deion Branch, Patriots - Groin
Mike Thomas, Jaguars - Concussion
Jimmy Graham, Saints - Back
Jim Leonhard, Jets - Knee

Check out Matt Stroup’s
 “DeMarco Deleted” for in-depth analysis of Sunday’s M*A*S*H unit fallout.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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