Patriots working to beat man coverage

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In an effort to get past the Patriots, who are closing in on matching Pittsburgh’s six Super Bowl wins, the Steelers are planning to play more man-to-man coverage against the New England offense. And the Patriots are planning to try to beat man-to-man coverage more efficiently in 2017.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald explains the effort to perform more effectively man coverage, which gave the Patriots fits (relatively speaking) when implemented by the Texans and Falcons during the 2016 postseason.

For starters, tight end Rob Gronkowski is back. And if he stays healthy, man-to-man coverage won’t work against him, unless at least two men are assigned to cover Gronk. The Patriots have been working beyond their best tight end to add players who can get back man-to-man coverage.

“I think we have a lot of players now that are good at working against man coverage,” receiver Danny Amendola said recently, per Guregian. “We’re getting a lot of work in now, working against man-coverage. I can’t speak on the past, but we have a lot of good guys. I think we have a lot of good guys who work well against zone, or man. We have some good combinations to beat [those coverages], and we’re working every day to beat them.”

It’s part of the chess match that unfolds in a game often premised on brute force. The Steelers, who saw the talent gap between themselves and the Patriots expand during the offseason, need to have a strategy for slowing them down defensively, and outscoring them offensively.

The reunion comes on December 17, when the Patriots visit Pittsburgh — and when the Steelers have a chance to improve their record against Tom Brady to 3-10. Then comes a potential rematch in the playoffs, where the Brady-Belichick Patriots are 3-0 against Pittsburgh.

43 responses to “Patriots working to beat man coverage

  1. Every offense would struggle against a team that can play man coverage effectively so I’m not sure how this is relevant. The biggest thing they did to beat man coverage was add cooks. If Gronk stays healthy, and that’s a big if, no team will be able to play man againt them. No defense has 3 corners to cover cooks hogan and Julian while also having the LB and safety’s to cover Gronk and white. The patriots didn’t get a TD in the 1st half but it’s not like they couldn’t move the ball against Atlanta. Blounts fumble and Brady’s pick both came inside the 30 of Atlanta and it’s not like Atlanta wasn’t playing that same man coverage in the 2nd half.

  2. “…when the Steelers have a chance to improve their record against Tom Brady to 3-10”

    This amuses me.

  3. The defense the Falcons used on the Patriots was effective for a half until they were gassed and that man to man defense with an effective pass rush. It’s no secret and that has been used against the Patriots effectively by NY Giants, Denver, and Atlanta. Of course, if you add in a healthy Gronk (wasn’t healthy in his SB against NY) and Cooks, then it becomes impossible. On the other side of the ball, the addition of Gilmore help particularly against Oakland and Pittsburgh and they are both on the Pats schedule.

  4. It comes down to health.

    Two years ago we lost Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski down the stretch and had to play with Chris Harper, Brandon LaFell, and Keshawn Martin. Gronk was back for playoffs, but it wasn’t enough to create offense against the Broncos.

    I still think the Broncos/Raiders and not the Steelers are the teams to watch out for.

  5. .
    The Patriots have not had a deep threat like Brandin Cooks since Randy Moss was in uniform. He’s going to require an opponent devote a CB and safety help over the top on every down. That will put Gronk, Edelman et al in true one on ones underneath. Often times a mismatch will result and opportunities for big yac plays can present themselves.
    .

  6. Until the Steelers get a coach they respect, they’ll never beat NE.

    AB clowned Trippin’ Tomlin with that locker room video.

    Bell tossed Trip under the bus when he repeatedly told the media that the Steelers knew how bad his injury was before the AFCCG. To date, Goodell is still “looking into” this serious violation.

    Big Ben was so frustrated by Tomlin’s inability to make in-game adjustments and compete with Belichick, that he threatened to simply walk away from football.

  7. You can’t play man to man against that team.

    Hogan and Cooks will beat them deep.
    Gronk will kill them in the middle.
    The backs will kill them out of the back field.

    Yeah, maybe teams slow down Amendola and Edelman while they give up 45 points each week.

  8. They should be called for an illegal pick on about 80% of their offensive plays. But as Bill once said keep doing it. They can’t call it on every play. Of course that was holding Indy’s recievers in the AFC playoffs several years ago. Same rules apply though.

  9. micronin127 says:
    Jun 11, 2017 10:49 AM
    It comes down to health.

    Two years ago we lost Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski down the stretch and had to play with Chris Harper, Brandon LaFell, and Keshawn Martin. Gronk was back for playoffs, but it wasn’t enough to create offense against the Broncos.

    I still think the Broncos/Raiders and not the Steelers are the teams to watch out for.

    ————–

    Denver no, but Raiders absolutely.

  10. Tom Brady has done it with very modest talent around him but now Bill is giving him genuine weapons with superior skills. Time to go for the undefeated season and yet another Super Bowl ring.

  11. This whole thread is silly. Losing the regular season game against the Patriots is the least of the Steelers worries. That game would be a 50-50 shot in any case and if you both end up healthy and in the playoffs you still may not meet. Most important thing for the Steelers is winning their 6 division games and winning enough other games to win the division.

  12. justtherealfacts says:
    Jun 11, 2017 11:28 AM
    None of that matters, Matavis Bryant is the equalizer that was missing last season. Last team with the ball will win.

    —————–

    How could you have watched that game and thought that Bryant would have been the equalizer? The Steelers defense was steamrolled. 36 points, 384 yards and 3 passing TDs allowed. Can’t win a playoff game allowing that to happen.

  13. How could you have watched that game and thought that Bryant would have been the equalizer? The Steelers defense was steamrolled. 36 points, 384 yards and 3 passing TDs allowed. Can’t win a playoff game allowing that to happen.

    If you watched the game you would have seen several Ted passes dropped by Steeler receivers not named Bryant. Doesn’t mean a win, but stop being a homer and realize those drops COULD have influenced the outcome. Don’t be so smug to that possibility….oh wait you are a fanboy with zero objectivity…carry on.

  14. Without pressure up the middle playing man against the assortment of weapons Brady will have at his disposal is simply opting to die a quick death rather than the slow inexorable death of a thousand cuts New England has inflicted on Pittsburgh over the years. Somehow even if they had the interior guys to pull it off it’s hard to believe Tomlin could out coach Belichick. Beyond the on field talent disparity between the Steelers D and New England’s offense they start out with a very significant disadvantage on the sideline. Still, with Bryant back that Steelers offense is going to be very impressive this season and if the Pats get snake bit with injuries Pittsburgh should be right there to contend for the conference championship with anyone else.

  15. justtherealfacts says:
    Jun 11, 2017 11:28 AM

    None of that matters, Matavis Bryant is the equalizer that was missing last season. Last team with the ball will win.
    ————————————————————–
    Obviously the Steelers have dangerous offensive weapons, but their defense has looked utterly helpless against NE for 17 years years. So no, Martavis Bryant is not the “equalizer”.

  16. How could you have watched that game and thought that Bryant would have been the equalizer? The Steelers defense was steamrolled. 36 points, 384 yards and 3 passing TDs allowed. Can’t win a playoff game allowing that to happen.

    —————————————————-

    Very simply put, the steelers would have matched them score for score and the last team with the ball would have won.

    The pats defense is just as bad as the steelers, the difference was the steelers offense had only 1 place to throw the ball and that place was double and triple covered the entire game.

    most people do not realize the steelers no. 2 and 3 wr that game were practice squad players the previous season.

  17. “You can’t play man to man against that team.

    Hogan and Cooks will beat them deep.
    Gronk will kill them in the middle.
    The backs will kill them out of the back field.”

    Yet Brady will rip apart and torch a zone D in a big way.

    I think the best D against the Pats is press at the line w/man coverage and safeties over the top. Zone is certainly not the answer. Brady will find the hole almost every time.

  18. rainydayinterns says:
    Jun 11, 2017 11:56 AM
    The new strategy going forward is to let all the other QBs get a pounding while resting Brady for the first four games….

    ————————————–

    I prefer resting Brady (and anyone else with a bump or bruise, Gronk, etc) for two weeks coming out of their bye in November. High altitude games @ DEN and against OAK in Mexico. A prime time TV game and an international exhibition. Decent chance win one of the two anyways and Goodell’s head probably explodes.

  19. It doesn’t matter… The Patriots will find and eke out a win. 28-3 for crying out loud.

  20. The way you beat Tom Brady is with an inside pass rush. Tom Brady gets rattled if your pass rush comes from the inside. Tom Caughlin laid the blue print for you all years ago. You all need to start following it.

  21. The offense shouldn’t be the concern, but rather the front 7. Have to be able to generate pressure ( has not been consistent ) and have linebackers that can cover backs and ends in the flats and zones. That’s what I am mostly concerned about with the linebackers being higher on that list!

  22. flaccounibrow says:
    Jun 11, 2017 11:20 AM
    They should be called for an illegal pick on about 80% of their offensive plays. But as Bill once said keep doing it. They can’t call it on every play. Of course that was holding Indy’s recievers in the AFC playoffs several years ago. Same rules apply though.
    ———————–
    Firstly, ALL teams run rub-routes and if that accidentally causes a little collision with a defender, all the better. It MIGHT be more apparent with the Pats because of their primary receivers being TEs or slot guys rather than deeper wide-outs. When you have your main catchers in the crowded middle you are often gonna cross them to get separation, but that doesn’t mean that every collison is an intentional pick.
    Secondly, ALL 31 other teams get their hands on Gronk early (if they can) resulting in several holds every game, because they know the refs won’t constantly flag (or even spot) them and the penalty is better than giving Gronk the yards. And as for holding, Indy holds a lot – be it opposing players or illegal ball needles on the sidelines. But at least you’ve had your salty cry for today!

  23. Nofoolnodrool says:
    Jun 11, 2017 12:23 PM
    How could you have watched that game and thought that Bryant would have been the equalizer? The Steelers defense was steamrolled. 36 points, 384 yards and 3 passing TDs allowed. Can’t win a playoff game allowing that to happen.

    If you watched the game you would have seen several Ted passes dropped by Steeler receivers not named Bryant. Doesn’t mean a win, but stop being a homer and realize those drops COULD have influenced the outcome. Don’t be so smug to that possibility….oh wait you are a fanboy with zero objectivity…carry on.

    Says the smug Steelers fan BOY that hates to admit it doesn’t matter who is on the field for the Steelers Brady OWNS them.

  24. RandyinRoxbury says:
    Jun 11, 2017 10:15 AM
    Pats own the Steelers to no end, nothing’s changing.
    ————————-

    Eli owns Brady in the Superbowl, nothing’s changing.

  25. ftomasic1961 says:
    Jun 11, 2017 3:00 PM
    RandyinRoxbury says:
    Jun 11, 2017 10:15 AM
    Pats own the Steelers to no end, nothing’s changing.
    ————————-

    Eli owns Brady in the Superbowl, nothing’s changing.

    Brady 5 Little manning 2
    Advantage Brady

  26. “Very simply put, the steelers would have matched them score for score and the last team with the ball would have won.”

    Lolz maybe in some alternate universe designed by a Steeler fan but I doubt that very much in the real world.

    Doesn’t matter what might have happened anyway. What happened happened, the Pats pounded the Steelers and sent them home humiliated. You can woulda shoulda coulda all you want and it won’t change that.

  27. “Eli owns Brady in the Superbowl, nothing’s changing.”

    Actually the Tom Coughlin defense that he inspired to play the greatest 2 games of their lives “owns” Brady if anyone does. Eli has nothing to do with it.

    Those were great games to me even from a Pats fan perspective. They were close and hard fought right up to the last few seconds and kudos to those Giants teams for what they pulled off.

  28. At the end of the day.

    Patriots have 5 Awesome super bowl wins.

    And have the best shot at any other team at going 19-0 this season.

    And don’t think that is not on their mind

  29. they still think it’s the 1970s in the nfl

    Yes, but they are thinking at least. Sorry but your post proves you are not and are lost in the world of football knowledge.

  30. justtherealfacts says:
    Jun 11, 2017 12:56 PM
    How could you have watched that game and thought that Bryant would have been the equalizer? The Steelers defense was steamrolled. 36 points, 384 yards and 3 passing TDs allowed. Can’t win a playoff game allowing that to happen.

    —————————————————-

    Very simply put, the steelers would have matched them score for score and the last team with the ball would have won.

    The pats defense is just as bad as the steelers, the difference was the steelers offense had only 1 place to throw the ball and that place was double and triple covered the entire game.

    most people do not realize the steelers no. 2 and 3 wr that game were practice squad players the previous season.
    ————-
    ‘Just as bad as the Steelers’…..huh? Pats defense ranked #1 for points allowed, it’s a bit different man.

    And who was Brady throwing to all game…Chris Hogan. Where and who was he last year? Brady simply elevates players around him

  31. Unless the Steelers have a significant talent advantage, which they sometimes do because they are absolutely a talent laden team, they will usually lose to the Patriots due to inferior preparation and in-game coaching.

    No offence intended but Tomlin just has not shown an ability to make adequate adjustment on either side of the ball. His guys are out there banging their heads against the wall in an unfair fight; when it doesn’t work they just keep doing it.

  32. Steelers will change their signals before the game and again at halftime. That will stop the asterisks from cheating, again.

  33. justtherealfacts
    The pats defense is just as bad as the steelers
    ——————————————
    The Pats were No.1 in points allowed, No.7 in yds. allowed in 2016. The Steelers were 12th in Points and 10th in yards. So your statement is full of it. Where it matters most “points” the Patriots were the best in the NFL, the Steelers not even close. In total points scored the Pats were 3rd and Steelers 11th, again not even close. Time to change your name from “justtherealfacts” to something more appropriate.

  34. The reunion comes on December 17, when the Patriots visit Pittsburgh — and when the Steelers have a chance to improve their record against Tom Brady to 3-10. Then comes a potential rematch in the playoffs, where the Brady-Belichick Patriots are 3-0 against Pittsburgh.
    ————————————————-
    Checkmate. And have a nice season.

  35. Will someone PLEASE tell me why the press keeps talking about Pittsburgh as if they are making a ‘Bowl run?

    Didn’t you see them last year?

    At least the fans will have towels to cry into.

  36. The posters who single out the Giants, Broncos, Baltimore, Atlanta and to some extent the Jets and Bills are correct but
    the secret to beating the Pats is not just man coverage. It is a combination of 3 things, some man coverage, pressure without blitzing, and a scheme that causes Brady to think. Brady uses pre-snap reads probably better than any QB ever. If you can show him one thing and do another it will make him take a little more time. That in conjunction with a pass rush without blitzing and decent corners that can jam a receiver at the line and provide a modicum of man coverage is the way to beat them.

  37. lifetimefan says:
    Jun 12, 2017 6:31 AM
    The posters who single out the Giants, Broncos, Baltimore, Atlanta and to some extent the Jets and Bills are correct but
    the secret to beating the Pats is not just man coverage. It is a combination of 3 things, some man coverage, pressure without blitzing, and a scheme that causes Brady to think. Brady uses pre-snap reads probably better than any QB ever. If you can show him one thing and do another it will make him take a little more time. That in conjunction with a pass rush without blitzing and decent corners that can jam a receiver at the line and provide a modicum of man coverage is the way to beat them.
    =======

    Your post doesn’t belong here, much too logical and insightful.

  38. Talent gap? If anything the Steelers have, or at least HAD last year (the Pats had a very strong off-season), a better roster on paper.

    Talent gap? No….coaching gap? Yes…

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