So I went back and watched the past two Patriots games and here is what I found:
The Patriots run this single back formation a lot and it seems they do fool a lot of people with it. The one thing this formation does not match up well against is good DE’s. McDaniels in the past has run this formation and slides a TE down to block on run plays or long pass plays, but this only works if you are playing against a team with one good pass rusher and the Saints have two. This offense will look a little different with Gronkowski scheduled to play this week but if the Saints can pressure Brady early and force him into long situations, then they have a good shot to beat him. Brady likes to audible to play action out of this formation often and the remedy for it is to have a smart interior defensive line that can read him on play action.
Right before this play Brady audibled to play action, noticing the man coverage with one safety to his left. The Interior lineman and defensive end both recognized it and didn’t bite . Brady had absolutely no time to set himself and was sacked on the second play of the game.
After the Patriots realized the defensive plan, they changed things up and switched the plays to the opposite side (weaker DE) and had some success. The thing the Bengals had going for them at this point was a stout run defense and forced Brady into a passing situation the rest of the game.
On kick coverage, you want this line to be as complete as possible. I noticed the Patriots were a little sloppy here on multiple occasions so I would not be surprised if the hang time is right that Sproles can finds those holes and take one to the house.
So this is a simple run box defense the Patriots ran against the Bengals. Any smart QB would see the blitzing safety and run to the opposite side. The thing is, Donte Hightower is not fast at all and any RB with good vision and speed can exploit him.
Against the Falcons, it looks as though the Patriots were doubling one person every play, and most of the time it was Tony Gonzales. Here they play man on Tony and safety over top. The CB releases from Harry Douglas and plans to help on Tony Gonzales. The bunch to the left, and Roddy White pulling the CB and safety allows Matt Ryan to check down to a speedy RB who is wide open due to being the assignment of Donte Hightower.
The patriots defense doesn’t match up well with Darren Sproles at all….especially Donte Hightower he is very slow..he is good in zone coverage over the second level and great in run support but he will be destroyed this weekend by Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas because of his lack of speed.