How do the Patriots defend the deep ball? Can Flacco have deep ball success against them?
The Patriots can defend the deep ball but it will require deep safety help leaving Flacco with good match ups underneath. Despite what the Pats homers believe, they can't match up with Boldin, Pitta and Rice isolated in man coverage. They'll mix coverages and at some point Flacco will stretch the field with success like he has all year.
Apparently the Pats didn't have to defend Flacco's deep ball.
The NE wind did it for them.
Fortunately, it seems Caldwell's been working with Flacco/receivers to improve the timing on those short passes. Once Talib was out of the game, and our receivers started beating the press (still an issue with them) Flacco/receivers showed excellent timing/accuracy throughout the 2nd half on mainly shorter passes.
One concern though is after seeing what the wind did on Flacco's first deep throw, why did Caldwell continue to send receivers deep on 2nd & 3rd down in the 1st half? Should have tried one or 2 more deep shots on 1st down to force NE's offense to stay honest and defend the threat of the deep pass--that way when the pass missed because of the wind, they would be facing 2nd and 10, not 3rd and long or punting.
Also too many 1st down runs called--even the play by play guys noticed and questioned the wisdom of that strategy.
At least the right adjustments were made eventually, but against the 49ers we are going to need to start fast and finish strong--can't wait until the 2nd half to fix the obvious or it may be too little, too late.
The next game, Flacco gets to play inside. Bombs away!
49'ers didn't start fast in their post season games, had to come from behind to win. These two teams are similiar and their qb will have to learn the hard way. Good chance smith see action if Pollard has anything to say.