Last year, with Matt Cassel under center, the Patriots were limited to certain play calls. Cassel didn't have the Brady's arm and the Patriots had to call plays with that in mind.
According to NFL.com, the Patriots averaged 33 passing attempts per game and 32 rushing attempts per game last year.
In 2007, the Patriots averaged 37 passing attempts per game, and only 28 rushing attempts per game.
Meaning, New England threw the ball on 57% of their plays in 2007, apposed to only 50% in 2008.
Also, in 2007, 62% of the teams first downs came from passing plays. Opposed to only 52% in 2008.
New England even averaged 11 more points per game in 2007 then they did in 2008.
As you can see, when Tom Brady is under center, the Patriots are going to throw the ball much more. They are also going to score faster and much more frequently
When Matt Cassel did drop back to throw the ball last year, more than likely it would be thrown within five to 20 yards. New England ran a lot of screen plays for Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris. This helped Cassel adjust to the speed of the NFL and give him confidence in his ability.
Cassel's main target in 2008 was Wes Welker. Welker is known for his crafty route running and quick slants. This was the perfect match for Cassel. Welker finished the season with 111 catches for 1,165 yards. These totals were within 1 catch and 10 yards from his previous season in 2007.
Randy Moss, on the other hand, had only 69 catches for 1,008 yards. Moss, the speedy down field playmaker, was in a way, too good for Cassel. Cassel could not air the ball downfield and let Moss make plays the way Brady could.
Moss and Welker's touchdown totals were both cut in half with Cassel starting.
With Tom Brady back in the mix, expect the Patriots to come out swinging in 2009. There is no reason this years offense couldn't have the capability to put up similar numbers to what they did in '07.
The offseason additions of Joey Galloway, Greg Lewis, and Fred Taylor will help.
I expect Randy Moss to have another comeback season. The whole offense will flourish with their MVP quarterback back in the mix.
New England will probably run three receiver sets with Moss, Welker, and Greg Lewis. With their offseason acquisitions, Chris Baker and Alex Smith, I also expect them to run two tight ends at a time. Baker and Smith are better blockers then their current starter, Ben Watson.
I bet all three will split time this season.
Brady will go back to utilizing the shotgun formation like he did in '07. They lost their only valuable fullback, Heath Evans, so I doubt they will use a fullback at all this season. An extra tight end on the line sounds much more beneficial to this years new passing attack.
Lewis and Moss will run a lot more deep routes this year than last I believe the Patriots will use a lot of four receiver sets.
Galloway and Moss running deep routes side by side could prove to be very dangerous and hard to cover for opposing defenses. Especially, with Welker running drag patterns across the middle.
The safety will have to make a lot of tough decision this year with all of their offensive weapons. Expect Moss to see a lot of single coverages. Brady will take full advantage of them if they are there.
New England has a scary offense, loaded with speed. I am very excited to see how Belichick uses it.
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