Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Nov 2006

FO on BSMW: Expatriots

This week: how are all the Ex-Patriots doing? You'll note that this article is missing Willie McGinest, which was a simple editing accident. My comments are below:

Even though he hasn't been playing with them this season, McGinest joined the rest of the Patriots linebackers in taking a comfortably large step back this season. While he won't be appearing on the side of a milk carton like Mike Vrabel shortly will be, McGinest has struggled with injury this season and has only 16 tackles and 2 sacks in 7 games. On the other hand, McGinest can still serve as an assistant coach for Romeo Crennel whilst hurt, so there's some added benefit there.

Also, this was written before the crazy numbers Tyrone Poole is putting up in Oakland according to the Game Charting Project came out.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 18 Nov 2006

25 comments, Last at 23 Nov 2006, 6:04pm by Bill Barnwell


by mikeabbot (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:57pm

A bunch of funny quips!
On the serious side the Pats personal judgement seems to be validated on the let go/refuse to match offer side but you left out Willie McGinest. I haven't seen any Cleveland games (yes I am thankfull) so what do the people who have seen him think?
I miss his play for the pats, The LBs haven't been terrible but I think being able to rotate Willie in there would make the others even better.

by clb (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:07pm

The editing error is in the McCrary entry - a botched HTML link which hides (insert at link location):

sixth-best rushing offense in all of football. This is the antithesis of the Klecko and Chatham notes, except their almost perfectly-equal irrelevance to their teams' success or failure.

Willie McGinest(NE)
Even though he hasn't been playing with them this season, McGinest joined the rest of the Patriots linebackers in taking a comfortably large step back this season. While he won't be appearing on the side of a milk carton like Mike Vrabel shortly will be, McGinest has struggled with injury this season and has only 16 tackles and 2 sacks in 7 games. On the other hand, McGinest can still serve as an assistant coach for Romeo Crennel whilst hurt, so there's some added benefit there.

David Patten (WAS) Patten went from being a nifty deep threat with the Patriots to being the worst regular wide receiver in

by Mwana Uta (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:22pm

Good stuff man, I laughed out loud, especially at the Ted Washington entry.

Seriously though, for some reason the very first Every Play Counts sticks in my mind. It was on Ted Washington and how the idea that he was the key to the Pats defense being good against the run was completely untrue. Almost three whole years later, and people still said "Oh, he'll be a great NT for the Browns, a real upgrade to their run D" when they signed him. I noticed that MDS said he was dominating Hardwick against SD the other week, but then a lot of SD fans I know think that Hardwick is a weak link anyway, so I still think he's a fat waste of space.

I think McGinest would be much better as a role player, but you probably can't underestimate his importance in the dressing room and on the practice field, so I wouldn't come out and call him a bad signing.

by blahblahfalcons (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:36pm

"Christian Fauria (WAS)
Fauria has struggled with an ankle injury in recent weeks and is yet to catch a pass this season in the Redskins offense, which I believe is some sort of mistaken performance art project using the screen pass and Santana Moss as a Christ-like figure."


by Jeremiah (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 5:48pm

"the Colts have had the worst performance on kickoffs in all of football; the team has lost 8.9 points worth of field position since the beginning of the season"

How much of this is really due to poor kicks, as opposed to disgustingly bad coverage?

by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 6:38pm

The thing about Ted Washington is, you still need good linebackers behind him to stop the run. Sure he'll keep 2-3 blockers right at the LOS, but you still need someone to tackle the RB.

Or maybe he just needs to be reunited with Keith Traylor.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 7:44pm

Ted Washington is a suitable stop-gap nose tackle until a team can find a young one. Nose tackles are generally underrated, but Washington is overrated for a nose tackle. Save the real praise for the NTs who deserve it. Guys like Jamal Williams and Casey Hampton are every bit as valuable and rare as shutdown corners.

I'm not convinced there's any sort of ex-NE "curse." As someone from the Washington area, I know as well as anyone that most high profile free-agent signings end up sucking. There's nothing particularly special about former Patriots.

by MJK (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:14pm


The point is not that there's a Patriot "curse". It's that, as you say, many (if not most) high profile free agent signings end up sucking. This is because a high profile free agent signing occurs when someone who doesn't know a player well (the signer) decides a player is worth more money than someone who does know the player well (the old team) thinks he is worth. Obviously, you expect the person with less information to make the worst decision if all the parties were rational.

Unfortunately, fan bias and media love sometimes lead teams to make irrational decisions--the keep aging but beloved players longer than they should. The point some peopl are trying to make is that the Patriots are better than some teams at avoiding making irrational decisions, and instead value their players properly.

by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 9:19pm

#5 - It's both, realistically. Indy was at -10 last season over the whole season; they're at -8.9 for the half season. If Vinatieri improved them, it's not by much.

#7 - I didn't mean to insinuate that there was a curse.

by mikeabbot (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 11:34pm

clb:thank you
FOC: Huh?

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 12:28am

I didn't accuse anyone on this message board of saying there's an ex-Patriot curse. You do hear it a lot from the usual football media, though, and that's why I brought it up.

by jive (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 1:48am

Does anyone know what happened to Duane Starks?

by NF (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:05am

13: If there is a high-profile free agent curse, the Arizona Cardinals free agents are the exception to that, and Duane Starks is the exception to that exception. Starks currently plays for the Al Davis Raiders of Oakland, where he has had 3 tackles in 3 games he played in.

by SJM (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:09am

I have a theory as regards to the WR's that there is not so much an ex-Patriots curse as there is a "Tom Brady effect." Brett Favre has for some time seemed to me to be a guy who makes WR's look better than they are, so they suck when they leave GB (Javon Walker is an obvious exception). I think Tom Brady is the new Favre in this sense, that Brady's former WR's tend to fail with other teams, while he can make mediocre WR's (Troy Brown, Caldwell, and Gabriel) look good or at least decent and better than they would look on another team.

I'm not in the mood to do the research, anyone want to back me up on this (or let me have it)?

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:32am

I think the WRs now look pretty bad, even with Tom Brady throwing to them. Reche Caldwell has the most yards of the three, and he's on pace for 596 yards this year. That's absolutely awful for a team's leading receiver.

He had 352 yards last year as the #3 receiver in San Diego. (And really, he was the fifth option in the passing game because of Gates and LT.) His numbers improved mostly because he now has a starting job he doesn't deserve. His numbers still suck. Brady's making him look better than he is, but Brady isn't making him look good.

Brady doesn't make receivers look good because he's more than happy to throw to his secondary targets. That's why random people like Patrick Pass and Kevin Faulk end up with lots of receptions.

by Vern (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:35pm

RE: 15

True they have no #1 threat, but the WR+TE core as a whole is projecting to do the same or better in total completions, total yards, and TDs as either the 2003 or 2004 squads. YPA is down a bit at 12.1 but that's not off from the 03 squad.

by Vern (not verified) :: Sun, 11/19/2006 - 2:37pm

Sorry, that's YPC not YPA on the last post. Can't do it by attempts since the league doesn't divide attempts by just WR+TE.

2003 244 3088 12.7 22
2004 216 3138 14.5 25

2006 251 3019 12.0 23

If, however, you divide WR+TE yards by ALL attempts you get this:
2003 537 ATT, 5.75 YPA
2004 485 ATT, 6.74 YPA

2006 540 ATT, 5.59 YPA

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 3:30am

First, Brady's numbers showed clear improvement through 2005. The numbers were much better in 2004 than in previous years, and then 2005 was even better. Then in 2006 he lost his top two receivers, and his numbers regressed to 2003 levels. Probably not a coincidence.

Second, Ben Watson's improvement is helping to mask the suckage of the wide receivers.

Brady is much better than he was three years ago. Ben Watson has become very good. And despite that, Brady's numbers are regressing. It's because Caldwell and Gabriel suck. There's a reason Gabriel couldn't start for the worst offense in football.

by Sam! (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 10:57am

It's not always a case of a team not valuing the players who leave in UFA. Sometimes, a team assigns a value to a player, and determines they can't afford to pay it.

by reservoirdog (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 11:04am

If anyone's interested, Robert Edwards scored a touchdown for Montreal in a losing effort in yesterday's Grey Cup...

by sippican (not verified) :: Mon, 11/20/2006 - 2:29pm

I'm glad someone has done the enormous mental weightlifting required to determine that Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli don't care about your fantasy football teams.

Heartless bastages.

by prunemike (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 2:08pm

I wonder if it is really fair to include Damon Huard as an expatriot. True he was with them for three years, except for garbage time, he never played in any games. I would consider him an exdolphin because that's where he got some real playing time. They should have kept him. Another Wanstadt mistake.

by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 3:59pm

I still think of Bledsoe as a patriot.

by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 4:00pm

I think that it is articles like this that lead some of us to believe that there is a slight Patriots bias on this site. Where is the exSteelers article? or exColts? Why is it assumed that we care about what Brandon Gorin is doing this year?

Ok. I feel better now.

by Bill Barnwell :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 6:04pm


Last year, Aaron sent an e-mail out to a goodly amount of local newspapers and fan sites asking if they wanted a column based around FO material.

One site sent an e-mail back requesting that column.

Hence, the Boston Sports Media Watch Patriots column.