Scouting Notebook: Pass-happy Pats

Looks like the big news of the week is going to be the status of DeMarco Murray (foot sprain). He seems to think he's fine, just like Cedric Benson thought last week. But like me with these foot injuries, you should only believe the MRIs. In the meantime, get Felix Jones, who has a lot of ability/explosiveness and can sort of turn the tables on Murray exactly the way Murray did to him last year.

Speaking of Benson, the early returns on Sunday night made it pretty clear that Alex Green, and only Green, is the guy to get in Green Bay. I never bought the James Starks talk, mostly because he's hurt with turf toe and it's hard to ever be 100 percent in the same season after that.
Shocking loss for the Patriots given how that game was going early. Tom Brady was too loose with the football today. I think passing is like a habit. When you de-emphasize it, you lose sharpness. I say, get hot by throwing and stay hot by throwing more when you're the Patriots. You can run in the second half when you are up three touchdowns. But for a lot of the game on Sunday, this was the Patriots offense Brady owners drafted (minus the dullness in the red zone).
I had already begun my Russell Wilson apology tour. But we're stopping the printing of the T-shirts. The bootlegs are going to be burned. He looked like his August self this week, with movement in pocket while keeping downfield focus that's always Job 1 for QBs with escapability. Also canceling the Jordy Nelson apology tour planned for this week.
This (Pats/'Hawks) was a real bad clock game as the coaches and even Bill Belichick got into the act by letting time tick away and having no margin for error on the third-down incompletion that was ruled an intentional grounding, with a 10-second runoff. I like the aggressiveness there aside from the clock, but do not like the Patriots settling for a field goal earlier on fourth and 1. Be aggressive all the time where it's reasonable. Otherwise, you cut into your point probability odds by decreasing the sample size. In Seattle, the Patriots could have converted on one of two times they eschewed the field goal and gotten seven points. Instead, they were aggressive only once, failed, and got just three.
Aaron Hernandez looks like he's healthy enough to no longer worry about, but I don't know what this ultimately means for Wes Welker, who had been losing slot snaps to him prior to the injury.
Shonn Greene was played only out of bye-week desperation. The New York Jets on Sunday became the eighth team since 2005 to run for 250-plus yards with both a yards per pass attempt of 5.0 or less and less than 100 passing yards. The Jets and Mark Sanchez also did it in a 2009 loss to the Bills. The 2006 Falcons also did it, too, and lost – 31-13 to the Saints. Remember this the next time someone tells you that you need a good running game to set up the passing game.
Yahoo! colleague @Scott_Pianowski tweeted, "Okay, Jay Feely is Gus the Kicking Mule," after Feely's 61-yarder in the closing seconds sent the Cardinals into overtime. Have they fixed the rule that allowed you to have a mule as your kicker? Go Atoms! And 60-yard field goals should be 10 points and they are often not even scored different than 50 yarders. Also, stop icing kickers on 50-plus-yard field goals, which are not pressure kicks because they are not expected to be made.
Alfred Morris had his worst day by far against a pretty good Vikings run defense. But I guess they were content to just let Robert Griffin III run wild. Morris did get a cheap TD. Griffin is just so fast out of the pocket that even spies can be rendered meaningless. I think Griffin, not Andrew Luck, is going to be the class of this draft class. Coming into the week, he was the NFL leader in adjusted accuracy, which accounts for drops, spikes, knockdowns and hits while throwing. Luck was next to last (Sanchez). And Luck looked lost on Sunday with Reggie Wayne being imprisoned on most plays on Al-Cro-Traz, Antonio Cromartie's new and almost as dangerous version of Revis Island.
Coaches are dumb enough without the wildcat giving them another reason. Brad Smith was allowed to throw a pick up three with three minutes left. Dumb pass, I know, but coaches have to know that the guy who never/rarely throws is really going to want to throw it. And even Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano think all those Colin Kaepernick wildcat plays after the few nice throws by Alex Smith were stupid. And, yes, we were all just starting to believe in Smith. Disbelieving again seems a reasonable option.
Jim Harbaugh needs to be more aggressive/persistent and creative in getting his best player, Vernon Davis, involved when trailing all day like the Niners did against the Giants. Press the issue with formation and motion. Create mismatches. Never settle for him being covered. Instead, dominate. Don't take what the defense gives you. Take what you want.
Percy Harvin grinds out his points but is obviously elite now in point-per-reception. But at 2.34 air yards from scrimmage per completion coming into the game, he's really taking a beating. The closer you catch to the line of scrimmage, the bigger are the guys who hit you.
How many points do the Bucs have to score for Doug Martin to provide the type of production his owners expected when some of them made him a late first-round pick? 50? 70?
Joe Haden getting smoked by A.J. Green reminds me that he's overrated. His passer rating allowed on targets last year was 85 – worse than the average for all corners.
The Raiders passing game is hit or miss. I don't know whether I trust it to give Denarius Moore a "must-start" recommendation. But if he's available, you must add him.

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