After further review: Ups and downs

Upon a second look, picking the best and worst from Sunday

September 21, 2009, 10:36 PM

By: Mike Reiss

In recent years, one of the final blog items after games has been listing "ups" and "downs" of individual players.

One of the challenges, however, was making such snap judgments immediately after the game. What I realized was that after re-watching the game on television, there was a different perspective on certain players' performances.

So the plan going forward is to wait until after reviewing the game before highlighting "ups" and "downs", while also changing the format.

Similar to hockey, the plan will be to pick three stars for each game. An added twist will be picking three players at the opposite end of the star spectrum.

For this week's game against the Jets, it looks like this:

  • No. 1 star: Vince Wilfork/Mike Wright -- Interior defensive linemen play tough against the run and generate some solid inside push against tough interior linemen Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca and Brandon Moore.
  • No. 2 star: Julian Edelman -- Receiver who teammates call Wes Welker's "Mini-Me" totals a team-high eight receptions for 98 yards, and could have been a No. 1 star if not for a bobble in the red zone in the second quarter.
  • No. 3 star: Gary Guyton -- Linebacker steps into a tough spot in replacing Jerod Mayo and holds his own by playing every snap and totaling a team-high 10 tackles. Some of those tackles came down the field, but Guyton proves he belongs on the field.

On the flip side, the following players fell on the other end of the spectrum ...

  • 1) Tom Brady -- Quarterback never looks completely comfortable in the face of pressure. A 63 percent career passer, he finishes 23 of 47 (48.9 percent) with one interception. Also takes three delay of game penalties (one of which he said was intentional to not burn a timeout).
  • 2) Brandon Meriweather, zone coverage & defensive play-calls -- Meriweather has a costly missed tackle on Jerricho Cotchery's 45-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter, while he and his fellow defensive backs are victimized in zone coverage in critical situations later in the half. A blitz instead of rushing just three defenders might have helped on a critical play -- third-and-13 -- late in the third quarter.

  • 3) Sam Aiken -- Special teams captain is flagged for two penalties in a performance that reflects the team's overall struggles in the kicking game.


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