WhatÂ I have found interesting is the lack of respect that Tully Banta-CainÂ seems to have received.Â OnÂ several media outlets I keep hearing criticism of his play and that his statistics are misleading.Â IÂ disagree with this line of thinking in regards to theÂ Patriots outside linebacker.
Banta-Cain had aÂ year last season that isÂ similar to other outside linebackers that have played the position in the Belichick era. He had 10 sacks and 55 tackles in 16 games. The criticism he gets is that half ofÂ his sacksÂ were against the Buffalo Bills.Â Well, he also had some sacks against teams with very goodÂ offensive lines.Â Â He had two sacks in two games against the New York Jets and also had a sack against the Denver Broncos.Â
Despite 10 Sacks last season Patriots Linebacker Tully Banta-Cain’s name isn’t being mentioned much so far through training camp (PHOTO CREDIT: Icon/SMI)
To diminishÂ his accomplishments last season is unfair. He playedÂ in every game last season. He was aÂ constant presence atÂ outside linebacker for the Patriots in 2009. I don’t like to go just by statistics. I like to actually watch the game and let my eyesÂ help me with my thoughts on a player. What I saw from Banta-Cain last season was a player that wasÂ in the opponents backfield and making plays.
Now if youÂ are someone that judges by statistics that is fine. I will give you statistics from former Patriot Outside linebackers to give you a comparison.Â Â
Willie McGinestÂ was considered a very good outside linebacker in his time with the Patriots. Well, Willie’s best season for sacks was in 1995 when he had 11.Â In the Super Bowl years of 2003 and 2004,Â McGinestÂ had very goodÂ seasons.Â In 2003, he had 5.5 sacks and 67 tackles. In 2004, he had 9.5 sacks and 51 tackles. Banta-Cain’s numbers are in line with these stats.
Roosevelt Colvin prior to coming to the Patriots was considered a force with the Chicago Bears.Â His production with the Bears got him a big contract with the Patriots as a free agent in 2003. HisÂ numbers must be much higher than Banta-Cain’s statistics? In 2001, Colvin had 10.5 sacks and 69 tackles. in 2002, he had 10.5 sacks and 64 tackles. Again,Â Banta-Cain’s’ numbers are similar.
How about Mike Vrabel who I think was a fantastic outside linebacker for the New England Patriots? In 2007, Vrabel had 12.5 sacks and 77 tackles. That wasÂ a real good season. How was VrabelÂ in 2008 with the Patriots? He had 4 sacks with 62 tackles.Â How was Vrabel’s season last year with the Kansas City Chiefs?Â He must have had bigger numbers than Banta-Cain? Vrabel had 2 sacksÂ with 52 tackles last season.
Banta-Cain’s season last year is in line with three very accomplished former Patriots outside linebackers statistics. On stats alone heÂ deserves more respect. ButÂ like I mentioned, I am not just about statistics. I am about what my eyes tell me. They showed me last season that Banta-Cain did his job well for the New England Patriots.
As I was thinking about writingÂ this post I saw a great article by Shalize Manza Young in Sunday’s Boston Globe.Â The article is entitled” Banta – Cain embraces role”.Â In this story Shalize discusses how Banta-Cain gets overlooked considering he is just the third PatriotsÂ player since Andre Tippett to haveÂ 10 sacks in a season.Â Â Â Â
Manza Young’s story really focuses on Banta-Cain’s leadership and what he could bringÂ to the Patriots thisÂ upcoming season. Â She has a quote from Coach Belichick that I would like to share regarding Banta-Cain. Below areÂ quotes from the Shalize Manza Young storyÂ from Bill Belichick.Â Â
â€śTully has really picked up where he left off last year,â€™â€™ said coach Bill Belichick. â€śHe gained a lot of experience and heâ€™s done a good job. Heâ€™s taken over a little bit of a leadership role as well, in terms of his experience, and I think he has a lot of confidence and that carries over to other guys.â€™â€™
So in concluding, as we go into theÂ new season for the New England Patriots you might want toÂ view differently Banta-Cain.Â I think he is much better than most media punditsÂ believe. My eyes and his statistics back up my argument.