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If Thomas were to play most of his snaps at ILB, the whole roster might make more sense.
He certainly has both the speed and strength to do so.
It's not obvious that he's a superior pass rusher to Vrabel.
It is indeed obvious that he's a superior pass defender to Vrabel -- and the ILB has a lot of coverage duties.
It's easier to imagine the Pats grooming young OLBs than ILBs.
Why not a core LB rotation of:
Thomas (inside, nickel, and rotating outside)
Vrabel (outside; backing up inside)
Seau (rotating inside)
youngster (some situational nickel rushing; backup outside)?
Plus Izzo, Alexander, et al. for STs and backup, and maybe in situational sets.
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I think that this years D, if all are healthy, will be extremely innovative and Thomas will be used all over the place, with the talent and versatility of all of these guys opposing O coordinators will be having fits while trying to prepare for the pats. The key is how good will the D backfield be? If they are average or just above, I can see us going with sets never seen in the NFL before. The nicest thing about AD is he can plug in so many places and play well there, he is not a guy you can assume will be doing something.
__________________ "Being the best doesn't mean you always win. It just means you win more than anyone else".. tweet from Kurt Warner to Tom Brady.
AD and MV will both play in both spots, and Belichick knows Thomas is an elite pass rusher and he will let him rush the passer frequently. You say Vrabel is not as good inside, agree, but it's one thing to have him inside next to Tully Banta-Cain, and one thing to have him inside w/ AD, no comparison.
Nah, I think he is going to play both positions, but probably more at OLB. AD is a better pass rusher than Vrabel, and probably better than Colvin. Colvin, Vrabel, and Thomas rotating on the outside will be sick this season. Vrabel and Thomas are both versatile enough to play ILB, but that is not their best position. I think maybe a draftee who is also versatile enough to play both positions would be optimal, especially if ILB is his best position.
Emagine having Colvin, Vrabel, Willis, and Thomas on the field at the same time? Willis can play at any of the four Backer positions. This would be a QB's nightmare. All four can rush the passer, all four can drop into coverage, and three of them could set up anywhere...Plus, this set has a dramatic upgrade in speed over last year, just by adding two players.
An LB corp of Colvin, AD, Willis, Vrabel, and Bruschi as your starters, and some combination of Woods/Mays/Hartwell/or another draft pick as your backups/rotational backers would be very nice.
Colvin, AD, Willis, Vrabel, Bruschi, Woods, Mays, Hartwell, and another draft pick adds up to 9 LB's the Patriots have carried ten under BB in the past.
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Last edited by sebman2112; 03-18-2007 at 08:20 AM..