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I see that Bill Belichick has just re-signed Derrick Burgess. As far as I am concerned that was the final piece that Belichick needed to field the 2010 edition of the Patriots. I think critics of the Pass Rush, are like the Generals fighting the last war, not the next. The Pass rsuh probelm was a long way to being fixed last season, but few noticed.
Many are predicting that the Patriots will have problems in the AFCE and with their total Won-Loss record, and I would agree to a partial extent. But the awesome strength of schedule may merely reduce the season record to the 11-5, 12-4 range from where it would otherwise be.
I think this coming team has the makings of a Team able to match the 2004 and 2007 editions. But this team has more potential Defensive talent. Despite the defensive statistics, in 2007, that team was an Offensive powerhouse that carried the Defense along. It is easy to play Defense when you are up 3 TDs in the second Q. I think such will be the case once again.
The mid-decade real Defense showed itself in the 2006 AFC CG, when it couldn't stop Manning and the Colts, and in the 4th Q of the 2007 SB. BB has undertaken to rebuild the fading Defense ever since. He stripped it down of the last oldsters at the beginning of last season, when Tedy, Rodney, Vrabes, and Seymour departed; and the multi-year defensive retooling is now almost complete, with talented youth everywhere.
My thesis is that the Defense was a few players short and not stout enough against the run last year. That made a pass rush appear weaker than it was. Don't forget that the Jets #1 Defense despite all its fabled blitzing tactics, only accumulated one more sack than the read-and-react Pats. it is tough to Pass Rush or Pass Cover, when the down and distance is 3rd and 2, as it was repeatedly, last year.
Importing a couple of Big Uglies, drafting a run-stuffer, Big SILB, and adding to the secondary with First Round talent and aided with experience for others, will improve the anti-run stats. That will allow the Pass Rushers, and now there are a full house of them, to really Pass Rush and the secondary to Pass Cover, when its 3rd and 6.
Some say thy don't have the DeMarcus Ware kind of guy. True, so what? The Patriots never did! Willie McG was the nearest thing to that, and he only had one season, of double digit sacks, and none during the glory years Ditto for Vrabel.
Derrick Burgess took half a season to acclimate to the Belichick Defense. But he accumulated 5 of his 6 sacks in the last 8 games, 6 of 6 QB hits, and 18 of 23 QB pressures, as he acclimated. TBC has now produced in several years of his Patriots tenure. Both possess records of double digit sacks more than once in their careers.
Finally there are a pair of DE--> OLB conversions selected high, to back them up, in Crable and Cunningham, and give them both a breather, and then more besides that, in Ninkovich and Woods. The DL and ILBs should be stout against the run, now. Look at all the extensive and apparently unnoticed changes, (except by of all people, John Clayton (!!!) and myself), that Bill Belichick has made to insure that stouter Run Defense.
As far as the secondary is concerned, it has never been deeper, with more overall talent than now, even if others had a few bigger stars. Ty Law was the Darell Revis of his day, but there was only Lawyer playing with him. Asante and Rodney were the pair, but only for a year.
The time is coming when Bill will have to rebuild the Offense, but I think that is a year or two away. The #2 rated Offense will serve for another year, just fine.
Belichick has made some key additions there too. Both veteran patches, but also fundamental new talented youngsters, that don't have to play until they are ready. The old patches are quite extraordinary when you think about it. A HOF WR, a former Pro-Bowl TE, and a older Pro-Bowl RB, who was added last year. To go with an existing HOF WR, and an All-Pro slot WR, who won't be available until the latter portion of the season and the Playoffs. By Playoff time, that is potentially a better group than the 2007 receiving corps! Ponder that for a second.
Look at the young developing depth, on Offense. Volmer and Levoir and also another to choose from Connolly, Orhnberger, Bussey, Larsen and Welch, on the Offensive line. Edelman, Tate, Price, Gronowski and Hernandez in the receiving corps. And the RBBC remains.
If you put a top 5 Defense together with a top 2 Offense, what do you get? A powerhouse of a Super Bowl contender and maybe even a favorite in the AFC.
Sometimes, you have to look at a glass as more than half full...
Last edited by AzPatsFan; 05-14-2010 at 04:25 PM..
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I dont think the D will be a top 5 defense. Maybe a top 10, in the regular season, but by the end of the the season, starting the playoffs, I believe they won't be a weakness like they were last year.
The offense, I think it has the talent to be number #1 overall. Remember the time when Brady was healthy, and had some guns? Cof 2007 record breaking year Cof. He is the best QB in the League. Imagine this team in the playoffs, with the defense more grown up and used to play together, and the offense with Welker back, and the rockies understanding the system. Superbowl...
Importing a couple of Big Uglies, drafting a run-stuffer, Big SILB, and adding to the secondary with First Round talent and aided with experience for others, will improve the anti-run stats. That will allow the Pass Rushers, and now there are a full house of them, to really Pass Rush and the secondary to Pass Cover, when its 3rd and 6
Not to pee in your cheerios, but the players below you mentioned would have to have career years to make this defense a top 5. It's also tough to expect a rookie to do much of anything in a BB defense. The way I see it is this team is just as good as last year while minimizing all the breakdowns they had. Though if BB is calling the plays, you never know
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Nice well -thought out and expressed post. Agree with most of what you wrote. My 2 cents:
1) Agree that pass rush is abit overblown. If you look at the pre-draft needs of all 32 teams - you will see that about 80% are listed as needing improvement in pass rush. That is just the product of this current pass happy league and rules favoring this. Yes, pass rush is not a strength of this defense. Neither is it the strength of about 20-25 other NFL teams.
2) If you look at AFC east and job # 1 of winning the division - does the Jets, Fins and Bills QB's strike fear to Pats teams defense? It has been widely written that Sanchez, Henne are up and coming. But that is along way from being elite. Hence , pass rush for NEP should not be the emphasis as much as run defense. Those other AFCE teams do posses capable run games and Pats run D should be beefed up to win this division. I believe with improvements at ILB personnel and with Warren / Lewis taking over for Green, -that run D will be much better especially up the middle. Hence better team defense this year which will help win AFCE.
3) People overlooking gains being made by improving young defense that needs time and battle experience to improve, gell and communicate better. These things don't just don't happen overnight. The key is hitting on the high defensive draft picks the last 3 years. So far it looks promising (Mayo, Merriweather, Butler, etc..) This young defense took big steps last year and that will really begin to pay dividends this and next year as they start to really get BB's complex system. That will allow BB to add more looks in on game day to disguise where the pass rush is coming from
Finally, add an elite defensive player with Oaklands first round pick in 2011 (OLB or RDE) and this defense in 2011 will be top 5. This year top 10 without a doubt. Book it Danno.
In regards to the Pass Rush question, I think the more relevant question is - can this Defense put as much pressure on the QB as the New Orlean Saints, last year's Superbowl winner. If the answer is yes, the defense is ready to compete. Plus it is now stocked with young talent at the LB and CB positions, two of the more important ones when defending against the pass.
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