Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Join Date: Sep 2004
Doom & Gloom
I feel there is an unstated aura on these sport pages that feels that Pats are "fading".
There is Doom & Gloom and general "Malaise" about the Pat's Defense. While understanble going into last season, it no longer applies. For no apparent reason, is it merited any longer, as far as I can see. I felt that the Team was rebuilding the Defense ever since 2006. First with small steps, and then wholesale, just prior to last season.
Last year was hard. Belichick said goodbye to four Defensive Stalwarts whose time, (or price), had come. The low point had been reached. You simply can't replace a Rodney, Tedy, Vrabes or Richard very easily. That should have been and was a shock to the Defense. But he did, and the Defense only fell off a short way, to 11th overall in the League. That is not bad for a "rebuilding" Defense.
Inspecting the roster, it seemed to me there were many, new, young, rising players on that 2009 Defense. But there were gaps in it, too. The secondary, with several new, highly-touted, newcomers had yet to solidify, despite lots of the new, highly-drafted, talent. A hole had opened in the Run Defense. While not a bad hole, it was not good either, and something had to be done about it.
Belichick did. To shore up the porous Run Defense, he imported two first round former DLs, to go with his two established, first round Stars in Wilfork and Warren. He now has Four for Three, and youngsters behind them. Belichick secured Wilfork long term, and got him an understudy to give him an occasional breather. He has watched, and still won, as youngsters develop like Mike Wright, Mo Pryor and yes Ron Brace.
He has added two accomplished Run Defensive LBs this Draft, and gets back two highly drafted LBs from IR, as well. There is lots of hand wringing about the LBs. What I see now, unlike last year, is four talented, young ILBs, and five or more talented OLBs. The big missing piece, the run-stuffer, SILB is now on board, unlike before.
From a Pass rushing perspective, he has two, now acclimated and proven, double-digit sack starters, two highly drafted youngsters, with excellent pass rushing credentials, behind them, and an established ST star. That is nine quality LBs and no more room, even though there are a couple more valid candidates. I note that the Team accumulated only one less sack than the #1 Defense in the League, despite the running weakness, that constantly led to 3rd and short, and inexperienced newcomers, adjusting. While still playing his favorite, Read-&-React, no big plays, make-them-earn-it, passive, defense.
By comparison, Rex Ryan got away with massive blitzing, but once the exotic blitzes are filmed, studied, analyzed and counters developed, as the OCs have been doing all off season, their effectiveness declines, enormously. The Jets pretenders will discover this, the hard way. Their #1 Defense is smoke and mirrors, and the pundits, and Jets fans don't know it. We learned this painfullly in the Pete Carroll years, with 5-3 or 6-2 starts, and then defensive collapse, once the blitzes were seen and handled.
Belichick directed his attention at finishing the reconstruction of a potentially very good, and very deep, secondary. Consider what is there, now. Three first rounders, three second rounders, an established and re-signed, young star, and a fourth round 'find'. One of the rising youngsters has already gone to the Pro Bowl. Only one is a cagey, instructive, old vet.
Talent is everywhere. The DL is full up, more than 7 deep. The LBs are full up, more than 9 deep. The secondary is full up, more than 10 deep. The low point of defensive reconstruction is past. The low point falling not too far, after all, and much less than feared. Descending all the way to... 11th in the League had been reached.
This Defense will have more experience playing together. It has had another infusion of talent, directed at the specific weaknesses revealed last season. This upcoming 2010 edition is now a Rising Defense. Eleventh in the league, is not a bad location to begin that ascent.
Last edited by AzPatsFan; 05-17-2010 at 05:35 AM..