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Adalius is playing all snaps and is my candidate (not Bruschi) for the green dot helmet. I would guess tthat Vrabel will back-up the Green Dot.
Great stuff. Hadn't thought about who would get the dot helmets until now. You make good points about players that will likely be on the field a lot, but wouldn't location on the field play a role as well? I would think you would need to be an inside/middle LB to make the line calls and set the secondary, but I am just guessing. If that is true, then the Pats may have some difficulty with the system since the inside backers are likely to rotate quite a bit.
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Saftey: I am prepared to identify a training camp sleeper. Antwain Spain lit it up for the second successive night with a deflection pick on Brady. Tank is exclusively an ILB at present with not a single rep at SS. Interestingly, Rodney subbed in for Tank at the same position in the two minute. Rodney also took some reps at his traditional SS. Assuming arguendo that Tank is for all purposes an ILB and Rodney is playing at the line on third down and long, that leaves Sanders (inactive tonight) and Merriweather effectively as the deep cover in the dime and probably the nickel. We need three deep cover safeties on the 53. Tank for certain and Rodney at his age are not candidates. The candidates are Webster and shockingly Spann, with the winner likely based on special teams play. Spann had a number of snaps with the 1s and 2s tonight substituting for Sanders. I noted Capers coaching him up on a couple of occasions and Rodney talking to him as well. If he can light it up on special teams, the unlikely Antwann Spain has a shot. You heard it here first. BB rewards performance, not pedigree or draft status. The larger point here is that there are two species of SS in our system: at the line/ILB type SS like Tank and Rodney and back line SS like Sanders and Spann. On the other hand, Meriweather at FS continues to disappoint. On the Brady to Moss to Brady bomb to Jabar (Remember the TD on this call last year!), Jabar dropped the ball this time. More to the point, Meriweather was in position to break up the pass and failed to make a play on the ball. His inability to track the ball in the air, more than his stone hands, is a fatal flaw to FS play in the NFL. I apologize for the harsh review and am no doubt overreacting to one play, but Ed Reed deflects that ball. Ball skills are essential and I have yet to observe same in Mr. Meriweather. Rodney took a surprising number of snaps but sat out (with Pollard) the wind "sprints" at the end of practice.
The Dookfish would be great if he didn't assume a week's worth of practices (maybe less) is enough to make any sort of strong speculation on who will or will not make the team. It's also asinine to assume one understands just what Belichick is looking for, be it on offense, defense, or special teams.
Great observations, though. Keep 'em coming.
I don't like Dungy and that's because he [was] the head coach of the Colts. Period. End of question. The degree to which I like a player or coach is predicated solely on the color of the laundry they wear on Sunday. When fans admit this and stop bashing players and coaches for any other reason, the world of sports will be infinitely improved.
Thanks Dookfish: Nice to see my man Spann getting some love, I've been reading other reports and I remember his ballhawking in NFLE. He might be the FS candidate you were looking for...
I'm inclined to think the guy who should be looking over his shoulder at Aiken is Alexander, not Izzo. Larry may not make the cut, but I think Alexander goes before he does.
Woods: I've not considered him a speed rusher, but more someone who needed to use his strength, reach, and strong technique (e.g. McGinest, and Vrabes to some extent) to reach the passer. I've considered Woods handicapped for development by losing so much playing time in college and being behind some studs in NE. Questions: Dook - you spoke of Guyton setting the edge, did either Crable or Woods get tested against run plays? Was Woods pass rush effort or technique at fault in your eyes?
Well done - I'm looking forward to your DL analysis.
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Add me to those who noticed that Hanson was very inconsistent. Several punts were angled and landed in play just 30 yards downfield. The distance and angle (not purposefull) could result in a serious runback by the receiving team. And yes, they did try some out-of-bounds on purpose kicks.
The CB & LB play needs to improve. I'm figuring that Capers is likely working in new stuff that will take time. I hope so.
Defensive Line: Let me begin by responding to a comment on LBs by a fellow poster. As to the observation that Alexander is at greater risk than Izzo, I concur though I think they are both at considerable risk given the special team talents of Aiken and Guyton and the return abilities of Slater. Guyton is listed at 6'3" 242 lbs, Alexander at 6'2" 240. The truth is very different. By observation Guyton is 2 or 3 inches taller and 15 lbs heavier. More significantly, Alexander's lack of cover skills were fully evident in the one on one match ups with RB/TEs. He cannot change directions well, and his lack of ball awareness is evident. Most significantly, Alexander took zero reps with the 1s or 2s. On the Dline, the most notable development is the ongoing and obvious search for a NT backup. Wilfork looks quicker this year. He was not turned on a single play as happened his rookie year regularly. He pushed the pile on a couple of bull rushes and made it uncomfortable for Brady/Cassell. He enveloped the ballcarrier on two sweeps on the cutback. He is simply the best defensive player on the team. Interestingly, LeKevin took no snaps at DT and played RDE with the 1s in Seymour's absence. Ty Warren was quiet all evening and did not pressure the QB. The single most impressive rush of the evening was by Steven Fifita on the nose bullrushing over Jimmy Martin to sack the QB. By observation, Fifita's lack of height (6'1" listing exaggerates his stature by at least two inches) would seem to be a major hurdle. Norwell got no reps. Kenny Smith and Santonio Thomas had no penetration but Santonio stood his ground well on running plays. Titus Adams took no reps but his mere presence is a bit disconcerting as the plethora of no talent NTs in camp makes me concerned as to the health of Mike Wright. In addition to back-up NT duties, Wright has historically played a lead blocking role on kickoff returns. Look for Lamont Jordan to play that role in the exhibition season as he did with the Jets in his youth. A discussion of DL would be incomplete without a mention of our third down DEs-Crable, Woods and Adalius last night. Crable will not play a prototypical OLB role. His change of direction limitations make him (like Colvin before him) a liability in coverage. 90 % of his snaps will come from thr right DE position as a pass rusher. His length, stride and surprising strength give him a huge upside. I did not observe Woods make a single play last night after taking all of the snaps with the 1S. He was washed out on a couple of sweeps. He will undoubtedly mare the squad as a special teamer but the pass rush snaps will go to Crable substituting for Bruschi on 3rd down. Adalius will play a different role on those occassions dropping in coverage or opportunistically blitzing the gaps. His third down role will be varied, rushing from RDE with Crable out and taking on the versatile Seau role when Crable is out. Crable will see snaps this year and will quickly go past Woods. Crable is two inches taller by observation and more sudden. My fellow posters may think it odd to see so much ink spilled on Woods/Crable/Adalius on a post devoted to DL. It is no accident. BB is breeding two distinct DE types for different downs and functions. The run stuffers led by Warren and Seymour backed up by LeKevin and Jarvis and the 3rd down pass rushers led by Crable and Woods. Only Vrabel and Adalius play the more traditional and versatile 3-4 outside backer. Most tellingly, during a positional breakout Crable practiced live pass rush with the DLs while all of the other LBs ran a coverage drill. What does that tell us about Crable's skillset and BB's intended use of same? At the risk of overkill, I will observe that the single most impressive physical specimen on the field last night was Crable. Think Jeavann Kearse in his pre-injury youth... Respectfully submitted, The Dookfish