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'06 ST rebuilding

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AzPatsFan, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    It is apparent now that Belichick and the other Coaches had a couple of rebuilding projects in mind for the last offseason.
    Its time to look at the progress thereat:
    A) teh running game
    B) ST play in all phases.

    A) The runing game has been upgraded significantly, with the addition of Laurence Maroney and Ryan O'Callaghan, at the run dominant position of RT, is doing fine. Its fourth or fifth in the league and a feared dimension for opposing Coaches. Allowing Cory Dillon to pace himself and ease into the Bettis mode is doing wonders for his longevity and effectiveness too. K Faulk is as effective as ever as the third down back, pass catcher, and screen runner. He is no longer being asked to run it as much as as an alternative. He is too small and insecure in his ball possesion to be able to with stand the jarring big hits. Complimentary players in Evans, Pass and perhaps Mills, as a future Larry Centers role, complete the package. Great success. Enuf said.

    B) I think the Pats brass was unsatisfied with the ST play, over the last couple of years. KO distance was short. Opponents were starting beyond the thirty-five way too often. Returns by the opponents were creeping up in yardage; the coverage was mediocre. Patriots returners at both KO and especially PR duties, were not feared or/and producing mediocre statistics and no scores and or field position.

    They decided to get both younger and faster in coverage and returners. The old gunners were replaced with faster newcomers, Iwuoma, and Andrews. Oldsters Izzo and Davis slower linebackers, were reasigned inside to other coverage and competiton for their jobs with more able players able to compete for regular team snaps were brought in. Tebuckey Jones, Mel Mitchell and Barry Gardner all ended up on IR, but all are accomplished STers, a generation younger and the competiton has pushed both Izzo and Davis to better performances. TBC and Eric Alexander have done well on ST coverage replacing others such as Matt Chatham.

    AV walked and two bigger legs were brought in. Gostkowski won. Gostkowski's KO depth is among the NFL's best. His FG precentage has been average, but not bad; Miller is still having probowl type performances as a punter. Ditto for Paxton at long snapper.

    Freeing Kevin Faulk from some running duties, has allowed him to concentrate more as a PR. His skill is showing in a near league leading PR average. As a KO returner newcomer LM has put a spark there with his returns. Andrews hurt with a hip injury has not been playing much as a KO returner, but he has fine college credentials for that task and that and his "gunner" play has won him a job as a rookie.

    In short the ST in all seven dimensions, KOs, PRs, KO depth, PR coverage, KO coverage, Punting, and FG kicking, have been addressed. All but FG kicking has proven successful and FG kicking gets an INC, and may still be a strength and improved. Further improvement is still possible, as the IR people return next season, and Andrews matures.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2006
  2. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very nice look.

    Where do you expect the rebuilding energy to go this coming offseason?
  3. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    The past several years, the Coaches and FO addressed an area that was average or just above average and tried to improve it. The job is complete.

    This is the first year that they have the luxury of just adding good players wherever they find them.

    For example: The LB situation is actually almost rebuilt for another generation and I'm not talking about the one year patch of Jr Seau. People don't recognize that though. Reality takes a while to penetrate the conventional wisdom.

    Lets inspect the current LB corps. Colvin is 29, TBC is 26, Woods is 23, Vrabel is 30 going on 31 and Bruschi is the old man at 33 going on 34. They now know who will be the Team's LB "mike" man and play caller after Bruschi. Its Vrabel. The only true old timers are the ST guys, and perhaps Bruschi who only has a couple/three years left. Gardner and Alexander are good ST and younger. Cox, Phifer, and TJ and Willie have all been replaced, already; nobody seems to have noticed.

    I'd look at where the Team is not as solid. ILB and OLB will get some attention. I expect these might be addressed with veterans in either FA or trade, though. An OLB might be drafted high to develop. Think what NFL star veterans like Adalius Thomas, Keith Bulluck or Takeo Spikes would do for the LB corps.

    There are positions available for improvement at CB and Safety. These are not pressing needs IMO. Sanders 23, is developing, and Hawkins at 29 is a find to go with Geno, 27. Both Antrell and Geno are ex-CBs who can cover like a CB and tackle like a Safety. Not many clubs have that kind of luxury. Harrison is getting old. So there may be a need for a big Safety to groom. There is always an opening at CB. I could see a high pick here, too.

    They need another WR to take Troy's position when he retires. Unlike others I think there is still an opening for a starting caliber G/C interior Offensive lineman. Russ Hochstein is an able starter/reserve and maybe Yates would be acceptable, but a truly dominant G/C, hands down, would be nice to have.

    I don't think they would use a high pick for a LOT candidate unless a great player just fell to them. IMO they have four starting OTs and Mankins could move too, if absolutely necessary, to make five.

    Stretching to look for an opening, there is an opening for a third QB to groom and a third down pass catching back to groom behind KF who is turning thirty this season. Josh Miller can't keep it up for much more than 3-5 years too.
  4. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BB also rebuilt the WR corp this years, the benefits will become more apparent by the time of the playoffs and very apparent next year.

    Just completed this year (as much as the roster is ever complete) rebuilding the OL.

    #3 developmental QB

    Work on the LB corp. Perhaps the DB's?

    The rest is determined on what happens with our FA's.
  5. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Places where they could tweak with new personnel:

    Backup QB -- make Cassell tradeable some day
    WR -- not everybody on this year's roster will prove a long-term keeper
    TE -- if Graham leaves
    OL -- yet another development guy
    DL -- it's only 5 deep

    So LB and DB could be just tweaked too.
  6. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice breakdown on STs, the focus in camp really paid off as you mentioned they were able to replace primary STers Mitchell, TBuck and Gardner with younger cheapers guys without missing a beat.

    As constituted, based on currently signed players, there are holes at CB & LB next year. This could change but anytime players hit free agency there is an increased risk they will be gone.

    When you start to look at the roster as a whole, it makes the case for best available player very compelling. The team is very balanced heading into next year.

    2007

    ----------
    CBs signed Hobbs, Scott
    - ERFA Spann
    - RFA Gay
    - 3 open spots

    Remaining CB spots
    - 1 spot - if Spann shows anything extend him
    - 1 veteran FA, please don’t be from the same mold as Warfield, Starks
    - 1 spot via draft, there may be some expectation that the CB brought in through the draft will be the #2 or worst case #3 CB on the team, for a rookie to come in at this level it makes sense to take the player high, rounds 1 or 2

    Another option
    - sign Samuels, draft a CB in rounds 1 or 2 and CB becomes a position of strength
    - if a quality Safety is a better value than CB in the draft, draft Safety move Wilson to CB
    - sign a quality CB via free agency, draft a developmental CB later in the draft, rounds 3 or 4

    ----------
    LBs signed (age at start of next season) – Bruschi (33), Vrabel (32), Colvin (30), Woods (24)
    - average age 29.8
    - 5 spots open based on current 53 man roster (9 LBs)

    Remaining LB spots
    - 2 spots – pick 2 from TBC, Alexander, Gardner, Mays - some youth and depth could be provided quickly if Alexander or TBC are re-signed (Alexander may be a RFA or URFA, not sure)
    - 1 spot - either Izzo or Davis may be brought back, 2007 is the year one of them goes (I said this last year too!)
    - 1 spot - Draft
    - 1 open spot, filled as you said by a FA (Thomas from Baltimore would be ideal)

    Other options
    - bring in more youth in via draft, unless the right person is there in early rounds more likely to see round 4,5 type players brought in with expectations of learning system while performing on special teams

    Safeties signed (7)
    - Wille Andrews, Rodney Harrison, Antrell Hawkins, Tebucky Jones, Mel Mitchell, James Sanders, Eugene Wilson
    - I am not saying these are all good players but they are signed through 2007



  7. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    they still need a punt returner as faulk and brown are reliable but not game changers. i say down the road give willie andrews a try. they did have chad jackson in for one return but it was kicked out of bounds
  8. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    they still need a punt returner as faulk and brown are reliable but not game changers. i say down the road give willie andrews a try. they did have chad jackson in for one return but it was kicked out of bounds
  9. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    they still need a punt returner as faulk and brown are reliable but not game changers. i say down the road give willie andrews a try. they did have chad jackson in for one return but it was kicked out of bounds
  10. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    they still need a punt returner as faulk and brown are reliable but not game changers. i say down the road give willie andrews a try. they did have chad jackson in for one return but it was kicked out of bounds
  11. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mr Big, don't post
    while hiccuping.
  12. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Linebacker is interesting to watch pondering whether any of the reserve moves are developing the next starting ILB...

    Gardner: His weight and strength wasn't geared for the 3-4 coming out of Herm's training program, but he seemed to understand the basics of gap control. As he rehabs, he also gives Woicik and Nash a full year to re-tune him for ILB.

    Alexander & Mays: Both are MLBs from college programs run by Belichick friends and former coordinators. Mays on the Practice Squad is following in the footsteps of Alexander - currently a Reserve ILB/OLB/Special Teams' Ace. The team roster shows them both in the 6-1/6-2 - 240-245 range, roughly Bruschi size. Can either make the move from STs to MLB/ILB in Tedy's footsteps?

    Vrabel: I'm not sold on long term plans to move him inside - not that I don't think he would be good, but that may not be the best move for the team.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2006
  13. jczxohn1

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    Would like to see us pick up Brandon Stokely to replace Troy. 30 yrs old, 4 yrs with Colts, his contract must be close if he hasn't been extended. Plug-and-play 3rd man. He kills us, too.
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A roster post on a boring day! We will be very strong coming out of this year.

    See below for a 2007 roster before free agency and the draft. I assume we sign our EFRA's. They have no choice. I also presume the signing of RFA Gay at what it takes to get a 1st in compensation (so we either have Gay or a first)

    OFFENSE (24)
    QB - 2 Brady, Cassell
    RB - 3 Dillon, Maroney, Faulk
    TE/HB 3 Watson, Thomas, Mills
    WR - 6 Gabriel, Jackson, Caldwell, Gaffney, Childress,Shelton/Kight/Shelton
    OT - 4 Light, O'Callaghan, Kaczur, Britt
    C - 2 Koppen, Hochstein
    OG - 4 Mankins, Neal, Yates,Stevenson

    DEFENSE (26)
    DL - 8 Seymour,Wilfork,Warren,Green,Wright,Smith,Hill,Thomas
    LB - 6 Colvin,Bruschi,Vrabel,Alexander,Woods,Mays
    CB - 5 Hobbs,Wilson,C, Scott, Gay,Spann
    S - 6 Harrison,Hawkins,Sanders,Andrews,Jones,Mitchell
    DB - 1 Ventrone/G. Williams

    SPECIALISTS (3)
    K 1 Gostkowski
    P 1 Miller
    DS 1 Paxton
    ====================================
    Free Agents
    --------------
    Graham
    Samuel
    Brown
    Banta-Cain
    Seau
    Evans
    Pass
    Gardner
    Iwouma
    Izzo
    Davis
    =========================

    OFFENSE
    Obviously, we could use Graham and Evans or their replacments.
    We also have room for a WR.
    However, this team is really quite strong as is.

    DEFENSE
    We need Banta-Cain and Seau or their replacments.
    Obviously, Samuel creates a hole. I filled it with Gay and moved Wilson to corner. We have plently of safeties.

    SPECIAL TEAMS
    We lose three key STer's: Iwoume, Izzo and Davis and get Mitchell, Jones and Gay back. Andrews should improve.
    =============================

    This is the definition of a great team, when we look one year ahead and see few holes.
  15. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    Great post. I have a hard time evaluating STs unless they really stink. They had seemed to slip and I hope the improvement keeps up.

    The only thing that worries me is ball security with Faulk.

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