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A discussion on special teams

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by MalaysiaPatsFan, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. MalaysiaPatsFan

    MalaysiaPatsFan Rookie

    Mar 8, 2005
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    I would like to hear everyone’s input on special teams. I am not talking about a poll on whether Miller or Baugher will make the cut as the punter. I mean beyond just kicker, punter and long snapper. I do not get to see training camp or even hardly any of the games, so I am just going on my opinion based on what I have read in the media and here on pats fans. Please add to this discussion with your enlightened opinions.

    I will start with the easy ones.

    Kicker – Gostkowski. There is no competition here. I guess Welker and maybe the punter are the backups.

    Punter – I hope it is Baugher, because I don’t want him to be the next Robbie Gould (young player the Pats let go who becomes a Pro Bowler on another team). From what I hear he needs to work on dropping kicks inside the 20 and to show the same punting ability in games that he has shown in practice and the job could be his. However, I think Miller’s punting days are not over yet and this is a close competition. It is probably too much to hope for to have Miller as our punter and Baugher on the PS. Someone would probably snatch him up.

    Long Snapper – It seems that every year some people want to get rid of Lonnie because he is a “wasted” roster spot as he only does one thing. I understand this thinking, but I don’t think BB agrees. I expect Lonnie to stay as our long snapper and Hochstein as the backup.

    Now the fun (and guessing on my part) begins. I think some guys beyond kicker, punter and long snapper make the team based primarily on their special teams ability.

    Willie Andrews – From what I have read he is our top gunner. He is potentially better than Je’Rod Cherry was and has the versatility that Je’Rod never had. Andrews could be a backup KR or PR as well as a backup FS or CB. I think I also read somewhere that he was the lead blocker for Hobbs on his kickoff returns. I think he could be closer to a lock than on the bubble.

    Larry Izzo – I think his Pro Bowl days are over, but his playing days are not done yet. I remember even last year that some people were hoping for a youth movement to replace Izzo. It could happen, but I don’t think it will happen this year. Maybe next year.

    Mel Mitchell – I think he is supposed to be an ST demon. How good is he? Could he potentially be the next ST captain when Izzo hangs it up?

    Dante Wesley – Is it possible the Pats got him for his ST ability as much as his potential as a backup CB?

    Eric Alexander – Will he get pushed out by the rookies? I have doubts that he will ever be more than a backup ILB in the defense, but he could stick because of his ST ability.

    Corey Mays – Same as Alexander, but I have the impression that Alexander is ahead of Mays in both the ILB depth chat and ST ability. I don’t have facts to back this up so I welcome anyone to prove me wrong.

    Pierre Woods – Last year he may have made the team because of his contribution on ST. This year I think he makes it based on his potential as a backup (and maybe future starter) OLB, but I think he will still be a big contributor on ST.

    Kelley Washington – Right now based on what I have read I do not think he makes the cut. Could his ST ability put him over the edge to make it as #53 on the roster? I have read that he has played some as gunner and has practiced as gunner for the Pats, but he is really any good at it?

    Garrett Mills – I think Mills may make the team based on his potential as H-back. However, I believe he contributed on ST at Tulsa. It will be interesting to see if he can be a big contributor on ST for the Pats. Even if he makes the team as an H-back if he cannot contribute much on ST he may be inactive unless someone is injured (which unfortunately seems likely based on current health of our TEs).

    Rookies – I won’t comment much on the rookies yet, because I just don’t have enough information on their ST ability. We all know it could be the difference between making the roster or not.

    Other Vets – I think Chad Brown may not make the cut and gives way to the youth movement that can contribute on ST unless we have any injuries at LB. Sanders makes it as the backup SS and ST contributor. Hawkins and Baker are in a battle to make the roster as backup S and ST contributor. I expect one of them to make it, but probably not both. Tory James's lack of ST ability may hurt his chances to make the roster. Does he pay on ST? I just haven't heard anything about him on ST.
  2. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Feb 19, 2007
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    #24 Jersey

    I am interested to see Mel Mitchell I remember him as a special teams demon with the saints
  3. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Oct 2, 2006
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    #12 Jersey

    You seem to be focused on the speed guys rather than also the size/speed guys like LBs, FBs, and TEs.

    I'll leave returners out of the discussion, as there's a separate thread for those. Also K/P/LS.

    On kickoff coverage, I believe Mike Wright made the team in part because he was a great wedge-buster. I'd also guess he's the only DL now, although I think Jarvis Green was on kick return when he was younger.

    Evans, Morris, the backup LBs, Mills if he makes the team, Dave Thomas, and as many starting LBs as needed have roles where bigger fellows are needed. This is most important on punting, where about 7 guys plus the long snapper need to be able to both block and run. Bruschi and I think also Vrabel have played a lot of STs. A. Thomas was a Pro Bowler on STs one year, beating out Izzo. Basically, the available pool there is every LB except Seau and Colvin, every RB except Maroney and Faulk, plus the younger TEs and maybe Mike Wright. That's not a LOT more than 7, so I imagine they'll all at least practice for those roles.

    Gunners? We'll see. It's an important job, and there will be a lot of competition for it. Andrews has the inside track on one of the "starting" spots.

    Kickoff coverage? A mix of gunner candidates and bigger guys, with bigger DBs/WRs to round out the mix. Obvious candidates include Washington if he makes the team, the younger backup DBs, and the ST-focused LBs.

    FG defense? Everybody who resembles a DT is on the line. I bet Troy is still on the unit too. It would make sense to have the best DB blitzers on the team there too, such as Rodney, who could also help defend against fake FGs, but I'm not aware of that commonly happening.

    Punt return? Well, who's good at the inside rush and can also run? Mike Wright for sure. Probably Bruschi. Wilfork and Green would make sense, but I don't know if they play there. Some OLB types for a combination of edge rush and blocking. Bigger DBs to block the gunners first and eventually everybody else.

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