Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Off The Grid, Feb 9, 2014.
And I'm worth every penny that you pay me.
Regarding Rooks & Knights
One of my most distinctive ~ and most annoying ~ Traits is of course my propensity for adapting or simply inventing NomenClature to suit my perception of the LandScape, if I believe the prevalent vocabulary to be inadequate.
Such is the case with Defensive Ends. NFL Defenses have become more'r less evenly divided between "43" Teams and "34" Teams. Far more importantly, though, the line between "43" and "34" is rapidly becoming a very fuzzy one.
Teams are increasingly going with Hybrid Theory Concepts, and the result is that many "Positions" are becoming Hybrids. Defensive Ends are at the very crux of this changing LandScape. Traditional "34" Ends are just as likely to be employed as 3 Tech Tackles, traditional "43" Ends are just as likely to be deployed as "34" Flank Defenders ~ "OutSide LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ and both are increasingly being asked to morph between Roles.
As such, I consider the old notion of pretending that these guys all go into one "Defensive End" Category to be silly.
And I also find the idea of sub-categorizing them as "34" Ends and "43" Ends, while a step in the right direction, to be ridiculously inadequate: It ignores the fact that half these guys won't even be deployed that way, and it ignores the fact that a rapidly increasing number of Defenses are going to ask them to morph between Roles.
I've imported some Chess NomenClature that I believe effectively reflects the essence of these Hybrid Prospects:
Rook is going to be my term for the 280 Pound Plus Defensive Ends who could project to Tackle.
Knight is going to be my term for the 270 Pounders or less. I like "Dragoon", too.
Both terms describe Mounted Infantry, which seems to me to be exquisitely appropriate for these particular Hybrids.
Within the 270's or in any unusual cases, it'll be a Judgement Call.
I gotta say: In my demented little mind, I'm loving these new terms!!
It seems to me that the way these Hybrid Players are getting deployed, with rapidly growing frequency, are remarkably correlative of the way Rooks and Knights get deployed In Battle on a ChessBoard!!
Rooks will get drafted either to play "34" End, "43" Tackle...or both.
Knights will get drafted either to play "34" Flanker, "43" End...or both!!
I should also add that some Prospects generally considered to be Defensive Tackles will fall under my definition of a Rook. Indeed, the way the Strategic & Tactical LandScape is evolving these days, it is of course not uncommon for an erstwhile Tackle to get kicked out to Defensive End. But of course what each Coach does with his Personnel is his Business. My Purpose here is to try to categorize Prospects by Type, and I believe that there is substantial difference between Prospects who could play both End and Tackle and Prospects whose Skills Sets suggest that they do.
These latter are genuine Hybrids ~ Rooks ~ and it is my Hope that those of you who honor my Site with your Visits will find my efforts to distinguish the one type from the other ~ wrought with Peril though it be!! ~ to be useful to your Purposes.
When evaluating Rooks, these are the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power. Above all: Core Power. Upper body Strength is important, but lower body Strength, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. It speaks to a Lineman's Capacity to project Power in the Running Game, and to reject Power in the Passing Game. I believe, as well, that those Players who invest the time and effort in developing superior Core Power are far likelier to enjoy sustained good Health and stay on the Field.
Agility. Lateral Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're stiff and lumbering.
Mechanics. Combat Tactics. Launching Speed, Paw Power, and Technique.
Intangibles. Diagnostic Capacity, Processing Speed, and Motor. How effectively he masters Spatial Diagnostics & Angles, how rapidly he recognizes and implements Blocking Schemes based on changing Defensive Tactics, and of course: Drive. How badly he wants it. These are of course difficult things to assess, but it's crucial to at least try to.
Where We're At & Where We're Heading
RD Armond Armstead ~ Lottery Ticket. I have absolutely no feel for'is Game or any idea of what to expect from this guy.
KD Chandler Jones ~ Ascending Star.
KD Rob Ninkovich ~ Established StudHorse.
KD Jake Bequette ~ An incredibly Smart, incredibly Talented, incredibly Strong & Agile Zero so far. Last Call.
KD Michael Buchanon ~ Explosive, but hasn't shown us a damned thing, either.
What I'd Love To See
1 ~ While I recognize the existence of Rooks ~ End/Tackle Hybrids, to you Earthlings!! ~ I'm ambivalent about their Utility. There are many ways to skin a cat, and many ways to deploy the obnoxiously inadequate 53 Man Roster we're all constrained by, but I prefer to morph my Defense between the "245" and "425", because I believe that that approach provides the best Opportunity to leverage the Roster's Depth.
2 ~ Pretty much everyone has written Jake Bequette off. I have not. I consider his Potential Sky High. Last Chance, though.
3 ~ Despite the fact that I love Bequette and like Buchanon, neither contributed a wit, last Year, thus rendering our Depth of Talent historically pathetic. I would desperately like to see us draft some Depth of Talent, this Year, and let the chips fall where they may. But after watching this Team for so long, I have to wonder: Have Bequette and Buchanon failed to demonstrate the capacity to contribute...or has Coach Bill crippled his Team's Potential by being overly demanding of Perfection ~ shades of Tom Brady ~ and failing to absorb a few growing pains in order to develop his Roster??
4 ~ The SeaHawks deployed no less than 7 ~ seven ~ Front Line Defenders who had between 46-58% of their Snaps.
5 ~ That is how you win Championships, my friends: Amass Depth of Talent and work the Depth.
6 ~ 58%!!
7 ~ Meanwhile, Coach Bill II The Mad (Genius) deployed Jones & Ninkvich on 96-98% of the Snaps while the untapped and unused Talents of Bequette and Buchanon rotted on the Wharfs, and while he rapidly ran Christopher Jones and Joe Vellano into the dirt. I can't help but remember how Don Zimmer & KC Jones once destroyed Dynasties.
8 ~ Coach Bill II The Mad (Genius) is murdering Jones and Ninkovich before our very eyes, just as he murdered Wilfork.
He might wanna work on that.
I'm not sure if these are two signs of the same problem or two different issues.
(A) As you said, he left Bequette and Buchanan on the bench nearly full-time.
(B) OTOH, he had two untested rookies playing 90%+ of the snaps for weeks on end at DT. I don't know how much of that was hope that Kelly would be able to return, but it's rather strange that he would go two completely different routes here, even if it was out of necessity.
First it was Wilfork, then it was Ninko & Chandler Jones. Inexcusable.
They got 10 years and only one serious injury out of Vince. That's hardly running him into the ground.
And let's face it, these people get paid big money. They should suck it up. It's their job.
Much Respect, Brother Manx, but...You're joking, right?
1 ~ For 2 Years, I'd been predicting that the recent dramatic spike in Wilfork's Snaps over the last few Years would produce an epic Disaster. It did. If you can't understand that imposing such a dramatic spike in Snaps was absolutely begging for us to lose the best Defensive Tackle in the World ~ with an obviously catastrophic effect on our Championship Chances last Year and a big loss going forward ~ then I just say "Wow."
2 ~ Evidently, you've heard some whining and moaning from Wilfork about his Snap Counts that I haven't. Otherwise, your declaration that "They should suck it up." is ridiculously inapplicable.
3 ~ Or did you mean that Wilfork's incurring a season-ending Injury constitutes failure to "suck it up"?
As you say, though: It was out of sheer necessity.
I see it as two parts of one Issue: Lack of willingness to absorb the pain and chaos of giving substantial Snaps to Rookies, and running all too many Starters ~ Veterans or Rookies ~ right into the dirt.
As I perceive it ~ and I gather that you may have a different view, which is obviously fair ~ it all boils down to Fear of Change: He latches onto a Binky ~ preferably a Veteran ~ and he's inclined to play'm till he drops.
That's just my Perception, of course.
Rushing Kong ~ Gronkowski, to you Earthlings ~ and Solitary Confinement Boy back and then losing them again is also part of the same Issue: Failing to Work the Depth on your Roster. This begs for many Problems:
1 ~ Players's effectiveness suffers dramatically when they're relentlessly abused.
2 ~ Players's Careers shorten dramatically when they're relentlessly abused.
3 ~ When the Starter finally drops and the Reserve is thrown into the Fray, he is of course not ready, because he hasn't been trained under Live Fire. The results are usually predictably disastrous.
All 3 Factors obviously and significantly damage the Team's Championship Chances, as we've seen every Year.
Not hating on Mad Bill II The Mad (Genius), Brother Pats Fans.
I love the guy. As do we all, I hope.
Just thinking out loud and offering what I consider a few talking points about how he might improve.
I seriously doubt that he's the only one doing this.
We all saw Don Zimmer run his entire Team into the dirt in 1978 ~ Butch Hobson in particular ~ despite a big fat lead and tremendous Depth ~ guys like Frank Duffy, Jack Brohamer, Bernie Carbo, and Fred Kendall.
By the time these guys were suddenly forced into action, they were stale and ineffective.
And then KC Jones pretty much murdered the 1980's Celtics, despite a phenomenal Bench.
Read up on those guys: Our Bench could've started for many Teams.
But Jones let'm rot on the Wharf...and ran the Big 3 & Friends into the dirt.
I am devoted to this creed, Brothers:
1 ~ Draft Depth. If you're not constantly feeding your entire Roster, you're losing.
2 ~ Train Depth. State of the Art Coaching is a diabolically untapped Resource.
3 ~ Work Depth. If you don't train'm under Live Fire, they won't be Ready when you need'm.
I'll preach this ~ Draft, Develop, and Deploy your Depth ~ for as long as the Gods grant it.
Use The Whole Pig, Bill.
I'm wondering if you haven't put your finger on the reason why the Patriots always seem to lose an inordinate number of players to injury during the season. This past year, I think only St. Louis (because of Bradford) had a higher dollar amount of contracts on injured reserve. And in either 2003 or 2004, the Patriots set a record for a Super Bowl winner for the number of different starters used over the course of the season. The large number of different players was necessitated by injuries.
May The God Of Your Choice Bless you, Brother Zauchin!! :rocker:
Use The Whole Pig, Bill.
Regarding MidFielders & Flankers
MidFielder is my Term for what you Earthlings call "Middle LineBackers", as I find the term "LineBacker" to be both denigrating to the Players, themselves, and also ridiculously clunky. "MidFielder" just feels far more correct to me.
Flank Defender ~ or "Flanker", not to confused with the Offensive FlankerBack or "Flanker" ~ is my preferred Term for what you Earthlings call "OutSide LineBacker", as I detest the condescending & clunky term "LineBacker."
There are of course two distinct kinds of Flankers: The "Strong" Side Sam Flanker and the "Weak" Side Will Flanker. The Sam Flanker, just to review, usually plays across from the Tight End and close to or on the Line of Scrimmage, and tends to be beefier, as he's responsible for dealing with the beefier side of the Offensive Line. The Will Flanker, on the other hand, tends to be set back from the Line, and tends to be lighter and quicker, based on the same Principal.
They are both responsible for both Run Defense & Pass Coverage and the occasional Pass Rush.
Most of these guys will project to "434" Defenses, but one or two or a few may project to "344" Defenses, in which case Pass Rushing would play a far more prominent position in their responsibilities.
Flank Defenders, in my bizarre and deeply twisted Perspective on the Universe, should not be mistaken for Knights or Dragoons, who are College Defensive Ends that I have deemed Hybrids, in the sense that they project either to Defensive End in a Professional 434 Defense, or to Flank Defender in a 344. Likewise, College Flank Defenders may project, in my view, to MidFielders at The Next Level ~ "Middle LineBacker", to you Earthings!!
Where We're At & Where We're Heading
SF Donta HighTower ~ Ascending Beast. HighTower finished 2013 with a Flourish and is also poised for a BreakOut Year.
MF Jerod Mayo ~ Established Star. In his Prime.
WF Jamie Collins ~ Ascending Star. I believe that Collins is poised for an explosive BreakOut Year in 2014.
MF Dane Fletcher ~ Ascending Beast. Fletcher is more than adept in Pass Coverage, Run Defense, and Pass Rush.
MF Brandon Spikes ~ I love the guy, but his days here are over, and it's time: he's a Liability in Pass Coverage.
What I'd Love To See
1 ~ Donta HighTower finished 2013 with a dominant stretch of Games, and is clearly poised to ascend to Stud Status and perhaps Stardom, but his Game is a 20th Century Game: He's a Pass Coverage Liability, despite commendable Agility for his size, and that would kill us in the PlayOffs every single Year.
2 ~ There are plenty of Teams who still see his kind of Game as a 3 Down kind of Game ~ including Coach Bill, I'm sorry to say ~ and if I were running things, I'd ship'm out to the highest bidder. This might sound familiar, as I mocked a Donta HighTower Trade last Year, as well.
3 ~ Let Brandon Spikes go, as well. Great Run Defender, but also a Liability in Coverage.
4 ~ Do not let Dane Fletcher go. He is a genuine 3 Down Player, and it's High Time he got a chance to Start.
5 ~ I'd love to see us draft a 21st Century Flanker or two: Agile, explosive guys with tremendous Core Power who can hold up in the Run Game but can Flip Hips and run in Pass Defense. You cannot have too many of those guys.
6 ~ Ditto a 21st Century MidFielder or two. They are even more crucial to a Defense's Success.
Regarding Defensive Backs
I must beg the Indulgence of those who honor my Posts with their Visitations one more time, I'm afraid!!
I can no longer abide the application of the pathetically weak and flaccid term "Safety" to Gladiators.
It is struck from my Vocabulary.
The erstwhile "Free Safety" is truly the CenterFielder of the Defense. Honestly, I consider the term absolutely perfect.
And the erstwhile "Strong Safety", playing an increasingly hybrid Role and constantly improvising, is a RoverBack, I think.
CornerBacks I still refer to as CornerBacks...though I break them down further in ways that I'll mercifully spare you for now!!
Where We're At & Where We're Heading
RB Duron Harmon ~ Ascending Mediocrity. Breathtakingly Adequate. The Most Average Strong Safety on the Block.
CF Devin McCourty ~ A Star, freshly ascending into his Prime.
CB Alfonzo Dennard ~ Ascending StudHorse. Took a step back in 2013, but I expect an enormous step forward in 2014.
SC Kyle Arrington ~ StudHorse. Just don't ask'm to play the Edges, and we're fine.
CB Aqib Talib ~ Star. One of the very best, when he's healthy.
CB Logan Ryan ~ Ascending Beast. The kid's a Natural. What a Steal he was. Might take a big step back in 2014, though.
RB Nate Ebner ~ Potential Beast. Yet another Talent who isn't getting developed. Maybe he doesn't have it, but I wonder...
What I'd Love To See
1 ~ Extend Devin McCourty. Don't mess around. He's an Ascending Star and will probably cost far more next Year.
2 ~ Draft a couple of real RoverBacks ~ Strong Safeties, to you Earthlings. Enough with this MidRound UFA garbage, Bill.
3 ~ Load up on Depth. If we're not crying when we cut guys in September, we're not drafting well enough.
4 ~ Get a decent Defensive Back Coach. Has anyone not regressed dramatically in their Sophomore Year around here??
5 ~ Tag & Trade Talib. Yeah, I know it's too late, but this is how I would've done it. Talib is an elite level CornerBack, but I've got a couple of problems with laying an huge Pay Day on'm. First: The Salary Cap forces tough choices on us constantly, and I believe that you get far more bang for your buck with Defensive Linemen than with CornerBacks.
6 ~ Second: I just don't trust him. I'm not saying that he's a bad kid or anything. But my gut is telling me not that this kid has genuinely matured, but that he's been on Good Behavior for the last couple of Years. And my Spidey Sense is telling me that if he finally Gets Paid, as he's certainly about to, his Career could very well go straight to Hell.
7 ~ I'd rather invest my Cap Dollars in the Front 7, thank you very much, and with Defensive Backs that I believe in.
Like Devin McCourty.
These are great points.
I've always lived in enraged horror ~ as have we all, including Coach Bill himself, I should imagine ~ at the inordinate number of Injuries that the Patriots seem to get beset by, each and every Year.
It's a brutal Sport.
The way I figure it: Why not maximize your chances of sustaining health throughout the length and breadth of your Roster, while at the same time fully engaging every man as a Partner, rather than as an UnderStudy?
Any Student of Human Nature will tell you that a Reserve who believes he's genuinely Part Of Something is far more likely to stay focused on Preparation ~ on doing the thousands of Little Things That Matter.
And of course: There Is No Substitution For Live Fire.
Use The Whole Pig, Bill.
It's a magnificent example of successfully lying to yourself. The finesse offense that is built to disguise this weakness is going to get you through the season, against weak divisional opponents, but it falls apart in the playoffs.
This means you don't win a Lombardi and you also pick later in the draft, the worst of both worlds.
I'd much rather take my medicine, as foul as it tastes, and spend the appropriate resources on upgrading the O-line, even if it means you take a temporary step back and don't win as many regular season games, and then take several steps forward.
By the by, player A was Chris Jones, player B was Joe Vellano.
I would choose Jones since I already see him as a Mike Wright type penetrator in the defense rotation who could really benefit from a full training camp.
He had 3 more "penetrations" than Vellano in 120 more snaps. I don't think it's cut and dried that Jones is better than Vellano at all.
Just using a pure b.s. defense, I'm hoping the high snap (792 snaps v 672 snaps) caused exhaustion that would explain the difference.
To be fair, though, a decent percentage of Vellano's snaps came opposite Wilfork/Kelly, while Jones rarely if ever had that luxury.
Actually, Vellano didn't get his first QB pressure until week four and only had five total by the time Kelly went down.
My point is not that Vellano is better than Jones though, just that it's not cut and dried that Jones is better than Vellano which tends to be an accepted view.
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