Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, May 25, 2013.
All seem fine for now. This is extremely good news.
Wow.....I'm glad I opened this thread.
Injury-wise all seem to be progressing well. Liked what I saw this week regarding Ballard from everything I read, he seems like he's moving well and hopefully will give them some production. A lot of the speculation swirling seems to point to Gronk on PUP to open the year, which wouldn't be the worst thing I guess since it would be nice to see him build up his strength before getting back on the field. Clearly they'll need guys like Ballard will need to be productive though if he's out.
Fletcher is a guy I thought last year might have a breakout year but that was obviously cut short due to his injury, so I'm hopeful this will be his season. As for Dowling, everyone said he looked great. I have a hard time believing he'll be injured again so I feel like this will definitely be his year, although I thought the same thing about Patrick Chung.
I'm sure mgteich appreciates the constructive feedback.
In terms of importance to the overall team, I think Jake is above the other two right now as it stands because there doesn't seem to be huge expectations on either of them to fill someone as important as Gronkowski's shoes through TC.
Ballard's likely being the most counted on in TC to fill Rob's void. His reps will be integral this season as he familiarizes himself in the 'Patriots way'. We will see how his body responds once the real hitting starts, but I have very high expectations for Ballard this season if he can remain healthy.
Busthird! Nadya is sleeping and I almost LMA out loud.
I'm sure there are those who simply don't care who is available and participating. They just make silly posts and start focusing (maybe) when the season starts. Of course, then they are surprised by injuries. That's fine.
I've even heard rumors that there are folks who don't like to construct or read about any projected rosters (whether 46, 53, or 60). They simply want to wait and see.
Different stokes for different folks!
I prefer to look at now and project forward (after looking at any deficits from last year).
I could see one of these guys being traded by the end of the preseason (Dowling and/or Fletcher). I feel like they're more susceptible to being traded if they have a strong preseason...not that we'll get much for them. I see it as a David Thomas type of trade. Thomas was another player who never did anything for us due to injuries until he created some value with strong performances in the preseason and had a good role on another team (the Saints) (plus a good relationship with that HC). They may no longer have a role for them but who knows.
Sorry, I was inspired....couldn't help myself.
Ballard is a proven commodity, if he's healthy we know we will get production from him. I really liked what I saw from Fletch before he got hurt last year.
Dowling is the wild card in this thread: I'll believe it when I see it..........
While it's wonderful news that all 3 of these players are currently healthy at the moment, we'll have another batch of players who take their place (unfortunately).
It's just the nature of the game, and why depth is so insanely important.
It seems to be a debbie downer kind of post, but unfortunately it is true.
Ballard is very important as depth as an inline Blocking TE along with the ability to enhance jumbo packages. If we had a backup to Gronk like Ballard at the end of the past 2 seasons.....
Fletcher can fill an important role as the coverage LB in sub package and showed good timing as a blitzer, again provides additional scheme flexibility and a LB who can play the position as well as ST's.
Dowling could have the biggest impact if he stays healthy, provides a second CB with lenght who can cover larger WR's, depth for Talib and if playing outside can allow Dennard to move inside.
We saw how important health was last year for the 9'ers, I would love to see the Pats have a year where they are relatively healthy.
The question is - do you want Dennard to move inside? Based off of what we saw last season, the book on Dennard is that he isn't very fast, or very quick either, but can mess up a receiver with his physicality (8/10 if that cop is to be believed).
Moving him inside means 1) taking him off the LOS on many plays, neutralizing his press skills and 2) taking the boundary away from him and giving him a two-way go, which he isn't suited for athletically. There were several times during the season he got beat on crossing patterns - ie. what he'd see every down in the slot. Obviously he's a far better outside CB than Arrington, but I for one don't want him inside.
You're completely right about that. Dennard is strictly an outside CB and won't ever perminently move to the slot.
What you say is true. That is one of the reasons folks are so concerned about the DTs. I'm fine with them if they all stay healthy.
For me, it is important that these 3 players make the team much better for now. They certainly add to the depth in 3 key areas. THe secondary has better depth than it has had in years. We probably have the best #4 CB and #4 S in the league (and that doesn't even count the possibility that the rookies will move up in the depth chart.
I agree that we will need to deal with injuries when they come. We are already dealing the possibility that Gronkowski won't be ready to start the season.
I like your post, it agrees with my views.
But you have forgotten someone who should be there. Daniel Fells played little last year, but I believe it was because he was injured. He too can be the blocking TE who can also catch occasionally. At least his career history if not last year, shows that.
I think that Fletcher will be more valuable replacing Spikes if Spikes is hurt, or needs a blow. As to his coverage ability, I suspect that Wilson and/or Collins will do far better.
I too believe that if Dowling is healthy, the secondary is far better. Alphonzo Dennard could be a pro bowl revelation in the slot, and as a fifth or sixth DB. Unless a miraculous transformation occurs Ebner and Cole should be exclusively ST players, and never see a regular defensive snap. I think Logan Ryan becomes the swing CB, not Cole.
I think there's a decent possibility that Belichick isn't quite done with the DL just yet, and that there will be at least a player or two added via roster cuts.
We spoke of the lack of adequate depth in this area prior to the draft, but didn't fully agree on how bad it was. I see it as a bit worse than you do, but certainly hope that I am way off base.
One would think that we'll be very competitive no matter what aside from the unthinkable...
The Fells situation will be an interesting development to watch, especially if part of his generally ineffective season was due to his injury--which I think you're right.
We've seen him play much better than this past season, and it's not like they'd save a ton of money by cutting him, so unless one of the UDFA's steps up I'd think the chances of him staying are probably better than him leaving.
The waiving of Love and Deaderick bring a bit of a different perspective on DL depth. I always hoped for an addition at DE (Abraham perhaps). Now, it also seems reasonable for Belichick to look around for a veteran backup NT.
As we stand now, I think that we are much better than last year on the DL. However, that is before the inevitable injury or two or three.
I always thought that a healthy Ballard would make the team, and that the 4th TE would likely be Hooman. I thought that Fells was the wildcard and could be the #3, #4 or be cut.
Now, if Gronk isn't ready to start the season, I certainly want the veteran on the squad, if he's healthy.
The Pats played with only three biggies on the interior Dl last season, with Mo Pryor unavailable. On some pass rushing downs, Cunningham took an interior position.
I'd say the same applies this season. If a fourth genuine big man is kept, he may well come from Forston, Grissom, Cherington or Velone, as I don't expect him to see much action.
Separate names with a comma.