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Camp Battles: CB

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Metaphors, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Locked Down Roster Spots
    RCB: Hobbs

    Camp Battle
    Bryant vs Wheatley for LCB

    Bryant suffered through injuries after signing with the cursed Lions, but had a very solid 2007 season. Coverage specialist that can stick and run with top receivers. Questionable ball skills since his tight coverage doesn't often result in interceptions.

    Wheatley has top-notch CB skills. He is on the short side and has had some injury issues. Great raw material that can be coached up into a difference maker on defense.

    Camp Battle
    Webster vs Sanders vs Richardson vs Wilhite for Dime Back

    Webster has significant starting experience at CB. Had some early success with SF before injuries caused him to team-hop the last few years. Solid if unspectacular, he has good ball skills and isn't afraid to muck in on run support.

    Sanders is a journeyman that has never really established himself. He is a bigger DB so has position flexibility to shift between CB and S.

    Richardson showed some positive signs last preseason before being redshirted. Wilhite is a real unknown since he really didn't stand out at Auburn.

    Metaphorically Speaking

    Given the amount of time the Pats are likely to be in the nickel, Bryant and Wheatley are likely to be on the field together quite a bit. Bryant's experience gets him the first shot outside opposite Hobbs. His challenge is to get the turnover (not just the deflection) when the opportunity arises. Wheatley has the loose hips and short-area quickness to be a superior inside corner. So give the LCB spot to Bryant and nickle to Wheatley.

    The dime spot is really a crap shoot and will likely be determined by injuries. Gives a good reason to watch the end of the preseason games to see if any of these guys step up and grab a roster spot. Since CBs can be fragile, having an experienced guy who can step in for a Hobbs/Bryant injury is a must. That seems to point to Webster so he gets the dime spot. Sanders would have to hope for injuries at either CB or S to stick. Richardson and Wilhite are raw enough to be gameday inactives, but I'm not going to put them there yet...they first get to battle it out on special teams.

    The most important addition in this area may be Capers. Lots of new faces but they all bring solid skills to the table. The trick will be to turn them into a cohesive unit and put them in position to make big plays. Lots of threads have already focused on what Caper's coaching will mean to the play of the DBs...which may be the most important thing to watch for in camp.

    Roster So Far...
    1-2: QB Brady, Gutierrez
    3-5: RB Maroney, Faulk, Morris
    6-9: WR Moss, Welker, CJackson, Gaffney
    10-11: TE Watson, DThomas
    12-18: OL Light, Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Kaczur, O'Callaghan, Hochstein
    19-23: DL Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Green, Wright
    24-29: LB AThomas, Hobson, Mayo, Vrabel, Bruschi, Crable
    30-33: CB Hobbs, Bryant, Wheatley, Webster
    Gameday Inactives
    46: QB O'Connell
    47-48: OL Britt, Yates
    49: DL LSmith
    50: LB Guyton

    Cut or Traded: Cassel, Pollard, Ross, Mruczkowski, SThomas, LSanders
    Battling for Special Teams: Evans, Eckel, KWashington, Aiken, Spach, Stupar, Izzo, Woods, Alexander, Ruud, Redd, Guyton, Richardson, Wilhite

    Safety up next...
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  2. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree with some of this.

    In my opinion, Hobbs is one of the starters.
    The competition for the other starter is the heavily-favored Bryant vs Webster and Sanders.
    The nickel competition is between the 2 of those that dont start, and Wheately, plus possibly Wilhite.
    I think that only 2 of Bryant, Webster and Sanders make the squad. One starts, the other is probably the nickel with Wheately and Wilhite making the team.

    Hobbs
    One veteran
    One veteran/Wheatley/Wilhite

    are the top 3. If vets are both 2 and 3, wheately and wilhite stay.
    If wheately (or wilhite) earn the nickel, one of the 2 remaining vets sticks, the other goes.

    Of course all of this changes when they hit the field and compete, but as of now that is how I see the result of that competition.

    By the way, EXCELLENT JOB with these posts.
  3. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    The only difference that I can see with my thinking is that I was trying to consider the different skill sets of the players. Much like Moss and Welker bring different strengths as WRs, you would need different skills as CBs to cover them.

    The problem is that most of the CBs are new and we only have snapshots and impressions to use when judging them. As you noted, Bryant seems like a good fit opposite Hobbs. When facing a spread offense, you will likely have to account for a WR that works the short/middle areas. The kind of WR that uses quickness and horizontal routes to gain separation and give the QB a quick target...exactly the type of WR that Samuel and Gay struggled with last year. Wheatley (admittedly with little evidence to back this up) seems to be ideally suited for this responsibility.

    As for the #4 CB, it would really depend on what the Pats are looking for in that role. Starting experience to fill in for injury/fatigue? Sounds like Webster. Position flexibility to switch between corner and safety? That's Sanders. Richardson and Wilhite could also step up and surprise.

    This position is easily the hardest to get a feel for and should be the most interesting to watch in August.
  4. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    The way they use defensive backs, it's hard to tell who will stick. I do think that sooner than later, if Wheatley is what they expect and what he looks like on film, that Hobbs will be the nickel and Bryant and Wheatley the starters.
  5. lapatsfan

    lapatsfan Rookie

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    I have a feeling Richardson is going to be a great CB. He showed alot of promise in TC last year before getting injured.
  6. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    #75 Jersey


    Not based on much, but i had a favorable opinion of him too.
  7. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    I concur. Makes for good discussion.
  8. bradmahn

    bradmahn Rookie

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    If Wheatley is what they expect and what he looks like on film, then he will be starting opposite Hobbs.

    Ellis Hobbs III is a starter on this team (no matter how many message board posters that bothers).

    I think Sanders has a good shot at making the club as a dime back. Between Hobbs, Bryant (assuming he brings it to camp) and Wheatley, I don't think they'll be looking for the fourth cornerback to be starting insurance. As the dime back, Sanders can allow for flexibility in the coverages they use and the ability to disguise things pre-snap. I do think, though, that the majority of dime coverages will have three safeties.

    I have very little faith in Webster to provide anything to this team and Wilhite will probably earn his keep as a special teamer while he develops.
  9. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady On the Roster

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    This position IMO is the one that is most up for grabs. I could see any combination of things happening. I think as we Stand Hobbs is the best guy we have(IMO gonna be a solid #1 CB) and I think Bryant is two, we will see what the rookies can offer because it would not be shocking to see one unseat one of them. While it is up in the air as to who will start I think there is plenty of talent and depth more so than last year though it would be nice to have top flight guy like Zant to go with hobbs who my only real concern is health.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  10. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I see it as the 3 FA corners we brought in are veterans who have played a lot as starters or 3rd corners. I think its a certainty one of them starts, because they are all quality players and I cant see all 3 falling on their face. They all start well ahead of Wheatley.
    I think as it falls into place the 2nd best of the vets is competing with Wheatley (assuming that Wheatley is competitive, which I think he will be) as the 3rd corner.
    I don't expect all 3 vets to make the team, A because we do have young talented corners competing with them, and B I would be shocked if any team EVER brought in 3 veteran corners who can be described anywhere from aging starter to part-time starter to veteran nickelback, and have all 3 actually make the team. I expect 1 of the 3 to crap out and be cut because of his play in camp. That is something we have seen a lot of over the years, BB bringing in multiple veteran cbs and having some make it and some not.

    I do think, however, that BB would prefer the veteran on the field early if the competition is close.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  11. mmasterkillah

    mmasterkillah Rookie

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    I truly feel that Wheatley will be an instant playmaker for us and bring athleticism and speed that we have somewhat lacked for the past couple of seasons. Is he a finished product? Absolutely not, and he will make some mental mistakes, but he has intangibles that you love to see on tape, especially from a DB. His aggression and speed breaking on the ball are two of his biggest strengths as a player. He has produced and proven his athleticism as well. I truly believe he will be the steal of this past year's draft, I just love his style of play combined with his footwork and ability to move his hips. Terrence also always seemed to be a team leader at Colorado getting everybody pumped up, so hopefully he fits in. He likes to hit and he can reach top speed extremely quickly.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I love your optimism, but if what you just wrote was the consensus (or even shared by a handful of NFL talent evaluators) he would have gone in the first round.
    There are reasons he didn't, and those reasons coupled with inexperience, being on a team that is loaded with talent, and in a system that puts heavy emphasis on not making mental mistakes leads me to believe its going to take some time for him to be a big contributor.
    I have no doubt he could start the season in the nickel package. He would, sight unseen be an imporvement over Gay, and we went 18-1 with him. (He was the worst player on the field in the '1' though).
    I think he was an excellent draft choice, but that doesn't mean it is necessary for him to contribute a whole lot as a rookie either. I'm not worried at all if or whether he will contribute the first half of the season, and any contributions he can make on special teams or in sub packages would be great.
    Any contributions in the first half of 08 are a bonus to me, contributions in the 2nd half of 08 would be nice. If he is a spare part in 08 and a contributor in 09 I still like the pick.
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I expect us to carry five corners.
    1,2) Hobbs, Bryant should be our starters with
    3) Wheatley as a lock for the roster
    4) Wilhite is worth a spot as a developmental player (he could be more this year)
    5) The final spot should go to a veteran (Webster or Sanders or Law), with Richardson possible.

    I don't expect to see Wheatley immediately counted on at nickel, although it could happen.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  14. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    Can't argue with what you say. The Pats have periodically had trouble with vets not working out, either like Starks, who had trouble right away, or like Poole, whose trouble was delayed, mostly because he was a head case. This time, like you say, they really hedged their bets. Someone's got to work out among the vets and my money would be on Bryant.

    That said, they have a real need for speed in the middle of the field and it would be way more than nice if Wheatley can pick up the defense enough to beat out the other vets on his superior talent and take significant snaps at nickelback. He has the quickness.

    Probably the best thing going for Wheatley is Welker. If anyone can school Wheatley in the mental and physical aspects of staying step-for-step with a savvy, shifty slot receiver, Wes is the one.
  15. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Rookie

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    Originally Posted by lapatsfan
    I have a feeling Richardson is going to be a great CB. He showed alot of promise in TC last year before getting injured.


    Count me in the Richardson watchers.
  16. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A healthy Ellis Hobbs was the starting LCB on this team in 2006 entering his first full season. An injury to his wrist caused him to be moved to RCB. In 2007 coming off his contract season and playing under the tag Asante was the starting LCB because he didn't like playing on the right side...

    If he's healthy following his off season surgery for the sports hernia he played through in 2007, Hobbs will be the starting LCB in 2008. Of course he may also switch to RCB situationally because he can and is willing to. But in either case he will be the #1 corner on this team. You won't see him as a nickle unless he's working his way back because of that injury. He and Rodney are the incumbant leaders in the NEP defensive backfield.
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Please list all the starting CB's in the league who spent their first year on IR.


  18. jbb9s

    jbb9s Rookie

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    I don't know if this post belongs in this thread or a future one for "special teams" but I really hope Hobbs stays off the kick return team. I know he is explosive but year after year this team is thinned out at secondary. Everyone knew Hobbs was pretty banged up last year and although he didn't really miss that much time he sure did suffer and play through a lot of pain. This became evident when he went under the knife less than 48 hours after the loss.
  19. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rookie

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    Though a new DB system(with Capers)levels the field a bit, I dont think you see a rookie close to starting. But when you consider who is making the team remember a couple things....one DB is almost always lost for the season in camp and no one has "redshirted" for BB and gone on to start(I dont even remember any making the team the 2nd year). So unless he is a ST standout and makes them cut someone like Aiken I think Richardson is fighting a losing battle. If they were high on him they wouldnt have drafted 2 cb's. Look for the possibility of a vet cut as a salary cap move if Wilhite shows something, gone are the days we can hide him on the PS.
  20. lapatsfan

    lapatsfan Rookie

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    What would that list prove or disprove?
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