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  1. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Just thinking about the thread where Holley claimed, on WEEI, that the LB corp is the best the Pats have ever had. I think he might be overselling it, but there is a kernal of truth there.

    Made me think that we've said the same thing about or OL, DL and TE units, too. In fact, at any number of positions on the team, we have some of the best talent we've ever had, ever.

    QB -
    pro: Brady is in the prime of his career, at the peak of his game; Cassell looks like a keeper
    con: We're only two players deep

    RB -
    pro: clearly the best RB foursome we've ever had at Foxboro
    con: not sure, ?? what's not to like

    WR -
    pro: promising, flashed a lot of upside at Cinci and Minnesota
    con: untested

    TE -
    pro: clearly the best set of TEs we've ever had: Graham, Watson, Thomas, Mills
    con: is this Graham's last year?

    OL -
    pro: maybe the best ever... certainly the deepest ever, in terms of numbers. By my count, we've played Light, O'Callaghan, Britt, Kaczur at OT with no dramatic dropoff in play. Mankins and Neal are simply fantastic players, Hochstein is great, we stashed Yates on the PS, and he gave us a solid start against the Vikes. Add in future pro-bowler Dan Koppen, and we have enough talent to staff two full starting OLs.
    con: a bunch of ugly bastards

    DL -
    pro: definately the best ever: we have Jarvis, Wright and Hill coming off the bench?!?
    con: youth, talent, strength, smarts, work ethic. There is nothing missing

    LB -
    pro: solid, experienced and reliable
    con: aging and really 5 players deep: Bruschi, Seau, Vrabel, Colvin, TBC... could use one more guy and another rookie

    DB -
    pro: physical, versatile, quick, good tacklers and very deep
    con: doesn't strike fear into your heart. I'm thinking of Milloy, Jones, Victor Green, Law, Smith, Buckley: man, they were good, fast, smart and experienced... we need a few more ballhawks to force turnovers.

    Coaching -
    HC - BB is transforming the professional game. He'll take his place beside guys like Lomarbi and Walsh as the greatest coaches of all time
    OC - Minnesota game answered some questions about whether the kid has the creativity to come up with a winning strategy for a tough opponent
    DC - Pees looks like a huge upgrade over Mangini... which is a surprise to me. But he has yet to call a bad game, or a single bad play that I've picked up on. The players are playing for him.

    In general, this is the best, most talented roster we've ever seen. To some extent, I felt the same way about last year's crew-- but they started slow and never clicked. Injuries on D took the soul out of the team. This year, you can tell from the lockerroom banter, the practical jokes, the beard growing, Dillon/Moroney buddy stories... the team is confident and in very high spirits. That's a good sign. They know that something good is happening. They're loose and they exude confidence in themselves, the team... and it shows in their play.

    To any close observer, this feels a team that can respond to adversity with calm efficiency, pride and results. Halfway through the season, and it feels like the Pats are just hitting their stride. A win against the Colts will put them over the top. And, actually, a loss to the Colts wouldn't be all bad: this team would react to a big loss at home with a lot of righteous anger; it would make them stronger for the playoffs.

    Only the Broncos, Colts and Bears can legitimately contend. But I think BB can scheme Manning out of a game, the solution to beating the Broncos has become common knowledge, and the Bears are susceptible to the same sort of no-huddle passing attack that dismantled the Vikings last week.

    I feel very good about this team. They're multidimensional. They can win in a hundred different ways. The Dyansty is not over-- it feels like it's just picking up steam.

    Plus, two first round picks next year...... it's a golden age in New England.
     
  2. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Pretty good analysis. I won't pick at it.

    One thing, Hill coming off the bench? I think he's physically attached to it by now.:rolleyes:
     
  3. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    Golden indeed, Rook. All of the media pundits who criticized the Pats for losing Deion Branch will be singing their praises in April when we pickup up two blue chippers in Round 1. Oh how the rich get richer.
     
  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It sure is. Most of the team is now young, signed and drafted by this front office. Two #1s this year plus some day two comp picks will keep it going - and I still think we'll get a Day One pick for Cassel for the 2008 draft also.

    Nothing describes the competence of the front office more than looking at Gabriel and Givens. We give up a #5 for Gabriel and will get about that back for Givens. So they were traded for each other. Except that Givens got about $5M a year and Gabriel is making about $500K. With the difference we re-signed Koppen (and have $1M or so leftover). BTW, don't forget that we have a huge amount of cap space next year and moved $2M of this year's into next year as a side piece of the Koppen deal.
     
  5. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    the last two teams they played the broncos they've been an unbalanced team. last year they had no running game but almost came back to win the game exclusively throwing it. this year they had no passing game. i'd prefer nt to play denver again until next year, but i'd live to see the pats play them when they are equally balanced running and passing the ball.

    plus last year, they had no rodney, no bruschi, they had sucky starkes, no dillon, pass had convlusions and dropped a ball for a fumble, and i beleive seymour was out.

    can you say triage team?
     
  6. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Great point. And I'll tell you what... I think Gabriel might actually be the better pure receiver of the two. Givens was great in the running game... I haven't been able to get a read on Gabriel in that aspect of the game. But in terms of talent and value for the team, the two are very close in terms of value. And, to your point, Gabriel has the better pricetag.
     
  7. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    The Patriots could definitely use one more guy, at ILB. One or more of Izzo, Davis and Alexander needs to be replaced next year (if not sooner) by a young, talented ILB (or two) and a dependable vet. Woods should really be on the PS. If Beisel didn't have the heart for ILB, perhaps he should have been tried at OLB, his position at KC.

    The secondary is 6 deep. Andrews, Sanders and Spann (and the unlamented Iwuoma) cannot be trusted with the regular D. Either Andrews or Spann should be on the PS, and be replaced by a professional CB/FS. I wouldn't be upset if Sanders is also demoted in favor of a SS who can be trusted to give Rodney some much-needed rest.

    Nitpicking? Maybe. I'm afraid I'm a glass-is-half-full guy. Expect the worst, hope for the best. Otherwise, right now there is a lot to like about the roster.
     
  8. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So let me get this straight:

    Get rid of:

    Izzo
    Davis
    Alexander
    Woods
    Andrews
    Spann
    Sanders

    Well then. That would be only all SPECIAL TEAMS unit.

    I don't think you understand that. They are ROLE PLAYERS. Their roles have been, are, and will be to CONTRIBUTE ON SPECIAL TEAMS. Woods is usually inactive, but Spann and Andrews are gunners and we know what Izzo, Davis, and Alexander can do.

    I've gone through this discussion with somebody before, and I don't know if it was you.

    Hey, if you want to make your own 53 and you want Takeo Spikes and Donnie Edwards and Lofa Tatupu as backup linebackers, be my guest.

    But there isn't a big chance at all that the starting LBs will go down. Therefore, Spikes and Edwards and Tatupu will have to play on SPECIAL TEAMS, since they replaced, in Izzo's case, a 6-year fixture there.

    And I bet you everything that those so-called "dependable vets" or "young talents" WILL NOT perform as well on special teams as the specialized Izzo and Davis.

    On an NFL 53 man roster, there are simply NOT enough spots to have BOTH dependable backups and special teams aces. The special teamers take precedent.

    And the Pats' roster for the past 6 years doesn't lie.

    For ****s and giggles, here's the 2004 XXXIX secondary and LBs:

    CB - Samuel
    CB - Gay
    CB/WR - Brown
    CB - Poteat
    CB - Moreland

    FS - Wilson
    SS - Harrison
    S - Cherry
    S - Reid

    OLB - Vrabel
    OLB - McGinest
    OLB - Colvin
    OLB - Banta-Cain

    ILB - Bruschi
    ILB - Phifer
    ILB - Johnson
    ILB - Izzo
    ILB - Davis
    ILB - Chatham
    ILB - Alexander

    ...

    The first thing you noticed? The 2006 LB corps has considerably fewer players. Subtract Chatham and Phifer, and replace Johnson with Seau and McGinest with Woods, and give Colvin a huge upgrade from his still-injured 2004, and you have 2006.

    You'll also notice that Colvin and T.J. are the only real "dependable vet backups" there. The rest - Izzo, Davis, Chatham, Alexander (actually IRed before the Super Bowl), Banta-Cain - are GREAT special teamers.

    In the secondary, same thing. Cherry, Reid, Poteat, and Moreland are all pretty good special teamers. Replace Gay with Hobbs, Brown with Scott, Moreland with Andrews, Poteat with Spann, Reid with Hawkins, and Cherry with Sanders, and you have 2006.

    Notice the improvement? Also, don't forget that Andrews would probably be a 5th S/6th CB if it wasn't for Jones, Gay, Mitchell, and others going down.
     
  9. The Gr8est

    The Gr8est In the Starting Line-Up

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    Another point that I love about this team is another category you sort of alluded to "future depth".

    Hmmm, let's see, we sort of know how the Pats and Colts match up in the other categories, but when we compare future depth, we see that one team gets three picks in the top two rounds (although two are at the end of the round) and a bunch of compensation picks, missing only one 5th round choice, while the other team gets only one pick in the 1st two rounds.

    The biggest danger is that another AFC team will get on the phone to the Redskins before us, as soon as Dan Snyder learns he has more draft picks he can trade.
     
  10. The Gr8est

    The Gr8est In the Starting Line-Up

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    ...but when they DO sing the praises, they will give the impression they agreed with BB all along.
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In 2004, we had six starting quality linebackers. Today we have four. We survived a mediocre groups of corners, and no backuop safeties. We are actually in a bit better shape now. Today we have Chad Scott and Hawkins as quality backups at corner and safety.

    I strongly agree that we should understand that the Special Teams is a unit just like any other, with starters, stars and backups.

     
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll nitpick a bit. After all, you were under the influence.
    =============================================
    OFFENSE - This is the best offense we've ever had, even without Graham.

    QB We should have a quality veteran QB on the squad. Many teams are playing their #2, some are playing their #3.

    WR This group could be as good as we've every had by year-end. We've never had super stars or even real probowlers at WR. However, this group really lacks individual talent.

    RB We've never had better.

    TE Ben Coates and anyone was better, but we have a fine group; BTW, Mills is simply a possibility. Graham needs to come back, or we'll draft yet another TE.

    OL young, strong, and the best since Hannah, with much more depth

    Coaching - Josh will be fine as long as he calls Charlie every week and keeps Charlie's playbooks and game plans close at hand. Dante is the ROCK of the staff.
    ===================
    DEFENSE

    Bend and don't break works for us. Three stats say it all for me: 1) points allowed, 2) red zone opportunities allowed; 3) red zone points per opportunity. This defense has been built for bb's schemes. I see weakness at corner and backup ILB, but all teams have weaknesses. I just don't know why we chose to have these two.

    DL: Hill is indeed glued to the bench. Smith has decent upside. We've had much better at the end of the bench. However, the front rotation of five is simply awesome.

    LB: I think Seau for McGinist was OK. With Colvin improving this year, our starting four is almost as good as last year or the Super Bowl years. HOWEVER, as was noted, we had SIX quality starting quality linebackers a couple of years ago, plus special teamers like Banta-Cain and Alexander. Now, we have four.

    CB: We'll see tonight. We've won Super Bowls with less than the three average corners we have.

    S: This is a team strength. We have three starting safeties.
    ==============================================
    SPECIAL TEAMS
    This group is much improved. This group has been an key focus of the FO since bb arrived.

    K/P/DS Gost will be fine. Miller and Lonnie are among the best in the league.

    R Using starters in the return game is dangerous, but we seem to be
    fine. We need another punt returner. I guess we'll be using Jackson.

    Coverage This group is in transition, with Izzo and Davis still the leaders.
    Banta-Cain, Scott, Alexander, Andrews, Sanders, Woods and Spann
    are some of the rest. Chad Scott, and two of Gay, Jones & Mitchell
    will likely be back next year, so the future is bright. Andrews is
    a future star gunner. Mays is a ST prospect.
     
  13. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And we aren't really missing the #5 because the comp picks you mentioned will give us at least one.

    The biggest danger I worry about is if Jay Cutler becomes a stud. Not saying he will but if he does the Broncos will be very good for a long time.
     
  14. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I'm afraid that this is one of those topics in which we may have to agree to disagree. That's cool; that's one of the reasons why I'm here. I'll conclude by saying: the future of the Patriots ILBs will not begin until Izzo and Davis are no longer on the 53. Young talent is needed there, and soon. They will probably have to play STs until they are ready to contribute to the regular D. This francise has lost many fine players over the last 4 years. I think it can adjust to losing Izzo and Davis, too.

    P.S.: Please excuse the capital letters. They are not meant to emphasize, or to act as a shout. I just don't know how to change to bold print. Sorry.
     
  15. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Yesterday (Saturday) was the first time I re-watched the Vikings game. Props are due, by me, to Billy Yates. I keyed on the right side of the OL while the Pats were on offense. He was very good on pass-pro, maybe one breakdown. He was also effective in run-blocking, maybe 2 breakdowns. The majority of the runs went to the left side, however. The OC may have to rethink that strategy, and give the right side more opportunities. Yates graded out overall higher than O'Callaghan/Britt (too bad, I'm pulling for him)/Kaczur, IMO. And certainly higher than Watson, who once again shows that he is a Terrible blocker, in both run and pass. Get well soon, Grahambo!
     
  16. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Davis and Izzo are past their primes?

    You wouldn't classify them as great special teamers?

    On what grounds?!?!

    And I wouldn't consider TBC a "dependable veteran" in his second NFL season, 2004. Chatham's only NFL starts (4) came when Vrabel was injured in 2003. I wouldn't consider him a "dependable veteran" either. But Roman Phifer fit that mold to a tee.

    My point? In 2004,

    A) The Pats had MORE PLAYERS at LB, simply because that was where there were better players coming out of camp. This season, such a strength came at OL and DL. That's year-to-year football for you.

    B) The Pats had 2 "dependable veteran backups:"

    -T.J.
    -Colvin (NOWHERE near his 2005 or 2006 level)

    In 2006, the Pats have 1:

    -T.B.C. (VASTLY improved since 2004)

    C) The Pats had 5 special teamers:

    -Izzo
    -Davis
    -Chatham
    -Banta-Cain
    -Alexander

    In 2006, the Pats have 5 special teamers:

    -Izzo
    -Davis
    -Alexander
    -Woods
    -Mays

    (Keeping in mind that Gardner, Mitchell, Jones, and others were SIGNED but INJURED. View Woods and Mays as injury replacements.)

    ...

    mgteich just raised an EXCELLENT point:

    I strongly agree that we should understand that the Special Teams is a unit just like any other, with starters, stars and backups.

    BINGO.

    I see it this way:

    Davis, Izzo, and to an extent Alexander ARE NOT LBs. They are SPECIAL TEAMERS.

    The same would have followed suit for Gardner, Jones, Mitchell, etc., as it does with Andrews and Spann.

    Woods and Mays DO fit that "young player playing special teams" mold you have mentioned.

    There are 3 units on a football team, each with their own depth: Offense, Defense, Special Teams.

    With a 53-man roster, having more "dependable starting-quality backups" on DEFENSE means a subtraction of from the list of players on SPECIAL TEAMS.

    There's really only enough room for 1 or 2 of those "dependable starting-quality backups" for the LB corps. In this year's case, it's T.B.C. In 2004, it was T.J. and Colvin.

    So let's not categorize Davis and Izzo as LBs. View them as the best of the best the Pats have on SPEICAL TEAMS.

    And don't intermix the defense and special teams units, unless we're talking about Vrabel or Harrison that do play both - and I wouldn't consider either of them special teams "aces," despite their "ace" status on defense.
     
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