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Counting on Rookies

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Sep 4, 2008.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There is a lot of talk about the uncertainty of counting on rookies such as Mayo and Wheatley and how disasterously dangerous that could be.
    I am not going to make a point here but ask a question.

    Please list 2 things in this thread:

    1) All of the rookies that BB has given an important role to (starter or backup with a lot of pt) that have succeeded.
    2) All of the rookies that BB has given an important role to that failed.

    When the list is complete, please not the following:
    How many rookies BB HAS relied on (I think the result will be a lot more than common perception) and what the success rate has been (again I think much better than common perception)

    My instinct is that the general feeling is that BB avoids using rookies like the plague, and any team that relies on a rookie is basically screwed. I think the results of this thread will be enlgihtening.
  2. naclone

    naclone Rookie

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    in 2003 BB released Milloy a few days before the season and was relying on Geno and Assante.

    My recollection is that it worked out to our satisfaction.
  3. Lockdown06

    Lockdown06 Rookie

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    I'm pretty sure Seymour started right away, others that come to mind are samuel, mankins, watson (but he broke his leg in the first game) I'm not sure if Light and Koppen did. Kaczur i know got time right away.
  4. AllabouttheVinces

    AllabouttheVinces Rookie

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    OK, now list:

    1) All the rookie CBs who started Wk1 in the BB era.
    2) All the rookie LBs who started a single game in the BB era.

    That would be none and none. We are in uncharted water.

    As we have all agreed in many threads over the yrs, it takes time to learn the Pats defense. These guys will be learning on the job. Rookies make mistakes, and they will make their share. I'm not predicting disaster, I'm predicting a step back from the amazing season that was '07. There has been a talent drain that was replaced by rookies. The rookies will take time to grow.
  5. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x Rookie

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    LoMo - Succeeded
    Ellis Hobbs - Succeeded
    Vince Wilfork - Succeeded
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Light started right away on a SB Champ, so did Koppen/
  7. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When we are though compiling the list, we can look at how many rookies played on defense in the BB era, and that will probably be more insightful to whether 'it takes time to learn the defense' than saying we have all agreed in many threads. If a lot of rookies have started, and succeeded then I guess 'we have all agreed in many threads over the years' on something that we have 'all' been wrong about.
  8. naclone

    naclone Rookie

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    Geno had an interception in week 1 in 2003.
  9. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    Hobbs didn't start until week 10 of his rookie year.
    Samuel only started the Miami game in his rookie year, which was about mid-season.
    Geno started right away and did well across from Rodney, a situation forced, as we know, by cutting Milloy.

    I don't have time to look up any others. Happy to hear the results from other posters.

    My sense is that Belichick prefers to have a veteran in front of a rookie, so the rookie can be eased into the game, but he will play the rookie if the veteran doesn't work out. Bryant comes to mind.

    To back up your personal recall, you might want to go to nfl.com, look up the rookie year, and see at what point the player is listed as having started. Better for me, at least, than operating from memory.

    I also think it's important to distinguish the round. 1st round picks are expected more often to start right away.
  10. BelizePats

    BelizePats Rookie

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    The reality here is that if rookies start on this team, its because they are ready to. Our interior defense was slow and aging and the AFC Championship game against the Colts and the Superbowl loss to the Giants underscored this to varying degrees. (the extent of which has been debated in many other threads)
    BB has to play the hand he's dealt. We're not spending $55 million on Assante and another $50 million on Lance Briggs to fix it. We have to address the issue in the draft and by picking up vets with experience at a reasonable price.
    One of the major aspects to the success of this team, that is so frequently overlooked by the basement dwellers on this site is the manamegent of the cap and the influence on the cap that the overall team success over the past 7 years has had. Players move around now like never before. Making the most amount of money is very much a part of the modern players mindset (I'm in no way passing jundment about this. It just is what it is) The Pats cannot pay everyone top dollar, so players leave.
    BB and SP have a set value on positions. They have to if they want to properly manage the cap. So when Assante wants 11 million a year, BB knows that he can't pay this because it is out of line with the dollar alotment for the position Samuels plays.
    So what do the Pats do? What can they do?
    They can draft well and put their rookies in the best possible position to succeed. Relying on rookies is now a reality for all NFL teams, even the Pats. Its part of cap management in todays NFL. Andf some one knows of a tean that does it better, I'd like to hear about it!
  11. PATRIOT64

    PATRIOT64 Rookie

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    What rookies have done here in the past means squat as to what they mean to this team last year - All rookies are not created equal and to compare rookies on this team from the past is totally irrelevant to the guys who have yet to set their feet on the field in a meaningful game.

    If 2 of the rookies on this years team play well in their first year consider that a success and we need them to if this team is going to go places in 2008namely Mayo and Wheately are the 2 that come to me that need to produce early..and often.
  12. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Point taken about being in uncharted water. Context added for the number of linebackers and corners selected in the first 2 rounds before this year...none (Wilson excepted for playing safety). Lets look at picks in the first 2 rounds and their ability to contribute in their rookie season (defense in bold):

    Klemm - Don't recall how much he played, but not a factor.
    Seymour - Major contributor for Super Bowl winner
    Light - Major contributor for Super Bowl winner
    Graham - Significant opportunities but struggled a bit
    Branch - Significant opportunities and a reliable contributor
    Warren - Significant opportunites with generally positive results
    Wilson - Major contibutor for Super Bowl Winner
    Bethel - Significant contributor on special teams but limited as a receiver
    Wilfork - Significant opportunities with generally positive results
    Watson - Expected to get significant opportunites but got hurt
    Marquise - Not a contributor (drafted as insurance for Seymour contract issues)
    Mankins - Major contributor
    Maroney - Significant opportunites with generally positive results
    CJackson - Minor contributor with limited opportunities
    Meriweather - Minor opportunities to start but significant contributor later

    So of the picks that had significant opportunities available to them, I would say that only Klemm flopped. CJack didn't earn enough opportunities to make a bigger contribution and Graham was inconsistent. From looking at the defense specifically, it looks to me like players don't get opportunities until they are ready...but when they do take the field they do very well. If Mayo and Wheatley have shown enough to get significant snaps on Sunday, I see no reason to expect them to struggle.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    OFFENSE
    Belichick has always used rookies freely on Game One, as has been successful. This has been especially true on the OL.

    DEFENSE
    Belichick has used rookies only when he was forced to, and then later in their rookie year. And yes, Belichick schemed around them, and the rookies were effective in their rookie years. Wilson, Samuel and Gay are examples at DB.

    I would expect that if O'Neal were here for all of camp, he would be the clear starter (presuming he wasn't cut like Bryant). I would not be surprised to see Sanders at nickel.

    Rookie linebackers??? Bruschi was the last to play. Depending on Mayo and Crable is new ground indeed. I wouldn't be surprised to see Crable inactive.






  14. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    Good post. I was incorrectly interpreting the OP as to whether rookies struggled in the first few games of the season vs. the end of the season since, Belichick-like, that's I'm only focused on the first few games. (Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Don't talk to me about playoffs.)

    I do expect both Mayo and Wheatley to struggle for the first few games, but if they take a lot of snaps, by the end of the season they will no longer be rookies. So my concern is stopping guys like Coles and Cotchery and Leon Washington in week 2. That is where I think BB will protect his rookies with scheme and the surrounding vets.
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Seymour, Warren, Wilfork all played a ton as rookies. Meriwhether and Hobbs as well as the others you have mentioned.
    In fact, there are very few rookies drafted at least in first 3-4 rounds that werent on IR and didnt play a lot as a rookie. Playing is the rule, sitting is the exception it seems.

    Remember we are looking at facts and ignoring our impressions at this point (such as we believe he only plays rookie on defense when he is forced to)
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Again the point here is to look at history under BB to see whether impressions such as 'rookies struggle' are accurate. Show me some rookies who struggled rather than sayijng we know that rookies struggle.
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Let me make sure I understand.
    If we want to project how rookies will do, you feel it is irelevant what other rookies have done?
    What would be relevant?
    Or are you taking the approach that no NFL player has played a game this year, so nothing that happened up until now matters, and that every team should be predicted to be 8-8 until they play games, and JT OSullivan has an equal chance to be the best QB in the NFL as Tom Brady does?
  18. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think it's misleading to say "BB has never counted on a rookie LB contributing," because you could just as well say "BB has started every rookie LB he ever drafted who made the opening day roster." In other words, he's never had a rookie LB to count on or not count on. Ever. Until this year, the only rookie LBs I can recall on BB Patriot rosters were 7th round/UDFA projects, typically converting from other positions. So there's a zero sample size to extrapolate from.

    Looking at other positions, promising rookies have been day-1 starters (Koppen, Mankins, Wilson); platooned with veterans (Maroney, Wilfork, Warren); and eased their way into the mix (Meriweather)...or not (Jackson). I'm guessing that's pretty typical of most teams.

    This year, the 1st and 2nd-round picks earned their way onto the first string by outplaying veterans. Crable is the #4 OLB. O'Connell is the emergency QB. Wilhite is the #4-5 CB. Slater is the likely KR, a position that routinely goes to the young, inexperienced guys with fast, fresh legs.

    Does this really seem like huge reliance on rookies? I honestly don't see it. The number of rookies on this team is totally in keeping with the number in past strong Patriots seasons, including '03 and '04.
  19. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    Wilfork is one of the best players Belichick ever drafted. He struggled at NT until he was coached to play an extra yard back from the LOS so he'd have time to react to the initial movement of the offense.

    Logan Mankins was one of the few players who started right away with no apparent struggles (though I'm sure he did in ways the coaches know and we don't -- he was a rookie -- use a little common sense).

    Your turn, AJ. Why don't you give some examples of a rookie who started from game one without no apparent difficulties (aka -- didn't struggle)?
  20. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree on Wilfork, I think he played well as a rookie, and we won a SB that year.
    Seymour started as a rookie and played, IMO, at a probowl level
    Light started as a rookie, and played well (we won the SB)
    Warren started in his rookie season at NT and played well.
    Wilson started as a rookie, and Samuel was the nickel, on a SB champ.
    Maroney equally shared time with Dillon and did not struggle. Branch did not struggle.
    Koppen started day 1 and did not struggle.
    I am having a hard time finding the rookie BB put on the field that didnt play well.
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