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  1. Brettlax3434

    Brettlax3434 Rookie

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    The Boston Herald expects second-round OLB Jermaine Cunningham to be given "every opportunity to make a big-time impact on the edge" as a rookie.

    Cunningham is seeing plenty of time with the starters opposite Tully Banta-Cain, and he's said to look "quicker and more smooth" than veteran Pierre Woods. With Derrick Burgess telling friends that he believes he's played his last down in the NFL, Cunningham is poised to fill a key role.
    Source: Boston Herald
    Related: Derrick Burgess, Pierre Woods

    (From Rotoworld.com)
  2. sbpatfan

    sbpatfan Banned

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  3. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Someone actually looks better than Woods?

    Get outta here,I don't believe such BS :rolleyes:
  4. makoute

    makoute Rookie

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    I don't either lol.:eek:
  5. ahmed

    ahmed Rookie

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  6. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot Rookie

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    At this point we need somebody capable of playing OLB opposite TBC. That's not exactly going out ona limb. If Cunningham cant beat out Nikovice or Woods we're in deep ****.
  7. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    if Cunningham, can't beat out Woods, and Ninkovich, two Career ST/ ok back up OLB's then i hate to say but he would be a wast of a pick
  8. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thats ridiculous. Many good draft picks start their rookie seasons slow.
  9. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    that's true but he has a lot more talent and size then both Woods, and Ninkovich, the only thing i could see holding him back from starting is not picking up the system fast a nuff
  10. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Its not just picking up the system. Its making a position change and adjusting to the NFL.
    Players that develop slow are much more often having trouble adjusting to the level of competition and speed of the game, than not picking up the system. Its very rare that a player having played football for 10-15 years isn't smart enough to know the play calls.
  11. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    will i hope he makes that adjustment from DE to 3-4 OLB fast cause Woods, even playing 50% of the snaps is not a good thing.
  12. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    wtf are you talking about? 1- he's a rookie, 2- WOLB and SOLB are different positions, 3- he's already switching positions after being a DE in college. If he can beat out Woods and Ninkovich, then that just speaks to his talent, versatility, and work ethic. To expect him to beat them out, though, is just ridiculous.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  13. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    We won't be in the base 3-4 in 50% of total snaps anyways. Woods isn't ideal as the starting SOLB, but he doesn't screw us either. He's a mostly capable player who knows the system; we could do a lot better, but we could do a lot worse too. If people go back and look at what Vrabel gave us as a passrusher from the strong side in the SB years, I think they'd realize that it's not like there's some impossible void to fill there. If we can bring along a guy who can cover, set the edge, and get 3-5 sacks per year, I'm okay with that. The pass rush issues are definitely not exclusive to OLB. We need Mayo and whoever's replacing Seymour to pick up a lot of the slack, too, because that's where a great deal of the dropoff is coming from.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    WOLB and SOLB are different positions. But we do not flip our OLBs to the formation. So every OLB plays W or S depending on how the offense lines up. 30 years ago the defensive left was the strong side 90% of the time, but thats not the case any more.
    Bruschi spoke about this.
    While on any give play we have a WOLB, SOLB and WILB, SILB and WS, SS we align as Right and Left not Weak and Strong, so every player must know both positions, and will play both based on what the o does.
  15. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    Definitely, it wasn't my intent to say otherwise and I should have clarified that in my post. Just like Bruschi said that ILBs need to be able to flip, obviously the OLBs do too. That said, naturally different players will be ideally suited to different roles, and putting a natural WOLB on what is more often than not the strong side is an added complication. Same holds true for Spikes, Chung, et al. In recent years, Belichick has picked a lot of guys who more naturally fit on one side of the spectrum, and while I'm sure they can be coached up to be more versatile, I dunno how realistic it is to expect a ton of versatility out of a rookie who's already learning a new position. All of this, of course, is why I have a hard time imagining Cunningham as a starter this year, and think he'll likely be a pass rush specialist instead. I'll be shocked if he's starting at the beginning of the season, and moderately surprised if he's starting at any point this season. So to hear people complaining that he'll be a wasted pick if he's not starting is just ridiculous.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  16. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    Woods, and Ninkovich, only had a 100 snaps each at OLB will Adalius Thomas, had over 260 snaps i think we can all agree AD was a piss poor OLB last year. and they could not take snaps away from him so IMO even as a rookie Cunningham, should get more snaps at OLB/DE then both Woods, and Ninkovich,
  17. wcpatsfan

    wcpatsfan Rookie

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    I think we will see Ninkovich starting opposite TBC, at least to start the year. The coaching staff seems very high on Nink. He does have a nice story but so far he's been an also-ran. You could've said the same thing about Vrabel too though...
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But BB wants and expects them to be versatile and I think he drafts with that in mind. (Chung for example, as well as Meriwhether are equally capable as ss or ws)
    Ultimatley, there isnt that much difference for an OLB being on the strong side or the weak. I mean in terms of being effective, not how the play presents itself.
    In the running game whether you are blocked by the TE, or a pulling G or a FB isn't a matter of different skill sets.
    In the passing game we rarely ever have an OLB in man coverage on anyone, so the flat is the flat whether its strong or weak.
    I think that part of the reason BB does not flip players is because ultimately there are situations where there is no strength.
    One back with 4 wides, or 1 back with 2 TEs has no strong or weak side.
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    His career path resembles Vrabels.
    However there were 50 other players who's career resembled Vrabels that never became good players, and few that did.
  20. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think you have to consider there are other factors that impacted Thomas playing time.
    They didnt walk into camp on an even keel.
    Thomas owned a starting job, and had been a good player here. While he was playing his way out of a job, I am sure that the hope that he would turn things around had an impact on that decision.
    If BB were Kreskin and knew at the beginning of the season what Thomas' season would be the playing time distribution would have been very different.
    It is not easy pulling the trigger on deciding a formerly good player now sucks and must be benched. BB needed Thomas to step up. He needed to give hm opportunities to do that, even if in retrospect it was a bad idea.
  21. Kasmir

    Kasmir Rookie

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    If you watch Cunningham on tape at Florida you'll see he's pretty versatile. They switch him from side to side situationally, and he drops into coverage on about 25% of the passing snaps. I'm not at all surprised they're experimenting with him at elephant, as he's already demonstrated some flexibility. The one thing they *didn't* do with him was play him from 2-point stance very often.

    One of the most encouraging things to me watching Cunningham at Florida is how well he played against the run. He often was asked to two-gap OT's and seldom lost the battle despite the size disadvantage. I would expect him to be able to set the edge playing OLB in a 3-4.
  22. condon84

    condon84 Rookie

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    It'll be a HUGE disappointment if Cunningham can't beat out Woods or Ninkovich. People are fooling themselves into thinking that Woods/Ninkovich will be capable OLBs if they play most of the snaps. Even though Woods may know the system, OLB is all about having the physical abilities to get the job done and Woods clearly has shown he doesn't have that. Ninkovich is an unknown, but he didn't show much last year during the opportunities he got. If we were the Lions, then yeah I guess Woods starting would be fine. But based on majority of the posters here's prediction of our record this year (there was a thread on this board and I read a lot of 11-6, 12-4, and even 14-2 records), people can't really think Woods is a starting OLB in a Super Bowl contender.
  23. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    260 snaps isn't really that many. And it doesn't mean that they couldn't take the snaps away from him: it meant that he, like them, was part of the rotation. He went into the year as our top OLB and horrendously disappointed, it happens.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  24. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    I definitely agree with you on the long term vision for the young players: he wants them to be as versatile as he can make them. That said, it's just unreasonable to expect that versatility to be there in a rookie, especially one who's switching positions. Reminds of what Pepper Johnson was saying about how they involve young players, which is by giving them smaller roles that they can excel in from the get-go, and letting them own those roles while they continue to learn new ones.

    If you're expecting a polished, highly versatile starter-caliber OLB from day one, I think that Cunningham is going to disappoint you. It will take him some time to get there, and that doesn't make him a bad pick. It's just an acknowledgement of the fact that switching positions is hard, and Belichick is extremely demanding on his OLBs- they have a lot that they need to be able to do, and there's no way that Cunningham can do all, or even most, of it yet. He'll hopefully get there in time, but he won't be there right away, and almost certainly won't get there this season. If I had to guess, I'd say that this season we'll see him primarily as a weak-side edge rusher, because a) that's a role that leverages the skills that he already has developed, and b) it relies more on athleticism than experience.

    In the mean time, Woods is adequate. He's not ideal, and he's definitely a placeholder, but leaving him in there won't kill you (like Eric Alexander does if you leave him in at ILB). For now, that will probably just have to be enough.

    I'd also disagree with your assessment on Chung, who just isn't a FS in any sense of the word. The big knock on him has always been that he can't cover; he was atrocious at it last year, and so far the early word out of training camp still isn't great. He's a prototypical strong safety, in many respects. As his recognition skills improve, he'll be able to compensate for his lack of speed by anticipating the play better and taking good angles to the ballcarrier, which goes back to my original point: the versatility that Belichick's looking for needs to be coached into guys. Nobody comes into the league with it. That's why we didn't see much of Chung last year, and will probably see a lot more of him this season. Similarly, I'd be pleasantly surprised if we see a lot of Cunningham outside of a handful of fairly specialized roles, at least until a little later on in the season.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  25. Calciumee

    Calciumee PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Brady was pretty slow his first year :D 2nd is different :)
  26. ahmed

    ahmed Rookie

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    For now, I just want him to be able to rush the QB and set the edge... everything else we can live with Woods although I never liked him. I actually was impressed with Ninkovich last year whenever he had the chance to play.
  27. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I believe it was Psycho who wrote that Chung appears to have markedly improved in his coverage abilities.
  28. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Second round pick must be out the incumbents by opening day or he is a bust. :rofl:
  29. Destroyer

    Destroyer Rookie

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    Yeah, that post was ridiculous. The consensus opinion around the league is you give a player 3 years to prove they can play, straight out of the Bill Parcells school of thought. I noticed over the last few months on these boards that people have started to develop a terrible habit of slamming draft picks and calling them busts after a season or two of playing, or lack thereof. If we cut or released every guy who hasn't performed after a season or two we'd probably only have 30 or so players on those practice fields right now.

    Give it time people, seriously.
  30. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    BradyFTW!,

    Bingo! You got Bingo!! Great analysis.

    Most years that Vrabel played, he averaged about 4-5 sacks. Seymour chipped in about 7 or 8 from the DL and Bruschi added 4 or so from the ILB position.

    What we missed last year was the 3-5 from the ILBs; and the 8-10 from the entire DL. And the 3-4 from the secondary blitzes, although we got 1.5 from them. All we got were 5 from Wright and the DL, and Zero from the ILBs.

    --->>Burgess did give us the 5 sacks from the SOLB position. TBC gave us the double digit sacks from the WOLB too. The OLBs did their job and met their quota. It was the others who did NOT. It is also why the pass rush was so predictable. <<----

    It was the missing sacks from the DL and ILBs for a total of 9(DL) + 4(ILB) + 2(S) equal to 15 more, on top of the 31 sacks we got, away from the OLBs, which would have given us the 45 or so that the Pats Defense obtained when the Defense was in its prime.

    The trouble with trading a future HOF like Seymour, is that you discover he is very tough to replace adequately.

    Spikes unlike Mayo, from collegiate history, appears capable of giving us 2-3 from the ILBs; Meriwether and Chung with experience, will likely give us the 3-4 from the secondary. Wright plus the two vets, G Warren and D Lewis, plus Mo Pryor have to give us another 5 from there as well. Can htey and still stop the run? That is why BB went so far out of his way to import the DL pass rushers.

    If Burgess is really quitting, it makes it much tougher to get the required quota of half a dozen or so from the SOLB position. Woods and Ninkovich haven't and so Cunningham must come through. But it is unlikely for a rookie. :(
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