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D-Line, not Secondary, the Primary Problem?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by lamafist, Nov 12, 2012.

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  1. lamafist

    lamafist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    It's natural to focus on the defensive backfield when the pass defense is as bad as it's been, and to be sure, it deserves a share of the blame. Still, with all the position-shuffling due to injury back there, the struggling is somewhat predictable.

    Considering the relative health of the defensive line, I think the lack of a consistent pass rush is a more worrying issue. More specifically, the Pats get zero pressure from the interior when they aren't in a dime package with Cunningham lined up at tackle. After the first quarter, the Bills knew that Fitzpatrick would have a clean pocket, wide open throwing lanes to the middle of the field, and time for either a RB to come out of the backfield, a TE to find a middle-deep soft spot in our zone, or a wideout to cut in and run halfway across the field.

    Wilfork is great, and can penetrate well for a player his size, but is still better used as a one-man road block vs. the run. The problem is that we seem to be getting little to no contribution from Love or Deaderick lining up in the 3-technique. Between the two of them, they have 1 sack, one additional QB hit, and zero balls tipped/batted down at the line. It says a lot about their lack of pass-rushing ability that Belichick sub them out for a 250lb. LB/DE whenever he can get away with it.

    In training camp, it looked like BB was lining up Fanene as a 3-technique tackle more than at DE, but the knee injury he failed to disclose made that moot. There was hope to finally get some contribution from Ron Brace after a strong showing in camp, but between subsequent back and elbow injuries, he hasn't been able to get on the field much. Now, with Myron Pryor's rehab from a torn pec not progressing as fast as hoped, it doesn't look like there's going to be any help for our interior rush.

    A side effect of the black hole at DT is that, with Cunningham spending most of his time there, he isn't available to spell Nincovich and Jones, leaving a problematic lack of depth at DE. If their elevated snap count is leaving them gassed in the 4th quarter, this could help explain why our pass D goes from bad to worse as the game goes on.

    The only good news, I suppose, is that the acquisition of a good press corner like Aqib Talib might free BB+Patricia up to send an extra rusher more often.
     
  2. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    Pass rush isn't great, but it isn't that bad. Chandler Jones is a borderline elite pass rusher. Just because he doesn't get a sack every down doesn't mean he isn't effective a lot of the time. Heck, the best pass rushers in the league get about one per game, or one out of every 30-40 passes. Cunningham has also been effective. The interior pass rush is struggling- you are correct- but this is not a horrible pass rush by any means, especially considering they rarely blitz.

    The secondary is a stinking pile of dog excrement right now, and there's no second level of analysis. Did you happen to see the 4th and 4 play yesterday where Stevie Johnson was inexplicably ten yards wide open on a six yard-out pattern, while three Patriots stood there with their hands on their hips? Absolutely horrendous coverage, missed assignments, etc. What gets me isn't that they get beat, as I accept that the NFL has changed and passing the ball is much easier. I just can't stand the miscommunication out there. Every play it looks like there are four guys covering absolutely no one, completely confused, while they get torched for an easy 25 yards.


    Source: Watching the games
     
  3. nekromantique

    nekromantique On the Game Day Roster

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    Love is not a pass-rushing DT. He's a pure Run-stopper. I think everyone knew that and no one expected him to be more. Problem is they dont have many other options at DT, so pairing two very similar players (wilfork and Love) is their only option and it leads to little pressure up the middle.

    Hopefully its addressed in the draft...their are plenty of options for an interior rushing presence.
     
  4. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Honestly..i don't think i would blame the CBs yesterday anymore than the Dline not getting pressure
     
  5. jnug

    jnug On the Game Day Roster

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    Just read your thread starter. Had just posted in one of the other threads that Vince's snaps are getting pretty high for a DT. In for 77-81 against the Bills....way more than any other DT. Ninko toped the DE's with 81-81 snaps.

    Looking at the % of snaps for the season, VW is in for 80% of them, clearly a sign of the Pats bias toward stoping the run first. Love is next with 60% and no other DT tops 16%!.

    I am not sure what kind of rush we can really expect from Vince at that many snaps per game. He just seems to be out there virtually every play.
     
  6. BSR

    BSR In the Starting Line-Up

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    I was watching Jones for most of the game and he looked pretty ineffective one on one for most of the game. Borderline elite pass rushers don't go zero's across the board. I don't know if he was sick or injured, but he didn't look himself. In this game, pass rush was most certainly an issue.
     
  7. Nehalem

    Nehalem On the Game Day Roster

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    If the Patriots are going to continue playing 4-3 I think adding a pass-rushing DT has to be high on the priority list.

    The biggest problem yesterday though was not DL or secondary it was with tackling.
     
  8. SwedishPat

    SwedishPat Banned

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    We need some inside pass rush. Wilfork is great at stopping the run and Love is good at it too. But none of them is a pass rusher. We need a player who can play inside on these pass situations and get pressure. A 3-tec DT pass rusher would be good.

    Sure, Jones has been really good for a rookie so far and I really like him and think he's gonna go far. But he is not borderline elite yet as someone said. Not taking anything away from him, just stating.

    If the inside pass rush improve the whole rush will improve a lot as the quarterback will not be able to step up in the pocket as much.
     
  9. nekromantique

    nekromantique On the Game Day Roster

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    he didn't record a sack, and it looked like his worst game against the run ive seen yet...but there were quite a few instances where he seemed to get good pressure. he was one of the weaker parts of the line yesterday though...which is shocking


    Posted from Patsfans.com App for Android
     
  10. deters

    deters Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Give the defense some time to heal up and mature. We have a bunch of young guys playing and the more experience the better.

    Judge them after we get Chung, Pryor, Talib on the field and Hightower and Dennard get more experience.
     
  11. Marqui

    Marqui In the Starting Line-Up

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    Overall the pass rush is poor. Having one (or 2 if you want to count Cunningham) good pass rusher is not enough to have a good team pass rush.
     
  12. Cassanova792

    Cassanova792 Practice Squad Player

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    It's the scheme that is the problem. We have good to excellent players, but the way they play and utilize the players is not ideal to what they are good at. Patricia needs to go and BB needs to get a Dick Lebeau type of coach.

    Ever notice that under LeBeau the Steelers can seemingly insert any CB or safety year in and year out and still have great results? Polamalu has been out more than half the season and the defense hasnt skipped a beat and are currently the #1 ranked defense.

    And they are playing with nobodies back there aside from say Ike Taylor.

    Do they just happen to have the uncanny ability to draft awesome CB's and safety's year in and year out that no one knows about? The law of averages says highly unlikely.

    With Patricia its like having a high school defensive coach calling the shots. Running simple schemes and relying on pure skill to win ball games. Unfortunately we don't have the skill to keep up in the secondary, yet we still do NOTHING about it in terms of scheme. It drives me crazy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  13. Mack Herron

    Mack Herron In the Starting Line-Up

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    On paper, the personnel should be better than last year, but it just hasn't shown up on the field. Yesterday, 9 games in, the defense played its worst game of the year. My eyes tell me this is one of the worst Pats defenses I have seen in several decades (I remember Rod Rust). The eyes do not deceive: the defense set a team record for first down allowed. Ever. The pass rush rarely applies pressure, and the secondary is helpless. There are lots of young players, but Wilson has been demoted, and Jones, Hightower and Dennard all played their worst games of the year yesterday. Gregory has been hurt, but has been a disappointment when he has played. Chung was even worse defending passes before he got hurt, though he is clearly our best safety against the run. Talib is an upgrade at CB, but there is much more wrong with this defense than can be corrected by one guy. Could it all turn around next week? Sure it could, but I haven't seen any good reason to expect it. I will still cheer and hope for improvement, but nobody should be surprised if opponents continue to move up and down the field at will and the season ends badly with fans wondering if BB will be able to scrape together even an average defense while Brady is still around. Pryor is out for the season on IR.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  14. coolguy

    coolguy Banned

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    Secondary not the problem? did you miss the touchdown where gronk-link was wide open?
     
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with Reiss that the primary problem in the Bills game was the run defense.
     
  16. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    35 first downs.......a combo platter of sucktitude
     
  17. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    People have been saying this for three years. That excuse doesn't cut it anymore.
     
  18. lamafist

    lamafist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Dick LeBeau's moved around a fair bit over the course of his career. In his two separate stints as the Bengals DC, he presided over some mediocre-to-outright-terrible defenses. Same as when he was the head coach in Cinci. As for his time in Pittsburgh, the quality of the Steelers' defense doesn't really coincide with his coming and going. In fact, the Steelers' defense dropped off considerably during LeBeau's first seasons as coordinator. The Steelers' defense had already been an elite unit w/out LeBeau before he came back for his latest tenure.

    Every year in the NFL we see a handful of coaches with reputations built on the top-notch units they've overseen in the past get brought in to turn around some teams flagging defense, and much more often then not, they fail to make a significant difference. I can't think of a single "defensive mastermind" coach who hasn't overseen his share of terrible seasons. I don't think any coach in the NFL has gotten more credit for being able to plug anyone into his scheme and still succeed than Belichick... though you don't hear that much anymore, do you?

    The schemes aren't vanilla because BB+Patricia want them to be, they're that way because whenever they try to add wrinkles, they end up with blown coverages all over the place, particularly once we started having a revolving door at safety thanks to injuries.

    Hopefully, if the Patriots can manage to get some continuity in the defense backfield, they'll be able to start mixing things up a little more. Until then, making things more complicated would only serve to confuse themselves.
     
  19. lamafist

    lamafist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Though Jones has been worlds better than we had a right to expect from a rookie, he's still got a ways to go before he's even "borderline" elite. He doesn't have a full complement of rush moves yes, and can be predictable with the ones he's got. He doesn't consistently draw a double-team because opposing tackles know that they can prevent him from using his length to reroute them if they get inside on him early and push him to the outside. He still makes plays with his athleticism, but he doesn't force opponents to bend their scheme around him.

    I'm totally with you on the frustration of seeing QB's pick apart the holes in our zones, but that's not just on the secondary. If you give any NFL QB a perfectly clean pocket for 2 1/2 seconds, he'll find and exploit a weak spot in any secondary.
     
  20. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Right on the money. Well-done.
     
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