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Dante's Offensive Line Academy

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Jun 18, 2010.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm fine with our starters and believe that dante has the best set of backups ever to compete for roster spots and Practice Squad spots.

    STARTERS (5): Light, Kaczur, Koppen, Neal, Vollmer
    =====================================
    BACKUPS (pick 4)
    Bussey (LG, LT)
    Connolly (RG, C)
    Larsen (C)
    LeVoir (LT, RT)
    Ohrnberger (OG, C)
    Welch (OT)
    Wendell (C, OG)
     
  2. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    I'm not as thrilled as you are. I think the starting unit is still good, but the assumed loss of Mankins really hurts the depth. And the seeming decline of Koppen and Light may become an issue this year. LeVoir has shown the skills to be a fine backup tackle. If there's an injury, I'm happy with him coming in to start. Connolly is decent. Beyond that, I don't know what we have. The team seems high on Ohrnberger, so I hope he turns out to be something. But him, Bussey and Wendell are unknown factors and the rookies this year are seemingly longterm projects.
     
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My guess is that Welch, Wendell and Larsen are the odd men out and headed to the Practice Squad. My concern with that scenario is another team signing one of them; Larsen in particular. I see him taking over for Koppen as the starting center in 2011 after a year with Professor Dante.
     
  4. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If Larsen is considered the heir apparent to Koppen, then he will make the 53 man squad. He was the #3 center in the draft. I presume that they may be ONE other team that needs a developmental center.

    In the end, the question is whether Larsen or Ohrnberger is the hoped for 2011 starter. For 2010, Connolly will be on the squad and Wendell on Practice Squad.

    QUOTE=jmt57;1843320]My guess is that Welch, Wendell and Larsen are the odd men out and headed to the Practice Squad. My concern with that scenario is another team signing one of them; Larsen in particular. I see him taking over for Koppen as the starting center in 2011 after a year with Professor Dante.[/QUOTE]
     
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So in other words switch Larsen with Bussey, correct? Or do you think that it comes down to either Larsen or Ohrnberger, but not both? We know BB loves versatility in his players; does the fact Bussey can play both tackle and guard get him onto the 53-man roster?

    This should make for some interesting camp battles in August for those last couple of roster spots.

     
  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Bussey has a real chence for the roster because of his versatility. He may be our #4 OT if Kaczur is our LG.

    So, Connolly is one of our backup interior linemen. Either Larsen or Ohrnberger is the other.

     
  7. woolster22

    woolster22 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Is Bussey related to Gary Bussey? if so I hope he can flip that lunatic switch when he gets on the field. Could make for some pretty entertaining dust-ups, especially if hes mic'd up.
     
  8. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bussey, not Busey. :p
     
  9. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    The status of Mankins will play a part in this too. He could have his contract dispute finished and be ready to play. He could sign the tender and be disgruntled. He could be sitting out the year. He could be traded. Who knows, he could even be cut. But whatever happens, it likely will come into play when determining the linemen who make the final roster.
     
  10. BestQB

    BestQB On the Roster

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    “Who knows, he could even be cut.”

    Criptonite,

    Have you gone and lost your mind? I will bet everything I have to say he will not be cut.
     
  11. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I thought when tough-guy, Ohrnberger, was traded for and picked as a 4th rounder, he was actually selected to be converted to Center. Now Larsen seems to be a second possibility there. With his DT background, he is more aggressive than most C candidates. Wendell is the outside shot there, who was an UDFA and very undersized, too. But he stuck on the PS after a recommendation from a BB coaching confidant, and grown some.

    All are potentially Guards too, but I don't think any are ideal there, with Ohrnberger the best of the center candidate lot, as a Guard.

    The reserve Guards behind Mankins and Neal are Kaczur shifting from RT, and Connelly or Bussey, IMHO. Kaczur was projected as a G/T when drafted, and he became a starting tackle, on a 16-0 club, proving his ability. Bussey has the size, grittiness of a walk-on, and the talent to play LT, so he has the pass blocking ability seldom seen in a G. He could be a potential gem at G. Connelly has proved himself as a reserve. How he would do as a regular is a different question, still open.

    I believe that there is a major transition due on the O-line in the next few years, perhaps hastened with the Mankins issue. Koppens is undersized, and gets pushed around by big NTs. The 3-4 is proliferating so there are more Big NT for him to face, too.

    Neal is getting old and will play at most 2 more years, through his contract. At the critical LT, Light is aging very gracefully, but Volmer the heir-apparent, has already put in a claim, and will get some polish with a few years at RT.

    I suspect that all though many will prove adequate players, the overall talent level will be augmented with a few high draft picks in the next couple of seasons, as well.

    BB has just about completed re-uppolstering the entire Defense depth included, and made some progress in providing new receiving talent on Offense as well. So there are a plethora of draft picks that might be available to be used used there.
     
  12. Criptonite

    Criptonite Practice Squad Player

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    I'm not saying it's likely, but I wouldn't discount it entirely. It was only 7 years ago when due to contract issues, Belichick cut a 29 year old star who at the time was a team captain and had been in 4 straight Pro Bowls. So I don't think it's completely out of the question that he does it again.
     
  13. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    As far as the Tackles go, I'm beginning to believe that size matters to BB, or has started to. LeVoir, Welch and Vollmer are listed at 6'7"+/306-315#, whereas Light and Kaczur are listed at 6'4" (sort of "guard-size" in comparison). LeVoir has shown some versatility and has been fairly effective in spot duty, so he seems likely to stick around. It also seems to me that, if Welch has the required athleticism and Dante firmly believes he's sufficiently coach-able, he'll make the 53 rather than be risked on waivers. So, with Light likely not going anywhere this year, that means carrying four tackles.

    Seems a safe bet that Mankins is gone and that Kaczur, Koppen and Neal are starting at LG-C-RG. If we're projecting 10 O-linemen to make the final 53, that leaves three spots for interior reserves.

    At Center, the most common complaint I hear about Koppen (listed at 6'2"/296#) is that he's getting pushed around by bigger NTs. Assuming that this is true, it seems like it must be more a problem with athleticism/technique rather than size, since three of the replacement candidates most often mentioned - Wendell (6'2"/290#), Ohrnberger (6'2"/295") and Larsen (6'2"/305#) are roughly the same size as Koppen. Connolly, who's actually played some at the position, is listed at 6'4"/313# ("guard size" again). He appears to manage the exchange okay, but who knows how much real rapport he has with Brady or how competent Connolly is at assisting Brady in defensive reads and in calling line assignments (the other critical requirements of the Center, beyond blocking the NT). Connolly also has some experience at guard. My guess is that the roster spot is his to lose.

    So that leaves Wendell, Orhnberger, Larsen and Megabucks-range longshot, John Wise (6'5"/298#) competing for two backup guard/center spots.

    And then there's Bussey. I had him listed at 6'3"/306# based on 2009 pre-draft scouting reports. But the patriots.com roster has him listed at 6'2"/255#. Unless that's a misprint, he'd better be able to play FB/TE because, at that size, there's no way he's moving onto the the O-line.

    So, here's the way it shakes out for me:

    Starters:

    Light-Kaczur-Koppen-Neal-Vollmer

    Reserves:
    LeVoir, Welch - T
    Connolly - G/C
    OPEN
    OPEN

    Candidates for open spots (in order of "seniority"):
    Wendell
    Ohrnberger
    Larsen

    Likely cut (possibly to P/S):
    Bussey
    Wise
     
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