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Defense - Safeties

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Sep 20, 2011.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As with the corners, Belichick has made two changes. OUT are Meriweather and Sanders. IN are Barrett and Ihedigbo.

    Brown is likely to have a greater role. He replaced Page in mid-2010.

    MORE FROM BARRETT AND IHEDIGBO THAN MERIWEATHER AND SANDERS?

    Who believes that it is reasonable to expect more from this year's safeties than from last year's group? Yup, it would have been more understandable if Dowling or Arrington were one of the starters at safety. However, apparently that is NOT Belichick's plan.

    BOTTOM LINE
    The cutting of Meriweather and Sanders may or may not have been understandable to us. What is clearly inscrutable are the replacements. Almost all of us were fine with the cuts. We waited for their replacements with excited anitication. We signed Ihedigbo!

    For me, I'd rather have Meriweather and Sanders still on the team. I'd certainly rather have one of them. I don't see how neither would not add more than Ihedigbo.
  2. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    This is the worst group of Safeties we've had here since before Milloy was drafted in '96.
    None of these guys could cover their own shadows in the deep middle of the field.

    FS must be a top-100 priority for next year's draft.
  3. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sanders, recovering from injury and learning a new defense, was still good enough to get significant playing time for the Falcons. I find it difficult to believe that he wouldn't have been an upgrade over what we're seeing at safety for the Patriots right now.
  4. strngplyr

    strngplyr Rookie

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    Both Meriweather and Sanders were superior to Brown and Ihedigbo. This is a pretty steep downgrade at the position and I think it has a lot to do with why we've abused by the pass early this season. Everyone knows we only have one good/ above average safety, and he has trouble with coverage.
  5. Hael

    Hael Rookie

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    Its likely not that simple. There is a financial element to the cuts, but also it was clear that Merriweather wasn't getting it done in the new coverage schemes, and was making too many mistakes despite several years of coaching.

    Evidently the Pats felt that these guys were more coachable, and would, given enough time lead to a secondary that makes fewer mistakes. Maybe they aren't as talented, but IQ > talent in this scheme
  6. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hindsight is always 20-20, to refresh your memory search for the plethora of threads about how bad Meriweather was in this defense.

    I liked the guy and defended him, but fans have to remember his passer against rating was falling significantly over the past couple of years, and often did not "do his job". Sanders was frequently hurt.

    OTOH Sergio Brown did an excellent job covering Gates last week...
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sure, safety is clearly a draft need. However, as we have seen over these 11 years, it takes a year for a safety to learn the system and become effective. The draft will provide starter help in 2013, perhaps some help in 2012.

    It would seem that Meriweather and Sanders were both at least nfl-quality safeties who have started in this league (one was a probowler), JAG's by our definitions. Belichick has replaced these two with Barrett and Ihedigbo. This does not seem to be plan.

    IMHO, Belichick has created a serious weak link in the defense. In the Miami game, we saw what can happen when a top quarterback takes advantage of a weak link in the secondary: lots of points. Miami ended up firing the player out of frustration.

  8. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Chung and Brown played very well, especially against Gates. Barrett leaves something to be desired right now, but he's got the physical ability to be a heck of a safety once he gets down the mental part of things.
  9. Haley

    Haley Rookie

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    I thought the point of signing Dig was more for his ST contributions.

    Personally, I haven't really lamented the loss of Meriweather as much as I thought I would. If he were still on the team, instead of this thread we'd be discussing how many times he freelanced, screwed up, took bad angles, and ran over his own teammate.
  10. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    Except for that whole firing the wrong player thing.

    Ihedigbo is mostly a STs guy.

    Chung is a good starter.

    Barrett is not much of anything right now, but could turn into something.

    Brown is a good rotational guy/role player.

    Could be better than the status quo, but at this point clearly is not.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  11. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Jack

    Even you are a little too harsh.

    Merriweather resentment?

    It might be time to go back to 2006 and study the film.
  12. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    mgteich--
    Just as you question the release of the 2 bigger names in Sanders/Meriweather, I question the 2 lesser names in McGowan and Page

    (understanding that Page was a free agent, but certainly did not demand much money. We certainly could have given him the same amount or more)

    I believe that Page certainly could have contributed more than the current situation, and part of me still believes that McGowan could have too, although in fairness we do not know much re: McGowan's injury status and his rehab and recouperation etc. The first 1/2 of 2009 McGowan was a beast, the 1/2 half he was a lot closer to a liability.

    Regardless, it could certainly be argued that McGowan may have been better than Ihedigbo. There's no doubt that Page would have been. And the same goes for the comparison with Barrett.

    I don't mind the cutting of one or two of those players, even if Meriweather was in the cutting mix. What I question completely is the release/non-signing or matching a cheap 1 yr deal for ALL of the four players that are gone.

    One or two of Meriweather, Page, Sanders, McGowan would have been a lot better than what we're seeing now.
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I keep on hearing that Ihedigbo is primarily a special teamer. I would be more convinced if Ihedigbo were our #5 safety, as Lockett was when he was healthy.

    For me, the reality is that Ihedigbo is our #4 safety. He played safety on Sunday. His position is simlar to Page last year (and Brown when Page went to IR).

    We often carry a 9th and/or 10th defensive back to be a STer. This year that player is Molden, who happens to be a corner.
    =============================
    WHAT A DIFFERENCE EVEN ONE PLAYER WOULD MAKE
    If we had Meriweather OR Sanders, Chung, Barrett and Brown could still get plenty of reps.

    If we had acquired a season vet as our #2, #3 or #4 (or kept Page), then Chung, Barrett and Brown would still have gotten plenty of reps.
    ================================
    BOTTOM LINE
    This lineup is much weaker than last year and weaker than it could have been, and the same may be said for 2012 without veteran acquisition in the next offseason. And we hear whining about our finances being a factor. We still, even now, have plenty of cap money. Perhaps, cutting ONE of Sanders and Meriweather made sense from a cap perspective. However, given our cap situation and the amounts that these players would have made, it seems it would have been prudent to help the 2011 defense by keeping one of these players.

    The patriots have NEVER been stingy with cap money, until now.
    #1 Chung
    #2 Barrett
    #3 Brown
    #4 Ihedigbo
    #5 none
  14. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You're implying that Meriweather/Sanders/McGowan/Page are an upgrade over Brown and Barrett. We don't know that.
  15. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're talking about.
  16. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am implying that one or more of the four is certainly an upgrade to Ihedigbo.

    And the same could be at least debated about Barrett. That's now one or more of our safeties that could have been improved. If you include the argument or debate re: Barrett too, that now becomes 1/2 of our safety position. At least all four had significant NFL reps and experience. That could have allowed Brown or Barrett plenty of role playing time, and more reps over the season. I don't mind a blend of youth and lesser known players, that's perfectly understandable. What I am questioning is the entire changing of the guard all at once....

    I like the devil's advocate role as much as anyone else, but if you're trying to say that you don't think our safeties would have been better with one or more of those 4 names---I'm sorry, but I just don't believe you.
  17. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    I think you are being a little too harsh on the safeties and you have been pro Merriweather.

    I was wondering if you had any lingering resentment?
  18. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't like to question coach Belichick very much, simply due to the fact that he knows way better than some idiot like myself ever would.

    But in some instances it seems almost hard not to, and the entire changing of the guard at such an important position such as safety seems a little strange. Like I said, I personally feel as though a better approach would have been to blend in Brown and Barrett. I see nothing wrong with cutting Meriweather, or Sanders, or McGowan, or failing to re-sign Page. What I do see 'wrong' is doing so all at once.

    At the very least, he should've kept at least one of those players for one more season, possibly even two. That would have given the team the opportunity to draft a replacement, find another FA/vet, and also would have allowed Barrett and Brown to see significantly more reps than they did last yr, all while NOT making the position of safety so...weakened right now.

    But as always, Belichick may somehow get the last laugh. I honestly doubt it in this case, but we'll have to see. Stranger things have happened.
  19. Mike in 333

    Mike in 333 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't understand why Sanders was released; maybe just one of those BB moves that only he knows the answer to. Merriweather is a little more obvious, he had trouble playing within the system and really never seemed in synch with the defense. More likely it seems that Brown stayed because he has some potential that Merriweather failed to show and maybe he has better hands and will actually make the interception when an errant pass comes his way.
    I really like Chung and think he may be the next Lawyer or Rodney but right now the Safety position really seems like a big weakness.
  20. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I don't have any resentment at all.

    Meriweather was good for a while, but if he can't do what the coaches need of him then what good is he?

    I didn't think I was being overly harsh? I don't think the first two games are representative of what we're going to see later on in the year. Even Nick Collins was getting smoked like a corncob pipe by Brees & Co.
  21. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If we were getting the 2009 versions of Sanders and Meriweather, then yeah. Probably even the 2010 versions. But during the preseason, there were a few hints that both of these players were disappointing. Meriweather was benched. Sanders missed a lot of practice. There were reports that Belichick was "desperate" for a free safety. Obviously neither of the two were cutting it.

    Now, it could be a situation where Belichick went with the unknown because he decided that the known wasn't good enough. But it's not like both of these players were cut out of nowhere. There were definitely a few signs that said that these guys weren't playing up to expectations.
  22. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Maybe BB has faith in Sergio Brown? I started a thread earlier on the possibility of him being a starting safety kinda by default. Meriweather, well we saw all the warning signs. Despite his 'pro bowl' selections, he was constantly making mental mistakes and messing up assignments. I'm only surprised we didn't at least manage to get a draft pick for him, even a 4th would have been nice. Sanders is a decidedly average safety, but he knew the system well, I'm more surprised at the Sanders cut and I think he must have had some kind of injury issue. Page and McGowan, well the Pats weren't going to bid on them at free agent rates so they were as good as gone. Ihedigbo and Barrett are completely unknown quantities to me. BB must like something about them?

    I wouldn't read too much into the safety play from the SD game because I believe that by design, they were assigned to blanket/suffocate Gates and they did just that. They didn't do much of anything else though. Let's see if we get some more progress from our secondary against the Bills in game 3. BTW if Dowling isn't healthy, we might finally get to see more of Molden.
  23. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    Sounds good
  24. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Agreed.

    Like I said, I don't like to question the moves of such a well-earned reputation, but I am referring more to the 'lesser known' names such as Page and McGowan personally.

    You are right, we don't KNOW for sure if they'd be upgrades to Barrett, but I do believe they'd be upgrades to Ihedigbo.

    I think the bottom line is that I don't think he should've nixed everyone all at once, so we can go back and forth with specific names (and you'd be more right than wrong with guys such as BMcG), but the entire removal and starting from scratch is what I don't really care for or personally agree with.

    I think if anything, we could have still had use for a guy like Page or Sanders. Then we'd have no Ihedigbo, and could have had Barrett and Brown learn a bit before throwing them directly in the fire.

    Only time will tell if it was the right decision or not, but so far I am leaning towards it being a lost gamble.
  25. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I really like S.Brown myself, but I am wondering if he could have been showcased as a role player with a little better of a supporting cast instead (?)

    You are right that apparently BB likes something, so we'll have to trust that for now.
  26. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If Barrett had been on the team for Sunday's game, and he'd suffered a heart attack on the field, falling into a heap and being completely unable to move, how would that have been significantly worse than what he was doing for much of the game when he was in there?
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  27. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    I wouldn't be shocked if BB's evaluation criteria is considerably different from your criteria....and everyone else on this thread.
  28. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Anybody watching the TV version of the game saw at most 50% of what Barrett was doing last Sunday.
  29. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I always love that argument. It's as if people think it means something. Is it possible that Barrett was amazing in that theoretical 50%? Sure, but it's highly unlikely given that he looked like garbage in the other 50%.
  30. sbpatfan

    sbpatfan Banned

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    Our safeties blow, neither Ihedigbo or Barrett look capable of covering / playing the run. But hey, when they mess up because they suck at least they know why they suck. Meri might have been an idiot freelancer but at least that dude can ball.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
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