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Defense, Strength or Weakness

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Our defense was TREMENDOUS in the regular season last year. Arguably the best we have ever had, evidenced by the Franchise Record for fewest points allowed. We led the league in defensive TDs allowed, were near the top vs the run, and good against the pass overall (statistically, but much better than good overall, since 12-4 teams usually lead in games and allow more passing yards because of it).
    However, our season ended because our defense was putrid in the AFCC.

    Does this mean we have a great D that had a bad day?
    Or does this mean you overhaul the D? To use an analogy if we had a Championship team with a QB who choked in big games, we would replace the QB. Has our D evolved into 'good stats' but they choke in big spots, and in big games?

    Or is the answer somewhere in between?
     
  2. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    Somewhere in between. The Defense took a downturn beginning in the Chicago game, when Seau broke his arm. Late in the season we gave up big games to Morris, Jones-Drew and Henry after shutting down the run for the 1st 10 weeks.

    I think depth was the issue, TBC was a good rotation guy but there was no solid back-up behind him.
     
  3. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I think that the answer is somewhere in between, closer the "the great D having a bad day" answer. The position most clearly in need (LB) has been addressed in Free Agency, and I can only hope we will get some youth at the position as well through the draft. The secondary could also use that injection of youth, but to say that we need an "overhaul" is a bit overkill.

    Our D-Line cannot be improved anymore, as far as I am concerned. They might be the best collective unit in the AFC.

    Our LBs are above average, old but serviceable, and a playmaker at each position (Bruschi, Vrabes, AD and Colvin are all playmakers in my mind, in their situation)

    Our Secondary is above average, and probably the area I think we need the most help. The fact that half of it was injured for the AFCCG didn't help matters, but I believe we need to draft a security policy for Asante, as well as a FS of the future, in case Wilson still doesn't improve/play at the level he was at pre-Super Bowl arm break.

    I think the Defense is in a good position to improve and move forward after this record-setting season.
     
  4. Fumblerooski

    Fumblerooski Practice Squad Player

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    IMHO, when a team competes at the highest level, it must get some breaks to win. The Dolts got them, the Pats didn't. Some bad breaks that went against the Pats would be Rodney being a game away from playing but still out, the flu bug hitting 15 players the week of the game, Seau breaking his arm and the Pats having to insert Alexander making his first start in the big game, and the refs didn't help the Pats chances either.

    To answer your question, no I wouldn't panic and throw the baby out with the bath water. Rodney, Wilson, Thomas, Gay, Mitchell are all coming back to bolster the D's depth. The Pats have TWO first round picks that they could use on the D to get some long term replacements for the Ds two senior citizens - Harrison and Bruschi. And, the beat will go on, and on, and on.....
     
  5. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Good d on a bad day. 3 factors played against us vs the Colts.

    1. I do believe that the SD game sucked a lot of life out of the Pats. We just got worn down. A lot of players had the flu too. Based on that, that might have been a factor.

    2. We had lousey match-ups with their 4th and 5th receivers. Peyton killed us. We didnt have the talent depth to off set that.

    3. We had some bad playcalling and couldnt convert 3rd and 3s and 4s and thus could not extend the defense. Could be lack of talent on offense too.

    My .02$
     
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To say we gave up a big game ot Jones-Drew is simply wrong. We stopped him all day long, except for an 80 yard run when he was down, everyone stopped, and it turned out he wasnt legally down. Sure players should not assume his down, but the quality of our run defense can't be tainted by those 80 yards. We dominated the run that day, even though looking at stats it isnt apparent.
    I do agree our run D was not as good the 2nd half of the year as the 1st half, but it was still very good (compared to outstanding the 1st half)
     
  7. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    our defense is absolutely a strength for this team. we have a ton of talent and we have and will be adding more. I think the afcc game was a case of the season being really long and our de just did not have enough left in the tank following 16 game season 2 postseason games and the flu. Than you have to face Indy Offense, they blew the game but it didnt have to do with clutch it was just a little to much to handle. I can think of 3 things that could go differently this year that would be huge seymour bruschi and Rodney have healthier years. Those 3 are the heart of our de and they have been thru alot the last few years give those guys an offseason to get healthy and with a little luck they have an easier go of things this season and in turn have more in the tank for the post season.
     
  8. BelichickFan

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    The defense was fine until the second half at which point a lack of depth caught up with them. Between injuries and the flu, not to mention 4 road games in 5 weeks, they simply had nothing left. I'm not blaming injuries for the loss - shame on us for not having enough depth - but our defense was more than enough to take on the Colts. We need better depth, though, and I expect to get that this offseason; especially on draft day.
     
  9. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In my mind, your argument supports scrapping the D and starting over. (Not that I agree with your argument though)
    But if we lost the aFCC becuase:
    -A 16 game season is too long
    -Our defense isnt good enough to beat the Colts offense
    Then we should make wholesale changes because we the objectives of this team should be to play 19 or 20 games, and destroy the colts.
     
  10. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Intersting point.
    We won btb SBs in 03-04 and one of the primary reasons was our depth. (Those are 2 SB champs with the most starter games lost to injury ever)
    We lost this year because of a lack of depth. We didn't have more injuries though.
    I think the TBCs, Alexanders, Hawkins, etc of 2006 didn't measure up to the Ted Johnsons, Matt Chathams, Randall Gays, etc of 03-04.
    It is ironic because on defense it APPEARED we had more depth in 06 than in 03-04 but while the expectations of the backups was higher now, the actually play was better from the unknown guys we expected nothing from.
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We had a great defense, even with Seau, Wilson and Harrison out. We still have that defense, and better.

    There has been one change so far. Thomas has replaced Banta-Cain.

    Alos, Harrison is expected back, as are Wilson, Gay and Mitchell. Others could be injured, so I am counting this as a major impact.

    The rest are still here, except for Seau and Gardner who were injured early, replaced in the lineup, and may or may not be back.
    ================================================

    Don't get me wrong, I want to add 2-3 veteran ILB's. I want hartwell, Seau and Gardner.

    I also want to draft defensive back help for 2008, with the hope that can contribute some this year, especially on ST's, but they don't need to. I want upgrades to Baker and Spann and perhaps even Hawkins, Scott and Gay. That's five spots that could be upgraded, not exactly a logjam.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  12. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Ok, I posted something similar in another thread and got semi-trashed for it. I wanted to resign Seau, or sign a guy like Hartwell. But the fact is, Where are they going to play? They are taking away snaps from either Vrabel or AD, and they aren't going to sit on the bench if they are making the big bucks. I can totally see us signing Hartwell as our new Ted Johnson, but all three? Seau, Gardner, AND HARTWELL? I dont know man...

    I'm not trying to be mean, so don't get me wrong. As of right now, we have 8 LBs (Bruschi, Vrabel, AD, Colvin, Izzo, Woods, Alexander, and Mays). Traditionally, the Pats carry 10 LBs. That leaves room for 2 spots between your 3 suggested signings, and possible draft picks.

    My ideal situation would be to either:
    sign Hartwell and draft Posluszny/Willis/DeOssie, etc.

    OR

    Draft a First Round LB and DeOssie.

    Just my $0.02
     
  13. Remix 6

    Remix 6 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    it means injuries got to us. losing Harrison, Seau and who knows how healthy anyone esle was. Sey got surgery, Hobbs got surgery, Warren probably did something.

    playoffs is a completely different speed..its fast and much harder. and you need to keep up..our LBs couldnt do it
     
  14. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think there's two defense (offense too) issues for next year.

    One - Improve the starters for when we play teams that were better than us. I'm talking about SD mostly. Although we won that game and lost the Indy game, going into 2007, SD worries me more because that's the game we should have lost and the Indy game is the one we should have won. "Trading" TBC for Thomas is a start to this. Getting Harrison back and Hobbs being more experienced helps it. The last spot is FS - can Wilson play better than Hawkins ? If not we need a FA or draftee to upgrade the starting quality there.

    Two - Improve the depth for when we have injuries. Again, we allowed 6 points to Indy in the first half. The second half was where we were killed by fatigue (flu, travel) and lots of inuries (remember Colvin and Hawkins missed most of the second half in addition to the other guys). We should be better here initially with the return of Harrison, Wilson, Gay. But we still need better quality backup LB unless they like Mays and Woods to improve heading into their second year. I also think Belichick wouldn't hesitate to draft a better quality backup NT.
     
  15. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    your reading what I am saying the wrong way. I am trying to say that it was a perfect storm of things that led to our de getting exposed (flu, injuries, general wear of a season, no bye, brutal game vs bolts, and then face the explosive offense that is the colts) and that with a little luck bru sey and rodney will be healthier next year and that will make a difference.
     
  16. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    Not counting that big run, he was 18 for 50 in the running game, and caught 6 passes for 40 yards (a couple of those for first downs).

    Not a huge day, but it was a crack, more than we were giving up all season. Jones got several big first downs in the 1st half, though you are correct to say that we shut him down after halftime.
     
  17. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Belichick (and Pioli as the guy who actually builds the roster through acquisitions in the draft and FA) are masters at masking a weakness and at times even parlaying it into a strength. In mid January though the rubber kinda met the road when some of the strengths we use to mask those weaknesses wore down following the SD game and a week of battling the flu.

    I think we have always had not a great defense per say so much as a sound/solid one made better by exceptional coaching and scheme and a handful of core playmakers. We've just gotten too thin at LB and S to maintain an exceptional level of play when faced with any other deficiency.

    Thomas will help tremendously at LB and it would be great if we could add some youth to the position with a higher ceiling than the TBC's of the world. We could get by with those a few years ago when we had 3-4 core LB's still in their prime. Now we need to start replacing/augmenting the core and not just augmenting it's depth. Ditto the secondary where a healthy Rodney in his prime was able to mask our lack of top ten talent in the secondary. We either need to find Rodney's replacement now or start upgrading the talent across the board in the secondary.

    I have a feeling BB would prefer to find the next Rodney rather than have to figure out how to compensate an upgraded secondary long term. I don't see a FA acquisition (or trade) on the horizen at SS, but with 2 firsts in this year's draft perhaps we can acquire the next Rodney and groom him for a year or two.
     
  18. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The D is a strength, but it would be the height of arrogance to think that it could not be improved. AD is very likely to improve the pass rush (duh!) and add speed on the outside. I read that he can also cover pretty well, so it sounds like a great signing. The other LBs are great but they clearly can't go on for ever. That's hardly rocket science, though. Drafting LBs to develop over the next couple of years, if the value is there, would be good.
    Another thing which may help greatly, as others have said, is improvement on offence. More understanding between Brady and the receivers/ TEs can only serve to improve time of possession and keep the D fresh (as a by-product, of course).
    in the secondary, I quite like Hobbs for his physicality and think that he can be a long term starter. We'll see whether Wilson will come back into form at FS, but would like to see the Pats upgrade at FS for depth. Another CB wouldn't go amiss, though, depending on what the Pats think will happen to Asante in the long term.
    With regards to the AFCC game, it is also worth making the point that the Colts have a bloody good offence that is at its absolute peak. Not being able to stop them was hardly a disgrace, although it was heartbreaking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  19. hwc

    hwc In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't think we can blame the AFC championship loss on a "bad day". We've lost three in a row to the Colts. It is what it is. The Pats are simply not good enough to beat the Colts and will need to improve.

    Frankly, I don't think the 2006 Pats were good enough to compete with the Chargers, either. If we played them ten times, I'd think we'd lose seven or eight times.

    As much as I love him, I don't think we can count on Rodney Harrison to play a full season. The injuries are part of age. And, we have a serious lack of depth at the ILB position...a lack of depth that force us to rely on a very old Junior Seau to be a full-time starter with no backup.

    With the pickup of A. Thomas and shoring up the middle, the Pats could have a dominating defense in 2007. We are close.
     
  20. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I agree on SD, not on Indy. We were up 21-6 at halftime. 21-3 with the ball earlier. We just got smooshed by the flu, 4 out of 5 weeks on the road and not enough depth.

    SD, yeah, they're a problem. But our starting quality is a little better now - hopefully we can add to that even more.
     

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