Defensive philosophy

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by livinginthe past, May 20, 2009.

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  1. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Its been mentioned in a number of other threads that Belichick is a big fan of football discipline - players who are able to play within pretty strict guidelines and who tend not to freelance.

    This seemed the best way to go in the early part of this decade when the offense was steady rather than spectaular and we had many natural playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

    Ty Law, Tedi Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Tyrone Poole, Rodney Harrison, Richard Seymour...the list goes on.

    The last few years have seen a definite dilution of the raw talent on the defensive side of the ball and a massive influx of scoring ability on the offensive side of the ball.

    Is it time the Belichick 'releases the hounds' a little more in 2009 with the potential of the offense set to rival the awesome production of the 2007 unit.

    Sure, we might well give up a few more quick scores, but we'll surely get quite a few quick stops too.

    But isn't this much, much better than the alterantive whereby very average offensive units were compiling multiple 6-7 minute drives and tiring out the defensive unit?

    I can see the point of the conservative playcalling on defense when you have a defense that bends but doesn't break - unfortunately in recent times the unit has failed to deliver on the last half of that equation.

    I expect the 2009 defensive unit to show marked improvement over the 2007 and 2008 incarnations (our DB platoon looks as strong as ever) but do you think it would be better if we took a few more risks - went a little more boom and bust?

    Is Belichick over thinking things on the defensive playcalling side, is he too stubborn to change his outlook?

  2. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    No change in philosophy if the defensive players drafted are any indication.
  3. PatsChowder

    PatsChowder On the Roster

    I don't think there has been much of a philosophy change on the defense. I just think they seem to be attacking free agency differently. It seems like they're the kid desperate to find a pass rusher in Madden.
  4. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    I Belichick is willing to give players a little leeway if they're intelligent enough. He does so with the offense and Brady, and I imagine Bruschi, Vrabel, and Harrison had the freedom to change something up if they saw something during their heydays.

    Aside from that, I don't think any defense is truly successful by "releasing the hounds". All good defenses start with discipline, and only allow freelancing with certain aspects. For example, a blitzing OLB has the freedom to choose how he tries to get to the QB, but doesn't get to say, "What the hell, I'm gonna blitz on this play."
  5. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

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    There is no strategy whereby a defense that is making less plays and getting tired gets better by taking risks. You get better by improving the pass rush and coverage. This is accomplished by getting to the quarterback and by covering. Also by tackling.

    The Colts take risks, that's why they pay Freeney. Having guys rush and blitz without getting to the QB and take gambles in coverage leads to easy TDs.

    We have potential playmakers in Meriweather, some young corners and Crable, hopefully.
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  6. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    I think perhaps we as fans over-estimate how 'bad' the Patriots defense was last year. While there surely was a need to improve at CB and the team's 3rd down stats (25th in 3rd down conversions allowed) were poor, I have to disagree with the notion that opponents were compiling one long drive after another against the Pats. If that was the case then how did the Pats defense end up finishing third in time of possession at 28:04 last year? And if other teams were constantly putting together long drives while the Pats also ranked very low in red zone defense, then how did the Pats finish 8th in points allowed?

    That's not to say that I don't think the defensive game plan and philosophy should not or won't change. I think part of what we saw last year was designed to cover up deficiencies in the secondary, such as Deltha O'Neal. With Mayo, Meriweather and Guyton having a full year of playing time I would expect their duties to be expanded as BB will have more confidence in their abilities to handle different situations successfully.

    'Releasing the hounds' - i.e., more blitzing - will certainly help improve the number of turnovers forced by the defense. Last year the Pats were one of just four teams that failed to score a defensive touchdown, and only seven defenses recovered fewer turnovers.

    I think the additions in the secondary, the additional experience gained by the players mentioned above, and the return of a healthy Adalius Thomas will give the coaching staff the confidence to open up the defensive playbook.

    I would disagree with the last comment by the OP. Belichick is anything but stubborn, despite his portrayal by some in the media. No NFL coach thinks more outside the box and is open to innovation than he is.
  7. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    BB isnt going to change his philosophy. Your premise is incorrect to begin with, as if I read your post without knowing what team it was about, I would assume it was a team that had a losing record and ranked in the bottom 5 defensively.
  8. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    We went 18-1, then lost the greatest QB of all time, replaced him with a guy who hadnt started a game since college, and went 11-5. (I think that was 2 games below the best record in the NFL?) That doesnt sound like a situation that requires a change in philosophy.
  9. TheBaronPatriot

    TheBaronPatriot On the Game Day Roster

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    My take on this based around the secondary and pass rush.

    Due our lack of pass rush, our CBs have been mostly playing off the WR and looking to prevent the big gain thus allowing the Offense to dink and dunk for long drives.

    With a different defensive philosophy our CBs would play at the line of scrimmage and look to stop the dink and dunk yet be more susceptible to the long ball.

    However, an improved pass rush usually negates this long ball threat since the WR need more time to get open given that the CB is sticking to them tightly.
  10. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    Sure, let's compare the phisospohy used when we had Law and Poole to that when we had O'Neal and Hobbs. Come one, be serious! Last year our corners were aweful. The solution has been recognized by Belichick, last year and this. GET BETTER TALENT AT CORNER BACK. Our pass rush and our 3rd down stats will be better when our talent gets better. Perhaps we will need to wait until Wheatly, Butler and Wilhite have a bit more experience. However, I don't think that we'll need to wait for improvement. Hobbs was traded because Belichick has faith in Bodden and Springs.

  11. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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    Just a terrible comparison when you drag Law and Poole into it. The rules were different before than they are now.
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  12. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    Do you disagree with me? Do you believe that we need to change the philsophy of our defense or is it sufficient to NOT overhaul our strategy and simply get better players instead?

  13. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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    I disagreed with your comparison. Teams can't play defense today like they could before Polian cried to the committee. Furthermore, you continue to argue things as if they are the only options. The team has gone 27-5 over the past 2 seasons. They could have brought back the exact same players from last year, tossed in only the draft picks, and they would still have been the favorites to win the Super Bowl, just as they were the favorites last season before Brady went down.

    There's a ridiculous amount of panic on this board over a team thats' gone 27-5.
  14. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    I was responding in part to the OP, and in larger part to folks in other threads who seem to believe that the 2008 defense was not very good at all. The point I attempted (but apparently failed) to make was that the defense was not as bad as some have been making it out to be; that's why I trotted out the stats about time of possession and points allowed, and disagreed that the Pats were consistently giving up long drives. However, I do agree there are some areas where the Pats defense could get better.

    Regarding 3rd down conversions and the CB position, I feel those were two areas that could be improved upon - and I am very confident that they will be. I am not advocating a wholesale change in defensive philosophy, but I do believe that with the current personnel that we may see more blitzing, with the pressure resulting in fewer third down conversions and more defensive turnovers. There were only four games last year where the Pats defense had more than one turnover; I would expect that to get back to the numbers the defense put up in recent years (11 in '07, 9 in '06.)
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  15. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Reviewing the post, one could certaininly arrive at that bottom five impression. BB plays sound Defense. Period. He also believes that defending the run is fundamental to a successful Defense. The choice of players who actually play, is dictated by that much more than their pass rushing stats.

    One of the things I believe that needs clarification is the actual, as opposed to the the erroneous and misleading stats, that are thrown around here.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense was ranked Top Ten in Total Yards allowed.

    Fact: The 2008 Patriots Defense was ranked Top Eight in Points Allowed.

    Fact : the 2008 Patriots Defense did play "Bend but don't Break" as they always do, and it succeeded.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense allowed a very good opponents offensive time of possesion. Opponents did not have the ball for long periods of time.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense defended the run very well, despite playing three new starters as LBs.

    Fact: The Patriots Defense allowed the fewest Red Zone visits of any other team. That probably means they usually stopped the Opponents BEFORE they got to the Red Zone.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense allowed the few opponents who did march patiently into the Red Zone passing TDs more frequently, than the average. That may be attributed to good run Defense; and to suspect pass coverage more than pass rush, since the passes were short.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense accumulated all of 9 fewer sacks than was their usual annual production. That may mean the pass rush was weak or the pass coverage was weak, or both.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense suffered season ending injuries to two of the top three OLBs. Another was older, and hurting as he played; he was demoted, moved from his starting position and another player started in his place; and he was subsequently traded.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots Defense played two inexperienced rookie ILBs for all of the season. They were restrained by the Coaches from doing much ILB blitzing. ILB blitzes usually generate 4-6 direct sacks per annum; last year but 1. Collapsing the Pocket may lead to additonal indirect sacks from outside, if the QB can't step up.

    Fact: the 2008 Patriots DBs were not well regarded. They had difficulty in stopping the short passes over the middle. Almost all those players were released in the off season. That may be a meaningful indication of whether pass coverage or pass rush was the diagnosed problem.

    Fact: the 2009 Patriots Defesne now has four, young, fast, starting LBs, none of whom is a raw rookie. The LB play should be better on that basis alone, as well as the return to health of all.

    Fact: the 2009 Patriots Defense will be better than the 2008 edition even if no chages were made; but several improvements have been done, to strengthen the defensive roster.
  16. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    1) There is no panic. We are just focusing in on the linebackers because that is our primary weakness, and that is the place that Belichick is still trying to address.

    2) Most have us as the favorite for the Super Bowl. Betters may be presuming(guessing) that we will improve some at our obvious weakness. Some have us at #2 until we make this upgrade or demosntrate that what we have is sufficient (and that Brady is healthy).

    3) I am NOT one who has panicked reagarding our OLB's. I happen to have a lot of faith in Woods and Banta-Cain, and in the future prospects for Crable. However, that doesn't mean that we couldn't use a veteran addition, if only as insurance in case ALL doesn't work out this year or if there is an injury.

    4) I am one who STRONGLY believes that we needed and need an upgrade at ILB. I think it extremely risky to count on Bruschi to perform at a high level for a full season and to provide no veteran backup if his production slides or if he is injured. The effects of a Mayo injury are huge with no poential backup. I do expect Guyton to continue to improve. In any case, we are likely to need two additions to contribute in 2010. Hopefully, McKenzie is one. We need a second.

    And BTW, Belichick did indeed draft a 3rd round ILB. If Belichick is confident of Guyton's progress and Bruschi's strength and health, then we're fine for now. However, that doesn't mean that we couldn't use a veteran addition, if only if ALL doesn't work out this year or if there is an injury. We could certainly use someone to compete with Guyton and Mckenzie for reps in 2010.

    5) We are in the AFC conference hunt, and therefore Super Bowl hunt, as long as Brady is healthy. HOWEVER, we would improve the team, and our chances if we found upgrades for Redd and Appleby. There is no reason to panic. Belichick is working on this issue. We will see if he succeeds. And even if he doesn't, we still have the team to compete for the AFC championship and the Super Bowl.

  17. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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    We're in 100% agreement here, and I expect that more moves are coming at linebacker, and possibly at other positions as well. I certainly would not be shocked to see BB pick up a safety who gets cut loose from another team, for example.
  18. Until their DB's show they can cover their man consistently, we won't see the Pats "release the hounds" similar to what Pittsburgh does. In fact, when the Pats blitzed teams last year, they got beat badly more often than not. However, the addition of Springs and Bodden could change that because they are known to be physical man to man DB's.
  19. PatsChowder

    PatsChowder On the Roster

    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  20. livinginthe past

    livinginthe past Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Its chicken and egg though isnt it?

    Which came first - the pass rush or the coverage?

    Pittsburgh Db's arent that great in coverage - Ike Taylor is elite in pure coverage - the safeties are a mix of play making talent and safety valves and the CB the opther side has often been of okay talent.

    The reason these guys look good is because of the pressure generated by the front 7.

    On a similar theme, Tenneesse does such a great job on pass coverage because they rely almost exclusively on their front 4 generating pressure by themselves in order to drop 7 in coverage.
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
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