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Did the Pats know they'd play more 4-3 in April (for the draft)?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BradyManny, Sep 29, 2009.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    I've been wondering this recently - did the Pats know they would be primarily a 4-3 base defense team this year when they drafted in April? And if not, would it have changed anything?


    Am I wrong, or were they running 3-4 in minicamps? It seems to me that 4-3 was something that arose in camp when they realized a) Mayo was the cornerstone of the defense now, and he could be best utilized as a 4-3 MLB, perhaps b) with their personnel at OLB, 4-3 gave them the best chance to win.

    Looking at who they picked - looking at the D-linemen, there's certainly a lot of versatility there and all those guys can play in either a 3-4 or 4-3. Their only pick at linebacker was McKenzie, and to me, it seems like he was drafted to be a 3-4 SILB, but we know he played 4-3 OLB in college.

    I do wonder, if they had known they were going to play more 4-3 back in April, would some of those edge rushers - the DE/OLB hybrid guys - have been more in consideration?
     
  2. shatch62

    shatch62 Practice Squad Player

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    According to Pro Football Weekly it seems to the Pats (Belichick) had to know he was going to be shifting to a 4-3 set.
    ProFootballWeekly.com - Belichick adapting scheme to personnel

    Hindsight is 20/20 but with the loss of Mayo I wish they had drafted or picked up a veteran ILB/MLB to be in the mix. Alexander is a fine ST player and Guyton has shown enough to think he could grow into a good player but right now we have a hole in the inside.
     
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As I recall the general consensus was that the Pats would go after a linebacker early - earlier than the McKenzie pick - as well as a corner and a safety. I think most people were surprised with the Brace and Vollmer selections thinking that inside and outside linebackers would be chosen before offensive and defensive linemen.

    In hindsight we shouldn't have been all that surprised because Belichick drafts more on player value and we fans tend to focus more on position need. However, given the number of defensive linemen selected in the draft you may be correct in your theory that BB was at minimum considering the use of the 4-3 on certain downs or against specific teams this season.
     
  4. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    well that's what he's always said he does- drafting on the best talent available (and the ones that fit best in the Patriots system), never on need.
     
  5. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I'll tell you what... It looks like the Pats are playing a 4-1-6 or a 4-2-5 most of the time.
     
  6. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    According to Reiss, before Mayo went down, they were still playing mostly 3-4. . . .

    That said, if they knew they were switching to a 4-3 before the draft, it makes some of their decisions even more curious (like, you know, passing on players that seemed tailor-made to play a hybrid DE/OLB role).
     
  7. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

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    IIRC, Pats1 reported that they were playing predominantly 4-3 while he was at camp, an observation for which he was ridiculed (including by me). Turns out his eyes were right.
     
  8. Bertil

    Bertil Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Good point...they were moving in this direction before last year. Remember the failed Tank Williams experiment? The can use Brandon McGowan and Patrick Chung as their LB/S hybrids. It gives their D an infusion of speed and versatility, the lack of which had cost them 2 Super Bowls (arguably).
     
  9. olschool

    olschool Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I think now that the copycat teams are playing the 3-4, that there aren't as many of those players available.
     
  10. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

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    Perhaps he was looking longer-term at the contract statuses of Seymour and Wilfork. Looking at this year (less LB talent...make up for it on DL) and beyond (will Seymour and Wilfork be here?) probably lead to this kind of DL focus in the draft.

    Regards,
    Chris
     
  11. PATSYLICIOUS

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

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    This was my feelings as well. Even with the Wilfork contract situation I did not expect the Brace pick. I also wasn't expecting us to keep Wright in addition to retaining Jarvus(thought one would have been let go or traded/cut in Jarvus's case). Then they spend 2 draft picks on DL one of which was a high pick. I 4-3 had to have been in BB's plans.
     
  12. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Reiss had an article before about how the Pats were in 4-3 over 80% of the time... last year.

    So yes, Belichick had already started a move toward 4-3 well before the draft, to utilize the full talents of his stud middle linebacker.
     
  13. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    It would make sense though. Imagine how much better our D could be with someone like Peppers. The change would have made complete sense with Peppers from day 1. It was certainly interesting watchuing Bill stock up on line men in this past draft, it shows he was drafting more for a 4-3. How nasty this defense could be with an elite DE....
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't know the answer to the question. But, FWIW, here's a quote form an anonymous NFL scout today:

    "Now it all makes sense why (Bill) Belichick wanted Julius Peppers in the offseason. He was going to a "40" (front). He had (Jerod) Mayo inside and that was it. He knew he got about as much out of Junior (Seau) and (Tedy) Bruschi as he was going to get. He had to adapt his scheme to his personnel. It's why he did not pay (Vince) Wilfork. He can look at Vince and ask: How important are you now? ... Belichick had Bruschi retiring and in the back of his mind at the time, he had to be thinking about getting rid of (Richard) Seymour. That takes balls. He's got to know he's two losing seasons away from being the next great unemployed Super Bowl coach. You've got to be shrewd and remove the emotion from decisions. He might be the same coach he was in Cleveland, but he's not the same personnel guy. He learned personnel in Cleveland."

    ProFootballWeekly.com - Belichick adapting scheme to personnel

    I'm not sure I agree with this, and I certainly don't agree with the "two losing seasons away from being the next great unemployed Super Bowl coach" bit, but BB has always been a master with the Pats at adapting his schemes to his personnel.
     
  15. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, that part was a bit silly but the rest makes sense.

    I'm assuming :

    - We'll Franchise and Trade Wilfork for even more picks assuming we didn't quietly promise not to Franchise him (which I doubt we did).

    - Brace won't be Wilfork but will be good enough to play NT next year in the more limited number of snaps we play a NT.

    Questions :

    Although Warren can play 4-3 DE, I wonder if he'll go the way of Seymour as 3-4 DE seems like his best fit.

    Who will be our other DE next year ? Green and Burgess are both FA. We'll have Warren, Pryor, Richard, Adams, Wright, Brace signed along with Wilfork, Green and Burgess as FA. There's plenty of beef there for DT (even without Wilfork) but it's iffy at DE.
     
  16. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Especially right now with the 4-1/4-2 looks and Mayo out. Chung and McGowan will be LB/S weapons this year.
     
  17. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    What?!? He did? If he did, he was wrong. The Pats played a base 3-4 (less than half the time according to Capers) and then went to nickels consisting largely of 3 or 2 man lines (heck, vs. San Fran, it is a 1 man line). They were very rarely in a 4-man line last season.

    The 4-3 came about during training camp. We know they were playing both throughout. The question was when did they make the decision to utilize 4-3 more than they had in the past? Was the pursuit of Peppers genuine? If so, why didn't they invest in any DE edge guys in the draft - is the 4-3 a stopgap solution?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  18. captain stone

    captain stone Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    1) 3-4 DE, followed by 4-3 DT, are def. Warren's best fits. His value as a 4-3 DE seems to only apply to short-yardage packages.

    2) Very iffy at 4-3 DE indeed. Thinking of that makes me frustrated that Bill didn't draft Lawrence Sidbury Jr in the 4th round instead of Shortburger.
     
  19. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I like the 4-3 better than the 3-4 at this point with all the teams switching to a variation of the 3-4. I don't know if BB was thinking about utilizing a base 4-3 last April but right now I'm more worried about next years draft and what BB will do on the defensive side of the ball. I personally would like a Dline depth. I think the Giants are the premier 4-3 team right because of the way they get pressure with the front 4 alone, but the Eagles 4-3 puts more emphasis on blitzing which puts more pressure on your Secondary.
     
  20. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Bill is totally rebuilding his Defense. His preferred Defense is multiple leaning toward the 3-4; but situational flexibility and multiple is key. Just happens right now he has more good linemen than he has healthy LBs. So he is minimizing the LBs play.

    I really think his base is becoming there 4-2-5. Followed by the 4-1-6, this first half of the season. Add one more draft to finish the Defensive rebuilding and Bill will be free to go back to 3-4, 4-3 and the Big Safety formations as the need is appropriate.
     
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