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Drafting Linebackers - We Don't Know Squat

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, May 5, 2006.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Posters here have been begging bb to draft linebackers in the first round for at least the last four years, at least since Graham was drafted (for a 1 and a 3) instead of Harris, and I think for a year or two before. We go through the ritual each year before and after the draft.

    We see the need for a young stud, and bb signs a Cox or Phifer or Beisel. I can't wait until I hear the howls when bb brings back Chad Brown or an equivalent, as a BACKUP OL to push Banta-Cain for playing time.

    We really don't seem to get it, including me. It is interesting for us to post hundreds of times to try to figure out what bb is thinking. For me, it is not very useful for us to believe that we know better. Until we have an aweful year at LB, I will believe. Even then, it may not be essential to pay the kind of money we do at the linebacking position. We may decide to focus the money elsewhere.

    It is not like we have a set of old geezers. Vrabel, Colvin and Bruschi are among the best set of linebackers in the league and they will likely be around for awhile. As aj and others have pointed out, after these three the rest are all role players, although one will start on running downs.

    It seems that we have given up on Banta-Cain, Beisel, Alexander and Claridge. We now have added Mincey and Roach to the mix, and we will likely add another jag veteran. Why do we believe that none of these players will fill the need as a starting run-stopper? Why will none of these be the sufficient backup at ILB and OLB? Why don't we believe that Claridge iis bb's idea of a developing future starter? And would the expected value added by Lawson really be more than the expected value added by Maroney?

    And then there is Beisel. Is is just possible that, after a year on the squad, that he may be able to play a critical role on the team. No, he couldn't replace Bruschi, but can he replace TJ? Ignoring the rest, can't Beisel and Claridge replace the play of the aged TJ and Phifer. Can't Colvin replace McGinist?

    I don't worry about Bruschi's age. I worry more about his contract ending in 2007. He certainly seems in much better shape the TJ and Phifer were a couple of years before they retired. In any case, he should be fine through 2007.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  2. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I tend to agree...there are certain things we can say, but I think BB can se more and project as to who/what the team needs. Roach, Mincey and Woods and Mays all will be interesting additions into the mix. I think Claridge and Alexander play a part as well..a VERY interesting situation and who knows how many vets will be brought in...and I DO expect that.
     
  3. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    The only disagreement I have is that Bruschi is getting older, maybe not quite "old geezer" but he'll be 33 this season which will be a problem sooner rather than later.

    Regarding Beisel, not only was he screwed by having to replace Tedy but he had another ILB next to him that was new. If he'd had Ted Johnson next to him, as was probably the plan, I think he'd have been allright. Heck, we shut down Jax's running game with him and Vrabel in the middle with Tedy hurt.

    I copy and pasted this from a KFFL thread that is interesting (I didn't write this) :

    "I went to the draft party at Gillette. One of the people who came to the group to speak and answer questions was defensive coordinator Dean Pees. He said a couple of interesting things regarding linebackers. One was that if you watched Biesel early in the year and then in the last playoff game - it was like watching a different player. Particularly after he got to work with Bruschi. He was very pleased with Biesel's performance against Denver. Believes he made great progress. Clear interpretation here was that Biesel is more in our plans than you might think."
     
  4. Brady-To-Branch

    Brady-To-Branch Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I'm concerned about Ryan Claridge. It's been reported that he's not training with the team. He also suffered a personal tragedy with the death of his brother, Travis, a former OL for the Falcons :(. I hope he's OK.
     
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great stuff from Pees! Seriously, Beisel should be consider one of the four linebackers that will get the most reps. I certainly believe our FOUR starters, as of now, makes our starting seven one of the very best in the league. And with an improved secondary, we should have defense as good as the end of last year, or better (even without Mincey, Roach, Smith and the rest).

    Do you believe that we have one of the best defenses? If so, then perhaps, just maybe, you might understand that we had one of the best defenses BEFORE the draft, and that maybe, just maybe, bb knew what he was doing in recognizing it was the offense that needed the help.

    Even now, with all the addition, we still could use a couple of wide receivers to compete for the "veteran" spot with Caldwell (we had three competing last Year) and with Childress and Bethel Johnson for the spot or spots at the end of the bench. You want a nightmare? Consider ONE injury: to Branch, and one other event (Brown retirement, Caldwell as good as Terrell or Davis). We still need help at wide receiver. Consider if Walker or Lelie we free agents. Would we consider signing them? Sure we would! Why, if we are set at WR?

    There will a great training camp battle for the rest of the backup roster spots (4-6 spots) and for reps. None of the rest are even close to being guaranteed of a job, especially if a couple fo vets are brought in. How much does it take to be more valuable than Alexander or Banta-Cain; after all, we know what they can do (or at least bb does).

     
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The quote from Pees jibes with my own observations, nice to know my handle applies to Coach Pees too. :D
     
  7. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    oees's words are interesting..I think Beisel is definitely in the mix..what will be interesting in ALL positions is the camp competition...bringing in many many to compete..
     
  8. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    not enough LB, actually

    alexander, banta-cain, beisel, claridge, colvin, davis, condo, mallard, vrabel. 8 LBs on the roster. add roach, mincey, woods, mays. with 12 LBs (excluding izzo) going into TC, and probably 9 to keep, there doesn't seem to be enough of a competitve situation there. certainly not as insane as DB will be, or OL. BTW, what happened to brown and mallard?
    but at LB, there are not as many established players as at OL. gorin, hochstein, kaczur, koppen, light, mankins, mruczkowski, neal, yates. IMO we could line up with (basically) any 5 of those 9 and be ok. at LB there don't seem to be more than 5 who've had many reps, and that's not enuf for even a decent rotation.
    that's why i wanted to see another promising LB or 2 in the mix. good hopes for claridge. beisel and banta-cain are BIG variables. if 2 of those 3 can hang in there, the position shapes up ok. if none of them turns out to be a player, patriots gotta make some moves.
    chatham, phifer and now mcginest hurt more in this context.
    ya play a 3-4 because ya got more good LBs that you do DLs. hmmm.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2006
  9. SamBamsFan

    SamBamsFan Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    It is typical w/ an injury like Claridge's, where you are out for the year, to go home to rehab, so he went back to Las Vegas to work out at UNLV w/ periodic trips back & forth.
     
  10. Amnorix

    Amnorix On the Game Day Roster

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    Agreed all around.

    Frankly, Bill Belichick's SPECIALTY is not only defense, where he is an admitted mastermind, but linebackers in particular. He has consistently built his MULTIPLE Super Bowl championship teams around Linebacking.

    Not defensive line. Not DBs. Linebackers!! The 2-gap, 3-4 defense he employs is all about linebackers. The HOF and near-HOF top flight linebackers he has coached over the years certainly come to mind a helluva lot more quickly than the DBs and DLs.

    And yet we sit here and tell him he HAS to draft some. That he doesn't have enough. That his backups aren't good enough to step up if something happens. Blah, blah, blah.

    Gimme a break.

    Frankly, Beisel/Brown did suck early last year, but it was totally unexpected that both would be on the field as the starters, brand new to the system. I have no doubt that with Bruschi staying next to him, and with another year in the system, Beisel will develop into at least another Roman Phifer-like, good, solid, multi-down/distance roleplayer.
     
  11. SkiHound

    SkiHound Rookie

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    My completely speculative theory on drafting linebackers: The coaching staff seems to prefer converted DEs at the OLB spots. I suspect it's very hard to project how a smaller college DE will transition to the OLB in the Pats system. Additionally I think it's very tough to play LB in the Pats system. So basically I'm guessing that the brain trust doesn't want to spend high draft picks on college LBs and DEs that likely won't be productive until they've had some time in the system -- if ever.
     
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    we do NOT play the 3-4 2-gap because we have better linebackers. The whole front seven (the whole defense) is built with 3-4 players. Seymour, Wilfork, Warren, Colvin, Vrabel, Bruschi, Green and Banta-Cain would all be less valuable in the 43 one-gap that most teams run.

    The roster, for clarification

    STARTERS
    Vrabel,Brusch,Beisel,Colvin

    COMING BACK AND COMPETING FOR A LINEBACKER POSITION
    Banta-Cain,Alexander,Claridge

    ROOKIES WITH A GOOD SHOT
    Mincey,Roach

    COMPETING FOR SPECIAL TEAM POSITIONS
    Izzo, Davis
    ======================
    With regard to OL, we can discuss that in an OL thread, but you ahve much more faith in Yates and Mruc than anyone else; they are long shots to make the roster, never mind be counted on as game day contributers.
     
  13. Brady-To-Branch

    Brady-To-Branch Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Thanks! :)
     
  14. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Linebackers are key in the 3-4 defense. The DL's job is to suck up OL players to allow them flow to the ball. Linebackers also handle all the intermediate pass zones in our defense. There are tons of reads and tons of assignment keys on every play. The switch, regardless of the level a player is at, from playing with a hand on the ground, to playing in space is huge. For every Phifer that can make the switch, there are many who can not. (See the Texans roster for a list of those that can not.)

    I am concerned about the back eight on the Pats defense. And especially the ILBs we have on the roster. We are literally paper thin back there and relying heavily on a guy with heart issues. Our depth consists basically of Vrabel (moving him back inside), Alexander and Claridge. How many meaningful snaps has Alexander or Claridge taken in actual games?????? Exactly.

    We can survice 1 injury, but if two go down for the year, what will we do????

    All players have some sort of warts. But I'd rather the wart is age than inexperience or an athletic limitation.

    PS: I think BB's real genius is as a secondary coach. For exactly the same reason that someone else listed him as a great LB coach. On a BB defense, you know about the great LBs he's coached, all high draft picks for the most part. However look at the job he's done with secondary guys that are no name low draft picks or undrafted free agents or even street free agents.
     
  15. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Agreed, but IMO this sums up the situation at linebacker too. I have no problem with a starting lineup of Vrabel, Bruschi, Beisel and Colvin -- surely one of the strongest groups in the league. What worries me is that right now, Vrabel, Bruschi and Colvin ALL seem indispensable. So to parrot your words, You want a nightmare? Consider ONE injury: to Vrabel or Colvin. We still need help at OLB.
     
  16. Amnorix

    Amnorix On the Game Day Roster

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    This isn't speculative. BB has point blank said that stand-up LBs in college will almost invariably play on the inside for him in a 3-4, and our OLBs will have been down-linemen in college.

    Very few exceptions to this general rule.
     
  17. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    That's it! What we worriers worry about ...
     
  18. Amnorix

    Amnorix On the Game Day Roster

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    This is correct to an extent. I agree that we don't play the 3-4 two gap BECAUSE we have better linebackers than linemen. Rather, we have drafted our players specifically because Belioli thought they would play in that system well.

    That doesn't change my point that BB and Crew know their linebackers, and tend to build their defenses around THEM as the focal point.

    The one thing I have to disagree with is whether Seymour would be better in a 3-4 or a 4-3. I think he would be as devastating in a one-gap attack, and would have much better stats. He has rare speed/power, and would be a monster in a one-gap system. He's a monster for us, but he'd be a monster anywhere. I'm not sure the same couldn't be said for Wilfork. I think guys like Ted Washington and Warren are more ideal for a 2-gap by far.
     
  19. Amnorix

    Amnorix On the Game Day Roster

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    That's true. IIRC, back in '96 he was our Assistant HC and either DB coach or Assistant DB coach.

    Suffice to say, however, that his defenses are built around his LB corps, invariably.
     
  20. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Oh, please.
     

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