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Efficiently Spending On Defense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Feb 19, 2013.

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  1. Deus Irae

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

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    Yeah, this is a home grown issue. Just for completeness, I should mention names like Fells and Fanene in passing, but I think we can both agree that players of that sort can be considered to have largely balanced out last year.

    Crappy drafting from '06-'09

    They were lousy drafting, on both sides of the ball, for about 4 years. Just taking a look at the talent from 2007-2009, which would be the players on or near second contracts, here's the offensive picking in the top 3 rounds:

    Sebastian Vollmer
    Brandon Tate

    Here's the defensive picking in the top 3 rounds during that same period of time:

    Brandon Meriweather
    Jerod Mayo
    Terrence Wheatley
    Shawn Crable
    Patrick Chung
    Ron Brace
    Darius Butler
    Tyrone McKenzie

    Even tossing in 2006 (Maroney, Jackson, Thomas) would leave a significantly larger number of defensive players drafted during that time. And, again, those are the players who'd now be on second contracts. Of 8 defensive players taken in the first 3 rounds from 2007-2009, only one is currently on the books and expected back next season. Couple that with Brady's huge cap number and the [highlight]early[/highlight] new deals for the TEs, and there's your financial discrepancy.

    Safety/WR

    That's the only acceptable pairing of draft picks in rounds 1-2, given the current makeup of the team.
     
  2. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've got to be honest, mg, that doesn't make me extremely optimistic.

    I suppose it would depend on one's definition of Llyod. I personally think that we could find someone else of that type of talent caliber with a combo of proven vets at a lower cost vs simply spending everything on one straight up replacement player. In other words, I'd rather see 2 Reggie Waynes than 1 Dwayne Bowe or Mike Wallace.

    Both are gambles, and obviously it would have to be the right kind of smart, experienced vet (a possible or probable cap casualty) to bring in a couple of mid to lower cap hit signings, in addition to a draft pick.

    Even though the draft pick would be primarily developmental, we'd really only need him to produce about 30 catches or so, which should be able to be accomplished despite recent records. More importantly, he could open up some more underneath and middle routes if he can act as a field stretcher. Once again the whole "decoy" role will be debated though.

    In my scenario at least all of the bases would be covered more, assuming that you buy into the thought that Hernandez/Edelman will get a good portion of Welker's looks in the slot role, with even a possible addition added in that role at a low cost to boot for expected injury.

    In your scenario it'd be more of putting your eggs in one basket and hoping that it works out, not to be argumentative.

    I really don't prefer either scenario to be honest, but I don't want to take a gamble and then be stuck. Not to mention, I'd rather just simply pay Welker.
     
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It is difficult to argue with these choices.

     
  4. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I didn't mean to sound optimistic. Once we re-sign our own free agents (or not), free agency for us will be all about wide receivers, corners and JAG camp competition.

    Sure, I'd prefer two Reggie Wayne's to one Bowe or Wallace. If two are available, sign them up.

    We need to do everything
    A) PAY OUT Lloyd's bonus.
    B) RE-SIGN Edelman.
    C) SIGN about half a dozen free agents, as we did last year; at least one needs to be about the quality of Lloyd.
    D) DRAFT a wide receiver in the first or second round.

     
  5. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That looks a lot better, even though we still have to consider that Belichick will keep working the slot with a combination of Edelman, Hernandez, washed up vet, and maybe even a rookie.

    I also had a hard time trying to come up with a mid tier kind of name for my example, so Reggie Wayne is probably not the best choice considering the year that he just had. The only reason I picked him was his contract cost and the fact that he was an experienced vet that we went after last season. It's hard to find a solid player like Wayne though, so it'd have to possibly be more like "2 Brandon Llyod's" instead to complete this virtual exercise.

    At any rate, I'm liking this option better than just thowing the money at a guy like Bowe/Jennings etc. There will also be more money to spread around other areas of the team without the tradeoff of a guy like Bowe/Jennings.
     
  6. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    It's not an issue of *who* is the primary reason, particularly. The Patriots lack a consistent pass rush. Here's why, as I see it:

    (1) Scheme. Most of the year they didn't do a lot of blitzing. Go back to the game threads and see how much we talked about how vanilla things were. Most teams that generate a lot of pressure tend to send more guys than NE did.

    (2) Lack of a dominant pass rusher. I think Ninkovich is fine and Jones has a lot of potential, but as of now, neither is a guy like Freeney in his prime, or Watt, or Ware...a 14-20 sack guy.

    (3) Rare pressure up the middle. I love Vince and I think Love is a good player, but neither gets much pressure on the QB up the middle. They are both excellent at run defense and clogging things up, but neither guy generates a lot of pressure in the QBs face.

    (4) Poor secondary play. We don't have a great coverage secondary, so we probably get fewer "coverage sacks" than other teams with better DBs.

    Unlike you, I'm not pinning the primary blame on the guy who leads us in sacks for the lack of a consistent and quality pass rush.

    No, the trend that has him getting more sacks, more stuffs, more pressure, and making more big plays every year since he's been with the team. That trend.

    Correct. Suppose you have a decent pitcher - a guy who deserves to be in a major league starting rotation. Slightly better than average ERA, etc. A guy you'd want on your team, though not an all-star. If he's your best starter, is he the primary reason your starting pitching stinks? Because he's forced into a role as your #1 starter? No. It means that the problem isn't with him; it's with the fact that you have nobody else.

    Ninkovich is at worst average. Nothing wrong with that. What's wrong with it is that he is one of the primary guys the Pats are counting on. Well, that's not his fault that his 8 sacks lead the team. It's not his fault that they haven't found anyone else to get more sacks.

    You're wrong. He was fine. Adequate. Not great. Not pro-bowl caliber. But fine.

    Jones has the best ability no question about that. I hope it translates.

    Very few guys get *consistent* pressure on the QB.

    They might not tell the full story, but they sure contradict the nonsense you're offering here.

    You've once again staked out a position that is...well...pretty silly. You're blaming the guy that has produced more big plays and who has gotten a better pass rush than pretty much everyone else on the team. You're blaming that guy for the Pats having a bad pass rush. How about blaming the other guys who actually never get to the QB, who never push the pocket, who never send him scrambling, who never actually get hits or sacks or force fumbles or make big plays. How about that, Andy? How about giving a guy who has improved significantly over a 4-year period some credit for, you know, getting better? It's unreasonable to expect him to be a pro-bowl caliber pass rusher. He isn't that caliber of player. But he's not the biggest reason the Pats' pass rush suffered.

    It's just silly.
     
  7. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Which is why the pass rush skills of the players we are relying on is so important.

    I've explained over and over again that I watch Ninkovich play, he is not a good passer, he gets very inconsistent and rare pressure, and counting sacks and calling that pass rush is not reasonable.
    You can continue to call him 'fine' or write down sack numbers. That doesn't change what i see on the field.

    Our inside pass rush stinks. That is why I listed it as the secondary reason. If you really think Vince Wilfork has more responsibility in generating pass rush than whoever lines up at LDE I don't know what to say.

    The secodnary would be a lot better if the pass rush was. It goes hand in hand.

    Priamry does not mean ONLY. I don't know how you can give the guy who is primarily responsible for the pass rush (allong wiht Jones who isnt a problem) a pass and say the secondary, the DTs, or not helping him with blitzes are the primary reasons.




    His role changed.


    YES. Its not his fault. You seem to be looking at this from an emotional viewpoint. Ninkovich isn't good enough to be a full time passrushing DE on a team with a consistent, ferocious pass rush. You cannot have a consistent ferocious pass rush without that guy. If it makes you feel better we can change it to the primary reason is we don't have a good pass rusher across from Jones.

    Yes he is, and of course thats a problem when it creates the biggest weakness on your team.

    Again, get over the emotional response as if Nink is your borther. We need to be better at his position. As I said blame it on settling for him as a starting LDE rather than on him if you wish, but that position is an issue.


    Not good enough. And our pass rush was our biggiest weakness because of it, among other things.

    Thats not true. I guess it depends on what you mean by consistent, though.




    Not at all. I am saying our pass rush stunk, and the LDE position was the most culpalbe compared to what should be expected from that spot. You are reducing 600 pass rush attempts to essentially how many times the QB was flushed into his arms, which were half of his sacks. I am considering all 600. Stats don't answer that.

    Thats hilarious, because you agree above, you just prefer to not 'blame' the player but instead blame that we don't have a good one at the position instead of him. Its the same thing.

    Should the Jets not blame Sanchez? He made the most big plays on their team, and he is their best QB. Is it his fault they don't have anyone better?
    It doesn't matter who's fault it is, the Jets stink becuase of QB play.


    Because there are 2 guys that are PRIMARILY responsible for the pass rush, the 2 DEs. Jones consistently got pressure, Ninkovich did not. The inside pass rush absolutely needs to be better, but the DEs are more critical and more impactful.


    I give him credit. I think he should be the #4 LB and a backup DE and play a decent amount of snaps. What do you want me to do? Ignore that I watch him play and see a medicore player and praise that? I don't care about medicore guys getting better, i care about the team improving its weaknesses. You seem to feel Ninkovich is owed a job because he doesnt stink. I say he plays a crtical spot that we are lacking at, and we need to get someone better.


    Then why settle?

    Actually you agree with me but you feel bad saying negative things about the guy. So we agree we need to be better at LDE, and disagree that I call it a Ninkovich problem and you call it the lack of having someone better. Thats fair enough, its only semantics.
     
  8. patsinthesnow

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    NFL 2012 AFC Championship Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots[Full Game] - YouTube

    1st series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: run
    3rd play: screen pass where Ninkovich defends the screen, doesn't pass rush.

    2nd series:

    1st play: Ninkovich double teamed, dump off to Leach.
    2nd play: run
    3rd play: gets chipped by a TE and still beats the LT and forces the deep throw incomplete.
    4th play: Ninkovich double teamed.

    3rd series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: run
    3rd play: PA rollout, Ninkovich double teamed.
    4th play: Ninkovich drops back in coverage.

    4th series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: Ninkovich double teamed.
    3rd play: bumps Boldin off the line in the slot, wasn't pass rushing.
    4th play: run
    5th play: Ninkovich covers leach.
    6th play: run
    7th play: dump off to Pierce.
    8th play: run
    9th play: Ninkovich double teamed. Wilfork crushes Flacco. Arrington still gets burnt for 25 yards.
    10th play: run
    11th play: run
    12th play: run

    5th series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: run
    3rd play: Ninkovich owns Mckinnie 1 on 1, sack.

    6th series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: Ninkovich forces the throw deep incomplete.
    3rd play: Boldin beats Cole 25 yards down the field in 3 seconds.
    4th play: run
    5th play: Ninkovich double teamed.
    6th play: Ninkovich drops in coverage.

    7th series:

    1st play: PI dennard, quick pass.
    2nd play: Ninkovich chips the TE and forces the throw.
    3rd play: Ninkovich doubled. Pass was in 2 seconds.
    4th play: Bad rush, incomplete deep.
    5th play: Ninkovich chipped by TE. Francis forces the throw, Rice makes a hell of a play.
    6th play: 5 yard slant to Smith on Cole.
    7th play: run
    8th play: Ninkovich didn't rush.
    9th play: Ninkovich doubled, Cole owned by Boldin 15 yards.
    10th play: Ninkovich doubled. 5 yard pass.
    11th play: quick pass. Gregory owned. TD

    8th series:

    1st play: screen pass.
    2nd play: Some rush forced. Tory Smith 25 yards. Dennard was playing outside, where was the underneath help....
    3rd play: offsides Ninkovich.
    4th play: run
    5th play: Quick deep shot to Smith. Great coverage by Dennard.
    6th play: run
    7th play: run
    8th play: Ninkovich chips the TE and the RB.
    9th play: Cole beat by Boldin 9 yards.
    10th play: run
    11th play: blitz, jump ball to Boldin. Gregory nowhere near the play, TD.

    9th series:

    1st play: Arrington beat quick 20 yards by Smith.
    2nd play: Ninkovich chipped by TE, Flacco scrambles on Scott's side.
    3rd play: Arrington beat 7 yard slant.
    4th play: Blitz, Cole beat 11 yards by Boldin, TD.

    10th series:

    1st play: Ninkovich forces rush, gets a ticky tack 1 yard sack.
    2nd play: Ninkovich covers Rice.
    3rd play: Ninkovich forces throw incomplete.

    11th series:

    1st play: run
    2nd play: run
    3rd play: run
    4th play: run
    5th play: run
    6th play: run
    7th play: run
    8th play: run
    9th play: run

    12th series:

    1st play: kneel
    2nd play: kneel

    Your claims on Ninkovich and the DL are unsubstantiated and invalid. Please stop.

    Constantly double teamed, dropping in coverage, and delivers 5 pressures and 2 sacks. Flacco didn't have all day either. It was more like Cole, Arrington, and Gregory getting beat like a drum. Talib had 0 impact, our CBs are great!

    [​IMG]

    Ninkovich says, have a nice day. :)
     
  9. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And that's a fine idea, though I wouldn't mind seeing someone like Freeney brought in on a lower end deal to see if he could shake last season (which can somewhat be attributed to the fact that he was playing in a new system). By the eye test alone, and going off of assumptions about who will probably come out in the draft, 2014 seems to be a better and deeper year for pass rushers/DL/OL.
     
  10. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Andy, long story short - You think Ninkovich stinks. I don't. I see him as a useful, improving player. You see my defense of him as some emotional love for the guy and I see your attack on him as irrational and contrary to the facts. But we both agree that we need to upgrade the pass rush. That's not an area of disagreement between us.

    The problem is HOW. I've actually advocated the possibility of letting Welker go and using that money to go get an impact defensive player. But boy did people jump on me for that notion. How to improve the pass rush? The options are:

    (1) The draft. Well, they added Jones, Bequette, and Hightower last year. Jones we agree has the potential to be an impact pass rusher. Bequette we think might have some ability in that area. They don't appear interested in using Hightower in that role. I'm completely fine with trying again to add pass rushing help through the draft this year.

    (2) Free agency. I advocated signing Freeney and using him as a pass-rush specialist only. I don't think he has enough left in the tank to be an every-down guy, but I think if you limit his snaps to passing situations, you can get maximum impact from whatever he has left. He is still a big name and teams will have to account for him. Plus I think he could be a good mentor to Jones, a fellow Syracuse guy. I think making an effort to get Cliff Avril would also be a nice move. Plus, they added Armond Armstead, and maybe he could be helpful.

    (3) Trade. A few years ago I wanted the Patriots to try to deal Mankins (at the all-pro peak of his career), Meriweather (at that point a 2-time pro-bowler), and a 1st round pick to Dallas for DeMarcus Ware. Obviously a long shot, but I wanted NE to offer a lot to go get him. I don't know what might be out there in a trade, so I'd consider this to be a real unlikely scenario.

    One of the problems, of course, is money. How do you go get a premier pass rusher with the budget you have? Well, you need to free up some more money. That likely means letting Welker go. But to do that is to weaken the offense considerably; that's something I'd be willing to do for the right defensive player.

    So what are your ideas? How do you think the Patriots should address the pass rush? Right now, Ninkovich is their most productive pass rusher. Jones has the most ability, but he missed a lot of games and so Ninkovich actually produced more on the field. We are agreed that it would be best if Ninkovich wasn't their #1 option. But who is out there and how do they get him?
     
  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Where did I say that?
    Why would you insist on saying I said something I didn't to make your argument sound better.
    If this is the way you are going to conduct yourself please do not respond to my posts.
     
  12. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Oh I apologize if I've misunderstood you this whole time. You didn't use the words, "he stinks". You said,

    And

    And

    And

    (LOL...It isn't that Ninkovich stinks. It's that the pass rush stinks and he is the one most responsible for their pass rush stinking, but Ninkovich himself doesn't stink...)

    And

    In other words, yes, you think he stinks as a pass rusher. You said it any number of ways other than using the exact words, "he stinks".
     
  13. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    But more to the point, we agree the pass rush needs to be improved. I've offered some suggestions. What about you? How do you think they should go about trying to solve it?
     
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    OK, you have made your choice, I'm done.
     
  15. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    That's fine, whatever you want. Just don't be mad at me for pointing out your exact words. Not my fault you said them.

    It's a bit of a bummer that you're choosing to go this route because I genuinely wanted to talk about what you think the Pats should do about the weak pass rush. But I guess I'll likely never know. Oh well.
     
  16. supafly

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    Understanding that we won't be using the man coverage scheme all of the time, I think that we saw some improvements when the team had a more capable secondary, so that's definitely a good place to start to free up more aggressiveness in the front seven as a whole.

    That aspect, along with more depth can go a long way. There's also the most obvious solution of simply re-grouping with some low cost vets to add more depth and talent.

    Pryor and Fanane failed as interior presences due to different circumstances, Cunningham was suspended. Love was injured at one point, as was Jones a couple/few times. Francis was only is his rookie year, along with Jones and Hightower (as a LB). Those 3 guys should be able to make a step forward in their second year.

    When you add all of that into acct, the problem may be able to be improved upon with nothing more than some different players and some improved depth and talent. That should come through the FA period and possibly a draft pick.

    I think it also should be pointed out that the SB champion Ravens only had one more sack than we did, but they applied pressure more effectively, so that should be the key moving forward.

    I'm not expecting a night/day difference, but I think there is reason for optimism considering that they should be able to improve from last year.
     
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That was your decision. You know as well as I do that your tactic of misrepresenting my posts was lame, as well as knowing those excerpts you quoted are far from "Ninkovich stinks'. When you want to discuss things like an adult, let me know. I don't have time for your games.
     
  18. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Sorry. I don't mean to be obtuse (really!), but when you say things like the Pats' pass rush stinks and Ninkovich is the primary reason why, how else is someone supposed to understand that other than that you have a pretty low opinion of Ninkovich? Did you not mean that? That's been your whole point...it's the reason why you entered into this discussion with me in the first place - to state that Ninkovich was not "fine" (as I put it). You don't think much of him as a pass rusher, isn't that correct? I don't see how I'm misrepresenting your opinion of him, unless you didn't mean what you said.

    So just so we can clear this up before moving on: What grade (A-F scale) would you give Ninkovich as a pass rusher?

    But anyway, what do you think the Patriots should do to improve the pass rush?
     
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not fine and stinks are not the same thing.
    You don't seem to understand what primary means even though I have explained it many times.
    The Patriots pass rush was not good. The most important facets of the pass rush are the DEs. Jones was effective, if we had 2 of him(healthy), we would not have had a bad pass rush. Ninkovich was not a good pass rusher. He wasn't pathetic, but he wasn't good enough. He was better than Wilfork,Love or Deaderick but he plays a critical pass rushing role, meaning his role failing is a bigger issue, therefore the primary issue with the pass rush was LDE.
    Whether he got 8 sacks or 6 or 10 if all of the other plays were the same (ie the big lack of pass rush pressure overall) he would have been the same problem. (As an analogy if a DT makes 10 tackles for loss, but allows 5 ypc in his area, and another has 4 TFL but only allows 3.5ypc, there is no doubt who was a better run defender and the 'showy' stat misrepresents that)

    I would give Ninkovich a C- as a pass rusher. He gets plusses for effort and motor, and not giving up on a play. He is good at making plays when the QB is flushed toward him. His one on one skills in beating a blocker to rush the QB probably rate a D or D-. (These grades are on a scale of starting NFL DE)
    I like Ninkovich. He brings good things to the table, including effort, versatility and experience. As a starting LDE he is a C- (maybe a D because he is way to small to play the run vs a RT). As a starting 43 OLB he is a C. As a starting 34 OLB he is a C- in a scheme where he is designated rusher, and C in a scheme where he rushes not so much.
    As a bench player who is first LB off the bench, as well as in the mix to play DE as a reserve he is a B+.

    Fixing the pass rush is critical IMO. The pass defense problems we have had are as much due to rush as coverage.
    Any pass rush can be negated by getting the ball out quickly. But doing that means you make the secondary's job 10x easier. The threat of a pass rush automatically forces the offense into quick developing short passes, and the secondary has less field to cover.
    Our scheme has historically dared offenses to throw the ball down the field on slower developing plays on early downs, particularly 1st and 10. Playing 2 gap with VW, Love and Ninkovich as 3 of your rushers gives the offense absolutely no concern running slow developing plays, and the secondary must cover the entire field. Today, with the passing game rules, there isn't a secondary in the league that can cover under those conditions. We need to have a pass rush that can force teams to limit 1st and 10 passing to shorter, quicker hits, and allow the secondary to play tighter. If you took the AFC probowl secondary and asked them to cover the way ours had to on 1st down, they would get picked apart.
    We need a strong pass rusher across from Jones. Someone who affects the way the offense operates. IMO, it is the #1 way that this team could be improved.
    Secondly, we need 4 guys on the DL in sub packages who are capable of beating blockers in pass rush on a consistent basis. We have 1. We may have another in Armstead from the DT spot, and another in Cunningham from the DT spot. If both of them can fill that role, we are good there, but I'd like to add another to be sure. We can find that guy in many places.

    My #1 priority would be to add the 'bookend' to Jones to transform the defense.
    That can come in Free Agency, we could attempt to do it in the draft.
    We still have other needs to fill, particularly S/CB and WR, but 'adequate' at those spots and excellent at pass rushing DE makes us a better team than adequate at pass rushing DE and spending heavily at those spots.

    That is the way I see it.
     
  20. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Top pass rushing DE's are not at all easy to find. It seems that you are saying is that if we have another Chandler Jones available, we should jump at him with our first pick. You'll get no argument from me.

    You're basically saying that Ninkovich is a fine sub and backup player. We should want better in a starter. Yes, we should.

    My gut still says that the patriots are better in a base 3-4, 2 gap.

     
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