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Elite Safety or Elite CB....

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Nov 4, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    #91 Jersey

    In an effort to get through the next 10 days I'm offering another thread to keep our minds busy and perhaps answer a question that popped into my mind.. I have to thank Jack Bauer for the inspiration for this one. In the Talib thread, he and some others had been going back and forth on the McCourty to safety debate and it got me thinking about a thread I started over a year ago and I think has relevance even more now, especially if you favor moving McCourty

    The thread I started posited the idea that since so much of the passing offense (at least the Pats') is now being run inside the numbers, isn't having an elite safety more valuable than an elite CB. At the time I was thinking about the example of how the Pats dealt with Revis when they played the Jets. In 2011 they by and large ignored him. In other words they pretty much made the best player on the Jets irrelevant, by simply throwing passes to all the people Revis WASN'T covering, and in doing so piled up 30+ ppg and a ton of yards

    Now if your best player happened to be a Safety it would be much more difficult, if not impossible to marginalize him like we did Revis last year. So in that thread I made the case that the Safety position is to become the most important position on the defensive side of the ball and soon teams would be paying elite Safeties 8 figure salaries and not CBs

    Now even though I have come strongly on the side of keep McCourty at CB, I can't help but remember that thread and perhaps second guess myself. But rather than refight a debate that has already wasted too much band space. Lets broaden the debate.

    Given that so much of today's short passing attack occurs between the numbers. Given the increased importance of the slot receiver (Welker, Cruz, etc). Given the growing importance of the hybrid TE's like Hernandez and Graham. Given the growth of of 2 TE/2WR offenses around the league And given the seeming lack of quality safeties throughout the league....Isn't it MORE valuable to acquire an elite Safety than an elite CB????

    And for the purpose of our hypothetical: if you had 20-20 foresight and knew for an absolute certainly that Devin McCourty is going to develop into a top 5 shut down CB in the league OR the next incarnation of Ed Reed, where would you want to have him play and why?

    The floor is now open and we have 13 more meaningless games to get through that we REALLY don't care a lot about, so we have a lot of time to kill.. Have at it
  2. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    It would seem, to my largely untrained eye, that an elite safety would benefit the Patriots more given their existing pass rush. While the pass rush is getting there, opposing QBs still have time.

    Given that they will have opportunity to make long plays, the passing off of a WR to the safety seems to be partly the cause for giving up some of those long plays and definitely a part of the cover system the Pats run.

    So can we get good to average corners who can cover for 2-3 seconds and have a safety that can handle the time after that. or have a single CB that can "potentially" take a WR off the effective field of play. I don't think McCourty can be that caliber of a CB, but could be relatively good specially on a man-to-man basis.

    But, his instincts and tremendous closing speed could make him a good long term fit as safety. But, I will never claim to be able to guess what BB is up to next. It all comes down to being able to evaluate the differential between option #1 and options#3 to the overall effectiveness of the secondary.
  3. TheBostonStraggler

    TheBostonStraggler Rookie

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    Given the porous reality and the question marks across the board with the Patriots' secondary as well as given the league strongly favors the passing offense, I suspect more 2012 W/L success may go to having a solid and effective Safety.
    The Patriots have solid to strong ability in other areas. If the secondary can provide protection against the big play/the quick easy score? We'll win most of the time. Unfortunately the Secondary's ability to do anything consistently effective is uncertain at best (I am hoping Talib changes that perspective at least to some degree). So given their general ineffectiveness and given that the big plays will frequently be most conducive to losing a game, a solid effective Safety may aid most in stopping the big plays.

    I don't know if that Safety can be McCourty. But if he moves into that position and proves to be solid, I like it. It would great to have one effective player at the safety position to anchor the secondary over the nexy X amount of years to build the other spots around him.
    With that said, I'll happily take a good CB. Good CBs are hard to find and they can have a very positive effect on every other secondary position. This is why, arguably, I could also be wrong :D
  4. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I believe that I would also choose safety. As we have seen throughout the yrs, a top notch good coverage safety with exceptional talent can sometimes be a lot harder to find than a "good" CB.

    Especially when considering the fact that the lineup/coverage show of the safeties on every play has an awful lot to do with the specific play and formation that will be implemented by the opposing offense.

    As I have said about a million times, the proper safety play can also dictate the potential of the CB's play too. It can even be somewhat difficult trying to properly assess the play of a CB without fully knowing or understanding where the responsibilities lie in the role of the specific safety at the same time.

    The coherence of the 2 positions (along with the front seven pressure/scheme on a somewhat lesser note) is what makes up an effective or ineffective secondary as a whole.

    It would be for these reasons that I personally would choose safety, although there are also other reasons that would likely favor CB, as Rex Ryan would be happy to point out.
  5. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    I would throw up an alternate Hypothesis.

    If the choice was between Ed Reed in his prime and Revis in his prime.

    I would go revis because as you said you shut down the bet player on the other side of the ball and you make the offense that much more predictable.

    Especially for teams that base their offense around on receiver e.g Calvin Johnson. It lets you roll coverage and gives your front 7 a bit more time to get there.

    I know there is not a real answer here but personally i would say Revis.
  6. randomk1

    randomk1 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Considering the many question marks in the secondary up to this point i'd probably take an elite safety that can do it all.

    I'm assuming elite means something like top 5 at the position and not a true shutdown CB like a Revis.
  7. nabwong

    nabwong PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    I am very passionate about this topic and have always claimed that we are just short of an above average safety before we are again a dominant d. It's no coincidence that after Malloy and Harrison, our d is leaking more than a running nose. An above average safety is likely to make more plays than an above average cb cos of his range/starting position and the fact that he is playing with his body in front of the ball ie more time to react. Also a safety is able to disguise his play because he is likely to get more freedom. A cb's play is probably more reliant on the safety than vice versa.
  8. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When our D was very good, we had Rodney Harrison, QB'ing the crew.. he was a very good safety, who seldom made mistakes.... I suspect that his football savvy covered up some shortcomings..

    My vote is for a very good safety, who not only is an asset in coverage, but also an asset in stopping the run and directing the young'uns we seem to have a preponderance for..
  9. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I'm influenced by the old cliche that it's hard to gameplan away from a guy who plays in the middle of the field.

    If I could have one great pass defender, I think it would be the safety. The only counterargument that gives me much pause is the one that says if you can shut down Larry Fitzgerald with one elite CB but not with three ordinary ones, don't you want that one guy? But I'm not sure how realistic that is.

    I think for the same level of talent, a guy probably has more impact at safety than at CB under any recent set of rules. The safety who can salvage plays for 2-3 CBs is more valuable than the CB who can reliably recover against one receiver.
  10. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan Rookie

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    Or you could have said we won games (the game) with Rodney at Safety and a guy named Earwind Moorland at CB.
  11. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Rodney AND Geno Wilson covered up a lot of warts in that secondary but it was really the d-line and the active LB corp that got the team to the 04 title.
  12. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    Ask yourself this question - If the Patriots had Ed Reed at safety from 2007 to Present, do you think we'd have a couple of more Superbowl wins? I think that's quite possibly a yes. Think of all the Pats playoffs losses, a lot of them have to do with defending the ball on the deep side of the field. Does Ed Reed stop the 'helmet catch?' Or does he snuff out the Manningham play by playing over the top coverage? Flip the coin, if Revis is out there, would he have stopped the play from happening?

    Of course you can't say for SURE he would have made those plays or been better than what we had, but we're already playing the what if game by choosing an elite CB or S, neither of which we have yet btw.

    What makes this conversation even more interesting is the fact that both Reed and Revis will be free agents in 2013. So the question then becomes which one of them do you pursue, or do you try to get them both? Reed is 34 and Revis is 27. But Revis is also coming off a devastating knee injury (ACL tear) which ended his season. Will Reed have anything left in the tank? Will Revis be able to recover his previous form? Who would you rather pursue?

    EDIT: Oops apparently Revis won't be a FA until after the 2013 season is over. BUT if Revis and the Jets can't come to a contract agreement, a trade is possible at the 2013 trade deadline but it's hard to imagine the Jets willing to trade Revis to a division rival unless they feel he is 'damaged goods' and won't hurt them.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  13. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Hmm.

    2006- quite possibly. If Reed is coming over the top on Fletcher and helping a trailing Eric Alexander then that might have made the difference.

    2007- Meh. Rodney was there. Does ER get their quicker? Who knows.

    2008- Nothing would have helped.

    2009- No

    2010- Not sure

    2011- Quite possibly but the pass to Manningham was incredible.
  14. PP2

    PP2 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I agree.. I would much rather have a great coverage safety than a shutdown corner because a great safety can salvage the mistakes made by a corner, but not the other way around.

    However it doesn't hurt to have a corner that's good at man, which is what I assume BB got Talib for. Talib excels at man coverage but does take poor angles when asked to play zone.
  15. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    My impression is the same as yours but this article offers a completely different viewpoint.

    Miscellaneous Thoughts on Talib | NEPatriotsDraft.com - 2013 NFL Draft
  16. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    It's funny because I'd choose Ed Reed 99 times out of 100 given those options.
  17. mayoclinic

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    I'd vote Reed, too.

    First, true shutdown CBs like Revis or Deion Sanders who can live on an island or take away half of the field are very rare. But I'll take the great safety, myself. Look at what Ronnie Lott did for San Francisco, or how Reed has given Baltimore a consistent top 5 defense for the past decade. It's much easier to scheme away from a great CB than to avoid a great FS who can roam the field and read the QB.

    Put it differently: who do you think is more important to Seattle's defense, Earl Thomas or Richard Sherman? I love both players, and think both are Pro Bowl caliber at their positions, but if I had to build a defense I'd start with Thomas over Sherman. Having that caliber FS makes up for CB mistakes. You can get away with good but less than spectacular CBs if you have good safety play, as we proved when we had Rodney and Geno.
  18. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I think the answer is as simple as this......

    If you have a team with a genuine good pass rush then you want to have an Elite safety to help ruin their offensive play when the QB is scrambling around with pass rushers all over him and looking to dump off a short pass ......more often than not,pass rush in a QBs face usually causes him to throw short and not deep,thus a great Safety helps out more.

    If your team struggles to get to the QB and he has time to throw,then you want your team to have an elite CB.

    It all starts up front.....
  19. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Elite CB

    It's much more difficult to play with your back to the ball.

    Don't get me wrong. Having a Rodney Harrison type player who opposing WRs know are going to pancake them is great too - but my feeling is an elite CB can play as an elite Safety, but I don't think an elite Safety can necessarilly play as an elite CB.
  20. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I know we have had some safety issues, but basically corners cover WRs, Safeties cover TEs. 37 of the top 40 players in receiving yards are WRs.
    Taking a guy with corner skills and moving him to safety helps the pass D if you have an excess of top corners. It doesn't help so much when you take a player and move him away from his natural position and downgrade the one you took him from, which also happens to be a much, much more important position.
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