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Evaluating the offensive line

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Guregian: Tucker, Wilcots on O-Line

    An interesting article from the Herald (I know, heresy to even post), but I agree with many of the thoughts on the offensive line.

    The 16 sacks allowed is hugely misleading, IMO, since Brady got hit a lot and was under pressure a lot. I also think Brady forced throws - and interceptions - in an effort to avoid sacks & further damage to his ribs. Particularly in that Baltimore game - I think he really did not want to fall with his ribs ontop a football, with 250LBs of a psychotic-double-homicide committing-Baltimore Raven coming down on him as well.

    Ross Tucker mentions Kazcur as a guy who needs help on the edge. I don't think he's elite by any stretch, but to me, the problem is the interior line. Once Neal went out in SB 42, that middle of the line was exposed, and truly cost us 19-0, moreso than the Tyree pass, Ellis Hobbs, bad refereeing, or any other scapegoats we've named. Koppen is not a great center, anymore, if he ever was. Mankins is a beast, but is not great in pass protection. Neal is good, when he's healthy, but he may be retiring this offseason.

    So to me, the tackle position is looking strong with 4 guys I'd be OK with starting. The interior line needs help. As discussed in other threads, moving Kaczur inside might make sense given the depth at tackle and the lack of depth inside.
  2. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Thanks Miguel, interesting stuff. So the eye test matches reality here - Brady did take a beating last season.

    Maybe part of that has to be blamed on offensive philosophy - our plays & routes (aside from the bubble screens) take longer to develop than those in the Colts offense, for instance. Still, the discrepancy is alarming. Manning hardly gets hit at all. His offensive line is truly underrated[what a joke it is that Polian throws them under the bus after the SB loss]. Of course, we saw the downside to the slants & incuts based offense when Porter was taking it to the house last Sunday.

    I think it's in the Patriots best interest to bolster in the interior line.
  4. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    hopefully one of the guys who can play tackle can also play RG, b/c its time for neal to go

    then, an upgrade at center would be really nice, and thats all that needs be done w/ the o-line

    are there any good draft prosects fro the center position?
  5. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Right now we have excellent depth at Tackle but Guard is another story. Currently Mankins is set to be RFA (no worries this year) and Neal is contemplating retirement :)(). Obviously we have some guys that can fill in here and there but can they be starter material is the question, I would really like to see some consideration for Maurkice Pouncey who can play Guard or Center if we can snag him with a second round pick. However there are some other decent Guard prospects in the later rounds too.

    If there is any site you want to see detailed statistics by position it's profootballfocus check out these links...
    NE Tackles: ProFootballFocus.com - By Position
    NE Guards: ProFootballFocus.com - By Position
    NE Centers: ProFootballFocus.com - By Position

    However if your interested in ratings you'll want to check out footballoutsiders they are better than profootballfocus...
    OL Ratings: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/ol
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  6. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Of course this is one of my big needs.
    Give Brady the kind of pass protection that Manning enjoys and
    watch the PATs offense soar. The interior line I have said needs
    work. Center and RG especially. Upgrade those two positions
    and PATs offense will be flying.

    To Me, protection of your excellent Franchise QB should be top priority.
    What good does it do to get Defense speed rushers if you lose
    one of the best QB's in the league?
    Who here can justify that? Who here would dare say getting better
    protection for Tom Brady should not be the top priority?

    BTW, IMO, PATs lost a Superbowl and the Wildcard weekend because
    this Oline could not protect Tom good enough against a top defense.
  7. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    It's not just the Oline, when you go 5 wide and there is a 4 man rush, you won't have much time. The pats need to use some 2wr 2te 1rb sets and Brady will have much more time.
  8. MoLewisrocks

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    I've been saying this since they were nicknamed the metaphors...he's always made them collectively look better than they were. As had Dante, although he can't hold their hands on the field and he couldn't coach around whatever got into (or ran over) them in 42.

    I think the shock and awe of 2007 led to a false sense of security. Sadly by the end of the season teams were catching on and could stop this offense even with Moss, Welker, Gaffney and Stallworth.

    Some of Cassel getting hammered was a learning curve but much of it was residue from the lessons the league learned down the stretch in 2007.

    We need more options for Brady for sure, since having less clearly exacerbates the protection problems, but we also need consistently better pass protection and run blocking or we're not going to reap the full benefit of having Brady lead our offense. He's got another 6-7 highly productive seasons in him unless they get it beat out of him...

    Belichick will always want his TE's to be good blockers, but it'd be real helpful if we could also use them as god intended...especially now that Welker is on the shelf indefinitely. I'd be a tragedy to see him come back midseason only to have a banged up QB as his welcome back present... For every corner you cut on the LOS you have to compensate in other areas. Spend the big bucks in the trenches and on your QB...and if he's a guy like Brady he will then make due with less costly/glamorous skill position players.
  9. WelshPat

    WelshPat Rookie

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    I don't think the Colts line is that great. They do a good job, don't get me wrong, but it's Mannings super fast release that stops him from getting hit. That, and the fact that he just goes down if he's about to take a shot.
  10. MoLewisrocks

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    This yearthe Colts would agree with you. Especially the RB's...

    His superfast release is a function of the timing offense he's running and their need to rely almost solely on it this season. He has to have 3-4 weapons who he trusts will get open quickly because he's throwing to a spot and not a target. Brady has Welker. The rest here either can't get seperation or the rush is collapsing the pocket before Brady can even get a throw off.

    NO beat Manning by jamming his receivers and pressuing him just enough to get him off his hallowed spot. Remember, he almost threw a pick just before he threw that pick 6. Pressure gets to all of them. They actually allowed him to run the ball a little because they knew that would just shorten the game. It was as if Williams took a page out of the BB strategic manual.

    Brady has always dealt with it better than most, because he is adept at buying time (unless his pocket is collapsing) and this offense is about adjusting pre and post snap (which Manning's doesn't) which requires a tad more time post snap. But this year really tested him because there wasn't any respite beyond the 2 little sisters of the poor games and in 4 of the remaining 15 games he didn't even have Welker (which would be akin to Manning without Clark). Game planning effectively takes Tom's TE's away as they function of necessity as 6th and even 7th blockers more often than not. If you don't trust that Moss can go get the ball due to coverage or injury, you can't assume and make the deep throw quickly. If you don't trust that your 3rd and 4th receivers will be where they were supposed to be or be capable of seperating then you can't make that throw quickly. That essentially leaves you holding the ball until the last possible second in hopes that something worthwhile comes open before you get decked, knowing the decking is coming one way or the other...

    Upgrading this OL will have the same effect as upgrading all the weapons at Brady's disposal, including even the existing ones. Ideally they do a little of each, but they will get the better bang for their buck investment wise upgrading the OL via draft because receivers and running backs can be identified in FA less expensively...and WR system fits are harder to identify on draft day and RB's pose substantial durability risks but once in a generation QB's don't grow on trees in either case.
  11. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    This.

    When evaluating the future of the OL, these issues come to mind:
    - Does SeaBass have a future at LT? If the answer is No, then Matt Light's replacement needs to be on the 53 by no later than opening Day 2011.
    - Can Kaczur successfully move inside to RG? He makes too much $$ to be a backup, because Vollmer & Light appear to be the clear starters at Tackle for 2010.
    - How much longer will Bill tolerate a Center who collapses the pocket on passing plays & provides no push on running plays?

    From this view, the quickest solution to securing the present (& future?) stability of the OL could be:
    - Start Vollmer at RT;
    - Move Kaczur to RG from Day 1 of TC;
    - Extend Mankins;
    - Draft Maurkice Pouncey to replace Koppen by 2011 at the latest; he can also play RG if Kaczur doesn't cut the mustard.
    This last step is problematic, because the FO might feel there is better value at 22; unfortunately, Pouncey will most likely be gone before our next pick in the 2nd round.
  12. Box_O_Rocks

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    Meh.

    ........
  13. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The problem with upgrading an O-line is losing the continuity of the current line. O-line is a very complex position. Before every play, Brady will call out who is the "mike" linebacker. In the Pats offense, that means the whoever he calls, is the responcibilty of the O-line to block if he blitzes, so the O-line must then make their line calls (usually the tackles and the center make them) and the O-line will then figure out who is going to block all of the down lineman plus the "Mike". I don't care what level your playing at, the more lienman play together, the better they get at knowing which blocks each other can and can't make. So do not disregard the continuity of the O-line before moving to replace soemone, especially the Center.

    I the big question for next year is do the Pats move Vollmer to LT this year or next? If they go this year, what do they do with Light? Trade him? I doubt he could make the switch to RT or even guard (who have to be quicker than tackles). I think that Neal will have to be replaced, injury has caught up to him. Now there are a few guards in the draft that could step right in and start ala Mankins. The trouble with that is Guard is not a spot to take at #22. Iupati will most likely be gone by the time the second round picks come along. HOwever, Pouncey from Florida (who is also a center) should be around and maybe even at #53. (Plus they could draft his twin brother next year, who is in sync with each other more than twins?). That could fill the guard hole. and he could give Koppen a run for the center job, or he could move there in the future. Johnson from Alabama could also fill the guard spot, but #53 might be a tad high for him, and the Pats do not have a 3rd round pick.

    Keep in mind that Koppen is Brady's BFF, that can not be discounted in this discussion.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    When we think of upgrading the OL, the current line should be considered to be
    LIGHT, MANKINS, KOPPEN, KACZUR, VOLLMER with Connolly, LeVoir. Wendell and Ohrnberger as backups.

    There are very few lineman that would be a 2010 upgrade. Besdies, the issue will be whether the picks would be better used on defense. And even on offense, the receiver positions seem to be of greater need (wide receiver and tight end). I do expect us to sign a free agent veteran guard and/or center.
  15. cstjohn17

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    I have O Line in a large group of units that are ok but could use a impact player. Not every unit is going to be stacked with probowlers.

    I see the deph looking like:
    Light, LeVoir
    Mankins, Wendell
    Koppen, Connolly
    Kaczur
    Vollmer

    As you said tackle is pretty deep with Kaczur being a primary backup at either spot.

    If some addiitonal depth is added at Guard/Center then I think O Line is a good (not great unit).
  16. iapatsfan

    iapatsfan Rookie

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    To me the biggest problem with our OL is the current offensive philosophy. Teams do not fear/respect/plan for/care about/etc. our running game. It's not like we had stellar OLinemen in 01, 03 and 04. I think the personnel on our OL (with the exception of Koppen) are fine, but teams know when they play the Pats they can pin their ears back and come after Brady. Part of playing D is reacting to the O, but with the Pats having no threat of a running game, defenses just focus on coming after Brady. If it happens to be a running play, defenses are fine with giving up some yards. In the superbowl years, the Pats had big, straight ahead runners that could grind out yards. This allowed the play-action to work well, and during those years Brady had 3-4 quality recieving options to pick from. Today it's drop back, look for Moss or Welker, if they're not open throw it away or force it. Our offense is way to easy to game plan for right now, and if we don't get some more skill postion guys and change our philosophy, we could be wasting Brady's prime years.
  17. Patstopia

    Patstopia Rookie

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    Has Kazur ever played Guard before for the Pats? If so how was his performance? I would be reluctant to move a player who has issues with his current poistion, to a new position and call it a 'fix'.
    Also Center is a definite need for this team! It needs to be address this coming season before they break TB again.
  18. the wrothbroughterer

    the wrothbroughterer Rookie

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    It's a lot harder to play T than G. A lot of players lacking lateral quickness to make blocks on the edge have been shifted inside to G and played very well. I read something a few days ago that mentioned KC wants to move their LT to G and a lot of people expect him to be near Pro Bowl cailber. Having said that, I don't know if Kaczur has ever played G, but its not like shifting positions would make him worse at blocking.
  19. the wrothbroughterer

    the wrothbroughterer Rookie

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    This team has a lot more pressing needs than replacing Dan Koppen. After looking at some of the stats from Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders, I'm beginning to lose faith in him going forward, but there is no reason he shouldn't be a league average center next year. This draft has to address the gaping holes in the front 7 before any other position.
  20. JR4

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    What "gaping" hole?
  21. DaBruinz

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    #50 Jersey

    Neal is a UFA so his contemplating retirement doesn't mean anything for the Pats as I believe they are ready to move in a different direction anyways. Especially since Neal can't seem to stay healthy.

    Koppen's degradation has been an on-going thing since the end of 2007. And he seems to have been missing line calls as well..

    I don't know if Kaczur can move inside. I honestly don't know how Bill feels about the guy. He clearly can't handle the edge rushers the way he needs to be doing. Maybe it's because, subconsciously, he was thinking he may have to slide in to help Neal/Connolly, or maybe he just can't. But He's clearly not stable enough at OT to be the starter.

    That being said, I could see Matt Light moving inside to one of the guard positions with Mankins at the opposite one. That could help out the situation inside, but it would leave the Pats looking for help at the OT position. But that IS a position that the draft is deep in. Unlike Guard and Center, which seem to be pretty weak in this draft.
  22. JR4

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    Defense gurus have figured out how to stop Brady. Some good defenses
    have and more are to follow next year if PATs don't plug the holes this off season. If Pats don't address this issue it will be a long year for Mr. Brady
    and the PATs.
    This year is no cake walk. Pats will face some pretty good defenses.
    Remember how Farve got pounded by the Saints. We'l it wasn't pretty and
    it won't be fun to watch your Star franchise QB getting pounded week after week.
  23. woolster22

    woolster22 Rookie

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    How about the lack of a DE, and JAGs at both OLB spots? Assuming Adalius is gone, who starts at the OLB spots? Defensive front needs some serious work, which is why I don;t understand people looking to drop 1st/2nd on a RB. I want three fatties in the first four picks, hell, maybe even with all four (2/3 on DE/OLB and an O-line). Only skill position that would make any remote sense to me in the first 4 picks would be WR.

    Light/Mankins/Koppen or Pick/Kaczur or Pick/Vollmer is a pretty solid line. Would not be surprised to take a OC/G type that doesn't crack the lineup until 1/2 through the year (then see him at center) or until the 1st injury, in which case he takes Mankins/Kaczurs spot or Kaczur is kicked back to tackle and he takes over at RG. I really hope vollmer doesn't succumb to any more head injuries this year. Thats a slippery slope and he is too damn talented.
  24. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    100% agree re: the interior of the line. Which is why, despite thinking that Mankins is somewhat overrated, I still think that the Pats have to re-sign him. They already need to replace RG and preferably C; hopefully we can at the very least maintain continuity on Brady's blindside.
  25. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    I agree that this is the shortest, most direct, and therefore most likely route to fixing the OL. I also agree that it is even more pressing than fixing the D-Line. Not sure if drafting Pouncey is necessary, and I doubt that the Pats would reach for anyone, no matter the need, in the first round, but trading down might be a possibility.
  26. mcmurtry86

    mcmurtry86 Rookie

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    Well, there's the fact that there is 1 starting-caliber defensive lineman under contract for next year (Warren) and at best 2 or 3 starting-caliber linebackers who project to be with the team next year (Mayo, Banta-Cain, Guyton). That's if you think TBC and Guyton are quality starters as opposed to situational guys. So the Pats need a DE, NT and at least one LB. I'd say those are "gaping" holes, unless you're confident that Mike Wright, Ron Brace, Darryl Richard or Myron Prior could be quality starters next year.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  27. mcmurtry86

    mcmurtry86 Rookie

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    Pouncey could make sense if he's around at the Pats first 2nd round picks. Not sure he will slide that far though. Local boy Matt Tennant (Boston College) could be a good pick with the Pats own 2nd rounder.

    Either way, replacing Koppen or drafting a guy who could play RG for a year or 2 before sliding over to C isn't a bad idea.
  28. JR4

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    The DLine is Ok assuming Wilfork situation is resolved. It has depth to fill in if Green is gone. OLB has McKenzie and Crable coming back and a vet will probably may be signed if Thomas is gone.
  29. mcmurtry86

    mcmurtry86 Rookie

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    1. You need to replace or re-sign Green. Even then, Green isn't a particularly good starter at this juncture (and I'm a huge fan of his).

    2. Relying on McKenzie (who will be an ILB for New England) or Crable for anything is ridiculous. If either of them can contribute as part time players or backups, it's icing on the proverbial cake.

    3. "Assuming the Wilfork situation is resolved" is a huge assumption. IMO it could go either way right now.

    In any case, the front 7 isn't particularly good and needs upgrading regardless of whether or not Wilfork comes back. Going into next year with the same crop is a recipe for disaster, and I expect Belichick will focus on it this offseason.

    Or maybe we should pretend that the Pats pass rush was just fine last year and that we can get by with Wright, Woods, Alexander, Ninkovich and the rest of our beloved (and over-rated) backups.

    In other words, the Pats front 7 has a whole bunch of situational guys and backups being thrust into starting roles. That's a big problem and it needs to be fixed.
  30. JR4

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    You really think Wilfork will not be on this team next year?
    When Green was out the Dline did well. Green is not better than Wright
    and Pryor. Brace although not a starter yet is a good backup. He has more
    to learn but was coming along and did farily well when he was used.
    Why knock Banta-Cain? Wasn't he one of our Sack leaders? Look this
    was
    a top 10 defense last year and it will be better this year. I am not saying
    that there isn't room for improvement but the OLINE needs to be a priority.

    No matter how you fix this defense there will be Offenses it will have problems with. I think it is easier to upgrade this Oline and have
    superb pass protection for Brady no matter what defense they face than to fix the defense so it can overpower any offense it meets.

    At least at this point and the talent PATs have now.

    With that kind of offense PATs can outscore any team even if Pats
    Defense isn't number one.

    Protect PATs greatest Asset, Tom Brady, should be number one priority!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
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