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Five most improved

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ironwasp, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. ironwasp

    ironwasp Rookie

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    The dust has settled on the season and as I was working out in the gym this morning, my mind turned to who had really come on this season and shown us some sharp improvement in their game, and I've come up with a list of five for debate. They don't include rookies as obviously there was no benchmark for comparison as NFL players.

    1 - Ty Warren. Breakthrough season for lineman. This guy looks like a football stud, and was every bit as impressive on his side of the line as Seymour on the other. Perhaps more so as teams are still running away from Seymour. At this rate there won't be anywhere to run on the Pats in future as the line is solid.

    2 - Asante Samuel. He'd shown us flashes before this season of what a good player he could be but nothing that suggested to me that he could end the season tied for the lead in the league's interception table and with people calling him a top five corner and a true shut down corner. I don't know if he's really reached that level, but he's not far off.

    3 - James Sanders. It was a tough year to be in the Pats secondary with both Wilson and Rodney more or less gone for the season and a revolving cast of bit part players filling the safety slots. I thought Sanders stepped up to the plate superbly and improved throughout the season. Sure he was a long way from perfect, but then he's a second year fourth rounder, and I thought he showed good smarts, he was strong in the tackle and he'll be a valuable fixture on the roster for the remaining two years on his contract and perhaps beyond.

    4 - Logan Mankins. You have to love second year guys from Fresno State. Mankins made a great start to his career as a rookie and he carried that through into his sophomore year with the sort of season that had commentators talking about him as a Pro Bowler. Like the rest of the line, the run blocking needs to improve, but he's now the anchor on the line and the team's best OL.

    5 - Jabar Gaffney/Reche Caldwell. Nothing, but nothing, in these guys' NFL careers to date indicated that either of these guys could be a number two receiver on a team making a deep play-off run. But both played well above themselves to help the Patriots through a difficult season receiver-wise. Hopefully they can start next season as the 2 and 3 receivers, or maybe even the 3 and 4 if Jackson is able to contribute. I make Gaffney the senior of the two. It's just gut instinct but he seems to have a little more about him abnd with time in the offence, and in a stronger corps, I think he could become a very valuable component in the offence.
  2. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would like to add Ellis Hobbs. I know that there are those who denigrate him as a "nickel back" (I remember the same thing being said about Asante) but by the end of the season he was clearly much more. He played a great game in the AFCCG (whether he should have been called for the "face-guarding" penalty or not) and didn't look like the rash gambler he was at times last season. What's more, his Kick-Off Returns were outstanding.

    (I'm very pleased that you included Reche Caldwell. The unfortunate lapses right at the end of the Colts game shouldn't take away from a guy who shouldered a huge burden on offense -- and showed the greatest bravery in picking himself up from one of the most wicked hits I have ever seen (vs. Cincinatti).)
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2007
  3. TeamPats

    TeamPats Rookie

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    I think this is a great post, too often at season end we dwell on the negative and forget just how much certain players stepped up this year. I mean these are young guys who are just entering their primes and are showing immense improvement. I mean it could be argued that Warren, Samuel, and Mankins are in the top 5 at their position in the NFL. Sanders has had so little playing time at possibly the most difficult position on a Patriots D and showed his matuity and improvement. And not enough could possibly be said about our WR's though I would simply just say Caldwell, as he was there all year from Brady while Gaffney had a few great games towards the end. I for one think this was BB's best coaching job ever this year second only to 2001. I am still incredibly proud of this team and look forward to 2007 more then ever before.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2007
  4. ironwasp

    ironwasp Rookie

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    I think I'd have Hobbs in the honourable mention category had I included one, with maybe Mike Wright, who I thought held his own when on the field, as did Jarvis Green.
  5. PatsMyBoyz!

    PatsMyBoyz! Rookie

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    Great post,great list and I'd agree with adding Hobbs but if the limit is 5 then the original list stands pat for me.
  6. PatsMyBoyz!

    PatsMyBoyz! Rookie

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    Well said-interesting observation on BB and given all the changes/losses we experienced I'd agree with that. Good point:rocker:
  7. The_Dragon

    The_Dragon Rookie

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    Good stuff Ironwasp.

    I'd suggest that Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown might contest the honourable mention list as well..?
  8. brdmaverick

    brdmaverick Rookie

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    I know that some disagree, but I would put Tully Banta-Cain right after Warren and Samuel.
  9. Mosi Moose

    Mosi Moose Rookie

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    My order:
    1a) Ty Warren
    1b) Asante
    3) Ellis Hobbs
    4) Mike Wright
  10. carolinatony

    carolinatony Rookie

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    Good post and lets not forget the good job Brady did as well.
    With almost a whole new receiver group; I think we take him for granted some times.
  11. sieglo

    sieglo Rookie

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    If the criteria is "most improved", I'm not sure Warren deserves a number one. True, he improved.... But he was very good in past years as well, just less recognized and more overshadowed by Seymour.

    I'd say:

    Samuel, Caldwell, Sanders, Wright, Hobbs

    An argument could also be made for Seau, if we are comparing year-over-year. :D
  12. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    Gostkowski got better as the season went on and by the end was > AV when you account for distance and his role in pinning teams deep with his high kickoffs.
  13. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great list and thread. I went to the Roster and couldn't come up with anyone I'd add except the consensus pick, Hobbs.

    If you force me to name the top three, I'd say:

    Samuel
    Mankins
    Caldwell
  14. tedylb

    tedylb Rookie

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    Terrific list! Besides those mentioned, I'd add Wilfork, Koppen, Neal & Thomas.

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