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For all the oline talk, Donald Thomas looks pretty good...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by woolster22, Aug 23, 2012.

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  1. woolster22

    woolster22 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Macdonald (started at LG ahead of Thomas) had an inconsistent night at best. Got stood up often and driven back in pass pro, not much push in the run game. Thomas comes in with hoyer and admittedly misses a block that blew up the incomplete screen to bolden, but straight up handled the same rotation of guys MacDonald was struggling with. This kid has it. Serious ability in the run game, excellent pass pro. Often was the man setting the point so to speak (closest engaged blocker to the los, might also be due to mac getting moved to c when Thomas came in...maybe this should be about Koppen's ineffectiveness, I digress...). Anyone else notice solder faired a touch better after thomas came in as well? Seriously though, after the catch by stallworth in the last two minutes of the half, he damn near takes out the right side of the line while tossing the guy that ate McDonald's lunch all night (even the fries, what a d!ck!).

    Second half, old man koppen is back in and both guards seem interested in helping the geezer out...

    Again, Thomas looks good, not sure where the rg was pulling to on riddles first run...kind of odd. Again though, Thomas is the one setting the pocket, and making room in the run game. Hell, the incompletion down the sideline with a few left in the third, Thomas keeps his man moving laterally, and stops Koppen (who was getting help from the rg) from getting driven back any further. Christ, start of fourth, he tosses his guy back a few yards, bounces over and chips weems' (who?!) guy outside the pocket buying enough time for a bomb to stallworth down the left (who seems to have lost about ten steps).

    Guess who was at center for our second possession of the fourth? My boy Thomas. Faired alright, but probably committed himself to the right too early on third, letting the LG get beat inside. Didn't get the same push in the run game but does well sealing off his man. Again late/ineffective setting up the screen.

    Of course there was the stupid penalty after the fg. But he is young, timing (screens) and in game intelligence will come. If you ask me, I'd rather have four mean, nasty whisky drinkers and a center than five calm cool collected milk drinkers anyway...well, in the fourth quarter anyway.

    Long story short, Thomas came in and imposed his will where others failed to stand their ground. The kid looks impressive.

    Sent from my ADR6425LVW using Tapatalk 2
     
  2. Marqui

    Marqui In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yea, he's looked like a poor man's Brian Waters so far this year.
     
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Thomas has been solid in both games.

    Really, I don't think anyone is too worried about the interior line at this point - we have some depth there. Without Waters, it's not elite, but we have a lot of adequate guys. With Waters, it's much stronger all around.
     
  4. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    #95 Jersey

    If Waters doesn't show up soon, he'll be a rich man's Brian Waters.
     
  5. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Waters will be there. I'm guessing sometime after the Tampa game he'll report. Most likely after the last pre-season game. I'm not worried yet.
     
  6. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    isn't the OL shake every preseason?
     
  7. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    After the 2012 season I had McDonald penciled in as the first interior lineman off the bench, ahead of Wendell and Thomas. Over the years this 'super-sub' has had a vital role because of the inevitability of injuries in the NFL to interior offensive linemen, from Russ Hochstein to Dan Connolly, to whomever assumes that role this year.

    Since camp has started Thomas has gone from a guy that I figured was a longshot to make the roster to probably the top backup on that unit. McDonald has been a bit of a disappointment but I wouldn't give up on him yet; I think he's still lagging behind due to the late start he had after missing about the first two weeks of training camp. I don't think it helped him when he was asked to fill in at tackle when there were no able bodies left to do so a week ago; he would have been better served getting more reps at guard.

    Now that Belichick has Thomas playing some at center it gives the Pats four options (Thomas, Wendell, McDonald and Koppen) inside on the o-line behind Mankins, Connolly and Waters, with three of them able to play all three of those positions. It's something to keep an eye on and make watching preseason football worthwhile. Presumably two of those four are in and two will be released.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  8. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think what has helped Thomas most is that he is consistently getting better. That one facet will give him the nod over another player who maybe plays solidly, but hasn't shown any improvement.
     
  9. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great point. I recall Belichick in an interview a year or two ago talking about evaluating players, and the longer you see them the better feel he has for what their ceiling is. He was saying something along the lines that if a player levels off then at that point the coaching staff makes the determination of whether it is worth it to keep him, or look for somebody else that may have a higher upside. However if the player is continuing to improve then it's a bit more difficult to make that determination because he's not static and hasn't leveled off; they don't have a good feel for what his ceiling is yet.

    In that regard that's good news for Thomas and his chances of making the roster this year.
     
  10. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Concur, and that's the good sort of quandry to be in. It's interesting how so many folks from New England's program might get released and yet end up somewhere else as an every-down player. It isn't that they weren't good players to start with, it's just that for some reason they didn't fit the system here, or had simply reached a point where New England felt they had reached their performance level and weren't going to get any better.

    Nothing wrong with solid, journeyman players. However, your leaders and team captains are going to come from those always trying to do just a bit more to improve themselves and, by extension, those around them.
     
  11. Haley

    Haley In the Starting Line-Up

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    It seems to me our woes are less at guard and more at tackle. Even Waters will not really much help in that regard. The problem is losing Light and trying to band-aid that wound with Cannon.

    While I applaud Cannon's efforts and versatility, it just isn't the same as having someone in there who is meant for that role. In any case, it is what it is. Getting Waters back won't really help this situation. It helps in guard depth but not in addressing our need for a tackle. I am hopeful Vollmer's back issues will be less severe this season. We really need him.
     
  12. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Pro Bowl Player

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    For all the moaning about the OL it could be worse....

    You could have a turnstile right tackle named Wayne Hunter with no one to replace him with :eek:
     
  13. Gwedd

    Gwedd PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    tebow!!!!!!!
     
  14. Reckedtrek

    Reckedtrek 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I agree that Tackle (if any position) is an area of slight concern right now. The section in bold has me a little confused though. What does Cannon have to do with Light?
     
  15. PlainOldEd

    PlainOldEd Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I don't want to speak for Haley here, but I assume that the thought process was that if Light were still here Solder would be playing mostly RT, not LT.
     
  16. Armchair Quarterback

    Armchair Quarterback In the Starting Line-Up

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    Wasn't Thomas 3rd string in the last game? I don't know if that's a good sign.
     
  17. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    As do I.

    Cannon's got the Potential to suck at 4 different positions.
     
  18. Haley

    Haley In the Starting Line-Up

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    This is part of the oline musical chairs. Perhaps I am under a mistaken impression but I had thought they played Cannon at guard last year and were grooming him that way.

    In any case, given the lack of TC last year he is still a essentially a rookie. Adding Cannon to the oline when we lost Light is really a bit risky. And if Vollmer goes down, who is Cannon's sub? If Cannon can't play, who is the backup at tackle? Everyone else we've discussed is primarily a guard.

    I don't know, maybe I'm looking at this all wrong. I wish I wasn't concerned about this. Maybe I just need to have more faith in scar.
     
  19. woolster22

    woolster22 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Yeah, Cannon just looks lost right now. I guess that would be the kind way to put it. The interior line looks to be incredibly competitive and deep. Thomas, wendell, connelly, mankins, waters, macdonald, koppen...god damn. Unfortunately none of them are tackles by trade(although mank has put some time in at lt)...
     
  20. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I rewatched some of our oline play as well and I thought the most consistent guy was wendell followed by thomas. Things went okay when koppen was in but he did seem to get more help than the other centers.

    Now mcdonald wasn't bad at all. I honestly thought his best play actually came at tackle. He seems a little weak but he didn't seem to blow any assignments. I am the biggest fan of wendell because he never seemed to miss anything as well. Wendell seemed more consistent than koppen, mankins, and connoly but didn't have the required strength to be a starter. Back in 2009, I seen wendell flat out pancacked on more than one occasion. And it just feels that mcdonald is progressing the way wendell did. By next year, mcdonald will probably have the required strength as well.

    I can't remember any year when we had this many good young lineman. Besides the play of Cannon and Vollmer's health, I am not really concerned with this group. My concerns are toward the wide receivers because I still feel that they could be greatly improved after lloyd and welker. I also feel uneasy about our lb depth after fletcher went down.
     
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