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For Anyone Concerned About The Pass Rush

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by A_Ghost_In_The_Machine, May 2, 2011.

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  1. A_Ghost_In_The_Machine

    A_Ghost_In_The_Machine On the Roster

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    I just got finished watching our first Super Bowl win against the Rams from back in 2001 (I've only really been following football since 2006) and one of things I found extremely interesting about it was that the Pats were putting a lot of pressure on Warner (I think it was something like 3 sacks, 7 hits and 14 hurries) but were doing it with only a 3 or 4 man rush. The commentators noted on a number of occasions that the reason they were able to do so was that our DBs had the Rams receivers completely blanketed downfield. There were a good deal of plays where Warner had a ridiculous amount of time in the pocket but the play either ended in a loss or no gain and I'm pretty sure all the sacks came on plays where the DBs had everyone covered and eventually one of our guys got through.

    Just thought it was an interesting coincidence that I'd end up watching this game only days after a draft in which many people (myself included) were disappointed that BB didn't draft a pass rusher but saw fit to use a high pick on a physical, press corner.
     
  2. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Yep. Good coverage helps the pass rush. A good pass rush helps coverage.
     
  3. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

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    It's important to note that this was a pre-Polian game.
    That is, before the 'point of emphasis' on downfield contact.
    Defenses were allowed to be a little more physical with receivers. In fact, Polian argued that New England's defense, specifically, was allowed to be a little more physical in their playoff win over the Colts two years later.

    Also note that Vrabel played a great game, alternatively dropping into coverage and crushing Faulk when he went out, or rushing the passer. His versatility in coverage had a lot to do with that defensive gameplan.

    But good point.

    If McCourty can become Ty Law caliber, Bodden should certainly be up to OTIS.

    And that may well be why New England has passed on the Brooks Reed type of pure straight ahead passer.
     
  4. hellolin

    hellolin On the Game Day Roster

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    To change this a bit:

    I just got finished watching our playoff lose last year against the Jets (I've only really been following football since 2006) and one of things I found extremely interesting about it was that the Jets were putting a lot of pressure on Brady (I think it was something like 3 sacks, 7 hits and 14 hurries) but were doing it with only a 3 or 4 man rush. The commentators noted on a number of occasions that the reason they were able to do so was that Jet's DBs had the Pats receivers completely blanketed downfield. There were a good deal of plays where Brady had a ridiculous amount of time in the pocket but the play either ended in a loss or no gain and I'm pretty sure all the sacks came on plays where the DBs had everyone covered and eventually one of Jets guys got through.

    Sounds good?
     
  5. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Down field contact may of minimized impact of having a weaker DB out on the field. When Piolian changed the rules it had a direct negative impact on the Patriots way. Perhaps BB is continuing with his plan to increase the length of time a QB has to throw by utilizing better coverage CBs instead of collapsing the pocket in shorter time.

    This may be a point we'll never understand. Why he would care more about giving the QB more time to throw (to allow your front 7 to get there) instead of decreasing the time to throw by sending in better pass rushers?
     
  6. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I would argue that the Jets were allowed to get away with a huge amount of contact vs. the Pats' WRs in last year's playoff game.

    This is a really important point that many people overlook. Good coverage is not just about CBs. If you're rushing 4 and dropping 7, then all 7 guys should be able to cover. It only takes 1 guy's mistake to ruin the entire play - like for example Spikes on the Cotchery 58 yard reception.

    Vrabel, Brushci, Phifer, and Colvin were all outstanding in coverage (well Vrable was never outstanding, but he was good). I have a feeling that it'll be quite a while until Cunningham and Spikes can hold up their ends of the bargain. TBC and Nink are decent in coverage, but each has to improve. And even Mayo still has a long way to go to be a great coverage LB.
     
  7. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    I don't think Spikes will ever be great in coverage..but he should become outstanding bring pressure up the middle.
     
  8. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Bodden's back too and Arrington is battle tested. We should have a smothering secondary.
     
  9. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Those 3 or 4 rushers included:
    Seymour (#6 overall)
    Vrabel (Ohio State all time sack leader) <-- in his prime
    McGinest (#4 overall)
    Bruschi (52 career college sacks)
    Bobby Hamilton (pretty good veteran)

    They had a very good defense but it wasn't like they had an all world secondary and no talent in the front seven. They had good pass rushers that year and a very good secondary.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  10. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Colvin was never good either, OLBs in the Patriots scheme are not asked to trail a TE down the field. They drop into the flat or into a passing lane, or they rush the passer. If they can set the edge, rush the passer and cover the flat they are hired.
     
  11. Dufflebagz

    Dufflebagz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    All you did is take his points and put the Jets in that situation....WHAT THE FAHK does that have to do with our pass rush?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  12. The Scrizz

    The Scrizz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I think the point was that it was true then and still true now. Give the QB nobody to throw to and your pass rush all of a sudden looks pretty damn good.

    At least I hope that was the point.
     
  13. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    My guess (and this is based on limited tactical football knowledge), is that having better people in the secondary works two fold. One, it gives more time for the front seven to get there (which allows them to play read and react, which helps the run), but also puts more people in position to make tackles in the event a catch is made. Helps the bend-don't-break style.

    Again, this is just my theory.
     
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thats the thing about coverage. If you cover til the clock in the QBs head goes off he checks down, whether the pass rushers are really close or not. Plays have a time limit, and QBs get antsy and want to get rid of the ball, because they think something must be on their blind side.

    Another advantage of good coverage was what we saw with Rodney Harrison. BB used to send him on slightly delayed blitzes all the time. He would have a running start toward a blocker that was near the QB. So even thought he was normally picked up almost every time the QB had to get rid of the ball, just in case the RB missed the block.

    BB has always stressed that pass defense is about timing. You have to time the rush to fit the coverage and hold the coverage to fit the rush.
    We wil never be a great pass rush team in our base defense because we play 2 gap, which retards the individual pass rushers ability, because we are conservative. Our best rush has always been in obvious passing situations and often with the blitz. If we are not comfortable that the DBs can cover long enough if the blitz gets picked up, we blitz less, or we blitz fewer rushers.....of we have the first half of 2005.
    For those that like aggressive defense, you should be screaming from the rooftops for cover guys, because cover guys allow blitzing allow one on one rushers, allow confusion and decpetion. Good rushers get doubled often, beat their man 3-4 times a game and if you are really lucky get a sack on one of those.
    Improving coverage changes the makeup of your defense and scheme. Improving your pass rushers creates a couple of plays a game where they hurry the QB and maybe you pick up a handful more sacks over the course of the season. Last year we were 11 sacks lower than the best ever BB defense, and the 36 we had ranked right in the middle at 6th of his 11 years.
    What is VERY interesting is that over the second half of the season, we reduced the completion percentage from almost 70 to 57.4% and the scoring improvement was excellent. When you look at the history of completion percentage allowed, we were never over 60 from 00 until 2008. 2 of the last 3 were over 60% and if you really look at the numbers that completion % seems to have a strong correlation to the overall quality of defense.
     
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Also, you cannot stop a WCO with a pass rush, thats the point of the WCO with the 3 and 5 step drops, but if you cover those routes on the 3 and 5 step drops, the WCO is disjointed and they either check down for a short throw, or theQB starts searching around and your rush can get there.
    The NFL is becoming more and more every day a league where a higher and higher percentage of passes are thrown too quickly for a rush to matter. That pass rusher isn't helping you if the DB can't cover.
     
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Agreed that the coverage responsibities are not vast, but teams will still exploit the guy who can't cover his zone, and guys who struggle to cover also struggle to make plays on the screen where the OLB is vital.
    By the way, the comment you responded to that said Vrabel wasn't good in coverage was off the mark, Vrabel is by far the best stating coverage OLB we have had. Until 2007 when he became a full time rusher on 3rd down, he was put in coverage more than anyone.
     
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No, not really. You are naming some guys who were on the field, but mistating their use.
    We played a 43 that year. The front 4 was Anthony Pleasant/Bobby Hamilton, Seymour, Brandon Mitchell, and McGinest.
    Vrabel had the pressure on a blitz that caused Laws int. but IIRC someone counted and we only blitzed 7 times all game, so Vrabel and Bruschi were not part of those 3-4 rushers.
    On top of that, the DEs were instructed to wait, watch for Faulk and hammer him if he came their way before rushing.
    That game plan was 100% cover and the rush was individuals on their own.
     
  18. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I disagree. Colvin was very good. Let's not forget that his first 4 years in the NFL he was a SAM LB in a 43 D (excluding passing downs, on which he was a pass rusher) - which involves a lot of coverage responsibilities. Obviously, he lost a step after having hip replacement surgery.

    In terms of assignments, I think our LBs are asked to do what they're capable of. Typically, I agree it's often underneath zone - either flat or curl. But Vrable often ended up playing man coverage on a RB, and TBC is asked to do that on occasion. Still, all of our LBs aren't even good at playing the underneath zone, so there's a long way to go.
     
  19. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    To be fair, there are signs that the pendulum is swinging back in the pre-Polian direction. Darrelle Revis commits PI on just about every passing play and gets away with it, and frankly I'm glad that he can. Because that means that cornerbacks matter again, and I think that's why Belichick has taken to drafting McCourtys and Dowlings instead of Wheatleys and Wilhites.
     
  20. cmasspatsfan

    cmasspatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Also we had 13 sacks in the first 8 games and 23 in the second half. The defense definately improved over the second half of the year. Lets hope they pick up where they left off and improve from there, which they should with the addition of Bodden, Dowling and Warren. Cunningham should also take a step forward having another year under his belt and this D taking time for young guys to learn.
    The draft didnt go the way I was hoping but Im still excited that the team will be better next year and anyway, what the hell do I know about putting a team together.
     
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