Gasper on Tank Williams at ILB

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by BradyManny, Jul 30, 2008.

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  1. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    I haven't seen this discussed on the boards as much as I thought it would be.

    Any thoughts here?

    My gut tells me that Belichick has Hobson and Mayo working together in the 2nd unit b/c he envisions these guys starting together some point during the year - and depending upon if we re-sign Hobson - in the future. I've read multiple times now that Bruschi playing SILB full time was the weakest link on the defense last season once Colvin went down. So, my assumption - and I could be way off base - is that Tank Williams playing WILB alongside Bruschi on the "first unit" is misleading. They're the first team at this point early in the season.

    Specifically for Williams playing at ILB - obviously it gives us greater coverage abilities. Clearly BB has targeted that this offseason as an area of need. Just another hunch that could be way off - but if Tank is playing at ILB, and coverage is the emphasis, then we're much more likely to see Meriweather out there at FS than Sanders, and have Sanders/Harrison playing SS, with things changing in nickel/dime situations. Breer was on NEST the other nite talking about how this team really needs Meriweather's coverage ability at FS and I agree.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  2. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    I coukd envision on 2nd or third and long that both Williams and Rodney may line up in a LB position and Merriweather and Sanders deep and maybe only ine real LB on the field
  3. Rob0729

    Rob0729 Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Mike Reiss addressed it in his mail bag. He feels that Williams could play ILB in some subpackages, but not neccessarily full time. Last year Harrison lined up in a lot of instances in more of a LB position. I think this could be the evolution of the Big Nickel they tried in 2002.
  4. mdhprime

    mdhprime On the Game Day Roster

    I really hope to see Merriweather start at FS this year. The second year in this defense should be the year he makes the leap. With the exception of the drops, I thought he integrated pretty well last year even though he was probably asked to do a bit too much as far as playing nickel corner and safety. Versatility is great and I am glad he can play multiple positions, but it would be nice to seem him flourish at FS.
  5. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Did they ever try Tebucky at ILB last year? or did he get injured too quickly?
  6. bradmahn

    bradmahn In the Starting Line-Up

    I think Williams is being groomed for nickel and dime packages where the Pats want to keep most of the base 3-4 personnel on the field but would like more coverage ability. I'd assume that would mean playing next to Mayo but seeing as how they are both new to the system (and one to a position) it wouldn't be as productive to have them practicing together, especially on the first team and not necessarily in nickel formations.

    I think Williams is learning all of the assignments of ILB to better understand the positional responsibilities and prepare himself for real action - when running plays and draws are legitimate possibilities - and won't be seeing much early down action at all.

    Plus, Bruschi knows his ****e and has been here forever; is there a better teacher for a S trying to play LB?

    Great thread for discussion, btw.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  7. tajapandu

    tajapandu On the Game Day Roster

    agreed. id love to have our own version of bob sanders or ed reed, but that may be asking too much. anywhere close would be great.
  8. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    From what I hear, he's not just flexing to ILB - a la Meriweather as CB/S or Geno Wilson in the past. He's playing almost all of his reps at ILB. So Tank as Sanders or Reed is kind of a misnomer. It's looking like he's a linebacker now.
  9. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    I think they were saying Merriweather as Sanders or Reed. But lets not get to ahead of ourselves. I will just take some really good play from him...he doesn't have to be the best in the league though that would be great.
  10. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Bingo, and that's my take on it as well. I'd also throw in that Tank's getting more looks in the middle of the field as LB in case he's needed to fill the Don Davis role. I really wouldn't put too much into Tank being lined up as ILB during camp for I really don't expect him to see many snaps, if any at all, at the ILB spot once the games actually matter. If Tank is going to see snaps at LB, I think it'd be in place of Rodney should 37 get nicked up or need a breather in subpackages as an OLB in a 43.

    In a sense, Tank at ILB is the reverse of Roman having seen snaps from the safety spot during camp a few years ago. Obviously, once the real games began, he remained a LB.
  11. bradmahn

    bradmahn In the Starting Line-Up

    That may be the case, but I think they're trying to work Tank (and probably Rodney) into some sort of package that puts them at ILB in the nickel.

    We'll see.

    I know I can't wait for next Thursday. :singing:
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  12. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    I would've agreed with this two weeks ago. As I hear it, Tank is not taking the same kind of reps as what your description implies - these are not Troy-Brown-at-DB "just-in-case" reps. They are constantly-running-with-the-ones reps. I could be wrong, but I don't think he's just seeing time there so he's maxxed on experience or keeping a seat warm for Seau.
  13. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    To me this sounds like one of 2 things:
    1-Mayo comes along faster than thought, making Hobson expendable. But if he is let go, we might need another "ILB" to keep the position warm til Seau comes back mid-season.
    2-We are playing ALOT more running teams this year and he is testing Tank's tackling.
    I personally think that Hobson might not catch on the roster the way these other guys are being used as LBs.
  14. Wotan_the_Wanderer

    Wotan_the_Wanderer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I don't think it has anything to do with Seau actually. Instead and not to sound redundant, but I think this has more to do with Tank getting looks and reads from the inside LB spot so that he'll know what to expect in many facets of the game in case he does play the Don Davis role on subpackages.

    Regardless, I hope both you and Bradman are right in this for it'll mean a more interesting preseason, and we can begin debating how much input, if at all, Capers had on this. As is, it's already one of the more interesting sidebars to this preseason and I like Brad cannot wait until next Thurs.
  15. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 Supporter Supporter

    #54 Jersey

    I hope we start seeing Hobson or Mayo in there soon. A 225 ILB isn't going to cut it for long. The majority of the teams the Patriots play are run first. Honestly I hope Seau does return.

    Kansas City
    NY Jets
    San Francisco
    San Diego
    St. Louis
    NY Jets

  16. zoostation

    zoostation In the Starting Line-Up

    My neighbor does business with AD and I was lucky enough to get invited into the bubble for the friends and family practice this past Sunday night. I stood 2 feet from Tank Williams and let me tell you he is one big dude. It does not surprise me at all that they want to move him to ILB.

    It was also a thrill having Brady and coach B come over to the small gathering and talk to us. I’ve always heard how nice of a guy the coach is… but I never believed it from watching him in front of the media. I’m now a true believer as he couldn’t have been nicer. Signing for kids….asking them their names…. and thanking everyone for their support. Really cool moment.
  17. bradmahn

    bradmahn In the Starting Line-Up

    I can't stress enough how faulty I think any assumption is that believes Tank will be seeing time - or staying, rather - with the first team as an ILB in any sort of non-obvious passing situation.

    It's very similar to what we've seen out of the offensive line so far - a desire to cultivate depth and situational play.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Green Dot Alert!

    Let's not forget the helmet communication systems for the defense - Rodney and Tank as SS/LB hybrids are more likely to be in on a larger number of plays then Tedy. I'd pick one of them for the helmet before I'd pick Bru.

    While the defense is finishing up the final stage of installation before the practices are closed to the public, this is a good time to give Tank maximum LB reps alongside the resident Field General - Hobson and Mayo working together would just seem to be the current depth chart as opposed to any indicator for the future.
  19. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    It's fun trying to guess what the intention here is, because the BB emphasis on versatility makes any argument valid to some degree.

    My take, BB has confidence in his other three safeties, Meriweather, Harrison, and Sanders, and believes they will be getting the majority of the snaps at safety. He also thinks Tank is a smart player with talent that he wants to make sure gets in there.

    If the other three stay healthy, that doesn't leave a lot of playing time for Tank, so by expanding his role BB can get him on the field during the good times, and use him as insurance in case one of the safeties gets hurt.

    As for Hobson getting cut... I hope not, I really have some high hopes for the guy, at least being a rotational guy. Seems like if they cut him they'd be in the same place as last year... hoping that Bruschi and Seau (assuming he's back) hold up. Otherwise you have Mayo and Thomas/Vrabel at ILB. Has anyone heard anything positive or negative about Hobson?
  20. bbabin

    bbabin On the Game Day Roster

    I've basically heard neither extremely positive nor negative things about Hobson's progress. My guess is that he's still learning the system and acclimating himself to playing inside. I also would be surprised if he is cut.
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