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How Critical Are Aiken, Slater and Ventrone

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, May 24, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have Slater, Aiken, Ventrone, the 3rd QB, the 5th RB/FB/HB competing for three roster spots (see below for my current guess at a roster). How necessary are these three given the following special teamers who are would make the roster as of now? I would certainly be fine with only one of Aiken, Slater, and Ventrone makes the roster.

    Woods
    Guyton
    Banta-Cain
    Redd
    Alexander (likely to be replaced by a free agent)
    Wilhite
    Butler
    Chung
    Williams

    =========================
    OFFENSE (25)
    QB (3) Brady, O'Connell, Hoyer/Gutierrez
    RB (5) Taylor, Faulk, Morris, Maroney, BJGE
    WR (5) Moss, Welker, Galloway, Lewis, Slater/Aiken/Ventrone
    TE (3) Watson, Baker, Smith
    OT (4) Light, Kaczur, LeVoir, Vollmer
    OG/C (5) Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Hochstein/Johnson, Ohrnberger
  2. Afterlifemobile-86

    Afterlifemobile-86 Rookie

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    Slater didn't impress me at all last season.
  3. QB12

    QB12 Rookie

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    Today's article about the new special teams coach touches on Slater as a special teamer. Seems like a roster spot is his to lose.
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  4. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer Rookie

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    aiken, certainly having the most experience, might have the most to offer in the short-term, and we know what we're getting out of him. Guys like Slater and Ventrone have a much more uncertain fate in the NFL. Because of that, they could have more upside. Of the three players, they would be in special teams support (as you said) and would consume the last slots on the depth charts. With these later slots on the roster, I would tend to prefer players who have greater promise as developmental players (not older players whose abilities we know are limited). In the case of Slater, he is particularly intriguing for his TC flashes in kick-returning.

    Aiken is a conservative choice for the fifth wr. Slater could actually amount to something (or be an incredible bust). Ventrone...meh
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, seeing as they kept Ventrone on the roster through the playoffs in '07, and had him on the game day roster every game he was healthy in '08, I'd say he factors into their plans for '09. He's not a lock by any means, but they obviously have seen enough value in his ST play alone to keep him around this far.

    And, as for Slater, there's no such thing as an "incredible bust" when you're a fifth-rounder.
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  6. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Slater gets another chance to prove something. I agree that it's possible that only 1 out of the 3 could make it. I also agree on the 5th RB. I am not totally sure about the 3rd QB, however--unless a more experienced vet happens to come in. I don't know that Gutz or Hoyer makes the team, IMO. I could see the 3rd QB spot maybe going somewhere else, or to a more proven vet. I am certainly happy with KOC as the #2, but feel that we could use a more experienced QB if we go 3 deep at the position.

    I guess the battle between Slater, Aiken, or Ventrone could come down to either Slater or Ventrone--most likely because they do have the ability to not only play ST, but also to possibly play on either side of the ball if an emergency couple of injuries were to occur. Both Slater and Ventrone could play WR, or S, although probably not likely, but they do provide more versatility than Aiken.

    So bottom line is, I agree with your roster expect I'd keep 2 QB's and probably both Slater and Ventrone for their ST play--and versatility.
  7. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    Slater and Ventrone play both offense and defense. They are

    below average players on both sides of the ball.
  8. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Waaaay too soon to make that call Jim, let's see if they can make a leap from rookie to second year.
  9. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    Slater could not find a position for himself in 4 years of college. His
    most noteworthy play in 2008 was fumbling the second half kickoff
    against Pittsburgh to start the rout. Ventrone was on and off the
    practice squad for years before sticking last year.
  10. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    All reports seem to the coaching staff being real high on Slater. Special teams performance is hard to judge from a fan's perspective, and perhaps Slater plays some role really well in the kick return coverage game. Kid had one huge mistake that unfortunately overshadows a body of possibly good work.

    I think Aiken is still the better special teamer of the two. With Butler now on board and not a critical player as a rookie, he certainly could fill the KR role so Slater is far from a lock in that aspect.

    I really would not be surprised to see Aiken and Slater on the team. I think Ventrone is a goner.
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    AIKEN
    Aiken is one of the best special teamers in the league, at his best in punt coverage. He was a top college wide receiver, was drafted in the 3rd, and did a credible job as our #4 receiver last year. He made a couple of key catches and even started a couple of games when we started out in a 3 and 4 receiver set. Aiken is in his 7th year and seems a fine fit for a special team spot.

    SLATER
    Slater is in his second year. He didn't do much last year at wide receiver, not being able to beat out Aiken for reps at wide receiver. He will certainly get a real look-see, since he is just in his second year and is signed for two more years at an inexpensive salary. He did reasonable well on the various special teams units last year. He was tried as a returner, an experiment that didn't work out very well. Personally, I didn't see Slater as much of a prospect last year, and wouldn't have him on the 53. Nothing he has done has changed my find, although I think he certainly should be given every opportunity in camp to proe himself. His best shot at a roster spot will likely be to show some flash as a returner.

    VENTRONE
    Ventrone has been around for awhile. I think we signed him in 2005 (oe 2006 at the latest). He has been tried on offense and defense and hasn't shown much at all. He has been a very good special teamer. If I there were room, Ventrone is certainly a hard-hitter and crowd pleaser on special teams. However, he no future outside of special teams, and no one would consider him a pro-bowler as a special teamer. So, this year, Ventrone may start the season on the speed-dial list.

    BOTTOM LINE
    For me, Aiken is the clear favorite of the three. In fact, I would like the team sign Aiken to a three year contract.
  12. efin98

    efin98 Rookie

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    Slater getting mentioned in the article could also be a shot across his bow to get his act together especially with the mention that they will go with who is best soon after his mention...hardly a good sign for him, they look like they may cut him if he doesn't perform this preseason.

    I don't see Ventrone making it unless they really need someone with speed and power to compensate for the changes in special teams rules. He should be one of their leading special teams tacklers, which might be enough to keep him around for.

    Aiken I'm warming up to. He has a real upside that has yet to be fulfilled but should be this year. He should contribute more with the first team than any other special teamer, fifth wide receiver role is his to lose.
  13. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    I think he's more than capable, based on last year.
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  14. farn

    farn Rookie

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    Aiken is "in". He is the 4th receiver. He is valuable on ST.

    Ventrone is obviously a BB fav. He will be givent he chance to make the 53, but if the new bodies are competent, he might have a harder time. Look for him in Denver or Cleveland. Slater should make the team. He had a few bad plays, but who's to say how much he shines in practice ? Maybe he's just a few plays away from becoming a dynamo (personally, I don't think he's going to bust out, but I'm not ready to declare him a useless part).
  15. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We've been saying things like that about Izzo, for example, for years, and he keeps making it, so I wouldn't count Ventrone out just yet. And, as I've noted before, the Pats have historically kept four or five primarily-ST players on the 45-man roster, let alone the 53, so I'd say it's at least 50-50 that Ventrone (who, since Izzo and Washington are gone, is one of their better ST players) sticks.
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  16. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Who is taking over the ST captain role?? THAT I think could be a weakness...LI saw it all over the years and that is something they will lack...Ciurciu?? Is he even a possible for that...with 6 years exp...I think it may be someone like him or Aiken who will get the position..I think all 3 could stick...lots of intangibles here. Aiken I think does because he's easily at this point the 5th WR and a really sure 3rd down tall receiver. Slater is moe of a question mark than Ventrone. VEntrone is smart and will do anything the team needs. Slater is a bit quicker, faster, BUT...?? Time will tell I think these players have the inside track..BUT if there are stronger ST players..and smarter ones...then...let the better ones get the spot on the 53.
  17. efin98

    efin98 Rookie

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    I have Ciurciu being a leading candidate to fill Izzo's role...he's the most experienced of the primary special teamers and is one of the few who has experience working with coach Scott O'Brien.
  18. farn

    farn Rookie

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    We're pretty lucky fans... look at us all up in arms about who'll be ST capt ! TFB is coming back. Isn't that enough ?

    Ventrone will have a hard go in training camp with the new additions. But he beat out highly rated players before. BB doesn't really care about highly rated. He wants to win.
  19. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    I was thinking Ciurciu or Aiken for captain..one needs someone with years of experience...someone who can see subtle things and recognize right off what is going on....the fake field goals and punts etc. Troy was great at that as was Izzo...I also think possibly Alexander could be in that roll. Ventrone ...in time MIGHT be one who could do that.
  20. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Is this a trick question? If not, here's my not at all trick answer: NOT AT ALL CRITICAL. Any of them.
  21. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    Well if your going to only take one, Sam Aiken has the track record. However, Ventrone probably has the boards 'Barwinism' and potentiall to be the next Izzo. The problem with Ventrone is he does'nt distinctly fit into one position for depth purposes. But, I guess your really not relying on him to be a true back up, but it would be nice to find a Special teams ace whom is a true legit positional backup. Give some names of guys that did both, Steve Tasker come to mind, and Bill Bates. Who else?
  22. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    good analysis, except that Greg Lewis is the favorite for #4 receiver

  23. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ciurciu is not more experienced that Aiken. They entered the league at the same time, and Aiken has more productive on special teams.

    Posters are acting like they WANT to use special team roster spots on players who can't do anything else.

  24. efin98

    efin98 Rookie

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    Has Aiken played under O'Brien before? No, he has not. To me that gives Ciurciu a bit of an edge in leadership as he's already familiar with what will be implemented.

    Why strengthen a weak spot to bolster the reserves at already stronger spots...
    Last edited: May 24, 2009
  25. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You may be correct. Ciurciu may have been brought in to help implement any changes in system. For right now, I have penciled in Ciurciu at the #4 ILB spot, Izzo's old job, and Aiken as a backup WR as he was last year. There is clearly room for both these top special teamers.


  26. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Wasn't my question...but I think ST captain IS important...no?? I know how fans are and when there is a breakdown on special teams..Brady or no Brady..this board will be filled with finger pointing and other negatives. I'm not up in arms..but it is a legitimate question..Ventrone may have a hard time..but he seems to have intangibles that BB likes.
  27. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rookie

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    they are not critical at all. Their only value is on punt and kickoff coverage. Losing Ventrone against the Jets cost us a Leon Washington kickoff return but that is the only value I see here. Maybe Aiken has some leadership value but in two years he hasn't made much of a difference that I can see between injuries and playing time..
  28. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    Here's one vote for Ventrone. The kid has speed, good hands and guts. If Welker ever went down, he'd be a good slot candidate.
  29. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan Rookie

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    Ventrone is very versatile, and someone once told me that BB likes that. ;)Slater, and Aiken are ST, as of now, and nothing more. Maybe Slater shows us something during preseason, but as of right now, the only person that matters to me is Ventrone :D
  30. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    Aiken has only been with the team a year...so...
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