How good is our run defense?

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Sep 10, 2010.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    We'll find out on Sunday. Cinci is a running team with Ochocinco and TO as their wideouts. They'll run it as much as they can.
  2. BradyToAmendola

    BradyToAmendola Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I looked at Benson's "situational stats" and how he fares on each type of run.

    2009 stats
    Wide right - 59 attempts, 209 yards, 3.5 AVG, 0 TD
    Right - 77 attempts, 296 yards, 3.8 AVG, 3 TD
    Middle - 45 attempts, 157 yards, 3.5 AVG, 0 TD
    Left - 69 attempts, 397 yards, 5.8 AVG, 2 TD
    Wide Left - 51 attempts, 192 yards, 3.8 AVG, 1 TD

    Seems like they run a little better to their left side of the offensive line.

    Should be a nice early test for the D-Line and Linebackers.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    The Bengals ranked 4th in the NFL in rushing attempts last year, with 31.6 attempts per game. The Jets were first with 37.9 rushing attempts per game. Nine days from right now we'll have a pretty good idea of how good the Pats' run defense is.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  4. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    I don't frankly know whether our Run Defense is better, the same, or worse. I do know that the coaching staff spent a major part of its attention to it, in the offseason, bringing in two vet starters, drafting a couple of defensive linemen, and ILBs, and developing a Safety.

    Hopefully, its better than a small hole opened at the start of last season by Seymour's trade, without any time to do much about it.
  5. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow Supporter Supporter

    #87 Jersey

    I don't think we'll find out with a rookie and a 2nd year CB covering Ochocinco and T.O. ;)
  6. D-cleater

    D-cleater Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    It will be better than last year. The loss of Warren hurts, but Whatever dropoff there is between him and Gerard Warren will be balanced out by:

    1) The addition of Spikes
    2) Ninko having more experience in the system, and the subtraction of Burgess 3) Brace and Pryor being able to provide more depth
    4) Wilfork and Mayo is healthy, and Wilfork is healthy AND happy.

    Mike Wright can get pushed around a little, but no more than Jarvis IMO.

    McCourty looks to be good against the run. TBC, Merriweather, Butler = same as last year.

    Finally, I think Chung will be an upgrade over Sanders against the run. Neither of them have exceptional instincts, but Chung's speed will help, and he has a year in the system.
  7. BradyMossWelker

    BradyMossWelker Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I'm not that worried with it. People talk like if Butler and McCourty are bad corners, and TO and 85 are better than ever. They'll do fine.
    I'm more worried with Benson running all over us, than a average quarterback throwing to some old recievers.
    Answering the question. Our defense with Ty would be a good run D, but without him, I don't know, our LB are good against the run though.
  8. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! Supporter

    As JMT pointed out we will definitely have an idea of where they are in 9 days. I think they will be strong up the middle but the perimiter is where the question marks are. Can Warren/Wright/Brace be stout? I think we know what we have in Tully. How about Murrell/Nink/Cunningham can they set the edge?
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  9. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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  10. TheComeback

    TheComeback 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    The run defense is a question mark at this point. I thought it was pretty good last year until the end. I think it will be fine this year once Brace and G. Warren figure things out. I see Spikes, at least, making some plays on early downs.
  11. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? Supporter

    No Jersey Selected

    I liked what I saw in Brace. The question is whether or not that was an aberration. If it wasn't, he'll be a reliable defensive end. As always Wilfork is stout up the middle against the run. Wright is reliable as a pass rusher, but is a liability against the run. If the Bengals are going to target an area on our defense, it will be RDE, or the area that Wright or Warren line up in.
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Historically, when we struggle vs the run, it is inside runs and cut backs or counters that we have a hard time with.

    I can't remember the Patriots under BB ever really getting pounded outside the Ts consistently.

    It fits the system, and makes sense. There is more help the farther you get from the Center. The 2 gap doesnt only mean that each player covers 2 gaps, but it also means 2 players cover each gap. The sideline becomes the second player on the outside gap, the sweep.

    The design of the defense is to keep the RB moving laterally, and the longer that happens the more pursuit arrives. By nature the wider the play, the slower it gets to the los and the secondary reaches the point of attack much closer to the los.

    While losing contain is an issue with the OLBs, they are the players in the front 7 that have the least impact good or bad on the running game. Addtionally, they are blocked sometimes by pulling Gs but often by FBs or TEs, so they are facing less stout blockers than the rest of the front 7.
    The ILBs are absolutely critical to stopping the run.

    ILB in our system is harder, more physically demanding and less able to find glory than in any other system, and its not even close. While the Raven D revolves around preventing blockers from getting to Ray Lewis (same with SF and Willis) our defense requires the ILB to be one on one with a 300 lb G all day, and stay home between the C and T on his side until the cutback is exhausted before pursuing. Its a thankless job, but on run D probably the most important.

    I dont need to say much about Wilfork, we all know what he brings.

    I think that the way the NFL has evolved, our DEs should be dominant run defenders. They are playing 2 gap against Ts who are built to pass block. There are very few mauling OTs out there, finesse, quickness and pass blocking is the priority they are bred for. A 320 lb DE should control his area of the field effectively, because they are not going to be double teamed, there just arent enough blockers to do so.

    As far as our team looks, I see it this way.

    I am very confident with run defense inside the Ts. The inside 3 are very effective. We will continue to hear complaints about Mayo not playing like Lewis or Willis from fans who don't understand what his assignment is but he will continue to team with Wilfork and whoever his DE is to control the area fron C to T very well. Spikes is also a great fit for that job.

    At DE Brace showed me in preseason that he is exactly the physical force I described above to handle todays pass blocking favored OT. Gerard Warren certainly has the bulk and strength to control OTs as well, however I have not been impressed with his ability to disengage the blocker to make the play in the small sample we have seen (although not holding the point of attack is the cardinal sin, and not disengaging well is a much less severe issue to survive) and it seems to be in his blood to want to abandon 2gap duties and try to penetrate. I see Wright as a solid player who needs to keep excellent technique discipline to not be overpowered and who is inconsistent with technique discipline.

    One very, very crtical part of run D IMO is short yardage. 3rd and 1, 4th and 1, goalline. I think out of everything about a defense this is the one area we are least consistent year to year. Franlkly we either own those situations or struggle very badly. I am encouraged that we may have one of those seasons where we own short yardage because of the bulk of our DL. We are bigger on the DL, and in reserve DL than I ever remember outside of maybe Ted Washington being bigger by himself than any other DL;)

    Those situations are so important to run D because a 3rd and inches stuff is move valuable than a sack and almost as valuable as a turnover.

    Overall, I think our run D will be improved. I am not worried about inside run D, which is the most critical, given, again, that when we have been weak, it has always been inside.

    I am not concerned about the sweep/stretch because it is by far the hardest area of the field to run against a 2gap 34 D. Even if our weakest players are there, it will still be a difficult way for teams to exploit us.

    The most questionable area will be the runs off tackle, outside of the DE, and inside of the OLB, including the 'stretch' play cut up in that area, and the counter traps. How we defend that area will probably define how good our overall run D is. With quick and active ILBs there is better support for that area, but the point of attack is the biggest unknown. Is Brace healthy? Is he ready to play full time? Can he play at his preseason level for full games? How will Warren address the questions about him? How much will Wright be needed? Can Pryor play the run at all if needed?
    How will the OLBs play that strong OT run, handling a pulling G, a trap, a stretch play cut up inside them? Other than TBC (who did a pretty good job last year) we really havent seen enough to know.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  13. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    You've set the key questions.
    1) Will G. Warren or Brace help Wilfork seal the middle, especially on short yardage.
    2) Will any of linebackers be capable of stopping off-tackle plays and containing sweeps?

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2010
  14. BradyMossWelker

    BradyMossWelker Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Andy, great, great post. Thank you for the hard work you put in it.

    One thing I find hilarious, is that last year, everybody was hating on Brace, some even called him a bust. This year, if everything goes like it should, he'll be starting next to VW.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2010
  15. SammyBlueCat

    SammyBlueCat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #12 Jersey

    A couple of posters wrote about a game in 9 days. Why is that?
    Are you overlooking the game our favorite team will have in 2 days?
  16. SammyBlueCat

    SammyBlueCat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #12 Jersey

    To answer my own question, you folks want to see both games (Jets & Bengals) before making a judgment?
  17. CheeseMonkeys

    CheeseMonkeys 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #11 Jersey

    I don't really see how Cincinnati is a Rushing team. Cedric Benson has been terrible up until last year where he rushed for 1,200 yards. That is a good season but I am not sold on him. I am not worried about Benson like everyone else is.
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Brace wasnt ready to play last year. Its clear now that he has the skills expected of his high draft choice, and in particular the ones that are valued in this system. It wasnt an ability issue last year, it was just a guy not ready to move up to this level, for whatever reason.

    BTW, I realize we havent seen enough of him to fully judge him yet, but the specific abilities that I saw in his preseason plays are not 'flashed' skills, but the inate ones a DE in our system needs. As long as conditioning, endurance or motivation arent problems I am 100% certain he will be an excellent 34 run defender and could offer some bull rush pressure, and that is an important skill in a 2 gap.
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    I'd even narrow it down more.
    1) I'm OK with runs inside of the OT/DE but the short yardage is a big deal.
    2) I'm not concerned about the sweep but the off-tackle will tell us a lot about the success of the run D, and its the one area we know the least about how the players we have will do.
  20. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Interesting analysis of the team's philosophy in regards to defending the run. When I have thought of a team that tried to push opposing running backs laterally where either the sideline or a linebacker would take care of the rest, the first team I think of is Tampa Bay from the late '90's; Warren Sapp would do his job in the middle, a RB would go wide, and Derrick Brooks would wrap him up for no gain.

    Two very dissimilar defensive schemes and approaches on how to defend similar opponents.
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