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How much has this defense changed?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patchick, Jan 20, 2012.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I just went back and looked at the Patriots worst defensive performance of the year, the early-season mauling by the Bills. Something that really leapt out at me was the defensive backs who played the most snaps in that game:

    S Josh Barrett – 66 of 66 snaps
    S Sergio Brown – 66 of 66 snaps
    CB Devin McCourty – 65 of 66 snaps
    CB Leigh Bodden – 60 of 66 snaps

    Only one of those players took a single snap on defense against Denver, and he spent half the time playing a different position!

    (For visiting Ravens fans: Barrett went on IR soon after, Bodden was released soon after, Brown is back on special teams where he belongs, and McCourty has been playing deep safety in passing situations the past two weeks.)

    IMO all of the endless statistical debates ("Yards!" "Points!" "Yards!" "Points!") miss the essential point: This is literally not the same defense that put up those numbers. The personnel churning we've seen looks more like separate seasons, and the current lineup with Spikes, Chung, Fletcher, Moore etc. (and NOT Andre Carter) has only played two games.

    That's not to say that the results against Denver prove a great deal, just that all of the talk about "the Patriots defense" isn't really talking about the team that will take the field on Sunday. I honestly don't know how good this defense is, but I have to believe it will be a couple of cuts above the Sergio Brown/Gary Guyton/Matthew Slater editions we watched earlier in the year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  2. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Belichick played the Mad Scientist role to the hilt this year — from Albert to Edelman to moving McCourty and all the pieces in between. Throw in the injuries and, yeah, this defense is different. Another aspect of the evolution: IIRC, the first half of the year the talk was about all the "garbage time" yards the D gave up; later in the year it was a lot of slow start, then clamp down.

    What I liked about last week that I think will carry forward is just the discipline, the way BB can trust these guys to play their roles and be in position to make a play. Yeah, Baltimore's offense is different from Denver's, but I think that discipline will pay off in containing Rice (runs and screens) — a stark contrast with the D from the 09-10 loss.
     
  3. ay-yo

    ay-yo Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Excellent point about the personnel.

    I thought the best part of last week was that we played a full 60 minutes. The defense had shown flashes throughout the season but never played with that much intensity or consistently.
     
  4. Ivan

    Ivan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    This defense has been a work in progress all season but looks like it is finally coming together and at just the right time. Getting Chung, Fletcher, and Spikes back for the playoffs is a really big deal and it should make preparing for the patriots defense a real problem as their just isn't that much tape on the units that will be out there Sunday. There is all of 2 games of tape with Chung and McCourty at Safety, almost no tape at all of Mayo, Fletcher, Spikes and Ninkovich together at LB, and the DL rotates so much that getting a grasp on who will be out there together is equally difficult. This does cut both ways as they also have less time to get the communication down within and between units but they certainly seem to have gelled for the tournament.

    I'm actually feeling good about this defense going against the Ravens and if they do play well it will be almost impossible for the Ravens to win this game.
     
  5. Fball

    Fball Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    In a weird sort of way, it's the perfect defense for this season.

    The Achilles heel of the current Pats D would be a great opposition QB. Coincidentally, with Manning out, the Pats just didn't have to face one in the AFC this year, and won't in the AFCCG either. Flacco is decent, but he isn't great.

    If they get past the Ravens, they are supremely lucky that both Brees & Rodgers are now out as well, since either QB would have picked them apart. Manning is still a big threat on that front, but if they get the 49ers, it would likely be ring #4, imo.
     
  6. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I know that Carter had a breakout game in the Meadowlands, but I remember thinking that he had a rough game against Dallas (despite two sacks)...I seem to recall him being out of position or appearing confused on a number of plays. Despite the loss of our best pass rusher, maybe his replacements are playing more disciplined and are doing a better job at setting the edge, etc? That's not to say that losing Carter helps us, its just may be that his strengths were offset by weaknesses just as they are for whoever is lining up in his place (Anderson, Deaderick).

    (EDIT: On second thought, it might have been the Jets game in Foxboro where Carter had a rough night).
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  7. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

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    nahhh.....the showing against the colts was worse...or the same thing minus the offenses contributions

    against the bills, you want to blame the defense for the fact that the offense accounted for 4 interceptions AFTER it already had a 21 point lead?
     
  8. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, I shouldn't have called it "worst defensive performance" per se. But luckily, that doesn't really affect the main point.

    How about this: picture the starting defense you expect the Patriots to field on Sunday. Run through all of the players in your mind...is there anybody who makes you naseated, because he really has no business anywhere near a starting job on an NFL football team? If not, when was the last time this season the whole back 7 was palatable?
     
  9. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze In the Starting Line-Up

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    Sergio Brown has been a beast on kick offs. I'll puke if I ever see him on the field as a S again.
     
  10. juny

    juny In the Starting Line-Up

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    You have a point in that the roster is completely different on the defensive side of the ball. The worst defensive performance was the Steelers game. They controlled the ball on offense so much it kept Brady off the field for long stretches. I'm more worried about the Baltimore offense chewing up yards and clock than their defense.
     
  11. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

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    Here is where coaching comes in. The Ravens best chance to beat the Pats is to throw the ball frequently, using Ray Rice as a receiver more than as a running back, and especially being unpredictable on first down.

    But, coaches choke a lot in these games, and they call it way too conservatively. We'll see if the Ravens really believe in Flacco, or if they try to win the game with field position. If they go with the latter, there's no way they can hold the Patriots in check for an entire game.
     
  12. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This got downplayed in the Tebow obsessed media this week. The Patriots defense totally dominated the Bronco's OL.

    That is the same Bronco's OL that dominated the Steelers defense the week before. Phil Simms will tell us that he Steelers were banged up- so what every team is banged up. The point is that the Bronco's OL held the #1 ranked defense so Tebow could throw.

    Tebow could not get time to breathe the way the Patriots front 7 dominated the Bronco's OL.
     
  13. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bill Belichick's probable answer:
    "We had 11 players on defense before and we have 11 players on defense now"



    My thought IMO it has not changed much from the beginning of the year it's the execution that is finally coming to fruition.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
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