How will the Front 6 look next season?

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Fencer, Apr 30, 2012.

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  1. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Even though we know better, we're again talking more about the base defense than the nickel and dime packages. So to move away from that: What are you expecting for sub package personnel and schemes?

    My questions (and answers) start:

    1. Should we expect a 4-2-5 nickel?


    2. Should we expect Mayo to be one of the 2?

    Sure. He never comes off the field if BB can help it.

    3. Should we expect the DEs to be chosen from (and probably rotated) among Andre' Carter, Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, and OLBs?

    Who else? (I do expect Carter back with the team.)

    4. Should we expect the DTs to be a Wilfork/Fanene/Pryor rotation?

    Who else, as long as those guys are healthy?

    5. Who should we expect as the stand-up LB(s) other than Mayo?

    It's tempting to say Dane Fletcher or a big-nickel safety. But I'll say Hightower, in honor of the pre-draft scouting that praises him for stoning receivers before they make a first down.

    6. Should we expect a 4-1-6 nickel?

    Yes -- interior pass rush is crucial these days. Also, please note the trouble I had naming a second LB for the 4-2-5.
  2. Marqui

    Marqui In the Starting Line-Up

    Maybe I'm being picky but I'm not 100% comfortable with that DT rotation. I think they need another impact player there. And I think Belichick wants one too from the way he went hard after Red Bryant early in FA.
  3. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

    THe 4-2-5 might shape up something like this.

    SOLB Hightowerk/Ninko/Bequette
    DT Wilfork
    DT Deaderick/Fanene
    Elephant WOLB A. Carter/Chandler Jones


    McCourty - Wilson/Gregory - Chung - Arrington - Dowling
  4. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    We have always gone that route, except against teams like Indy where we used 3-3-5 as a base.

    Ton of choices here, although I think Carter is a long shot.
    Jones, Bequette, Nink, Hightower, Scott, Cunningham.

    Hopefully we have additions coming. Fanene is the only guy in this group that is good in this role.

    Nink has played this role too, and Spikes has at times also. Carpenter figures to be considered in this role if he makes the team. I think we are deeper and stronger than ever in this spot.


    Well we wont rush 3, so a 3-2-6 would just be disguise and the other LB would be blitzing. As I said, I like our sub LBs better than I have in a while.
  5. ay-yo

    ay-yo Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I envision our nickle w/ 1 Big DL, 3 DE's and 2 LB's. It's a copy cat league. BB decides to somewhat copy what the Gints have been successful with. However he is not comfortable w/ no big bodies in there, so he leaves in 1 Big DL.

    Fanene and Wilfork (gotta play more than just the 50% base formation) will be the primary big DL. The DE's will be a rotation of Jones, Nink, Bequette and Scott. The 2 LB's will be Mayo and Hightower.

    1. With the personnel I described Nink could easily stand up for a 3-3, or Hightower can put his hand down for a 5-1. Hightower and Nink give that group some flexibility and I expect BB to play around with it.

    3. I don't expect Carter back. Shadow roster b/c he wouldn't be ready week 1 anyways.

    4. I think UDFA Marcus Forston has a chance to make the roster and crack that rotation. Big time HS recruit who had injuries in college. Kinda similar to Pryor but I think more explosive. Someone to keep an eye on.

    5. Hightower most likely. Although we could potentially put Tarp or White (please no) in there and have Hightower w/ his hand on the ground. This is the one are our LB corps is still lacking.

    6. If Barrett can stay healthy and looks good.
  6. notex

    notex Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #87 Jersey

    On the run - but just wanted to add that that I wouldn't rule out:

    deaderick / love / warren / brace

    Especially Kyle love - I think he should definitely be in the mix.
  7. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr In the Starting Line-Up

    #50 Jersey

    In the nickel you generally want your LBs to be faster. Mayo is an obvious choice but the spot next to him in the nickel could be Tracy White or Jeff Tarpinian, at least on third downs anyway.

    PS: a "4-1-6" nickel is called a dime ;)
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  8. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Oopsie on the typo!!

    I'm hoping one of the "main" LBs has enough speed/cover ability to stay on the field in sub packages. Otherwise we're talking about Tarpinian or whoever being penciled in for around half of all snaps, which probably is not an ideal outcome.
  9. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    A couple of the beat writers seem to expect the other LB in sub packages to be a safety, perhaps even Wilson. IIRC, Bedard pretty much said that, and somebody else (or else Bedard in another piece) mentioned Wilson's versatility among CB, S, and LB.

    As for the Giants' 3 light DEs scheme -- it takes a fairly special light DE to also be an interior rusher. One or the other pundit seems to think Chandler Jones could do that. I don't know who else would be a good candidate.

    I'm thinking that the interior pass rushers are likely to be "big DL", not "little DL".

    Edit: Actually, BB sees Jones as an end-of-line player, not interior. Also, he expects to mix odd and even fronts next year.
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  10. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic Supporter Supporter

    Some thoughts from Doug Kyed at NE Patriots Draft on where Hightower might fit:

    Who Is Dont’a Hightower’s Player Comp? | - 2013 NFL Draft

    Some good thoughts. I loved Dane Fletcher's versatility, and the way the Pats used him to "spy" Joe Flacco in the 2010 Ravens game. I was hoping for a big leap from him in 2011, but his thumb injury was a factor. Hightower, Ninkovich and Fletcher are 3 guys with extraordinary versatility, giving BB tremendous flexibility on defense.

    The other newcomer who should get lots of playing time will be Jonathan Fanene. He'll slot into Shaun Ellis' position in a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme, and also has terrific positional versatility:

    Fanene's versatility important to Patriots
  13. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic Supporter Supporter

    Bump. The national and local media don't seem to escape from the 3-4 vs. 4-3 conundrum. ESPN's John Clayton considers the "roster competition" between Dont'a Hightower and Brandon Spikes:

    NFL -- Top 10 training camp matchups - ESPN

    And Mike Reiss' commentary:

    Spikes vs. Hightower on NFL radar - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

    I don't think Clayton's in tune at all. Hightower will certainly play some MLB in 4-3 schemes and some SILB in 3-4 schemes. But he will play a much more diverse role than that, whereas Spikes will be essentially a 2-down 4-3 MLB and 3-4 SILB. That won't preclude Hightower from being used in other roles at the same time. And the Pats will use a front 6 much more often than a front 7, where Spikes really doesn't fit. Reiss seems to acknowledge as much:

    Maybe Reiss is just trying to be diplomatic and not call his ESPN national colleague a moron.
  14. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Good points, MayoClinic.

    And by the way, Hightower could do well as a rookie and still "only" take 65% of the snaps -- i.e., the nickel/dime ones.
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic Supporter Supporter

    I think Hightower will probably be a "3 down player" fairly soon. He has too much versatility and utility across different schemes. BB will find ways to get him on the field as much as possible. Besides his versatility, I think he'll also provide some leadership and intensity for the defense. But you're right, he could get "eased in" and only play in "nickel" formations and still see the field most of the time as a rookie.
  16. Elijah

    Elijah Supporter Supporter

    #11 Jersey

    I'm as big a fan of Fletcher as anyone, but is he really that flexible on defense? I've only seen him play ILB in a 3-4 or MLB in a 4-3. It looks like he just replaces Spikes on passing downs.
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Agreed. Many people thought that since he was a DE in college he was going to be a 34 OLb, but that has never happened. He really is too small for that spot.
    I think he is versatile in the sub, but in the base, not so much.
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Based solely on his skillset there is not a single alignment where he isn't one of our best X number (X beiing how many LBs we use) of LBs.
    The real question is how quickly he adapts to making the jump to the NFL.
  19. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Pretty much my views.
  20. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey


    For once, we agree.
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