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Hybridizing the defense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Fencer, May 16, 2013.

  1. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    I don't recall the link, but an article -- perhaps at Grantland -- pointed out last year that the Patriots were mixing 1- and 2-gap concepts into the same sets, and more than just by having single "elephant" in an otherwise 2-gap system.

    That makes me wonder -- is BB perhaps looking to load up on players who individually are versatile between 1- and 2-gap assignments? That could be part of explaining the Deaderick & Love cuts. Even though Wilfork hasn't penetrated many backfields in years (please, skip the Bianca jokes), I imagine he could a lot better than Love or Deaderick. Meanwhile, we have guys who feel like natural 1-gappers -- e.g. Jones -- used in BB's system last year.
  2. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the Deaderick and Love cuts were about Deaderick and Love and would have happened no matter what the rest of the roster was.
  3. DocHoliday

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    Correct. Bill has shown time and time again he'll cut from any position if the player sucks.

    He doesn't consider existing depth or replacement much if at all.
  4. TheBaronPatriot

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    Mixing 1 gap and 2 gap principles in the same defense allows for much more flexibility for a defense.

    For instance, Vince can 2 gap the A gap (left and right of the center), while the LDE 2 gaps his man usually the tackle in the C gap, and the linebacker owns the B gap, all the while the entire right side 1 gaps and attacks the formation from the right side.

    It's just more information for the o-line to process and react to.

    It's almost like a boxer who has the ability to both box and punch. Picking between counter punching and moving to keep the opponent off balance and going on an all out attack.

    In a similar way a defense that can both 1 and 2 gap has more tools available to it to keep offenses off balance.
  5. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    Very interesting topic, Fencer. Thanks for bringing it up. I think that the game has really changed over the past half dozen years. Back when BB was with Parcells it all started up front from them. Big, strong and tough were what they were looking for. As the game has become so much more athletically focused, that kind of thinking has become passe.

    If BB has one great asset over all others its getting ahead of the curve, and be willing to make radical changes to implement it. Think about it, it was BB who made the slot reciever a major component of an offense It was BB who redefined the TE position and what they can mean to an offense. BB ran the 3-4 defense long before it became the predominate base that it has. He was among the first to dump the FB as a necessary position....and I could go on.

    Now BB is signalling the end of 'big fatty", formally one of his favorite kind of players. Spread offenses, read options, very mobile athletic QB's all necessitate a more mobile athletic defensive lineman. BB evidently sees a time where sub 300lb DT's like Armstead will thrive, and guys like Cunningham at 260lbs can be of use on the inside in certain packages.

    Now, personally I think the current "read option" craze will have the life span of the run and shoot, and will be nothing more than trick play within 5 years, but the fact is that it will be a reality for next few years and BB is getting ready for it.

    I am really looking forward to seeing how radically this defense will change week to week this year. We finally have the depth at LB and in secondary to really open the play book this year and truly be the "week to week" defense that we say a few years ago.

    Or at least that's one point of view.
  6. Christian

    Christian Rookie

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    Good post PFK. I agree.

    BB is definitely not afraid of change...and as a coach who gets a "stubborn label", that is definitely something that too often goes unnoticed. You HAVE to be able to embrace change and be open to new ideas. BB is not only open to them, he is an innovator. He did revitalize the TE position...and he may very well be creating something on defense. The types of guys he drafts on D now seem to be different than in the past. It is just much harder to recognize what he may or may not be trying to do in terms of defense. Offense is much easier to see as a fan. Defense is not...particularly if you're not an expert on the Xs and Os.

    I definitely think that BB is well aware that the league has changed drastically into a passing league, and he is/has been trying to adapt to that for a few years now....through getting the types of players he THINKS will help, to changing schemes/ideas.
  7. Hercules Rockefeller

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    Bill Belichick, Vince Wilfork, and the New England Patriots defense - Grantland

    That may be the article referenced in the original post.

    Looks to this observer that the Patriots are loading up on athletes in the front 7, without real regard to traditional notions of d-line play. The Giants have made that work with their NASCAR package. The Patriots drafting of Collins hints at trying to flood the front seven with athletes.

    Jones, Collins, Armstead, Mayo, Hightower, et al...this is probably the most athletic, in terms of sheer natural talent, that the front seven has been in the Belichick era. Guys like Francis and Cunningham have shown some pass rush ability from the interior, and it certainly appears that the Pats are clamoring for more speed on the field.

    Also, the releases of Love and Deaderick certainly won't slow down the momentum of those who feel Seymour may be on his way back. I remain skeptical, but wouldn't exactly kick him out of bed for eating crackers.
  8. Fencer

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  9. letekro

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    To the extent the NFL is all about the forward pass and stopping it, I have no problem getting rid of two guys that provide no pass rush whatsoever. If we need a fairly talentless plugger, we still have Grissom.
  10. patsfanincleveland

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    This about sums it.

    Hoodie has stated on numerous occasions recently that defenses need players who can play in space.

    Take him at his word.

    They are definately needed against elite passing offenses.

    There are still some ground and pounders out there so having a few fatties doesn't hurt.

    In the end, offenses are going toward 5 skill players. Defenses are going to 7 or 8 guys who play in space.

    As Osi asked recently, is a situational pass rusher applicable? Shouldn't the conversation turn to situational run stoppers?
  11. everlong

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    Ironically he was cutting edge on the offense side of the ball but thought he could still make his old defense work and is just getting to the part 6 years later. If only they had retooled the defense at the same time....
  12. betterthanthealternative

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  13. Avenger

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    can't overhaul both sides at the same time and expect to compete.
  14. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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  15. Mack Herron

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    Kinda silly when you have one of the worst defenses in the league that cannot get off the field on 3rd down.
  16. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BB needs to be credited with changing the offense in the NFL that dictated the change in the defense... it is that copycat league once again.
  17. Off The Grid

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    Actually, you can.

    All it takes is a little Intelligence & the Testicular Fortitude to Open Your Mind.

    *If I take up a Collection, will you buy a Shift Key, so you can Capitalize the beginnings of Sentences??

    Or do you prefer that your Posts look like those of an 8 Year Old? :rolleyes:
  18. Off The Grid

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  19. Fencer

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    Obviously, you have an ample supply of Shift keys; perhaps you could share your extras with him? :D
  20. Off The Grid

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    Double Word Score for using "ample" in a sentence. :thumb:
  21. everlong

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    It was a philosophical overhaul more than a personnel.
  22. Ivan

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    I agree that Belichick is looking at the read option offenses and is going to configure his defenses to be able to deal with it but I am not so sure about it being a "craze," and i think the life expectancy of it is going to rest on how well these young QB's throw out of it. If players like RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Kaepernick continue to throw the way they did last season I see no reason coaches will go away from it.
  23. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, that is the hope.

  24. AzPatsFan

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  25. dannydyn

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  26. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Semi-related to the original topic; this article looks at the transformation of the defensive roster from 2011 to today:

    Patriots’ Recent Additions, Subtractions Show Team Could Be Stressing Pass Defense Over Stopping Run | New England Patriots | Doug Kyed | NESN.com



    The team’s base defense that year had either Shaun Ellis or Brandon Deaderick at left defensive end, Kyle Love and Vince Wilfork at defensive tackle, Andre Carter at right defensive end, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes and Rob Ninkovich at linebacker and a starting secondary of Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo and Patrick Chung.

    You could argue that not one of those players was better against the pass than they were against the run. Mark Anderson came in on third down to boost the pass rush, but beyond him, the team was structured to stop the run. It didn’t help that players like Mike Wright, Albert Haynesworth, Myron Pryor and Ras-I Dowling didn’t work out, either because of injuries or personality.

    The team took a step forward in their pass-defending ways in 2012 when they traded for Aqib Talib, got smaller at left defensive end by moving Ninkovich down, slid McCourty up to safety and drafted Chandler Jones. But there were still some holes in the pass defense. The team had obvious issues covering running backs and tight ends with its linebackers, injuries to Pryor and Jonathan Fanene meant the team had no prototypical interior rusher and they never replaced Anderson as a sub rusher.

    It appears those holes have now been filled.​


    Read more at: Patriots’ Recent Additions, Subtractions Show Team Could Be Stressing Pass Defense Over Stopping Run
  27. pats_premi

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    I am not sure if they are changing the scheme. I am thinking that may be looking to upgrade the talent with free agent veterans after the first week of the season. They probably don't want to guarantee above minimum salaries for the veteran free agents.
  28. PatsFanStnfrd

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    Sometimes early moves are signals. Signals of a changing defense. Signals to the team of work ethic and limits of BB's tolerance this early in the season.

    For too long, BB who is considered a football innovator, has seemed set in the parameters he looks for in defensive players. Height, weight, arm length etc. Measurables dictated draft choices for specific positions. Crable passed muster as did Cunningham. Many others were not. Now for the past 2 years, BB seems to be emphasizing athletic players up front as well as players who can play in space. Here BB is not so much innovating as following the lead of others. Nothing wrong with that. He saw what he passed over in Carlos Dunlap a few years ago. He saw what the Giants got thru Jason Pierre-Paul. Voila -- he went up and got Chandler Jones. This year Jamie Collins. Both can play elephant roles. Collins can possibly play in space. He is loading up on DBs -- though his drafting there probably disappoints some. But the Pats defensive backfield is loaded with 1st, 2nd and 3rd round cchoices instead of street free agents just 3 years ago. Maybe this year Ras-I and Wilson and Harmon will show what BB saw in them.

    If things work out, both the frontline and the backfield is full of versatile players who can play multiple role and move around. Perhaps this year they will jell.

    Finally, there is the unmistakable signal of Deadrick and Love (doesn't that sound like a summer series on TNT or TBS). Shape up, compete and perform. Or you are a toast -- at least to the Pats.
  29. JoeSixPat

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    Exactly - as the article notes Belichick has been using a hybrid D for awhile - execution however, has been lacking at times and we now see him making personnel moves to give him the guys he think can better execute.
  30. Brady2Moss

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    Good another would have been a first rounder ;)

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