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idle thoughts...a thread about football

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Jun 20, 2011.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    I don't know why, but I thought I'd start a thread where we could just talk football. I was just thinking about a good news bad news scenario and thought it just might be a good topic for discussion.

    The Good news: Any way you parse it, given what we have on the roster right now. Without any FA considerations; the Pats should be a significantly BETTER football team than they were last season....for the following reasons.

    1. The Pats have added a TON of new players over the last 2 drafts (not including 2011), and the hard reality IS, that it takes a few years for players coming into the NFL to reach their potential....its just THAT hard.

    It is almost inconceivable that the Pats VERY young defense won't improve simply because SO many key players will be entering their 2nd-4th years. Guys like Brace, Spikes, Fletcher, Butler, Love, Deadrick,Tate, etc, etc SHOULD show us a great leap of productivity as they enter their 2nd and 3rd years of their careers

    Then when you add the known contributions of vets like Boddin, TWarren, MStroud and MWright, The entire defense across the board SHOULD be better. A lot better.

    I know this isn't a stretch since the bar from last season was set pretty low. But I think that it wouldn't take much improvement "as a team" to make a quantum leap in defensive stats.

    2. The offense on the other hand is in a much harder position to conclude that THEY will be better, simply because they were the top offense in the league for most of last year. It would be kind of ridiculous to expect Brady to have the kind of stats he put up last season, but the fact is, he doesn't have to. If he has only 90% of the year he had last season, he'd be among the top 3 QBs in the league.

    That being said, when you look at the offense, its hard not to think it got better over the off season. Clearly the RB group got enormously upgraded. Welker will be another year removed from his injury, and while his production was more than we should have expected, the 2010 Wes Welker was still a mere shadow of the player we've come to expect from his peak seasons. Tate, Edelman and Price should ALL benefit from another year "in the system". Even Branch should benefit from a full training camp in the offense. AND if you liked what we got from the TEs in 2010, just think of what they can be in their 2nd year.

    Now comes the only issue of the offense and that's the OL. You can fairly question the wisdom of starting a rookie at LT. You can speculate on the futures of Light, Mankins, and Kazcur, so you can reasonably question the stability of the OL.....if you choose to. Here's what I think.

    For next season at least, Mankins is GOING to be a Patriot, and having him there for a full training camp is going to be a big improvement to the OL. Dan Connolly has proven he can start in this league and be consistent in the best offense in the league. And lets assume a worst case scenario where Nate Solder is the starting LT on day one.

    Well the worry worts will pull four of five plays out of UTube and declare he "functionally too weak" to start at this point. They will worry about him "playing too high" and soft.

    I choose in this matter to defer to a Pats coaching staff who saw have probably seen EVERY single play Nate Solder had in college, not just 4-5 on UTube. I will defer to Dante, who "banged the table" for this guy. I won't worry about his "functional strength" because his Combine BP was essentially the same as Kazcur's and Light's, both of whom started as rookies. Besides guys who live with their strength coaches, are HIGHLY likely to be a lot stronger by the time they move out. ;). BTW- there was a reason, Von Miller pointed out that Solder gave him the toughest time of any OT in their league

    This is an OL that has JUST begun the transition that we've seen on the D. I love the talent we added this year (Solder and Cannon), and it bodes well for the future. BUT for us the future is NOW!, and while Solder has MY confidence, he's going to be a huge question mark until we actually see him on the field and Matt Light's future is decided

    Finally the Kicking game should also see an improvement with the return of Gotskowski, Metzko's 2nd season and the emergence of Edelman and Tate as a quality KRs. Though the new KO return rules might mitigate the impact of ANY KRs this season.

    Now I haven't spent much time on THIS year's draft picks. Only Solder, because of the need and his high draft position, and the RBs, by the nature of their position, should be expected to have significant impacts early on, but who knows

    BOTTOM LINE: We as fans SHOULD have a reasonable expectation that the 2011 version of the Pats will be better than their 2010 version. And while this might not translate into more wins in the regular season, it SHOULD mean more wins in the playoffs

    Here's the bad news: Everyone else is getting better too. I'm sure if I was a fan of most of the leagues teams, I would be able to perform this same exercise with my team.

    2. FA scares the hell out of me. There are just SOOOOOOOO many guys out there who can help any team, and not just the name brands. This FA class is SOOOOOO deep that there will be a lot of teams who will be significantly improved by the time its over.

    So here is my caveat for fans while we wait for this CBA drama to play out. If you look at the Pats in a vacuum, it's VERY exciting. UNFORTUNATELY we don't play in a vacuum, we play in the NFL, and the way its set up, there is reason for a LOT of teams to be "very excited" Just keep that in mind as we set expectations.
  2. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How novel, a football thread...

    Some teams are well positioned to withstand a lockout and all it entails including potential changes to FA. Fortunately for us this is one of them.

    Veteran HC and staff...check.
    Well established systems...check.
    Franchise QB...check.
    Established core of veteran leaders...check.
    Few if any glaring roster needs...check.
    Good shape against a reduced cap if we choose to add in FA...check.
    Region adept at throwing parades...check.
    Fan base and media that will demand nothing less...check.

    And everyone won't get better because they are missing one or more of the above. Some will remain the same and some will certainly get worse. We won't be one of those teams.
  3. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Not the easiest post to read seeing as you covered so much but I think you've hit upon some of the key "issues to watch"

    OL is always my top area of focus - the success of the offense begins with the OL - I think the coaches share that view even if doing so drew boos from fans expecting LB to be addressed at the top of the draf (apparently forgetting that free agency has yet to start)

    I don't get overly excited about drafted players playing - there's so many factors at play influencing whether the team can staff a roster with young draftees, cheap veterans or expensive talented free agents that just about every team is looking for the right blend of those ingredients.

    In otherwords, sometimes just because a guy is starting doesn't mean he's a starting caliber player (remember Reche Caldwell? #1 WR one year, can't make the Patriots or nearly any other team the next.)

    As far as free agency Belihick has a plan - I think it's safe to assume that every team has quietly been in contact with eligible and potentially eligible players through third parties and while things are sure to move fast in F.A. - Belichick has plan and numerous contingencies, just as he does every year

    (I also wouldn't be surprised to see an active trade market for players this year - especially since trading for draft picks was never an available option this year)
  4. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Rookie

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    [​IMG]


    I have been so jacked the last few days for the Bruins. I kind of resent you posting this thread. :D Just kidding I always enjoy reading what you have to say (well except that draft rant this year).
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Can Zdeno Chara rush the passer? :D
  6. ay-yo

    ay-yo Rookie

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    I'll throw in one of my idle thoughts.

    Does Marcus Cannon "fit the system" or was the value (1st / 2nd round talent in the 5th) just too good to pass up on. Has Bill / Dante reconsidered their O-Line philosophy?

    I also agree with Mo Lewis Rocks. Few teams are as young as we are, few teams added 4 players in the top 70 something picks, few teams have the coaching staff we have and few teams have the cap space we have. So while no doubt there will be teams who improve not all will.
  7. BlueThunder

    BlueThunder Rookie

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    As an addition to the 14-2 season with a ton of rookies and some vets on IR....the Patriots had a brutal SOS to beat....It should be easier this season , and as stated above...last year's rookies are no longer green.....plus the 2nd and 3rd year guys have another year in the system....

    This should be an exciting season to be a Patriot fan, and it will just get better if BB hits on just a few of this year's draft picks.....who knows what FA holds for the Pats....

    Let's get that CBA signed and get to camp !! Quit fartin around :eek:
  8. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree very much with the overall picture.

    It's hard to look through the pain of the ending of last season but, until then, so many things had been going well. Having taken the tough decision to end the Randy era, the team played so cohesively over the last part of the season, it was really a pleasure to watch. It's hard not to be optimistic for further improvement in most areas, given how young that team was -- O-line and OLB apart. The excellent drafting of 2010 makes me very confident about the 2011 crop.

    One quibble though.

    Bodden, Warren and Wright were injured. Yes, they'll be back, we hope. But it's as sure as can be that other players will be injured instead. Happens every year to every team. So, if you want to be optimistic about the (re-)additions, you should also think about the substractions.
  9. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    This is a GREAT observation. No I don't think he "fits the system" and THAT's precisely why I'm so excited about him. Up to this point, the Pats have featured nimble downsized (relatively) OLmen who were more known for their agility and toughness than their power.

    I think Cannon is just the first of a kind of changing of the guard that is a response to the changing ways people are now rushing the passer. Since a lot of teams operate quick throw, short drop passing attacks that mitigate the effectiveness of the great outside rushers, Defenses are starting to come around to the need to put more pressure up the middle to at least affect the QBs timing if not hit him. Thus the need for a more powerful, rock like presence in the middle. Thus a more of a road grader type like Cannon. Less likely to lead a play wide, but also less likely to get blown back into the QBs face by a bull rush.

    Just another trade off of skills to adjust to the ever changing reactions to what the defenses are doing to attack what the offense does. He also will eventually (we hope) bring more of a physical presence to the invigorated running game we hope to be seeing over the next few years.
  10. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    Yes, Mike, injuries are a part of the game, but so is pure talent. The Pats lost a lot of that last season when Wright, Boddin, and Warren missssed all or most of the season.

    In the secondary, not only was Boddin's talent lost, but his experience as well, making that secondary even more vulnerable.

    While we gained valuable experience by the newbies having to play so much DL, not having your 2nd and 3rd best DLman for most of the season, can't be construed as a good thing.

    Now the end result of getting those players back will be a much more talented DL this season, The plus side of those injuries is NOW we will be deeper. more experienced and better prepared to absorb losses along the DL......IF/WHEN injuries do occur
  11. Observer

    Observer Rookie

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    Completely agree on this. DL was the hardest hit area leaving us scrambling to fill gaping holes. If it wasn't for the heroics of the immovable object named Wilfork, we'd really be in defenseless mode. Looking forward to the return of the complete D line.
  12. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well your attitude has significantly changed since the draft ken. :rocker:
  13. BlueThunder

    BlueThunder Rookie

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    There isn't enough room to keep all the DL we currently have....any guesses who is on the bubble?

    Wilfork-safe
    Warren- recovery status unknown
    Wright- recovery status unknown
  14. chevss454

    chevss454 Rookie

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    I'll play. Deaderick. 1 too many times late to meetings.
  15. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    I'm going to say deadrick/stroud. They are really vying for that same possition of Base DE with Brace
  16. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wilfork is the only DL who is a lock for the roster. That being said, this is a GREAT problem to have! BTW, I would not be surprised to see G. Warren in camp.

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  17. ay-yo

    ay-yo Rookie

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    Roster thoughts

    I don't think Stroud will get cut. In fact I have him or Brace as opening day starter depending on who wins the camp battle. I think any one outside of Stroud, Warren, Vince and Brace are on the bubble.

    The secondary will also have some great TC battles as well. Locks (IMO) are Chung, Sanders, Meriweather, Dowling, Bodden, McCourty, and Arrington. Battle for 4th safety spot will be tough. Butler is currently ahead of Wilhite for 5th cb but that could easily be reversed. Certainly a ton of talent back there.

    What's the price for BJGE? I'm all for BPA in the draft but if you feel your set at a position then you don't draft 2 guys top 74. If a 2nd rounder is offered Pats take it IMO. Even a 3rd and 5th from a crappy team might get it done. Trading BJGE also opens up a spot for Faulk. Speaking of Kevin . . .

    Would we keep 5th rb Faulk at the expense of a 6th cb (Butler or Wilhite) or 5th safety. Either one would contribute more on ST than Faulk. Kevin may also stay in shape and when one of our rb's inevitably go down he could come back on as our 4th rb.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  18. strngplyr

    strngplyr Rookie

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    Re: Roster thoughts

    I don't see Faulk making the roster, he is one of my all-time favorite players and he can certainly still get it done, but I think he will retire, stay in shape, and sit by his phone in case one of our RB's go down during the season. I can certainly see Faulk having a Junior Seau-type place with this team if he doesn't make the roster.

    edit: reason for thinking this way is I don't see him playing for any other team besides NE reguardless of what is offered to him.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  19. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Every lineman except Wilfork and, maybe, Ty Warrren.
  20. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats lost a lot of that last season -- and every season before that that I can remember. This season will be the same, I (pessimistically but realistically) predict.
  21. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Roster thoughts

    There is the strong possibility that we could still keep Faulk as a 5th RB, and at the same time still have the same amount of players at almost all of the positions. There will certainly still be 5 safeties I would imagine, no doubt. I am not sure about the 6 CB's though, that could be 5 instead.

    Anyway, my point is that I seriously believe that the cuts (or losses in the case of White) will be at the special teams only positions such as Slater, and even possibly T.White--depending upon his status. The addition of so many draft picks with ST skills has made that specific position expendable in my opinion, even if it means taking a step down at the gunner position.

    There will certainly be at least 1 position right there that can cushion the additional 3rd QB, while keeping pretty much the same number of players across the board for the most part (it obviously won't end up being that way, as we all know, but the point is that it could easily be made to happen if needed)

    Another position that will be added presumably is that of TE. So, other than QB and TE, I really don't see any other positions being added to. I still believe that Belichick respects, values, and appreciates Faulk enough to have him contribute here for one last year, thus keeping the status quo at 5 RB's again.

    The positions that I believe will be cut are ST-only (1 or 2), and OL (1), with the next possible cut coming at CB--due to the obvious additions at TE and QB. That easily frees up at least 3 positions.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  22. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great thread as always, Ken. It's great to be talking of positions, draft picks, and possible improvements rather than the usual lockout chatter. Let's hope there are positive signs after the owners' meetings this week.
  23. borg

    borg Rookie

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    With an aging Brady, I'm hoping that the Pats create an offense that is less pass oriented and more balanced. I keep thinking of the Dallas offense with that mamouth O line which made Emmit Smith a Hall of Famer....and allowed Aikman to be deadly efficient. If a deal can be worked out to keep Mankins long term, then 4/5s of the line will be entrenched, with an eye to replace Koppen. Cannon is a nice luxory to have in their back pocket.....the advantage of doubling up picks compared to their competitors. Every team has holes. What should become very apparent down the road is that the holes that the Pats may have get filled in with situational depth.
  24. HomerSchooled

    HomerSchooled Rookie

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    I certainly agree this team should be better than last year's. When you really break it down, we should be better at almost every position, either through added experience for young players or returning veterans. Obviously, I'm worried about our OLBs like everyone else, but they should still improve from last year, even without a FA.

    I'm also a little worried about the LT position, since I believe Solder was drafted with the expectation to start right away. Anyone picked that high always is, and re-signing Light would be the type of luxury this team doesn't usually bother with. Don't get me wrong, I think Solder will be an elite LT before long, but I'm not sure he can best Light from day one. Then again, it's not like Light was an elite LT, and we've got some greate TEs to help Solder along, so maybe it won't be that big a deal.
  25. BlueThunder

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    Not sure if this subject has been discussed at any length but it IS football talk

    Who get's put on PUP early on to expand the roster .... (other than the true injured players that happen in TC)...
    :eek:

    Cannon most likely is one....

    Does Mike Wright get more time to heal from concussion ?

    Lee Smith? (You know he'd never make it to the PS as some team would claim him off waivers, and I don't think Alge is on the bubble)

    Pure speculation at this point, but beats talking CBA...
  26. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's funny how expectations evolve. Light was the 48th pick in round 2 of the 2001 draft and he played in 14 regular season games, started 12, started all 3 post season games and we won 3 rings in his first 4 seasons. I don't think anyone honestly expected that... That said, he has the third most starts of any player on the team behind just Faulk and Brady. I think over the last couple of season that wear has shown. He's often looked a step behind particularly early in the season. I often wondered if it wasn't a hint of complacency as well as wear and tear. Maybe he will be one of the vets who believe they have benefitted from an off season off. Or maybe not. I think if he wants to finish out the string he'd probably be welcomed if he is both financially and positionally flexible, but I don't think they will extend themselves to retain him. While I do think a team like KC probably would or maybe even Indy would.
  27. BlueThunder

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    I ( and most other Patriot fans) thought Seymour would be on this team til he retired.

    I don't think this way about Light..( watch how wrong I am when he retires a Patriot-LOL)
  28. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Because of the lack of OTA's and the way TC's will necessarily be compressed to do more in less time while guarding against early injury to players whose conditioning may be all over the place, I don't think you will see that much hiding or stashing going around save for the really questionable due to health guys.
  29. NEGoldenAge

    NEGoldenAge Banned

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    As many have said, NE's roster is a very good one. What is being overlooked in this thread is the context of this season, and the state of the Pats compared to the other teams. Few teams were truly prepared for the effects of the 2011 labor dispute. Of the few that are prepared, the Patriots are at the top of the list while their biggest divisional rival is at the bottom.

    Before drafting 5 players in the first 3 rounds, the Pats had 46 players signed in a year with no free agency till at least July, and very weak draft class. Not only is NE's roster the largest going into the season, it is loaded with young talent, and is very salary cap friendly. With training camp likely coming very late, if at all, BB has plenty of money to shop for FA bargains with a likely shrinking cap.

    BB and Kraft have shown amazing foresight in their preparations for the 2011 season, and considering they went 14-2 last year with a very young team, this bodes very well for the future. Pray there is football this year, because BB is composing his masterpiece.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011
  30. Oswlek

    Oswlek Rookie

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    Wright's issues are more up in the air (though his appearance at the pseudo OTAs was promising) but I see no reason to have any concern about Warren. He didn't have a traumatic injury, just lingering issues that he felt needed surgery and time off to heal. He's already on record as saying he was ready to play by the playoffs.

    What is interesting (to me, anyway) is that these aren't traditional "bubble" guys. I could see Deaderick and Love improving so much that it causes NE to make a hard roster decision and move on from Brace. But is Ron really "on the bubble"? I don't think so. Wright and Warren may not be "locks" but they are if they grade out health wise.

    All told, I agree with you that it is a good problem to have. Deaderick, Brace, Stroud and Pryor have all proven that they are capable NFL players so if someone plays them off the team it's only a good thing.

    I personally think that NE is going to go heavy on DL, especially considering what happened at the end of last year. Rarely does NE face depth issues at a position without reacting to it the next season.

    Agreed. That said, losing two starters on defense before the first snap of the regular season is actually a fairly rare occurance. No other team has seen that happen and go over .500 either, which makes 2010 that much more impressive.
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