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Idle thoughts....for the paranoid Pats fan..

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Nov 17, 2012.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    #91 Jersey

    Its time to take the Magnum from our heads and stop worrying about the defense as if BB isn't going to be sending anyone out there after the offense scores. The moaning on this board and from the local and national mediots has reached epic whining proportions.....and its really starting to get aggravating.

    There have been more than few cooler heads here who have vainly tried to point out that Armageddon is not around the corner. That the end of the Patriots is NOT on the horizon,but they seem to get drowned out too often by manic screeching of our more "nervous friends". Just a few thoughts that might keep you off the ledge a few more hours. ;)

    *the defense IS NOT worse that the one last season. 28th is still better than 32nd (which is what they were at this time last season)

    * That most defenses who are forced to play without their 2 primary safeties for a long period of time are NOT going to do well in pass coverage.

    *That most defenses that are forced to play without 2 of the 3 primary CBs for games at a time (McCourty and Dowling) are not going to be at their best.

    *That most defenses who need to essentially play 4 rookies on a regular basis, aren't likely to be considered to be among your top defenses. :rolleyes:

    *That the bad tackling by the team vs Buffalo was an anomaly rather than constant problem this season. Far from it. Prior to the Buffalo game, this has been an EXCELLENT tackling team. Yet the media pukes have been talking about the tackling like its been bad all year.

    *We want to concentrate on certain stats that emphasize the negative, while ignoring or dismissing other stats that are more positive, like Turnovers (the top 3) run defense (top 10) or scoring (middle of the pack) Its is blatantly unfair to bring up one without bringing up the other.

    * And we will almost eagerly rely on flawed stats like PFF to tell us that Cunningham, Ninkovich, and Wilfolk are not doing a decent job rushing the passer, yet Quentin Coples is among the top 10 pass rushers in the league :rolleyes: I would love the dolts who use that PFF stat to deride the Pat's pass rush, explain that they would rather have Coples on the field instead to Wilfolk? Because if you do....you just exposed yourself.

    Again, no one is saying that the defense is OK or even acceptable as it stands today. But what I am saying is that there his a lot of hope that we will see improvements as the season goes one.

    * Some of the players are coming back healthy. Dowling has been replaced with not only someone who can give us the same size match up, but someone with 4 years of experience and skill to go along with it.

    * Chung will be back this week (I hope) which will improve the tackling and continuity of safety position.

    *It will move McCourty back to the CB position for the most part, which will improve that area even further. I'm sure he'll get some FS snaps in certain groupings, but I think this defensive secondary will be better with a primary safety rotation of Gregory, Chung, and Wilson, and a Primary CB rotation of McCourty Talib, Denard, and Arrington/Cole. BTW - the McCourty haters would like us all to forget that QB's had a 67 QB rating on him before he moved to S the last 2 games.

    *I thought long and hard about the benefits of moving McCourty to safety permanently. There are some excellent arguments in favor of it. However the Bills game gave me pause, because rather than strengthening one position by making the move, we ended up make 2 positions worse.

    I don't think think we are doing either Dennard or MCourty any service throwing them into starting roles at CB and S respectively. McCourty because being throwing into a new positon mid season is hard for anyone, but especially for someone who has been an edge player for most of his career, and is being forced to see the game from the middle of the field. Believe me its hard at first.

    Its also unfair to throw Dennard into a starting role as a rookie CB, especially since he missed so much of the pre-season due to injury. He's not only inexperienced because he's a rookie. He's inexperienced FOR a rookie. He's missed the majority of the snaps he would have gotten in practice and games for most of August and September. This is a kid who should be getting 10 or 20 snaps a game on the regular defense, not being on the field for 60 plus multiple special teams.

    Maybe NEXT year with a full off season program, the re-signing of Talib, the maturation of Dennard, and the addition of more CB talent, moving McCourty to Safety full time would be the smart thing to do. I think its less about the move itself, but the timing of the move I have a problem with.

    Other Thoughts:

    1. It is likely that we will be without 4 starters on the offense this week (Welker, Hernandez. Mankins and Connolly. Very few teams can lose 4 starters in just over a week and have so little mentioned about it.

    I like that the Pats as an organization don't play the injury card, but I still ticks me off to see the media constantly give so many other teams the injury excuse while they pretend te Pats never get injuries. BTW- I'm thrilled that neither Mankins or Connolly wound up on the IR this week, because I fully expected at least one do wind up there.

    2. With neither Welker or Hernandez playing, it will be very interesting to see how McDaniels decides to target the receivers he does have. Will Edelman just take over Welker's role? Which of the back up TE's will get be the featured 2nd TE role, Fells, or Schiancoe? Will Branch get a bigger role? Will Lloyd have a big game and it will end up being the Lloyd and Gronk show? OR wil the RB's finally get a featured role in the passing game after years of being an after thought.

    3. It almost makes it worthwhile to sit Welker so we can see how it all plays out. as well as it make sense to give him at least 4 more days to completely heal. We've already found out once that haste makes waste in rushing an ankle injury. Better find out now what we have when we don't have Welker and Hernandez than wait until the playoffs.

    4. I'm really comfortable playing some combination of Thomas, Cannon, and McDonald on the interior OL for Mankins and Connolly, but I have a lot of concerns about the depth for this game. It would NOT be a good time for anyone else to go down.

    5. Mathis and Freeney will get their sack or 2, but I suspect we will see protection much like we saw against another really good pass rush combo in Dummerville and Miller. For most of the 30+ times Brady drops back on Sunday he will have plenty of time to throw the ball.....except those 3 or 4 times when he won't. Those are the times he'll get sacked or hit. You can't win every battle against good guys, BUT with our 2 OT's we can expect to win MOST of them ;)

    6. Given the injury situation, don't be surprised to see the Pats rush the ball over 30 times in this game, with Ridley getting 20 and Vareen/Woodhead splitting the rest

    7. With BB doing a good job of shutting down Wayne and Luck having to play on the road, I see this as game the Pats start pulling way on early in the 3rd quarter and win by 15-20. I also see this as a game where the Pats D holds the Colts to under 20. My biggest fear about Luck is what he can do after the pocket breaks down, with both his legs and arm. He can be a lot like Rothlessberger in that way...or at least will be like that down the road.

    8. I thought it was disturbing to some degree that Justin Francis has leaped beyond Jake Bequette on the depth chart. Not for Francis of course, but when an UDFA moves ahead of your 3rd round pick (albeit a very late 3rd round pick) it has to make you go hmmmm. In the end it won't matter which one becomes the player, I think you'd rather it be the draftee. Still the Cunningham example should be a cautionary tale about writing off a draftee too soon.

    9., BTW- the rest of the draft class has been spot on, with 4 rookies starting or having key roles on the defense, and Ebner a regular on multiple special teams. Only Bequette remains basically unassigned, along with Ebert, the last pick who, not surprising, didn't make the team. I think that would make it 3 excellent drafts in a row....so far.

    10.Minor Pet Peeve: Its just too early to start worrying about Playoff seeding and the bye. Right now we've pretty much locked up a division win in what amounts to a weak AFCE, but as to a bye or what it will take for a bye to happen, we are just too far into the future for that. That's talk for the last 2 weeks of the season. Believe me, if we win all the rest of our game, we will be getting a bye. That's all I need to know for now.

    11. BTW- in a way, I'm starting to like that the Pats are flying under the radar when national mediots are talking the superbowl. Reminds me of the "old days" when we use to be able to play Rodney's "respect card" all the time (even when it was unwarranted ;) ) Let them all look at the Ravens, Broncos, Steeler, and Texans for now. Bad enough as it is we had to lose that 1pm game. Damned the the notariety of Andrew Luck.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  2. mayoclinic

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    Don't agree with you about McCourty going back to CB, Ken. We need his skill set as the deep FS. Let Talib lock down one side, give Dennard some help on the other. Don't pull the plug based on one game. Chung hasn't proven he's the answer for any of the pass defense problems.
  3. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr Rookie

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    Our Defense isn't good but it's better than last year. This team can win a Super Bowl. That's really all I care about. I'm glad we're being tested early and often this year. Rather squeak by a challenging schedule and learn from it.
  4. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    Watching a lot of the breakdowns of the Patriots this week along with the all-22 the linebackers were a major reason why the pass coverage sucked vs the Bills. Mayo, Spikes and Hightower are all best suited to playing the Mike in a 4-3. In a 3-4 you could play two of them inside and move Hightower, most likely but a case can be made for Mayo to the strong outside, to the weak outside. Their front three doesn't really support that right now so I don't see it happening.

    So in sticking with a 4-3 I've been thinking about moving Chung to LB to help out with the coverage. He wouldn't hurt the run defense that badly. He's better suited playing closer to the LOS. He should be able to get proper depth on his zone drops which the LBs aren't. The one thing I worry about is his already speculative health.

    This would require McCorty to stay at safety and I do agree he's a better corner than people think.

    Just something to think about at least situationally.
  5. 102 Pat

    102 Pat Rookie

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    I've noticed the last few weeks while watching non-Patriot games, the injury excuse is getting used way too much. If you don't have depth, it's your own fault.

    Personally, I love the late afternoon games, which start at 5pm for me. It gives me a chance to watch more of the early games as often there are more early than later in the afternoon.
  6. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr Rookie

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    This team has depth and skill at the LB spots to play the 3-4. We're one LB and a 5 tech DT away from being able to do it. Here's a quick rundown in my opinion:

    Certainties:

    Hightower is definitely a SAM in the 4-3 and 3-4. He's probably a better SAM in the 3-4 once he learns not to try and shoulder-bump tackle every one.

    Spikes is as much of a Mike 3-4 ILB as there possibly could ever be.

    Chandler Jones is perfect as a 3-4 ROLB.

    Where we could improve:

    I used to think Mayo could play either 3-4 ILB spot but he looks a lot more like a Mike than a Will. He's average to below average in coverage. Bruschi is always ranting and raving about his speed and coverage but I just don't see it. He's good enough in coverage to be a 3-down player but we need a coverage LB next to him badly in passing situations.

    This defense is missing two things to go from below average to elite:

    1. A LB with coverage skills that can come on the field in lieu of Spikes in passing situations. We would then slide Mayo over to the Mike and this coverage LB to the Will.
    2. A DT that can play the 5 technique

    If we get that then it doesn't matter who's in our Secondary.

    edit: Before I get flamed for leaving Ninkovich out of this, his contract expires at the end of next season. I imagine a role sharing between him and Hightower in the future. Unless the plans are to let Spikes go and move Hightower inside. Then we need to extend Ninkovich again.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  7. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I couldn't agree more.

    One of the problems is continuity/consistency, and the choice to move McCourty from CB to FS (last year), back to CB, back to FS, and then back to CB would seem slightly mind boggling to me.

    I think that there are 2 choices: one is to put Talib one-on-one with the opposition's WR1, which would then allow the middle of the field to potentially have better coverage by moving a safety up (possibly Chung or Wilson), or double the other team's WR1 with Dennard and safety help, thus putting Talib one-on-one with the other team's WR2.

    While the latter of the two options sounds better to me personally, I think there are solid arguments for both and there is the distinct possibility that both will be tried at some point.

    Either way, moving McCourty back to CB is not the best of ideas, and I do not agree that McCourty "makes the safety position weaker." I think he improves upon it dramatically. We'll have to see what Belichick thinks though.
  8. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I agree that a switch back to 3-4 is likely in the making at some point again, and would potentially utilize our LBs in a better way.

    I disagree however, that Ninkovich won't be somewhat of a priority at the end of next season, if not sooner. No matter what the scenario is, he should not be overlooked as an end of line position in a rotational or backup role in the worst case situation. He shouldn't demand something unreasonable either, which should be quite a fair deal for NE considering the fact that he gives them valuable reps and production. If they choose to go in a different direction starter wise then he could still be a valuable asset in another role.
  9. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I don't think that we can necessarily assume that either Welker or Connelly will miss this game to be honest with you. At this point I would be rather surprised to see that. Hernandez and Mankins are out that much we know, but we also know that Connelly's injury was not very serious and that he returned to practice this week. And Welker is as tough as they come, so I have a hard time assuming that he won't be playing either.

    I would think that Hernandez's absence has more to do with playing on Thursday night, and that we can in theory--do just fine with one or the other on the field. I would have to think that Welker will play tomorrow, but that's just my opinion.

    We'll have to see how good of a job Belichick will do shutting down Wayne, but it may not be Wayne that will cause us the most problems, it may be more of the 'average' WRs who this team somehow seems to transform into superstars. The Colts not only have Wayne, but they have the extremely fast Donnie Avery, and the growing reliability of T.Y.Hilton to worry about too.

    I hope that you're right about the 15-20 pt win, but I am envisioning the usual shootout that occurs with TFB putting up 27-30 pts, and the pass defense surrendering many themselves. Obviously I hope that you are much closer to being correct than I am ;)
  10. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    I can see your point Mayo. I see McCourty as a very good DB. A guy who can be physical and tackle and cover too. I can see the point that as one of your better DB's you want him to be in the position where he can most effect the maximum number of plays, and these days that's between the numbers so you'd want him at S. I also see the point that EVENTUALLY he's be able to use his exceptional recovery speed and football intelligence to anticipate QB's throws. And ultimately not having to turn his back to the play would become an advantage to McCourty. I get all of that. I agree that he has the skills to become a very good FS in this league.

    My issue is when you make the switch.....and people's evaluation of Patrick Chung. People seem to forget that the Pats improvement to their defense coincided with the return of Patrick Chung for the last few games (IIRC the last 6 games plus the playoffs) Patrick Chung is never going to be the reincarnation of Ed Reed, Polomalu, or even Goldston. But he IS (when healthy) a very solid S, who is best served playing LS (which is more often the run side of the defense. Don't forget the Pats don't flop S's...or at least haven't in the past.) When he an Gregory are both back in the sync, I can see a situation where our Safety play vastly improves on both sides.

    Now we can use Wilson in spot situations and ease him into the flow of the game, as opposed to the situation where he's be dropped from a bungee cord and had it cut. I think that Wilson can end up being an excellent S eventually He has the physical talent. But right now he isn't a starting quality NFL S and he's been forced to be just that. Why are people shocked and mad when Dennard and Wilson are forced to play so many snaps and things don't go well.

    By putting McCourty back to CB, you don't wind up having to make Dennard your #2 CB and at least one of your starting CB's knows the system. I mean how much can Talib really know after 3 practices.l Tomorrow he's going to be VERY limited in what they ask him to do. I don't think you can have him out there for 60 snaps unless you tell him to just go man and forget about what anyone else is doing.

    I know one thing for sure. Whatever it is, I will be anxious to see what they end up doing.
  11. PatsWickedPissah

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    Disable Jersey

    The 2011 Chung was better for whatever reasons than the healthy 2012 Chung
  12. patfanken

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    I could be pessimistic on Welker and Connolly. But at least on Welker I'd rather they play cautious with him. I know he's super tough, but he's also human.....and small....and old. I don't see the need to rush him back on the field, especially with a game next Tuesday.

    On a selfish note, I am really curious to see how Josh will configure his receivers if Welker isn't in the line up. I want to get a closer look at Edelman, Fells and/or Shiancoe getting significant looks.

    You can't be too far off course, after watch Marc Sanchez have a great day against this secondary, but I am of the opinion that regardless of how BB ends up deciding how to move his pieces in the secondary we will see a marked improvement in their play. Just a hunch

    I have no doubt that the TFB will get his 30+ before the night is over, but I don't see the Colts getting to 20. This is night, on the road, in a hostile (at least semi-hostile) environment. I ready where Luck only has 2 TDs and 7 picks on the road. Like his predecessor he's been a different QB outside a dome.
  13. mayoclinic

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    I understand your argument, I just don't agree with it:

    1. I want a FS with range and vision who can both police the deep part of the field and act as the quarterback of the secondary. Chung, Wilson and Gregory don't have the skill set to be that guy. Only McCourty does. I think that role is frankly more important than having another top CB opposite Talib. We haven't had a true QB of the secondary since Rodney retired, and McCourty has all of the traits to play that role - vision, unselfishness, leadership, range, ball skills. I was hoping that Earl Thomas might slip to the Pats in the 2010 draft, and I think that McCourty could actually be better than Thomas in time at FS.

    2. I hate the inconsistency of bouncing McCourty back and forth, and bouncing between personnel. Last year was worse - the safety personnel seemed to change practically every quarter. There was no chance to develop consistency and communication. Let McCourty be the glue in the secondary, let Talib lock down one side, and let Dennard develop. Pay the price - the kid's going to be good. He's decent now, and with a little help, he's solid enough. We won the Super Bowl with Randall Gay and Earthwind Moreland at CB for crissake, because we had Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson at safety to compensate.

    3. I think Tavon Wilson could be a fine safety eventually, but not as a rangy FS who is asked to be the deep cover guy. I agree with using him in a more limited role. I don't see Steve Gregory as more than a utility man/backup/rotational guy - James Sanders with a bit more range. I don't mind Pat Chung being used in more of a downhill or hybrid S/LB role, but the idea of moving McCourty back to CB and relying on Chung/Gregory/Wison for our safety coverage puts the fear of God into me. I'd much rather see Dennard at the other CB spot with McCourty policing the field as a FS. And I don't see Chung as being with the team long term, and I really don't like the idea of bouncing McCourty back and forth between CB and FS. The secondary has suffered from lack of consistency, so be consistent.

    JMHO. I know many don't agree with it, and I understand the counter argument.
  14. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    I found your comments very interesting on Hightower. He's been disappointing me of late, since I had such high expectations for him.

    My initial reaction when first looking at him during the draft process was that he was "sudden" His highlight reel was positively explosive. At 270lbs and freakish quickness, I thought he's be perfect to be used as a hybrid DE/LB/rusher/blitzer. A wild card or chess piece that could be moved week to week on the board looking for match up advantages, while Mayo and Spikes were your rocks. Kind of like that "special piece" we all thought AThomas was going to be in 2007 before he had to move into a ILB position when Johnson went down.

    Clearly this hasn't been the case. 90% of the time he's been lined up as an OLB, but not flanking the DE, and very very rarely rushing the passer as a DE or blitzing as an OLB. And those times when he's been in the game in passing situations, he's usually been in coverage.

    Hightower hasn't been playing badly for a rookie, but he certainly hasn't made very few impact plays. Plays were you could call him a "sudden" or explosive player. They don't seem to be willing to "let him loose".
  15. Joker

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    28th instead of 31st??? YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    so Ken, you're saying we have a chance????

    [​IMG]
  16. supafly

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    #24 Jersey

    And has not looked all that hot in coverage while doing so either.

    Let's hope that he makes a nice step forward in his next couple of years.
  17. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr Rookie

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    I agree with everyone's thoughts on Hightower. He seems very JAGish in those "extra" abilities that are nice to have as a LB. That's kind of why I foresee him ending up inside in a 3-4. In this situation then all of a sudden Spikes becomes the expendable one, which sucks but thats the nature of free agency. If that's what happens, then resigning Ninkovich is a bigger priority than ever.
  18. DocHoliday

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    Do many people really expect the Pats to part ways with Spikes?

    I consider him our best LB to be quite honest. Hard to see Bill parting with a stud LB when we have so little others.
  19. Elijah

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    #11 Jersey

    If, somehow, all of the secondary players become healthy at once, I have no idea who will be the "starting 4" (barring the fact that we run a lot of nickel).

    Could it be McCourty and Talib at CB with Chung and Gregory at S?
    Talib and Arrington at CB with McCourty and Chung at S?
    Would BB play Dennard over Arrington or Gregory over Chung?

    I think I'd pick the McCourty/Talib/Chung/Gregory combo because it keeps Arrington and Dennard off the field, but what does BB think? I'm clueless :eek:
  20. VrabelJr

    VrabelJr Rookie

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    Unfortunately you can only tie up so much money in one position. If Hightower turns out to be more of a ILB than a OLB why pay for 3 starters? Granted, Hightower's salary is friendly since he was closer to the end of the 1st round.

    Edit: Let's also not forget next year we will have Dane Fletcher returning from injury.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
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