Idle thoughts - going "camping"

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patfanken, Aug 1, 2010.

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Let me preface these thoughts by saying I find it tough to concentrate on whats going on because usually so much IS going on, and generally not close to were I am watching. Also since early last camp I was trumpeting the great first week that Ron Brace was having, I think impressions made THIS early in camp can be misleading. That being said....

    1. I felt like a prophet when I saw McCourty line up at LCB opposite Boddin when the team went to the first 7-7 passing drill. The offense was in a spread, so the D was in a dime package with Sanders and Merriweather deep and Butler and Chung covering underneath. IIRC, Mayo was the ILB. Like I have said since the day he was drafted, The reason, IMHO, McCourty was drafted over Wilson was that his physicality which made him a better choice to become a legit edge CB. (Unfortunately, I think Wilson will excel as a slot CB as well)

    2. Speaking of McCourty, while there were passes caught against him, I saw very little separation between him and the receiver every time. If I were coaching him, I'd have him working on improving his "playing the ball" when it gets there skills. Otherwise he looked very comfortable out there with the first D.

    3. Butler also looked good in covering underneath, and in the work he did with the second unit on the outside. Clearly, at least IMO, the Pats got 2 very good CBs in the last 2 drafts....potentially.

    4. Chung looked VERY quick and athletic, though he played underneath in a number of coverages not deep. Its way to early to speculate on who is first on the depth chart. I couldn't help but notice how more comfortable and instinctive he looked compared to last season. (and he had a nice one handed pick)

    5. I find it ironic that the 2 LBs that impressed me the most are the 2 who are competing for the same position. I was concerned about Spikes slow times at his pro day, however I am a lot less now. I couldn't help notice that he has great anticipation. He always seemed to be the first guy to react to the play or when in pass coverage to the ball being released. In the small AOR of an ILB, that "anticipation" more than makes up for the 2-3 tenths of a second he didn't have in a 40 yd sprint. Like I've always said, in football its the acceleration, not the speed that counts.

    Also #44 stood out almost right from the beginning. McKenzie looked very quick and athletic. He also had good anticipation. I couldn't help wonder if he'd be better utilized on the outside, since there seems to be such a logjam at ILB; a position that is no longer a 4 down position as it is. Between Mayo, Guyton, Spikes, McKenzie, Alexander, etc, there seems to a lot of quality but not many snaps for many guys, especially if Mayo is getting the majority of them.

    6. Again I hate to make first week impressions, but Aaron Hernandez looks like he is going to be a big part of the offense right from the start. He worked a lot as a slot receiver, and when the TE's and the RBs went to work on their passing game, vs the ILBs and some S's, Hernandez stayed with the WRs and worked with them. But what was most impressive for me was the fact that Brady threw him the ball quite a bit, like he was looking for him.

    7. Those who have reported that Tate and Price were impressing.....weren't exaggerating. Those 2 look like definite keepers. They both worked with the first unit at times and never looked out of place. To me it was sort of like Branch and Givens part 2, though both are bigger than their older counterparts.

    8. Nice to see Edelman finally listed as the 5'10 that he actually is. He is miles ahead of where he was last season (how could he not be). I have to say that he actually looked quicker than Welker on his routes.

    9. Welker got the biggest cheers from the crowd, but it was clear that the Pats were being very careful with him. He participated fully in the individual groups, and 5-5 passing drills, but was very limited when they went to 7-7, and was on the sideline when they went to 11-11 at the end of practice. Still I find it amazing he's out there at all, so its all good right now, and it will be better in another month.

    10. Tory Holt looked like he was trying to practice through some small muscle pull. He ran, IMO under control, rather than at full speed. I wouldn't be surprised to see him given a day off soon. I like our WR situation right now

    11. Interesting that the Pats when to a 4-3 in the passing portion of the 11-11, against the spread with Lewis and G Warren as the 2 DTs.

    12. One of the things defenses have to do better in order to catch up with the passing offenses is to generate more pressure up the middle. Pressure up the middle is felt immediately, while sometimes even an untouched Outside rusher will be late to the QB. I look for the Pats to do more this season trying to create more inside pressure. I expect EVERY team to be looking to do that.

    13. I was pretty much unconcerned about the Mankins situation, since I thought, while Kazcur would be a downgrade at the position, I thought it would a slight downgrade. Kazcur has been a decent NFL OLman for 4 years and moving inside would actually limit one of his weaknesses.

    HOWEVER - in a conversation with Mike Reiss, Tedy Bruschi pointed out a couple of things that have made me more concerned. He noted that tall T's with long arms are an advantage on the outside, they can be a disadvantage on the inside. Bruschi mentioned he could always get better leverage against tall tackles. Plus pulling in traffic and techniques like cutting off the NT are not easy to master. I am now officially more concerned and hope Mankins can be gotten into camp in the next couple of weeks.

    That being said, Ryan Wendell was working with the first OL group this afternoon.

    14. I was concerned slightly that I didn't notice JCunningham at all. If he played nothing he did stood out, though there wouldn't be much of an opportunity in this practice.

    In conclusion, I was impressed with our Receivers and DBs. The rest are just vague observations. :D
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  2. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

    Nice read...

    I am starting to think Holt has a chance of getting cut...I have yet to read a single report that he is doing much with his reps. Not saying he couldn't help the team, but that a lot of youngsters are stepping up. If he was helping make a difference on special teams, or catching everything in sight, it would be a different story. Perhaps he does have a hammy and the coaches know it.

    I think McCourty may start instead of Butler, or at least it will be surprisingly close.
  3. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    Awsome breakdown

    I agree he clearly looks ready this season.

    I forgot to mention this as I found it interesting and predictable the way Hernandez stayed with the WR and Gronk went to work with the backs.

    For me it has been Tate much more than Price but price does look good.

    for me the single most concerning thing more than OLB is oline. If Mankins doesnt get squared away and we can't fill in for him it could hold back our strength. I think that the offense is set to do special things again and it wont be able to if the oline doesn't hold up. I am not saying that the guys here can't get it done and I have faith in Scar and our Tackles so that is a good start but it is scary to think of losing a pro bowl guard in context of how good the offense could be.

    I have been impressed with the receivers and safeties in particular. No knock on the corners but Merriweather and Chung stand out to me.
  4. reflexblue

    reflexblue Supporter Supporter

    #91 Jersey

    Thanks, nice analysis as always Patfanken,SSB.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  5. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target Supporter

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    Great thread. Thanks Ken, SBB. (No Slater sightings? Any news on how serious the injury to him is?)
  6. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #22 Jersey

    I saw it when it happened didnt seem to bad just came up lame reaching for his calf achilles area. I haven't seen him since.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  7. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target Supporter

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    Unfortunately, that can be a very bad area (I speak from experience). But who knows? (Certainly we're not going to find out from BB.) It's too bad because I'd read some encouraging stuff about Slater showing good hands as a receiver.
  8. italia44

    italia44 In the Starting Line-Up

    Ken.......Spikes and McKenzie are not competing to be next to Mayo.McKenzie and Mayo play the same position......Spikes doesn't.

    Mayo and Spikes works,but not Mayo and McKenzie,
    unless your going to play Mayo out of position like with Guyton,last year,What's the point of that?

    The pats don't generally flip-flop their ILB's to adjust to the strong-side TE.With Mayo back at his natural spot.....Guyton and McKenzie are a no go at the Tedy Bruschi ILB spot....too small.I think Spikes will work there.

    McKenzie and Mayo.....inside the 10 yd line?....maybe.I wouldn't try McKenzie at LOLB,either,we have bigger and better options in Ninkovich and Cunningham,already.

    He's learning fast at ILB,no need to f-em up or retard his least that's how I see it.
  9. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    I doubt very much he will be cut. While he doesn't seem to be running all out every play, he is still a very smooth route runner with sure hands. He also is bigger than I thought. At 6' with the skinniest calves I have ever seen, I think he will get some serious run this season, as both an outside and slot guy.

    Remember the coaching staff knows what he can do. For a guy at his stage of his career, its more about surviving camp that proving yourself. He will pick his spots to let people know whether he can still play.

    As for McCourty I don't think its that close, since I think their skills are somewhat different. In this defense, Butler is our Wilson.
  10. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    I'm not sure of your point. Here's what I know. If healthy Mayo is going to be one of the ILBs and get the largest percentage of snaps of all the LBs. IIRC Mayo's best position is that of the weakside ILB, which often frees him to pursue more. McKenzie and Spikes are more of the strong side ILBs who more often have to take on Gs and be strong at the point of attack.
  11. DarrylS

    DarrylS Supporter Supporter

    Would be surprised as well if Holt cut.. Moss, Welker, Holt, Tate and Price are the best 5 we have fielded in a long time.. and the combinations are endless..

    We also have Edelman to spell Welker if he needs it.. the wr corps seems to be vastly improved.

    This coupled with what looks like a major upgrade at TE makes this O potent..

    Holt is also a classic "bridge" player...
  12. italia44

    italia44 In the Starting Line-Up

    my point s that you keep comparing McKenzie and Spikes,as if they're interchangeable......they're not.They play different ILB positions.

    Spikes won't become Ted Johnson and McKenzie won't become Tedy Bruschi.Mayo pairs with Spikes,but not with McKenzie.Inside linebackers are not interchangeable,no matter how much you want them to be.If Spikes doesn't work out,they may have to go back to Mayo and Guyton,but they're not going to go to Mayo and McKenzie.

    So,just keep Spikes and McKenzie,separate.....not equal or interchangeable.
  13. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! Supporter Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Mayo and McKenzie will eventually be a better option than Mayo and Guyton, at least. Mayo is best paired with a stouter ILB who can stack and shed guards, and while that best describes Spikes, it also describes McKenzie.
  14. lostjumper

    lostjumper Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I loved the spikes pick when it happened, and so far nothing has come up to dissuade me from liking. I expect him to start next to Mayo from game 1 this year.
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Great info, Ken. I picked out a couple to discuss.
    I think that nickel/dime DTs are a much more critical issue to us that the elusive answer to who will play RDE in the 34.
    Personally, I did not feel the loss of Seymour hurt us all that much in the base 34 but was deadly to us in rushing the passer up the middle in sub packages.
    Not saying that Seymours run D wasnt excellent but the impact of that downgrade paled in comparison to his pressure up the middle.
    I think that Wright is effective in that role, and I have hope that Warren and/or Lewis can be. If those 2 guys are effective in that role, we have made big improvement on the DL regardless of what happens at the base RE spot.
  16. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    If it is the case that more teams are focusing on pressure up the middle, then a lot of teams are going to be running short passes and screens to avoid the pressure. This is where having good tackling corners can be huge, which I think we have in Bodden, Butler, and McCourty.
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    You may be right, but so far since BB has been here we have not flip-flopped LBs to strength. Every ILB has had to play strong or weak depending on how the offense lines up.
    Bruschi was just commenting on that the other day.
  18. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

    I also doubt Holt is going to be cut however the possibility is a tad more real than it would seem.

    For the sake of discussion, who out of Moss, Tate, Edelman, Welker, Price do they cut OR do they keep 6 WRs along with 3 TEs and 4 RBs...and this is assuming they get rid of their special teams WR types and Myers too.

    Further, early camp reports said that Patten was putting in a more impressive camp...Mrs. B today had the first positive report about Holt I have read where he got involved.

    As for McCourty, he probably won't start from day one, but he sure looks like a keeper, and ultimately it will surprise very few if Butler ends up the nickel back down the road.
  19. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    First I absolutely believe the Pats will keep 6 WRs, since the focus of their offense is clearly going to be their passing game (Yes, Martha, we HAVE become the Colts). I can agree fully that Moss, Welker, Edelman, Tate, and Price are absolute locks Thus I can only see 2 scenarios where Holt could be cut.

    One is that Holt shows so little in camp that Aikens keeps his job as special teams ace and #6 WR. OR Hernandez shows SO much potential and develops so fast that he becomes the true Dallas Clark clone and makes Holt redundant by being able to play BOTH in tight and split out.

    Personally I don't see the former happening (at least not from what I saw) and I don't think BB will throw that much responsibility on Hernandez that fast. Of course injuries can change everything in an instant. Holt of all WRs, can afford to be hurt the least.

    No I think more than ever that he probably will start right from the start. And I don't think its a "demotion" for Butler if he ends up the nickel back. First the "nickel back" is a virtual starter, who often gets more defensive snaps than some of the "official starters". Secondly I think its more a matter of different skill sets than who is better. Personally I think McCourty wouldn't be as good as a nickel back as Butler, just as I think he's better as an outside CB
  20. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #91 Jersey

    I know its VERY early yet, but I think that BOTH Spikes and McKenzie are players, and the fact is that you can't put 3 ILBs on the field at the same time. In fact its becoming rarer every year to have 2 ILBs on the field.

    The question is, if Mayo, Spikes, and McKenzie turn out to be 3 of your best LBs, what do you have to do to get them on the field at the same time?
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
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