Disclaimer: The following is just a figment of my imagination. It may....or may not have ANYTHING related to the truth, reality, or what actually will happen. That being said, I think BB is showing once again how creative and innovating he really is, and how he has, over the last 3 seasons has rebuilt a defense for the next series of realistic superbowl runs. 1. His first task was to rebuild the secondary- Think of the myriad of CB and S picks and pick ups the Pats have made. The heart of BB's defensive philosophy is NOT a choice of gap technique or alignment choices. It's having a defense that is flexible and versatile enough that he can create individual game plans based on the unique match ups that present themselves week to week. To do that you need a secondary deep enough to take advantage of the myriad of match up problems you face each week. The secondary is now stronger, faster, quicker and more importantly BIGGER to reflect the changes in WR match ups mow that bigger effective WRs are more common To do that you first have to have ENOUGH secondary people, with all the skill sets necessary to run the full package of coverages they need to face the complex passing offenses that have evolved in the NFL the last few years. Than means you can't just have two quality CBs, you really need 4. Some big, some quick, and some both. The same goes for S. Some weeks your best match ups come with 3 Safeties on the field, other require 4 CBs. It all depends on the Match ups And by having McCourty's emerge as true shut down CB, allows BB to increase his options. We haven't had that since Ty Law was at his peak. Before this year BB didn't have the quantity, quality, or experience necessary in the 2ndary to do what he wanted, so he had to remain more vanilla in his schemes which limited the flexibility and the effectiveness of the secondary as a whole Now that secondary, that was too young and inexperienced is ready to emerge as a force 2. Because of age he had to rebuild his LB core, which he essentially has over the last 3 or 4 years. Mayo is the cornerstone. Ninko truly is the rebirth of Mike Vrabel and people will start to see it this season. Cunningham, Fletcher, Guyton, and Spikes are the depth and development guys that BB can nurture into an effective supporting group. But more on the LBs later. 3. Now comes the center piece of the grand plan. Its a unique concept which we haven't seen before in the league. Most 3-4 defenses carry 8 DLmen. 3 Starters 1 primary DE rotational guy 1 back up NT and 2 guys for depth Generally only 4 guys got significant snaps during the course of the game. I think what BB is planning is to carry 8 or 9 DLmen this season with the unique concept of having NO starters, but about 8 guys who will be situational players who ALL can get significant snaps during the course of a game. So in any situation BB can throw out 4 guys adept at one gapping and the next play, if its appropriate, throw out 3 guys who can 2 gap.....AND all sorts of combinations of both. So instead of having 4 guys to get 50-60 snaps in a game you get 7 or 8 guys who are all getting 35. Picture one play of a DL of Moore, Ellis, Haynesworth, and Carter attacking and creating a new LOS, while the next play bringing in Wilfolk, Brace and GWarren to 2 gap. Guys like Wilfolk and Ellis can do both. It might not be these exact names, but you get the idea So many advantages to this concept. The DL won't get worn down over the course of a game or the season. They will be THAT much harder for the opponents offense to game plan for. That much more flexible and thus able to make more effective game day adjustments. 4. Why now? I think the new CBA offered a unique one time opportunity to bring in the numbers of quality DLmen BB needed to make it work within the cap limitations....and as we have seen MORE than enough. Also this strategy mitigates the fact that the bulk of your DL could very well be made up of guys in their 30's, By limiting their snaps game to game, it could very well extend their productive years. 5. This opportunity to get proven guys like Anderson, Ellis, Carter, and Haynesworth, plus bring back GWarren- all proven guys who have had several years of quality production over their careers, was probably the reason why BB eschewed taking a player in the draft, because he knew there were going to be so many affordable guys available that wouldn't need the year or 2 of development a rookie DLman requires Also by bringing in the shear numbers of of guys, BB ensured a fierce competition. One where even the quality Vets know that their jobs are on the line in every practice. This survival of the fittest will ensure he leaves the preseason with the guys and skill sets he needs to make the concept work. When have we ever seen a preseason when so many decent guys were competing for so few potential jobs. It makes each preseason practice a must see event (at least the padded practices BTW I don't think BB cut TWarren because he chose a degree over Foxboro off season conditioning. I don't even think he was upset about the hip surgery. I think the reason he was cut was that he wasn't in the kind of shape he needed to be to overcome the year layoff and the likelihood that his production could be replaced by some like GWarren for a lot lower cost. And all this combined with the knowledge that all of the DLmen this year would be playing a lot fewer snaps over the course of the year. Warren was making 70 snaps per game money and would likely only be playing around 35 snaps in the new system And unlike Wilfolk, he didn't have the skill set to play BOTH techniques. 5. Now getting back to the LBs. ALL of us have begged and cried for the addition of an impact OLB. We didn't get it during the draft, which was surprising, but not shocking, But at least we had the biggest FA market in history to look forward to. Now here we are going into the 2nd week of camp and not only haven't we added an impact pass rushing OLB, we cut the best one we had. it looks like our prayers have once again gone unanswered. "WHY! Bill....WHY do you frustrate us so," we cry. Well like most of you have I joined in the chorus, and finally it occurred to me that BB, in his infinite wisdom has decided that he has enough of them thank you. And it also occurred to me that there is a rational reason for that line of thinking, but it took seeing all the DL acquisitions for it to come clear to me. In a different time in the NFL LBs were kings of BB multiple defense, week to week philosophy, But offenses have changed over the years and the new spread passing attacks that have dominated the league the last few years required a new set of thinking. Creating pressure, especially pressure up the middle is the key to at least slowing down what offense are doing. Also key is having secondary flexibility so you can create schemes that allow you to disguise your intentions and enable you to create the best match ups possible week to week. Flexibility in the secondary, a DL getting push are the keyz to creating the total TEAM pressure that might at least start to stem the offensive tide. The rest is just simple mathematics. When you add an extra DLmen, its a LB who comes out. When you add an 5th DB it a LB who comes out. IF you add a 6th DB then its 2 LBs who come out. Starting to get the picture? Simple Math - In Bill's new world order, with the use of more DLmen and/or more DBs, the number of LB snaps, especially OLB snaps are going to be dropping. Thus instead of needing MORE OLBs as we generally perceive it, you need less. I assume BB looked at what he had on the roster after he removed TCB and decided he liked what he had, and didn't need more. So in the end BB has once again prevaricated when in his presser today, he said that he has really hasn't changed his defensive philosophy. And to a degree he hasn't. Its true that 3-4 or 4-3 is just a matter of alignment, not defensive philosophy. He was being straight saying they will still use and coach the 2 gap technique. He didn't lie when he said they have always attacked at times. And he has always fit his schemes to match the skill sets of his players, rather than trying to fit the square peg in a round hole. But what he DIDN'T say and hopes the rest of the league doesn't notice, (and damned me for spilling the beans ) is tat BB has embarked on what might be considered a radical use of his defensive personal, especially the DL, in order to defend a league wide passing attack that has made 60% completion rates a minimum requirement for starting QBs and 4000 yd seasons routine for MULTIPLE QBs, every season, when at one time is was a once in a decade happening. Will it work? who knows. Hell I don't even know if this is what he is thinking But at least to this speculator, he is trying to stem the offensive tide and he's thinking outside the box to make it happen. Well, am I out of my mind? I wait all your learned judgements... but now I'm going to sleeps .