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idle thoughts - putting the pieces together

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    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. :rolleyes: 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 :D 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
    .
     
  2. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ken, I always enjoy your post draft rants...er...random thought analyses. ;)

    I think that you are quite correct in saying that BB has given himself a survival of the fittest camp, which coincidentally or not comes after a weird pre/post draft labor situation where many rookies did not benefit at all.

    I agree that he gave us added depth/experience/competition--ALL of them very instrumental to making a deep run. That is brilliant in my opinion. I also believe that he is indeed giving the defense variability and versatility by being able to dictate multiple fronts/sets/packages. Therefore, a good amt of quality depth and physical bodies are needed.

    I also agree with the secondary overhaul, although as you said--that's almost common sense in a pass happy league. It's a shame when Mark Sanchez picks you apart for 3 TD's and 0 INT's, and all you can do is watch...let alone when you consistantly face the Mannings, Roethlisbergers, and Rivers' of the world every season. The team has adhered to the Belichickian philosophy of 'doing your job' in the secondary, and added talent, youth, and speed have been brought in. Couple that with a coaching change at the position, and (finally) a good pair of outside CB's after several misses in the draft, and you see why the great secondary play is so important. I will admit that I am somewhat miffed by seeing BOTH McGowan and Page leave in the safety postion, not to mention the (hopefully unsubstantiated rumors) of Meriweather's departure also. That was what many of us viewed as one of the strongest overall positions on the team. It certainly won't be if Meriweather leaves, although again--they are rumors at best.

    ---------------THIS IS WHERE I DISAGREE---------------

    I do not believe your theory of all of these DL guys playing 35 snaps a game, as opposed to 4 or 5 main guys getting the majority of the snaps. I believe that would be hard to develop cohesiveness, and consistency. I believe "it is what it is..." meaning that these moves were brought in to add versatility to our looks and sets, and to also add a survival of the fittest philosophy at the position. In other words, when the competition is better, the remaining players who make it to the 53 man roster are better too. But the main reason why I believe it was done is for DEPTH. As we all saw last yr, it was likely the Achilles heel of our playoff loss, possibly even a SB birth. We embarassingly had to search the streets for a viable candidate at the DL position due to too many injuries, and it hurt tremendously. The run game was mud, there was zero pressure, and therefore it added to the passing game woes too. I think that these moves were brought it for depth and versatility...nothing more.

    Other than that, I think that I agree with just about everything else, and enjoy your thoughts very much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  3. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is right on, take it one step further believe what BB is doing is changing the way we view defenses in general.. consider the days when we were picking guys off the street for our secondary, in the past few years we have loaded up with some very good players which has allowed other things to happen.. even the way they are coached, Matt Patricia is now the safeties coach, so anticipate a high level of play there as well.

    We have a group of experienced players with a combination of youth, on the D line am still trying to figure out who makes this team.. the combinations will befuddle the opposing teams, as many have several skill sets. You can bring in older guys, because this team plays situational football and none of our senior set will play 60+ downs a game.

    Our LB's with Mayo, Spikes, Fletcher, Cunningham and Ninkovich are above average.. not glamorous, but blue collar and smart.

    Where does this lead? IMO to a defense that is fluid and defies characterization, sometimes it will look like 3-4, other times a 4-3 and still others very hybrid sets.. the personnel dictates great flexibility. Always go back to when LT entered the league, BB was his position coach, later his D Coordinator and he was challenged to find a way to use him.. he did well in that endeavor and suspect that he will do the same in this one as well. This defense will not be sexy with someone getting 17 sacks, but it will be confusing to the opposing team.. so when they run off the field to study polaroids they will pull on their chins and scratch their heads.

    Do not think we will be close to the bottom of the league in stopping 3rd down conversions and anticipate our turnover rate of +28 may even increase. I like what he is doing and it will be fun to watch.
     
  4. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    Build a stout but attacking front 4 and teams may have to leave their TE on the line for protection (we see this vs the Pats O too often). This allows an extra DB to work cover and reduces the responsibilities of the LB group. I see a 4-2 5 with Mayo floating on the line and Chung in the box more. Buffalo will be going 5 wide alot this year, reducing the LB presence. Also, the Pats work with the lead more often than not, another reason to retool the D. The 3-4 LBs were not equipped to overpower the Ts, and offenses were getting rid of the ball early, so why use 5 attackers, 3DL- 2OLBs. I just want to see Fat Albert toss centers backwards. I want to see Sanchez look like a midget in the pocket as these behemouths envelop him.....pick city.
     
  5. asfpnepRefugee

    asfpnepRefugee Practice Squad Player

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    One major flaw with the idea of constantly rotating DL guys in & out is that teams will eventually just start going hurry up and that sort of thing, forcing you to keep the guys you have in.
     
  6. RelocatedPatFan

    RelocatedPatFan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Intriguing thoughts (as usual).

    One thought on the DLine is that Bill won't have a tell that's going to be that easy to read. i would say the majority of the time, the personnel o nthe field can either be in the 3-4 or 4-3. They'll be able to morph and adjust based on the play being called (assuming Mayo is wearing the communications device).

    it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride for some offenses going up against Vince and Albert. I just hope the CBs can play tighter and bump runners off routes at times. That's something that definitely needs to make a comeback. No more CBs being 10 yards off the receiver...even if it's 3rd and 15 (I don't want to cringe when I see 3rd and long anymore :) )
     
  7. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats In the Starting Line-Up

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    Not only is this true, but the premise of having "no starters" just doesn't work. I'm all for depth, but if you're saying "everyone's going to get a lot of playing time" it really just means you don't have starting-caliber players. Not to mention lines play better when they get some chemistry going.
     
  8. asfpnepRefugee

    asfpnepRefugee Practice Squad Player

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    That's like the old John Madden wisdom, that if you have a QB competition in camp, you don't have a viable QB at all.

    I don't think as strongly as you do though, although to some extent you're correct. I think there's a difference between having say 5 JAGs and 5 guys who have complimentary talents. I just think that relying on mixing and matching those complimentary pieces is going to go to poop when you play against teams like the Colts.
     
  9. Dutchmaster617

    Dutchmaster617 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I don't know why but I still feel the LBs are soft and well weak. I like the line and secondary but they just don't seem like a group to fear, Mayo is a great tackler and leader but he isn't 'nasty'. If this line can really push the pocket we are fine but if not I expect more high yardage bend but don't break defense that relies on turnovers.

    I really wanted a OLB at least instead of 50 DEs.
     
  10. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    My thoughts from a diff post --

    We have a stouter 3-4 line with ellis , vince and warren[gerrad] with some rotation guys.We needed a left end and ellis is that. Improved but the base is same.

    3rd down and passing downs - we played single gap downhill downs , we were horrible. we could not stop sanchez from finishing his hotdog before chucking the ball. We have 22 DL now. out of this we are looking for the single gap guys to go get the QB. You want albert to give you a good 20-25 impact downs out of 65 [history says he gives you 40 but he is older and 2 yrs out of the game].carter/anderson - 1 will be kept as they are similar.

    Big vince played alot last year and i will scale it down a bit to usual 40 snaps a game.then use the 4 down package go get the qb.

    One day people will wakeup and realize that we do not have a top 20 pass rushing DE in thie team.
    we have the top NT ...so we play to our strength .Not go 4-3 and hope your OLB size guys can headbutt with tackles every down. they will be chewed up by tackles. Your 3-4 OLB are shadded and protected by your 3-4 ends. 4-3 your DE go head first at tackles every down.You do not have a freeney type smaller DE who are extremely fast. so you have your slower and smaller OLB get smacked by tackles with no 3-4 ends to protect them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  11. Julius

    Julius On the Game Day Roster

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    I'm wondering if the change in the kick off rules, combined with our kickers habit off putting the ball through the end zone makes it easier for BB to cut back on the amount of linebackers in favor of more linemen?
     
  12. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    There are only a handful of QB's who can run a effective hurry up. I see where your going with this but to run a hurry up you need a good QB who can process the layout and play mistake free ball. I think this plays this in our favor with the new additions. Especially in certain 3rd down situations.

    Last years team was a little different because our dline was inexperienced or injured as well as Bodden out on ir. This season i think will be much different provided we stay healthy. I can assure you the 3rd down defense will be better. We were just about flat worst so there is no way they can't get better.

    We actually saw a little of what Ken is portraying in the 45-3 bashing of the Jets last season. Constant defensive subbing and shifts of formations. It worked well considering the personal we had at the time. Being able to do it with the Vets we signed may be even more effective.
     
  13. RelocatedPatFan

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    I agree with this, but that would make the concept more regular-season based and not post-season based (expecting to see QBs who could run the hurry-up).

    Whatever BB is cooking up is really marked for the post-season. i don't think he takes the regular season for granted, but his expectation should be he makes it to the post-season. Or, he's planning for a level of dominance that teams will know what's comign and still have issues with it (I think this is less likely).
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  14. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

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    Mayo and Spikes are bigger hitters at LB than Bruschi, Phifer, McGinest, or Vrabel ever were. I wouldn't call either of them "soft" or "weak". The 3rd LB spot is a bit of a question mark, but you're not going to have studs at every position in the salary cap era.
     
  15. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Game plans change from week to week. The regular season and the playoffs are no different as regards to playing football, albeit you are playing a better team in the postseason.

    What works for you well in the regular doesn't mean it is going to work in the post season. We went 14-2 last season and it was a rebuilding year. I'm sure it was the case of winning the turnover battle with TB12's awesome streak and the defense getting opportunistic takeaways. That is not the type of defense you want going into the playoffs being that your good fortunes can end at any time. And they did with the Jets. Bottom line the 3rd down defense was horrible as well as the passing defense being below average that couldn't get to the QB.

    In years past, lets say the glory of 03 and 04. You knew what your were getting in the regular season and playoffs. The base was the same but the schemes were different. Basically the same result, a convincing win. The constant was confusion, disquised pass rush and coverages ,explosive pass rush, excellent coverage, multiple successful fronts. Timely turnovers with everyone put in the position to make plays.

    I think your latter guess of dominance is more likely.
     
  16. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Mayo and Spikes could hit with the best of them. I would never call them weak or soft by any means.

    Bruschi, McGinist, Vrabel and Hamilton were technically sound tacklers who knew the art of wrapping up a ball carrier very well as well as knowing their assignments with great recognition skills.

    Mayo is approaching that level, Spikes has got a ways to go.
     
  17. The Scrizz

    The Scrizz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    As opposed to being ahead of the curve of defending the new pass-happy league, is it possible that BB is playing catch-up to the idea that 2-gap might not create enough pressure on the QB. I know I risk Andy Johnson's wrath for suggesting this, but even with more teams going to the 3-4 how many of them are 2-gap 3-4's?

    It seems like BB isn't embarking on anything radical, he is making the D more like what a lot of other teams already do. Now I'm sure he'll do it better than most/all because he is a brilliant D mind, but my take is this could be Belichick's Fonzie moment.

    No he hasn't jumped the shark, but given the reliance on the pass in the league now, perhaps his strictly 2-gap philosophy is "wr... wrrrrr... wrrrrr...."

    "Wrong Fonz?"
     
  18. The Scrizz

    The Scrizz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    The Patriots already have significant situational substitutions.
     
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