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Idle thoughts - the post draft overview...

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  1. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Its been a couple of weeks since the draft, and articles like Clayton's have got me thinking about the current status of the Pats about half way through this off season....so here they are.

    1. I think you can't underestimate the importance of the Pats looking to get tougher and more physical the last 2 off seasons. I know it's been mentioned here and in the media to some degree, but I don't think that its gotten the attention that its due. At some point during the past few years, the Pats seemed to lose its identity as a tough and gritty team. Its like we woke up one morning, and suddenly we became the Colts, all slick and finesse.... and we were OK with that. :eek:

    I think it became very apparent to Bill with the loss to the Ravens. It looked remarkably similar to what we did to the Colts back in 2003. Maybe Bill already knew, but the Ravens game was a revelation to me. I knew then that it was time for the Pats to get back to its "workman-like" roots. It also made the strategy of the last 2 drafts make more sense. When you think on it, a lot of those picks, while they lack "star power", are gritty, nose in the dirt, kind of players, with a heavy emphasis on OL and DL projects.

    2. I think the signings of Holt, Crumpler, and Warren, have largely gone under the radar, even in NE. I think it comes from the fans and meda's natural predilection to be "star struck", either by a player's status or position.

    BB has ALWAYS seemed to be a guy who has believed you need A LOT of good players on your team in order to make a run at the superbowl, not necessarily a lot of "stars" I think THAT has been one of the purposes of accumulating all those draft picks (24) in the last 2 years, and taking a lot of shots with so many low to mid level vet FA's. The Pats needed to get deeper as well as younger.

    3. I know there are some people who wanted Dez Bryant, but even if he turns out to be as good as some think, the Pats have had 9 consecutive winning seasons seasons (8 wining 10+ games), going with dirt dog WR types (and 3 years of Randy Moss). Skilled WRs are the most easily replaceable position.

    Torry Holt (for right now) is more of the kind of guy that the Pats offense needs opposite Randy Moss. A guy who will be were Brady expects him to be...at the right time. A consummate route runner, who is versatile enough to be able to run the full tree. It was noted that he's been the exemplar Brady has used for years as how to run routes in the NFL. Yes he's on the wrong side of 30, but he STILL managed to catch 50 balls and 800 yds in a run first offense...catching passes from David Garard. :eek:

    I would think that everybody would be thrilled if he managed the same production in OUR offense, catching balls from Tom Brady. And I for one wouldn't be shocked if he did slight better than that. Also for all you hoping that Deon Branch will suddenly become available. Let me drop this small item on you. In the past 3 years Torry Holt has missed ONE game. In the past 3 years Deion Branch has missed 15.

    4. Warren and Lewis are even MORE intriguing to me. Both were first round picks who NEVER live up to the hype. But while Warren has never been the "great" player that Richard Seymour turned out to be, he HAS BEEN a very "good" player who has managed to be a solid starter on 3 teams. A versitile guy who can set the edge, be physical, and be counted on be on the field ALL season. The guy has missed only 8 games in a nine year career. And as a bonus, he's a guy who will likely get you some pressure up the middle and 3-4 sacks

    The Lewis pick up is more problematical in my view. There is nothing that sticks out at you when you look at his stats. He just seems to be a guy who has been good enough to start on a mediocre NFL teams for several of his years. And if all he's here to be is "proven" DL depth, then it doesn't look like a bad pick up.....just not an impactful one. One could look at this as Brace insurance, in case Ron doesn't develop as expected.

    5. I think the real impact of these 2 pick ups is that it will make this team a better run stopping team. It will make it a more physical team, AND it will increase the effectiveness of Mike Wright, who tends to get beat up as the season goes on.

    Wright was a very effective inside rusher, but had only one sack after the bye last season. I'm thinking that BB might be looking to use him more as a situational inside rusher this season, and get more consistent production out of him. 5 sacks from an inside guy, playing limited snaps, is pretty good for a guy that no one but us ever heard of.

    6. OK now we come to the crux of the matter. Where are we going to get our pass rush???????? That's what EVERYONE wants to know. Seem like a reasonable question, and we are all looking for THE guy in the draft of FA who can do this for us, right? I've been no different. I wouldn't have minded if the Pats had picked up a couple of MORE OL/DE rush prospects after the 3rd round.... and they were there to be had (Griffin, Lane, Sapp etc). But then I got to thinking.....

    In the years the Pats were great, not just good, did they ever have anyone who could have been considered a "dominant type" pass rusher. How often, at a time when they perennially were in the top 10 sack team, did they have a guy with double digit sacks. Willie McGinest never did it on a BB team. Mike Vrabel did it ONCE. Yet from 2001-2007 the Pats were one of the top teams in the league in team sacks.

    So you have to ask yourself do we really NEED a "dominant sack guy" or do we just need to produce more sacks from the guys we already have....like we used to. Now when you think on THAT line, the McCourty pick starts to make MORE sense.

    As the secondary declined over the last 3 years, so did the number of sacks....and its NOT a coincidence. The Pats used to get a lot of sacks FROM their DBs, plus more that other guys got BECAUSE of a DB blitz or good coverage. However when the coverage started to lag, BB couldn't afford to send DB's as much, OR have the complex schemes that worked so well in the "great" years

    Now the secondary is coming together. With McCourty, Boddin, Butler, Merriweather, Chung, Sanders, and yes even Wilhite and Wheatly, we are starting to acquire the talent, experience, and depth necessary to allow the DC to be more creative on passing downs and create more pressure...like we did back in the early days of this era.

    Yes it WOULD be nice to have some guy who is likely to beat a guy one on one, but even the "dominant" rushers only win about 10% of those battles. I contend that with the defensive backfield on the up swing, both in talent AND depth, we will see a marked improvement in our pass rush....even with the guys we have.

    7. ...and just how important ARE sacks in the great scheme of things. The Jets, who had the top D in the league, had exactly ONE more sack than the Pats. The world champion Saints and all the talk about their DC, had FOUR more. Also the Jets paid a ton more money to Bart Scott than we paid for TBC, and got 2 FEWER sacks.

    If you check the top 5 teams in the league for Sacks, you'd find them in this order, Minnesota, Steelers, Dolphins, Eagles, and 49ers. The thing that immediately comes to mind when you look at that list, is that only TWO of those teams made the playoffs. :eek:

    8. Obviously, its putting "pressure" on the QB is what teams REALLY are looking for and what TRULY makes a pass rush effective. Is there a site that ranks the teams by QB pressures, hits, tips, etc. I'm sure there are and one of you has a link. It would be interesting to see if the number of sacks correlates with the other aspects of getting a good pass rush. Another stat I'd love to see is how often in a series where the QB is sacked does the offense have to punt.

    9. I also think that Crumpler is going to be a bigger factor this year than many people think. If it is true what they said about a slimmer faster Algie, then he could be more than just a blocking TE. At one time Crumpler was one of the top RECEIVING TE's in the league. While I don't expect THAT kind of a year, I do expect to see a resurrection of the TE being a significant part of the pass offense.

    10. And if you forgot, 2 TE's/2 WRs is my favorite offensive formation, since by alignment it causes a lot of problems for your defense, but that is the subject of another rant, and this has gone too long already......again ;)
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  2. Gwedd

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    Excellent write up. I completely agree with your take on the wide receivers issue. When one looks at the body of work these past several years, it's been quite good, despite not winning another Super Bowl. The team is still in the hunt, and it looks to me to remain that way, even more so, after this past draft.

    Respects,
  3. Patspsycho

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    Patfanken,

    Your writeups are never too long!
  4. KontradictioN

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    The signing of Warren goes under the radar because, well, because Gerard Warren sucks. I sincerely hope that he doesn't have to see any playing time this year and is just camp fodder. I do love the signings of Crumpler and Holt, though. And I feel as if we had a solid draft once again this year.
  5. JMarr

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    I suspect most fans were more than fine with it while we were obliterating people during 2007. :D Hindsight is 20/20. Otherwise, good post as always.
  6. Patriot 37

    Patriot 37 Rookie

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    Warren has been a starter in the NFL for 8 years, granted he's been on 3 teams, most of them bad. He's a pretty average player I expect him to start and be an upgrade from what Jarvis Green gave us last year. Sucks is a little harsh.
  7. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    That would be if he plays DE, which he won't. Warren is a DT.
  8. larryo

    larryo Rookie

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....


    The only thing I know about Warren is that Ross Tucker keeps telling the story of Warren spitting in his face.

    Loved the write up Ken. Good stuff.
  9. DaBruinz

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....


    Warren will be a DE in the Pats 3-4.
  10. Patriot 37

    Patriot 37 Rookie

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    Re: Idle thoughts - the post draft overview....

    From the 4/24/10 Press Conference. Translated from Belichick speak he is saying Warren can play DT in the 4-3, NT, RDE and LDE in the 3-4.

    Q: Speaking of Warren, do you see him at right defensive end, left defensive end?

    BB: Well, he's played all over. He's played for the Raiders: he's played three technique, he's played one technique. For the Browns, he was an inside player. He usually played inside the tackles. In Denver, they moved him around a little bit as well. So I think that he's a guy that can really play from the tackle in. Like Damione Lewis, Ty Warren and Vince [Wilfork], guys like that, I don't think you're going to see him outside of the tackles very often. But from tackle to tackle, I think they can play from head-up-to-tackle to head-up-to-center and all of the spots in between. They've all done that. So he definitely has some versatility from both the left side, and the right side, and in different alignments in there, and on both early downs, and on passing downs - as Damione has, as Vince has. So think there's some versatility with players like that.
  11. Peachhead

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    Sorry to get all 'Debbie Downer' on y'all: But until I see Bill O'Brien stop doing the Mike Martz impression I'm not very optimistic that our TE's will be anything more than skinny O-lineman or about team "toughness". Regardless of who's on the roster.

    It isn't like we had chopped liver at TE last year (all-pro's no, but not practice squadders either), but I can count the pass plays designed for the TE last year on one hand. Yeah, that may be an exaggeration, but not by much.

    Also, toughness isn't something you can turn on and off at will. If you spend all week in practice in a 5-wide shotgun formation 95% of the time (or practicing against it). You aren't going to react that well when your offense needs to just grind out the clock, or an opponent's O just lines up in an I formation and punches you in the mouth all day long.
  12. DaBruinz

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    PFK - Great analysis. I only have one qualm. You're theory about the CBs doesn't hold up. In 2009, the Pats got 2 sacks from DBs. In 2003 and 2004, the Pats had 4 and 3 respectively. So, it's basically little difference.

    There are 2 places that the Pats have bigger differences. At ILB where the Pats only got 3 this past year. The other is at the D-Line. In 2003 and 2004, the Pats got 14.5 sacks from the D-line. In 2009, the D-line only accounted for 7 sacks. That's a HUGE difference.

    The reality is that the Pats have had the talent at all 3 positions degrade and are finally re-stocking it. All 3 areas remain a work in progress.

    And for all those expecting a WR early in the 1st round for the 2011 draft, I'd put your money on a 3-4 DE instead.
    Last edited: May 8, 2010
  13. JustWinBrady

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    there was a lack of leadership last year & i believe this off-season they have made an effort to address this with the signing of the veteran free-agents & the draft class. i believe 5 of the players drafted this year were team captains. i really like the last 2 draft classes & next years draft with two #1s & two #2s should lay the foundation of getting this team back to where it needs to be...
  14. Boston Boxer

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    Watson was NEVER at consistant pass catcher. He would catch one a drop two...could be the reason we dont use the TE too much in the passing game. We will see in the next couple of years because whether you agree or not, the combo of Crumpler, Gronk, and Hernandez should be the best collection of pass catching TE in the league...for a very long time
  15. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    Peach, I was never Watson basher, but the fact is he was NEVER a smooth route runner or consistent pass catcher. Not a bust, but even though Crumpler doesn't have the speed Watson possessed, when you come to camp, you will notice right away how much smother and natural he is catching the ball and running routes. Gronkowski is "supposed" to be the best combination receiving/blocking TE in the draft, and Hernandez "supposedly" has Dallas Clark speed and receiving skill.

    So given all that, if Bill Obrien STILL doesn't use the TE THIS year, then you are right, the offense will be less effective, and BB used 2 draft picks and a FA signing for nothing....and I don't see that happening. ;)
  16. rookBoston

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    Well, when you compare a front of Willie McGinest - Ty Warren - Ted Washington - Richard Seymour - Mike Vrabel to just about any front, you're going to see a dropoff. Those 5 were able to dictate play to any offense.

    I'll tell you what, tho... Mayo and Spikes could shape up to be stronger and more dominant than Bruschi and TJ ever were on the inside. BB's defensive scheme has always been more about control than sacks. Not that running at Ted Washington was a good idea, but I think teams will struggle to inside run against us in 2010, which should put the ball in the air on third down... and hopefully make the Bulter and McCourty picks look like genius. We don't need all those sacks, we just need enough pressure to force the QB to release the ball just a bit sooner than he wants to... and maybe a little off balance would be nice.
  17. patfanken

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    I love it when you "stat" me. But I wasn't thinking that the DBs would be getting the sacks so much as that they will be CAUSING them with better coverages, and the fact that because we are deeper and more talented, the actual coverages we use can be more complex and difficult to read, thus leading to more sacks and picks

    I'm also hoping that a healthier Ty Warren, and a fresher Mike White will add to the DL sacks that we didn't get last season. In fact the deeper DL that will come out of camp this season will allow for a fresher EVERYONE, which SHOULD make for more DL sacks and pressures....I hope ;)
  18. Deus Irae

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    That's where I had to stop reading.
  19. Fencer

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    Thanks!

    Saved me the trouble. :rocker:
  20. Fencer

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    It's a poor comparison head to head, because Spikes is a player very much in the mold of Bruschi, while Mayo is nothing like Ted Johnson.

    But in terms of overall impact it's not crazy.
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