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Important Players On Special Teams

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Mar 17, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I thought I would start a non-Peppers thead. I am not meaning to discuss kickers, holders and snappers.

    We often hear that particular players are special team aces, but who are the most important? Who are the stars? This becomes especially critical when the last roster spots are determined. Which players are worth roster spots even if they take no reps on offense or defense (or almost none)? For example, who are our top gunners?

    Izzo was never on the bubble. Neither was Davis or Cherry or Whigham when there were.

    I have Slater as making the roster a special teamer. I have Aiken and Ventrone competing for another special teams roster spot.

    Other like Banta-Cain, Woods, and Lewis play positions.
  2. TB146

    TB146 Rookie

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    Re: Important Players On Specialy Teams

    I'm wondering if there's some kind of correlation between certain offensive or defensive positions and certain roles on special teams. For example, a player with the skills to be a good slot receiver would also be a good punt returner. Or linebackers make the best blockers. I don't expect that these would be always true and without exception, but fairly accurate nonetheless.

    The more roster spots that are taken up by ST-only players, the more positional depth suffers on offense and defense. I don't have a problem with carrying somebody like that if they're a difference maker, but I don't know what skills or abilities constitute such a person.

    Of course, I'd love to field an offense that is so good that we don't even bother having a punter on the roster. :)
  3. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan Rookie

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    Re: Important Players On Specialy Teams

    Ray Ventrone !!!! :D
  4. Tyler.Durden

    Tyler.Durden Rookie

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    Re: Important Players On Specialy Teams

    Link

    Link
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2009
  5. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Re: Important Players On Specialy Teams

    Nice detailed post on STs. Informative.
    What I like about football in detail is that there is so much interesting stuff to learn & watch for non-experts like me.
  6. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Eric Alexander, Greg Lewis, and Mike Wright are also excellent coverage guys.
  7. PatsWickedPissah

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    True. We just lost Washington & Izzo from STs. I'll wager Alexander gets cut this summer because of a surplus of young developing LBs, however that means we add some strong new ST fodder. Strong ST play from Redd, Rudd and Crable will help these physically talented potential LBs make the 53.
  8. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Wright is the one a lot of people overlook. Retaining him was important from a ST perspective as well as DL depth.
  9. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Wright's actually a heck of an athlete. He may not be the most powerful guy on the line, but he can get those 295 lbs down the field in a hurry.
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess this post highlights one the points I'm making. I don't think we can just count on bottom of the roster players to be top special teamers just because we have hope for them at a nother position. Special teamers are stars, jags and incompetents on their own units.

    Crable showed very little, and was inactive precisely because of his lack of special teams skills. I have seen nothing that causes me to believe that Ruud or Redd is ready to compete at Alexander's level; have you. I understand that it's possible that these three would step up on special teams. However, it seems almost as likely to believe that one of them would step up and perform at their position.

  11. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Point taken, but you may be a little harsh on the youngsters. It is not like they have had a ton of opportunity and failed on ST. Ruud especially seemed to have the skill set for a top STer (functional speed, nose for the ball, reliable open field tackler). The new guys are going to have to knock someone off the roster and it is likely that they will only be able to do that by excelling on ST. If I was any of these guys, including Alexander, I'm probably not signing a long-term lease in Boston just yet.
  12. PatsWickedPissah

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    No. I was not focused on that aspect last summer. Alexander sets a very high bar for ST competition. This July-Aug I'm going to notice the LBs as to who's doing what on STs more carefully. Should be a strong indicator for the 53.
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    OUT: Izzo, Washington, Evans
    IN: Lewis, Banta-Cain, Williams
    2008 POSITION PLAYERS: Wright, Woods

    HOW MANY CAN WE AFFORD TO KEEP?
    None of these players are likely to make the team based on their position skills. Who are our gunners? Who are critical at other positions (like Wright as wedge-buster)? I have allocated four roster spots in the past to these unsung heros. I have only two this year because of the developmental need at linebacker.

    Our "usual" complement of linebackers is 4 OLB's, 3 ILB's and 2 STers who rarely have any reps at linebacker. We already have seven linebackers, including special teamers Banta-Cain and Woods who could make the team as special team specialists. So we should be set at seven linebackers. However, we are likely to add two rookies. Another way to look at it is that in a good year, Banta-Cain and Alexander would be our #8 and #9 linebackers. In any case, I find it difficult to keep more than two of the following on my project 53 roster. Does this make sense?

    I am presuming that among the draftees/additions who make the team will be three among linebackers and safeties.

    SLATER
    VENTRONE

    Aiken
    Spann
    Alexander
    Redd
    Ruud
    ====================================

    OFFENSE (24)
    QB (3) Brady, O'Connell, (Gutierrez)
    RB/FB (5) Taylor, Faulk, Morris, Maroney, (BJGE)
    WR (4) Moss, Welker, Galloway, Lewis
    TE (3) Watson, Baker, Thomas
    OT (4) Light, Kaczur, LeVoir, (O’Callaghan)
    OG/C (5) Mankins, Koppen, Neal, Hochstein, (Yates)

    DEFENSE (24)
    DL (6) Wilfork, Seymour, Warren, Green, Wright, Smith
    OLB (5) Thomas, Crable, Banta-Cain, Woods, (Redd)
    ILB (4) Mayo, Guyton, Bruschi, (Ruud/Alexander)
    CB (5) Hobbs, Bodden, Springs, Wheatley, Wilhite
    S (4) Meriweather, Sanders, Williams,(Richardson/Spann)

    SPECIALISTS (5)
    K (1) Gostkowski
    P (1) Hanson
    LS (1) Hodel
    ST (2) Slater, Ventrone

    PRACTICE SQUAD
    Wendell, Listorti, DeVree, Craig, Malone, Redd, Ruud
  14. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 Rookie

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    Just to take your thought and run with it:

    It's almost a given that we'll address the LB and Safety positions this draft. There are numerous prospects who have excelled on ST either their entire careers, or at least partly. Four names that come to mind and oft mentioned as potential Pats prospects are:

    Connor Barwin
    Clay Matthews
    Patrick Chung
    Rashad Johnson

    All, are not only good STers -- but outstanding.

    An important side note to the topic is the subject of game actives vs inactives. It's almost disheartening to see a healthy rookie on the game inactive list, knowing he has zero chance of experiencing the all important game reps during his developmental process. No action usually means slower development. However, if the rookie can excel on ST, he'll have a game active status enabling him to develop quicker (at his position) given the opportunity to do so. Throughout the season, there are numerous situations which call for various schemes and sub-packages, and hopefully some blowouts, opening the door for said rookie -- especially the top draft picks. Sometimes the rookies are given opportunities because of injuries, but obviously -- this is not acceptable.

    I'm sure we'd all like to see Barwin rushing the QB THIS season, rather than wait until 2010. I know I'd like to see Chung in game action also.

    Those are just four names, but I'm certain there are other LBs and Safeties who are more than capable of earning their roster spots on ST. After the Pats draft, I'm sure BB will mention which of the draftees has strong ST skills...and some of us will already know.
  15. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    LeKevin Smith, Stephen Neal, Russ Hochstein, Gary Guyton, Sammy Morris, Wesley Britt, Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Mike Richardson, Antwain Spann, Jonathan Wilhite...

    The offseason roster is full of Special Teams players, picking one or two to be pure Special Teamers is :confused2:
  16. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There are more than dozen key players on the various special teams units. My question is how many positions should be allocated, if any, for players with little future at another position.

    For example, how does Slater make this team? How did he make it last year? He didn't make the team because he was the solid 6th receiver or 5th safety. He made the team because he was a special teams star, much as Izzo made the team these last few years. I believe Ventrone is and was in the same position. To label him as the #7 receiver as most did on the rosters seemed a bit silly. He was a top special teamer. Aiken was the #4 receiver, and perhaps would have made the team anyway, but Washington was used as a receiver.

    So, to repeat. Which otherwise bubble players (or likely cuts) would you consider so good at special teams that you would make a spot for them anyway? My list includes Slater, Ventrone and Banta-Cain. I list banta-Cain because many think that he might not make the roser as an OLB. I disagree but include him because I would keep him in any case.



  17. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You are the one who likes to build 53 man rosters in March, I prefer to see a couple preseason games before writing people off.
  18. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Projecting rosters is no different than projecting draft choices. Either you want to speculate, do the analysis and discuss it or you don't.

    Apparently for you, you need to wait until preseason games unitl you consider whether it it reasonable to have zero or ten players on the roster that will be expected to have reps at other positions.

    No one can reasonably know the roster until Game 2, after the transactions after "final" cuts. No can can reasonably suggest who we should draft until we know who is available on draft day at each draft slot. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't speculate. That is what we do here.

  19. Box_O_Rocks

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    :yawn2::confused2:
  20. Ungeheuer

    Ungeheuer Rookie

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    Was Slater actually good on special teams last year? I don't remember it.

    I do remember Ray Ventrone being good, and Mike Wright, and before them Kelley Washington. But the Pats really need a true special-teams ace. Guyton looks like he's not bad, but can he replace Izzo?
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