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Improvement against the run

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Bostonian1962, May 10, 2010.

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  1. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Something has jumped out at me, after the acquisitions over the last many weeks. There is alot of talk about how we drastically (sorry, I say "we" alot) needed to help the pass rush, and did not.

    However, it seems like we may have drastically helped our run defense, in a big way. Lewis and Warren are big bodies who are said to do very well against the run. Cunningham is also said to be very good against the run. Deadrich and Weston are supposedly immovable objects against the run, upon reading my 17 Draft Guides. :)

    McKenzie should be back healthy and was a tackling machine in college, and guess what, draft pick Spikes is awesome against the run.

    Oh, and by the way, McCourty is the best CB against the run in the draft.

    The only reason I'm posting this, is it is not just possible, but likely that this team will be very tough to run against.

    If the opposition can't run against the Patriots, and get in situations where they must pass to succeed, will not by definition, the pass rush be improved? What I'm saying is, when you know a team must pass on you, you can scheme and plan your pass rush. Teams are more successful against the pass, when they can pin their ears back and rush full monty.

    I'd be interested to hear if anybody else has thought about this? I don't think I'm off base here.
     
  2. TommyBrady12

    TommyBrady12 In the Starting Line-Up

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    let's hope we did improve against the run in the last draft. the ravens killed us in this area.
     
  3. xmarkd400x

    xmarkd400x 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Well, BB did say at one point that he thought the league was heading towards more run oriented defenses.

    Another option is that he set out to improve the defense overall, pass OR run. It's not like there was a lot of pass rush talent out there for the taking, so perhaps BB just improved the run, which would improve the whole defense, which is a good thing.

    I agree that improving the run D will improve the pass D by putting the opposing offense in more obvious passing situations.
     
  4. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The common thread amongst McCourty, Spikes and McKenzie are hard hitters who finish plays..
     
  5. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    G. Warren is not good against the run.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  6. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Exactly. In a few months, after he's cut, fans on here will talk about how Bill failed with this signing. Gerard is camp fodder. Whatever...
     
  7. TheComeback

    TheComeback 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    We gave up 4.4 yards per carry against the run last year, which is bad, especially for a Belichick defense. If you can't stop the run, you don't have a good unit, period. Spikes is the biggest addition for this area, like you pointed out. I thought Damione Lewis was more of gap-shooter than a run-stopper, but if not then he can help fill the RDE spot. Ron Brace is also still a candidate for early downs at RDE if he improves over the offseason.

    I think the pass rush will be better this year, as well. The Patriots didn't get a surefire "answer" for crashing the pocket, but they have added or retained a number of guys who specialize in shooting gaps. We may be seeing a pure pass-rushing four man front on 3rd and longs with TBC, Damione Lewis, Mike Wright, and Cunningham. Pryor could also be an option for the interior on passing downs.

    All of those guys are, or in Cunningham's case likely will be, pass-rushing specialists who generally do a good job shooting gaps. Gerard Warren also fits this mold. We should see better pressure in such situations this year, especially up the middle (which is arguably more important against pocket-passers).
     
  8. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The most obvious weakness against the run on this defense was in Seymour's vacant spot at RDE. This is where I'm hoping that Damione Lewis can step up to the plate or Deaderick can be a 7th round gem.
     
  9. Bostonian1962

    Bostonian1962 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I probably should have left him off this discussion, but my overall point still stands. :)
     
  10. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Precisely.
     
  11. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Throwing out the regular season games the Pats won by more than 10 points, here is what is left:

    Bills
    Edwards 15-25/212/2
    Jackson 15/57/0

    Jets
    Sanchez 14-22/163/1
    Washington 14/58/0
    Jones 14/54/0

    Ravens
    Flacco 27-47/264/2
    Rice 11/103/0

    Broncos
    Orton 35-48/330/2
    Moreno 21/88/0

    Dolphins
    Henne 19-34/219/0
    Brown 15/48/0

    Colts
    Manning 28-44/327/4
    Addai 10/41/1

    Saints
    Brees 18-23/371/5
    Thomas 11/64/0
    Bell 13/50/0

    Dolphins
    Henne 29-52/335/2
    Williams 18/75/0

    Panthers
    Moore 15-30/197/1
    Williams 13/82/0

    Bills
    Fitzpatrick 17-25/178/1
    Jackson 15/80/0

    Texans
    Schaub 24-39/303/2
    Foster 20/119/2

    I'm not sure how anyone could have watched these games and determined that the run defense was an issue. It certainly wasn't perfect but the pass defense in these games was below average/poor for the most part. I can understand Manning/Brees/Schaub. I have no tolerance for Edwards/Sanchez/Orton/Moore/Fitzpatrick keeping their teams in games. The Pats lost 2 of those games (Sanchez/Orton) and should have lost a 3rd (Edwards).

    As for the Raven playoff game, it is foolish to make any team/scheme adjustments based on this game. I'm not sure how you evaluate the defense based on 1 play (that they were clearly not ready to defend) and a handful of drives starting inside the college OT starting point. You don't think it affects your defense when they start drives in the shadow of their goal line?

    I read the McCourty/Spikes picks a little differently. They have a lot of experience dropping into zone coverage and playing read&react. They are both sneaky-smart in playing the intermediate middle zones...which is exactly where these hack QBs above looked for quick, high percentage passes. So I look for more disguised coverages and complex schemes to confuse QBs, which gives the rush an extra second and leads to rushed passes and turnovers.
     
  12. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Because the run defense was clearly an issue regardless of the stat lines, just as Brady's game was clearly an issue regardless of his stat lines.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  13. PatsChamp88

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    Not sure about...Gerard Warren could be Jarvis Green's replacement.
     
  14. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Did you ever consider that in certain games teams were playing from behind early thus abandoning the run game and when we played the Saints they didn't even need the run the ball effectively because Brees was lighting it up.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2010
  15. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    What part of the team wasn't "clearly an issue" then? If every aspect of your team is "clearly an issue", then that isn't a very useful measurement. What I was trying to show was that the Pats weren't losing (or close to losing) games because teams were running wild on them. We all know what that looks like from 2002. Last year wasn't anything like 2002.

    Which of the games that I listed do you believe showed the Pats run defense was the main problem in the game? Again, leave out the playoff game for reasons already stated. I agree that stats need to be taken in context. In this case, the stats (backed up by the eye test) clearly showed poor QBs managing games, mediocre QBs controlling games and elite QBs dominating games. I didn't see a RB take over a game against the Pats.
     
  16. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Absolutely. So why do those circumstances dictate putting a stronger run defense on the field? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for defending the run better, particularly at Seymour's old spot. But unless the pass defense shows dramatic improvement, it won't make a lick of difference in the end result (win/loss).
     
  17. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Remember it's our offenses job to score and keep opposing teams offenses off the field too and turnovers do not help but I agree the run defense is not a major concern and with the additions this offseason we should be better off.
     
  18. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The total yards don't jump out, but I'm seeing a lot of games where opponents averaged over 4 (and many times over 5) yards per carry, at least amongst those top runners you cited. It wasn't 2006 Colts regular season bad, but it certainly needed to be improved.

    Your points regarding Spikes and McCourty are still valid though. They look like complete players that will help with the run defense AND contribute in the pass coverage schemes. I think the reason we targeted those players is the reason we target a lot of players: versatility.
     
  19. stinkypete

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    I don't think the run defense was a problem so much as overall tackling. This team has been beaten on running plays off the edge, screens, short possession passes more and more each year as the old guard has left. Spikes and McCourty help as tacklers period. That will improve the defense on the whole.
     
  20. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    NT
    LDE
    CB1
    S1
    LT (When Light was in the lineup, and not bad with Vollmer in there)
    LG
    RG (when Neal was healthy)
    WR1 (except for the Carolina game)
    WR2 (until the injury)
    K
    RB (overall, although problems arose here and there)

    What you were trying to do was claim that the running game wasn't an issue. The problem with that is twofold:

    1.) It's simply not correct.
    2.) Nobody on this thread called it the "only" or "main" issue, at least prior to your post.

    I have no intention of looking back to individual games in order to assign priority to run D/pass D/run O/pass O in the game failings. It's irrelevant, because they were all problems at various times, and almost all the games demonstrated the problems on run D, pass D and pass O. The area of this team's game that was the best last season was the area that was probably the most derided heading into the year, and that was the rushing offense.

    However, a quick perusal shows:

    10 of 17 games with the opponents rushing for over 100 yards.
    20th in the NFL in YPA against

    193 yards allowed in that blowout against Tennessee.

    133 yards allowed in the only game against Miami where both Miami backs
    were healthy and available.

    234 yards allowed against Baltimore

    The only 'strong' rush defense games (fewer than 100 yards allowed) came against:

    Bucs - crap ass team
    Bills - crap ass team that rushed for less than 100 yards in 8 of 16 games
    Falcons - 9 win team that rushed for less than 100 yards in 8 of 16 games
    Colts - Lousy run team that rushed for less than 100 yards in 15 of 19 games
    Dolphins - only in game 2, which was post-Ronnie Brown (sub 100 in 3 of 7 games post-Brown)
    Jaguars - 7 win team that got 98 yards on 25 carries (about 4 ypc, which is not bad, but nothing symptomatic of a completely shut down run offense)
     
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