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Is the Pats' Defense Starting to Gel?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, Aug 15, 2012.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I know, it's ridiculously early. We've only played 1 preseason game, and are barely halfway through training camp. But there seems to be a sense of energy, aggressiveness, swagger, cohesion and playmaking on defense the likes of which haven't been seen since the heyday of Big Sey, Willie Mac, Tedy, Vrabes, Ty and Rodney. Not to suggest that the current group can compare yet, but there certainly seems to be something that's been missing since at least 2007 and probably more like 2004.

    Every day brings more reports suggesting that this defense will be markedly different from the past 5+ years. More aggressive. More versatile. Better front-back communication. More situational awareness. More playmaking, within a disciplined framework. Less vanilla.

    From Field Yates today:

    Camp Observations: Day 21 - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

    And from Greg Bedard:

    Practice rundown #16 - Extra Points - Boston.com

    First zone blitzes. Jones at RDE, standing up, at LDE, dropping into coverage, getting his long arms up to clog the passing lanes. Bequette playing inside as well as out. Good safety and overall secondary play, with Chung-Gregory looking like a solid combo and Tavon Wilson playing multiple roles as well. Dowling looking more and more comfortable. Kyle Love looking like a horse in the middle alongside Vince Wilfork. Jonathan Fanene looking like a big time mismatch before he got hurt. A lot of things that haven't been seen in a long while. And it's not just one or two isolated reports. It seems like every day we're hearing about Mayo's playmaking at WLB, Hightower's versatility and physicality, Jones' long arms, versatility and manhandling of OLs, the teamwork of the secondary leading to turnovers and big plays, and more.

    Matthew Geagan from CBSBoston noted today:



    Patriots Defense Starting To Jell, ‘Getting Better Every Day’ « CBS Boston

    Mike Reiss noted after the Saints game:

    New England Patriots' new-look defense makes good impression - ESPN Boston

    Both Wes Welker and BB himself commented on the level of play from the defense over the past several days:

    BostonHerald.com - Blogs: The Blitz» Blog Archive » Bill Belichick, Wes Welker like competition between Patriots’ offense and defense

    Again, it's ridiculously early, and I know it's just training camp. But there's an energy and a feeliong from the defense that I can't remember in a long time, and it's hard not to get a little excited.
  2. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thank you for this post....it means a lot to be able to sit down after a long day and get everything I wanted to know put out there in a nicely ordered post.
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    One of the things that I like best is that there seems to be a lot of camaraderie and cohesiveness on defense. Syracuse grad Steve Gregory has apparently embraced Syracuse grad Chandler Jones as his "little brother". Chung and Gregory have apparently bonded. Brandon Spikes has apparently become a huge Dont'a Hightower fan. The 2011 team was notable for it's cohesiveness and for everyone being on the same page, but the defensive talent was lacking in some key areas. The talent is much better this year, and the cohesiveness looks stronger than ever.

    The other encouraging thing is the swagger and confidence. BB will never let this team become full of itself like the Jets, but the defense has sort of played with its tail between its legs the past few years. This feels different, like they know what they can do and can't wait to get unleashed. That's refreshing. Seems like the kind of thing we would see out of Pittsburgh and Baltimore and keep wishing for. Obviously, BB will make sure that it's all within a structured and disciplined framework, but a little attitude and controlled aggression would be nice.
  4. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    My hope for the Defense in 2012/2013 is simple. I hope they believe they are a top unit who can not only contain, but beat the NFL's top Offenses.

    Swagger can never be understated. If you believe you believe.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I always got the sense that the really good defenses wanted to be on the field, especially with the game on the line. They wanted to punish the opposing offense, not just stop them. That kind of confidence is a huge asset. Feeling that your defense will inevitably give up the game winning score unless the offense can comfortably put the game out of reach is a different feeling altogether. It's time for a change.
  6. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    They have a lot of talent, they're young and they have young leadership.

    Camaraderie is great at this point, something to build on. Swagger? After one exhibition game? Let's leave that to the jets and Skins. It's a long season.
  7. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #95 Jersey

    I am really excited about this D. We all know the line and LBs will be better


    But what i am most excited about it Gregory+Chung. If they can gel and Chung can have a year that we all have been waiting for..we will be good.

    Chung has never been...like he should have been out of college..hopefully that will change this year with Gregory and no injuries
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    BB will never let the players get swollen heads like the Jets. But a little confidence isn't out of place. I always felt that the SB defenses of 2003-2004 had a little bit of swagger to them, and wanted to be out there with the game on the line. They could walk the walk. This group clearly needs to prove itself, but I get the sense that they are gaining confidence, and that's probably a good thing. BB won't let it turn into over-confidence.
  9. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    I tend to agree mayo. The feel around the Patriots has been "it's OK, we've got a top offense; they'll get us out of this". It's the complimentary feel of the defense in recent years that gripes me. I understand the speed at which BB has re-built/re-tooled the D, but it's time for them to go from a complimentary unit to an outright force on their own.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  10. slash83

    slash83 Rookie

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    Defense wins championships... Time to knock some heads off, starting with CJ in week one baby!
  11. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    watching this replay, I'm struck by the play of Jake Bequette...I read your post and then looked back into the game and he just seems to show up...if his play has picked up like today's observations suggest, I would think they'd want to get him on the field in sub packages right from the start of the season...
  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My hope has been that Bequette (6'4 1/2", 275#+) and Fanene (6'4", 290#+) between them could be used very effectively - Fanene playing LDE in the "base" and moving inside, with Bequette taking over as LDE on sub packages, and moving inside on NASCAR packages. All reports were that Fanene was a load to handle from a quickness/size/strength perspective before getting hurt. The impression I get is that it's nothing serious, but that the team doesn't want to rush him back and risk further injury. If Bequette can develop quickly, those 2 guys combined with Jones and quicker options like Ninkovich or Cunningham would give the Pats tremendous depth and versatility at the end positions.
  13. Salva135

    Salva135 Rookie

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    I've always believed in this D-line, and think it can only get better. If the secondary is anything better than what we saw last year, than I'm ready to say :rocker:

    It's very funny that the Jets are worrying about their offense in the very same way we are worrying about the D... "Let's be average!"
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  14. Joey007

    Joey007 Rookie

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    #95 Jersey

    Man if we can get productive careers from Jones, Hightower, Wilson, and Bequette it could benefit our defense for years.
  15. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I believe in this defense and I don't care if it's preseason. There is just too many positives coming from all over the defense to think otherwise. Im not declaring 85 bears or 04 Patriots here. Just a vastly impoved unit than the one we've seen the last 4 years.

    All the parts just seem to fit whether it was through the draft or free agency. BB seems to have found the midas touch again.
  16. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While all of this sound very very encouraging i want to wait and see. The O-line is missing three key starters, and i want to see how the O-line handles the Defensive front. IMO a lot or most of the problems the offense is having is because of poor O-line play. Brady doesn't have time to pass, wholes aren't opening up for the run, at least it sounds that way. I didn't see a lick of the saints game, not even highlights, and the camp reports don't seem to be as frequent as in the past. In the past there use to be multiple postes at the practices. Maybe its me, but i'm not seeing as many as in past years. This thread is a bonanza, Myo's opening was the most ive read about practice in one day since camp started.

    BTW i'm a defense first guy, so i hope what is happening in practice is for real. And not because they're playing against a banged up O-line. If the D IS that good, well SB here we come. Because Brady and the offense won't have to shoulder the load.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  17. RayClay

    RayClay Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Confidence builds also. The 2003-4 defenses were built around players that went to the Super Bowl in 1997.

    I'm excited, but let's get some notches on the belt before we go overboard. Lot's of swagger about our beef flaps D last year, but the quiet Andre Carter's "we're improving" was the real deal. Let's see this defense work together awhile when it counts.

    We've got plenty of talent, but the proof is in the playing. We're going to have frustrating moments with this many young, or new players too so let's not get too high or low, eh?
  18. BananaRepublican

    BananaRepublican Banned

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    He didn't look too effective in the first game. I don't think too many backs are going to have a field day against this defense.
  19. BananaRepublican

    BananaRepublican Banned

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    They all look good. Gregory may be the surprise of them all, a real leader and a play maker that is solidifying that secondary.
  20. BananaRepublican

    BananaRepublican Banned

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    Something is building and it's for real. This isn't Jets hype.

    I especially like the Gregory signing. That secondary is not going to be a sieve any more.
  21. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I like the versatility and improvement in talent overall in the secondary. We no longer need to see some of the stopgap guys that we saw last yr as starters, at least we shouldn't have to go quite that far again even when/if injuries occur.

    As far as it being "early" in TC still, I think that we're getting into a very important phase with the last 3 preseason games occurring in 10 days starting on Monday.

    That means that there will be a TC practice Thurs/Fri, no practice Sat, and only a walkthrough on Sun. Then we face 10 straight days where the last 3 preseason games occur, and that takes us to the end of the month. The real season starts within a handful of days (less than a week) afterwards.

    I don't think it's necessarily too early in TC, I think we're actually beginning the wind down myself (not to be argumentative to mayo's comments or anyone else's, just thought I'd point it out). Either way, it's never too early for optimisim, especially on that side of the ball.

    Considering the fact that the team:

    --Added 2 first rd draft picks at front seven positions, and an additional one in the third--totalling 3 "high" picks dedicated to front seven positions

    --Added key FA signings such as Fanane, Gregory, Allen, Scott

    --Have key injured players such as Chung, Dowling and Spikes healthy

    --Additional TC's and another year of experience for guys such as Deaderick, Love, Moore, etc

    I think that YES..there certainly should be improvement for sure!
  22. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I certainly agree, although I will admit that I am starting to get concerned about some of the front seven guys and their health, Fanane certainly included.

    It's beginning to look like Fanane, Warren, and Pryor will all three be PUP candidates. (Edited for correction: as Fanane and Warren have both taken limited reps already, therefore not making them eligible for PUP, but the point remains the same if they miss any longer period of time) Seeing as how that was one of our lightest positions depth wise already, I think that we will need to hope for some good luck; not only with the injuries themselves, but also with some camp cut signings when the roster trimmings occur.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  23. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Warren and Fanene have both participated in TC activities and aren't eligible for PUP. Again, I think the Pats are just being cautious with Fanrne.
  24. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Of course, of course..I will edit my thread that I started accordingly, thanks for the info. I actually knew that Fanane had practiced before, and it was a lapse of judgement (as Chad Johnson would say 'that's a f$%king rookie mistake' ).

    The issue that concerns me is that Fanane has not even been seen on the sidelines working with trainers, etc.
  25. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    #3 Jersey

    They're Gellin' like Magellan!! :D

    [​IMG]

    No lie: Brother Mayo is spot on.

    And this Crew has greater Depth of Talent than I've ever seen since our heyday.

    And, amazingly, this young Crew is far better poised than we were then to not only Quantum Leap all the way to the top level this very year...but to stay there, indefinitely!! :rocker:
  26. everlong

    everlong Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    There's certainly positive signs but put me in the encouraged but not convinced camp. The start of the schedule should be good for them to build on. Tenn, AZ and Baltimore are not world beaters on offense which should give them more time to grow before playing Buffalo and Denver. Preseason predictions are tricky but really other than Buffalo twice, Denver and Houston nobody on the Pat's schedule really looks to be a top ten offense. I actually wish they had SD and Pitt on the schedule to challenge them a bit harder and give them more reps against championship caliber offenses. But again who knows. I'm giving Manning and Denver the benefit of the doubt and they could suck if Peyton isn't right and maybe another team steps up and becomes a top offense.
  27. BSR

    BSR Rookie

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    I've been reading the same indications from the camp reports. I am being cautiously optimistic for the season, but it would be nice to have a high level of confidence in the defense again. The thing that this defense has really been lacking since the heydays of 2001-2004 are the playmakers that will come up with the big forced fumble/interception/sack that will put a game away. We've had some here and there like Wilfork, but a team needs to be filled with them in order to come up with the big play with any regularity.
  28. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well brother Grid i hope they're Gellin like Dr Sholles,

    [​IMG]

    Then they can put they're collective boot up the other teams azz :rocker:

    [​IMG]
  29. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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    Reports are that the Baltimore offense may carry the team this year. They are strong nearly everywhere on that unit, and the defense is showing its age. That O will be a very good test for the Pats D.
  30. TyronePoole

    TyronePoole Banned

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