Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brady-To-Branch, May 18, 2006.
Hey! No cursing on the messageboard!
1--The multi-front fluidity has been discussed here on numerous occasions in the past. A lot of credit went to Romeo for implementing it, but I think it has always been a given whose brainchild it was.
2--Joyner didn't focus specifically on NE for this, but the concept of fluidity in LBs was taken a step further when Eric Mangini applied the same concepts (obviously with BB involved) to the defensive backfield. This is how we won a super bowl with Samueal, Gay, Poteat and Troy Brown in the defensive backfield. This is also why we don't need a 'shutdown corner'.
Depth of intelligent and versatile players is the key.
KC Joyner is a moron. Or at least he's way over his head as a "football scientist." Unknowledgeable Football Junkie might be a better name for him. This is just another example of how little he understands.
To say that the Patriots' system is an evolution of the zone blitz scheme is like saying that the run and shoot evolved from the wishbone. He says Bruschi's "success as a rush linebacker in the 3-4 zone blitz scheme led to an epiphany of sorts". When did the Pats EVER play a zone blitz shceme? Bruschi is actually a very good coverage LB who also happens to be a good blitzer. But zone blitz? The Pats replace the NT with a "plugger" and line him up over the Center? What the hell is that all about? The only time they've done that is when they line up in a 4-3. Roman Phifer "good against the run but not so good against the pass"? What the hell is he watching? Does KC Joyner even understand the concept of zone blitz? How long is ESPN going to continue to employ this joker?
What dawned on me reading this article was the vision that BB had for Klecko, a guy who could play effectively as a NT/plugger on supposed passing downs, a guy who could pass rush, drop back into limited coverage and also be reasonably effective were the team to run instead of passing. For whatever reasons, this role has not been implemented effectively, but at least I can see why besides STs Klecko made last season's roster.
Right but they are using their resources (draft choices) differently. Dallas is drafting first round LB (Ware, Carprnter). Cleveland used 3 of it's first 4 picks on LB (Wimbley moving from DE). Whereas Belichick continues to try to get by cheap at LB and use his resources elsewhere. It'll be interesting to see if Belichick can find/develop a couple more Bruschi/Vrabels or if this cheapness at LB comes back to bite him in the butt.
I agree... I got the feeling this guy was talking over his head. I'm not saying that he is wrong on everything, but where the evidence was lacking to support his conclusions, he simply started making $#@! up. The best one was calling Phifer a run stopper and not good at coverage. Clearly, he needs to watch some more game tape.
There's also the fact that BB himself has said that the scheme and the most important position to fill with talent within it is along the defensive line.
The reason is simple: Klecko can't cover people in open space. He isn't quick enough.
Maybe I am waaaaay off base here, but I have the feeling that Belichek is applying his evil genious to the TE position now.
First, LB/DL then DB's and now the offensive side of the ball, logical starting point.. TE. Much like LB they have the potential to keep the other team guessing. Never know where they might line up or how many and lets put 'em in motion for the hell of it... then which ones are blocking and which ones are running routes.. and what kind of routes.. flairs, screens, posts, flys. We are stock piling TE's that can do all these things at least pretty well.. Apply the concept to team approach and you need to carry less WR's and can support the OL more and have specialized players on the OL ( O'Callaghan = Traylor) and open up the running game all at the same time.
For this exercise I really believe BB is also combining FB/TE into one position for depth purposes and maybe even RB/FB/TE to take the guessing game a step further.. where will Dillon/Maroney/Faulk/Thomas/Mills/Watson/Graham all line up.. then who goes in motion and to where and who is covering who, and oh by the way don't screw up and let Branch/Jackson or even Watson (still can't believe his speed) blow by you down the sideline while you try and figure it out.
Think about having a depth chart for a position that reads like this:
Dillon - Watson - Graham - Maroney - Thomas - Faulk - Mills
The Patriots have been perfecting the screen pass in all it's forms year after year... in this concept the screen pass is equivalent to a toss running play. Yeah, it messes up the stats, but it accomplishes the same thing, with potential for a bigger payoff when you have "WR's" like watson/graham/caldwell (who we may have picked up for his blocking skill?)blocking for you. Oh, and all those "flexible"(read as somewhat undersized) OL guys we have been stockpiling all have a field day pulling and getting out in space to level DB's. While we now have the ability to pick up some specialists like O'callaghan for Roadgrader duty.
Okay, now tell me how crazy am I?
You have to be careful when you describe pass coverage with respect to the Patriots LBs. The common image is of a LB running step for step witha RB/FB or TE across the middle or flat. More frequently the assignment is much more reasonable. Chuck the guy and put him on his ass, so he won't get open in the timeframe the QB will be looking for him. Or drop into an "open zone" where the QB doesn't expect someone to be, and meet a back or TE approaching that usually "open zone".
BB doesn't ask guys to do impossible things, (like engage in a footrace with a back), then criticize them if they can't and didn't win. This is "pass coverage" sure enough, but its not what one usually thinks of as "pass coverage".
Joyner is partly right in that the great Pats LBs were all college lineman (except Ted Johnson), but his conclusions are all wrong. Belichick hasn't drafted a great LB yet. Position conversion is such a tough thing to project, and it may simply take a special player to be able to do it right (witness Bruschi and McGinest).
In theory, it's a nice idea. We'll see if it pans out with Banta-Cain and Mincey.
No, its just that the three new 3-4 clubs playing his 3-4, were and are drafting in front of him and getting the pick of the litter. But Dallas has stocked up with Ware, Ayodele and Carpenter. RAC has his share too, with Willie, Aundra, D'qwell and Wimbley. Only Eric needs a couple and he has a few pieces already in Vilma and Barton. He may have a conversion/resurection project in Thomas as well. Saban needs everything and most of all, in the trenches.
In short, they'll be out of the way in 2007. I think he gets his guys then. Besides what else beside star DB and star LB is there a need to draft for the Pats? Every other position is full to overflowing, and even at these two positions there are plenty of "good to adequate" players there already.
We can't really say yes or no on that. Belichick could have drafted Lawson. He almost certainly could have traded up for Carpenter. He could have traded down and taken D'Quell Jackson or DeMaco Ryans. Regardless of his draft position, Belichick could have drafted an appropriate valued LB. But he didn't.
Harrison/Big Safties as LBs
Another way to look at this is to observe the way BB uses the strong safety and occasionally other positions as corners.
One thing that has perplexed most fans is how a 3-4 team can have so few reliable LBs (there seem to be only three "first tier" LBs on the team). The answer is that there is some combination of flex D-linemen (Kleko) and aggressive DBs (Harrison, etc.). These players can occasionally fill a "LB-like" role.
Would it be preferable to have a better feeling about the LB roster? Sure. I'd like to feel half as good about the LBs as I do about the D-line. But as BB says again and again, they are picky about that position--they don't want to bring someone in who won't fit. Meanwhile, the flexibility across the defense allows them to supplement what the roster cannot provide at LB.
I think the author has hit on one fairly obvious aspect of the BB 3-4 defense with regards to LB play. I didn't find anything in the article earth shattering or unknown. How many times has BB said he likes versatile guys and he specifically likes big LBs and the colleges don't produce enough of them.
All things being equal however, this coming year is probably his biggest challenge at LB. We've lost some players and we didn't really replace them with FA or through the draft, so now some of his developmental pups have got to step in and go through the learning curve. (TBC, Alexander, maybe even Claridge)
If I had to describe the LBs in the BB 3-4 defense, I would say they must be assignment smart. The assignments are so varied. They could be taking on an OG in the hole on one play to covering a TE on a pass play to playing a zone coverage scheme in the next play. However the common ingredient in everything a LB does is the intelligence to play the proper assignment correctly based on what they read. BB won't let you on the field unless you can do it properly. That's why rookie LBs will struggle in his defense under the full weight of the playbook. Yes he can pair it down for them, but that involves sacrificing some other component of the defense.
I remember BB's first year here, he had to dumb down the playbook because the defnese wasn't getting it. That offseason he flushed the waste product from the Carroll years and brought in a ton of veterans that could get the assignments done correctly on every play.
Once he lucked into Brady, everything started clicking.
Thank you for this brilliant nugget! (and just to make clear, I am NOT being sarcastic!)
Sorry, but Joyner is hardly a moron and for you to say so shows your lack of comprehension.
1) The Patriots have run plenty of ZONE blitzes.
2) As for your not knowing about the "PLUGGER", there were plenty of times where Vrabel lined up over center. Also Chad Brown did that several times last season. Jarvis Green could also be considered a plugger type, though he is a DE.
3) Do YOU understand the concept of ZONE BLITZ?
ESPN continues to employ Joyner because he is an extremely smart man. Just because you have a different opinion about him doesn't change that.
Here are some good links on the ZONE Blitz.
And, last, but not least:
And I suppose Phifer was also better against the run than the pass?
I understand the concept of zone blitz very well, and the Patriots run it VERY rarely, though it does happen.
As for Vrabel lining up over the Center, yes it has happened. But first of all, it happens very rarely. And second, it happens when the Pats are in a 4 man front, which is different from replacing the NT with a "plugger" as Joyner claims.
Perhaps calling Joyner a "moron" is an overstatement. But not as much as calling him "a very smart man". Everything he states is either painfully obvious, utterly incorrect, or deeply speculative.
And please spare me the lectures. That Patriots are NOT a zone blitz team. Never have been. And probably never will be.
Bruschi has lined up over the center plenty of times.
Often in an obvious passing situation, the Pats employ two DL. In fact, you saw this a lot in the Philly Super Bowl. Bruschi often lines up over the center in this formation, and either rushes or drops into coverage, unpredictably.
They've used formations like this against pass-first teams, taking away the pass.
I wouldn't say Bruschi does this every game, but he has lined up in the nose frequently. Roll the tape. He's done it more than Vrabel or McGinest.
And you sometimes see a DE in a coverage zone. That means the rusher is coming from somewhere else, essentially a zone blitz.
In general, if you say: the Patriots never use that formation, you'll find an example of them using that formation in the next game you watch closely.
Guess you can't be bothered to actually READ the thread, Bucky. I already had stated that Joyner had a couple of facts incorrect. But, you seem so hell bent of defending yourself when you aren't correct that you can't be bothered to admit that.
Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. The concept of the ZONE BLITZ is most assuredly what the Pats run ALOT. Not rarely. I suggest you read the links I went back and provided.
It happens in their NICKEL package, yes. And, how is it different when, in their Nickel package, they take the NT off the field and put a LB on the line over the center? Sure sounds to me what Joyner was talking about.
Sorry, but its not. In fact, other than a couple of errors, what Joyner stated was closer to reality than anything else.
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