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LB - Pass Rush and Run Stopping

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by cstjohn17, Jul 11, 2009.

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  1. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    LB seems to be the the biggest question mark on the team.

    The offense should be in the top 2-3 averaging around 25 PPG, D Line will be very good, secondary looks improved, special teams will be in the top 10 but what about the LBs?

    Run stopping - IMO this will be a bigger factor than pass rush, 12 of the 16 games on the schedule are against run first opponents (twice against Buffalo, Jets, Miami and then Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Tennessee, Carolina, Jacksonsville).

    Pass rush - The Pats appear to have more blitzers at Safety than in previous years, once Rodney went down the Pats were forced to play a very vanilla scheme (two Safeties back). The lack of skills at CB was also a factor in years past. I don't expect Woods, Crable, etc. to be great but it shouldn't be as big of issue as the hype.

    If the Patriots can stop the run they should be 11-5 or better, if not they won't make the playoffs.
  2. BradyFTW!

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    What makes it even questionable if the Pats will be good against the run? Woods and Thomas both set the edge well, Seymour is amazing against the run, Wilfork and Warren are themselves... barring multiple injuries, of course they'll be good against the run. In short yardage situations, they can opt to bring in Brace, too. In the front 7, the only question mark for run-stopping is ILB opposite Mayo. Bruschi's toast, and Guyton's more of a speed guy, so hopefully Lenon is able to play a role here. Ultimately, though, I have the utmost confidence that the Pats will be excellent against the run.

    Personally, I'm a lot more worried about third-down pass defense.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  3. Box_O_Rocks

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    Funny, you're worried about third down pass defense after noting Guyton being a speed guy.

    Washington v. Guyton - Reiss' Pieces - Boston.com
    Guyton and Mayo will both be better in coverage in their second season...and the secondary looks deeper too.
  4. PATRIOT64

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    While we talk about the lack of a pass rush from OLBs ,one must expect that either Mayo or Guyton has to become a once in every while blitzer and press the pocket more often than last season or at least put some pressure on the passer.

    If Mayo and Guyton struggle to get any pressure on a consistent basis and the OLBs do less than average as some here expect, then the secondary is going to get a workout and they better be up to the task or almost every game could be 38-31 type barn burners.
  5. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    To me, the biggest thing this season is - will Mayo and Guyton be reliable in pass coverage? AD basically was the babysitter for those two in the early part of the season last year, and before we could find out how their progression was going, AD broke his arm and the defense fell apart.

    While I'd say AD is above average in coverage for an OLB, if he's rushing the passer more, we're in better shape. Consider that in 19 games playing OLB for the Patriots (since the Colvin injury), he has 13 sacks - and then consider that for the majority of games in 2008, he was probably only rushing the passer on a portion of the passing situations for the aforementioned reason.

    Of course, the improved secondary should help greatly.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  6. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I'm surprised that guys like BradyFTW!, Deus, Da Bruinz, Maverick4, Appelstrudel and others head's haven't exploded with all the threads asking about the LB's. I went on my rant first, then State, then Tripplechamp. I said my peace and there is no reason for me to keep beating a dead horse. The good news is, these questions will be answered. However, the bad news is, we will have to wait until the end of the season to truly analyze how they did.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  7. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Guyton is like our new Phifer, a great cover LB. We still need to find a new Ted Johnson LB though, that's been missing since 2004.
  8. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    A nice theory ... except the injury situation was terrible last season at LB; the secondary was inferior; and many players were rookies.

    And yet the games were not ail 38-31. In fact few were. In fact the Defense was a Top Ten Defense, despite all that. Your fears are exaggerated.:rolleyes:
  9. cstjohn17

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    #54 Jersey

    I guess another way to look at it is that if the Pats are scoring a lot it will be hard for teams to keep pounding the rock.
  10. State

    State Rookie

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    I'm sorry: a lot of trite metaphors are used.

    I'm not sold on Woods, obviously. Crable is the real deal, though. Don't expect too much with Paris. Just ask any Detroit fan. He's adequate at best.

    But what needs to be said again is Bruschi's inability to play at the level we are used to. I don't want to become disappointed in his play after so many great years. Some of us are higher on Guyton playing a starting role alongside Mayo than Bruschi.

    I don't want another LB like Vrabel last year, who seemed to drop off the map. It really started in the previous season's SB when, uncharacteristically, he was small potatoes. One can see his plummeting production. He still had some big games--he is/was a great player--but the tank is obviously running low.

    2005--80 solo tackles (16 starts)
    2006--59 solo (16 starts)
    2007--53 solo (15 starts)
    2008--36 solo tackles (14 starts)*


    * He played each year in all 16 games.

    He usually came up so big on the big stage.

    Will Coach Belichick have The Talk with Bruschi, or does he plan on using him situationally. If so, is Bruschi on board with this? Anyone know anything?
  11. Deus Irae

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

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    For all his speed, Guyton was pretty weak out there last year. His getting the 3rd down reps said a lot more about Bruschi's aging than it did about Guyton's coverage ability, in my opinion. I'm hoping that the year of experience allows him to make the 'jump'.
  12. Box_O_Rocks

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    He looked like a rookie, but one with some talent to work with.

    EDIT: NFL.com credits him with three passes defensed, not bad for his position and playing time (Mayo with much greater playing time had 4 PD). I know he gets an assist on two sacks for flushing the QB into another rusher, and he recovered the strip sack fumble Mike Wright forced. That's a decent number of big plays for a part time rookie. We knew he needed to get stronger physically, which is one of the things I'll be watching for in preseason.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  13. Deus Irae

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    I think that one thing which should really help him this year is that Mayo will be given more aggressive assignments such as the occasional blitz, which will open up the space for Guyton. I'm expecting that Guyton will be more in his element flying around to make plays than he will be on the occasions where he has to maintain position and strength.
  14. BradyFTW!

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    Those two points aren't contradictory. Yes, the third down pass defense should be better this year. Frankly, it can't get a whole lot worse than it was last year, so realistically it's a matter of how much better it will get. Mayo and Guyton both have the tools to become good in this area, but it still remains to be seen where they are.

    OTOH, last year the Pats were above average at stopping the run, and that was with Woods and Thomas (two good edge-setting OLBs) on IR, Bruschi playing a bulk of ILB snaps on running downs, and Warren playing far below his usual level due to injuries.

    Not sure what in my comments warranted the snide remark, but whatever works for you...
  15. BradyFTW!

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    I wouldn't be surprised if we see Crable contributing this year, but if he does it will probably be mostly on passing downs. Woods is very effective as a SOLB against the rush; setting the edge is probably the one thing that he really excels at.

    I agree that the sooner we can stop relying on Bruschi to play meaningful snaps, the better. And sure, it's possible that Guyton has put on a lot of weight this offseason. But unless he's bulked up considerably, he's just not strong enough to consistently stack and shed on running downs. Because of that, I think it's unlikely that Guyton becomes an every-down player this year, which is fine. Ideally, we shouldn't need him to be an every-down player anyways. That's why we drafted Tyrone McKenzie, and if Lenon is even decently stout against the run, he'll be able to step into that role. It's hard to project 4-3 LBs to 3-4 ILB though, so who knows- I'm pretty much just going by the fact that Belichick saw enough in him to warrant signing him, but it's not like there was a whole lot else available at the time either.

    As for how Lenon played with the Lions, we don't need a superstar. As long as he's better against the run than Bruschi, I'm happy.

    It started before the SB in 2007. It was pretty obvious that Vrabel had a bad shoulder last year, and it killed his productivity. Forgetting about the sacks, since 2007 was uncharacteristic, the real problem was that he started getting pushed around against the run, which you can't have from your SOLB.

    I'd assume that Bruschi's going to be situational, at most, this year. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he's strictly depth at this point, and while I think that McKenzie's injury means he'll be on the roster, all that he really brings to the table at this point is a relatively cheap price tag for a guy who knows the system so well and has so much experience.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  16. Metaphors

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    Agree. While everything starts with the run defense, nobody except the Vikings (last I looked, not on the schedule) would be able to control a game on the ground efficiently enough to beat Brady and Co. We have seen a boatload of mediocre QBs that can score enough using safe/quick passes to make it a game into the 4th quarter...where slippery jerseys and sticky helmets can ruin your day.

    Yep and that is one of the reasons while Vrabel had to go. He had essentially become useless in coverage and he was almost always a part of the pass rush. Way too predictable and limited the rush opportunities for AD. Ideal situation for me would be for AD to stay on the defensive right and be a much greater part of the pass rush...dropping just enough to keep the OL guessing. He is a handful for an OT, a total mismatch for a TE and ask Washington/Favre about using a RB to slow AD down. Having a healthy and involved AD changes the pass rush dynamic all by itself.

    This is the part that so many people miss. Assuming even a reasonable amount of health, this could be the best (and most definitely the deepest) set of CB's Belichick has been able to throw out on the field. Wheatley (2nd round pick) hasn't had the chance to show his stuff yet and Butler (early 2nd round pick) has big-time skills...and neither of them will be starting. When QB's drop back to throw, and the scoreboard should force them to do that quite often, they will be facing a whole mess of speedy and skilled DBs racing around downfield. Now the throws are a little less safe and the decisions a little slower. And more QB's end up on their backs in the 4th quarter.
  17. PatsBoy12

    PatsBoy12 Rookie

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    I would have to somewhat disagree here. The Titans have a very good running game with two backs (albeit it feuding) that can easily rush for more than 100 yards against in a game against pretty much any team. The Ravens also have a stable of running backs to throw at an opponent (think what you want about McGahee). Michael Turner is coming off a career year for Atlanta and, at least at this early stage, there is no reason to believe he won't have a similar season in 2009 (other than the high number of carries a year ago . . . maybe). Jacksonville traditionally has a tough offensive line and an even tougher little back in Jones-Drew. And finally, Carolina has two rushers who could easily both rush in the upper 8-900's and put up double-digit TD's in 2009 (like they did a year ago).

    NE will face good running attacks for the better part of a full season if the aforementioned teams can replicate what they've done in previous seasons. So, respectfully, I have to disagree with your claim that the Vikings are the only team that would be able to control a game on the ground efficiently to beat a Brady-led NE team. Just my humble opinion.
  18. Bartmac36

    Bartmac36 Rookie

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    Those are some pretty low expectations for this team...I can almost taste 19-0, I mean how can we not? If we did it before (almost) and most people say we are better now than we were then, why expect anything less?
  19. PatsBoy12

    PatsBoy12 Rookie

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    Oh young grasshopper, if it were only that simple. Visit this thread for a more elaborate discourse: http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/10/245631-19-0-2009-a.html
  20. Box_O_Rocks

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    Sorry neighbor, my response wasn't meant to be snide and I apologize if it came across that way. I found it peculiar you would link Guyton and the third down defense so closely after the way I saw him develop and Reiss' research this Spring. Most of us hung our hats on a complex mesh of the secondary's issues, the pass rush, and the youngsters at multiple positions when discussing this in the past and I was surprised by your interest in Guyton when you revisited third down. Myownself, I'm optimistic that the team of Mayo & Guyton on passing downs will be much improved and that the depth in the secondary looks very promising. I've reserved judgement on the edge rush. Hopefully Ty Warren will be 100% for the start of the season - my dream 2009 would have Warren's 2006 (7.5 sacks and 4 PD) and Seymour's 2003 (8 sacks, 8 PD) with Green's 2006 (7.5 sacks, 2 PD) for the icing on the cake. The LBs and Secondary can just have career average years. ;)

    EDIT: Just a follow-up on a playing weight remark: Guyton and Mayo are listed at the same 242, though Guyton is a bit taller. Guyton wasn't as strong in the Combine weight testing, but if both he and Mayo put on another 5 lbs of muscle, they match Bruschi's playing weight of 247; 8 total lbs of gain get them to that semi-magical 250, only three lbs below T.J.'s listed playing weight back in the day. The real challenge IMHO is technique, it just takes guys a bit to learn the proper way to take on those 300 lb roadblocks they've always run around in the past ( hands and hips and now we Cha-Cha).
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  21. Metaphors

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    I hear what you're saying. I just don't believe any of these teams (outside of the Vikings) have the overall package to beat the Pats without putting the ball in the air 30+ times. All of the teams you mention can try to impose their will on the ground, but they won't score enough to win. And everyone knows it is pretty much a done deal if you are trailing entering the 4th quarter against Brady.

    You could certainly be right. Running the ball consistently takes a good amount of discipline. The pressure that the Pats offense exerts makes it hard to keep that discipline for 4 quarters, especially if you are playing from behind. AP is such a dominant force that the Vikings almost have to feed him the ball, regardless of the game situation. I'm not sure the other teams have the will to run the ball on 2nd and 7 or 3rd and 3 in the 3rd quarter with Brady on pace to score 30+ points. All speculation at this point though.
  22. RayClay

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    Sounds like the "big bottom" defense right out of Spinal Tap. Are you going to anchor the line with Brace and Wilfork to offset those three pass rushers?

    And talking about weight, the Mayo I saw in the picture with Seau posted here couldn't weigh much more then 230.

    Other pics and video confirm this (in my view and comparison). If he gained 15 lbs. from his combine weight, I don't know where it is. He's a great tackler and explosive as hell, but they seem a little light at ILB unless they have really packed it on in the off season, which is quite possible.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  23. Box_O_Rocks

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    242 was his Combine weigh-in. Guyton was 245 at the Combine. Seau was listed at 250. The photo making the rounds has Seau up behind the DL while Mayo is back 5-6 yds off the line, bit of a perspective change. What I remember is looking at Mayo alongside Bruschi last season and seeing a couple guys fairly similar in size. Mayo and Guyton are both 23, which is about the time I started to fill out. I'd say a year with the Pats' nutrition and strength staff will have helped them in that regard.
  24. PatsBoy12

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    Fair enough. It seems like you feel the Vikings could keep the Patriots from putting up big points. Is that accurate? They have a very good defense, but I don't know if they could hang with the Patriots for a full game, especially not if Brett Favre is their QB.;) Of the teams I mentioned in the other post, I could see the Ravens and Titans both keeping things close. Heck, the Ravens almost ruined the 16-0 regular season last year. Were it not for the timeout call on the sidelines, that game would have been over since TB got stopped on the 4th and short.

    Anyway, I hear what you're saying, Metaphors. For the sake of the Patriots, especially the now decrepit Bruschi, I hope you're right about the other teams. I also hope the Patriots have the high-powered offense that everyone thinks they will have that will enable them to play with a lead all year.
  25. Metaphors

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    I actually don't think the Vikings (as presently constructed) would be able to deal with the Patriots for 4 quarters consistently. Just saying that AP is such a big part of their offense that he will get the ball in any situation as long as the game is still in doubt. That would mean the Pats LBs would need to play run first against the Vikings almost all the time.

    I don't see other teams being willing to do the same. Even the Ravens game you mention above, outside of a horrific 3rd quarter by the Pats D the Ravens weren't able to control the game on the ground. It became essential to stop Boller (I think it was Boller) from hitting the short routes that kept Ravens drives alive in the first half. Those Boller/Feeley games that year are the ones that scare me...a mediocre QB hitting safe slant/dig/comeback routes and slowly killing the Pats D with a thousand paper cuts. I'm much less concerned about a team just running through the Pats D like 2002.

    I think the Pats offense will be able turn just about every game into a track meet eventually. If the Pats LB can disrupt the QBs rhythm and cover the short, safe routes in the middle of the field, I feel good about the Pats chances.
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