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Left vs. Right, Strong vs. Weak

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  1. miDeuce

    miDeuce Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #50 Jersey

    I've been wondering for a while now what makes certain players better fits for various positions within the Patriots system? What I've gathered myself in my years of listening to Chris Collinsworth and other faux football authorities...

    WILB vs. SILB
    SILB, called Jack, must take on guard, fullback, pulling tight end, a very physically demanding position (Tedy Bruschi). WILB, aka WILL, is the one who needs to be more of the playmaker (but needs to be better in coverage?) (Jerod Mayo).

    LOLB vs. ROLB
    I believe in last years defense Vrabel was primarily LOLB and Thomas was ROLB. Or do they line up strong/weak as well? I assume the one who lines up over the tight end should be better in coverage, other side the better pass rusher? No?

    LCB vs. RCB
    In 2006 and 2007 Hobbs (RCB) and Samuel (LCB) never switched sides. Are there skills that are better suited to play the LCB, on the receiver the QB sees first? At OTAs the CB pairings were Bodden (LCB) & Springs (RCB) and Butler (LCB) & Wheatley (RCB). What characteristics make those players better for one side or the other?

    LT vs. RT
    Belichick said on EEI that Vollmer looks a lot like a Right Tackle. What does that mean?

    LG vs. RG
    The Pats ran for over a 1000 yards behind Logan Mankins alone in 2008. He's a LG, don't teams traditionally run more to the right side?

    XWR vs. ZWR
    Belichick also said Brandon Tate looks like an X WR. I know the Patriots offense asks players to play a variety of roles, and all WR would be asked to play all receiver positions, but what makes a player like Tate an X?

    Just some questions I've been kicking around for a while, anyone have any insight? Corrections?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  2. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I always thought of Mike, Sam and Will referring to a 4-3 (Mike=Middle LB, Sam=Strong side LB, and Will=Weak side LB), but not having as much relevance to a 3-4 defense; perhaps one of the other x's-and-o's guys here can either back me up or shoot me out of the water?
     
  3. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I think SILB=SAM. MLB in a 4-3=MIKE. A few years back Bru played WILB and SILB had more rotation.

    I always thought it was to simplify the position. But maybe some skills are better on one side. Like jamming from the RCB.

    RG Stephen Neal was on the PUP list. He didn't play until week 7. That might be part of it.

    I don't know the difference.
     
  4. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I'll give it a try. I am sure others will pitch in as well.

    WILB vs SILB (aka Will (Jack vs Mike)

    Most teams run to their their right-side. Why? Because the TE usually lines up there and that is another run blocker. Plus teams select different players on the Offensive line that way. The RT is usually a bigger run blocker than the LT. Similarly the same pattern tends to apply with the RG.

    As a consequence the Defense's left ILB and left OLB, the SILB and SOLB, must be prepared to defend the run more often than the guys on the other side. So SILBS are more run defenders than pass defenders or chasers in the run game. They must stop the run right at them. The converse applies to the WILB

    LOLB vs SOLB (aka Will vs Sam)

    As above the SOLB or left OLB usually has more run plays directed in his direction. So he has to be a good run defender, perhaps at the cost of his pass rushing ability.

    Conversely the LOLB or WOLB or right OLB faces fewer rushes in his direction. So teams tend to put their best pass rushers there. Besides if the WOLB succeeds in his pass rush, the right handed QBs may not see him coming, leading to fumbles.

    LCB vs RCB

    Just as the SOLB and SILB see more run plays at them the Left CB is going to see more runs aimed his way. Teams tend to put their better anti-run CBs on the left side.
    Conversely the RCB sees fewer runs his way so he can be a poorer run defender. As far as passes are concerne, I don't think it makes much difference between RCB and LCB

    LT vs RT

    Since the defenders usually put their best pass rushers on the right side, the offense counters by putting their best pass defenders on their left side, opposite them. LT make more money than any other linemen because of their responsibility to shut down the opponents best pass rusher. Conversely the RT is more a run blocker and usually a little bigger, but not as good a pass rush defender.

    I hope this helps. Notice I was mealy mouthed and said "usually" a lot. There are no hard and fast rules here, only predictable tendencies.;)
     
  5. miDeuce

    miDeuce Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #50 Jersey

    Great stuff, thank you! Seems like it all makes pretty good sense.
     
  6. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    as an expansion note to the OP's post about WILB and SILB, tedy now plays SILB, but used to play WILB pretty much his whole career...

    ted washington was the SILB, hence worse pass defense, but much better run defense....
     
  7. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    you mean Ted Johnson...
     
  8. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Here you go cupcake-

    Linebacker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    As for the CB's and offense...just do a little research-it;s def. not rocket science.

    You want to make sure your meatballs have a brain and can cover and adjust though...
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  9. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #12 Jersey

    A couple of notes to add:

    Vrabel was said to be particularly good at jamming the TE on his routes. That would naturally lead to using him on the strong side. Well, that and his size to stand up against the run. (Conversely, he was said to be particularly good as a TE at getting off of a jam. Hence his value as a red-zone TE.)

    A successful rush from the QB's blind side is more damaging than a successful rush from the side he's facing. Hence the premium on putting the best pass rusher and best pass blocker on that side.
     
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, when Vollmer was drafted instead of Beatty, I thought the choice was to go with a right-side offensive lineman, which we need much more than another left side player. Personally I am fine with Light, LeVoir, Mankins, Koppen and either Hochstein or Johnson, manning LT, LG and C.

    The right side is weaker, as is the case with most passing teams.

    LEFT VS RIGHT SIDE OF THE OL

    Given a right handed quarterback, most offenses put a TE on the right side, with stronger runblockers at RG and LG than on the left side. Also, while everyone's #1 priority is to protect the QB, this is more so for LT and LG.

    A couple of years we had an extensive discussion on this subjest. Many concluded that the footwork required on the left side, perhaps making the transition from LT to LG an easy one, but a transition from LT to RG much more difficult. Similarly, there is often talk of a RT moving to RG, but rarely discussions of moving from RT to LG.

    That being said, the patriots try to minimize the difference between the sides, other than the obvious need for the LT to protect the QB's blind spot.

    FINALLY
    The top lineman in a college line is usually the LT which is why so many enter the league, and also why so many switch. In looking for a LG, it is better to have a top LT from college than a mediocre LG. Also centers are sometimes top talents and can project to center/guards as in this years draft. For example, I would never question whether Koppen can play guard (or Woody before him or Hochstein or Johnson).
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  11. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    it was late, u are of course correct, thank you for pointing out my mistake
     
  12. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    Well Ted Johnson was good, but this would be great run defense if we could funnel everything to the middle.:D

    Like flies hitting a windshield...
     
  13. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    An X is the split end, the wide receiver who plays on the line because he is usually on the weak side of the formation; there is no TE on the line so he is able to be on it. This is currently Moss, and formerly Givens.

    A Z is the flanker, the wide receiver who plays off the line because he is on the strong side and there is already a TE on the line. This is currently Welker, and formerly Branch.
     
  14. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Actually, in the Patriots' 3-4, the SILB is the Mike, and the WILB is the Jack. The Sam and Will are the OLBs. Some other 3-4 systems call the Jack the Ted, like the Browns.

    In last year's system, Bruschi was the SILB until he got hurt, then it was Seau. Guyton came in on passing downs. Mayo was the WILB.

    Back in the day Bruschi played WILB, with guys like Johnson and Cox at SILB.

    The OLBs do not line up strong/weak in the 3-4. Vrabel was generally the LOLB last year, and since that side is usually the TE side, he took on the TE against the run. However, if the TE was on the left, Vrabel would stay on the right (LOLB).

    Vrabel, as I said, was the LOLB last year. Thomas was the ROLB, then Woods and then Colvin when they got hurt. Vrabel has historically been the LOLB, taking on the TE. Guys like McGinest and Colvin have been the ROLB, having backside run support and pass rush responsibilities.

    Offenses these days are using more and more multi-WR sets, so RCB vs. LCB has become less important, since there are plenty of WRs and CBs on the field. But usually the LCB is on the strong side (offense's right), so he is taking on the flanker/Z, who is going to be off the line and usually a smaller, quicker guy.

    Someone who is going to be playside on more runs than not, and someone who has to be less concerned with getting beat around the corner by a rusher on the QB's blindside. Think O'Callaghan.

    Well, if you have a guy like Mankins playing LG and a guy like Yates playing RG, you're going to run to the left more.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  15. miDeuce

    miDeuce Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #50 Jersey

    Thanks again everyone! Really interesting stuff, and I guess fairly common sense when you really think about it. I'd be curious to see what percentage of the time NFL teams actually do run to the right, vs. the left. Obviously the goal would be to have multi-talented players who can do everything well, thus putting a lot more options on the table and the ability to take better advantage of mismatches.
     
  16. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In this year's defense...

    LE: Warren
    NT: Wilfork
    RE: Seymour

    LOLB: Thomas
    SILB: Bruschi/Guyton
    WILB: Mayo
    ROLB: Woods/Crable

    LCB: Springs
    RCB: Bodden
    SS: Sanders/Chung
    WS: Meriweather
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  17. miDeuce

    miDeuce Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #50 Jersey

    So you project Thomas moving to Vrabel's old spot and taking on more of the TE responsibility, leaving Woods/Crable/Peppers (joking) as the primary pass rusher?
     
  18. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, but don't forget about Banta-Cain either (although he may fall into more of the LOLB category).

    Also, I noticed you flip-flopped the CBs. Reiss said Bodden went up against Moss at RCB, and Springs at LCB. You said Springs was the RCB. I fixed that. Butler was at LCB, Wheatley at RCB.
     
  19. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    Note that all pre-season last year Woods played LOLB, in the Vrabel role, while Vrabel was out.
    Last year Thomas played ROLB until he was injured.

    Based on their strengths, I would expect Woods to start at LOLB and Thomas at ROLB. Crable is more of a ROLB, based on his college experience - better pass rusher than run-stopper. Given his size, I'd guess Redd would play more at LOLB.

    Also last year Harrison started at the in-the-box safety role, and Meriweather replaced him. We saw Meriweather coming up in the blitz in the last game, like Harrison used to. So, last year Sanders was the WS and Meriweather the SS. However, I agree that their more natural positions are reversed.

    I'd guess that Lenon might sub in for both Bruschi and Mayo. He's probably a more natural WILB, like Mayo, but Mayo will come off the field a lot less than Bruschi.

    I'd say:

    LE: Warren/Wright
    NT: Wilfork/Brace
    RE: Seymour/Green

    LOLB: Woods/Redd
    SILB: Bruschi/Guyton
    WILB: Mayo/Lenon
    ROLB: Thomas/Crable

    LCB: Bodden/Butler
    RCB: Springs/Wheatley
    SS: Sanders/Chung
    WS: Meriweather
     
  20. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    what a great thread!
     
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