Linebackers and Belichick's Defense

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Sep 22, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter


    Perhaps after several years of frustration in developing linebackers for Belichick's defense, he has just decided to change the defense.

    It has been frustrating for everyone since the 2005 disaster, which was about much more then Bruschi's stroke. Our defense was so difficult or different or unique that Belichick could find no one in free agency, the draft or in trade. We ended up with Beisel and Chad Brown starting at ILB. I have not understood the situation to this very day. Surely Belichick had proven in 2003 and 2004 that he was a defensive coaching genious, with much of the genious having to do with using everyone's talents and making up for their weaknesses.

    In 2005, 2006 and even in 2007, there just weren't enough leinebackers available to fit in to our defense. Belichick LEAPED at Mayo when he finally found ONE player who could fit in. As Belichick indicates Guyton was a very lucky find, but even he may be better in a 4-3. And of course Mayo will likely be as good in the 4-3.

    Perhaps the much more reasonable course is indeed to change the defense to one into in which more players can fit more easily. Then we can all (including Bill) much more easily meet needs at linebacker in the draft and in free agency.

    Oh, and did I mention how hard it is to find great nose tackles? Many here think that Brace will make a fine DE in the 43, not even a DT.
  2. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

    I can see us changing to a 4-3. But, there is one big problem. We don't have any quick pass-rushing de's. Maybe Burgess does it this year, doesn't look like it so far. We are going to have to draft one early and sign one as a free-agent. J.Green doesn't look like a fit so far. The weakside lb in a 4-3(guyton) will usually come out on 2nd down for a nickel. So, I think it will be an easier defense to build given our youth at dt and in the secondary.
  3. Although their hanging in there, they're a mess on defense. They can't run the 3-4 but having trouble running the 4-3.
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic Supporter Supporter

    First, I will never understand some of the LB choices we have made, including the Beisel/Brown fiasco. I share your frustration since 2004.

    Second, it seems to me that BB may be moving to more versatile LBs who can play in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. Mayo and Guyton fit that mold, as probably does Tyrone McKenzie, who was not a "pure" 3-4 player at either OLB or ILB. I've speculated on the draft board that BB could end up coveting a player like Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri, who at 6'2" 245# and 4.55 has 4-3 WLB speed and pursuit capabilities but the size and strength to also play inside. He's not a typical SILB complement to Mayo like Rolando McClain may be, but I'm confused right now as to exactly what kind of LB Belichick is looking for.

    Finding 3-4 OLBs isn't easy to begin with, but plenty of good ones have been available who have fit well into other teams' schemes. Lamarr Woodley notably comes to mind. We seem to have particularly stringent criteria for who we will take, and I'm not exactly sure what they are.

    Out of curiousity, who thinks Brace is a 4-3 DE? I haven't heard that one before. I think he can be a 3-4 NT, a 4-3 DT, and possibly a 3-4 DE (the way Baltimore sometimes uses 345# Haloti Ngata at 3-4 DE). But I don't see him remotely being a 4-3 DE.
  5. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 In the Starting Line-Up

    will a good pussrushing 4-3 DE cost a lot more then a OLB peppers got 17 million a year
    unless we get lucky like the bangels did with Antwan Odom

    he had one good year for the titans 8 sacks in a cantract year he signed with the bangels for 5 years and 30 million had a bad year he's first year just 3 sacks

    but now has 7 sacks in 2 games

    i would like to go back to the 3-4 and try to sign merriman next year

    but with mankins and wilforks contract comeing up after this year and bradys the next

    unless we have a great draft next year we will have to do with what we got
  6. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

    It's a passing league that values the run less. Three teams have run for 200+ yards in a game this year and all 3 have lost. The role of safety has transformed over the last decade, often being used as a substitute for LB. With teams deploying 4 and 5 WRs, D rosters can't combat this with surplus of LBs, but instead with the use of hybrid safeties. This position is no longer defined in terms of either run support or centerfield patrol. The Patriots have 4 very servicable safeties on the roster and a surplus of DBs. The secondary has be the main focal point of drafting and free agency the last two years. I'm sure that the master plan is to get a quick lead, and then defend the passing attack by the opponent, not having to worry about an emphasis on the run. With Mayo as a tackling machine, the run can be controlled and the pass defended with more resources. Of course getting the lead seems to be a problem, and an anemic pass rush doesn't help matters.
  7. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

    Another way to think about it.

    When the rules change (no touching receivers and QBs can't be hit as hard) it's a lot harder to change personnel than it is rules.

    This could simply be a realization that the new rules have neutered what the Super Bowl Patriots did so well.
  8. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae Retired Jersey Club Supporter

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    There have been linebackers available. Belichick has chosen not to draft them, opting to continue going with veterans. We saw that even this season, as the Patriots passed on all the highest rated linebackers in favor of players that weren't needed to fill holes and were either depth signings or developmental players. There's nothing wrong with this, but he's never been able to use this route to successfully stock the linebacker depth in the same manner that he's been able to stock the defensive line. As a result, when the injuries have hit, they've had a major impact.

    And, as I noted in a thread months back, the Steelers linebackers have been mostly injury-free while the Patriots linebackers have been brutalized by injury. The real question to be asked is whether this has been bad luck and coincidence or whether it's a result of the differences in the teams' approaches.
  9. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

    This would be true if the rules changed during the 05 season. The rules changed BEFORE the 04-05 season, and we kicked ass that year. It's just the horses at this point. I think, and I say this as a HUUUUUUUUUUGE Belichick supporter, I think the man should get a shrine outside the stadium. That said however, as I was saying, these last few years honestly make me wonder just how much a defensive "genius" Bill really is.

    It seems like every offseason we go into the season feeling the defense has been re-built, and at the end of every year we're left looking for answers. It's 2009, and the defense really hasn't been the same since the 04-05 seasons. Now all this talk about rebuilding, yet it's 5 years down the road and we're still not sure what we have on defense.

    It makes me wonder, how much did Bruschi/Harrison/Johnson/Law/McGinest make Bill look like a genius compared to what he did for himself. Granted every coach needs horses. But didn't we have this perception for awhile that ANYONE could play under BB? Well we're finding out that just ain't so. It's really puzzling to me. I don't think our D has played bad, has it looked dominant? No. Am I honestly that confident in it? Not really, because I have a sick feeling deep down that when we do play the Colts, or any high power offense, we're going to be rocked.

    It really makes me wonder how confident I am in this defense. They looked OK at this point last year too, and that didn't work out well at all.
  10. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

    I really hope that's not their strategy because if it is BB is a dumbass for it. That's the stupid **** that cost us a super bowl. A soft defense with no blitzers, just straight up hoping the QB doesn't find someone open, when lo and behold, it never fails. Hell if that was our strategy it would actually explain a lot. I really, really hope not.

    One guy frustrating the living piss out of me is Burress. This is a guy we traded a third rounder for and the most impact I think the dude has had is giving chase to Edwards for one play in the Bills game. I mean that's a third round pick for a guy that's doing absolutely nothing. He needs to step up or we can just chalk up another 11-5, 12-4 regular season, with a terrible defensive collpase to end it in the playoffs. Front 7 either wins or loses you a championship.

    Ask Earthwind Moreland what matters more, your secondary or front 7. As good as the 04 Pats were, their DB situation was 2008 bad yet it was light years ahead. Is that a coincidence that Vrabel, Bruschi, Phifer, Johnson front was light years ahead of last years? No, it's common sense. The front 7 is your wall, ignoring it for the secondary is just..well...something a 13 year old would do on Madden.
  11. Obnoxio

    Obnoxio Rookie

    I think the Patriots have done some statistical analysis as to where money is best spent. The best cover corners (Samuel, Law etc..) have demanded huge contracts that didn't fit in with the budget. With the increased emphasis on defensive holding plus interference penalties the Patriots seem to have gone to more of a zone system which minimizes mistakes and doesn't give up big plays. Blitzing defenses such as the Jets and Eagles require CBs who can cover man-to man and safeties who don't miss tackles such as Rodney Harrison. Maybe the Patriots will get better at man-to-man press coverage as the season goes on. Linebacker seems to be a difficult position to draft as very often late round or undrafted players such as James Harrison out perform high draft picks. Obviously the injuries to Mayo and McKenzie have forced adjustments to the Patriots plans. So far I think the Patriots LBs have done well, with Guyton, Thomas and TBC looking good so far. With some more games they should get even better. I think Derrick Burgess will be a pass rushing specialist for third and long type plays. I agree that the Patriots have definately made some mistakes at LB over the last few seasons.
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