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Linebackers still thin

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by shirtsleeve, May 1, 2006.

  1. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Now that the draft is over, we can now assess this team. Offensively the team is loaded and deep. Defensively the DL should be all set. The secondary should be fine if these guys can stay healthy for a change. One real shut down cover corner is needed to really make the backfield great.

    But the LB's are a mess. We dont even have a full contingent of solid first rate starters. Yeah, Vrabel moves outside. Colvin and Tedy are solidly among the best. That leaves one hole that has to be filled with a back up. And thats before the season even starts. So lets say we rotate Beisel and Claridge there until one or the other stands out as the starter. And TBC backs up the outside backers. One injury and we are totally screwed. The strength of any BB defense is the backers and we are that thin going in. This is not good. We need at least one more starting level ILB and one starting level OLB to be solid. And since we didn't get any through f/a or the draft, any suggestions?
  2. c_nice_37

    c_nice_37 Rookie

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    Just one - Donnie Edwards.
  3. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Edwards...hmmm....perhaps another second rounder next year?
  4. Lloyd_Christmas

    Lloyd_Christmas I can delete my own crap! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, I have to think that BB and SP aren't simply "overlooking" this. Still, they were wrong last year about Brown and Beisel, so you never know.

    I think they believe they have a starting OLB on the team already (possibly TBC) or they plan to get one in FA.

    Either way, I just can't believe that BB/SP are going to let us get screwed at LB again this year. Pass me the kool aid!!!
  5. patsfan55

    patsfan55 Rookie

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    bb and pioli obviously love one of the three: tbc, claridge, beisel
    and feel that this player will make a solid starter
    and that they didnt feel they could def upgrade in the draft over the one guy they really like aready on the team

    or, they are aready in the works to bring in somebody else

    i would love to get donnie edwards, although i believe his contract is up, and there is no way i want him for more than 2-3 yrs
    but, he would be a perfect fit at ilb for us
  6. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I totally agree.

    BB and Pioli have totally overlooked the position, forgot about it in the draft, and have unrealistically high expectations for Claridge and TBC. They're severely underestimating the loss of Willie, neglecting the team in the short term and thinking only as long-term rebuilders. They sat on their hands during free agency and totally misjudged the market.


    ...oh...that's right...my last name isn't Borges.
  7. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    Just look at the LB's we had on staff in 03 and 04. Willie, Roman, Vrabes, Tedy, TJ, Rosy (who got hurt) with Klecko and TBC in development. We aren't even in the same country as then. Never mind the same ball park. And considering that the LB's are what makes this team tick, we have to do SOMETHING!
  8. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think we can all agree (and have) that last years defense by the end of the season was as good as any in the NFL.

    Lets look at what has changed:

    DL- Everyone is back

    DB- Everyone is back, except for Starks, who was sitting by the time we played well, and Stone, who was also sitting.
    We have ADDED Warfield from FA, Gay from IR. Chad Scott from IR. We have added Tebucky. (Love him or hate him he is a big improvement over some of the guys we threw out there at S)
    We are probably adding Harrison.
    I cant imagine a universe where our 2006 secondary is a worse group than the 2nd half of 2005 secondary.

    LB- McGinest is gone. Everyone else returns. (Except Chatham who never saw the field) Chad Brown is gone as well but he did not play in the second half either.
    I keep hearing how we are 'down a starter', but we really are not.
    We play 4 LBs in our base 3-4 defense. We play that about 75% of the time on 1st down, 50% on second and rarely on 3rd.
    That 4th LB plays less than 50% of the snaps. That 4th LB has been Ted Johnson, who got killed in the running game, Roman Phifer, playing out of position, and Bryan Cox, old and overweight for most of the last 5 years.
    Last year for the first time EVER we had 4 good LBs who we tried hard to get all on the field every snap we could. And of course we only had that for half the season.
    Prior to that, we had a 4th LB who was a situational player, and many times 2 guys split the 50% of the snaps.
    Look back at the BB Giant defenses. Guess what, they also had one good ILB (Carson) and one one-dimensional jag (Reasons, DeOssie, etc) IIRC (and I could be off here) by the time Pepper Johnson came along Carson was nearing the end.

    Why WOULD we draft defense?
    We are bringing back the entire unit except for an OLB. The DL is intact. The secondary is upgraded.

    The roster now on defense, if we add NO ONE, is simply a transition back from having 4 good LBs to the typical BB 3 good ones and limited guy.
    I have absolutely no problem if the only step backward we take (hard to imagine today that we took any steps back on O) is that we no longer have the luxury of BEING ABLE TO use 4 LBs full time, when the plan is that we do not normally do that.

    I have no worries about our 3-4 base. Beisel or Claridge or someone we pickup can easily be the part time guy who gets the job done that the scheme at its essence calls for. I would be much more worried that we have one less 3rd down DE (thats what our LBs do on 3rd down, except for Bruschi) except that we are still very strong at that spot. By the way, do not be surprised at all (and Ive said this the last 2 years too, so take it with a grain of salt, if Dan Klecko becomes a fulltime 3rd down pass rusher. More likley though TBC gets some time there, or Jarvis Green and/or Hill are part of the 3rd down DE plan).

    As I started with, we ended the season with as good a D as anyone, and we are without only 1 player.
    I loved Willie as much as anyone, but when you have Colvin and Vrabel, an aging OLB to be part of that mix is hardly leaving is hardly something to lose sleep over.

    If you consider that 4th LB/5th DB is ONE POSITION shared about equally, I dont know what we are worrying about.

    2006 Pats:
    Best OL yet (no doubt, IMO, with the improvement of youngsters and health this will be true)
    RB as good or better than ever
    WR as good as ever. (you will have to do a lot of convincing for me to believe Caldwell plus Jackson is worse than Givens plus Dwight and if so by much at all)
    QB. Same, we still have the best
    TE. Best yet.

    DL. As good or better than ever.
    3 LBs As good or better than ever.
    4 DBs as good or better than ever.
    4th LB/5th DB. As good as any time but 2005, and considering what we had at 5th DB, probably better now.

    Oh, I forgot we will never make another FG.
  9. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's because we'll just be kicking extra points now :)

    I agree with what you're saying about LB, on the passing downs we can put a Green or TBC in as a pass rusher just like McGinest was. Surely one of the multitude of other guys can be competent on early downs which is all we should need. Heck, in the Jax playoff game we did great against the run with Vrabel and Beisel inside as Tedy missed that game.
  10. T-ShirtDynasty

    T-ShirtDynasty Moderator

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    We don't know if they were wrong about Beisel yet. The kid got thrown in way over his head before what the original plan called for. BB's defense is complicated, and thinking about what you're supposed to be doing will affect your reading, reacting, and tackling.

    Look I'm not holding my breath. I'm just saying the jury's still out for the time being.
  11. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    As always AJ - excellent post.
  12. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Agree, AJ. I think it was premature to go for a high pick at LB. Between TBC, Claridge, Biesel one of these guys needs to step up. You just can't do it without getting in games. How can you say you have a need if you don't know what you have. Cameo appearances don't count. Also, Green needs to get on the field more. I've heard opposing coaches consider him to be one of the top 5 pass rushers in the league.

    Also, we might as well have 3 DB draft picks with our IR'ed guys coming back. They have at least had the experience of being in the system, which puts them ahead of any rookie.
  13. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Look guys I'm not going to pull my hair out about this in May. We still have a hell of a long way to go before they start playing football for real.

    Don't ask me who are we going to pick up as a OLB. Every year before, during, or just after training camp other teams cut down.

    There is no one better in picking these guys up and making them fit than BB. Last year was an exception in that TJ retired and Claridge went on IR.

    So, stop worrying about it in May. Or, keep worrying about it if it does you good. I'm going to start worrying about why my putting sucks.
  14. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That would be Vrabel, Mike, I believe. The only question is who will be next to Tedy inside on running downs.
  15. bigrichard93

    bigrichard93 Rookie

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    i think we should move Vrabel outside and could let Beisel/Claridge battle it out for the other ILB job next to Tedy. I think ultimately, if Claridge can stay healthy he'll win the job. Heres some quotes about Claridge by NFL scouts before last years draft...

    -This is a player I am intrigued about mainly due to his versatility he allows you at the linebacker position

    -He reminds me somewhat of current NFL linebacker "Mike Vrabel" of the New England Patriots, in that he has the athleticness, size, speed, hustle, instincts and overall tools it takes to play either the ILB or OLB positions

    -I feel he has the explosion off the line to be a pass rusher on one play, and yet the athletic ability to drop back in pass coverage to be effective there, and for the inside linebacker position he has the toughness and mean streak to take on all opponents

    -This is a very unheralded player I feel has chance to step right in a make a splash for a team with his abilities, also he would be a player that would not shy away from playing special teams as well until he would be a every down performer

    -As far as his draft status, I would think because of his lack of exposure he might be drop a bit in the draft, so I feel you might can grab him in the (5th RD), but his playing value is much higher, especially considering his versatility he brings you


    KFFL ranked Claridge as the third best OLB in last years draft behind Merriman and Johnson, and projected him as a third-rounder.
    Last edited: May 1, 2006
  16. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Rookie

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    no 'hung jury', but jury might be hung in 13 weeks

    TBC and Beisel are 2 enormous question marks they should fight each other fiercely for 4th starting LB..
    if eric alexander is gonna show up it has to be this year. otherwise he'll get typecast as a so-so LB and good ST player.
  17. Feep_FLA

    Feep_FLA Rookie

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    If I am way off-base here someone correct me. I had the feeling last TC that Alexander was showing a lot of promise. Again, correct me if I am wrong but he's considered an inside Backer, correct? Maybe the Pats feel good about Alexander and expect something from Claridge also. If so, we are not nearly as weak ILB as is generally perceived.....Obviously Vrabel is best at OLB and Rosie seems to have turned the corner on his hip injury. I think we're gonna be OK at LB this year.....
  18. DarrylS

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    As always an excellent post AJ, there have been insinuations that either BB and SP ignored this position or misjudged the market, I do not believe either it has been said that BB has a plan if the water boy is going to leave. Either Claridge, Beisel or TBC are ready to step up or they have another plan albeit it Edwards or someone else they know of in the June cuts.

    I think this offense will look completely different next year, in the '05 draft there was a focus on protecting Brady, this year it is giving him a boatload of tools he can use to give him more options and extend his career. I also think our ST's have been significantly upgraded as well. I love this draft, but it is only April...in December the proof will come out.
  19. rookBoston

    rookBoston Rookie

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    McGinest is gone, and you can try to minimize that. But TJ and Phifer are gone, too, and their would be replacements Beisel and Brown are mediocre and gone, respectively.

    So, saying that "we're just fine" at LB is a whole lot of wishful thinking. Alexander is not a credible replacement for Phifer. Beisel is not a replacement for TJ. Claridge is a hopeful thought, but no sure thing. Freddie Roach? Dont buy the jersey just yet.

    I have no doubt that if Bobby Carpenter had lasted to #21, this would not have been an "offensive draft". The fact that BB drafted all offense is complete happenstance. All it means is that Pioli is looking for FA options to compete with our defensive projects.

    The good news: the secondary and the defensive line are both deep and talented. Plus, Bruschi, Vrabel and Colvin are three elite pieces of the puzzle. But at least two more reliable LBs are still needed for competition.

    I look for signings in the same vein as Chad Brown or Bryan Cox-- short term veteran stop-gap. Next, I'm hoping for Paul Posluzny as our long term solution.
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  20. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    Observations

    The comment that Willie is gone is true. If you read the LB ruminations post you wil see the now apparent situational substitution plan in action to replace McGinest with two guys. A run force guy, and a Pass rusher. The Pass rusher they already have in TBC; the run force OLB, is perhaps why they selected Jeremy Mincey to groom.

    I still think that an ex-starter vet or two is going to be obtained. Unlike Y'all BB has shown little reluctance to trade for a guy if he thinks he can help. I pointed out that Brady James and Akin Ayodele have been surplused in Dallas with the coming of Bobby Carpenter and the maturation of Demarcus Ware. I suspect either could be obtained for a second day pick. The Texans are going away from the 3-4. There are LBs who no longer fit. One might be obtained there, too.

    As regards an inside run stopper, recall that 4-3 MLB with size have a bigger field of play and responsibilities than a 3-4 WILB, (the run stopper) does; so many average 4-3 big inside guys can fit that job, and do it well.

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