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Matt Chatham on Pass Defense & Chain Reactions

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Off The Grid, Oct 18, 2012.

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  1. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Chatham penned a tremendous Analysis of what really happened on Seattle's first TouchDown, last Sunday:

    Boston Herald's Matt Chatham Digs Deep on Pass Defense: More Than Meets The Eye!!

    There were intriguing insights about Trevor Scott, Brandon Spikes, Kyle Arrington, & Pat Chung, regarding their responsibilities on that play, and where the coaching Opportunities are. I highly recommend reading it.

    That play ~ and so many like it ~ illustrate how valuable an effective Coverage MidFielder ~ "LineBacker", to you Earthlings ~ can be to a Defense, and how intense the Impact of a potentially phenomenal Coverage MidFielder like LaVonte David ~ or his absence ~ can be.

    Point: Our Secondary isn't quite as nightmarishly awful as one might think.

    This Team has work to do.

    And you can be sure that they will do it. :cool:
  2. Avenger

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    Hightower is actually pretty good in coverage despite his size, his absence really hurts this defense, especially when Spikes is forced into coverage. During the joint practices in camp Hightower was covering Sproles well.
  3. The Gr8est

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    That was a role Dane Fletcher was useful in too, and hopefully a guy like Jeff Tarpinian CAN be useful in.
  4. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rookie

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    Oh god, Lavonte David. I've been having nightmares about him since February thanks to you and Mayo, Grid. :D Is Gary Guyton up to anything these days? :eek:

    It's nothing new that Spikes isn't the ideal coverage LB, and Hightower absolutely has the tools to be that guy and provide a versatile threat on passing downs. Aside from the play that ironically sidelined him, I have been underwhelmed, to say the least, with Mr. Hightower.
  5. Avenger

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  6. VrabelJr

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    After 6 games of football we're calling Lavonte David a phenomenal coverage LB? Get real.
  7. manxman2601

    manxman2601 Rookie

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    I think you'll find he called him a potentially phenomenal coverage LB.

    All three of those 2nd round undersized LB's are starting for their respective teams. Whilst I liked all three, the one I was least interested in is arguably doing the best right now in Bobby Wagner. Still early of course.
  8. Off The Grid

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    "a potentially phenomenal Coverage MidFielder like LaVonte David..."

    Potentially | Define Potentially at Dictionary.com

    My Analysis was based far more on his College career than his 6 weeks in the Pros.

    One would think that that would have been painfully obvious. :rolleyes:
  9. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Addendum:

    Please note, Gentlemen:

    My intention is NOT to Dis the Patriots MidFielders, all three of whom I am very high on.

    I wish, merely, to point out, first, that Pass Defense is a TEAM effort, and that the Secondary has perhaps been afforded more than its due allotment of Blame for recent transgressions...though much Blame is certainly due them...

    And, second, that many of our issues are coaching-related, and, as such, can be expected to be resolved, come the Dark Depths of Winter...when it all really counts.
  10. Deus Irae

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    Chatham's breakdown shows the play as a failure by Spikes and the secondary. Spikes whiffs on a re-route, and Arrington loses the coverage battle even after knocking the receiver down off the line. That's execution, not coaching.
  11. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    Oh.

    So...

    Execution cannot be addressed by Coaching, is what you're saying? [​IMG]

    Interesting perspective, there. :rolleyes:
  12. Deus Irae

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    No, I'm saying that a player whiffing on a re-route is an execution error, not a failure of coaching. I'm saying that a player who wins decisively at the line of scrimmage yet still gets beat on the route is because of execution, not a coaching failure.

    Neither is specifically coaching-related, which is the term you used in your post.
  13. mosi

    mosi Rookie

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    Well, it shows that it is not all on the secondary but rather a complete breakdown of the defense. This article makes me think the defense is worse than I expected.
  14. FirstAndGoal

    FirstAndGoal Rookie

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    Give them a break. They're a "dominating defense" :rolleyes:

    Ty Law "worst secondary in football'
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  15. ThatllMoveTheChains!!!

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    Glass half empty: The defense is error prone.

    Glass half full: The errors appear slight.

    Most of the stuff that killed the Pats Sun doesn't appear to be of the "they just aren't good enough" variety. Given the youth of the defense, the injuries that have gone around, and the current point we're at in the season I'll take little mistakes over that. If they drop another game before the bye or return from the bye in this same state I'll start panicking. For the time being I prefer to have hope that Wilson will improve and Spikes likely won't be in there in what looked like a passing down.
  16. dannydyn

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    Not sure I can bite on this one.
  17. Deus Irae

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    Why would it do that? Didn't you already know that Spikes was a major weakness in pass defense?
  18. mosi

    mosi Rookie

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    Sure, but I think of that more on a one on one setting, where Spikes is covering someone. What Chatham was implying is that the little things are not being done to properly defend the pass. Hopefully, as others have stated, this can be corrected and the defense as a whole can improve.
  19. Deus Irae

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    Chatham broke down one play. That play had bad coverage players getting beat in coverage aspects.

    Spikes isn't magically going to become a good pass defense guy. It's not going to happen. He's not quick enough and he's not good enough in space. He's an "instinct + read + forward motion = hit or miss" guy, for better and for worse.
  20. Crononaut

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    Thanks for this OTG. It's only been since the 2011 season that I've really become completely obsessed with this glorious game and have attempted to understand and appreciate the fundamental mechanics of how the game is played, i.e. all the plays that have to happen away from "the play" that you see watching where the football goes.

    I think, understandably, the offense is the one I grasped the easiest; it's visually more thrilling as you're following the action, and because you know what "the play" is going to be (e.g. watching a run/pass attempt, etc.), it's easier to interpret and understand how all other plays made by the offense individually contribute to that play succeeding.

    Because the defense's version of "the play" is dictated by where the offense puts the ball, it can be much more difficult to discern just how the pass rush, linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties are all interrelated. Obviously I've grasped the basics of the relationships (no pass rush leaves the secondary out to dry, cornerbacks count on safeties for deep balls and whatnot), but a scenario such as, bear with me, a tackle missing an assignment after they've been switched based on the offensive play leading to a linebacker failing to contain a receiver that leads to the safety coming down to cover that receiver who has gotten deep which leads to the cornerback in one on one on a deep route and having to make a great play vs just do his job is immensely eye opening as to just how interdependent the defense is on one another.

    I still think we have issues in our secondary, and am still happy overall with our linebackers, but this article has given me a lot of perspective on the intricacies of defensive play, and has made my rudimentary "Arrington was burned our secondary is horrible" logic that I was spewing on Sunday look pretty juvenile. :cool:
  21. cmasspatsfan

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    Its always more complicated than how it appears and what the mediots drivel on about. I think in time this defense will play better as a whole and be a lot better than they are right now, I think they have enough good players, they just have to do whats expected and execute better.
    I expect they'll look a lot better this week against the Jests.
  22. jnug

    jnug Rookie

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    The Pats have been something of an enigma to me this year but I have begun to lean toward the view that the defensive secondary is the biggest problem.

    My tendency has been to ask more from the offense because the league via rules changes is decidedly biased toward offense now. So in one possession games you have to try to have the clock run out with your offense on the field.

    The more I think about it though, the more I think that unless we can pick up our defensive secondary play, we are going to continue to lose more of these one possession games than we want to and that in the end it will cost us chances for post season success.

    As much as I want to lay more blame on the offense for not being able to finish out that last drive of a game either scoring points or taking enough time off the clock, I cannot deny that once the other team gets its offense on the field, they are down there in our red zone in about 30 seconds of actually clock time. It is beginning to look to me that if we leave the opponent with even as little as 30 seconds or so of playing time and even most of the field to go, they will still be right down there within field goal range or within a touchdown to win and able to get it done.

    You can just about take to the bank that the opponent is either going to complete a deep ball on us or get a PI call on a deep ball covering as much as 35-40 yards in one play.

    The plays that are beating us are not in the main plays that are being aimed at our linebacker core to begin with. They are aimed at our secondary, mostly at our corners or any d-back assigned a wide out or slot receiver.

    Our defensive backs all now seem to be cut from the same cloth. They always seem to be tweeners....none are particularly outstanding athletes. They are neither big nor fast. Some are tough and seem smart but they are not great athletes. I think they are often caught chasing mid length routes and deep routes because they are not big enough to contest shorter passes by manning up on their guy. They are not good tacklers. The combination of getting beaten badly on the shorter routes and poor tackling to boot makes them over emphasize those short routes. So in order to not get picked apart on those shorter routes they end up chasing the deep routes.

    You could argue that the linebackers are supposed to get under those short routes but you cannot expect them to get far enough outside to cover short routes toward the sidelines and you have to expect them to get held in by their run responsibilities as well.

    I know that many of the ex-players commenting on TV argue that it makes no sense for Patriot defensive backs to so often be right up on their guys when the ball is snapped if they are not going to bang them right off the line of scrimmage. I don't think they do that because they are not athletic enough to do that. They have to use position to cover short routes or they get picked apart on them. The Chatham article uses a play where Arrington one of the most physical of the Pats d-backs does whack his man at the line but still ends up in the chase position. Using position to cover the shorter routes means that they are always chasing the mid-length and deep routes though. Once again, they are simply not athletic enough to chase and then contest the opponent wide receiver for the ball. They can hardly make a play at all without drawing the PI.

    The Chatham article also points to the fact that Ninkovitch was unable to cover Miller deep to suggest that it starts a chain reaction and the Pats defense can't recover. That makes little sense to me. Since when does a defense expect a linebacker to cover a tight end all over the field. What would our tight ends do to any linebacker with the assignment to cover them all over the field?

    So it has grown harder and harder for me to blame the offense, or the D-line or the linebackers for our failings. Seems to me that our secondary gets beat deep first because the only way they can cover short balls is via position which means they are always chasing the mid-length and deep balls.

    Why are all of our defensive backs seemingly the same sort of physical player. 5'11" to 6'1", 190 lbs to 210. Every one of them fits that mold. Some of them tough guys...some of them not so tough....most of them poor tacklers...most of them with poor ball handling skills.

    We get guys that are solid college d-backs but they are all cut from the same mold. We never get a big d-back. We never get a truly athletic d-back. We seem to get these "system" d-backs. They actually seem to do better earlier in their careers here when they are more dependent on what athletic skills they do have.
  23. Off The Grid

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    Wrong!!

    As usual. :D

    For those who can read American English at a 4th Grade Level or higher, I was clearly indicating that there's an Opportunity for our Coaches to "Coach Up" the errant players.

    That is about 180 degrees away from blaming the Coaches, as you're fantasizing I did. Sorry. :)

    Whatever you may imagine, Deuce, old kid, smart, focused, hard working Players can improve over the course of the season, if they have good ~ what's the word?? ~ Coaching!! :D

    No team has proven that more than the Belichick Patriots, who are famous for Strong Finishes.

    With yet another FAIL, your Interminable Streak of Futility is intact, my friend!! :bricks:

    PS ~ In the future, if someone's meaning is unclear to you, I suggest you ask, rather than jump to your usual erroneous conclusions. [​IMG]
  24. supafly

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    The NEP linebackers are certainly not known for their superior coverage skills in the passing game, so both of the players mentioned of Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner would likely be much, much more effective in that role.

    It's no coincidence that Wagner was mentioned last night as a potential defensive rookie of the year candidate.

    Another guy that comes to mind is Dallas Cowboy ILB, Sean Lee. He is very good in both phases of his game against the pass and the run.

    Understanding that not everyone will have both skillsets such as Patrick Willis, (did anyone see that awesome coverage deep down the middle in the EZ last night?) the ability to properly cover someone has certainly hurt the current Patriot LB corps, who obviously excel vs. the run, and do it well.

    Until I see some of Hightower's pass coverage potential, I will hold off on feeling any better about the situation as neither Spikes nor Mayo can cover anyone at all; remembering that my intention is not to seem overly negative. I am certainly excited about the current LB corps, but we strongly lack anyone who I have seen with the potential to do more than stuff the run so far. Hightower is supposed to be that player, and I look forward to seeing some of that skillset in the future.

    As of now it appears that all of Carpenter, White, and Tarpinian simply cannot do well at stopping the run, giving us players who are closer to that of Gary Guyton's skillset.
  25. jnug

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    Some of the d-backs are going on the three and four years of being "coached up" though. Heck on average it is tough for a pro football player to last past five years...when are they supposed to get it...their last year playing the pro game.

    I just think we draft to many of the same kind of d-back for the way the game is played today.
  26. KontradictioN

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    Not to stomp all over your enthusiasm, Grid, because it is infectious, but these coaches have had opportunities to "coach up the errant players" for a number of seasons now. The results are still markedly similar. The defensive backfield just isn't that good. IMO, the best way for the coaches to "coach up" this defense is to stress just how important it is for the front seven to become absolutely dominant by the end of the season.
  27. Off The Grid

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    Can't argue with any of that, Brother Kontra.

    Particularly, I enthusiastically agree that developing the Front 7 is more vital to our ultimate success.

    Many of my opinions have evolved over the years, and many will, as the Tactical LandScape evolves...

    But one thing that has always been a Constant with me is this: the Front 7 ~ or the Front 6, if the Game evolves that way, as I believe it has already begun to do ~ is far more important to success than the Secondary.

    A dominant Secondary can only go so far in covering for a weak Front 7, and such teams will inevitably fall come the depths of Winter...A dominant Front 7, on the other hand, exerts an enormously disproportionate Impact on every Game, and has on many occasions covered ~ as it were ~ for a dubious or raw Secondary.

    My favorite such instance, of course, is still our astonishing destruction of the purportedly unstoppable 2004 Indianapolis Peyton Mannings in the Divisional, when we held them to a still mind-boggling 3 Points. :eek:

    Back to the OP...

    I would encourage everyone to give serious thought to how certain you are that our Secondary is helplessly beyond repair. I'm not putting any words in anyone's mouth, but I've seen some spectacular Wailing & Gnashing of Teeth, around here, and it seems ~ this is just my impression, mind you ~ that many and perhaps an overwhelming majority of posters cannot imagine that this Secondary ~ with the current personnel ~ will ever develop to the point where it's playing consistently sound FootBall.

    And that's a very reasonable opinion, based on what we've seen ~ this year and in recent Past.

    I, on the other hand, project things differently, as a lengthy bloviation, later today, shall explain. :D
  28. borg

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    Since my memory is vague regarding this play, I will focus on Chatham's breakdown.

    Arrington knocks down his receiver....yet the receiver manages to gain an edge on Arrington as he heads down field? My first thought is that Arrington backed off and then got burned for the concentration lapse.

    And Chung breaks towards the TE before the ball leaves Wilson's hand....essentially deserting his post? Maybe Chung feared that Wilson was about to tuck the ball and run once he broke contain and got sucked in towards the LOS. I'm just wondering how adept Chung is at watching a QBs eyes. On this play, is it likely the scrambling QB is looking off targets pulling the safety out of position....in his 6th NFL game ever. Considering his dismal passing stats in Seattle's other games, I'm not ready to believe Wilson can control the field with his eyes. Who knows Chungs instructions, but you would think the #1 read for safeties vs Wilson is follow his eyes.
  29. Deus Irae

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    No, your own words made it clear:

    and my follow up made my position clear:

    The only issue here is you being disingenuous. I prefer not to deal with such people, so we're done here.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  30. jnug

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    Can this secondary improve...well I would venture yes because some of them have not had the opportunity to be "coached up" as they are fairly new to the team. So I have to think somebody can improve.

    However I am still sort of hung up on how similar they all are...and I just don't think there is enough there to work with from a talent perspective. We know BB loves these guys that hit the books, learn the system, can recite their responsibilities within specific defensive schemes backward and forward. But I just think he tends to give up to much pure talent and sometimes even size to get that. As I said above, none of them are particularly fast, they are all the same size, none have good ball handling skills, one or two, primarily the safety's offer more physicality and toughness but that just about evens up for the few that would seem to have trouble hitting a stationary tackling dummy square.

    I think in order to really get better, they are going to need some better skills and more speed and size back there. Maybe the problem is that the Pats D-backs do a reasonable job in practice on the typical Pats wide out and slot receivers (small, quick guys that dart here and there) but how many teams have had so many wide outs that fit that physical description?
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