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Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by AzPatsFan, Mar 14, 2009.

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  1. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    I advance the proposition that the days of the hulking run stuffing MLB/SILB are over in the modern NFL. Pass catching RBs and TEs have made them an anachronism.

    In the 4-3, the pass rush comes from the defensive line, the DEs and the 3 technique DT, and perhaps a OLB

    But in the 3-4 the pass rush comes from the OLBs, and has to include an ILB as well. In the 3-4 the ILBs, both of them need to cover the underneath of the crossing RBs and TEs and WRs. So a more agile and multi-functional guy in all phases is needed at the modern MLB and especially the SILB position.

    Okay take your shots guys. do you think this is so? If not why? What are the implications? :D
  2. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes and no.

    Yes the ILBs need to be able to cover the underneath zones regardless of RB, TE, or WR.

    No the run stuffers aren't dead, in fact they are still critical in their role. Question: Who was the weakest running team in the playoffs?
  3. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Well, if

    then you are rushing 6 players in your base defense. A blitz is five or more. Having only 5 player in pass coverage to defend 5 eligible receivers means that it is total man coverage with no safety back.

    I would think that in the 3-4, pass rush comes from the line and ONE of the OLBs, with the other OLB, an ILB, a S or a CB faking the blitz or actually blitzing for your defense except for special situations.

    When it is 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 1, which isn't exactly a rare down/distance, and the other team has a big back, also not rare, it is nice to have a stout ILB/MLB who can shed an OG and make the tackle with being knocked back a yard and allowing the first down/TD.

    I think in the 4-3, a MLB needn't be too big because you have TWO lineman in hte middle of the DL, and two DEs for contain, so the MLB can be a lot lighter and be free to range to the ball.

    My two cents.
  4. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Our 01-04 LB's were an elite modern-day unit. We had McGinest and Vrabel outside, 2 smart players and great pass rushers in their prime. Bruschi and Phifer (completely underrated) were fast and could cover TE's and RB's. Then we had Ted Johnson, a run-stuffing specialist, for any crucial 3rd and short or goal-line situations.
  5. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    Cards, followed by Pitt. But PItt just kept at it longer.

    TWO yards and a cloud of dust. So ?
  6. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    That is my thought too. A TJ is a luxury for occasional use not a starter, anymore.

    But you underate Tedy as a pass rusher. He was the all time NCAA sack leader in his time in college. And he played interior Defensive line; so he was in effect an interior penetrating pass rushing DT that could slip an OL and shed and rush from inside.

    In his prime that collapsed many a pocket and prevented the QB from stepping up to avoid the outside rush of Wille and Vrabes. We need that much more than a runstuffer.

    Who are the undersized, quick, fast, penetrating DTs? They are the guys we want for a SILB. They are used to hand battling Offensive linemen and still pass rushing threats. :):confused3:
  7. WhiZa

    WhiZa Rookie

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    Replace "a more agile and multi-functional guy" with "clay matthews" and you have your answer!
  8. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    You're right. Tedy used to be lethal up the middle and I loved his old suicide high-jumps. We've been missing a consistent pass rush from the outside and inside the past 4 years.
  9. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rookie

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    Hey AZ, I agree with part of your premise, but I think that saying the run-stuffing LB is over is like saying the NFL fullback is over: there's always going to be a role somewhere for that guy. That role expands with talent, of course.

    A multi-dimensional ILB (coverage, run-stuffing, good looks :confused:) is always preferred over a one-dimensional one. Still, if a player happens to be 6-2, 260 and runs a 4.6 40 but is a little stiff and late in coverage, I think you still want that guy, because he's going to learn how to cover better with time.

    Also, we need to account for instinct. Jasper Brinkley is an ideal size and strength for an ILB, but he has been marked down due to lack of instincts on the field. A few posts have bugged me recently because they assume that a player can move from college DE to NFL ILB in a matter of months.

    Phillip Hunt, for example, has the measurements of a prototypical ILB: Phillip Hunt*|*Houston,*DE*:*2009 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
    He's 6-1, 261, he had 14 sacks last year. But does he put his head down and motor past OTs, or does he read plays? Tedy B. took about five years before he'd gone from DE at Arizona to ST to OLB to ILB. It's a process, I guess, is what I'm saying.
  10. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    I would argue that as a run-stuffing ILB drops in value, that nose tackles and defensive tackles rise in value.
  11. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yep, Pitt kept at it and forced AZ to respect the run, but you'll also note most of the better running teams made it into the playoffs.

    NFL Stats: by Team Category

    NE needs to remain strong against the run while improving their pass rush and pass coverage.
    -- The DL will do their part.
    -- Mayo should be better at playing downhill, it will be interesting to see if the offseason program adds a little more bulk to Mayo, Guyton, and Ruud - not to mention strength improvement.
    -- Woods pleasantly surprised the coaches with his run play.
    -- Redd has the size and strength.
    -- Crable was inactive because he needed to get stronger and bulk up.
    -- Craig needed to get stronger too.
    -- TBC might be a pleasant surprise against the run - we'll have to wait and see.
    -- We'll need to see how Meriweather looks, whether they want to keep him at SS still and who they might draft out of the bigger Safeties in this draft.

    There's also this: NFL Stats: by Team Category
  12. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    Another cogent observation. I agree. But we got them, the best 3-4 D line in the league. BIG and talented Run stuffers all. I think that Bill feels that way too,

    His only high draft pick at ILB other than Mayo was a Quicker smaller, DT to ILB conversion that didn't workout. Dan Klecko just didn't have the pass coverage ability nor was he a really quick penetrator that you need, He was just gritty and fought hard. There is a difference.
  13. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    Puh leaze. Ony draftniks draft a guy who didn't start until half way through his Senior year in the first round.

    I suppose you wanted to draft Jackie Slater last year in the first round because his DAD, not his Uncle, was an All Pro and Hall of Famer, and genes count.

    Sounds like you're a horse player. "...Seabiscut out of whatchamacallit and sired by mighty Secretariat...";);)
  14. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan On the Roster

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    Hmmn... Phil sounds like a possible candidate but pass rushing from DE is entirely different than pass rushing from 3 technique penetrating DT. I know nothing about him but he does have production. I wonder if he played any interior DT.

    He appears to have the requisite good speed, though. Remember Tedy was a DT at Arizona, not a DE, but he lined up everywhere, some too.

    Someone suggest Robert Ayers could move inside to SILB. It helps that he was an ILB in HS and for a while as a underclassman. I wonder if he played interior line, If he did it didn't amount to much. But he is rising faster than Clay Matthews and might be gone before #23 or where I'd pick him in the late second or third, as a conversion candidate.
  15. patman52

    patman52 Rookie

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    I am on the anti Clay Mathews bandwagon myself, Love his story, but not in the first rd. There is too much of a chance that what production he had was a result of not being keyed upon.

    I see Jaspar Brinkley, being a perfect fit with the team as part of a three man ILB rotation with Guyton and Mayo.
  16. gomezcat

    gomezcat It's SIR Moderator to you Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I take the general point that ILBs need to be multi-dimensional and agree generally. However, I would caution against saying that the days of the run stuffer are dead just yet.

    As more teams start to adopt the spread offence or variation thereon, it follows that more teams may turn to more corners, quicker LBs and more athletic DLs.

    It then follows that someone will look at these lighter, faster Ds and think, "let's run it at them and tire them out". The NFL tends to be like that. It's the classic arms race.

    Having said that, I agree with the general thrust of your OP.
  17. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rookie

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    I'd forgotten Tedy played DT as well. Thanks for the reminder. ;)

    Ayers looks more and more intriguing, but he seems to be perfectly suited for a 4-3 DE spot and I assume he'll go in the first. It would be interesting to have two Vols side-by-side, though.
  18. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey


    I think everything you do in the second and third levels of the defense, depends entirely on what you have on the DL, regardless of whether you play 3-4 or 4-3.

    Being able to stop the run is always going to be mission critical for an NFL defense.

    I think BB's defense is predicated on stopping the run first and making the other team one dimensional, then he can (personnel willing) bring out the exotic coverages and packages.

    The strengths and weaknesses of the DL, determine the personnel needed at LB.
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