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More "important" element to our 3-4: LB or DL?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Schmo, Apr 27, 2009.

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  1. Schmo

    Schmo Rookie

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    Kind of a broad question, but what does our 3-4 rely on more? We picked up 3 DL and 1 LB today. Do we need DL's more, or are LB's harder to find? It has always been my impression that BB is the ultimate LB coach, yet we have 3 first rounders invested in our starting D-line.

    I believe that our LB's ultimately play a larger/harder role in the defense, yet it is more difficult finding the prototypical NT or 5-tech DE (ala Jackson at #3 this year for KC). Perhaps, coaching a LB up in this system is more imperative than finding the raw tools in a college kid - and this is why Mayo is so special. In other words, BB's LB prospects~Dante's OL prospects.

    Like I said, it's kind of a broad question, but what are your thoughts?
  2. slash83

    slash83 Rookie

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    Good question, IMO LB's make a 34 go, but then again a 34 is kinda useless unless you have a good NT, lucky for us we got the best. So im not really sure maybe somebody else could give you a more clear cut answer.
  3. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    NT is the most important, on the downs where the NT is in. No position seems to affect the performance of the defense as much.

    I'd extrapolate from that to say that on running/generic downs, the DL is more important than the LBs.

    On passing downs I have to think the LBs are more important than the DL. For one thing, only 1 or 2 traditional DL are typically in on, say, 3rd-and-long.

    So basically, our DL has successfully been creating 3rd-and-long and then our LBs and DBs have been screwing it up when it arrived.

    (That's mainly for last season, but I suddenly felt a need to vent.)
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  4. Schmo

    Schmo Rookie

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    So, from what you're saying, Fencer:

    1) A Ted Johnson type run-stuffer is obsolete for our D - why Maualuga didn't catch BB's interest.

    2) Subbing DL (especially NT) is inevitable. While Belichick covets versatility, he has to grit his teeth and get Wilfork off the field 1/3 of the time.

    So, either we could have drafted Maualuga/Brinkley and changed the other 6 roles on the front 7, or we draft depth on DL to avoid that pathetic, heavy-breathing look on the faces of our fatties. (Oh God, the AFCC game against the Colts just popped in my head... GET IT OUT!)
  5. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    DL by a country mile is more important. As BB says there are only so many 6-5 300# mobile and hostile athletes in the world. There are a heck of a lot more 6-2 - 6-5 240+ athletes to find for LBs. BB has two who weren't even drafted, but are starters. He has a reserve DL who wasn't drafted and is a good, but not great player, unlike the First Rounders.:D
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  6. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    I'm not sure what chains of inference you're drawing, but I don't disagree with the substance of your conclusions.

    If Brace can take some of Wilfork's snaps, then Wilfork can both reduce his snap count a bit and perhaps also take some snaps in lieu of DEs when the DL count goes below 3, and everybody stays a bit fresher.

    As for the ILBs -- Johnson aside, most of BBs vet ILBs have been converted OLBs (e.g., Bruschi, Phifer, Seau, Thomas, Vrabel). Except, of course, when they're guys who resemble safeties (e.g. Don Davis, Rodney Harrison).
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  7. RayClay

    RayClay On the Roster

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    #75 Jersey

    It's nice to have both.
  8. dhamz

    dhamz Rookie

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    I wouldn't say one is more important than the other. Without very good players at both spots the Pats 3-4 isn't going to be effective.

    From a draft perspective, there is more value in DL. DL is right there with QB and CB as the most expensive position in the league. If you hit on one in the draft you get a very cheap player for 4-5 years. Veteran LBs just don't cost as much as veteran DL.
  9. Ricey

    Ricey Rookie

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    I dont think 1 is a priority over the other.

    Dline= important to keep blockers away from LB

    Lb= important cause they are the ones who makes the plays

    But say u have a great DLINE but ur linebackers cant put any pressure on the QB and or Make plays against the run then it will be all for not and vice versa...If ur LBs are great but ur Dline cant keep them clean then ur screwed either way.
  10. Gumby

    Gumby Rookie

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    Having HIGH Quality DL players is way more important than having high quality LB players. Various reasons why- but biggest is

    1. Competition for them. Best DL are drafted in to 10-16 of 1st round. I remember years with 4 in top 10. You are lucky if you get 2 LBs in first round or top half of 1st.

    In an attacking D the DL gets the sacks and stats. In the 3-4 the LBs are getting all the stats (sacks and tackles) and therefore the publicity. So when it comes to fans though they see the LBs as more important.

    But as long as you have good quality guys the old rules stand firm; you build a team from the inside (Lines) out.
  11. Isaac

    Isaac Rookie

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    Yes, FWIW Belichick has been asked this question and has strongly stated that the DL is more important. He has even gone on to explain how the Giants LBs got all the credit but it was the DL that was the critical factor in that defense. To him, his defense starts with the DL and everything else flows from there.

    I always found it interesting that he would take such a clear stand on this issue since it seems like the holistic/systems answer would be that they are both important.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  12. Rob0729

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    Belichick always believes in building from the line out on both sides of the ball. He clearly would say D-line is more important with NT being the most important.
  13. RoughingthePasser

    RoughingthePasser Rookie

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    Good points!
  14. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Belichick passed on Maualuga because I don't think Belichick fit the Pats' system. I don't think it had anything to do with a run stuffing ILB being obsolte. In fact, I think Belichick would love to have three guys like Ted Johnson as long as he had a Roman Phifer type to sub on passing downs. Maualuga dropped in the draft because people had concerns about his intelligence. I'm sure Belichick did too. Also, Maualuga has problems following schemes at times and likes to freelance. Not a popular thing in a Belichic defense.
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think you clearly need both, certainly in BB's system. You need an NT to man the middle and big DE's who can take on blockers. But you also need the right kind of LBs, who can rush off the edge and up the middle, drop back into coverage, managed the point of attack and make complex reads. Mayo and Thomas are perfect fits for us. The other guys may develop nicely.

    I don't think Maualuga fit for us. He's a nice downhill SILB, but he lacks the coverage and read/react skills to fit into this defense. He might have been great for Baltimore, SD or Pittsburgh, who uses their LBs to attack more and demands less complex reads and coverage abilities from them. Take the best characteristics of Maualuga and Laurinaitis and you would have an excellent Pats SILB.
  16. Schmo

    Schmo Rookie

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    Popular enough to tag Samuel a couple years back? I know a CB isn't a LB, just saying.

    So from what I gather, DL are much more important in the draft due merely to their physical characteristics. Whereas an ideal height/weight makeup of a BB LB is much more common, and thus just needs to be coached up. I hate to state it that simply, but that's what it looks like.

    I have to admit, I started out thinking that LB's were the harder spot to fill, but perhaps I'm overrating the importance of getting a great college LB.
  17. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Samuel wasn't a freelancer. He like to jump routes that was costly at times, but it wasn't like he was running all over the field trying to male plays. Also, it is more important that an ILB not freelance. ILBs have gap assignments where the NT and DE open holes for him to hit. If he blows his gap assignment because he decides to shoot another gap, he can leave a huge hole for a RB to run through and not be touched until he hits the secondary.
  18. Schmo

    Schmo Rookie

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    It's a fine line, but I'll believe you.
  19. Ungeheuer

    Ungeheuer Rookie

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    Obviously you need both good linebackers and good tackles to have a good defense. But here's one thing you can say: if you have bad defensive tackles in this system, good linebackers won't help too much. But if you have good defensive tackles, you can still win with flawed linebackers. If you don't have good D-linemen in this defense, and especially a good nose tackle, the whole thing doesn't work. You need someone to keep the LBs clean.
  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think that Shawn Crable (3rd round), Tully Banta-Cain (7th), Pierre Woods (UDFA) and Vince Redd (UDFA) suggest that BB/Pepper Johnson are comfortable getting guys with the raw size/speed/smarts that they like and then coaching them up. Guyton (UDFA) is also a good case for ILB. That's not to say that they couldn't find another Mayo and pull the trigger early if the perfect player came around, but I think the clear inference from BB's drafting pattern at the position is that, like OL, he is comfortable coaching up players. In contrast to DL, where he has 3 1st round picks and a high 2nd rounder on the roster, and spent another 2nd rounder of Marquis Hill. That's 5 1st day picks at DL in 9 years, vs. 1 at LB. Add another 5 for the secondary (Butler and Wheatley at CB, Meriweather, Eugene Wilson and Chung at S), 3 for OL (Light, Mankins and Klemm) and WR (Branch, Johnson and Jackson), and 2 for TE and RB (including trading a 2nd for Corey Dillon).
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