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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PATRIOTS-80, May 2, 2006.

  1. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    It seems the common consensus on the board is that Vrabel moves to OLB. I think that it is possible, perhaps even probable, but for the sake of argument, lets look at it from the "mike position."

    Ted Johnson played the mike position in the 3-4 defense. As the mike, TJ took on the guards. It would seem he played it so well that he cracked some guys helmet, and had to retire with concussions.

    Obviously our 266 lb Vrabel played it very well, so the 64,000 dollar question is who plays the Mike if Vrabel moves outside.

    Scenario A

    Bruschi and Beisel

    There is no way that Beisel will ever be confused as a Mike. Unless he reports to camp with a lot more weight, he can't play that position.

    Scenario B

    Bruschi and Claridge

    Possible. At 259 lb Claridge does have the necessary weight to play the position.

    Scenario C

    Bruschi and Roach

    Roach obviously has no chance at breaking into the starting lineup, but he is a protypical Mike.
    http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/scoutingreports/ilb/freddieroach.html

    Thus, it can clearly be seen that if Vrabel moves out, as of now Claridge (our 5th round pick last year) probably will break the starting lineup as the Mike. Roach (like Randall Gay that one year), has an decent chance of making the 53 as the backup mike.
    Beisel on the other hand, has a well-defined role as Bruschi's back-up, and as pass-covering LB who can sub out the Mike (see Roman Phifer).

    Obviously Vrabel is the best player available to play Mike.

    If Vrabel stays inside, our ILB depth chart looks like this:

    Bruschi ............... Vrabel
    Beisel ............... Claridge
    Alexander ............... Roach


    Our OLB would be:

    Colvin ............. TBC or Claridge
    Mincey .............. Claridge or TBC

    Can TBC or Claridge man the outside position? As long as he sets the edge, doesn't try to do too much, forces everything back-up the middle, we'll be fine.

    Conclusion #1, if Vrabel goes outside, Claridge starts. If Vrabel stays inside, TBC and Claridge could battle for the outside position. Winner gets the spot, the loser stays on the bench.

    Conclusion #2, Roach (a projected 4th round pick) has the best shot of making the squad as UDFA, as Randall Gay did that year when he made the squad.

    If I remember, we cut T. Buckley that year our depth chart looked like this:
    Law, Poole, Samuels, Gay

    Law and Poole got hurt, and Samuels and Gay were our starters in the Super Bowl :)

    Edit: also BTW, Alexander weighs almost exactly the same as Beisel. Unless either of them put on significant weight, both of them cannot play the running down "mike" position.

    Also, much of my musings is based on the fact that TBC has always played the OLB position, whereas, Claridge's role doesn't have much of a past to be defined. I think Claridge can play both OLB and ILB. JMO
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  2. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    good post, interesting. thanks.

    my preference is for Vrabel to be VERY excited to play inside - my sense is that he's not - and for the Patriots to have found a steal/eventual stud in Jeremy Mincey.
  3. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    How about Mincey playing Mike? His size and weight are almost the same as TJ's and he specialized in blowing up the run in college. Oops patsox already said that.

    I think Mincey and Roach are both here to compete for the same job. Immediate back-up Mike and eventual ILB starter at either pos. as their experience grows.

    Mincey is way too slow for Elephant. Has little burst and few moves to work around the end. Probably will be a career Mike ILB for us. The scouting reports say he excels at blowing up the point of attack against the run, shedding blockers and making tackles.
  4. Gon_Trevil

    Gon_Trevil Rookie

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    I was hoping we found a steal/eventual stud last year when we drafted Claridge. Those hopes have not disappeared, or even diminished. Claridge could easily fullfill Ted Johnson's role on running downs (same body type and style of play), while being subbed (by Beisel) on passing situations.
  5. shirtsleeve

    shirtsleeve Rookie

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    I think you are right about Claridge. Rodney says so, too. But we pull the 4th LB on passing downs and Put in a nickel back.
  6. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    I don't know if this makes a difference but according to reports, he ran a 4.65 40 for the Pats. Though I know it takes a lot more than just speed to replace Willie, the fact that he has the size and speed right now gives him a good headstart at learning the position I think.
  7. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    He's faster than WMG. WMG made up for getting old by getting smart, bue speed wise he was slowwwww.
  8. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    You can't say this, just because he was a UDFA. Remember Randall Gay?

    Roach was highly rated prior to the draft, 4th best ILB according to Kiper and up there with other draft sources. Kiper's rating and a couple bucks will get you coffee at Dunkin Donuts, but several sources rated him highly.

    Yeah he has long odds, but "obviously he has no chance" is not accurate.

    Trying to break into the starting TJ linebacker position position means he is competing with Claridge and Beisel if Vrabel goes outside. It's not like they have a lock on the position.

    The thing about a new guy is that you have no idea how he will do. JAG, nothing, or something special, the possibiltiies are open. With Izzo and Alexander, we know what we have. THey aren't likely to be starters. But no one knows about Roach or Claridge yet.

    So "obviously" and "no chance" aren't words I'd use for Roach (or any new guy).
  9. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    And that's really the only spot that's needed. On 2nd, 3rd and long we could easily put a Jarvis Green in on the edge to rush the passer. That's all McGinest did on those downs.
  10. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ryan Claridge

    I keep reading here how Claridge is a "Ted Johnson type," which surprises me -- his draft profiles all emphasized his agility in pass coverage and quickness as an outside rusher (he was also a varsity tennis player).

    Some snippets from 2005 draft reports:

    STRENGTHS

    "The most athletic linebacker of a very active group, Claridge is the highlight reel player always in the opposing backfields and always making the key play."

    "He is best when making plays on the move, as he has the lateral agility and foot speed to pursue plays along the sidelines. His quickness and edge rushing ability makes him better suited to play on the outside in a 4-3 defense or at weak-side in a 3-4 alignment."

    "Claridge is a very good athlete with the foot quickness, agility, balance and playing speed to run down ball carriers all over the field. He is a smart and instinctive linebacker who reads the quarterback quickly in zone coverage, breaks and closes on the ball fast"

    "He does a good job of staying on the receiver's hip through routes and shows the ability to handle the switch-off working in the zone."


    WEAKNESSES

    "He lacks ideal strength to face up and will generally get stymied in attempts to disengage from blockers working in-line."

    "Claridge does not use his hands consistently to keep blockers off him - he gets slowed down a lot by low/cut blocks and can’t get free from blockers if they can get a hold of him. He does not move through traffic well and needs a clear path to chase plays down in pursuit."

    "He needs to improve his lower body strength, as he does not have the "sand in his pants" to hold ground firmly at the point of attack."
  11. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    If Ty Law can continue to bulk up........
  12. mgcolby

    mgcolby Woohoo, I'm a VIP!!! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why couldn't Davis spell the Mike on 3rd downs, He is a hybrid Safety/LB that would be almost like having a nickel package and the base 3-4 at the same time. I like Roach watched a few Alabama games he is beast in the middle taking on blocks and stuffing the run. Hopefully Claridge can contribute and Beisel showed glimpses of hope at the end of the year. I said this in another post but I'll say it again. I only think we have one weak spot on defense and that is 1 LB spot depending on where Vrabel plays and overall LB depth or moreso LB experience after Rosie, Vrabel and Bruschi. Banta Cain would be the most obvious option to play the edge because he has been here a while. But it would be nice if either Beisel, Claridge or Roach can step up and play the inside. The only other seemingly weak spot on the team is WR and that is do to not having a proven #2 receiver, but we have 2 guys that have the potential. I am feeling very good about the upcoming season.
  13. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    I think you misunderstood what I said. I think Roach has an excellent chance of making the roster. I also think there are good odds that he will see playing time this year. My guess is that Roach has an excellent chance of making the roster, and by mid-season could take over (in my post I used Randall Gay as an example). {see conclusion #2 in my original post}.
    Last edited: May 2, 2006
  14. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    I guess what I think about the mike position is that Beisel can't play it, but Claridge can. Beisel could sub Claridge out in passing situations. And TBC could play outside, if Vrabel stays in.

    We'll see. Obviously, in camp BB will decide.
  15. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    I am really happy that BB brought in Roach and Mincey. BB has basically drafted/UDFA, Claridge, TBC, Mincey and Roach. That's 4 players. He signed in FA one developmental player (Beisel). And we have 3 entrenched staters. That's 8 LB.
  16. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    If Vrabel goes outside, I agree that probably what is going to happen. It would be "so" BB to use 2 guys, and play to their strengths, to solidify one position.
  17. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 Rookie

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    On nickel formations, Willie McG lined up at DE. We could put Jarvis Geen at DE on nickel and dime formations. So we could potentially use 3 guys to replace one guy, all using them to their strengths.
  18. bucky

    bucky Rookie

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    You guys are making this too complicated. Bruschi is the Mike and always has been, except when he played alongside TJ. Beisel played the Mike when Bruschi was out last year and obviously had problems. Still, he might be second in line. Vrabel couple probably play in LB position at this point, but OLB is still his best by far. Mincey has a better chance of playing CB for us than ILB. At least for the time being while he learns to play LB. Klecko is a failed experiment. Izzo and Davis would get destoryed if they had to play ILB in this system. Claridge and Roach are the unknown quantities right now. I think Claridge isn't exactly a MLB type, but the Pats could convert him.

    So as of right now, it's Bruschi at MLB with Beisel next to him. Colvin and Vrabel at OLB. Thanks to Vrabel's versatility, the next LB could be either an OLB or ILB. So the backup positions are all up for grabs in TC.
  19. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    A couple of things. First at TC last year Claridge looked "worse" than Beisel by a mile and a half. After a day and a half of continually screwing up, BB moved him to OLB. And guess what, he stunk out there as well.
    Even with a huge sophomore leap, it's hard to imagine Claridge as a starter. (PS: Maybe if he trained with Barry Bonds ex-trainer these past months, it could happen, but then would the Pats have a helmet that would fit him????)

    Really hard for me to project Roach into our base defense as a rookie, even if it's for first and/or second down. The reads would be devastating for a 4-3 rookie. Granted Kines is a whale of a good DC down there in Tuscaloosa, but your asking a lot for any rookie.

    I liked Alexander last preseason, I'm hoping he can make the squad this year and really contribute.

    Depth at LB is so thin that if we lose any two starters, we are really in big trouble at the second level.

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