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My Gut Instinct for 2008

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Feb 27, 2008.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My gut is telling me the 2008 Pats will have the best defense we have seen them have since BB arrived.
    In 2006, we set a franchise record for fewest points allowed. In 2007 we ranked in the top 5 in yards, and went into the final game #1 in points allowed.
    In 2006 our defense was ripped apart in the second half of the AFCC.
    The reaction to that was that there was no built in problem, but that we had more than half of the defense on the sidelines, and the other half was sucking wind.
    BB made a few minor changes, essentially keeping the D intact, responding to the idea that there were no inherent flaws that would prevent this from being a Championship caliber defense.
    In 2007, it was a Championship caliber defense, up until the final 14:52 of the season.
    In MY opinion, what I saw in the that last 14:52, combined with the 2nd half of the 06 AFCC, DID uncover a fatal flaw, and we did/do not have a Championship caliber defense, simply for the reason that when a close game is on the line and the opponent moves into a '2 minute offense' we have weaknesses that are exposed.


    I see the 2008 off-season as a mission for BB to turn his defense into one that will carry the team to a Championship, regardless of the fact that we have an offense that just completed the best season an offense has ever had.

    I would like to think that I am knowledgable enough to isolate the issues, but realize that BB has the dual advantage of being better at assessing the issues, and better at fixing them than me.
    My approach would be to:
    1) Find a nickel corner who is not the burnt toast that Randall Gay was in the SB. I saw Manning at least a dozen times, drop back, find 21, look nowhere else and throw at him, with recievers getting at least 2 steps on him, no matter the route. (They were typical 'quickness routes' where the receiver started inone direction then cutback in the other, with Gay VERY slow stopping and reacting)
    2) Eliminate having Rodney Harrison in coverage in pass only, 2 minute type situations. The same issue that Gay had in the SB, Harrison had as well, with Manning zeroing in on him, and looking nowhere else. (Unfortunately there were many times when Gay and Harrisons man were in the same area of the field, so he had a choice)
    3) Stop relying on the starting OLBs as the nickel pass rushers all day long. They are wearing down, and we need to get other players in the mix to allow Thomas and Vrabel to get some plays off, so they can rush the QB as effectively in the 2 minute at the end of a half or game as they do throughout the game.
    4) I would also expect for BB to drive hard to enhance the strengths of the D. We are at its most basic a defense that will not be run on. This year we were run on in situations where we were far ahead and playing pass D, and in 'normal' situations defended the run well, just as we have every year he has been here since 2002. We were #1 in 3rd down conversions allowed and #4 in %. IMO, this is based more on SCHEME than players. I think we need to upgrade some players, potentially ILB, definitely nickel and dime DBs, and most likely Rodney Harrison for at least 1/3-1/4 of the snaps.

    MY ideas may or may not fit with what BB sees and does, but I have an incredibly strong feeling that he will look at the last 2 years, and determine that a 5% improvement in the defense, in the right situaitons, will make it truly dominant, and I feel like he is driven to get that done.
  2. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Rookie

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    1. Don't we forget how Randal almost had his forearm broken early in the SB? Maybe if we had a faster pass rush corners don't have to cover as long. I'd keep Randall unless you want Duane Starkes as nickel back.

    2. So you are gonna take Rodney off the field in passing downs? He was a pretty good blitzer, but if the pass rush is improved he won't need to. Sanders and Merriweather aren't as good blitzers.

    3. Who else is gonna pass rush? I've been endorsing get a one trick pony in the 3rd or 4th round. A drummerville type.... pick up a pass rushing d-e

    4. I think this is the year we are gonna see BB goes after Gholston as he's freak athletically and it's BB chance to get his merriman or ware.
  3. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1. Calvin Pace

    Oh don't complain, I bumped your thread :D

    PFnV
  4. wdkantro2

    wdkantro2 Rookie

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    Your last gut instinct was a Pats blowout in the Super bowl (which also had very little legitimate basis).
  5. newhartfordhoody

    newhartfordhoody Rookie

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    BB definitely seems driven to make this happen based on the shakeup we're already seeing.

    I remember around 1/2 way through the SB, he said to a sideline reporter something like "yeah, looks like we're in a real defensive struggle" and I was thinking that is NOT where these 07 Pats want to be, and he knew they were out of their element. In their SB wins, that was their bread & butter and he wants to get back to that. Hope you're right!
  6. fgssand

    fgssand PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #17 Jersey

    1) Calvin Pace

    1A) Gholston

    Now we're talking.....
  7. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    Let's see your 2008 NFL Mock Draft for the New England Patriots.
  8. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I say if we sign Pace and Hobson and trade for Lito Shepard, we have had an incredible offseason and will be all set for the season. I would love to add Gholston to the mix too, but my guess is that we will have to swap first with the Eagles to get it done. I assume both Moss and Gaffney would be signed too.
  9. PATRIOT64

    PATRIOT64 Rookie

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    With 30+ year old Adalius and Vrabel and probable retirements by Seau and Bruschi and really little known quality on the current depth chart you are grasping at straws hoping the Linebacking situation which IMO is pretty bad right now is going to be totally turned around by BB and staff,True BB is a great coach but this area is of prime concern and will VERY likely be a weakness all 2008 not to mention the hole at corner once asante goes leaving a VERY erratic Hobbs as the only known quality at this point.

    While I don't see it being totally detrimental to the team,The LB area needs a major fix job and will probably take a while to get it together,just like the secondary where the best player is 36 years of age (I am not sure Harrison is 36)

    I will be thrilled to see a defense in the top 15 but nowhere near the top 5 and definately NOT the best defense ever in the BB era

    Thats simply a ridiculous statement without any basis to back it up
  10. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How exactly is it a ridiculous statement? It may never happen, but it could. Remember that arguably the best Pats defense (I think it was one of the 10-20 best of all time in the NFL) of the Belichick era (2003) came a year after the Patriots had a horrible defense that couldn't stop the run for the life of them and was labelled too old. Basically the real difference that year was the addition of one player - Rodney Harrison (126 tackles with six for a loss, 3 sacks, 2 FF, and 3 INTs). Not only did he provide the stats and production, but he made people around him play better (see Eugene Wilson and Tyrone Poole), Ted Washington was a difference maker on run downs, but he missed half the season.

    The Pats could easily tweak a few positions and get this defense to be dominant again. The Pats add the right player or two and he/they could be the difference maker(s) to make this team rival the 2003 Patriots defense.

    The Pats were able to make an average to above average offense in 2006 to be the most prolific offense of all time last year within one year. Why can't they do that on defense especially with Belichick being a defensive genius and Capers not so shabby himself.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1) How does a forearm injury keep you from staying close to any receivers? I dont think the reason to keep a weak player is because you can name a weaker one.
    2) As I said I'm OK with Rodney in nickel/dime and 2 minute if he is playing a LB position. Blitzing is fine, covering WRs is not.
    3) I was talking about changes to make clearly the guy who fill the role of change isnt on the roster yet.
    4) I think Golston is very overhyped, and OLB is not a prioirity for us. I would like a first round corner, possibly after a trade down.
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm not a mock draft guy.
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am glad you have reached your conclusion before any moves have been made.
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, thats pretty much my point. The 2006 and 2007 defenses were not far from dominant, in fact they were dominant but for a few flaws. Those flaws have been isolated, and I expect BB to correct them.
    I just dont buy into this "Ooooh, we lost player X, the sky is falling" Defense is 11 guys playing as a team. If we had an average corner in place of Samuel, and average corner in place of Gay and an average cover safety in place of Harrison, we win the game.
  15. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    The root of our demise the last couple of years on D has been the inability to have an effective pass rush with 5 guys, so we commit extra guys, but it never works and we get burned for it.

    In Indy we sent 6 after Peyton on the last drive, and he got off his throws. In the SB we sent the house at Eli and he had an easy TD.
  16. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    According to KC Joyner anyway, your assertion that Randall Gay is a "weak" player has no basis in reality. At least, not any weaker than Hobbs.
  17. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hmmmm .... well AJ I hope your gut is better this time than the predicted
    SB Blow out. :)

    Seriously ... You could be right ... but it will depend on what happens
    in people acquired and lost and how the new pieces come together.
    They certainly have a good defense now.
    There are several unknown factors that could leave you scratching your head:
    ... will LB core improve or degrade - Bruschi and Seau back?
    ... if new ILBs will they be the new Chad Browns of 2008
    ... who replaces Colvin ... what will PATs depth be like for LB core?
    ... without Rodney in there full time ... how will Meriweather/Sanders
    work together?
    ... CB - this is a great unknown - assume no Samuel and Gay gets an offer
    he can't refuse - who replaces them? Will Hobbs be back 100%????
    if rookie CB .. how long will it take for them to start?
    What will CB depth be like?
    ... If they sign Law ... will he be use as a starter ( heaven forbid :eek:)

    The defense will be good I agree(top 10 anyway) but will it come together
    as the BEST ever for BB? Too many unknowns to even have a gut reaction yet. .. IMO Wishful thinking? ...yeah OK.
  18. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I think we would be asking for too much to expect the defense to be among the best next year. Their are a lot of players to replace at LB and secondary, two areas that need improvement badly. I don't really see too many players in free agency that can help replace Samuel. I think the Pats would need to make a trade for someone like Sheppard. It would be nice if they can pick up Calvin Pace. He has the size to play inside or outside LB. I even think Clark Haggans would be a good pick up as well. Maybe go after Victor Hobson? Then I would like the Pats to draft a young pass rushing DE/LB like Groves or Gholston with their first pick (trade down or not). Lastly, draft LB's and DB's throughout the rest of the draft.
  19. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Tweak a few positions?
    We play five linebackers (we are a 3-4 defense). We are now short THREE
    We "start" three corners (including nickel). We are now short TWO
    We are down to three safeties, with no backups.
    Consider 2005 to evaluae our ability to deal with replacing linebackers.

    Yes, we fixed the offense in one year last year. That is because we had only one issue. Also, top wide receivers can contribute much faster than LB's.

  20. Mr.Muhozi

    Mr.Muhozi Rookie

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    my gut feeling is we make it to 19-0 a lot of people may laugh at me, but i seriously think we have a chance at it, but then again, only god knows the outcome of this upcoming season
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