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Offeason wants and needs: offensive line

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Deus Irae, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    With the offseason too soon upon us, and the board stagnating into a Welker-fest, I thought it might be a good time to look at people's perceptions of team wants and needs (candy v. oxygen) for the various positional groups. So, here's the current breakdown on the O-line (If I get any contract status wrong or miss anyone, my apologies. I'm just using Rotoworld as a clearinghouse and mistakes are possible):

    LT - Solder - under contract through 2014
    LG - Mankins - under contract through 2016
    C - Wendell - under contract through 2012
    RG - Connolly - under contract through 2014
    RT - Vollmer - free agent

    Marcus Cannon - under contract through 2014
    Nick McDonald - under contract through 2013
    Brian Waters - under control but likely retired
    Donald Thomas - free agent
    Marcus Zusevics - under contract through 2014
    Kyle Hix - under contract through 2013
    Jamey Richard - free agent



    So..... whatcha got?
  2. Sciz

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    I don't know if the coaches feel the same way, but I'm awfully optimistic about Cannon. Between last year's Dolphins game and this year's Jets game, we saw him do the two things you want out of a tackle, holding his own against good competition and dominating bad competition. He held Cam Wake relatively quiet last year (he had a sack, but that was against Gronk), and he dominated everybody the Jets put in front of him this year.

    Now he's not nearly the pass blocker that Vollmer is (no right tackle in the NFL is), but I think we were awfully spoiled with Vollmer for a few years. I can definitely see Cannon being better than Kaczur, and they seemed to score plenty of points with him at right tackle.


    As for the rest of the line, the only other potential change I see is if the Pats want to grab one of the top 6 or so center/guard prospects (Warmack, Cooper, Fluker, Jones, Warford, Frederick) to try to add some bulk to the inside of the line. I personally think they can be just fine with Wendell and Connolly, but upgrading the run-blocking might be one of the best ways to improve the team. I don't know.

    And I hope/expect that they bring in a developmental LT prospect sometime in the draft.
  3. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ryan Wendell is definitely here through the 2013 season, and won't be a free agent until early 2014, and I am glad. I was impressed with his ability at times, and I think that he did a fine job considering that some had him written off prior to the start of training camp.

    I have a feeling that Vollmer doesn't stay here just due to the fact that another team will almost certainly overpay for the position. When he's healthy he is good, but it's my opinion that even if there weren't as many health concerns we may not have ended up keeping him. That does leave a void for sure, not just starting talent, but also depth on the outside.

    Cannon and McDonald are possibilities, as is Hix--depending upon his growth to this point. They are all guys who should in theory, be here to compete for the outside role.

    Everywhere else seems to be pretty stable as starters go, although I think it's not exactly "oxygen," but I would like to think that they'd be in a much better position by retaining Donald Thomas for interior presence/depth.

    The line in general would be considered in a "average--to--better than average" standing in my opinion, due to the contractual status of having many guys retained through the next 2 years, cap cost efficiency, having decent NFL quality starters, depth for the most part, experience in different roles, and overall development.

    I think that they'll continue to address the position, just like many others on the team, but that it isn't as much of a concern as some would believe with the probable (IMO) departure of Vollmer.
  4. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There's two units I give slim to no thought every year because I know the Patriots have it covered - Quarterback and OL. Scarnecchia gets it done no matter what the personnel grouping.
  5. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Word of Muth: Patriots Exit Exam

  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We will need backups, with Cannon likely to start at RT. I would overpay a bit to keep Thomas. We also need a veteran backup OT?
  7. supafly

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    I agree with your thoughts. I think that Cannon is the starting RT, and that we should do what is necessary to try and keep Thomas. As I said in my response, keeping Thomas shouldn't be considered "oxygen" (giving examples in Deus' terms), but it shouldn't be considered "candy" either. Something in the middle is appropriate, and I would be happy if they decided to overpay a bit to retain his services.

    Overall, I agree that we still need at least another vet OT, but the concern is minimal as it shouldn't be too much of a problem, even despite our recent failures at obtaining a vet OT.
  8. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  9. Brady_to_Moss

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    I hope vollmer is back
  10. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    Markus Zusevics started two years at right tackle for the University of Iowa. If Zusevics had not torn his pectoral at the NFL Scouting Combine, he would have been drafted.

    In addition, the New England Patriots have the option to trade down from the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft and pick up a fourth round draft pick.

    NFL Draft - 2013 NFL Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    Negative!

    The New England Patriots have bigger fish to fry in unrestricted free agency:

    Woodhead
    Welker
    Edelman
    Vollmer
    Talib or cornerback du jour
    Arrington

    The New England Patriots have two restricted free agents to consider:

    Fletcher
    Hoomanawanui

    The New England Patriots need to locate a developmental left tackle.
  11. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    The Indianapolis Colts desperately need a starting right tackle since unrestricted free agent Winston Justice was a major disappointment with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  12. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Rookie

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    Agreed, looking foreword, outside of depth, Linebacker, offensive line and Quaterback are the 3 areas where improvement is least need. IMO
  13. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats Rookie

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    My concern about the line is a little non-specific, in that it seems like it's pretty good overall, but seems to struggle at the worst times, ie, the playoffs. Against the Ravens, a top-flight line would have presumably been able to pick up some of those 3rd & 2s that seem to crop up so frequently last week.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure where exactly the fault lies there that prevented those conversions from happening.
  14. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks Rookie

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    I love Vollmer and would love to have him back, but it is unlikely he stays. He will get a lot of money to play LT for a different team. And yes, I think he can play LT just fine.
  15. PatsSox363804

    PatsSox363804 Rookie

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    Someone will pay Vollmer LT money, no way he's back.
  16. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    Three thoughts:

    1. Patriots may be projecting Thomas as a starter next year at Connolly's spot, with Connolly and Wendell battling at center. So, Thomas may get a good chance to start in New England.

    2. RT is the new LT. There are so many top echelon guys like JJ Watt rushing the RT these days that you better have a top RT. You can't get by with Grant Williams or Robinson-Randall anymore.

    3. Patriots can still use a transition tag on Vollmer.
  17. borg

    borg On the Roster

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    I'm guessing BB hates the Mankins contract on a few levels: a player having leverage over the team, a contract difficult to dump because of cap costs, a player showing wear and tear.
    The Mankins contract probably wets the appetite of the other linemen as well. A firsthand lesson on how to take care of business in a league flush with money.
    From a team building stand point, this off season may be more about holding this team together than upgrading it. The Welker contract is the only major contract that could come off the books while several players are due major bumps up if they stay on the roster. As has been discussed, it will be hard to to keep all their top FAs and then upgrade. And will BB want to draft another T with a high pick?

    As a keyboard GM tired of watching both a Pats offense that comes up small vs tough D lines and the Pats defense devoid of an NFL caliber secondary, here,s my game plan.

    1) I'm letting Welker go. He's great. He's shined for six years, and I've love watching the guy perform. But this has become a finesse offense that avoids direct confrontation (not any of Welker's fault) and I would use his dollars to build a better/tougher O line that can be counted on for those tough yards. As I've pointed out in the past few days, the coaches clearly don't have faith that they can win the LOS scrimmage battles vs the best Ds. (29 3rd down opportunities vs Baltimore in '13 and the GMen in '07 SB.....26 shotgun plays, zero play action)
    One player can't replace Wes' production, but I feel the combination of our TEs and Edelman are more than sufficient to be viable options in the short passing game. AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THE CURRENT OFFENSE IS OVERSTOCKED WITH SHORT PASSING OPTIONS. What this team lacks is a viable NFL stud receiver with that strength/speed/athleticism triple combo that can layer the passing attack vertically.
    The Welker $10 mill can go along way to bolstering the line and expanding the vertical passing game. Six years of great production from Wes, but this formula has fallen a game or more short every year.
    The $10 mill Welker cap savings, the $18 mill in cap space, and the draft should be sufficient to address this team holes and weaknesses====secondary, coverage LB, OL, vertical receiver, Vollmer. This team can't have it all, no team in the cap era can.....so choices have to be made. Welker should not be viewed as "Wes", Welker should be viewed as a component of the short passing game, and I argue the Patriots are more than staffed (assuming Edelman gets resigned) to be successful in the short game.
  18. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The offensive line looks, to me, as if it's going to have a new RT next season. Given Vollmer's history of missing games, I don't see the Patriots spending big money to keep him. That would seem to put Cannon in as the starter, which means the team would need to find at least one backup tackle.

    Also, with Thomas a free agent, and both Connolly and Wendell inadequate starters at their current positions, there's a definite need for the interior positions. Also, with Mankins and Connolly both being 31 for next season, I expect the team will be looking at at least one young "project" for Dante, above and beyond a starter/near starter level backup type.


    Just my $.02
  19. borg

    borg On the Roster

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    Here's a question, how much substitution is there for the O line during these playoff games? With all the hurry up, I suspect very little. A nice fresh plow horse seems in order. The lack of play action on 3rd down is just eating away at me. Regaining control of the line could do wonders for a pass game that seems to play small verses the Balts. and SFs of the league.
    I keep asking myself, why all the screens verses the tough teams. Isn't the screen a defense mechanism to combat QB pressure they can't handle. Why all the short passes? To get the ball out of Brady's hands quicker....due to pressure?
    Seems like our offense is designed to cover a weakness....doesn't it? With an upgraded line, would the Pats need so many short passing game options? Like Welker? Six years of this Welker centric offense- maybe its time to reboot. As I wrote in another thread,the earmarked Welker $$$ can get redeployed elsewhere on the offense and the Pats would still have a sufficient number of short pass options. Personally, I'd like a beefed up line and a legit open field WR, and reduce Brady's short pass options down to 3....AHern, Gronk, and Edelman.
  20. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1.) Wide receivers aren't part of the offensive line, so the Welker stuff doesn't really matter in this thread.

    2.) regarding the substitution in the playoffs, you're not generally going to get much of it.

    3.) A good screen game is about more than being afraid of QB pressure, and the Patriots use it frequently against both good teams and bad.
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