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Opinion on Dane Fletcher?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ahmed, Dec 30, 2011.

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  1. ahmed

    ahmed Rookie

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    I want to know what others think of him? To me, he seems like he has by far the best instincts of any of our LBs and makes some big plays, especially behind the line of scrimmage. He's one of our best D players and he's a free agent. My Xs & Os knowledge is not good so I can't tell exactly if he's as good as he looks to me or am I just seeing a couple of his big plays and think he's better than he actually is?

    Thoughts?
  2. alvinnf

    alvinnf Rookie

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    Love Fletcher. You hit the nail on the head. His instincts are exceptional. IMO, he has the best instincts of any linebacker on the roster. That's not a huge leap. He has to be a priority to get resigned. He makes plays.
  3. strngplyr

    strngplyr On the Roster

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    He played great in the preseason but was benched at points during the season. Lately he's been playing like he was very early on.

    Consistency is key, if he can keep playing at the level he has recently he'll get resigned. If he looks like he did against Dallas (I think) he'll be looking for a new team.
  4. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    Mmm. Link, perchance?
  5. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    He was an end in college and his burst/timing shows this. I wouldn't call his big plays instinct as most of those are run or pass blitzes that are being called for him. That said, to be able to time those effectively is a real art form. He plays with tremendous leverage, understands angles, and has pretty good vision when scraping for a career edge player.

    He still needs to learn a few nuances in man coverage, but his zone is good, and he displays rare hip fluidity for a converted end. The other thing he's missing is explosion into his drops (see defensive weakness when he is the mike in a tampa-2), but he has the strength to learn these things. He's got the tools to be great in coverage, and something I think we will see him progress in as things move forward.

    He is an excellent football player that is still learning how to play linebacker. The fact that the coaches are scheming for him speaks volumes. While he is still incomplete as a product, the fact that he is where he is after such a drastic conversion is impressive. Fletcher is going to be a very nice player, ultimately settling somewhere in the upper-mid tier of starting ILB's. He also brings a nice skillset to the position that enables a lot of blitzing which most career linebackers don't have an innate feel for.

    I'm really excited about this linebacker corps when Spikes is healthy. Arguably the best young group in the NFL.
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not to worry, Fletcher is only in his 2nd season. The Patriots retain his exclusive rights for 2 more years. If they share your high opinion, though, they could try to sign him to an extension that gives him a little upfront security that he hasn't seen as a UDFA.
  7. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    He was never benched. He was Spikes' backup until he overtook Guyton.
  8. Patriot 37

    Patriot 37 Rookie

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    Fletcher has some things I like but you guys are overrating him. He was awful against Denver. Don't confuse insticts with run blitzes which we ran a ton of against Miami.

    He has the physical tools, I like him but he's not better than Spikes. Could be someday but not now.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  9. Patriot 37

    Patriot 37 Rookie

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    He was benched in the 2nd half of the Denver game replaced with Guyton.
  10. JDot

    JDot Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Jay, your post are really informative much appreciated..

    RE The bolded:

    I agree with you but I am just wondering if you can expand on that last graph. I am not as informed as you and others when it comes to the nuances of the game.

    So it would be cool if I could get your thoughts on the Pats young linebackers(more in depth). So I could A)learn more. And B) just use it on sundays with my friends, ha..

    As to Dane Fletcher , love him..
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  11. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    #91 Jersey

    ...because they got Denver in sub?
  12. ahmed

    ahmed Rookie

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    Isn't the fact they call so many blitzes for him impressive, given that he was a free agent and in his second year? That shows the trust the coaching staff has in him. If he guesses wrong, they turn into big running plays for the other team. Those plays remind me of Bruschi. I also think the fact that he times so many of them so perfectly and shoots the right hole so often show his instincts. I see lots of LBs pick the wrong whole.

    Spikes is very instinctive as well but he does not seem to be as quick as Fletcher or maybe it's just me. Regarding him being a free agent, I meant he was signed as one and not that he's one at year's end. I think we have him through 2012.
  13. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have been championing the quality of Mayo for some time. He's a player you can build a defense around. The glimpses of play making ability have always been there, people just refused to accept that it existed.
  14. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    Hahaha..oh boy...tall task amigo!

    I think the best way to do this is break things down by the player, having already done Fletcher. It won't be great, because frankly I've had a couple and am a bit tired, but screw it let's give it a shot.

    Spikes is a Mike (middle linebacker) regardless of scheme. He doesn't have the footspeed and fluidity to matchup in man, but he understands zones and angles extremely well to create deceptive speed. His reads and playing style are pretty unorthodox, but they are often correct. He seems to have the best hip explosion on the team, and is the best hitter in the group. He disengages as well as Mayo, and has as good a burst as anyone on the team. This, combined with his ability to read so well creates deceptive playing speed that makes him a tremendous hash to hash player. A sideline to sideline player he will never be.

    I think that Mayo is a Will (weakside linebacker) regardless of scheme. The Will in the 43 and 34 are a bit different. The Will in the 43 plays as the weakside OLB, and in the 34 as the weakside ILB. The Will in the 43 is a coverage/contain/pursuit player, whereas the Will in the 34 is your playmaker. Mayo is best in pursuit, but is a capable player in stoning the momentum of blockers and disengaging. He bring 43 Will speed to a 34 ILB frame and that is a rare mix. As a career linebacker, I think he lacks some of the timing required to blitz at a high level, and that surprises me a bit. He is still developing, but his quickness, knowledge of scheme, understanding of angles, and knowledge of disengage moves are impressive for a 4th year pro.
  15. JDot

    JDot Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Awesome, thank-you very much for the reply Jay. Especially breaking down the Will and Mike, in the 43vs34,etc..
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  16. Armchair Quarterback

    Armchair Quarterback Rookie

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    He'll develop into a good player. Best quickness/suddenness of all the Pats LBs.
  17. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The return of Dane Fletcher has made this defense better, I do know that...

    You've got to love a guy who has good speed like that, plays to his strengths as well as he usually does, and plays with such heart and intensity. I agree that it is quite telling in a very good way that they are continuing to add in schemes and wrinkles to help his advantage. To me, that says a lot about what Belichick, Pepper, and Patricia think of him; and I obviously trust their judgement.

    If the damned back end of this defense could get their stuff together, the front 7 has the potential to be very good at times. The front line is solid at times, at least slightly better than average. The LB core has the potential to be quite good, with a lot of upside. I still believe that we are another draft pick away, or even a low-mid level signing or added cut...hell, it may be the combination of both, but I think it would be short-sighted to not recognize the talent or upside that this front 7 currently has.

    The improvement needs to come in the back end, and that obviously starts with Devin McCourty. Arrington is doing his job pretty well, and even Ihedigbo is a tough guy who seems to be doing his job much better and progressing throughout the season.

    If only McCourty could pull it together....
  18. TheBostonStraggler

    TheBostonStraggler Rookie

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    As said by others, excellent post Jay. Very informative (kudos for writing after already having a few).

    To the general point of our LBs -- not directed at your post --, there is the BB wildcard factor. Many other teams philosophies allow a player to showcase his various abilities to play (or lack thereof). With BB's philosophy, player X is required (even limited) to perform A and B with consistency. Player Y next to him needs to perform B and C with consistency, etc etc. So while player Z may not be greatly talented and quite possibly is a JAG on another team, he is a player on the BB Patriots. So far my impression of Fletcher is that of player Z. He is a good fit in the BB philosophy (though it is too early to officially give him this accolade).

    Both Fletcher and Spikes, if they can stay on the field, appear to be two parts of a consistent front 7 (along with others such as Mayo, Ninkovich, Wilfork, Anderson and others). I doubt that group will strike fear into the hearts of opponents, however, they will ably fulfill what plan BB devises to win the next game. Now as far as the secondary, urghhhhhhh!
  19. andrewgarrr

    andrewgarrr Banned

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    It's going to be interesting to see if the defense plays more regularly in a 34 base next season. Lots of interesting questions.

    Who plays DE?
    What of Carter, Anderson, Ellis, Warren, and Wright?
    Does Cunningham come back and start at OLB?
  20. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, all certainly great questions..

    I would guess that one of Carter/Anderson comes back (just an outright guess), and that not many, if any, of Wright, Warren, and Ellis return.

    It will certainly be something to keep a close eye on, and will definitely have bearing on what happens in April in regards to the draft selections.

    I wonder if Belichick even knows at this point? In my opinion, the 4-3 defense has been fine, with the exception of the secondary; but since BB is a man who is mainly tailored towards a base 3-4, my guess is that we'd be going back to that.

    There may be something to Cunningham remaining in team meetings, then again maybe not?

    A huge question...either way, I am sure we will be very competitive and just fine.
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