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Our '05 Defense Was GOOD!

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JJDChE, Mar 28, 2006.

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  1. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I posted a similar thread at the end of last season, but I think this deserves to be brought up again now that we are all talking about next year and what positions we have to fill.

    Last year we went through an unbelievable string of injuries (even by our standards), losing our best player in the secondary for essentially the entire season, our best linebacker for half the season and our best defensive lineman for a quarter of the season. Plus, we put 6 defensive backs on IR, giving us revolving door secondary for about half the season. On top of all this, the majority of the injuries came during an amazingly difficult stretch of games. Not to mention, it was our DCoordinators first year on the job (what a way to start, eh). It was the perfect storm, in a sense.

    The impressive thing was that the team rebounded to not only be good, but maybe the best defense in the NFL in the second half of the season. I look at the season in three parts. The first part, games 1-3, when Harrison was in. The second part, games 4-11, where we had the revolving door secondary and Seymour/Bruschi missed several games. The third part, games 12-18, where the secondary stabilized and jelled, and Seymour and Bruschi came back/got back to form.

    IMO, and the stats bear this out, you can throw out games 4-11. It wasn't in any way indicative of the how defense played before or after that stretch and in all likelihood won't be indicative of how the defense will perform going forward. During that 8 game stretch we allowed 3,392 yds (424 yds/G) and 212 points (26.5 ppg) and didn't allow less than 394 yards in any game (worst 8-game stretch, yardage-wise, in NFL history, BTW). In the other 9 games (not including the throwaway game at Miami) we only allowed over 300 yds once (season opener vs. Oakland, 351 yds). We allowed a total of 2,104 yds, that's 233.8 yds/G. The league leader, Tampa Bay, allowed 277.8 yds/G.

    ***For the skeptics (I know you're out there):

    I know someone is going to pipe up about the schedule or some other lame excuse, but in the 9 game stretch that I just mentioned we were 7-2 and faced 5 teams with 11 wins or more. And if you want to bring up cherrypicking games, if you look at Tampa Bay's best 9 games they allowed an average of 232.4 yds/G, while facing opponents with a combined winning percentage for .438. The Patriots opponents in the 9-game stretch above had a combined winning percentage of .525. A .525 Strength of Schedule would rank as the 7th most difficult in the NFL, while a .438 SOS would be the second easiest.


    I could go through all the stats and breakdowns but I won't, just sufficed to say in the games where our defense wasn't scrambling to plug holes, we were, statistically, the best defense in the NFL. We have lost ONE STARTER on that defense and we will get one back who missed the majority of the season with an injury. No matter what happens from here on out I have a feeling our defense will be better than fine next year.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2006
  2. BradyJustWins

    BradyJustWins Rookie

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    The majority of that is fair... I think some look at last season & feel the Pats have far more holes than they do in reality. Once we got the best 3rd down CB...for offenses... off the field(Starks), we saw a pretty big jump in defensive play.

    Once Hawkins got plugged in at S & the front 7 got healthy, Pats D overall was pretty good. I wouldn't harp on the stats JJ, they also didn't play the top tier offenses after that point. The D DID play better, but they also DID play some mediocre to bad offenses. Both played an equal roll. Non-Pats fans only look at the teams they played, but I saw a clear difference in the 2nd half strictly in the way the Pats were playing D.

    Lastly, your assuming above that Harrison will be back. While I'm optimistic, no way can we pencil him in.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2006
  3. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    If you believe the rumors Belichik basically took away the reigns of the D from Mangini after game 11, letting the dogs loose. Before then we had ZERO pass rush, hardly any forced turnovers and teams picked our secondary apart, the only positive was our run defense.

    I agree that our D turned out to be good when it mattered most but we can't ignore how bad we sucked too. I'd give them a mulligan this year and trust that we'll be more consistent this year.

    God if Manning converts another 3rd down...
     
  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Whether it was Belichick, Mangini, Pees, Seymour or whoever, there was zero doubt that it happened. Was it because we were playing lesser QBs ? Maybe they were less concerned about being burned if the blitz didn't get there. Who knows but it certainly happened.

    BJW - you are right about the teams we played but we also did well defensively against Denver in the playoffs and were practically setting records game by game with our defensive numbers in the second half against those lesser offenses. Also, teams like TB managed to be average against others but utterly useless gainst us. Stick around here, btw, after that other place comes back.
     
  5. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    We did play some mediocre offenses, but we dominated them, so I don't see that as a knock.

    I do expect we'll have Harrison back at some point, I'm not sure when. I understand his rehab is going well but his injury has been known to take up to two years to come back from. Although, from what I understand the knee was pretty clean and the surgery went well and I think that's as big as an indicator as anything of how long it will take to come back. A lot of times the ACL/MCL/PCL tears come along with internal damage, which i don't think Harrison had.
     
  6. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I don't remember hearing about Belichick taking over the defense, but I guess that's a possibility.

    Also, I think we can ignore the fact that they sucked for a while. They were given an almost impossible situation to contend with. Tehy couldn't have been expected to do well under the circumstances.
     
  7. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There was some talk about Mangini being too protective of "his" (remember he was still, and had been, the DB coach) secondary after Harrison got hurt. That he seemed more interested in protecting them than taking on his new job of DC. The story goes that the players had enough and finally had it out with Belichick about it. Whether Belichick took over the defense or just told Mangini the direction to go, who knows. It was also said that Belichick had to step in more than once to the defensive team meetings because Mangini was struggling to take control of the whole defense.

    Truth ? Who knows.
     
  8. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Well, if it is true, it's the Jets problem now. :D
     
  9. BradyJustWins

    BradyJustWins Rookie

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    Oh agreed... The Pats D did EVERYTHING they needed to vs the Broncos that they didn't during the regular season. A game like that was proof of how far the Pats D had come since mid-season.

    I also agree with JJ's point that, despite how bad the offenses were, Pats D didn't just slow them down, they dominated them.

    Trust me, I feel ok about this D & don't think they have nearly the holes some do.


    PS... I always check this site a couple times a week, but you know how it is... hard to keep up with conversations going on at one site, let alone two. That being said, a big reason I didn't come here as much was the messageboard format. Sense that is now just as good, I'll probably give my 2 cents more often.

    See you around BBfan. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2006
  10. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    I've heard too many stories of a defensive shake-up after the KC game to not believe that some drastic measures were taken. I was prepared to endure a lesser D with Mangini as DC but I never expected one of the worst in the league. Sure we had injuries but we still had 11 players out there, what was happening out there was nothing short of pathetic.

    Hearing that Mangini struggled to take control of his D doesn't bode well for his new team (WTF were they thinking?) but it's great for us!
     
  11. BradyJustWins

    BradyJustWins Rookie

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    Honestly even if the Pats had a top D all season, I always felt Mangini was way too inexperienced for a HC job.

    Jets better be prepared to give him 3 full seasons, plus that 4th season to prove himself. Otherwise what was the point to adding such a young inexperienced HC? No way is he ready for the big time next year.
     
  12. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Oh, don't worry, I trust you. After 10,000+ posts, I think I have a pretty good feeling on where you stand regarding the Pats. ;)
     
  13. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    It wouldn't surprise me to see the Patriots with a tp-3 defense this year. One of the best...if not the best DL in the league. Warren and Wilfork blossomed last year. Even with the loss of Mcginest...the linebackers are still a strong unit.

    I believe Hobbs is the real deal and will be at least a capable #2 CB this year with the potential to be a #1. Nice depth there with Chad Scott back. Eugene Wilson, with a competant CB crew will finally get the props he deserves as one of the best FS's in the league...and Rodney...well a healthy Rodney keeps the interior nice and open now doesn't he.
     
  14. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Now that Wilfork and Warren have both come around and Rosie is back up to speed we have an extremely solid front 6. That being the case, I think it would be an ideal time to plug a rookie in at OLB/ILB (preferably, high rounder :D ) to cap off the front 7. The veteran leadership is so strong in that unit that I think a rookie would be able to shine, even in a complex defense.
     
  15. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    Well, the only thing is, as luck can have it we could have another patch work year like last. But then again, even in our worse years we NEVER had Seymour, bruschi, and Harrison out all at the same time. That's your elite players on the 3 levels of defense. I have NO doubt our defense will be the same defense it was at the end of last season. This defense is unchanged except for Willie. Other than that, we're getting younger, healthier, and more experienced in the secondary. I'm not concerned at this defense at all.
     
  16. skri65

    skri65 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I've said it before and I"ll say it again. Part of the reason the Denver loss hurt so much is that our D played absolutely amazing (when Denver wasn't starting on the 1 yard line of course). With only 1 starter gone, our D should prove to be one of the best next year.
     
  17. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Can't disagree with that. The D got tired in the end...but playing in Denver and losing the ball control game will do that by the end of the game anyways over there.
     
  18. GoWhalers

    GoWhalers On the Game Day Roster

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    As bad as our defense looked through the middle of the season -- and I agree with the earlier poster who pointed out the doormats we beat later in the season -- a significant amount of the responsibility has to go to the offense as well.

    The offense -- reeling from their own injuries -- couldn't shoulder the load of keeping the defense out of bad situations. No Dillon/Faulk, Watson/Givens/Graham dropping balls, and an shuffled O-line, all put a tremendous amount of burden on Brady, and his stats for the season reflect that. But it's too much to ask one guy to carry the whole team.

    I'll go so far as to say that even if we don't get Harrison back at the start of the year, but have most of our O-line and a healthy Dillon, this team will look remarkably strong on both sides of the ball. One hand washes the other!
     
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