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Patriots Pass Defense Improved in 2013 over 2012

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by goheels22002, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. goheels22002

    goheels22002 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    2013 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    I still tear my hair out thinking about 2012 when mediocre QBs had career days, and I lived on the edge of my seat every time a QB floated one 20+ yards downfield. That changed in 2013 when the greatest concern was getting man-handled up front with Wilfork, Kelly and Mayo out, and Spikes playing through injuries most of the season.

    Here are a few pass defense statistics to chew on as you think about off-season moves on defense. Keep in mind that Wilfork, Mayo and Kelly went out weeks 4,5,and 6, and Dennard and Talib missed chunks of time as well.

    ....Opponent's................2012....2013
    Passing Yards Per Game:......271....239
    Passing Yards per attempt....7.1....7.0
    Passing Yards per catch......12.9....12.3
    Completion %....................62.1....57
    Passer Rating....................86.9....81
    Sacks..............................37.......48

    A couple of factors that I think were important were: 1) continuity - the Patriots added a couple of rookies, but kept Arrington, Talib, Dennard, Gregory and McCourty together for a 2nd year and ended the revolving door secondary that drove all of us to distraction in previous years, 2) discipline - there were some exceptions, but for the most part, the defensive backs did not get out of position and were there to contest passes or force coverage sacks, hurries, and QB hits. They looked like a unit that knew what they doing and a lot of the credit has to go to Gregory and McCourty for recognizing formations and communicating the correct coverages.

    For all of the people who are looking to dump Gregory for a small cap savings, let Talib go, or throw Matt Patricia under the bus, think about the improvement this defense made in spite of the injuries, and starting rookies at two or three positions for most of the season, and filling in with interior defensive linemen off of other teams' practice squads since week 6.
  2. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Talib, Dennard, and Arrington are solid CB1, CB2, and nickel corners respectively. I think McCourty is one of the better safeties in the AFC. Gregory can stand to be upgraded but it's not a matter that's urgent as long as he has others around him that are high caliber players in the secondary. What the Patriots need the most to improve their pass defense (aside from possibly retaining Talib or making a move to replace him, should he go) is another edge rusher to bookend Jones. I like Ninkovich, but he's a guy that you want in a rotation. He's not an ideal guy as a starting DE. A lot of times this year and in 2012, Ninkovich was getting one on one battles with RT's or TE's (due to Jones, Wilfork, and Kelly at some points this season) and wasn't winning them nearly as much as he should have. Unless the team has faith that Buchanan can bulk up enough to take on the run when needed as well as getting the knowledge of when he can and can't push far upfield, DE has to be viewed as a need in the offseason. Of course, health along the DL will also help and hopefully Wilfork is back to at least a fraction of what he used to be (though Achilles injuries to linemen that large are sometimes a death sentence for their career).

    I do agree, though, that the pass defense improved over 2012 and anything we've had since 2007. Now they need to improve a bit up front.
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I completely agree. Particularly about the need for a rotation. In addition to the points you've made, it's a liability. You can't depend on your 2 starting DEs playing 98.1% and 95.6% of the defensive snaps.

    As much as I'd love to have someone like Greg Hardy, I doubt we have the cap space to sign a significant FA contributor. I'd love to pick someone up in the draft early on. I see this as our biggest need on defense. Someone like Trent Murphy would be terrific in a rotation, and has the versatility to be moved around.
  4. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd like to see the team concentrate on WR and TE mostly in FA (Chandler and Nicks would be a dream come true for me). In the draft is where I would like them to focus on the trenches. I agree with you about Murphy. The more I'm seeing of him, the more I like. I also wouldn't mind Marcus Smith or Kareem Martin.
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'd love to get both Murphy and Marcus Smith (or Kyle Van Noy) in the draft. Manx has been leading the Smith charge, and he certainly is explosive - not quite Jamie Collins in terms of raw athleticism, but not too far off. Having a solid DE rotation plus 2 LBs with that kind of explosiveness would allow the defense to throw a lot of different looks, and generate tons of pressure. No pass defense is much good without pressure up front.
  6. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No love for Martin, though?
  7. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll pass. Nice frame, though.
  8. varjao

    varjao Rookie

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    I have DE as a high priority as well and I wouldn't mind a double dip, a draft pick an a cheap veteran FA like Carter from 2 years ago.

    Drafting a DT with the ability to rush from the inside and a DE and this numbers will improve even more, injuries aside.

    With a scary pass rushing that secondary needs no addition, only a couple pieces for depth and rotation.
  9. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Did the pass rush suffer due to the injuries of Wilfork, Kelly and Wilfork??... with those three guys down, did Jones and Ninkovich have to be more conservative than they might have been if there were less injuries. A 33% increase in sacks is a significant increase.. Denver had 41 sacks and Seattle had 44, we had more.

    Also do not forget about Adrian Wilson, who I believe was signed to cover TE's...
  10. varjao

    varjao Rookie

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    These numbers are lying a little bit, we got a lot of sacks in garbage time. I don't really think the pass rush had an improvement over 2012, sure the loss of Wilfork and kelly have an effect.
  11. DarrylS

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    Not sure how you quantify your contention... as the same could probably be said for other teams as well.

    The loss of Wilfork, Kelly and Mayo impacted the whole defense, this is a team sport and all are interdependent on each other. Mayo went to outside LB this year with the anticipation that it would put less stress on the DE's... but none of this worked out.
  12. goheels22002

    goheels22002 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I like DT Henry Melton as a 27-year-old free agent from the Bears. He may be much more affordable than his franchise tag of $8.4 million for 2013 after a blown ACL in week three and a Christmas run in with the law in Texas.

    Given that the Patriots are experts in keeping players who get into drunken brawls on the field, he's a perfect fit. Bob Kraft could sell a lot of raffle tickets for a night on the town with Henry Melton, Alfonso Dennard and Julian Edelman:

    Henry Melton of Chicago Bears arrested after altercation at bar - ESPN Chicago
  13. goheels22002

    goheels22002 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interceptions went down in 2013 from 20 to 17. That is a direct result of pressure on the passer and the loss of the big guys up front. Interceptions come on QB hits, pockets collapsing into the QB and hurries. It was tough to get a push up the middle with Siliga, Jones and Vellano, although those guys got better as the season wore on.
  14. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    With the emergence of Ryan, our top 4 corners - when healthy - make up one of the better groups in the league. Unfortunately, they were rarely all healthy this season, with three of the four playing through some real injuries.
  15. Sicilian

    Sicilian Rookie

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    I must have missed all those blowouts we had this season. What garbage time did we have outside of the Baltimore game? 12 of our 16 games ended within 7 points for crying out loud.
  16. RIpats88

    RIpats88 Rookie

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    If we re-sign Talib I like our secondary alot. BUT you can only cover for so long. You need a dominant front 7. I like our LB's....but we need guys who can rush the passer and can dominate the line of scrimmage.

    not being able to even get a hit on Manning was pathetic. Chandler jones cant do it all on his own..and if they double him we need guys who can beat their man 1 v 1
  17. Christian

    Christian Rookie

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    Agree with almost everything said.

    REALLY like our secondary going forward if we retain Talib (which I think we will). Continuity combined with the talent we have has made a big difference and I think it will even more so into next year. McCourty is entering his prime, Talib is in his prime as well as Arrington. Dennard and Ryan are both guys that look legit. Gregory could be upgraded, but I highly doubt we draft another S given that Tavon Wilson and Harmon were picked back to back years. Maybe we sign one in FA, but certainly not a big name.

    The LB core could use another guy....and we absolutely need more of a pass rush. The FO is going to make DL a priority this off season regardless of Wilfork and Kelly's status. I think they draft either a DE or DT high...most likely a DT. I would love to see Nink as more of a LB/DE hybrid, not a permanent DE. He's solid, but we need another stud on the line opposite Jones. That would make a big difference.
  18. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

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    well we did play the dolphins twice..that right there was like 12 sacks alone.
  19. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    What garbage time? The Pitt and Raven games are the only ones that weren't nail biters. The # of sacks went up 30% into the Top 5 of the League.
  20. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree that we have a strong secondary. Even the rookie backups did pretty well.

    We will be greatly improved in 2104 with the return of Mayo.

    We will we greatly improved in 2015 with the return of either Wilfork and/or Kelly.
    ========

    HOWEVER,

    BOTTOM LINE

    A) We need to re-sign Talib.

    B) We need bring in a 3rd starting DE to rotate with Ninkovich and Jones (in place of Bequette)

    C) And yes, we need an upgrade over Carter to compete with Buchanan.

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