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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by patsox23, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    THE PATRIOTS ARE BETTER AT:

    QB - Brady not playing with a hernia, Cassel with a full year under his belt

    RB - Corey healthy, Faulk healthy, Maroney added.

    OL - Light healthy, Koppen (eventually) healthy, Mankins and Kaczur have been through a full year now.

    TE - Graham healthy (and OL healthy so he doesn't have to babysit), Watson took a big leap last year, Dave Thomas better/younger/faster than Fauria.

    DL - A full year of Seymour, better back-up possibilities for Wilfork

    DB - Starks and Poole GONE, Hobbs a full-time starter (with a year under his belt), Geno and Asante played better 2nd half of last year, Scott healthy, James Sanders reported to have taken a leap, Tebucky Jones better than the scrubs we threw against the wall last year.

    THE PATRIOTS ARE WORSE AT:

    K - AV gone, replaced with rookie. 'nuff said.

    WR - Givens gone, Caldwell injury-prone, Chad Jackson dynamic but unproven, That said, by mid-season if Caldwell doesn't get hurt and Jackson is as good as people think, the WR's could be very solid.

    THE PATRIOTS ARE ABOUT EVEN AT:

    LB (lose Willie, gain a full year of Tedy, Beisel would have to be better and, from all accounts, was like "night and day" by the end of 2006) - could end up improving, but hard to count on Claridge (essentially a rookie), Gardner's a JAG scrub, all others (Roach, Mincey, Woods) are unknown development types, Banta-Cain hasn't shown much (especially in 2005, when IMO he regressed).
  2. smg93

    smg93 Rookie

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    Interesting but i'd put LB at the "worse" category. It's going to take some time before we can replace someone of Willie's caliber.
  3. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Actually, my best-guess is they'll be better there. I agree that Willie is a loss, but we didn't have Bruschi for almost HALF of last year and Beisel was clueless for double-digit games. According to Dean Pees (DC/LB coach), Beisel at the beginning of 2005 compared to Beisel by the end of the year was "like night and day." This position is, IMO, at WORSE "about the same."
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2006
  4. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Willie's getting a little old. Even if we had kept him, he probably wouldn't have been the same player.

    He put in a LOT of good years with the Pats. Can't keep it up forever.

    I hope he does well with the Browns, but I think Romeo wanted him mostly to show the young guys how it is done and to be a locker room leader. You can't put too high a value on chamistry, and I think the Browns are in need of it. Willie will be more of a cator in Cleveland than he would be here.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  5. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    Nice concept.

    PLUS ... kicking teams improved by both longer K/Os and younger, faster coverage.

    MINUS ... that one cannot count all the returning injured as net pickups.
    Although this definitely IS the year that the Pats suffer only league-average injuries,
    still we'll open the season without a few folks you're counting on ... and play the February game without additional others.
  6. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree that Willie's close to the end of the line, but that's part of the answer to "hmmmmmm to pay or not to pay," not to, "are we better at LB?"

    As of right now, today, we have to expect the Pats woulda been better with than without, for this upcoming season. LB definitely goes in the "worse" category for this year, but dumping Willie now might make sense, because we would have been on the hook for a lot of cash, for a declining return.

    I'm the odd man out on this, but I think we actually hold even or possibly get better at kicker. We're all worried about how Ghost does under pressure... but Adam had an off year last year, and might be looking at his best stuff in the rear view mirror at this point (even though a kicker can theoretically go just about forever, they seem to hit a wall in their mid-30s like any other athlete.) Ghost hits them from the 40s and the 50s... the only question is, does he do it under pressure?

    I think we're also weak at WR, something you did not mention (unless I missed it.) Big upside, mind you, possibly a very pleasant future. But as someone else recently said, wouldn't you rather grind it out on the ground anyway? This year, we have lots of firepower in the running game, including the exciting new kid.

    Also bear in mind that when we say "a healthy [your name here,]" we are also missing the injury we don't know is coming this season. For whatever reason, the Pats just never stay healthy. I see no reason to believe this year will be any different.

    Eh well, we will see... 35 days to camp, right?

    PFnV
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  7. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    "As of right now, today, we have to expect the Pats woulda been better with than without, for this upcoming season. LB definitely goes in the "worse" category for this year, but dumping Willie now might make sense, because we would have been on the hook for a lot of cash, for a declining return."


    I really don't understand why Willie's departure is counted and Bruschi's presence (and Beisel's apparent improvement) is not. No one is arguing that we're not weaker IN THE SENSE THAT WILLIE'S NOT HERE, but that's not the whole picture and I'm judging the LB corps as "the whole picture." Add it all up and I think it's "about the same," but close to "better."

    "I think we're also weak at WR, something you did not mention (unless I missed it.)"

    FTR, WR has to be - and is - put in the "worse" category, for the time being. Re-read the original post, you'll see it.

    "Also bear in mind that when we say "a healthy [your name here,]" we are also missing the injury we don't know is coming this season."

    Very good and fair point. We can't just assume NO INJURIES, but this list is based on the assumption that we will have a normal amount of injuries, banking on the fact that the odds are very long that we'll have ANOTHER season of catastrophic injury.

    "For whatever reason, the Pats just never stay healthy. I see no reason to believe this year will be any different."

    How 'bout this for a reason: it can't possibly continue to be as bad as it's been. Just odds-wise, it's ridiculous - we've had NFL RECORD numbers of injuries the last two years. Regressing to the mean, you'd think at some point we'll have just a normal amount.

    Thanks for the input.
  8. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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  9. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    About the only way someone could say that we are worse off starting this year at LB than last year would be if they think that we would be better off if we kept WMG but lost Bruschi. I suppose a case could be made. Personally, I wouldn't buy it, though. I think we are better of this Sept (with Bruschi, w/o WMG) than last Sept (with Bruschi, w/o WMG).
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
  10. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I understand the 4 1/2 sack game can cloud this type of thinking, but Willie already had declined throughout 2005. Im not saying he wasnt good, or doing the 'once they are gone they sucked' routine. But while Willie has played great, it was clear he wasn't the player in 2005 he was in 04, 03, etc.
    Still one of the best at the position, he was clearly to me, a step slower getting to the QB (everyone had to recognize the numerous times Willie coming off the edge, arms up, and didnt get there in time) he also saw more time on the sidelines each season.
    Replacing Willie of 2003 is a much larger task that replacing Willie of 2005.

    On top of that, in a team defense concept, when you have Seymour, Warren, Wilfork, Colvin, Bruschi and Vrabel as the rest of the front 7, losing a McGinest is much more easily absorbed than if we had a mediocre front 7 and he was the best player on it.

    IMO, we are at starting positions, better than we started 2005, worse than we ended it but I think the depth is going to be better (we got zero from reserve LBs last year) and overall the unit is equal. Additionally, with a full year of Bruschi, we ARE BETTER in the top 3 LB positions, which is all we use at least 50% of the snaps.
  11. PatsFanInVa

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    Andy nailed it (partially.) I still don't think we get better at LB, and don't buy that a full year of Bruschi is going to make a monumental difference in his play (as opposed to the last games of 05.)

    As for the injuries, there are two possibilities:

    1) We're just filling in a very low probability area in the probability curve of NFL injuries, for no other reason than bad fortune, or

    2) There is some reason for it.

    I don't know jack about the Pats' strength/conditioning program, or anything else they do or could do to make injuries less of an event every year... but it's amazing that in this one area, things seem to happen to the team "by chance" on a regular basis.

    Any insights? I asked "Ask PFW" once, and got an impassioned "The Pats aren't any more injured than any other NFL team! Ever!" response, which was a crock. Thoughts?

    PFnV
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  12. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Three things lead me to believe this is true.
    (1) The Pats are no longer the defending champs, and so aren't playing with as big a target as they were last year.
    (2) The Pats don't have nearly as brutal a schedule in 2006 as they faced the first half of 2005.
    (3) The Pats aren't playing the Squeelers in the regular season (see Harrison, Rodney; Light, Matt; and even Palmer, Carson).
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    VERY intersting topic on the injuries.
    Factually, if you look at it, the Pats have had more injuries than maybe any other team. The 2003 SB Champs were called the 'most inuured' Champ ever, and the 2004 team may have exceeded that. 2005 wasn't really better.

    Reasons? Hard to speculate.
    I dont know if I can lay blame on the conditioning program because when you look at the injuries individually they have absolutely nothing to do with strength and conditioning.
    To name a few, Harrisons knee, Light, and koppens broken bones, Colvins hip, Bruschi's stroke, Dillons ankle, Deions injury when Neal steamrolled him, Starks shoulder, Laws foot, and many others, had nothing to do with conditioning. Everyone would have happened to a perfectly conditioned athlete encoutering the play that caused it.

    Here is a theory Ive never heard mentioned. We know that part of what has made the Pats what they are is effort. They play hard. They play to the whistle. They are a VERY physical team. Is it possible that the mentality that makes them so good is the same mentality that creates more injuires?
    Here are a few examples:
    Our OL play the whole play. They are downfield blocking until the whistle. (By the way our system also has them more likely to making blocks on the run in space on screens or when pulling to lead---I think our OL pulls more than any Ive seen) I have seen tons of fat lazy OL who make a block then stand around. They arent getting injured.
    On Rodneys injury he was not involved in the play. He was late getting there (not a knock, its just the type of play) but ran to the ball anyway, and was in position to make the tackle if the tackler missed.He got hit standing in the "backup position" that is near the play, but not in it. Does every team play with that type of urgency? Would the Rodney on another team have seen the play was being made and not gotten within 5 yards of the pile?
    -Ben Watson chasing down of Bailey. Its hard to argue that play risks injury, but playing with that much intensity, never giving up, factored over a roster, surely would create injuries.
    -Graham, Watson, OL. There were a few instances last year of the TEs catching a short pass, having an OL totally lay out to get lead block (again many OL would be heading back to the huddle at that point) and Graham or Watson hurdled the defender to go on to a long run. That helt bent give it all youve got style could also be something that lends itself to more injuries.

    Is it possible the conclusion is that teams that play hard, that are committed not just to winning but to winning every play, expose themselves to more injuries? Could it be that we are destined to have more injuries than most teams, but that its a GOOD thing? Playing with a less aggressive mentality and having fewer injuries doesnt sound to me like it would be better.

    To top it off, the Patroits have, better than any team in NFL history, IMO, been able to overcome injuries. They plug in who is next in line, and rarely see much of a drop off. (Yes when the next in line is signed off the street or playing out of position, like last year, there is dropoff) I think its not unreasonable to say that we are more prone to injuries than other teams, but that is a good thing, because the reasons we are more prone are the same reasons we are so good.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  14. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    One of the more thoughtful commentaries on the injury bug, the Branch/Neal steamrolling is a classic incident that fits your analysis, two players hustling to make a play. Well done AJ!

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  15. flutie2phelan

    flutie2phelan Rookie

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    I think Andy found a light switch in the dark.
  16. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nah, Andy always thinks better when he's in the dark. :D
  17. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good breakdown, Andy. I've been prone to float that one too (play harder, get hurter.) I guess Brady just doesn't play hard ;) <-- KIDDING there.

    Okay, I like that theory, and like I've said, I've floated that theory. Any others? I would hate to think the Pats are the only team that plays that hard, it would just be so unfair to the rest of the league. How do other physical clubs compare? That leads into the whole debate about what counts as a "physical club." But I think (rightly or wrongly,) of the Steelers as a physical team. They seem to primarily get shot or run their bikes into cars in offseason incidents. I'm sure there's also a Steeler's board somewhere saying that's the Steelers kind of player mentality that won them a SB... rough, tough, fearless, etc. Not as germane a version of this point, but a similar point. We can say this stuff happened to our guys on the field, because our guys are fearless and relentless on the field; they would say their guys are just fearless and relentless by nature, and that's why they play that way on the field.

    But what's their usual on-field injury tally for a year? My memory for other teams is pretty much nonexistent. But let's look at them and other teams known for playing physical. I would bet it doesn't stack up to what happens to the Pats year in and year out.

    Regardless of the answer here, we can say this: the organization regularly plugs people in and gets decent performances out of them. Last year the injuries finally caught up, but only to an extent. They were still right in it until, well, you know. This is another area where the Team First approach applies - nobody cries a river when one guy, no matter how important, goes down (see Sey.) In fact, nobody else wants to tempt fate by saying this, but I would bet they would fight through and still make the playoffs if Brady, God forbid, went down.

    Just seems we take the hardest road there every season - any other variables that could explain the Pats' statistical anomaly on the injury front?

    PFnV
  18. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! Rookie

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    The reason that I agree with ANDYJOHNSON is that Belichick himself often says "so and so is a good team player, he SACRIFICED HIS BODY to make that play!"

    Now that is hard evidence of what is being suggested about playing hard.

    I also think our LB core is about the same as last year, with more experience in the middle and Colvin playing for Wille on the outside. Willie might still be with the team if we believe that Belichick was unhappy that Willie refused to switch sides with Colvin in the first place. Maybe Colvin will be about as good as a one year older Willie, on the outside. I think the LB core will do better this year, overall.

    I think WR could very likely be better, as the season goes on. But depth is a concern.

    I think an up and coming rookie kicker can be the match of an aging kicker, better at kick-offs, and maybe slightly less reliable at first in field goals, but not forever.
  19. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Rookie

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    remember ted johnson

    he was the classic immobale objest,. made it possible for bruschi to fly all around the field.
    right now TB has to be the #1 hitter LB. he's good at it, but he has to stay home a lot more.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2005
  20. Poll

    Poll Rookie

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    Is there any correlation between the type of field and injuries.
    I've heard of soccer players boycotting artificial turf because they're afraid of breaking bones.

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