Pats want to build fortress around Brady

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by R_T26, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. R_T26

    R_T26 Banned

    If I were to guess they are interested in McNeil, Scott, and Gilles

    Mobile, Al. -- Reports coming from the staff at mobile have indicated the New England Patriots are interested in adding some beef to their team. Patriots' scouts and personnel staffers have had conversations with the big boys who move the piles. The focus on blockers is not surprising considering how poorly the Patriots line played in 2005.

    It's the offseason and for Patriots' scouts that means it is time to go shopping.

    That's what the Patriots have been doing at the 2006 Senior Bowl. On the list, offensive linemen.

    Dante Scarnecchia, the Patriots offensive line coach, has worked wonders with average to slightly above average talented linemen for years. Last year appeared to be the beginning of a shift in the Patriots draft focus. The team concentrated on improving a line that lost pro bowler Damien Woody (2004), stand out guard Joe Andruzzi (2005) and a disappointing tackle Adrian Klemm (2005) to free agency. Scarnecchia must certainly have been pleased with the change in philosophy when the team drafted a pair of linemen last April. He must be even more pleased to see what's happening in Mobile this week.

    Normally the Patriots avoid making offensive line a priority, preferring instead to sign free agents or spend a lower round pick on a player some time on the second day of the Draft. 2005 signaled a change in the team's approach. The Patriots drafted two linemen in 2005, Logan Mankins (1st round) and Nick Kaczur (3rd round). It was the first time the Patriots paid that much attention to building the offensive line through the Draft since Bill Belichick's first season in New England.

    The linemen Belichick's Patriots have drafted have been hit or miss. There were no linemen drafted in 2004. 2003 saw the Patriots choose center Dan Koppen (5th-round). 2002, again there were no linemen drafted. In 2001 Matt Light (2nd-round) and Kenyatta Jones (4th-round) were the choices. And in Belichick's first draft for the Patriots (2000), Adrian Klemm (2nd-round) and Greg Robinson-Randall (4th-round) were the choices.

    Koppen and Light were the only two to stick with the team over the years, although the play of Woody was missed, Koppen helped to fill the void. 2000's draft crop has seen Robinson-Randall fall out of the league in 2003 and Klemm serve as a backup in Green Bay where he was demoted after a stint starting at guard.

    In Mobile, the Patriots have returned to the philosophy of building a fortress around their franchise quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was smacked around like a rag doll during the 2005 season, taking the kind of hits that have sidelined other solid signal callers like Steve McNair and Donovan McNabb. Although Brady has avoided the "Big Hit" as it's called, he has had to pick himself up off the turf at an alarming rate. Although he won't be the one to say it as Peyton Manning did after the Colts playoff loss to the Steelers, the line has to protect him better if they want a chance to get to the Super Bowl.

    Injuries are one area that plagued the Patriots line in 2005. Coming off of a broken leg, there may be some concern that Light may have trouble returning at full strength. He went down in week 3 against Pittsburgh, and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Koppen suffered a separated shoulder late in 2005, but should be ready to resume his duties in time for training camp in 2006. Right tackle Tom Ashworth missed four weeks with various ailments and was replaced by Brandon Gorin who finished 2005 as the starter. Kaczur injured his shoulder, forcing another line change, but was able to return to finish the season.

    TFY Draft Preview has reported that the Patriots have huddled with a couple of prospects that can help protect Brady in 2006. Some of the names on the list are top-rated offensive linemen from big school programs. There are no Toledo (Kaczur) or Fresno State (Mankins) names being thrown about. Rather, it's big name prospects from schools like Texas, Auburn and Georgia.

    Conversations with big names from big schools are enough reason to believe the Patriots are serious about upgrading their offensive line. The second round pick used on Light turned out well. The former Purdue Boilermaker has held down the left side of the line for years now, and was a key component in providing Brady the kind of protection he needed on his blind side. The fifth-round pick used on Boston College product Koppen proved even more valuable as he stepped in for the departed Woody as a rookie to help guide the team to the Super Bowl.

    If the Patriots interest in linemen at the Senior Bowl is any indication of their intentions, 2006 should see at least one lineman chosen on the first day in April's Draft.
  2. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- Supporter

    #24 Jersey

  3. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Sounds like aj's prediction/desire is being considered.
  4. chris_in_sunnyvale

    chris_in_sunnyvale In the Starting Line-Up

    The OL did an okay job in pass protection, but Brady makes it look so much better than it really is with his footwork and ability to get rid of the ball as he's about to get hit. Imagine him playing behind Pittsburgh's or Seattle's OL? Even with no running game, he'd throw for 4800 yards. Football is won in the trenches. The Pats have done a good job in recent years shoring up the DL. Now its time to shore up the OL.

  5. Look at Seattles line. Them and the Chefs are consistently good.
  6. marty

    marty In the Starting Line-Up

    FBN, can't seem to get your links to work! Anyway, I'm so glad to see this post as the Oline was what I wanted most to see improved. Protecting Brady, and giving our running backs more room to run were my #1 wishes!
  7. Willie55

    Willie55 In the Starting Line-Up

    Brady got beat to hell this year. He got hit way too many times.
  8. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    I personally don't think the Pats should spend another 1st rounder on an offensive lineman.

    [b]~~RG     Steve Neal        30      5th year[/b]
    OG/C     Russ Hochstein    29      6th year
    ~~OT     Tom Ashworth      29      5th year
    [b]LT       Matt Light        28      6th year[/b]
    OT       Brandon Gorin     28      5th year
    ~~OG/C/T Ross Tucker       27      6th year
    [b]RT       Nick Kaczur       27      2nd year[/b]
    [b]C        Daniel Koppen     27      4th year[/b]
    *-*OG/C  Billy Yates       26      3rd year
    OT/G     Jeff Roehl        26      3rd year
    *-*OG/C  Gene Mruczkowski  26      4th year
    OT       Wesley Britt      25      2nd year
    [b]LG       Logan Mankins     24      2nd year[/b]
    OG       Ryan Krug         24      2nd year
    OG       Nick Steitz       24      2nd year
    ~~ = UFA
    *-* = ERFA
    (Ages of December 31st, 2006, also sorted by actual birthdate)
    (Probable 2006 starters, if signed, in bold)
    You can never have enough depth, but I just don't like spending 1st-3rd round money on someone who would likely be a backup, pending what happens at RG.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2006
  9. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    the thing is...

    they've (the scar) done well in putting together an O-Line and sustaining decent play without two key starters this year. but patriots have a top-10 property here in brady, and he is just not adequately protected. i'm surprised he hasn't broken a leg or a couple fingers yet with all those hits. maybe 115 solid hits a year? heck, i don't recall ever seeing joe montana's uniform dirty.
    IMO the thing is...brandon gorin should not be a starting T, at least not here. he should be a reserve T, along with Kaczur. i seem to have read for years that BB/SP envisioned Light as a RT, not a LT. so one of the starting OTs should be a 21st century 2nd or 3d rounder---6'5", 320, lean looking, runs 4.9, ridiculous benches, passes BB's conditioning test with ease.
    IMO neal will keep getting better. he would make better progress if he had a first-rate vet like Light next to him instead of a glad-to-be-here guy like gorin.
    IMO the interior folks, mankins-koppen-neal, look fine. who's the reserve? hochstein? what about all the other guys? wish i knew. half of them will start for some other team. all of them will make a team. it;'s hard to just waive 5 guys you know will start for somebody. maybe romeo wants them, will give up a 6 & 7. maybe ol' buddy ozzie newsome will give a 2 & 3 in 2007 for them.
  10. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

    see, my impression was almost the complete opposite. Rooks aside, I find that Bradys worst has come when teams get pressure up the middle. DLs know that the way to beat him. He steps up in the pocket with such fluidity...and yet when it goes awry, I see Neal being called out. Koppen is fine (great actually)...the rook Mankins will come into his own...Neal is a backup, thats all he will ever truly be, IMO. Plus he seemingly gets penalized alot.

    Give me Light-Mankins-Koppen-___??__-Kazcur as a starting OL and Im happy with it..but Neal has been around awhile and his progress may be leveling out.

    I just don't know what infatuation there is with him other than a fan favorite underdog.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2006
  11. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi Supporter

    #12 Jersey

    Or that with Kaczur at RG and a new high pick at RT. Not sure which will be Kaczur's best position.
  12. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #11 Jersey

    "You can never have enough depth, but I just don't like spending 1st-3rd round money on someone who would likely be a backup, pending what happens at RG."

    Not every player is drafted with the expectation of starting from Day 1. The key is whether they improve the team down the road.

    Bobby Hamilton started at DE and Ty Warren was a backup after we took him at #14 in 2003. I wouldn't call that wasted money at this point.

    I player like Scott or McNeil would crack our starting lineup and it wouldn't take long. They would definately be upgrades once they were ready to go.
  13. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    But Hamilton was in his 30s and on his way out when Warren was drafted. I can see us getting a RG to finish out the line, but there are other positions that need to be addressed in the draft and nice pool of reserve OL's that could compete for that spot, or Neal if he's re-signed.

    The 2003 DL, when Warren was drafted, had Hamilton, Washington, Pleasant, and Lyle still floating around. Green and Seymour were also present. Now with the additions of Warren and Wilfork, it's rounded out.

    The 2006 OL has youth. Two second year players who were undoubtedly the best two players on the line in 2005. Light is returning. Koppen is returning. These are guys that have yet to seen the peaks of their careers. Let's see them fail first before drafting a backup for the next 5 years in the early rounds.

    Big difference. I find it very hard to believe Kaczur, and especially Mankins, were not drafted to start. Hell, every Patriot draft pick is drafted to start, essentially. Take Brady and Givens as examples.

    That's why I say the talent should be spread out to reinforce and at the same time grow in the backfield, the linebacking corps, and the secondary. That's where the most age is. You have plenty of picks. Throw 'em up on the wall and see what sticks.

    Of course, this is all contingent on who the Patriots sign and whatnot. That should give us a good idea of where the draft will go.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2006
  14. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 Supporter Supporter

    Great news! :D
  15. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up Supporter

    This is good news. The fact they are looking at Oline guys is encouraging.
    For me the #1 priority this offseson is the run game. If they feel attention
    to the Oline is necessary then I don't care if they do it in the 1st round or
    later. Just as long as they at least try to make some significant steps to
    getting the run game working. This news is the first indication that the run
    game may in fact be top priority for the PATs.

    My bet is
    If PATs can improve their run game significantly they will have a dominate
    offense which in turn will only help the defense.
  16. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #11 Jersey

    "But Hamilton was in his 30s and on his way out when Warren was drafted. I can see us getting a RG to finish out the line, but there are other positions that need to be addressed in the draft and nice pool of reserve OL's that could compete for that spot."

    I think we've been spoiled by our OLs over-achieving in years pasts. It's not like we're stacked with talent. Kaczur played well for us but I'm not going to pretend that I automatically see him as our RT for the next 10 years. If a better player is out there that can assure Brady's protection, we should get him.

    I'm not saying OL is my top priority in the draft but I'm not going to be disappointed if they take a stud tackle. It's a very good crop this year at tackle and we could get someone at #21 that would normally go in the top 5-10 in a weaker draft class.
  17. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    I agree with Neal. He seemed to reach a peak in 2004, and definitely had his share of problems in 2005.

    It was the edges and the tight end blocking that was suspectable, from what I saw, in 2005. A lot of that is obviously due to the injuries of Graham, Light, Ashworth, Kaczur, and Gorin. It will level out in 2006.
  18. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    I don't see how Kaczur is over-achieving. He's a third round pick. He isn't a backup. That's absurd. Those are 5th, 6th, 7th, and stud undrafted - and maybe some early rounders that are roadblocked by an Orlando Pace type in front of them. Kaczur isn't. The Patriots haven't had that solid second tackle in awhile. Randle filled that for two years, Ashworth filled that for two years. BB drafted Kaczur to fill that hole.

    Koppen is a 5th round pick. Is he overachieving? Should he be a backup?
    Should a first rounder be drafted in his place? Was he not drafted to start either immediately or eventually? Could you say he over-achieved this year? Yes. The Light forced BB to throw Kaczur in there and hope it worked instead of easing him in and eventually draining Ashworth and Gorin out.

    Brady is a 6th round pick. Is he overachieving? Should he be a backup? Should a first rounder be drafted in his place? Was he not drafted to start either immediately or eventually?

    Givens is a 7th round pick. Is he overachieving? Should he be a backup? Should a first rounder be drafted in his place? Was he not drafted to start either immediately or eventually?

    Samuel is a 4th round pick. Hobbs is a 3rd round pick. Are they overachieving? Should the Patriots draft 2 top-tier CBs in the next two drafts? Were they not drafted to start either immediately or eventually?

    Of course not.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2006
  19. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    The problem last year was the injuries. Faulk was injured. Dillon had the consistent nagging injuries. Pass was injured. Evans was injured. Light was injured. Koppen was injured. Ashworth was injured. Gorin was injured.

    Hell, Brady was banged up and it started to show near the end of the season. There were some bad passes and the passing game suffered because of it.

    Is a quarterback thus our top priority in the 2006 Draft?

  20. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #11 Jersey

    That's a ridiculous argument.

    Are you saying that we can't upgrade over Kaczur? You also seem to ignore than Kaczur can be moved inside, almost everyone projected him to be a guard in the NFL.

    Again, I'm not saying OL is priority #1. I'm not saying we need to trade up and get Ferguson out of Virginia. However, because of the depth at tackle at the top of the draft this year, VERY TALENTED players could be sitting there when we pick. We can't just ignore that simply because other positions have more pressing needs.

    Again, if Belichick sees someone he likes and it allows him to move Kaczur inside, it only makes us better.

Share This Page