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Perhaps We Will See More 4-3, 5-2, and Nickel Looks This Year

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by maverick4, Apr 27, 2009.

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  1. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    The early 2000 Pats used to play more 4-3 or even 5-2 looks. With Brace as another quality DT and with less proven starting linebackers, perhaps we will be seeing less 3-4 formations this year and more 4-3, 5-2, and also nickel packages?
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  2. khayos

    khayos Rookie

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    Re: Perhaps We Will See More 4-3 Looks This Year

    I'm thinking more 2-5 with Brace/Wilfork
  3. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Pats played more 4-3 early in the Belichick era because they didn't have the personnel for the 3-4. A lot of people forget that the Pats started the 2001 season with Seymour at NT and the defense failed. They were forced to switch to a 4-3.

    I seriously doubt the Pats will move away from the 3-4 base and using the 3-4 as the dominant defense. I really haven't seen much of a personnel switch to justify a shift in philosophies. The Pats will switch to different formations depending on the competition like they alway do, but they will be primarily a 3-4 team.
  4. BelichickFan

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    #24 Jersey

    I'm with the "no" crowd - except for short yardage where this Warren-Brace-Wilfork-Seymour 4 man line could be a beast.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  5. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    How about more Nickel with the dominant front 4, 2 stud LB's, and 5 d-backs since our depth in the back is a strength now?
  6. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Unless the league changed when I wasn't looking, the standard nickel is the 4-2-5 with five defensive backs. In the "big nickel", we used to use three safeties, but usually the nickel is a corner.

  7. stinkypete

    stinkypete Rookie

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    Looking at the personnel, I would not be surprised to see more 3-3-5, with a healthy tank Johnson in the big nickel role.

    The extra NT will provide a huge boost in the short yardage/goalline defense, but they are not the ideal personnel for a base 4-3. This looks more like a situational allignment.

    Looking at the LBs, I assume that guys will be in and out of the game based on situation. None of the group of Woods, Crabel, Redd, Guyton and TBC are ideal 3 down players, but they all have different situational strengths. The base will still be a 3-4, but Thomas and Mayo will be the only true "full-time" starters.
  8. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Aside from confirming what nickel means, what do you think about them using it more? It plays to their strengths on the D-line and in the secondary.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  9. apple strudel

    apple strudel Banned

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    It'll be situational. The driving force will be more game situations than personnel, though.
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I believe that we already use the nickel as much as anyone in the league. But, yes, I believe that we should use the nickel more considering the fact that we now have a competent secondary.

  11. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Are Wilfork and the other d-linemen capable of playing 4-3? Mayo is certainly fast enough to play 4-3 linebacker.
  12. apple strudel

    apple strudel Banned

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    Of course. We do it often enough. It's not a question of ability, it's a question of philosophy.
  13. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    Competent secondary? Is this REALLY a fact? - Based on what?

    I didn't know the team has played a game yet? :rolleyes:

    I still worry about a player coming from an 0-16 team who may find things difficult to adjust to a winning atmosphere and a very complex defense so quickly and we have no idea what Springs has left in the tank and whether he can adjust from so many years on one team to another - This secondary is far from solid until we actually see these guys in action - Is it better than last year? - Well it can't be much worse but then again nothing to base it on in April.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  14. BradyFTW!

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    I think we could see quite a bit more nickel against passing teams.

    The Pats go legitimately 5 deep at CB now; when's the last time they did that?
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In passing situations, we have done this often.

    Seymour is fine off the edge. It is just a matter of which LB (or Green) lines up as the other DE. In the past, almost all our linebackers could play this DE roles. Examples include McGinist, Vrabel and Colvin. Both Bruschi and Thomas are comfortable in that role.

    On run downs, the groupings are different, since we would use a run 4-3 defense only on goal lines or on short yardage. It is in this grouping where adding Brace could help, compared to Wright.
  16. JoeShmoe

    JoeShmoe Rookie

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    I think much the same. BB loves his different looks and schemes. With injuries and sub par secondary last year we were hanging on but I think Brace gives them options up front and people like Tank, Chung, Springs + the CB corps give options behind

    I can see us playing the 4 front nickel quite a bit with some of the passing teams like Indy .. esp now we have a legitimate shot of playing man coverage without leaving people like Hobbs and O'Neal against people like Wayne and Harrison

    Ditto against the running teams like the Ravens and the Steelers I think Brace could be important
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I guess we shouldn't post anything about the quality of our team until the day after the Super Bowl each year.

    What do you think we are going to do for the next four months other than to speculate, without facts, on the quality of the team and its players.

    BASED ON WHAT
    Wheatley and Wilhite have one more year of experience and looked good in preseason.
    Bodden is a quality corner.
    Springs is a quality corner who Belichick chose to pay $4.55M to play this year.
    Butler was so good that when he was drafted, Hobbs was fired by Belichick.
    ( yes, fired. We could have gotten more for him if we waited for his contract to end)

    BOTTOM LINE
    Last year we had one competent corner. This year, we have 2-5.
    As with the situation at LB, if Belichick thought that we didn't have a competent secondary, he would have kept Hobbs for the year.

  18. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    the nickel and dime packages are about putting more players in coverage, not fewer
  19. PATRIOTSFANINPA

    PATRIOTSFANINPA Rookie

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    FACT is not the word to use,thats my point - The FACT that you used the word fact in "Its a fact we now have a competent secondary" is an opinion you have based on the players accomplishments on previous teams,NOT fact that our secondary is competent until proven so.

    Belichick thought Duane Starks was a competent CB,he also thought that Monty Beisel was a competent LB,He also thought Doug Gabriel was going to fit well as a 3rd WR,He thought that Chad Jackson was going to be a superstar - In other words,What BB thinks of a player who is competent usually he gets it more right than wrong as his great career as HC shows in NE, but there has been mistakes in the past 4 years mostly in the defensive area and no one knows what Bodden and Springs will do here in a complex defense that neither one has yet to be a part of.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  20. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    If we play 4-3, who are the 3 linebackers? Mayo, Thomas, and... ? I would be shocked if Bruschi is anything but a sub at this point. He is too slow for 3-4 so unlikely an option for 4-3.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  21. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    With the addition of Brace, we'll see the 3-4 90% of the time and the 4-3 10% of the time, IMO. As someone else said, adding in Brace in short yardage situations would be excellent. He's big and the four man line of Seymour, Brace, Wilfork, and Warren backed up by the likes of A.D., Mayo, and Redd would be nearly impossible to run against. However, while we HAVE used the 4-3 at times since '01, the 3-4 alignment is BB's system of choice.
  22. yopats

    yopats Rookie

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    Agreed 100% .. I think that we now have a MUCH better situationally competent defense.

    Bill talked about the evolution of the passing game this winter during the Superbowl and I think that the current changes to the defensive roster are indicative to his statements.
  23. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Thanks, Captain Obvious
  24. yopats

    yopats Rookie

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    I think that Bill doesn't even think of those sphere's anymore. I think it is all about matchups and he will put out personal that give him the best matchups possible. We have played games w/ 5-6 lb's in at one time before.

    I think Merriweather is going to be used to create some real havoc this year he is a playmaker and Bill knows this.
  25. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Meriweather should be a top free safety this year.
  26. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    It all depends. First down against a spread offense I'd expect to see 3-3-5. 2 of the 3 LBs are surely Thomas and Mayo. But whether the third is Guyton, an OLB, or a safety-as-LB is less clear.

    It's also possible the 5 DBs include 3 safeties, if it seems Meriweather can handle one of the WRs and it also seems running plays are pretty likely.

    On 3rd-and-long I wouldn't expect to see 3 true DL.
  27. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    That sounds like a 3-4 but with one of the linebacker spots played by a strong safety.
  28. MoLewisrocks

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    That was mean...but sadly true.

    Bill didn't have much choice in the past - injuries or insane contract demands forced his hand. This year he's made some pre emptive choices. It remains to be seen if he wins the risk/reward challenge. Just like it remains to be seen how far off receivers our DB's play in 2009. And how often or how successfully we rush passers. If it's still 8 yards and we're not getting to the QB with any consistency, maybe we find the more things change the more they remain the same.

    Bill was pretty clear yesterday on WEEI that it wasn't a case of there being no OLB that could not help us in this years draft. Just that he felt trading down and adding 2010 picks represented better value. Ditto the swap of Hobbs for a 4th round OG, which he indicated was not his intention when he awoke Saturday AM. He took Butler at 41 because he was surprised to see him still available there and felt there he represented value. So he didn't enter this draft with Butler as a must have target or elite grade or he'd have taken him at 23 or 34. He liked Brace and Butler as values in the 40's and traded up to get both because he felt either might go between 42-46 seeing as they were the second best rated NT and CB on most boards.

    What that all underscores is it's a process with Bill, not a fait accompli as it is for some of the fan base. And like he always says, given the ever present variables involved in team building, he won't know what he in fact has as a team until week 6-8. Lots of moving parts, and this year lots of new to the system moving parts.
  29. MoLewisrocks

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    To be fair, Eugene Wilson says hello. The concensus here in 2005 was he was a perrenial pro bowl FS in waiting...
  30. Isaac

    Isaac Rookie

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    Brace certainly gives them more options. In terms of the 4-3, as far as I can tell there are probably two broad categories of how the Patriots play the 4-3:

    - The 3-4ish 4-3: this is the one where they have substituted Jarvis Green for an OLB but otherwise the responsibilities of the front seven don't change that much from the base 3-4 (still lots of two-gapping). I don't think Brace affects this one much.
    - The 2-5ish 4-3: this is the one they used in the SuperBowl against Philly and is among the greatest shifts in the defense. The OLBs act as traditional 4-3 DEs and the front seven shifts primarily to a one-gap philosophy. Brace could be one of the two DTs, but then Seymour and Warren have no role. This is best against a pass first offense.

    I guess I don't see any reason based on this offseason that the 4-3 would increase this year.
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