Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by slash83, May 31, 2008.
http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/The Way We Hear It/Whispers/2008/whispers053108.htm
Last year LB was a concern due to age and possible lack of depth.. After going 18-1, and the drafting of two young LB (plus the addition of hobson), my concern is DB..
But a sack happy front 7 will help that back 4..
Good news about Crable. It sounds like they really like this kid, especially since they kept in close contact with him throughout the draft. I hope Crable can see a lot of playing time this season.
I think we have more depth at CB this year than last year, which would have helped last year with Hobbs so banged up. If Bryant can be 85% of Samuel, Webster plays a decent nickel, and Wheatley comes along, that's a decent secondary. And that's totally discounting Wilhite, just for argument's sake. Throw in Williams and an improving Meriweather and overall, I'd say our back 8 has improved tremendously.
A year older does not mean a player is worse off than the year prior...
I don't see any reason to be concerned with Adalius's age (31 in August) and Vrabel is coming off a career year, despite being the oldest he had ever been. Belichick has shown that he is not only capable of getting valuable play out of early-30s LBs, they can be play-makers and starters.
There is nothing wrong with Bruschi and Seau - in fact they can still be great assets - but the problems that arise with their age is more in that they are no longer as adept in coverage and are significantly more effective when in a rotation; they cannot be relied upon as full-time players.
The advent of age can be dulled with good depth and I feel this group of LBs has the potential to be scary deep.
Honestly, being sack happy doesn't mean a damn thing. Hurrying the QB is more important. QB hurries = more interceptions and bad throws. That equals more turnovers, more 3rd and longs and more chances for the offense to get the ball in good field position.
The Pats were 2nd in the league in sacks last year. Just remember that.
Bingo! Can't get a sack on every play but pressure can be brought on every play.
I sure do like the sacks though because that ends the play for neg yards. But I'll take good pressure all the time.
Along those lines, I wonder how close the "hurries" standings and the "sacks" standings are. Logically you would think that they are very similar but I'm sure there are a few teams that are good at closing the play and others that aren't.
Wonder why this is in their whispers column since all the local media have been talking about Mayo and Hobson all last week as potential starters.
How long until NEInsider shows up to report this?
Goddamn do our new linebackers look good in shorts and helmets!
Case in point: Some of Dwight Freeney's best years were some of Indys worst years on D. Sacks are overrated. Like you said, it's about putting pressure on QB's in general.
Teams use different philosophies on a bunch of categories of "special" plays. I'll steal a page from the cap guru's book on this one: more than one strategy can work.
Absolutely no "special" plays... sacks, int.s, forced fumbles, fumbles/recoveries... is bad. It does not logically follow that leading the league in one or another category is good. Obviously recovering a fumble on the 10 yard line has a bigger impact than on the 45. Ditto a sack for 15 yards and a safety versus a .5 yard loss by the QB that goes down as a sack.
Luckily for a team as self-directed as the Pats, more copying goes on in the NFL than down at the local Kinkos, as I've heard it described.
The Giants got to Brady with huge pressure from their front 7... that team was sack happy, no doubt. And we can all replay, over and over, the "hurry" when 3 Pats were after Eli, and he still got off the velcro-helmet pass to Tyree. "IF" we had sacked instead of hurried him, "THEN" we would have won. Uh, unless in emphasizing sacks we would have given up some of the other D that held the Giants to 17.
One thing we know is that the old chestnut that every game turns on a few key plays, is definitely something BB has repeated on numerous occasions. I think you put that together with the focus on versatility, and in very broad strokes the philosophy in NE is to judge matchup by matchup what range of "gamechanging" and "game sustaining" plays are most likely against a given opponent.
You hear that encoded in some of the BB coach speak... every now and then he'll go on a jag about how "____ can do a lot of things, and you know, the more things you can do out there, that adds to what you can do..."
This week we might want to be sack-happy. Next week we might want to be extremely conservative and wait for the mistake. The next week it's time to set loose the ballhawks. Rinse, repeat. Of course since we've been pretty much "on top" lately, the ball hawking has been LESS necessary, more of a luxury. The 2001 game plan against the Rams was all about gambling, taking away Faulk, and playing mistake-free football. Against the Giants it was play your game, don't give it away, and make them take it from you.
Can you conclude that that was wrong? Sort of. What you can conclude is it didn't get the job done. You can not conclude that we should not play a similar game plan in a similar situation, but it would need tweaks. Small sample size dictates that "we win those close ones" may have been a false construct in the first place.
Still the general view in NE seems still to be, not to sell out for any given range of special capabilities, like a LB corps capable of being top 5 in sacks. If we get that ALONG WITH the versatility, fine. I think once again, that's what you see with the selections in this draft.
This also tells you what you need to know about why there's never an "identity" for a Pats defense. There's no "Blitzburgh." There's no "New York Sack Exchange." You might not care if the QB stays clean all afternoon one week, but you might want the pressure the next... and that goes hand in hand with the NE approach.
Just my .02,
I'm not worried about sacks. However, while stats on sacks can be misleading it doesn't mean they're exactly ineffective. The reason the Pats led in sacks was probably due in large part to being up by a **** load and pinning your ears down and attacking. We don't need to be big ins ack numebrs, but it wouldn't surprise me if they top 5. I just want an attacking defense. Plug the running lane fast, make that quarterback think fast.
Look at the difference in 05-06 against the Colts compared to 03-04. The Pats used to own them because the Pats front seven always beat the **** out of Manning, the reason the Patriots beat the Colts in 07 was due to a very disruptive game by Colvin. You want front seven speed period, and game plans changing has nothing to do with it. You may have different defensive sets, but it's not like one day the Pats aim to be a conservative slow team and the next they want to get after it.
If your playing the Steelers, you better hit that RB fast and hard all day. If your playing the colts you better get to that quarterback as much as possible. Quickness is essential to any good defense.
That's a lot of if's at corner!
Why would you expect Bryant to be 85% of Samuel?
Why would you expect Webster to be a decent nickel? I'm not sure he is even money
to make the team. Is he really even better than Gay?
I think that we will need one of the rookies to step up in order to be solid at corner, our weakest position at the moment. (Ty Law! Ty Law! Ty Law!)
I agree that we're fine at safety, perhaps even improved a bit.
Since when is Gay good?
don't forget about Vince Redd, Bo Ruud, and especially Mike Richardson. Hopefully Richardson can show like he did in pre-season last year that he can contribute, and be a great nickle/dime guy and push the starters for some PT!!:rocker:
"You want front 7 speed." Agreed.
The goal of "front 7 speed" is not established to begin and end with QB sacks, in my estimation.
They better look even better in pads. That's how they're gonna play. I do like the potential of our young linebackers though. The Pats achilles heel has been speed in the middle to pursue tight ends and fast, stretch it wide HBs. If Mayo can pursue sideline to sideline like I think he can and if Crable can provide some sudden pass pressure from the outside, this defensive unit could be miles improved in that area!
I concur and was referring to sack happy as players that are giong after the QB constantly..
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