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Reevaluating the New England Patriots for 2009

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by VJCPatriot, May 6, 2009.

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  1. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    In my opinion the Pats are the team to beat in the AFC East this season. Here's a summary of what they've done thus far.

    1. New England Patriots

    Key departures:
    Front office - Scott Pioli. OC - Josh McDaniels.
    Players - Matt Cassel QB, Ellis Hobbs CB, Deltha O'Neal CB, Rodney Harrison S, Mike Vrabel OLB, Jabar Gaffney WR, Kelly Washington WR, Lamont Jordan RB, Paxton LS

    Key additions:
    Free agents - Fred Taylor RB, Shawn Springs CB, Leigh Bodden CB, Chris Baker TE, Joey Galloway WR, McGowan S
    Trades - Greg Lewis WR, Alex Smith TE
    Draft - Patrick Chung SS, Ron Brace NT, Darius Butler CB, Vollmer OT, Brandon Tate WR, Tyrone McKenzie ILB, Ingram LS

    Returning Player:
    Tom Brady QB

    Analysis:
    The Patriots improve immediately at the most important position in the game, QB. Brady had a record breaking performance in 2007. Not only does the offense retain Moss and Welker, but it got rid of Gaffney and Washington in favor of veteran deep threat Galloway and a talented rookie Tate who is a threat both in the kick return game and the receiving game. Fred Taylor easily is an upgrade over Jordan and improves on the Pats already solid RB stable.

    The Pats completely overhauled their secondary, getting rid of last year's failures and replacing them with veterans Springs and Bodden while adding a promising pair of rookies in Butler and Chung. The defensive line gains additional depth and bulk in the form of rookie Ron Brace and McKenzie looks to add young depth at the ILB position. The only position that hasn't been addressed is OLB. On both sides of the ball, the Pats look to have one of the deepest teams in the league save for that position.

    Prediction:
    The Patriots should finish with 13 wins or better in the regular season which should be good enough to earn a playoff bye and win the AFC East. Look for the Pats loaded offense to score a lot of points and the upgraded defense to give up less points and show marked improvement on passing third downs.
     
  2. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    They look deep at every position. Will they be the first team to primarily employ a 4-2-5 defense?
     
  3. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

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    The Magic 8 ball says that outcome is doubtful. However they might mix in that formation to confuse the offense and/or to stuff the run in certain situations.
     
  4. Feep50

    Feep50 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    New England has a football team? Since 2000 I've had it confused with a Juggernaut! I may never recover from the lost Perfect Season..... :eek:
     
  5. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Would that Warren, Brace, Wilfork, Seymour?

    That would pretty much make every down a passing down, no? Who in their right mind would run at that? hehe

    Dang.

    I do think the 4 3 4 and 4 2 5 will turn up (and in the "5" I'm picturing Tank or Chung roaming around looking for blood at the line).

    Still, the 3-4 with our power d-line is our best hope to keep the QB's we're facing under control this year - there's a bunch of good one's. BUT, the 4-3 and 4-2.5 might be nice against the Fishies. For my money Penny's the scariest QB we face in the division.
     
  6. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Well, if it wasn't sarcasm, it would be Warren Seymour Brace and Wilfork alternating the 2DT and one DE spots while Jarvis and Crable alternated at Rush end.

    The rest of our rush would come from the extra safety.

    I haven't figured out exactly what the 2 linebackers and their 87 free agent backups will do. It's a work in progress.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  7. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Honestly, I don't totally know how a 4-3 works, I just assumed it could be built from our leading DL/DT guys. Not so?
     
  8. Patriotic Fervor

    Patriotic Fervor Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    That would be interesting, no?:D:singing:
     
  9. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    where did kelley go?

    and i dont believe the name deltha o'neal should be under the heading of "key departures"........
     
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The normal 4-3 gives the ends pass-rush responsibility. It is less effective against the run since only two linemen have primary run responsibility. In a 3-4, all three linemen have fun responsibility. The patriots use a base 3-4 and have been very effective against the run, and have not had as effective a passrush.

    Of course, we use a four man line in pass situations, along with 2 linebackers and 5 defensive backs. This 4-2-5 is sometimes call a nickel package, a big nickel if three safeties are used instead of the normal three corners.

    The open question is why we think our passrush will be better this year than in the last two years.

     
  11. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mayo, and Guyton should he win the job, aren't rookies anymore and will likely be allowed to blitz, which will make it tougher for teams to defend against the pass rush by just focusing on the OLBs. Also, the pass rush from the year before last led to the Patriots being #2 in the NFL in sacks.
     
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Whether its a 34 or 43 it is still 2 gap and all of the DL (and LBs as well) have 2 gap run responsibility as job #1.
    Truly, in our system, the only difference between 34 and 43 is that alignment wise you take your NT and move him off the line to LB and your ILBs and move them on the line as DTs. Naturally the players change but thats the difference in the paper alignment. (Technically you move the NT over the G, one ILB over the C and the other ILB is taken out and replaced with a DT)(You could also shift 1 ILB over the C, the other to OLB, put the OLB down as a DE, move the DE to DT over the G, and shift the NT over the other G). From a run D standpoint there is essentially no difference, other than whether your 2nd DT or your 2nd ILB is a better player. The real key difference is in a 43 everyone knows who the 4th rusher is, but in a 34 its not known presnap. That can also create some coverage advantages as well.
     
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I generally agree with your analysis. However, in the 3-4 run defense, we play a real NT. When we shift to the 4-3, the real NT comes out, as you point out. The consequence is a major difference in the ability to stop the run.

    It does seem that the 4-3 one gap provides a better pass rush.

    Obviously, the best way to improve passrush and sack stats to is to regularly be ahead in games as we were in 2007.

    What give you comfort that our passrush is more dependable this year than say last year?

     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good point. I think that most fans and analysts dont realize its a different year, and you start all over with a defense fitting together, and developing an identity. We will probably be looking at 2-4 new starters. The changes affect the players that are unchanged as well, because they form a unit. It is very common in the NFL that changing one or 2 players can drastically affect the performance of a unit and many of the players within it.
    For example: If this years corners cover better than last years, all of a sudden the pass rushers are more effective. If Vrable was called upon as the primary rusher last year, the guy who is in that role, or the combination of both ILBs could do significantly better (or worse). Someone will be rushing, last year it was Vrabel very often, we don't know how Thomas or Woods, or TBC, or Crable, etc will do in the role they didnt have last year. And as you pointed out maybe part of the replacement for Vrables pass rush is Mayo and Guyton.
     
  15. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I really want to see more AD's double-sacking (QB and RB). That was a legendary takedown.
     
  16. Sicilian

    Sicilian Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Also, I would add out secondary to these reasons. I know you're not sold on them, but IF (just if, there's certainly no guarantees here), if they are improved over last year, it allows for more exotic blitz schemes. You can afford to blitz a safety more often if you trust your corners to make plays without help. You can blitz the inside guys more if you trust your safeties/corners to make quick tackles on the dump offs.

    Just like a good pass rush can make DBs look good, good DBs can give the pass rush more options and more time to get to the QB.
     
  17. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Excellent point.
     
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The NT doesnt come out he just moves over the G. (Although it is VERY common that we play a the weakside DT over the C in the 43). The player who comes out--if any do---is the ILB replaced by a DT. Otherwise the personell is the same with an OLB becoming a DE, a DE becoming a DT and an ilb becoming an olb, as we did it when McGinest was here.

    We do not play one gap, so I don't know what you mean there.
    If you are talking about other teams OF COURSE a one gap provides a better pass rush. If your philosophy is to run by an OL you will get a better pass rush than if your philosphy is to engage the OL.
     
  19. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    You need a quick guy, the equivalent of our OLB. Green is an non linebacker with pass rush skills, but we've used Vrabel and McGinest as linemen in the 4-3 when we switched.

    For 300+ pounders leaves you awful vulnerable and doesn't accomplish much for the pass rush.
     
  20. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    I sure don't, as we stand. I have minor questions about the linebackers, but the pass rush is a major question.

    We lost Vrabel.:eek: It should be worse.

    I can't see how we proceed without a fairly major acquisition.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
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