Reiss: Special teams tackle leaders

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Seneschal2, Jan 16, 2009.

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  1. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

    Reiss has a short piece on Izzo wanting to remain, and the following ST tackle stats:


    These stats clearly tell which players have earned their roster spots based on their ST value. I was surprised however that Meriweather had so many, guess my focus was more on his defensive play.
  2. pats1

    pats1 Moderator Supporter

    If you want more, check out this:
  3. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    It also tells you why Izzo is still here (so far). And why Slater will likely return.

    I'm surprised by Meri's numbers to, and I think it adds even more to the impression he made this year.

    I'm also surprised Redd made the list with six, considering how late in the year he was activated (November 22). That's probably good news.
  4. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    meri definetely shined last season...i cant wait for the upcoming one, especially if we get a good rookie to pari w/ him

    as for izzo...i hate to see it up there, cuz i want to get him replaced, but itll obviously NOT be b/c of his play only

    reed did amazingly, and its nice to see that slater did some good things last yr...cuz theres a lot of BAD things he needs to erase from my mind
  5. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

    #24 Jersey

    Although both Izzo and Slater had large tackle totals, I don't think that those results guarantee that they will return, nor should return.

    Slater played gunner, as one of the fastest players on the team. The gunner should get a lot of special teams tackles. Izzo sort of plays that clean-up middle role on coverage.

    Slater takes a roster spot, and really doesn't project on offense or defense. He should be able to do something other than gunner, and the hope was returns. However, Hobbs is far better, and Slater really disappointed during his opportunities. Even throw out the game-changing/play-off eliminating fumble, and his return stats were about half those of Hobbs.

    You can always find a speedy special teamer again in the draft.

    With Izzo, the question is total roster space at LB. If the Pats want another young LB, it pushes either Bruschi or Izzo off the roster. Guyton can certainly play the ST ILB spot if he is not at the top of the ILB rotation, due to free agency or another high draft pick. And, Guyton is developing into a good ILB. If the question comes down to Izzo vs. a young developmental ILB, the younger player probably wins.

    He may well be re-signed - the roster crunch comes in August, not February. But that's on the horizon.
  6. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    The thing is, we know Bill will build a roster of the best players not just a certain number at a certain position. Izzo has been holding space at LB for a while but not playing the part. As a high-performing, affordable ST presence and team captain, if he plays next year, I'd bank on it being here. And according to Reiss, he plans to play.
  7. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    Just remember--that's what people here were hoping for. I'm not sure that the Patriots were hoping for him to be a return man (in fact, IIRC, Wheatley was actually better at returns than Slater).

    This is true. It's also, of course, assuming that Izzo wants to return, [edit:] which Reiss apparently says he does. :)
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  8. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 Supporter Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    Well, that's about right, seeing as the JEST had a UDFA by the name of Gholston who racked up about 15 tackles for the whole season. :D
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  9. FreeTedWilliams

    FreeTedWilliams I'm no Mona Lisa Vito.... Supporter

    #75 Jersey

    Slater also is very lucky that the Pats put Buffalo away in week 17, because he not only could not corral a fumble for a TD, but he let Buffalo come up with the ball. That play was huge and would have been the talk of this board had the Pats not won that game. Slater was by himself with not one around him and he simple could not fall on the ball for a touchdown in a scoreless game in brutal conditions. (If you remeber this game 3-0 for the longest time).
  10. Urgent

    Urgent In the Starting Line-Up

    #24 Jersey

    ILB Ted Bruschi/FA replacement

    That's six of nine.
    Slots seven & eight:

    OLB top young player - draft/FA - potential to improve pass rush immediately
    ILB New - draft/FA/Ruud? - integral member of ILB rotation, some ST

    A ninth spot, then, would come from:

    OLB Shawn Crable - third-round pick
    OLB Vince Redd - good improvement, great size & speed, good special teams
    ILB Larry Izzo - perennial ST leader
    ILB Bo Ruud - drafted, young, preferred over Guyton in draft

    It's possible that Crable is that OLB, but I'd first look to the first two rounds in the draft, where the Pats will have three or four picks. Aaron Maybin (PSU), Everette Brown (Florida State), Paul Kruger (Utah), Brian Cushing (USC), Clint Sintim (Virginia) are all candidates. In free agency, we have discussed Karlos Dansby or Terrell Suggs.

    It's possible that Ruud is that ILB, but I would be very surprised. Given Bruschi's age, I think they would like another solid ILB next to Mayo.

    Given the roster, I see Izzo around #10 or #11 on the LB depth chart come September.
  11. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    Many on this board do not recognize ST roster spots. Belichick and Dante have for many, many years allocated roster spots to ST leaders who are all but useless at their positions. Every year we have 2-5 players who are on the team to play on the ST units and every year posters say that there is no way that we can afford the roster spots. It doesn't matter if Izzo is the #15 LB on your depth chart. He is likely the #1 STer on Belichick's depth chart. Now that it clear that he want to come back, I expect him to have a roster spot.

    Ventrone, Slater, Spann, Washington, Izzo, Richardson, and Redd all compete for those roster spots.

    Woods, Guyton and Meriweather would make the team as position players and therefore have their roster spots as position players. The same is true with Aiken, who I have as our #4 WR.

    I have allocated FOUR special team spots on the roster. My current expectations are that Izzo, Slater, Ventrone and Washington will take those roster spots. They can ge beaten out as Special Teamers. Belichick can decide he needs to allocate the roster spots to developmental players, but these positions need to be filled.

    I suspect that many here have STer on the depth charts disguised as #5 WR, #6 WR, #9 LB and #9 CB. We need top STers much more than any of these positions.
  12. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

    Tackle numbers don't tell the whole story though. There were certain times when our ST coverage units gave up crucial plays... ie kick return touchdowns or long returns that really swung the momentum of the game in the WRONG direction. I think BB will go over the film with a fine toothed comb and see who was earning their keep, and who wasn't. I'd say mistakes on ST hurt a lot more, than the benefit of a guy having the range to make an extra tackle or two.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  13. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    I 8 LB's on my roster. Belichick has always kept at least one LB that plays little but Speical teams. Usually he carries two.

    Six are all but locks, although Belichick could give up on Woods or even Bruschi. If either goes, Belichick would need to find a free agent replacement.
    Vrabel, Thomas, Woods, Mayo, Bruschi and Guyton.

    Since either Thomas of Vrabel could move inside, the last two players could be with OLB's or ILB's or TBD LB's.

    Crable should have one spot. I don't believe that Belichick has even cut a 3rd rounder or higher without giving him two years to produce. The only way I could see him cut is if his injury was career ending.

    We have some pretenders for the last spot, though they likely will/should be competing for the Practice Squad: Ruud, Redd, Robertson and Craig. Also, Colvin or Seau could fill this spot.

    If Colvin has anything left, I would sign him to a three year contract. If not, then I would pick a linebacker in the first two rounds. This is a good draft for linebackers. Obviously, if Belichick has someone who would be an immediate improvement to our pass rush, then he would acquire him in a heartbeat.

  14. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks Supporter Supporter

    Slater plays multiple roles on Special Teams, you've rightfully noted the number of tackles alone is not a complete evaluation of his performance. I would add that you touched on another one of his roles with your comparison of Slater's return average verses Hobbs' return average - Slater was Hobbs primary lead blocker (#2 KR).

    Part of what made Willie Andrews so good on Special Teams was his ability to "see" the best return lane and lead Hobbs or Maroney into the lane. Slater did well replicating that role and giving Hobbs the chance for a good return.

    Now before people jump in and praise Hobbs individually, remember that this is a "team" game and while Hobbs is watching the ball into his hands, Slater is already reading the coverage and the blocks. When Hobbs secures the ball, he is looking for #18 and starts running in that direction before he even starts "his" reads of the coverage and blocking. Put me down as saying that Slater was an excellent lead blocker.

    I'm disappointed that Seely used Slater in the Pittsburgh game, that weather and that pressure created a situation where a Southern California rookie wasn't quite ready - I put that muff more on the coaching decision.

    I don't know who was serving as lead blocker for Slater, but whenever NE switches to their #2 lead blocker, the team's return average dips - that's just the way its gone in recent years.

    I agree with mg that Slater is close to a lock for the roster as a STs specialist. Hopefully he can continue to develop at S and/or WR to improve his value as a reserve in a 'position' role.

    Redd impressed me in preseason with a one handed STs' tackle while stacking/shedding a wall blocker with the other hand. I didn't see him making a similar play in the regular season, but do recall him being in on tackles. With his collection of practice player of the week jerseys last season, and his STs tackle numbers and game reps at OLB, I think mg needs to pencil him in as a strong candidate to backstop Woods as the #4 OLB. Hopefully Crable has a strong offseason and we're all left breathlessly anticipating NE's now and future OLB studs.

    Kudos to Mike Richardson for his STs play.
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