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Relative Strength

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AzPatsFan, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    With all the fair weather fans running their mouths fresh from visiting the once every 86 year country clubbers clans, I want to pose a question.

    Even with out this team being completed, and no double draft having been conducted, where wil the 2006 edition rate when compared to other Patriots squads.

    My take is:

    This squad may well be the best Team the Patriots have ever fielded! Why ??Let me list some reasons:

    The DL line is the best in football and now is fully blooded.
    The DB are very deep and all are vets, no longer rooks fully blooded.
    The OL is deeper and better at every position than ever before. Including Hannah lines)
    The TE corps is stronger than ever; no rooks or near rooks, are being counted on.
    The QB group is as complete as when Bledsoe and Brady were there in 2001
    And unlike then now both are healthy.
    There is a RB group with a big time RB and the best 3rd down back(s) ever.

    The weaknesses are almost mirages and subjects for fan dsicussion threads. More apparent than real.

    The LB corps is/will be the quickest we have fielded in the BB era. It will get stronger before September.
    The WR corps lost its #2 WR but will have to make do with an aging Probowler instead. BFD.
     
  2. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Az, I'm not quite with you on some of this. QB - we had Brady/Bledsoe but did not know it, until we used Brady. No way we can say we have a Bledsoe-quality backup. TE- one of the strongest units in the NFL, I would say - but still, 1 high-quality TE shorter. DB, OL - being "fully blooded" is an oft-overlooked point. We get these guys playing time by sheer preponderance of injury! But I'd say they can play their positions, hold down the fort, etc. They're not the Chiefs' OL. Let's be real.

    But if you want to say "oh my God! How can we field this team??!?!?!?" you're way off base. With 18 mill left to spend, I think we'll have quite a good looking roster going into opening day.

    You might be a little more optimistic than me, but way closer to the mark than the chicken littles - good post!

    PFnV
     
  3. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Virgina is for Lovers!

    Thanx.

    I used to live on Dupont circle till I moved to Falls Church and then Reston before leaving Virginia. Aslo lived in Newport News for a while. Where do you hail from?

    Cassell has a 121 QB rating. Unheard of for a rook, and he played a full game against a winning Miami club with all second stringers for help. Flutie is Flutie, an old pro. I'd say the QBs crew are pretty damn good.

    Watson was in effect a rookie last year. Fauria went "Over the hill" and he knew it as well as BB. I'm glad that Snyder gave him a retirement check and present. A draftee TE or OL like Russ Hochstein will do fine as a third TE

    As for the OL being as good as the Chiefs I agree, but its not an antique line either. Its best years are still ahead,not behind them. Mankins, Koppen and Neal might still vist the probowl before they are done, Light will just be one of the top ten but never a top five OLT. Wesley Britt has the talent for the probowl if he can learn pro pass blocking adequately at ORT...
     
  4. BionicPatriot

    BionicPatriot In the Starting Line-Up

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    Well, your post is alright, but way WAY to optimistic.

    QB - Agreed, we're the best we've ever been at this position.

    RB - with a healhty Dillon, possibly a good rook, and the depth we have, this will atleast be better than last year.

    OL - easily the BEST line we've ever fielded in the BB era. But better than the Chiefs? BS! that Chiefs line is AMAZING and kicked our DL's ass all day in last season's meeting with the Chiefs. That comment is way outta line.

    TE - We're good, but unknown. Very experienced, but will Watson break out??

    WR - I have no idea. We have Branch and Caldwell then what? This is a weakness until durther notice.

    DL - What's there to say? As long as we're healthy, we're the best.

    LB - The only question I have is this. Are we moving Vrabel outisde and trusting Beisel on the inside? Do we just draft a stud OLB, or trust Claridge or TBC? We're unsure at the OLB position.

    CB - FINALLY, we're returning experience to the lineup for the first time since 2003! That, by the way, was when our secondary was at its best. The question I have is, when will Harrison be back, and will our CB potential ever live up and STOP getting hurt?

    S - Wilson wont have the same season, I think he'll do much better. If Rodney comes back or not, we atleast know Hawkins or Sanders will be able to step up. Sanders has the technique, but now he knows the system. And Hawkins did a good job last year.

    The only questions I have at this team is k and wr. What will we do there? The only other questions I have is depth, which by knowing the Pats, I just know that wont be a problem.
     
  5. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wouldn't be suprised at all if this is the best squad. Injuries will as always be a factor, we are due for a little luck here.

    Very good, would like better depth at NT

    Depending on Rodney's recovery, a nother safty wouldn't hurt, happy with the CB's

    Could be the best OL of the BB era, not close to the 76-77 OL IMO.

    DG and BW on upside, need good depth with CF provided, need depth.

    I expect Cassell to improve, but...1 game a career doesn't make, Jury's out. Brady is moving into his prime, enjoy! Again need to add a wuality backup

    Depends on CD's health, if healthy a good not great group.

    The roster needs work but nothing that a good draft and a few signings won't take care of. Would like to get some of our young core guys extended.

    Thin here need 1 starter and eith some young guys stepping up or some Veteran depth.

    Here is where the work is neede, Branch hurt and we are in trouble currently. FO work needed here.
     
  6. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't think anyone should be either slitting thier wrists or jumping for joy when it's only March 26th. They could pick up some meaningful FA's and hit gold in the draft or not hit on FA's and not do so well in the draft. All the injured players could come back as good or better than they were or Dillon could really have gotten old, Tedy B decide to retire afterall and how many players who had Rodney's injury came back and played as well thier 1st year back? A lot can happen either way before the opening game. No one could get hurt and IR'd in training camp or Brady could break his neck.
     
  7. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I do think it may be a BIT TOO optimistic at this point,,,certanly the team has a shot at that. I always like to compare the players going into TC at that point ith the teams the year before at that point. (Last year's was better than the year before, but was just decimated with injuries; so it is all on paper..interesting, but can be off the mark as the season progresses..)
     
  8. OldEnglandPatriot

    OldEnglandPatriot On the Game Day Roster

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    <<Cassell has a 121 QB rating. Unheard of for a rook, and he played a full game against a winning Miami club with all second stringers for help.>>

    Cassell showed a ton of promise, but a passer rating from one game is all but meaningless. Ryan Fitzpatrick came in for the Rams and looked amazing, then floundered in the following weeks.
     
  9. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree. It is hard to say one way or the other.

    There are many concerns that exist right now but most should be solved by the time season is here.

    1. WR core right now it is not good... depends who they pick up.

    2. RB - was Dillion last year a fluke or is he as slow as he looked at times.
    My hope is they pick up a Dillion replacement in the draft but that is an
    unknown.

    3. TE ok with the two but really need a very good TE for depth.
    Graham was out too many games last year and is a concern.

    3. Oline - if all were healthy then yes it should be better than last year.
    How much better? Tough to say. Depends on health of Light and Koppen.
    Even if all healthy will run blocking be that much better? I've said before
    my hope is this Oline could really improve and that one key pick up here
    in the RG position could make the difference. Remember Neal ( and I really
    like the guy) couldn't find any one to take him in FA except the PATs.
    He is not a the run blocking RG PATs need if they are going to significantly
    improve their run game. IMO.

    4. LBs are also a guestion mark with Willie no longer here. Yes a youger
    guy may be quicker than Willie but he wont have the experience or know
    how that Willie had. Depth here is also a question in terms of Veteran
    depth. If there was a significant injury to one of their Key LBs it would
    have a signficant impact. IMO.

    5. Another area of concern is the Coaching for the Defense. Last report
    was they still didn't have a LB or Secondary coach. On this side of
    the ball they certainly are not AS strong coaching as they once were.

    Will the PATs get a break form the injury Bug this year?

    Right now the 2006 PATs have the potential to be one of the best
    squads the PATs have fielded but it will depend on what happens
    between now and September.
    But potential doesn't make the playoffs. Without the right player aquisitions
    over the next months or some surprises from younger players now on the
    team I could easily see this team as an 8-8 team.





    These are areas of concern like I said before much will be addressed.
    But who they get to address these concerns is a big ?.
    FA is almost down to second tier FAs. Rookies are a hit or miss affair.

    No matter who they get, I still see Bill having to apply his magic.
     
  10. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    What I never said...

    Bionic,

    First, I never said we had a line equal to KCs. VA did. I said it was the best overall in Pats history going back and including the Hannah, Gray O-lines of the seventies. (That line was big for then and averaged 250-260# per man back then. Tiny, compared today's OLs. Of course, they had to block back then without the legalized semi-holding rules of today's NFL.)

    Regarding WR, I said if forced to do so we'd have to field a crew headed by SB MVP Deon Branch, and an aging 2002 Probowl WR Troy Brown; Obviously, a "glaring hole", in the eyes of bulletin board posters, even though Brown played D last year, amd still caught 39 passes. For depth we have Caldwell and BJ both fomer second round picks with some credentials actually created in the NFL.

    If forced to play tomorrow, which I said was not yet a complete team, we'd have Miller kick FG's; not optimum and not what will happen but not as if no one could do it. Hell, Flutie could dropkick chippies amd PATs, if needed.


    I created this thread because I was tired of newbie Chicken Littles, ding-dong Red Sux bloviators et cetera, thinking a valid Super Bowl contender, was facing a 2-14 seaon, for crying out loud. Believe me, having followed the Pats since the early sixties, I know what a 2-14 team looks like, and this ain't it!
     
  11. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Reasonable assessment except for O line

    The O line has the potential to be better but I thought that was a weakness last year. If Light returns to form, Kaczur takes over RT, Mankins improves in his second year and Koppen returns to form then we can be better than ever. We haven't had a great line throughout the super bowl years but usually just good enough. Last year it wasn't bad but wasn't quite good enough. I'm still not convinced about Neal, does some good things and some bad things. I liked Hochstein at guard during the 38 SB run.

    Anyway, I agree with your optimism, things are not bad and the team will develop between now and the next super bowl.
     
  12. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    it has been much, much worse

    thanks for the reminders, this IS a good team that can get a lot better in a month.
    there have been many years where patriots needed 20 players. compared to, say, 1991, it is really nice to be in this position 4 weeks before draft.
    my biggest worry is the OL. we seriously need to upgrade, if for no other reason than to keep brady healthy. our boy took way too many hits last year. there's a cumulative physical effect on his health. with bledsoe, eason, and even plunkett, there was also a cumulative psychic effect, 'happy feet'. IMO brady's willingness to stick in there and take big licks to deliver a pass in good form is more and more impressive.
    with a better OL the running game improves. patriots un more plays, hold on to the ball longer. dillon looks better. the play-action works better. brady doesn't get clobbered.
    IMO light, mankins, koppen are as good as one could expect. mankins isn't hannah, and light isn't leon gray. but they are good players. the left side of the OL will get better with more games together.
    as much as i like neal and kaczur, i believe we gotta get better on the right side. need to be able to blow people off the ball. i'm a toledo rockets fan, was hoping patriots would get kaczur. he was like a man among boys in the MAC. he's a mean player, will be an intimidator. his work at LT, with no experience next to him, was as good as you could expect. but he's not an OT to be feared.
    we need a man-eating RT. need to be certain of getting 2 yards when we want it, of running sweeps any time we want. i want the OL to draw the attention of a second LB to stop us. right now we can't do that.
     
  13. Michigan Dave

    Michigan Dave Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I, too, am very optimistic about this upcoming season. Getting worked up over March acquisitions/dispositions is silly. We have a lot of available resources, and a very competant group of managers making these decisions. I am certain that by camp we'll have our current weaknesses addressed, and the core of the team is intact.
     
  14. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Somewhere between the chicken little's and head in the sand ostrich's lies the truth. I haven't seen anyone (but trolls) predicting a 2-14 season. I have seen some very valid concerns as well as some typical over the top anxiety about this team struggling to make the playoffs - something that would be extremely difficult for any Brady led team to do in the current AFCE landscape.

    But please, Josh Miller has never attempted at FG in his 10 year career. And Doug Flutie isn't even on the roster at this point. Our WR corp is beyond worrisome - Caldwell is a risk/reward signing just like Terrell and Davis (who had similar "credentials" yet never panned out last season), for the second season in a row this team appears to need Troy Brown more than Troy Brown needed this team, and in a wide open field Bethel is hanging onto a roster spot by his fingernails. Our 2 young TE's have mega talent, but the jury is still out on their consistency and durability. Koppen may be fine in time, or he may never regain pre-injury form let alone become a pro bowl center. The left side of the line should be better with a healthy Light and experienced Mankins, but everything right of Center could stand improvement. Dillon should be healthy and it is hoped that was all last year was about. If there was more to it, on his part or the Olines, it could be a continuing problem.

    If everyone is healthy on defense we should be better. But that's a HUGE if. Lose one starting LB for any length of time and there is a big dropoff and less flexibility without Willie. Richard hasn't played a full season in 2 straight seasons due to injury. And there is the distinct possibility he could stage a TC hold out (or worse) for a second straight season. If Hobbs and Sanders reasonably progress the secondary will be better - it almost couldn't not be. But that pre-supposes we don't lose 1 or 2 or 6 DB's along the way including one or both of them. If Rodney can return at 90% by or before week 7 - but again a big IF. I still don't like this secondary unless everything else is working perfectly up front and the offense is dominating TOP. The 2004 Blue Gay may be back or he may never be able to stay on the field ala Ty Poole.

    I think they'll get it all figured out, unless they get caught short because they stubbornly refused to adapt in a difficult market they may have slightly miscalculated. Bend don't break is a reasonable approach on and off the field depending on the hand you're dealt. Hopefully our first 3 or 4 draft picks will blossom into year one contributors (but we may find ourselves drafting more need than talent based because we have remaining fairly immediate needs). And hopefully there will be just the right missing pieces released by cap strapped teams on after June 1 (but again that means we are dependent on the whims of others).

    Just comparing apples to apples (the team in late March 2005 vs. the team in late March 2006) I'm not nearly as comfortable. And that 2005 team morphed into a .500 team for most of last season. They were lucky that the rest of the AFCE was much worse and no better than a collection of .500 teams for all of last season. That should remain the case in 2006, and we may end up needing it to.

    BB is also fond of saying if you are not getting better you are getting worse. I don't see us getting better yet. We may accomplish that through the draft and FA, or we may not. It's just after watching what transpired last season I'm not prepared to assume anything. Players generally improve with experience, but some never do and some inexplicably regress.

    I know we don't play until September, and today that is a very good thing.
     
  15. patpatriot

    patpatriot Banned

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    Good News - Bad News

    First the Bad News. We have lost a lot of good players and maybe one critical player (AV). We lost our DC who not only hurts us by having to plug in a new coach but goes to a rival in our division. He knows our schemes and even worse he knows our draft board and he picks in front of us as does our previous DC in Cleveland. Add in BB's chief disciple leading another division rival and things have gotten much tougher for the Pats in a so-called "weak" division.

    We have quite a few old players at key positions who are prone to getting injured and take more time to recover (think Dillon). Our defensive backfield scares no one. While young and improving our OL is vulnerable due to the severity of the starting Center's injury (tho Hoch and Tucker are serviceable...good pickup that one. I wonder how he slid by the Jets?) We have no real threat at KR or PR.

    And most troubling, we seem to have lost our "mojo". Players like Finneran who were ours with little or no effort in the past flip us off for more money on losing teams. The whole thing seems quite precarious, it really does.

    Now the Good News - Who scares you as a team? Which team out there do you look at and say "Oh my God! We'll need a miracle to get by them!" Pittsburg? Denver? KC? Good teams and tough at home but unbeatable?

    Give the Pats 3 rookies and a couple of FA who can be solid contributors. Add in no critical injuries for a change. Mix with a much easier schedule. That's a recipe for success IMO.
     

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