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Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jmt57, Jul 28, 2010.

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  1. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Tedy Bruschi takes a quick look at the Pats' safety position.

    Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss break down the New England Patriots heading into training camp - ESPN Boston

    I think the safety position may be the strongest on the defense with Brandon Meriweather, Brandon McGowan, Patrick Chung and James Sanders. Out of those four, you have four solid players possibly starting for you over the course of the year. Let's see if Meriweather can build upon his Pro Bowl season. Patrick Chung is a player that I think picked it up very quickly last year. He has the desire to be a good player and is starting to realize what it takes to be a true professional. I think he has tremendous upside.
     
  2. WelshPat

    WelshPat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Chung is the player I'll be trying to watch more closely than any other this pre-season. I'm expecting to see a big jump on last year, he looked lost out there.

    But i wanna see him make plays in coverage more than anything... we know he can hit and play the run, we know he can blitz (the hit he put on Henne in one of the dolphins games was sick). Here's hoping his coverage has improved.
     
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald thinks Chung has the inside track to start, and Sanders could possibly be cut.

    A look at seven spots up for grabs at Patriots camp - BostonHerald.com


    Locks to start: Brandon Meriweather.

    Prime contenders: James Sanders, Brandon McGowan, Patrick Chung.

    Battle lines -- Meriweather, who earned a trip to the Pro Bowl last season, has one of the safety spots. The biggest question here is, who will be his sidekick? Judging by mini-camp, Chung has made great strides toward being that guy. With a season under his belt, he looks more comfortable and much more assertive in the defensive backfield and appears to have the inside track on the job. McGowan, who did a good job marking tight ends last year, had wrestled the starting job away from Sanders initially, but lost it toward the end of the season. The veteran Sanders always holds a steady hand and calming influence back there, so this shapes up to be a pretty fierce battle.

    Subplot -- The possibility exists Sanders could be in jeopardy should the Pats only keep three safeties on the 53-man roster. Why Sanders? Why a player who is an exemplary locker room guy, and veteran leader? He holds the richest contract. Last year he signed a three-year, $9 million deal. McGowan is due to make $730,000 this year. So if Chung has made the type of advancement that is hoped, Sanders could be made expendable.
     
  4. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    On the other hand NESN's Jeff Howe seems to imply that either McGowan or Sanders has a better chance of starting opposite Meriweather than Chung does.

    Brandon McGowan, James Sanders to Battle for Starting Spot Alongside Brandon Meriweather - New England Patriots - NESN.com

    Position Battle to Watch: One of the best battles on the roster involves the starting safety spot alongside Meriweather. Brandon McGowanhad the job last season before giving way to James Sanders, who didn’t have the same big-play mentality but always played smart and definitely helped the defense. Sanders figures to have the immediate edge, but Patrick Chung is the wild card. The 2009 second-round draft pick showed a lot of promise during his rookie season, and he'll garner more playing time in 2010.


    Hot Topic:Meriweather is an up-and-coming star at the position, and he is coming off his first Pro Bowl. The 26-year-old said he worked his tail off in the film room during the offseason, spending plenty of time with mentor Ed Reed, who might one day co-star in a "Fave 5" commercial with Bill Belichick. Anyway, Meriweather understands his shortcomings -- trying to make the big play instead of the smart play, read-and-recognition, tackling -- and has vowed to correct them. Meriweather has loads of talent, and he is emerging as one of the better safeties in the NFL.
     
  5. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The Providence Journal's Robert Lee also asks the question of Who will start at safety alongside Brandon Meriweather, ranking it as his #2 training camp question on defense for the Pats. He doesn't come out with a firm opinion, but seems to imply it is between Chung and Sanders.


    Meriweather is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, so he is a lock to start, but there is going to be stiff competition for the other starting safety role among Brandon McGowan, Pat Chung and James Sanders. Sanders, the veteran locker-room leader, began the 2009 season as the starter before an arm injury thrust McGowan into the starting role. Even when Sanders returned to full strength, McGowan remained in the starting lineup, starting 11 games before the Patriots put Sanders back with the first group for the final four games of the regular season and their one playoff game. The secondary seemed to play better with Sanders starting at the end of the season, but Chung, a second-year pro, is the most athletic of the bunch and Belichick said he’s seen a lot of improvement in Chung’s game.
     
  6. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    Sanders is safe. $3 million in insurance for a position with constant injury troubles.
     
  7. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    not to mention the fact that he is the only one in the secondary who can call signals

     
  8. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mike Reiss comments today on the team's safeties.

    Chat: Chat with Mike Reiss - SportsNation - ESPN Boston


    Q. Hey Mike, do you see the Pats staying with their 4 safeties?
    A. Assuming everyone is healthy, it's going to be a tough call. Maybe a trade? I also think they are high on Bret Lockett. I saw him mixed in there with some top players this morning. Lot of depth there in my view.

    Q. My question is in regards to the safeties. Do you see Chung starting opposite Merriwether? Whats roles will McGowan and Sanders have?
    A. I'd put Chung into that spot. Think he can be a difference-maker. McGowan and Sanders, and even Lockett, provide quality depth.
     
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, Lockett shows quality depth?????? And Reiss bases this on the less than 1% of the defensive reps that Lockett played last year?

     
  10. PatsCanDoIt

    PatsCanDoIt Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Reiss never mentioned last season as his basis. To me Reiss was saying we have quality depth at safety that may include Lockett. Based on him practicing this morning.
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    :)

    Sorry, I didn't know Reiss was basing his assessment on just this morning's practice.[

    QUOTE=PatsCanDoIt;1867738]Reiss never mentioned last season as his basis. To me Reiss was saying we have quality depth at safety that may include Lockett. Based on him practicing this morning.[/QUOTE]
     
  12. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Richard Hill of Pats Pulpit takes a look at James Sanders


     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  13. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Hill also takes a look at Brandon McGowan


     
  14. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm a little bit hesitant to put too much stock into these numbers, but Pro Football Focus has a ranking of plaers by position against the pass (opposing QB Rating). Tha Pats' safeties did not do too well in this category in comparison to other NFL safeties.

    ProFootballFocus.com - By Position

    #27 - Brandon Meriweather - 64.7
    #64 - James Sanders - 105.6
    #71 - Brandon McGowan - 114.8

    Patrick Chung did not have enough snaps to qualify for the rankings, but I doubt his numbers would improve the group as a whole. In case anybody is wondering the lowest ranked safety was the Jaguars' Reggie Nelson with a 143.1 opponent QB rating; the highest ranked safety was the Bills' George Wilson (20.5)
     
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would note tha Meriweather's overall ranking is #6 in the league.

     
  16. DropKickFlutie

    DropKickFlutie Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Sanders and Meriweather are more free safeties.
    Chung and McGowan are more strong safeties.

    The starters will be Meriweather at FS and Chung at SS.
     
  17. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    WEEI's Christopher Price profiles a pair of safeties with very limited chances of making the week one roster.

    It Is What It Is Rating the Roster, Training Camp Edition (Part 1)

    -----

    80. Safety Ross Ventrone: He’s the defensive counterpart to (WR Buddy) Farnham, an undersized longshot. An undrafted free agent out of Villanova, the 5-foot-8, 190-pound Ventrone is the brother of former Patriots’ defensive back/special teamer Ray Ventrone. No one is disputing the fact that he’d be a great story if he made the team, and if he makes it, it’d be a good bet that they would be the only time two brothers ever played for Bill Belichick. But at this point, the practice squad is the best possible scenario for him.

    -----

    74. Safety Sergio Brown: Probably a little low here — we saw the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder make a few nice plays in spring practice. But the rookie free agent also has a really big plus working in his favor — his college coach was current New England safeties coach Corwin Brown, which will certainly ease the transition. He’ll struggle to see the field on defense in 2010, but if things come together for him, he could make his bones as a special teamer and go from there. Almost every year, a relatively unheralded defensive back makes his mark as a special teamer and ends up beating the odds and sticking around. Last year in was Kyle Arrington. This year, it could be Brown.
     
  18. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Andy Hart of PFW takes a pre-camp look at the Safety position. In his opinion Belichick is going to give Pat Chung an opportunity to prove himself and show what he can do, as Sanders and McGowan are more proven commodities.

    PFW -- From the Hart: Role Call! - S

    Andy Hart says: I’m a long-standing fan of Sanders. I think he’s a solid, sure-tackling safety net. He may not make big plays, but I think he saves plenty of them from happening against the Patriots defense. I’d line him up next to Meriweather and let the former first-round pick be the athletic playmaker he has the potential to be. I haven’t seen enough of Chung on defense to form a real opinion. He has all the tools and the desire. He’ll be in the mix and has a definite upside. McGowan, to me, is best served in a sub role as a guy who I believe brings diminishing returns the more he has to play. In the right spot I think he can be a complementary player on a good defense.

    Erik Scalavino says: While I still have my concerns about Meriweather’s fundamentals, I’ve no doubt he’s the only safety with a secure job. It looks like Chung will get every chance to be a starter, but until he proves himself, I remain a skeptic. McGowan is a playmaker at times, but is too inconsistent. Ironically, the most steady player, Sanders, seems like the forgotten man in this competition. But I think all four will make the team and contribute in a rotational role, much like last year.
     
  19. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Christopher Price of WEEI takes a look at two players on the bubble to make this year's roster.

    It Is What It Is Rating the Roster, Training Camp Edition (Part 4)

    50. Defensive back Bret Lockett: Like Kyle Arrington, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Lockett is a young and aggressive defensive back who was able to give the Patriots a lot of good reps on special teams last season, which should probably be enough to win him a spot on this year’s final 53. For what it’s worth, he also appears to be the Patriot who is most plugged into social networking. He has a very active Twitter account (where he revealed that he was working out on the West Coast with Tom Brady and Wes Welker), a web site and a Facebook page.



    44. Defensive back/kick returner Matthew Slater: You can say a lot of things about Slater, but you can never question his attitude. (Having grown up in the culture of football — his father was Hall of Famer Jackie Slater — it’s probably not a coincidence.) The Patriots have tried the 6-foot, 200-pound Slater at several different spots (defensive back, wide receiver, returner) in an attempt to try and utilize his terrific speed. With the kick return game at a crossroads (Brandon Tate and Devin McCourty got some opportunities there in the spring) and the defensive back and wide receiver spots very crowded this summer, time could be running out on Slater.
     
  20. 5 Rings for Brady!!

    5 Rings for Brady!! In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree that what the Pats seem to lack is a Rodney sort of presence. Sanders has little in the way of 'head hunting' presence, IMO, even if he is a good system guy. Merriweather likes to act like a big hitter but ends up missing key plays and he seems like a nice guy, not an angry guy. McGowan has the attitude but not sure about his upside.

    So for me that leaves Chung as the best hope for filling a head hunter role. One thing about Rodney however is that he was also situationally aware in coverage and a ball hawk, so Chung still has work ahead of him.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
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