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  1. tatepatsfan

    tatepatsfan Rookie

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    Falcons are re-signing Decoud. Falcons agree to contract with Thomas DeCoud | ProFootballTalk

    Not that I think Decoud is a great player, or that we'd even be interested in him, but the safety market is getting progressively thinner. Goldson, Griffin and Branch were all franchised and there are rumors that the Titans and Babineaux have made good progress towards a deal. Is there anyone else out in free agency worth pursuing?

    I've read that this year's group of safeties in the draft is considered weak, although there are surely other posters on this board that know more on that than I do.

    What do you all think the plan for the position should be? Does moving McCourty there full time and then pursuing a CB in either the draft/free agency make more sense?
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    It certainly needs a lot of work. More than any position on the roster.

    - Ihedigbo should not be the full time S on a team competing for a title.
    - Chung plays well, when healthy.
    - McCourty showed some flashes of potential at S, but obviously that deprives CB of some young talent. Will he be a hybrid player, playing CB in the base, and S in the nickel?

    There isn't a lot of safety talent on the market. If Belichick has one regret from last year, I bet it was letting go of all the safeties. Sanders, Meriweather, McGowan, Page all had their deficiencies and each transaction made sense at the time - but the cumulative result was one of the worst safety corps in recent memory. All four played better than Ihedigbo.

    The draft pool for safety sucks. So I'm not sure what they are going to do, but they have to do something.
  3. Deus Irae

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

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    Landry's probably the best available:

    2012 NFL Free Agents: DB
  4. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I'm not sure if you're being positive or normative, but I assume you're not in favor of the Patriots signing Landry.
  5. Deus Irae

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

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    Given the alternatives in both free agency and the draft, I'd have no problem if I heard that the Patriots wanted to bring him in to take a good look at his achilles, but my post was about giving the link to a list of the remaining available free agent safeties.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  6. billdog3484

    billdog3484 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Landry to me comes off as more of thumper at safety, comprable to chung. I think we need more of a roamer than a thumper
  7. JackBauer

    JackBauer Rookie

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    I hear you. I just don't think Landry is going to be able to cover any better than the safeties already on the roster.
  8. Deus Irae

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

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    Let's just say that I think you rate the team's current safeties more highly than I rate them.
  9. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The way the NFL is heading, I'm a strong supporter of moving McCourty to safety full time. Teams have to be able to play man coverage against elite QBs, and McCourty struggled with that. And it's way easier to find a man CB than a center field FS this offseason. None of the other options really excited me, even before Branch, Goldson, and Griffin were tagged. The correct move was to get Weddle last offseason, but it's too late for that now.
  10. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the two best options are Dwight Lowrey who went from a crappy CB to a pretty good FS or Richard Marshall, a good CB who played really well at FS when he replaced an injured Kerry Rhodes plus he gives a lot flexibility. The added bonus about Lowrey is it will peiss off Jets fans if he came here and did well after they traded him for next to nothing and safety is one of the Jets' biggest needs.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  11. patsderoer

    patsderoer Rookie

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    If the safeties market is so thin, Patriots could look at undrafted safeties from 1 or 2 years ago. Welker was also undrafted and went out and became a star.

    Matt O'Hanlon top 12 safety 2010 draft class - YouTube

    Matt O'Hanlon - Huskers.com - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

    O'Hanlon ranked as the team leader in interceptions and among the top five Blackshirt tacklers in 2009.

    O'Hanlon totaled 69 tackles, including 39 solo stops and a pair of tackles for loss. He had at least four tackles in 13 of 14 games during his senior season, helping the Huskers lead the nation in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, while also ranking in the top 10 in rushing and total defense. His play earned O'Hanlon honorable-mention All-Big 12 honors.

    O'Hanlon's six interceptions led the team and were the most by a Husker since 2003. He also ranked second in the Big 12, and among the top 20 nationally in interceptions. His ball-hawking skills helped Nebraska to 20 interceptions, good for seventh nationally. In addition to the interception total Nebraska held 10 opponents to 50 percent or less in the passing game and allowed just seven passing touchdowns.


    The Pats could bring O'Hanlon to the training camp to get a look at him.
  12. JackBauer

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    Not necessarily. If you can point me to a good cover safety, somewhat recent past or present, with a physique like this: LaRon Landry is looking quite large - DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

    ...I'll happily stand corrected. Further, I don't see what appears to be clear PED use enhancing his already suspect durability.

    I see Richard Marshall was mentioned. Would be a solid pickup, IMO.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  13. Gronkandez

    Gronkandez Rookie

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    I agree. I'd prefer it if McCourty could regain his rookie form at CB but I think that's wishful thinking.
  14. zimmy

    zimmy Rookie

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    I'm not too worried. The fact we have given McCourty some time there gives us some flexibility. There are a few different possibilities in the draft that would be available to us in the 1st or early 2nd round - Barron, Smith, Gilmore. They could all possibly play there. As much as people say Bill doesn't draft for need, we have done on occasion.

    Ideally, McCourty stays at corner and we draft a safety and pick up a veteran. We have Dowling and Barrett coming back too. With a season under their belts they expect to be better (not necessarily healthier).
  15. Deus Irae

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

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    I'd be a lot more worried about the physique if the Patriots had any safety besides Chung who was worth a damn. Since you could probably cover better than the current Patriots safeties, though, I've got no issue with Landry in comparison.

    Landry isn't my binkie, or anything like that but, if healthy, he looks mighty good in comparison to the stiffs currently on the roster.
  16. SeymourTrophies

    SeymourTrophies Rookie

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    The McCourty move to safety later on in the season was not a testament to his know-how at the position as much as it was that he couldn't get out of the slump he was in and the incompetence next to Chung. Ideally, we get a cover safety, as Chung is better suited to play close to the line of scrimmage, etc., but I don't think we can afford to be that picky this offseason. If you get a guy whose pedigree is not the play center field, so be it as long as he knows which end is up.

    Landry's supposed link to PED's along with injuries indicative of a PED freak makes me skeptical, but the worst that happens is he snaps an achilles tripping over the lines on the field in training camp and we have some time to adjust.

    As Deus said, anyone who's worth a damn.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We are unlikely to get any 2012 safety help in this draft. I expect that we will consider developmental prospects.

    There is little in free agency. I expect that we will bring in a JAG or two.

    The picture isn't pretty at safety for 2012. We will need to use our resources elsewhere.

    STARTERS
    Chung
    McCourty

    BACKUPS
    Ihedigbo
    Barrett
    JAG free agent

    POSSIBILITY
    Moore
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  18. JackBauer

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    I don't watch much of Arizona, but why wouldn't we bring Marshall in? He can either transition to FS with McCourty at CB, or vice versa.
  19. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    FS Possibilities:

    1. Sign Dwight Lowery

    2. Sign Richard Marshall and move him to FS.

    3. Move Moore to FS.

    4. Move Mccourty to FS.

    I'm against #4, #3 has the most risk but could be most reward, #1 is safe, #2 is somewhat risky and he won't be that cheap.
  20. Bertil

    Bertil Rookie

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    Wasn't this what we were left with when the Defense failed in the SB again? I hope BB has a better plan than this. Even if it consists of signing and drafting Safeties that he can subsequently convert on the fly so that they're proficient or even excellent by Seasons end.
  21. Sciz

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    It's the same safety group, but my assumption is that Belichick would draft another CB if McCourty moves to FS, because there are a lot of pretty good CBs in this draft. So while the safeties would be the same, the CB group looks to be improved with the healthy of Dowling, the drafting of a new CB, and Moore's progression.
  22. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    1) Yes, this is where we left off when we failed in the Super Bowl.

    2) I agree that we should work to improve the secondary.

    3) I don't think that there will be much opportunity to improve at safety. Therefore, we should accept that our safeties will be about the same and tryo to improve elsewhere. BTW, safety play could improve as McCourty has a year of experience at the position. Barrett could also be more a factor than the #4 safety. After all, he was a developin starter when he was healthy. He wasn't doing well, but there may be potential.

    4) We SHOULD indeed focus on improving the secondary, at the CORNER position. We start with Arrington, Moore, and Molden. We add Dowling. We should add 2-3 more in free agency and in the draft.

    BOTTOM LINE
    S Chung, McCourty, Ihedigbo, Barrett
    CB tbd, Arrington, Dowling, Moore, Molden/tbd
    DB tbd

    There are lots of possibilities at improving the corners. This will give us an improved secondary.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  23. Deus Irae

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

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    McCourty is a cornerback
  24. resdubwhite

    resdubwhite Rookie

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    I am hoping there are a few cap casualties at the safety position this year.

    Well I can hope.
  25. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    I don't think so. He's the best "name" out there, and even if you ignore the injury concerns, he's not a coverage safety. In fact coverage is one of his weaknesses. At this point he's more in the category of a July vet minimum FA signing, than a March high end guy.
  26. patfanken

    patfanken Rookie

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    I was against the moving of McCourty to FS, even though I thought he could be very good at it based off his brief showing this season. My feelings were that by the end of the season, he was closer to being the all pro CB we saw in 2010, than the ineffective player we saw for a good part of the season in 2011.

    HOWEVER, part of the reason for NOT moving McCourty (short of an injury situation), was that we solve the coverage safety position in FA. I would have been very happy with either Griffith or DeCoud, but now we know neither of those 2 guys are coming.

    The draft also paints a bad picture. Barron, and Smith are the 2 highest rated S's in this weak class, and both look like more the SS type, than the coverage guy we are looking for. The draft is much deeper at the CB position, so with Dowling coming back, and the fact that its easier to transition a CB into the league than a S, I'm beginning to think moving McCourty to FS at the start of the season is beginning to make more sense.

    Richard Marshall was a binky back when he was a potential draft pick out of Fresno. People have made a nice case for him as a FS guy who has some CB skills as well. Sounds like a good pick up as well as an economical one. The more I think about it, I'm warming up to the idea. What about Reggie Nelson. He was a high pick of the Jags and started out strong, but I've lost track of his career the last few seasons. What's his situation? Would he be a better pick up that Marshall?

    As for drafting a FS type this season, I really don't want to, especially early. I don't see a rookie S having a big impact on the field in his first year. Much too much to learn, absorb, and communicate. However I wouldn't hate picking up a CB like Gilmore early or Tru Johnson later as guys who have the potential to transition in Safeties down the road. In fact I would love grabbing Gilmore strictly as another CB

    BTW- as weak as THIS class is going to be at S, next year's class should be a great one, with at leas 5 coverage guys who are going to get first or 2nd round grades.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  27. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Rookie

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    Anyone would be better than James Ihedigbo or Sergio Brown, even the return of a well motivated James Sanders.
  28. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree that McCourty is a cornerback. However, he also seems to be our #2 safety, even playing out of position.

    I suppose we could bring back Sanders to start at safety for a season. After all, the 2013 draft class has lots of top safeties.

    As of now, the situation is indeed bleak. We have Chung and Barrett. Ihedigbo is a free agent. There is no one in the draft who should be expected to start. There may or may not be some minor help in free agency.

    I would be fine with allocated $5M-8M of cap money to free agent safeties, if they were available. We would then be in reasonable shape at corner with Arrington, McCourty, Moore, Dowling and Molden. Of course, we would draft an upgrade if he were available.


    BOTTOM LINE
    Where is the help coming from at safety?


    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  29. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would love the signing of Richard Marshall. I would also ponder the signing of Reggie Nelson at the right price of course. There's no doubt that Marshall is much better talent-wise, and also provides versatility at both CB and S, something that Nelson does not bring.

    It's a great point that the safety position can very well be upgraded by bringing in one more versatile CB like Marshall. That would now make 4 potential CB/S hybrids, who provide versatility at both positions.

    1.McCourty--could play CB in base, and move to S in subs.

    2.Dowling--many here called for his possible switch to safety. I disagree, and think he's a much better CB. I also don't want to put him in a position where one tends to get injured more than CB. I think Dowling is one of our starting CB's next yr, BUT he can provide versatility in a pinch at free safety.

    3.Moore--we've seen him play both, and he looked decent (as far as 1st yr's go) doing it. He definitely provides versatility at both secondary positions.

    4.Marshall--definitely a decent CB, and looked good filling in at S last yr in ARZ. More versatility at both positions.

    -----------

    This isn't even taking into acct using the NFL's leading INT guy, Arrington in the 'star' position. He can surely be just fine playing slot CB.

    That also leaves our best SS, Patrick Chung.

    The secondary would now look like the following for 2012:

    1.McCourty
    2.Dowling
    3.Arrington
    4.Moore
    5.Marshall
    6.Chung
    7.High round draft pick (rounds 1-3)
    8.Ihedigbo
    9.Barrett/Brown or low level FA acquisition

    That now potentially solves the problem, simply by adding more versatility in the mix of Richard Marshall (should be financially sound move, approx. 6 or so million a year), AND adding another CB or S in the draft.

    Problem solved. Now we have improved talent, improved competition, and better depth. Better yet, even more versatility, and potentially could even set a new standard of using the 'hybrid' CB/S, which is brilliant in itself with the high-passing NFL.

    And to go one step further, the entire secondary combined, as in BOTH CB/S would be incredibly cheap and cost efficient. I think this is the way to go. Regardless, there's no way it's anywhere as bad as it was in 2011.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  30. ATippett56

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    Re-signing safety James Ihedigbo does not improve the defensive secondary whatsoever. I would rather expend two draft picks on safeties or cornerback to safety conversions as opposed to the proposed one.

    Unfortunately, Sergio Brown survived all the roster cuts that occurred during the 2011 NFL Season, so the New England Patriots coaching staff value him on special teams. That said, Sergio Brown offers no value to the New England Patriots defensive improvement going forward.
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