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Starting at linebacker

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by rookBoston, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. rookBoston

    rookBoston 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Reading the latest USAToday on the Pats, I came across a projection which is think is false. There seems to be a widely held belief that Thomas and Colvin will play outside backer, with Vrabel and Bruschi inside.

    I think that's probably wrong. I expect, and this was partially supported by some of the mini-camp observations of where BB has Thomas lining up in practice, that Vrabel will return to his natural spot outside across from Colvin, and that Thomas will play inside beside Bruschi, with Seau/Lua rotating in on the inside and Brown/Woods on the outside.

    Vrabel is adequate but not great dropping into coverage, and is most disruptive beating the OT to strip the ball from the QB on the outside. Thomas has the footspeed and agility to play in the secondary which makes him a far better fit covering a TE in the pattern.

    I'm not sure why so many people assume that Thomas will play outside and Vrabel inside.

    Vrabel was forced into it last year, after the injury to Seau with the hope that TBC would hold up outside. When that idea was disproved, they put him back outside, hoping that Alexander would fill on the inside. That concept was disproved, too, but has the benefit of putting Vrabel in the position he's best suited to play.

    Thomas, by all accounts, is Mr. Versatility himself, and has even played S and CB for the Ravens. No doubt, he will see some snaps outside, but that's not where the team needs him most.

    I'm excited to see some 3-5 alignments this year, with Seau, Bruschi and Thomas in the box along with Vrabel and Colvin. In that alignment, Thomas could be a blitzing S, a zone coverage DB, a run stopper or just about anything. Any team with slow-developing passing routes will get steamrolled by that defensive front.
     
  2. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    A 3-5 alignment would be devastating on 1st down and 2nd and short.
     
  3. unoriginal

    unoriginal In the Starting Line-Up

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    2nd and short? AKA "2nd and hell why not chuck it down the field"?
     
  4. patriot lifer

    patriot lifer 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    when thomas was placed at inside linebacker during minicamp, some have surmised (the Patriots football weekly writers) that this was simply to familiarize him with a position he hasn't played before, and it didn't mean that he will necessarily be playing inside all the time, but so if he does, he will be ready.

    I'd like him to split time at each pretty evenly
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2007
  5. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Agree with the principal read.

    Adalius Thomas : Bill Belichick :: a Lionel train set : me at Christmas, age five.

    We are about to see defensive deployments never seen before.
     
  6. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

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    I would like to see Thomas and Vrabel start outside, with Colvin rotating in; and Bruschi/Seau inside.
     
  7. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I prefer Vrabel outside, too. The more we can get guys like him back to their natural position, the better.
     
  8. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I expect to see Vrabel, Thomas and Colvin at OLB with 1 dropping into coverage or both blitzing from 1 side. The side with 1 OLB wait to see a safety lined up next...expect to see:

    Vrabel, Thomas, Seymour, Vince, Warren, Colvin, Harrison at the line with people dropping into coverage at snap and some rushing.
     
  9. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    IMO....

    OLB rotation- Thomas, Vrable, Colvin, Brown, Woods
    ILB rotation- Bruschi, Vrable, Thomas, Seau, Alexander

    I have Vrable & Thomas doubling time as OLB/ILB. Because they can rush the passer from inside & outside and offer strong run support in 3rd and short and all 3 downs for that matter, I like them in both spots.

    Colvin stays on the outside. Nothing wrong there.

    I like Alexander spotting Seau and Bruschi maybe 10-15 plays a game.

    I think Pierre Woods makes a nice push this year for some spot playing time on the edge to spell the Vrable, Thomas and Colvin OLB rotation. I love his speed on the edge.

    Everyone else on the roster will either be STs or practice squad.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2007
  10. MetalBleachers

    MetalBleachers Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I agree with most of this, although I think the rotations will change a lot from game to game to keep opponents guessing.

    I'm also very curious to see how Larry Izzo does, only because a young LB might prove more valuable in a few years and he might need a place on the roster for ST duty. Nothing against Izzo, he's been awesome, but I wonder at what point a rookie would be able to get that ST slot.
     
  11. dhamz

    dhamz In the Starting Line-Up

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    While Thomas may end up starting inside, you can't read too much into mini-camp or even training camp. BB plays versatile guys at other spots in camp so that they get reps and learn the spot so it will be easier for them to do it in real games if needed.

    For example, every July we hear how BB has moved Wilson to corner because he lines up there in camp. Every September, we see Wilson assume his safety spot.
     
  12. robertweathers

    robertweathers Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Great points. The personnel groupings will change from week to week. Izzo does pitch in in goaline and short yardage, but your point in taken. He was just re-signed to a 2 year deal for reasonable $$$.
     
  13. patpatriot

    patpatriot Banned

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    What this combination of players does is allow the defense to camoflage better who will drift into coverage and who will rush the passer. It's all about matchups; getting a quick Safety matched up with a big slow Tackle in a pass rush situation; getting a big strong LB matched up with a little RB. I pity the younger QBs who have to face this group. That's why I think the Pats will beat the Bolts in week 2. BB will get Rivers nutty trying to figure out what's going on.

    Also expect to see that "1 DT 6 LBs all-milling-around-before-the-snap" defense. Hell, that one even worked when the Jets pulled it on Brady last year!
     
  14. patsox23

    patsox23 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think it would be pretty surprising to see a rookie good enough at S/T's to supplant a guy in Izzo who is STILL one of the NFL's best at that skill.
     
  15. MrTibbs

    MrTibbs Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Against the Chargers I wouldn't be surprised to see formation. The Chargers attacked the edge with the run all game and ran it down Banta-Cain's throat. He couldn't make a tackle to save his life. Seymour didn't exactly have a great game either, that rookie LT of theirs dominated him which I hate to say. Seymour and Banta-Cain were invisible. In a sense Tomlison's run style is similar to Westbrook's so we all know what the Patriots did in the Super Bowl to slow him down from setting the edge. The flooded the field with LB's with speed and he went nowhere.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2007
  16. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

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    AD will play some ILB and even though he's a good ILB, he's a better option at OLB. I also think he's a better OLB than Vrabel. Obviously he'll see time at both positions but I hope he gets more time at OLB than ILB. I don't want to see what could be a very good pass rush combination of Colvin and AD going to waste because AD's to busy playing ILB. Yes, we know AD can play these other positions but what he's best at is rushing the passer from his OLB position, and dropping into coverage (which you can do from OLB as well, ask Colvin).
     
  17. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I'd rather see Colvin and Thomas start with Vrabel rotating in.
     
  18. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't see any reason why the Pats would make Seau and Bruschi full-time players and Vrabel and Thomas/Colvin part-time players.
     
  19. pats1

    pats1 Moderator PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm pretty sure there's no "Vrable" on the Pats. ;)
     
  20. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Sebman may have been thinking that a Vrabel/Colvin/Thomas rotation might work with a Seau/Bruschi/Thomas rotation. And with an ILB coming out on long-yardage.

    This could help Bruschi and Vrabel stay in better health through the season and keep the offense guessing.
     

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