Stopping the other team when they need to only pass

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Feb 11, 2012.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    If there is one thing that the Pats have not been good at this is it.
    Now, the amount of success this team has had makes it hard to just focus on one negative and pretend that a philosophical change fixes that and doesn't mess with what has made the team near perfect but for this flaw. First, the history:
    Not being able to stop the other team when they only are passing, such as playing catchup or fighting the clock at the end of a game or half has been a primary factor in postseason losses such as
    SB 42
    SB 46
    06 AFCCG
    If we just called it "4th quarter D" the 2010 playoff loss also comes into play.

    It is very reasonable to argue the dynasty that won 3 SBs in 4 years, excelled in those situations (not prefect but excellent since it is a difficult way to play D) and the nondynasty could have won 3 more in 6 years if it made those stops.

    Pretend for a moment that this part of the defense didn't fail in 06,07 and 11 and the Patriots have 6 titles in 11 years. Would anyone say that there would be a single complaint that anyone could make about improvement in other areas?
    That spans 11 years of roster changes, scheme changes, coordinator changes, and really everything but BB and Brady.

    This issue also shows up in poor 3rd down conversion results.

    Again, I must point out focussing on this one issue at the expense of contuining to operate the way they have can diminish the team in other areas, but I think this has to be the focus.

    What to do?

    First, I have absolutely no doubt that with BB we have as good or better an ability to scheme than anyone.
    Its easy to say 'draft a passrusher' or 'sign a corner' but I'm looking for an all encompassing solution. We brought in 2 pass rushers this year who both had more sacks than any Patriot since 07, yet here we are.

    I think we need to prioritize sub package defense even at the expense of the base. I would rather have guys that excel in sub packages and struggle in the base if they have to be pressed into duty than to have to use 2gap DL and LB and zone DBs in sub packages.
    Part of the issue is that the coverage and rush need to complement each other. If you are confident in your rushers you have to choose your poison of playing coverage and getting piacked apart of blitzing and letting up a big play. If you aren't confident in your secondary you are afraid to blitz.

    What we need.
    1) A group of DL who can win one on one pass rushing battles. This would include 34 OLBs
    2) LBs who can effectively blitz
    3) LBs and safeties who play LB-like spots in the sub that can cover
    4) Solid corners that can be left in man if we blitz and that aren't a physical mismatch because of size, speed or quickness/cod (Note: we have always looked at 'complete' corners in terms of run support, tackling and coverage more than varied coverage skills)
    5) Safeties that are competant and lack severe weakness in any area

    What we have DLINE
    1) I think Carter is gone. The severity of his injury and the fact he has been in the league 11 years concerns me that even if he gets back, he won't have the skills. Leg injuries to aging players who rely on their legs is not good.
    Anderson should be kept. He may only play 300-400 snaps as a sub package DE, but those are important snaps.
    Pryor theoretically could be a decent sub rush DT but will he ever be healthy? Cant count on it. Deaderick is also decent in this role.
    Ninko is barely acceptable as a sub pass rusher, so would be a good backup there who can also cover in the sub.
    Wilfork will be better for the other 50 snaps if we leave him out of these.
    No one else in the front 7 really seems to be an effective sub front 4 guy.
    Need to add.
    1) Another outside rusher. When it is the starting 34OLB/43DE or another Anderson who is a critically important role player.
    2/3) 2 DL who can give an inside rush from sub package. I'd like to see DE/DT hybrids. The 280-290 lb guy who is small and quick for a 43 DT or 34 DE and bigger than a 43 DE. These do not have to be guys that play in the regular D. They can be draft choices, FAs, and shouldn't be severely expensive, but could also be a guy who plays 34 DE in the base.

    Note this does not include OLBs who play DE in sub
    I think the group we have with Mayo, Spikes, Ninko and Fletcher are solid across the board, but I'd like to see us bring in a sub package coverage specialist to be able to play in these situations. We may already have him in Tarp, but we can easily find 3-4 to compete with cheap FA picks, late round choices or UDFAs.

    I think McCourty on 2010 is more what we have than McCourty of 2011. I also think that he was not nearly as bad in 2011 as people think because a few plays stand out and hundreds go unnoticed.
    I think Dowling could be part of the solution.
    I think between the 2, I'd like to add a starter in case one is not the guy so we are certain THE MOST IMPORTANT SPOT ON THE TEAM RIGHT NOW has 2 solid starters and hopefully 3. Arrington should not be starting. He is really a nickle I would look to upgrade and a dime I'd be very happy with. I understand he had Ints this year so people think that means he is good, but he is undersized and limited with quickness and cod in close spaces. Yes, you can run packages where he is a capable corner but he is always going to be the guy you have to try to hide from getting exposed. Who wouldn't be happy with a secondary where he is the 4th corner? Moore got a lot of good pub for knocking a ball out after getting burned, but was on the street, signed, cut once and still on the street when brought back and his overall play was shaky. There is potential so bring him to camp, but we need to be better. Moulden should erase "Gillette Stadium" from his GPS device.
    I think this need gets best solved in FA. We need a cover corner. I don't care if he can play run support (well I do but its way way down on the list) I want a stud cover guy. It is at least priority #2 and probably is #1. (Even over Welker who I love because a better D and worse O will make us a net better team)
    I would also like to draft a corner as well who can play because injuries are a fact of life. For that matter bring in some vet cheap FAs to camp too.

    At safety, Chung is turning into just what we want. Of course we need another safety and maybe 2, because playing Chung in a "LBlike" spot in the sub like Rodney Harrison is intriguing if we get a secondary we can trust.
    I would like to see the combination of a decent, reliable vet in free agency and a draft choice at safety, with Barrett and Ihedigo left to fight for the last spot.

    It is unrealistic to expect with the rules of the game now, to build a sub package that can be effective 100% of the time, but if we take the strengths already in place it is possible to put together a defense that is much, much better in that area. In one way we may be sacrificing the base D, but in another we will help keep it off the field.

  2. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow Supporter Supporter

    #87 Jersey

    Most teams suck in this situation with the way the league has become, but good post and it's a good point.

    I guess the goal is to suck less. :D
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  3. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe Supporter Supporter

    #61 Jersey

    Consciously, unconsciously or whatever, the defense we saw in the playoffs was just slightly better than what we saw all season long. Meaning, they gave up a ton of passing yards and first downs to make stopping the long ball a priority. All it takes is one long reception and we're toast (re., Manningham's miracle catch in the Super Bowl). The schemes are fine, I think it simply comes down to skilled personnel -- pass rushers and coverage guys. We need defensive backs who can effectively and consistently play man-to-man when called upon, something we missed all season long. Before Carter got hurt the pass rush was rounding into shape.
  4. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    It took more than a 38 yard pass, there was still half the field left. it was the 8 plays that followed, that werent really competitive. That may have been the best defensive play of the drive, becuase it was well defensed and took perfect execution to complete. The rest of the drive was pathetic.
    I agree the scheme makes the results better than the players are, because we play pretty good defense all game long until scheme is out the window and its throw every down. We flat out stink when it gets to that part of the game.
  5. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

    You're way off here.

    You say that this (pass D giving way late in games) didn't happen on the Super Bowl teams, but you're wrong. In all of the SB wins they never really stopped the other team in the 4th quarter. What you're describing is what happens to every defense late in a big game---it becomes exhausted.

    In all of the big game failures post 2004 the OFFENSE could not convert key plays or drives to win the game, or at least to give the defense a chance to breathe. the OFFENSE is the difference between now and then, not the defense.

    How about Brady's killer INT against Denver in 05 when the defense was playing great?

    How about the fact that that their longest drive in the 2nd half of the 06 AFCCG was 34 yards, and that was the desperation drive that ended with the Marlin Jackson int? The O couldn't put together a single drive of more than 6 plays the entire second half to give the D a chance to regroup. They couldn't even convert one play - a 3rd and 3--to win the game.

    In 09, Brady gave the Ravens 17 points on a silver platter in the first quarter. Game over

    In 10, the offense sucked against the NYJ. Do I have to go into detail here?

    In 2011, the Offense looked great against craptastic Denver and then struggled to make any plays down the stretch against the Ravens and Giants. The defense and luck bailed them out against the Ravens, but couldn't quite get the job done against the Giants, although the offense left them out to dry with the two turnovers (a safety on first down is a turnover) and the ability to make a single play down the stretch.

    I'm fine with your suggestions to improve the defense, but let's not neglect the offense either. It has failed every big test since 2004.
  6. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    In 20006 the offense handed a 21-3 lead just before the half to the defense and scored 13 more points in the second half
    The D proceeded to allow a FG on an 80 yard drive at half then TD drives on the first 3 drives of the second half.
    Then with 2:17 left they went 88 yards in 7 plays.
    Yeah, the defense that allowed 28 second half points had nothing to do with that because the offense only scored 13 second half point after building an 18 point lead.

    In 2007 the defense allowed the Giants to go 80+ yards on each of its last 2 drives. After they gave away the lead, the offense answered and they gave it away again.

    This year, the defense took over with the Ravens, yes the Joe flacco led Ravens on the 21 yard line with 1:47 left. They went 65 yards in 7 plays before Lee Evans dropped an easy TD pass or they give up 79 yards in 1:17 to lose.
    In the SB the Giants drove right down the field with almost no resistance to win the SB.

    Sure, you can find imperfections in the offense, you can split blame however you want to explain how they got into situaitons where they win if the defense can prevent a TD drive on the last drive of the game, but you cannot rationalize away the fact that in every one of those games the defense had a lead to protect and not only failed to do so, (except for Evans drop and the missed chippie FG) but really didn't even come close. They weren't really even competitive on any one of those drives. The opponent drove right down the field at will. I don't know why you insist on defending a consistent record of failing miserably in the clutch.
  7. Joker

    Joker Supporter Supporter

    While we can argue which facets of the game the Patriots underperformed in, there is no question that THE key play was the long completion to Manningham. Watching subsequent broadcasts and hearing BB call the defense on that play,the Patriots WANTED that pass to go to Manningham...Belicheck CALLED the defense to cover that play...the two players responsible for carrying out the coverage called were in position...what made that play work for the Giants was that the safety was TOO SLOW in coverage...he should have been closer to the receiver and in position to cut in front of Manningham for the interception/breakup.

    Is this a mistake by the safety? If so, he either needs more work carrying out his assignments or he needs to be replaced.

    Is this a physical limitation of the safety? Is he substandard in reaction time...too slow of foot to make the proper break on the ball? If so, we need a BETTER safety.

    Of all the the particular things that contributed to that loss, THIS play sticks out the most as the fulcrum between a win and a loss. Just my opinion of course....but when the head coach CALLS the defense and WANTS the play to go where it did, there's obviously something wrong with the coverage skills of the players involved.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  8. bradybeliever

    bradybeliever Rookie

    NOT blaming Brady or Welker. Just pointing out that a single pass completion in that instance and you are not even thinking about all this stuff in the op.

    We were a fraction of an inch or split second from victory and success. Let's be careful about striving for perfection (and upsetting BB's applecart).

    This league is set up the way it is to prohibit any team from dominating. Yet we, in fact, have dominated the last eleven years in relation to any and all other teams in the league.

    Let's not act like the Sox Nation.

    Disappointment? Heck yeah. Depressing? You bet. But we are already favored by Vegas to win it all this year.

    Not too shabby.
  9. JFK

    JFK Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I think the D had a part to play with those 21 points. Didn't Asante have a pick six or almost??
  10. jbb9s

    jbb9s In the Starting Line-Up

    I think this offense is just built to crush bad and mediocre defenses, as evident with numbers brady(07,10) , gronk (11), moss (07) walker (every year) etc. but if one piece is lost, welker (09), gronk (11), they just can't do it.

    This is mostly because they are not committed to running ala dillon (04). Imagine if they could run down the clock - pun intended - in the 3 games the OP mentioned? No one would be blaming Heath Evans ( 12 men in the huddle), welker (drop), hernandez (drop) etc.
  11. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    It doesnt make me feel better that the solution to the defense stinking at the end of the game is to hope they aren't out there late in a close game. That got us through a regular season and took a miracle to get us through the AFCCG. Had they not been in the situation in the SB wouldn't change the inevitable result if they had.

    I'm not calling for perfection at all, I am calling for fixing a gaping weakness that has cost us as much as 3 SB titles.

    Well the last 8 have been good, but not dominant with no title.
    This issue has kept us from maintaining dominance with 2 and probably 3 more Champinships in that time. You cannot ignore, just about the only thing that has kept us from staying at the 01-04 level is that when the other team has the ball 80+ yards away with the game on the line, we not only don't stop them we don't even come close (unless Lee Evans and a kicker choke)

    Do you really think identifying a weakness and wanting to fix it is the equivalent of a whining Sox fan? What should we discuss, new jersey designs? Or should the board simply be about making fun of the Jets?

    Wait, you are now saying being favored in Vegas in February is a victory? Rex? How did you hack Bradybelievers account?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  12. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Does that excuse 28 second half points?
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    I actually think it was a good call. Sure they completed it but they dont complete that 10 times out of 100.
    And that play wasnt the killer it was the rest of the drive. You can't say you lost because they got to the 50.
    That may have been the best defensive play on the drive, it took a remarkable throw and catch to beat it. The rest of the drive they werent really competitive.
  14. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe Supporter Supporter

    #61 Jersey

    I wish BB/Josh could somehow ramp up the running game. That's what this offense REALLY needs -- a legitimate running THREAT. Exhibit A: the New York Giants.
  15. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    Nailed it. Been saying the exact same thing Andy.

    Look at every NE loss this season and the other team had great passing numbers. Even some of the NE wins, the other club had a stellar day passing the pigskin. The Pats were inches away from Evans having his right foot down and watching the SB46 on tv.

    If the Pats do nothing else this off season the secondary must be fixed.

    BB thought the Pats secondary was in good shape heading into 2011. But, Bodden never was the same player upon his return. McCourty forgot how to play CB in a dominating fashion like his rookie season. Dowling lands on IR. Barrett lands on IR. BB did a heck of a coaching job this season with what he had to work with.

    Football Outsiders considers CB the Pats biggest need.
  16. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    I'm not so concerned with the number of passing yards, because arguably there are many games where we want the other teams chance to win to revolve around the QB, and many other where we play prevent.
    I an concerned about being able to stop a team when the game is on the line, and today that is about playing good nickel and dime D, and that IMO is the biggest and longest standing weakness we have had.
    Im not crying because it exists but hoping that is can get addressed.
  17. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    I don't know. I think that the biggest issue of the SB was the lack of possessions. Granted we weren't sensational with the ones we had, but the limited opportunities hurt. I think getting the defense off the field helps more with that issue that running the ball more and taking it out of Tom Bradys hands.
  18. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    The number of passing yards do matter. The QB is completing passes.

    It came back to bite NE in the Super Bowl. Evans and Cundiff saved the Pats in the AFCC.
  19. Triumph

    Triumph Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #75 Jersey

    NY took a page out the Pittsburgh play book.

    Football | NFL | Boxscore - Patriots v Steelers -
  20. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson Veteran Supporter

    Let me rephrase this.
    Its not the number of passing yards accumulated in a game or season that is the big issue, it is the ease that the other team has in passing against us in a pass only situation.

    In other words, if we are facing Dan Orlovsky and decide to take away the run and make him beat us, its of little concern that after we build a 31-3 lead he puts up a lot of garbage yards. But it IS a big concern that we don't have the athletes that can cover even in a prevent situation and that when we play straight up during parts of those drives we couldn't flip the switch because of talent.
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