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The Injury Excuse and Depth

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Jun 17, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    All top teams have some all-pros and perhaps a HOFer or two. Almost all are capable of going deep into the playoffs if they have no injuries. Almost all their fan bases are capable of blaming anything short of the Super Bowl on injuries.

    Look back on our board for similar "discussions" of results of the past four seasons. Some blame injuries; some blame the lack of preparedness.

    The answer to injury is depth; the answer is to reduce the falloff between starter and backup. The answer is to be prepared for two or even injuries at a position.

    HOW WELL ARE WE PREPARED FOR INJURIES AT KEY POSITIONS?
     
  2. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    as long as Brady stays healthy, and our LB's stay healthy, were good

    we got the depth at WR, RB, TE, OL, DL, and CB and S

    if specific guys of the WR or DL go down, the impact will most defenetely be felt, but it wouldnt hurt as much as Brady or say mayo or AD
     
  3. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    By and large, I'd say very well indeed.

    - Both lines have excellent depth for this year, returning all starters and key backups with good-looking rookies to boot.

    - At RB, posters are trying to come up with ways to squeeze a 5th back onto the roster, not because the 4 in front of him are stiffs, but because they like all 5.

    - At Safety, having McGowan, Willams & Spann competing for the #4 spot is very solid.

    - At CB, the starters are up in the air but the overall depth and talent level looks uncommonly good.

    - At QB, nobody else is Tom Brady. But the highest-drafted QB of the BB era is heading into his second season as the backup, and the team appears confident in him. That works for me.

    - At WR, nobody else is Randy Moss or Wes Welker. Either Galloway or Lewis would have to step up in a BIG way, which is certainly a little nervewracking. On the upside, 3 years ago they would have been competing for the #1 slot!

    So that leaves linebackers. Mayo & Thomas do look frighteningly irreplaceable right now, so it's really no wonder that the board keeps dreaming of the likes of Burgess. There's still time. :)
     
  4. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

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    Nice post. I'd agree with everything. My only worry is the same as yours, depth behind AD & Mayo. When AD went down last season, the defense was never the same, and statistically, it really took a nosedive. We can't afford to lose him and his versatility again this season.
     
  5. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think you are missing a big part of the equation. Depth at a position naturally helps you cope with an injury, but the talent level surrounding that position is more important.

    I have said since 2001, that the most important aspect of that team, and it held true for many versions of Patriot teams was that the weakest link was stronger than anyone elses. In 2001, at every position, and in every phase, we were good enough to dominate bad players/units, do good against average ones, and hold our own against good and great ones.
    When you have that quality across a roster or lineup, the impact of downgrading one spot is less severe.
    The reality is that Matt Cassell stepping in for Tom Brady was a larger dropoff than him stepping in for anyone else, but the dropoff in results would have been much worse elsewhere, because surrounding players would have been of lesser quality.
     
  6. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    While I agree that injuries are inevitable and you want to have a roster filled with quality backups, the harsh reality is that there are severe limitations to avoiding a dropoff from a starter to a backup.

    The first obstacle is the salary cap; if a team has good players they need to spend money to keep them; that leaves less money available to sign better backups. If the backup was just as good as the starter, then he'd be starting somewhere and making starter's money.

    The next thing to consider is that the roster is limited to 53 players. There have been threads with comments concerned about the depth at ILB, for example; many are concerned that we don't have enough players on the current roster that play this position. While I agree there may be a need to bring in one more for training camp fodder, the reality is that the team will probably go in to the regular season with four ILB's. In other words, having six or eight ILB's doesn't really address the situation at that position.

    I would say that every team is in the same situation with concerns about 'what happens if our starter goes down' if he is one of the team's most important players, or it is one of the most important positions in that team's scheme. It would be like saying 'what are the Steelers going to do if Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark get hurt' or 'what will the Chargers do if LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles get hurt?' It would have been nice to still also have Michael Turner but it wasn't realistic. Same thing goes for the Pats roster.

    Of course we'd all like to have backup depth with future all-pros ready and waiting on the practice squad in case they are needed. But given the limitations of the salary cap, the size of the roster, and the need to also adrees special teams, I'm not sure that I see a way to appreciably improve the depth on the team at this point. It doesn't mean there is not a concern if Mayo or Adalius is lost to an injury, but I'm not convinced that there is a reasonable solution either.
     
  7. NumenorBlader

    NumenorBlader Rookie

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    I think so long as Brady is fit and healthy, the offensive positions are covered, especially WR. By virtue of what he was doing a few years ago with the WRs we HAD, so long as he's there we're good.

    TBH, I think last season Brady going down so early just felt like the ethos in the team was a bad one. Every seemed so shocked and unconfident in Cassel that things just went downhill. Also remember that the defence took a helluva lot more snaps last season because of the early friction with Cassel, and that cost them as well. Plus with guys like Harrison and OLiners down as well, it just seemed like we were all falling like flies. We only really started believing when Cassel started rocking the boat and had the opportunities to thwart the Minger in Cleveland.

    And as 07 proved the offence can carry the defence. So let's just keep Brady healthy, and if he doesn't, then hopefully BB can work some magic with Gutierrez. That to me is the way it goes. We're going to pick up injuries inevitably, especially with Tyrone McKenzie even before TC! Let's just make sure that we are in a good place before any injuries.

    Oh and great teams will win the big one even with injuries. Any excuses we had won't be because of injuries, but because of not playing well. That's the truth. Look at our past playoff and regular season experience earlier on this decade, look at the secondary of the Giants in the SB as examples.

    We can do it this year though, injuries or not... let's all pray and BELIEVE!!!

    Blader.
     
  8. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    We have bingo. Whether or not JAG DBs can get by has a lot to do w/ the pass rush. Cassell was helped by great WRs. And so on.
     
  9. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    One of the reasons the Patriots have been consistent winners in the Belichick decade is because the Pats have better depth than any other team. Belichick reserves more money for reserve players, and it shows.

    That is also usually why the Pats are stronger, the longer the season goes on. Comparatively their opponents get weaker as injuries mount for everybody. Meanwhile BB replaces great players with merely good or competent ones, and keeps on Winning.

    But the 53 man roster limit and the CAP prevent him from having great depth everywhere. If the CAP were no problem, do you think he would have let Matt Cassel go? I argued that having depth at the most important position, QB, was extra important; but BB couldn't justify it.:(

    He chose instead to bring in: Joey Galloway, Leigh Bodden, Shawn Springs, Chris Baker, Fred Taylor, Greg Lewis, Alex Smith, TBC, and Paris Lenon; and retain Mike Wright and Pierre Woods. All eleven were starters, or semi-starters; and each adds at the minimum, competent depth to their position.:)

    In retrospect maybe he was correct.;)
     
  10. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think AZ, that one of the reasons BB was willing to let Cassel go was the fact that he felt that Kevin OConnor would be a better QB, plain and simple. He has a stronger arm, he is a better faster athlete, and has more game experience. It won't take him 4 years to develop. I think he could be as good as Cassel this year and be better going on.

    Unfortunately for him, I doubt very much we will ever see much of his talent on the field, however he WILL be ANOTHER chip BB will play when his rookie contract expires in 3 years. The reality is that the QB who will replace Tom Brady is probably just entering college THIS year.
     
  11. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I have to agree with the people that suggest that the Pats will be fine unless their QB or LB's get injured. The lack of depth at LB and CB have killed the Pats for the last 5 years.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  12. eagle eye

    eagle eye In the Starting Line-Up

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    This says it all here. Depth alone is not the answer, its all about how many of your backups can actually come in and do the job.

    Thats been the amazing thing in this organization since BB came here. Everybody on the roster is able to do a good job.
     
  13. Leave No Doubt

    Leave No Doubt PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great points. I'd add versatility to the list as well as the willingness to play as a team; no stars. If a player can't wrap his mind around that concept then he's toast. BIG prereq is no bs and that's a mandate that's proven itself to be one of BB's best and hopefully most lasting contributions to NE.

    He never amassed talent,he built a team. When injuries happened in the past some of the most unlikely characters stepped up and made just huge contributions to what's sitting in that case at Patriots Place.

    We've always done well despite injuries; the Pats are ALWAYS there, even last year finishing at 11-5, a season which would place most teams in the playoffs.

    We'll be ok, plus Junior might have a game or two left in him:p Besides all the above though, BB's also got his little black book of phone #'s; Rosie came back, Junior, Rodney...:D
     
  14. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    Let's play devil's advocate and say, for all we know, all the linebackers besides Thomas and Mayo could be more easily be replaced by waiver or retired players than any other position.

    I hope it's not true, but I don't know it as yet
     
  15. BradyFTW!

    BradyFTW! PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yeah, and I even think lumping together the LBs overstates it. There are 2 LBs that we probably can't afford to lose: Thomas and Mayo. Somehow, I don't think our season will be over if Woods, Bruschi, or Guyton gets hurt.
     
  16. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So, our top two linebackers are irreplaceable and the others can easily be replaced by free agents.

    I would think that this is a pretty bad position to be in.


     
  17. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well isn't that stating the obvious - that this, or any other team, at any position, is going to be more adversely affected by losing one of it's top five players than they would be if they lost a part-time starter or backup?

    Just because the Pats previously signed Seau and Colvin off the street, why the assumption that the backups are horrible this year?

    What free agents OLB's are an improvement over Woods or TBC? Derrick Brooks is a 36 year old 4-3 tampa-2 OLB who has very clearly lost more than just one step the last couple of years. Marcus Washington is over the hill and has injury problems. Who else is there? Boss Bailey, Roderick Green, Morlon Greenwood? None of these guys, nor McGinest, Colvin, or any other available OLB would be an improvement over the guys now on the roster.

    At ILB, I still say the team will probably enter the season with Mayo, Bruschi, Guyton and Lenon; if that grouping is not good enough, then who should be added to improve the position? Nate Webster is about the only familiar name, and he is the poster child for the term 'injury plagued'; he's missed 44 games in the last four years. The other available free agents include guys I guarantee are not close to the current group: Gary Stills, Brad Kassell, Teddy Lehman, Robert McCune, Brandon Moore, Kris Griffin ... please tell me which one of these players you would sign and start ahead of Bruschi, Guyton or Lenon if Mayo were to be injured?
     
  18. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Twice on Patriots All Access, BB Mentioned the linebackers by name, and twice Guyton was the first one not named Mayo to roll off his tongue.

    I think we're better off, at this point, than many of us are willing to believe.

    I'm not sure what to make of Lennon, but we shall see.
     
  19. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I think Guyton is more valuable than people assume. I've said it before and I'll say it again, don't be surprised if Guyton is the opening day starter. After re-watching games of the past season, the Pats LB's as a group were extremely slow and struggled when RB's and WR's got into the open field. With that said, because of the lack of depth and athleticism at LB, the Pats can't afford to lose Woods, Crable, Mayo, Guyton or Thomas.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  20. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    I am hoping that Crabel is a shining exception to this. If we have a real athletic pass rusher in him, that can play in a rotation with AD and Woods, that changes a lot.

    If a bunch of our FAs and vet pickup Lenon are better than average, we're not bad.

    I hate to be pessimistic and a solid Crabel would change the equation.

    Other than that, I think it's wishful thinking for a lot of low cost players to overachieve.
     
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