The Linebackers

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Spergon Wynn, Jan 21, 2013.

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  1. Spergon Wynn

    Spergon Wynn On the Game Day Roster

    At the risk of being reactionary, what is everyone's thoughts on the performance of the LBs not just yesterday but this whole season?

    I like all three of the starters and was ecstatic when Hightower was drafted but I think there is somewhat of a problem in that the three of them are pretty much the same player. They all can tackle but struggle (to put it nicely) in coverage, although yesterday they couldn't seem to do either! I can't seem to find any numbers but from what I saw, there were some absolutely miserable tackling attempts and a lot of missed ones (Mayo at the goal line is one that sticks in my mind).

    I think Hightower could be an asset as a "swiss army knife" LB that he really is and play him all around the line of scrimmage: all LB positions, DE, and even at the DT position as Jermaine Cunningham does. Put his pass-rushing skills really to use. I know they did this somewhat this year but I hope going forward that they really use him as kinda the Hernandez of the Defense, lining him up at different spots and creating mismatches.

    What really is needed is a LB with speed who we can stick on a RB or TE to cover them, whether it be through the draft or free agency. I'm not sure who is out there with this set of skills (perhaps someone could shed some more light on this) but I think it's something that this defense needs to take the next step.

    If we could get some linebackers that can cover and rotate them with the guys we have now, it could do wonders for that side of the ball.
  2. Brady2Moss

    Brady2Moss Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Agreed, as much as I love Spikes his and Hightowers coverage deficiencies are too great to hide both of them through scheme. I think Spikes should be allowed to walk Hightower has more potential here. Finding a coverage LB is a must, I think Mayo is fast enough to cover but is just bad in space for whatever reason.
  3. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

    Slowest LB corp in the NFL.
    I've been wondering why teams haven't exploited their LB speed deficiencies more......then Baltimore comes in and attacks the flats. Credit to them for recognizing a weakness and exploiting it. RBs and TEs seem to roam free too often which is scheme related, but the LBs are too often a step or two slow in pursuit.
    The Hightower pick always puzzled me because his size translates more to a 3-4 OLB or DE...not a 4-3 guy. The dude is big which usually leads to more weight as he continues to mature, so maybe the long term plan is to get him on the line like Willie Mac.
    Speed at WR and LB were the two roster deficiencies that stood out for me all year. The Pats have done a nice job compensating most of the year and of course there is no such thing as a perfect roster, but good teams attack weaknesses and Baltimore game planned against these deficiencies well.

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

    #12 Jersey

    I've been saying to draft a coverage LB, and hoping Fletcher can stay healthy for once.
  5. Boomer B

    Boomer B On the Game Day Roster

    #54 Jersey

    Belichick is a few decades behind in terms of his need for huge LBs who can stop the run. It worked well for the Giants when he was there but that was in a time when teams ran a lot more.

    Our LBs are horrible in coverage and we need to draft one that can cover. Spikes is a guy that shouldnt be out there in passing situations.
  6. resdubwhite

    resdubwhite In the Starting Line-Up

    No Jersey Selected

    anyone else think they they also may not be able to afford re-upping Spikes next year?
  7. SwedishPat

    SwedishPat Banned

    I think that our Linebacker core is behind their time. They are very good against the run, put not above avarage against the pass. The NFL is a passing league, and that requires some coverage linebackers. I think Hightower is way to heavy to be a 4-3 linebacker. And Spikes is a huge missmatch against any pass threat. I mean, I really like all our linebackers, but they aren't really what you need in this league.
  8. mgteich

    mgteich Veteran Supporter

    And in 2011, we need a better run defense.

  9. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

    I think the Patriots have grossly overpaid Mayo. He's a great linebacker but limited in what he can do...he's not a game changer. They spent a ton of money on Wilfork to stop the run, and then they gave Mayo a huge contract to essentially do the same thing (his cover skills were noted in this thread.)

    Looking at the pie of where this team spends money, it's no wonder that they can stop the run but can't cover. Unfortunately, stopping the run far from guarantees victory in today's NFL, but stopping the pass is critical.

    As noted, they basically have a front seven of all big maulers with limited speed, with the exception of Jones and Ninkovich.
  10. DocHoliday

    DocHoliday In the Starting Line-Up

    I wonder more and more if Hightower is part of the piece to move to 3-4.


    Fletcher, Spikes, Mayo, Ninkovitch

    Hopefully Tavon Wilson will grow and be that LB/Safety that will swap with Ninko on pass downs.
  11. zipster9

    zipster9 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    #54 Jersey

    Spikes is a liability, at pass coverage. He is SLOW in reacting, and cannot keep up with TEs and slot receivers. You can see that in yesterday's game.

    Need to upgrade his spot, as he cannot play in passing plays.
  12. Sciz

    Sciz Supporter Supporter

    The LBs get more hate than they deserve. Despite all of their supposed speed inefficiencies, they were still only responsible for about 25% of the passing yards that the defense allowed in the second half of the season. A strong safety that's better in coverage would help a lot more than a coverage LB.
  13. Practice Squad Player

    Hightower and Jones as DEs in a 34? I think when the Pats go back to the 34, these two will play OLB...
  14. F0nSY

    F0nSY Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #22 Jersey

    I love Spikes but yesterday he looked pretty slow many times... althought our LB depth is great.
  15. nekromantique

    nekromantique On the Game Day Roster

    spikes is most suited to a 3-4. honestly they probably all are but most of all him. but he's also our biggest playmaker. wouldn't dream of letting him go

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  16. JFK

    JFK Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Would Losing about 10lbs help Spikes. Prefer him to Mayo but yea....he can't stick to a TE
  17. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow Supporter Supporter

    #87 Jersey



    Might be better than our 4-3, but where does Ninkovich play....
  18. Sciz

    Sciz Supporter Supporter

    Losing 10 points isn't going to make Spikes fast. He's going to be slow no matter what, so he's best off being able to plow through offensive linemen like he was midseason before his knee acted up.
  19. Spergon Wynn

    Spergon Wynn On the Game Day Roster

    I'm not quite sure that makes much sense. Jones and Hightower aren't 3-4 ends, Fletcher isn't a 3-4 OLB, and Ninkovich clearly plays better at 4-3 DE.
  20. satz

    satz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    this LB will be slower than anything. Your primary rush OLB is jones which means Hightower will be dropping in coverage alot....Yikes. He also needs to cover TE. Ninko actually plays both DE and decent in coverage . he is more suited there than Hightower.

    Funny , Gary guyton was tall , lanky and can fly. But he was not strong against the run and people ran him out of the state we have the strong , tough to run against LB. they want a lanky fast guy who can run !!!
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