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The offensive line

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Dec 5, 2009.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The OL has taken a lot abuse. I suggest that everyone compare it to the lines of the Super Bowl years. The line's job is to allow Brady and the passing game to be among the best in the league, and to have a decent running game (with no fullback and no blocking #3 TE).

    Some like last year's line better. We replaced Britt, Hochstein and Yates with Vollmer, Connolly and Ohrnberger. Are we really worse off. The line has had many injuries. How many teams have lines that would do better when their #3 LT was out there?

    Sure the OL would look better with a FB and a top blocking TE. But we are a pssing team, and the positions have been used on Special Teams.
    =======================================

    The OL played well for many games. They will play well again, especially if they can regain some health. We've had the same OL for years, a luxury few teams enjoy.
    =======================================

    THE FUTURE
    We're fine at OT with four solid OT's. Light may go after this season or he may switch positions (possibly LG if Mankins goes).

    We are OK at center with Koppen.

    We have very serious issues at OG. We don't have any starters for the future. Connolly is a solid backup at OG and C, but he seems unlikely to be a starter.

    We had an opportunity in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft to draft a stud OG. Belichick passed. Even with two starters through 2011, a safety was more important. After all, Belichick's optimum teams has 5-6 safeties, at four of which can play special teams.

    Of course, Belichick may be right. It take a year to develop a safety. An OG needs an offseason. Look for us to draft a guard in the 1st or 2nd round. Thwe problem is that we might need two and Ohrnberger does look to have been a great choice.
  2. Brono

    Brono Guest

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    ProFootballFocus.com rates Koppen 13th out 32 centers that have taken at least 50% of their team's snaps.

    The site also rates Neal and Mankins first and 12th respectively, out of 59 guards that have taken at least 50% of their team's snaps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2009
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I disagree with this.

    I think we're fine for the future on the left side with Vollmer and Mankins, assuming we can re-sign Mankins (a big "if"). I also think that Kaczur and LeVoir are a quality #3 and #4 OT.

    I think we are significantly lacking at RT, where Kaczur is just marginal as both a pass and run blocker. Moving Light to RT would be a good move this season as far as I am concerned, but I don't see him as a long term solution. I understand that the FO likes Kaczur and extended him, but they liked and extended James Sanders too. Kaczur is the James Sanders of the offense - a marginal starter who's a great team player and solid rotational guy.

    I think that Dan Koppen is a nice field general and technician but that he lacks the strength and power to handle the big inside guys. A more powerful center would open up our inside running game, and we've been too vulnerable to the pass rush up the middle. The OG's need to help Koppen out too often, which puts more pressure on the tackles. He's adequate, but very upgradeable.

    I agree that OG is a major problem, especially if Mankins is not re-signed. Neal is solid when healthy, but I just don't see us re-signing him at his age and with his injury history. Neither Connolly nor Ohrnberger inspires confidence so far - adequate backups at best.

    I'm not sure what "stud" interior linemen we passed on. Alex Mack went #21 to Cleveland, and Eric Wood (who I would have liked to get) #28 to Buffalo. The only other day 1 interior linemen were Max Unger and Andy Levitre, who went 49 (to Seattle) and 51 (to Buffalo). I personally wasn't very high on either, and like half a dozen interior line prospects in 2009 better - Mike Iupati, Maurkice Pouncey, Gabe Carimi, Mike Pouncey, Mike Johnson and Vladimir Ducasse, for example. I really don't think either Unger or Johnson qualifies as a "stud" interior lineman, but perhaps you do.

    I think we need a major infusion of youth, size and talent on the OL at OC, RG, and RT. I think it's the top priority for the team after the pass rush, and I would spend at least one if not 2 early picks on linemen.

    Regardless of whether we've had the same OL for many years, it's time for an upgrade.
  4. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Simply put we struggle vs teams that have several pass rushers. We won Super Bowls with running backs who were excellant pass blockers ... that includes Kevin Faulk when he was younger. Our line needs help vs those teams. Perhaps we need to invest in better blocking backs in the offseason vs players like BJGE ... they can be active vs the teams with the great rushers.



    Morris is not bad but never healthy enough to be a factor blocking.

    Kevin Faulk is not the blocker he used to be.

    Maroney ... sucks at blocking ... he needs to improve.

    Corey Dillon was an excellant A+ blocker.

    Could add TE's into this also ... the line was better when we had better blocking TE's but I believe there is already a thread for that.
  5. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    TACKLES
    1) I strongly disagree with your assessment that Light would be a better RT than Kaczur. Light has never played RT and does not have the skill set to play RT. While he could play the position, I'd rather trade him and play Kaczur if that were the choice. Sure we could upgrade Kaczur. But I suspect doesn't see much value in the upgrade.
    2) I also think that we are set for the future with Vollmer at LT and LeVoir as a backup OT. If Vollmer is not judged ready for 2010, Light will play another year.
    3) Light will be traded if he doesn't start at LT (or perhaps LG).

    CENTER/CENTER

    4) Belichick has been fine with Koppen since the day he started. He's going nowhere. We had an opportunity to bring in Unger or Levitre. Either would have been at least a solid OG and C. Either would have pushed Koppen at center. Instead Belichick went with Connolly.

    5) I haven't seen Unger, but Levitre has looked solid. I agree that neither of these is of the quality of the first rounder Wood. And yes, I think that both Unger and LeVitre projected to be a stud or at least a solid future starter, as did Vollmer.

    GUARD

    6) We need to consider life after Mankins. We may or may not have him for 2010. That depends on the signing of the CBA. I don't see us paying the market value for Mankins.

    7) Neal may or may not be re-signed. I suspect that he will. But perhaps someone else wants this injury prone starter.

    8) I don't think that Ohrnberger is the answer at guard. I expect that (as now) he will compete with Connolly for reps in 2010.
    ============================

    BOTTOM LINE

    7) We have two holes that must be addressed in the offseason: LG and RG.

    8) The 2009 OL is the best of the Belichick era. It is much, much better than any of the Super Bowl lines. Charlie might very well have been undefeated with this OL.


  6. Deus Irae

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

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    Just something to ponder, given the way the draft has fallen in the past 2 seasons:

    This line could have been bookended by Clady at LT and Oher at RT.
  7. patsinthesnow

    patsinthesnow PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Mayo, Butler, Tate, Edelman, 2010 JAX second rounder> Clady and Oher
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    That's very debatable, and I'm a huge Mayo and Butler fan.

    I loved Clady in 2008 and was torn between him and Mayo, but I do think that Vollmer will end up giving Clady a run for his money as a franchise LT. I see Vollmer being better than Tennessee's Michael Roos, which is a very high compliment.

    And I think there may be OT's in the 2010 draft who will be as good as Oher. The question is whether we are willing to take one in the 2nd round, or whether we are going to continue to get beat up with Kaczur at RT.
  9. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'll take Light's skill set over Kaczur's at RT, LT, or parchese for that matter over Kaczur's any day. Kaczur just isn't quick or strong enough to handle elite pass rushers. Light is used to going up against them.

    As for Koppen at center, there was certainly plenty of speculation last spring when the Pats signed Al Johnson that he might displace Koppen at center. That didn't happen, but the Pats certainly seemed willing to look at alternatives.
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    CLADY vs MAYO
    We needed an ILB very, very badly. We still had two more years of an acceptable LT in Light. The choice was a a simple one. As you we found out, it is possible to draft a stud OT in the 2nd round if you are williong to wait a bit before making him a starter. Belichick's strategy seem to ahve worked fine.

    OHER vs. BUTLER, TATE, EDELMAN and a 2010 2nd
    The last three were bonuses. We needed a future starter at corner. Most evaluators had Butler as a value choice for the patriots at 23. If Light is gone, we can draft another OT in the 2nd round as we did this year. With LeVoir as backup, the rook would have a year to develop.

    BOTTOM LINE
    I don't think that this team would be better off with Clady and Oher instead of Mayo and Butler. This is especially so since we had two years with three picks in the second round, one of which could be used for an OT.

    MY QUESTION MARK
    Chung instead of Levitre or Unger

  11. Deus Irae

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

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    I'm not sure you and I could disagree more on this if we both set out to do so. Well, such is the nature of message boards. :)
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  12. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Often I hate your posting style. But I absolutely love that observation! ;)
  13. Rob0729

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    Personally, I have been disapointed in the o-line. Koppen's play has been declining over the last few years. Mankins can be a beast, but he has had a few clunkers. Neal is too injury prone. Kazcur has really fallen apart over the last few weeks. Light was playing fairly well before he got hurt and Vollmer played well in replacement. LeVoir was horrible in spot duty at LT the last two weeks.

    The o-line during the Super Bowl years didn't have any big names and a lot of journeymen except for Woody who made the Super Bowl, but they played well together as a unit. I think this o-line hasn't done that consistently this year. Even in good offensive performances, Brady has been on the run a lot and buying his own time with his feel in the pocket and knowing when to step up at the right time.
  14. SVN

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  15. baller90

    baller90 Rookie

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    This is my first post in this forum and have been reading this forum for about 3 years now. One observation with this thread. I am wondering why some people are ignoring the fact that these guys are pretty banged up right now and its probaly hurting there effectivness more then you realize. Everyone in this league is so good that the difference between an average starter and a pro-bowler is very slim. So if a player is hurt and not 100 percent especially in his legs that will hurt his effectivness obviously. Light and Kaczur both have leg injurys which is probaly hurting there lateral mobility somewhat. Kaczur has also went up against some very good defensive ends in their own stadium on turf and really had only a few bad plays. Anyways hopefully by playoff time the lines health improves for a Super Bowl run. Go Pats!
  16. JSn

    JSn Rookie

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    Well, we won't be seeing Vollmer again tomorrow.
  17. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    I really, REALLY wanted Oher when he was available. Imagine the kind of destruction that he and Neal would be able to do together. :eek:
  18. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    mayo is a good LB but let's face it you can get a 100 tackel ILB in the 2th round

    a LT like clady that has given up only 1 or 2 sacks over the last 2 years are hard to come by
  19. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    And how many times to we need to remind everyone that we could have had Laurinitis in the 2nd? :)

    Obviously diodn't think that there was an ILB of Mayo's quality in the second round.

    Besides, our ILB situation would have been a disaster without Mayo, then and now.

  20. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 Rookie

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    i do agree with you there that the ILB was a much biger need to the pats then haveing a LT when light was there all redy

    and mayo was the best LB in that draft

    i get it no reason to upgrade LT from good light. to great clady when you can upgrade the LB spot from bad to good and be good at both spots

    your right
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