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The OL - A Minority View

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mgteich, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I strongly believe that an OG to replace Neal is our greates need. But I could be wrong. :)
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    Many on this board think that OL was terrible this year, even though our offense was top 5, our sacks were top 5, and Brady's completion percentage was among his best. This was accomplished with his many injuries during the season, to the OL and to Brady.
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    Perhaps Belichick plans to extend Mankins. Perhaps dante has more faith In Connolly, Wendell and Ohrnberger than we do.
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    With regard to OT's, just perhaps, Belichick is fine with a Light and Vollmer as our tackles, with Kaczur and LeVoir as backups. Belichick may even extend Light.
    ====================================================================
    Light, Mankins, Koppen, Connolly, Vollmer
    Kaczur, Ohrnberger, Wendell/Neal/vetfa, LeVoir

    Connolly has been groomed for a couple of years, and now has started several games. Vollmer has started at RT. Kaczur may be one of the best backup OT's around. LeVoir is surely the best #4. The open question is how high the need is at OL. Perhaps all we need is to bring in a mid-level veteran or two to compete for the RG starting spot and the backup C/OG roster spot.
    =================================================================
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    As I just said in another thread, Neal would be a huge loss. Connolly looked pretty good in his few starts, but historically, this team has a big dropoff when Neal is out.

    I also think Center could be upgraded, or at the very least, a replacement needs to be groomed behind Koppen.

    The Tackle position is set, and is very strong. Retaining Mankins is a must. If we do that, then we're in OK shape at OL, but we do have to address RG (assuming Neal retires) and OC (long term).
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Given our other needs, one could argue that the acquisition of a midlevel OG/C this year and next would meet our OL needs for the next two years.

  4. gzathepat

    gzathepat Rookie

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    Do you think Nick Kaczur can slide in and play Guard? Is he powerful enough to play the position?

    We should have a line solid with

    Light, Mankins, Koppen, Kaczur, Vollmer
  5. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rookie

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    maybe Connoly can take over from Koppen in a year.

    Maybe the Pats go OT first round and let Light walk. Certainly they'll want to renegotiate his $4.9m salary this year. But if he won't play along....

    Maybe Bussey's the RG of the future.

    maybe ohrnberger opens up a greasy spoon
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm glad someone remembered Bussey.
  7. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rookie

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    I'm paying attention BOR. Everybit the lineman as his college teammate right?
  8. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Remembered, yes, but we - as fans, outside of the organization - don't know how he's doing. Same goes for Orhnberger. The Patriots 2010 draft will help reveal how they feel about those two. I'd still expect a veteran guard to be brought in if Neal does in fact call it quits, for camp competition at least.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  9. Palm Beach Pats Fan

    Palm Beach Pats Fan Rookie

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    I don't think he has the mobility needed, but I could be wrong. I think that all of our tackles are just tackles. I want Iupati!
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    We have one of the best OL coaches around and he has been a master at developing offensive linemen in the past.

    If Mankins is given a long-term extension, I could see allowing dante to find his starting RG and backup interior linemen from among:

    Kaczur
    Connolly
    Wendell
    Ohrnberger
    Bussey
    free agent 1
    free agent 2

    Drafting a top guard is not the only answer.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  11. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    So his college OL coach claimed - we can only hope.
  12. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Oh I expect the competition to be furious, and I'm not putting drafting an OL in rounds 1 or 2 as a high probability. It will be interesting to see who hits Free Agency in an uncapped year.
  13. Badluck

    Badluck Rookie

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    i think we could take a guy like mike johnson out of bama with our last 2nd round pick
    people say he really was the key to their success
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sign me up. I wouldn't be surprised to see him gone when we pick at 42.

  15. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    Light - Mankins - Koppen/Maurkice Pouncey - Kaczur - Vollmer
    LeVoir - OBurger - Connelly/Wendell/Vet FA - Bussey/Vet FA/Neal(at vet minimum only) - Draft Pick/Vet FA

    The OL needs an infusion of youth, size & nastiness. Maurkice Pouncey would be a perfect start.

    Two questions Bill needs to answer before the draft:
    - Is Vollmer's Position of the Future at LT or RT? If the answer is RT, then a LT of the Future becomes a much bigger priority.
    - Can Kaczur successfully transition to RG? If the answer is No, then finding a RG to replace Neal becomes, as you stated, our greatest need.
  16. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    I wish I could forget him, and that Bill drafted him - in the 5th round, for crap's sake.
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This board is very split on Kaczur.

    Some think him a reasonable starting RT and would trade Light.
    Some think him waaaay overpaid and would cut him or trade him.
    Some think of him as our starting RG.
    Some think of him as a fine backup who could start as needed at RT, LT and maybe RG.

    I see no reason to believe that the future of Kaczur can be decided before the draft. Personally, I do think that he is capable of starting at three positions, and is the perfect backup to have suited up on Game Day, along with a backup C/LG.

    We didn't move to get any of the centers available in the draft last year. I suspect that this year won't be any different. I'm fine with Pouncy (but only id he can also be expected to compete fo the RG position), depending on how other needs are met in free agency.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  18. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    6th, as long as you're trying to forget. :D
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  20. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  21. captain stone

    captain stone Rookie

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    I think I'll send Bussey a "Thinking of You" card this weekend, so he knows that he's in our thoughts. I wonder if Bill's thinking of him, too, or has forgotten him already.
  22. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't know why Bussey would be forgotten. He was a developmental pick and has spent a year in dante's OL academy. I suspect if we spent a bit of time analyzing him, we might think that he has at least as much potential as some other backup OL's on the roster.

    There are even folks looking to find a developmental OL in this draft who can play both guard and tackle. I suppose dante would welcome another stuident.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  23. Nonentity

    Nonentity Rookie

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    I actually re-read a Patriots.com article on Bussey a couple of days ago. His coach loved him and thought he was as good as Eric Wood who was a 1st day pick. There's a great story about Dante running a pre-draft clinic at Louisville and Bussey hanging on his every word.
  24. DocE

    DocE Rookie

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    I am more concerned about the OL's run blocking than their pass blocking. The Patriots could not make opponents pay for only putting 7 (sometimes only 6!) in the box. The OL opened very few holes and often got no push on short yardage plays. The Patriots could not line up and say "we're going to run it, stop us" on a 3rd and 2.
  25. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    The interesting thing is that my impression is that we run blocked pretty effectively in 2008 with essentially the same personnel. Do you have any sense of where the deterioration in run blocking came from?
  26. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rookie

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    I thought about that many, many times. The only thing i can think of was that maroney was on ir that year and lamont jordan was pretty good.

    From what i have seen, we can use a scat pack or a pounder as long as they have the ability to hit the hole really hard. And to my eyes, the only backs that can do this on the roster are sammy morris and kevin faulk. I like fred taylor's vision but he is clearly not as fast as he used to be.

    Back to the subject of OT. I do not understand why we haven't replaced koppen by now. I think connoly should focus on center and then we draft a top notch right guard. What we have is probably good enough for all we know and the deficiencies at running back(maroney) are making us blame the oline unnecessarily.
  27. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have a hard time believing that LaMont Jordan's 363 yards (less than half of what Maroney ran for this year) was the difference, or that Maroney is the culprit. Yes, I do agree that the way our line plays may favor more of a power running approach like Jordan and Morris have, but Maroney ran that way for much of this season. The OL just didn't do nearly as good a job as they did in 2008, and I'm not sure why. Injuries and shifting formations may have had something to do with it.
  28. Nonentity

    Nonentity Rookie

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    We ran a lot more in 2008. Our offensive linemen have said before that they love run-blocking repeatedly in a game as it helps them build up momentum and wear down the opposition. Pass-protection is important for linemen but I suspect the real fun is in pancaking your opposite number and directly causing your team to pick up the 1st down.

    The other thing is that we ran intermittantly and used it as a distraction from the passing game. We can both remember the early part of this season when Brady was throwing the ball far too much and we had to switch back to the run.

    Code:
    Year Team                  G   Pts/G TotPts Att Att/G   Yds   Avg  Yds/G   TD  Lng  1st  1st%  20+ 40+ FUM 
    2008 New England Patriots  16  25.6   410   513  32.1  2,278  4.4  142.4   21  49T  145  28.3  11  2    4 
    2009 New England Patriots  16  26.7   427   466  29.1  1,921  4.1  120.1   19  55   114  24.5  7   2    7  
    I took the rushing stats off the NFL website. In 2008 we were 6th in overall rushing yards and tied-7th in yards per carry. In 2009 we were 12th in overall rushing yards and tied-19th in yards per carry.

    ------stopped writing this post, had lunch, came back to it-------

    After thinking about it a bit more, most of what I wrote above is crappy conjecture. I don't like what I wrote. I started out with the mental premise that the problem was the play-calling, not the offensive line. There's some truthful points there but I'm not sure they're especially useful. So I went onto Pro Football Focus and had a look at what they had to say. Obviously they're not 100% reliable but it's a good place to start.

    2008 offense - use this to look at the OL overall performance
    2009 offense - use this to look at the OL overall performance
    2008 rushing report - use this to look at how our running backs performed and where they had success running
    2008 rushing report - use this to look at how our running backs performed and where they had success running

    Here's my thoughts:

    1) Mankins had a dominant season in 2008 but was comparatively down this year, although still one of our better linemen.
    2) Vollmer did a great job replacing Light, mirroring Light's 2008 performance in both run-blocking and screen plays.
    3) Maroney had a bad season according to PFF. If that's truly reflective, he may as well go.
    4) Sammy Morris was very good replacing Maroney in 2008, but useless this season. That was evident on the field and I am not inclined to keep him for 2010.
    5) Fred Taylor is one to keep. Ignore his salary, it doesn't matter. He's still got the talent and he wants to be here. If we draft a new running back then they'll learn a huge amount from Taylor.
    6) If we're in position to draft C.J. Spiller or Jonathan Dwyer in the draft, we should seriously consider doing so.
    7) We repeatedly saw the offensive line failing to open up holes in the run game. When we evaluate linemen in the draft we should make sure to fully evaluate their run blocking as well as their pass protection.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  29. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You're a heck of a good poster. I really enjoy your posts.

    I was struck by your numbers. I felt like we ran the ball terrifically in 2008 and not very well in 2009, but the numbers weren't horribly different. 3 less carries per game (29.1 vs. 32.1), 350 less yards rushing for the season, slightly lower average. Obviously not as good, but much closer than I would have expected.

    Some thoughts:

    1. I also thought Mankins had a down season, pro bowl or no. He was very good some games, but inconsistent (and penalty prone) others.

    2. Maroney had a schizophrenic season. He a horrible season for the 1st 5 games, and essentially sat the last 2 games. That's 7 games with almost no production (37 carries for 121 yards, 3.27 YPC and 17.3 YPG, 0 TDs). But for the other 9 games, weeks 6-14, I thought Maroney ran the ball very effectively, with more power and authority than he's shown since at least his rookie season. 155 carries for 636 yards, 4.1 YPC, 70.6 YPG (projecting to 1130 yards over a full 16 game season) and 9 TDs. The best running he has done. He's on contract through 2010 for reasonable money, and unless someone is willing to shell out a 2nd our 3rd round pick for him I wouldn't move him. The thing that most concerns me about Maroney is that even in the games that he ran well, he started off like gangbusters and then tailed off considerably. It makes me wonder if his endurance may be a factor, or if it was just poor 2nd half play calling.

    3. Spiller, Dwyer or Jahvid Best would all be excellent pickups. I would take them in that order. If any is available (Spiller in the 1st round, Dwyer or Best in the 2nd) then I think they should get serious consideration.
  30. satz

    satz Rookie

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    Problem RG

    Neal is a very good gaurd and you need 1 when you play 3-4 defences. The problem we had when bigger 3-4 ends crashed in.Dan connely could not handle them repeatly, I would not put him on a Nose no way.

    Kazur even though had issue its more to do with always trying to block inside ends . I think the RG position made a mess as they need to work in combo. Neal not only was better him and kazur played well together. so fixing the gaurd will be the top priority.

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