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Three defensive players to watch

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Sicilian, Oct 4, 2010.

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  1. Sicilian

    Sicilian Rookie

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    So, with the understanding that this defense, right now, is not playing well, I've shifted my focus to how individual players improve their play game to game. So I'm wondering who you guys will be watching tonight to see (hopefully) improvement?

    My three are:

    Devin McCourty - He's played well, but I'd love to see him have that one break out game (kind of like Mayo did when he had 20+ tackles against the Jets his rookie year). Something where he's tackling well on the outside, breaking up passes, and maybe grabs a pick against Marshall.

    Jermaine Cunningham - It hasn't been by leaps and bounds, but I've seen steady improvement over the first three games in his ability to put pressure on the QB. His pressure led to the overthrow by Fitz on Chung's INT, so more of that is great. Aside from that though, I want to see if his game is rounding out at all. Is he setting the edge? Is he ever dropping into coverage, and if so how effective is he? He's our best hope right now for a complete OLB opposite Banta-Cain (if we're going to find one this year)

    Brandon Meriweather - Aside from Sanders, he's the only real vet in the secondary. We need him to "get it" and start playing disciplined so that we can play primarily him and Chung out there. I like Sanders, and think he brings great leadership and solid play, and there are still plenty of Big Nickel snaps for him to play. But our best tandem at safety is if Meriweather and Chung and handle all the duties.

    Which three will you have your eye on tonight?
  2. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    Butler- I dont think hes anywhere near as bad as most of you guys make him out to be. hes a player, and with bodden down he IS our starting CB, so we might all accept it. This kid is getting criticized left and right, and honestly, im really ready for him to shut a lot of people up.

    Meriweather- the safety position on this D is important, and even more so when your cornerbacks and other safety are either second year players or rookies. This piece needs to work, and needs to work efficiently. If meriweather starts playing better, like i think he can, he will improve this defense by leaps and bounds. He is one of the main keys this year, if he improves, our D improves....if he does not, this D will be giving up 25+ ppg for the whole year. we NEED meriweather to play well on D more than any other unproven player on our D.

    Mayo- I love this guy. and I loved the pick when we made it. Although mayo has played pretty well this year, he does need to take the next step. Forget int's and sacks, what we need from Mayo is TFL, FF, and passes deflected. I remeber bruschi and seau playing in this same D and knowing well enough where the play is going where they would burst through the hole to tackle a RB for a loss of 1-3 yds. We need those plays. Dominate on 1st down, and the rest of your job is much easier.
  3. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    actually, cunningham has been playing in place of TBC, not opposite him.
  4. Calciumee

    Calciumee PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #3 Jersey

    Didn't he start there last week?
  5. JoeShmoe

    JoeShmoe Rookie

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    I'm praying Ninkovich is on the bench where he belongs

    I'm praying Marshall doesn't annihilate Arrington/Butler

    Im praying Merriweather doesnt go 'freelancing'
  6. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, and maybe Kyle Love. Hold the line.
  7. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    People forget about Cunningham is that he is basically in his preseason. He is learning the game speed and the offense during season because he lost valuable time in the preseason. I think he would have been further progressed right now if he had that month.
  8. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    This. Need to stop Ronnie Brown (5.4 YPC this year).
  9. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    Which is great, because to my eyes Cunningham has looked good so far. That is to say, he's looked like a rookie, but he doesn't look like he has any gaping liabilities and thus like he has a future with this defense.
  10. Sicilian

    Sicilian Rookie

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    Right, but in my opinion, our ideal situation (with this current group of players) is to have TBC and Cunningham playing the majority of the OLB snaps. It hasn't happened yet, but I think it is far better than using one of those guys with Ninkovich or Crable, until I see otherwise from those players.
  11. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #91 Jersey

    Cunningham, IMO every week hes gotten better. Remember he didn't play a pre-season down. I'll also be watching Brace.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  12. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Do you even lift? PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    1. Ron Brace: Will he show continued improvement? We're going to need it with this running game. The number one priority tonight should be stopping the two headed monster of Brown and Williams. If those two really get going, you can kiss this one goodbye. Not only will they open up the Dolphins short and long range passing game (Bess, Marshall, etc.), but they'll keep our high powered offense off the field. Brace, Wilfork, and whomever else they throw at the run up front will be huge for us tonight.

    2. The ILB's: Mayo is a brilliant WILB in all other areas of his game aside from getting off blocks. He's still somewhat struggling in that department. Tonight, we're going to need him to do a better job of that against the Dolphins' running game. For Spikes, we need him to do a better job of staying in position against the run, shedding blocks, and being better in coverage than he has been lately. Yes, he's a rookie, and he's learning on the run, but this is an important divisional game. He's going to need to be big for us tonight.

    3. Butler/Arrington: Whomever starts this game opposite McCourty is going to need to be on the ball tonight. They'll no doubt draw either Hartline or Devone Bess. Both are the Dolphins go-to receivers on third down. Shut those guys down and you'll see Henne start to force the issue... especially if we're stout against the run.
  13. Sicilian

    Sicilian Rookie

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    I agree here, they're going to attack the weak part of our secondary which is the #2 corner at this point. However, McCourty for all his progress thus far, is still a rookie who will likely be on Marshall. I'm expecting them to go after him a fair amount too. Both corners will have their work cut out for them.
  14. dliverey

    dliverey Rookie

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    Ninko and TBC are not good, so I want the C's(Crable and Cunningham) to get as much playing time as possible. They were both in at the same time some last week, so I am hoping it is a sign of things to come.
  15. Marqui

    Marqui Rookie

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    I agree with this 100%. Ninko/TBCs are jags, period. Cunningham and Crable are the Pats only real chance at having impact OLBs, as sad as that is.
  16. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    TBC is better than a JAG, but ideally is someone you want to spell on early downs.
  17. UofApatsfan

    UofApatsfan Rookie

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    Maybe you haven't noticed, but Banta-Cain has been just as horrendous as any other OLB on the team (except for maybe Ninkovich, he deserves to be acknowledged for his own level of horrible). It sucks so many people (apparently the coaches are among this group) think TBC is a great asset to the defense because of last season when his numbers looked good on paper thanks to playing Buffalo twice. He already threw away one chance to inflate his numbers against Buffalo this year, if he doesn't make the most of the next Buffalo game he'll be exposed.


    EDIT: good to see others agree TBC is not a starting OLB
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  18. Sicilian

    Sicilian Rookie

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    You can say he's not an ideal starter, but I'm talking about our chances this year with the OLB's. He's the best we've got, and he can play in all facets of the game (making him our only true 3 down linebacker). He's a middle of the road starter, as I guarantee he'd be playing significant snaps on at least half the teams in the NFL.
  19. JackBauer

    JackBauer On the Roster

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    Every sack artists totals are inflated by virtue of playing terrible teams.

    While I agree that he's not an ideal 3 down starter, this line of criticism doesn't hold water.
  20. UofApatsfan

    UofApatsfan Rookie

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    So every sack artist records half of his sacks for the season in two games against a crappy divisional opponent? It's not like he did it against multiple crappy teams last year, the only reason he had double digit sacks (or even sniffed double digit sacks) was being able to play one particular team twice when it just traded a pro bowl left tackle the prior off season and had an abortion at left tackle.

    And lol calling TBC a "sack artist". He had one fluke 10 sack season, and outside of that has been a career backup. Heck with 3 down starter, he's not a starter. He should be a 3rd down/passing down specialist where he never has to worry about the run.
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