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Top Gun-Any One Can Play Special Teams

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Aug 3, 2010.

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Over the years, that has been the view of many. In this view, anyone can be trained to play special teams. And certainly special teams isn't important enough for starters. After all, they might be injured.

    I strongly disagree. Gunners are critical positions. Returners can change games. Special team tacklers and blockers are important. And there are players whose primary skill is special teams. I cringed whenever Izzo or Davis played linebacker in their last years, but they were great special teamers.

    Perhaps we do not have GREAT special teams. The answer is not to cut the special teamers! The answer is to upgrade them. We will likely have better returners this year; Belichick has certainly made the effort to secure returners over the past two years. Perhaps Murrell is indeed worthy of a special teams spot as an upgrade to our special teamers.
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    Belichick has always had players that we thought would be cut and who were one of the top special teamers, and they were never cut. Belichick has almost always started the best punt returner or kick returner even if they were a starter, and kept special teamers even if they could do nothing else. For Belichick, points and yards gained on special teams counts as much as on defense or offense. For Belichick, there are starters on special teams.

    The reality is that there are special-teams-only positions on the patriots. If the best special teamers are also starters or key backups, there is no roster issue. They already have a roster spot.

    The issue comes when we are evaluating the ability of special teamers to play a position ion an emergency. After all, isn't it important that Alexander is a linebacker. Surely, Slater is more valuable since he is a safety, wide receiver and a punt returner. The fact that NO ONE should ever want either on the field seems to have no import at all.

    For me, we have a team with solid backups to cover two injuries at every position but quarterback, OG and OLB. Even at OG and OLB, there are options. I just think that the depth is weak. The depth is much better than any special teamer only player might give.
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    BOTTOM LINE
    My offensive roster has 24 players with no need for emergency special teamers. My defensive roster has 23 players (6 DL, 9 OLB and 8 DB) with no need for emergency special teamers. IMHO, There is room for THREE special-team-only players. We ended last year with Aiken, Arrington, Alexander, Lockett, Green-Ellis and Slater. I wouldn't want any of these on the field playing positions, even on an emergency basis. Aiken was used when we didn't come into camp with sufficeint backups at WR. Green-Ellis was NOT used even when there were two injuries.

    The OPEN question is whether any of the remaining positions is needed for a position. If not, we have three positions that can be special-teams only. Or perhaps at least one of these players, or even two must be an emergency defensive back.

    My PERSONAL PREFERENCE is to have a 5th corner (and 2 special teams only players), but that is a personal preference. After all, we have started the season with as few as three corners. Most would simply cut one of Wheatley, Wilhite and Arrington.
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    If special teams were not so critical, we might carry a 5th RB, a 5th CB, and a 7th DL as emegency depth and for development instead of the special teamers. We might even carry a 3rd QB or a 10th OL.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  2. SanAngeloState

    SanAngeloState Banned

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    Obviously returner is a skill position although many CBs can do it apparently.

    But the JAGs on coverage teams, I don't think you need guys that are that special. If they were really gifted, wouldn't they be able to at least get onto the field once in a while?

    It's a shame to cut good developing players to keep on ST guys who are not physically capable of playing outside of STs. It's a waste. You could train a monkey to do most special teams jobs.
     
  3. Mark Morse

    Mark Morse PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #15 Jersey

     
  4. Lamanai

    Lamanai On the Game Day Roster

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    I concur.

    Typically, the mantra is that keeping a ST only guy is at the expense of developing some younger player with potential. Usually some late round draftee or UDFA. That is what the Practice Squad is for ! Despite what people may think, teams don't generally raid others' Practice Squads.
     
  5. SanAngeloState

    SanAngeloState Banned

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    they may make for 1/4 of the plays but most of those plays have little effect on the game. An average special team giving up 6 yards per punt return and a great one giving up 4. It's not a big difference in the game. It's meaningless.
     
  6. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 In the Starting Line-Up

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    im not one of dose guys that likes to argue but look at your post ?

    if there were good developing players don't you think they would be able to make the team on ST's since it only takes a monkey to play ST ?


    im not sure but i think BB knows more about football then us and tell me what developing players has BB cut that have turned into stars ?
     
  7. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Names like Larry Izzo, Steve Tasker, Dante Hall, Devon Hester all come to mind immediately.. they had impact on games because of their speciality.

    With the addition of Mesko and the second year of Scott O'Brien there will be a noticeable difference in Special Teams.. whether it is a 6 yard punt return or a 4 yard return, has some bearing.. it is not the two yards, it is the effort and energy provided for the rest of the team..
     
  8. WelshPat

    WelshPat Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Just to play devil's advocate, the way the colts used the salary cap meant that their ST's were always a huge weakness for them. But they still finish 12-4 or better pretty much every year.
     
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