Welcome to PatsFans.com

Two free safeties or one?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Fencer, Feb 4, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,336
    Likes Received:
    133
    Ratings:
    +411 / 6 / -20

    #12 Jersey

    A lot of scheme discussions boil down to the question: 2 free safeties or 1?

    Arguments for 2 start:

    • BB in the past has always favored allegedly interchangeable safeties, and being able to cover is a requirement.
    • It would be nice to say that our slowish LBs can be offset by fast DBs.
    • Especially if we assume McCourty stays at S, CB talent may be questionable.
    Arguments for 1 start:

    • What BB says hasn't usually been matched in practice; most of the time he's had Milloy, Harrison, or Chung.
    • Who exactly is going to cover TEs?
    Also relevant is whether you think Wilson is more of a FS or SS type. (Unless, of course, you think he's a confirmed unsafety.) Both his college & pro careers can probably be interpreted either way.


    Of course, as in many things, what happens in sub packages may be more important than what happens in base. A dime package could easily be:



    • 2 starting CBs
    • 2 free safeties
    • 1 slot CB (Arrington)
    • 1 SS/LB hybrid
    • Mayo
    • 2 rushing DEs
    • 2 DTs


    Or lose one of the DTs for an LB (Hightower, pure coverage, rush-oriented, whatever).


    It's a little more awkward to construct a true nickel package, but BB doesn't always believe in those anyway.


    I think BB would like to have at least 4 speedy DBs out there at all times. That doesn't mean, however, he winds up thinking that's the best choice ...
     
  2. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact Pro Bowl Player

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    12,916
    Likes Received:
    316
    Ratings:
    +1,026 / 30 / -34

    it all depends on who you're talking about, but you really need at least one guy back there who can lay the wood......I deally, one of them is big enough to knock someone out, but can still read and recognize
     
  3. DocHoliday

    DocHoliday In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,008
    Likes Received:
    49
    Ratings:
    +134 / 2 / -1

    It'd be nice if Tavon Wilson can bring the wood and be a SS who can cover a TE.

    Tons of versatility all around if that works, since your SS isn't a liability in coverage.
     
  4. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,425
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +507 / 1 / -1

    Depends on how you want to define free and strong safeties. Here's a rundown of my opinion on the matter.

    1. The Patriots do not need two pure free safeties. Example: McCourty and Ed Reed.
    That's deep coverage overkill and leaves them susceptible in other ways. For example, the tackling from the safety position was pretty bad for a lot of the season (mainly Gregory), and the Pats ranked terribly in outside run defense because of it. When the Pats would go into cover 1 man coverage (which is something that they clearly want to have the ability to do), then by definition not both of the safeties can be in deep coverage. That means one of them is either doubling a receiver, playing an underneath robber/zone, blitzing, or in man coverage. Whatever that ends up being, it's something that either McCourty or Reed (or another prototypical deep coverage FS) is not as good at as being in deep coverage.

    2. The Patriots do not need a pure strong safety. Example: Bernard Pollard
    Yeah, clearly people love watching a strong safety make huge hits on receivers. What they don't realize is what those guys are doing on all of the other plays. The two "enforcer" strong safeties playing last night (Pollard and Whitner) were both abused in coverage, both by TEs in what appeared to be man coverage and by WRs in deep zone. Also, the vast majority of these big hits on receivers that everybody loves aren't even legal (except on third down on a potentially game-winning drive in the Super Bowl, when everything becomes legal).

    3. The Patriots need a versatile, well-rounded safety who doesn't need to be able to play single-high coverage, but can do everything else.
    So far, I've already stated my opinion that McCourty is going to be the deep safety on basically every play that one of the safeties is deep. That means the other safety doesn't have to do that, which makes finding a potential match a lot easier. There's still a long list of stuff he does need to be able to do, though, including deep half (cover 2) zone coverage, man coverage on TEs, playing the robber role in underneath zone, tackling RBs, and maybe even some blitzing.

    So I'm going to throw out two names that I'm a fan of right now, one "free agent" and one draft pick. First, Charles Woodson isn't even a free agent right now, but he's due $10M next season and is either going to have to take a pay cut or just be cut. He had a great career as a starting CB, then put together a few nice years at slot CB, and then was playing a lot of safety this year. Durability (7 games last season) and age are a concern, but he'd bring both experience and versatility to the Pats. He's a downgrade athletically from Gregory, but an upgrade in every other regard that I can think of.

    As for the draft pick, right now I like David Amerson. He's 6'2", should run in the 4.55 range, and had 18 picks over the past two seasons at NC State, but doesn't project to CB in most NFL schemes. I think he'd be a great fit next to McCourty because of his ball skills (especially as a robber), size to take on TEs in man coverage, but inability to cover WRs at an ideal level. Playing the run is still a question mark, but if he's an improvement in coverage and still can't tackle, then at least they upgraded from Gregory against the pass.


    So that's what I think. Just say no to one-dimensional safeties!
     
  5. DocHoliday

    DocHoliday In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2010
    Messages:
    3,008
    Likes Received:
    49
    Ratings:
    +134 / 2 / -1

    Except McCourty is far from a pure free safety. In fact, McCourty would do what I bolded better than every other safety out there, simply because he was a CB.

    A strong safety is not just for laying the wood, they play run support. It can be argued that the two FS/big run stopping LB combo should be changed back to a standard FS/SS balanced LB core model.

    We will probably get that balanced LB core at some point by jettisoning Spikes if Hightower can play his role and plug in a Nevarro Bowman type of guy.

    As for the strong safety, I'm not convinced there are many available rookies that will help. Wilson is probably going to be the guy and he'll help with the TE up the seam throws that the Bills and Ravens get us with.
     
  6. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    21,150
    Likes Received:
    1,068
    Ratings:
    +2,670 / 20 / -9

    #95 Jersey

    mccourty will be much better back there with a full off season/workouts

    We just need some CBs that can play now..aka talib...DRC or someone else that can at least do something besides arrington
     
  7. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    7,425
    Likes Received:
    179
    Ratings:
    +507 / 1 / -1

    Yeah, McCourty can do just about everything related to coverage, which is why I want him doing the hardest thing (single-high coverage). For the sake of keeping costs (either money or draft pick) down and allowing the other safety to be a little bigger to help against the run, I'd rather have a guy who can't do single-high coverage, but can do everything else on that list. I'd rather allocate fewer resources toward that second spot, because the Pats already have a guy who can do whatever is asked of him.

    In a way, it's kind of like my opinion on Vollmer. Having two guys who can protect the QB's blind side at a high level is a great problem until money starts being involved. Then the guy who can play right tackle wants to get paid for what he can do on the left side, even though he wouldn't be doing it for you. Similarly, it'd be great to have two guys who could play deep cover 1 coverage at a high level, but only one of them can at a time. Then the one who doesn't do it as often wants to be paid as if he were, even though you could downgrade a little bit and save a lot.

    And it was probably wrong to say that McCourty/Reed aren't as good at all those other things as they are at deep coverage, and I should have said instead that they are less valuable when they're doing those things.
     
  8. Deus Irae

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

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    44,561
    Likes Received:
    1,101
    Ratings:
    +4,098 / 197 / -145

    Disable Jersey

    Two cover safeties would be fine for the Patriots, who are very strong against the run up in the front seven. However, people take the idea of what BB does and get it a bit wrong, I think. Rodney could still cover when he first came to the Patriots, for example. It was one of the areas where he was a clear upgrade over Milloy, as a matter of fact.

    McCourty/Reed would be fine, although I'm not in favor of dropping the kind of coin it would probably take to get Reed, and a duo like that actually makes sense given the way the league is evolving. Certainly, guys like Milloy, Chung and Pollard are behind the curve.

    Just my $.02
     
  9. Brady_to_Moss

    Brady_to_Moss Revis Island is here PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Messages:
    21,150
    Likes Received:
    1,068
    Ratings:
    +2,670 / 20 / -9

    #95 Jersey

    well chung is gone this year...showed some promise early on like maroney...that flare has burned out
     
  10. Get it shawtaay

    Get it shawtaay Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    Messages:
    689
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    #32 Jersey

    Yep. The guy who really looked awful in the SB was Donte Whitner. He was easily the worst player on the field for either side.

    As far as college safeties are concerned, I think Tony Jefferson would be a good fit next to McCourty. He brings great coverage attributes to the table, but is also comfortable playing downhill. He's incredibly reactive and won't show up late in coverage often. I think he would be ideal for the "two FS" model that is discussed here.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>