Upgrading the Defense

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Feb 9, 2012.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    The defense has been overhauled completed over the last few years except for Wilfork.
    Some of the rebuilding has worked, some has not.
    With one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history in charge, we have what I would describe as a defense that plays well at times, is opportunistic, but struggles straight up to outplay offenses.
    This is accentuated in situations like a 2 minute drill, where the offense isn't strategizing, isnt worried about balance, and has 4 downs to throw the ball and get 10 yards, over and over. Of course the way the NFL has evolved almost any defense has a hard time in that situation, but it is the one area where our team stands out as very weak.
    So changes must be made. This is my opinion of what we have, what role they would be accpetable in (realizing we cant have an allpro at every position and taking into effect our system) and by default what I think BB should focus the entire offseason on. (If the D is 'fixed' the O will be good enough with minor moves to have us right back in the SB)

    Wilfork should be a NT in the 34. That is the best use of him and frankly he should be out on 3rd and long so he is strong for the 50 plays he is in for.

    Deaderick. We can win with him as a 34 DE, but it would continue to be a spot that we want to upgrade.

    Love. He should not be more than a backup. I was far from impressed with his play this year.

    Brace. I was really high on Brace last year. He looked real good as a LDE stuffing the run and showing a good bull riush when he was out there but he kept losing playing time, and this year he barely saw the field. Something is missing, because he certainly has the talent to be a good LDE in the 34, but he hasn't come close to showing it. Is it health, conditioning, attitude? I don't know but at this point he should be coming to camp needing to prove he deserves to make the team, but if he does he could be a big surprise. As of now, not to be relied upon.

    Pryor/Wright. Can't stay healthy, can't be relied upon.

    Warren is a jag who could have a chance to come back and sit on the end of the bench. Ellis appears cooked.

    Assuming we play a 34, we desperately need a DE, could really stand to upgrade Deaderick, but also need depth.
    This is a round 1 priority or top FA area IMO.

    Sub Package.
    Anderson is a great option as a sub package rusher, who should never be on the field to do anything else. Carter is better but seemingly wouldn't be happy in that role, and I can't see banking the success of the pass rush on him being fully recovered from his injury at his age. Can't afford to not move on.
    Aside from those 2, and a decent job from Ninkovich as a backup nickel DE, we were horrible on sub package DL.
    We need a nickel DE across from Anderson but that comes from the OLB spot.
    We need a whole new group of inside rushers in the sub package.

    The DL needs a lot of work.
  2. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    We are in the best shape we have been in for years in terms of being close to having a great LB group.
    Inside we are solid, deep and young.
    Mayo is a top tier ILB and Spikes will challenge to be just as good. This year, after getting healthy, hurt, and healthy again, he developed into a versatile very solid ILB.
    Fletcher looks like a solid backup inside.

    At OLB, I am fine with Ninkovich as the true LB of the OLB pair.
    There really are 2 ways to set up the OLB position. One is with one guy who rushes almost 100% of the time (LT, McGinest) and another is to have 2 guys who can rush or cover and which does which is game planned. The latter works better because it is less predictable and Ninko is a great fit. He is a good, not great pass rusher. He covers well. He is a good run defender. Much like Vrabel before he moved into the full time pass rush role and piled up sacks, Ninko is underrated, solid and does whatever is needed.

    On the other side, we've got Jermaine Cunningham. Had he progressed from year 1 to year 2 as it seemed he would, he would make a good complement to Ninko. I still like Cunningham, but I do not want to rely on him making the next step without a backup plan. I think this is the year to leave no holes, leave nothing to chance on defense.
    We need to make a stud OLB a priority. It doesn't have to be a glorified DE who only rushes and gets a bunch of sacks, but it needs to be top player who will play DE in sub packages and deliver pressure.
    Cunnigham can or cannot advance and get into the mix, there are plenty of snaps to be had.
  3. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I'm NOT assuming we play a 3/4...I looked at it and we played 4/3 52% of the plays this season...add to this the fact that Belichick has said they will play more 4/3 and that the defense needs to have players versatile enough to play both,then drafting collegiate 4/3 LB's is in the cards this year...the HUGE problem for BB in the past five years has been FINDING suitable 3/4 LB's to play in his defense since they almost do not EXIST at the collegiate level.
  4. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Pro Bowl Player

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  5. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

    Why can't you maintain/upgrade the offense via unrestricted free agency (Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Dan Connolly, Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis) and the defense via the 2012 NFL Draft?

    1st Round
    3-4 Outside Linebacker (defensive end conversion)
    3-4 Defensive End (Fletcher Cox, for example)

    2nd Round
    Cornerback (so many choices)
    Free Safety (Markelle Martin, for example)

    NFL Draft Scout Overall Prospect Rankings

    2012 NFL Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    NFL Draft Scout Cornerback Rankings

    2012_CB NFL Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    NFL Draft Scout Free Safety Rankings

    2012_FS NFL Draft Prospects - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

    The key to the 2012 New England Patriots defense may be the cornerback play of Devin McCourty. Is Devin McCourty the next Ty Law or Darius Butler?
  6. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    The Manningham catch was nothing like the Tyree "play"..the safety was a step too slow on that play and it became a fantastic game changing catch...that is where BB wanted that pass going, not to the other two Giant WR's...hope the experience is well learned by Chung going forward
  7. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    The key to the 2012 New England Patriots defense may be the cornerback play of Devin McCourty. Is Devin McCourty the next Ty Law or Darius Butler?

    I think we saw he's just average man to man...we need a young Charles Woodson type
  8. patsfan-1982

    patsfan-1982 In the Starting Line-Up

    pats dont have the OLB to play a 3-4 at lest not on 3rd down carter and anderson if one or both of them come back are both 4-3 DE's
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    The front seven has huge problems because you want to return to the base 3-4.

    I thought that the front seven was playing fairly well, even with Carter out. Consider a re-signing of Anderson and White, which is certainly doable. Then let's see how bad it really is.

    Deaderick, Wilfork, Love, Pryor/Warren
    Ninkovich, Anderson
    Mayo, Spikes, Fletcher, Cunningham, Tarpinian/Niko/White

    NEED ONE: We need to re-sign or replace Carter
    NEED TWO: We need to replace or upgrade Ellis and Warren/Pryor

    This is doable.

  10. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

    Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Woodson the fourth overall pick in 1998 NFL Draft?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  11. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I'd be perfectly happy with McCourty as the next Ed Reed, with Dowling and either a free agent or high draft pick as the starters. Much easier to find a new CB than a new FS this offseason.

    The Pats use a 4-man line on 3rd down anyway. There's no need for 3rd down 3-4 OLBs.
  12. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    probably...I know Revis was the 14th player taken in the 2007 draft
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter


    What we have:

    Chung. I am impressed with his development. I think he is ready to move into probowl caliber in 2012.

    McCourty. I know he has gotten bruatlized on this board, but during the week off before the SB I rewatched most of the season, and he was a guy I focussed on. I think McCourty is a victim of only being remembered for a few plays that stand out. The real difference between McCourty in 10 and 11 was a handful of plays all with same technique, The deep ball where he trails the reciever. In 2010, he played possum looking like he was a step behind and recovering to make the pick. He had something like 6 Ints on that route, and was rarely beaten. This year he WAS that step behind and was beaten 6-8 times. Now 6 deep completions vs 6 Ints makes a huge difference, but McCourtys play, outside of those plays all on the same route and technique was remarkably similar to 2010.
    If he cannpt overcome that he will be picked on and torched, but I find it hard to believe a player of his caliber cannot correct a 2nd year error in an area he actiually excelled as a rookie. I am fine with him at LCB for 2012.
    Dowling certainly has the skills to be a good starting cb, but losing a year worries me more than his Glass I nickname. There is a lot of reason to be hopeful he can start at RCB next year and play well, but we can't rely on it.
    Arrington. All of our pass D struggles the last 2 years have helped hide the fact that Arrignton is simply overmatched out there. He is smart and gets plays that he is schemed into, but he is not nearly physical enough and is below average in coverage skills. His role as the 4th/5th corner who plays all special teams is where he really belongs. Not a terrible liability as a nickel if necessary.
    Moore. Maybe he can develop, maybe not. Cant count on it.
    We need to sign a quality free agent corner. Not a guy who can start if he has to, but a guy who would start on any team. A decent #1 to good #2 corner. I am Ok here if we break the mold of 'complete corner' and get more of a cover guy with non-cover weaknesses.
    Add a jag FA and a later pick to compete with Dowling and Arrington for 3/4/5 spots.

    Ihedigbo must go. At best he can be the 4th safety who plays s/ts.
    Barrett should come to camp trying to earn a job, and he should have a lot of competition. Brown is a ster only.
    We need to get a new starter, either in FA or early in the draft.
    Coverage skills chould be the top priority. A safety who is almost a corner over a safety that is a small LB.
    Add jag depth to compete

    So, I would like to see:
    34 DE
    34 OLB

    All major moves, starting players. Expensive FAs or 1st or 2nd round picks.
    The quality of who we end up with in those 4 spots (and of course how depth evolves) can make the defense go anywhere from continuing to play well enough mostly and be mismatched on game winning drives or a defense that can dominate and bring back a Lombardi to Foxboro.

    I wouldn't care if we bring back Welker and add nothing else but jags on offense if we get this focus on finalizing the job of rebuilding the defense.

    We have to have pass rushers that help the dbs, dbs that extend the time the rushers have, and enough quality of both that we can blitz LBs on 3rd down and not fear we won't get there and can't cover long enough even if we could.
  14. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

    Unfortunately, cornerbacks like Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey come around once a decade.
  15. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    34 is the preferred defense. There really isnt much of a personell difference.
    The 3 DL are either over the T-C-T or T-G-G. and the 3 LBs adjusted accordingly, with the DE/OLB outside the T in either case.
    But the 34 is more versatile. It doesn't telegraph the 4th rusher. It is stronger vs the run because you have an OLB who is more mobile playing contain instead of a less mobile DE.

    BTW, where did you get your #s? I was under the impression we played more than 50% nickel/dime.
    Are you saying 52% 4 man line including nickel/dime or 52% 43.
    Can you link the numbers?
  16. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I honestly believe that pass rush is a little overrated. Its nice to have but it is more vital to shore up our run defense. Kyle Love is good but he isn't a great run stuffer and at the moment we don't really have any run stuffers besides Vince and Brace is always on the bench.

    Lastly, we need some coverage linebackers. We made strides by getting Guyton off the field but more needs to be done. As good as mayo is, he doesn't have the feel for coverage the way that spikes and ninkovich does. This draft in particular has players that could fill this need. Such as lavonte david, travis lewis, bobby wagner, etc.

    I still love mccourty and I think our secondary will be just fine if dowling can stay healthy so i dont want us to go overboard with drafting them. Besides, it seems like undrafted cb workout more often then the butler's and wilhites for some weird reason.

    So once again some big run stuffers and coverage linebackers all the way.
  17. ATippett56

    ATippett56 Pro Bowl Player

    Richard Marshall, former Fresno State cornerback (Pat Hill former coach), is available in the unrestricted free agent market. Richard Marshall played both cornerback and free safety for the Arizona Cardinals this year.
  18. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze In the Starting Line-Up

    #87 Jersey

    Hopefully we start the 2012 season with one of Kirkpatrick/Webb/Jenkins. I'll be happy. Although I'd be happy with a Carr/Finnegan type too.
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    It doesnt look better to me in a 43.
    You still have 6 same guys.
    3 of them are DL and we have 1 quality DL and one other that is passable.
    3 are LBs and I am good with those 3.
    The 7th is the 34 OLB/43 DE who is one of the most critical guys on the team.
    We have no one to play that spot, unless you really think Carter at his age after that severe injury can be relied upon.

    You seem to be fine with Brandon Deaderick as our 2nd best DL and Kyle Love as our 3rd best. I am not. I can live with Deaderick as a Bobby Hamilton caliber guy until we find someone better. I hope we don't have to count on Love as more than a reserve next year.
    I'm not interested in nice stories who don't emabarrass themselves on defense, I want it revamped into a dominant D.
    You name a bunch of jags as if they mean we solved a problem, but we aren't progressing on defense by relying on Love, Pryor, Warren, White, Tarp, Niko or prentending that Mark Anderson belongs on the field in a base defense.
  20. DonBlackmon55

    DonBlackmon55 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Mangini already stated that Pats are a 34 defense and that's their identity. You put too much pressure on your inexperienced secondary by trying to switch back and forth. He thinks BB/Pats revert to 34 next year.

    G'bye Anderson and Carter, we hardly knew ye.

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