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Upgrading the secondary

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mayoclinic, Mar 10, 2009.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    With the signing of Leigh Bodden today, the FO has really done a nice job of upgrading the secondary from last year. We currently have 10 DBs on the roster, with a clear "top 7":

    1. Brandon Meriweather, S. Should continue to develop and be better than last year; hopefully he will become the leader of the secondary this year. Improved.
    2. James Sanders, S. Resigned. Same player as in 2008 - solid rotational and ST guy. Adequate starter but upgradeable. Unchanged.
    3. Shawn Springs, CB/S. Takes over from Lewis Sanders and Chad Scott as the "big CB/S" swing guy, and is a clear upgrade over both. Improved.
    4. Ellis Hobbs, CB. Same player as in 2008. Unchanged.
    5. Leigh Bodden, CB. Has to be an upgrade over Deltha O'Neal, and potentially a huge one. Improved.
    6. Terrance Wheatley, CB. Should be better as a second year guy and hopefully injury free. Improved.
    7. Gerald Wilhite, CB. Should be better in his second year. Improved.

    So 5 out of our top 7 DBs right now should be better than in 2008. Add in Antwain Spann, Ray Ventrone and Mike Richardson (none of whom should are critical, and all of whom should be as good or better than in 2008) and we seem pretty well set. If we could add one first day S prospect in the draft to groom as an eventual starter opposite Meriweather, we should have the best secondary in the BB era since 2003-2004 when we had Ty Law, Asante Samuel, Rodney Harrison and Eugene Wilson. And the secondary right now looks deeper than 2003-2004, if perhaps not quite as good at the top.
     
  2. JackBauer

    JackBauer Pro Bowl Player

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    Who is Gerald Wilhite?

    Sanders is only 25 years old. He is likely to improve.

    Ellis Hobbs is, likewise, 25 years old. Both players are on the cusp of their peak playing years, and I'd be shocked if we didn't see improvement from both of them.

    Depending on Bodden's talent and Springs' ability to stay healthy, I think the improvement should be pretty drastic.
     
  3. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Sorry, showing my age. Gerald Wilhite was a RB out of San Jose St. who was a 1st round draft pick in the early 1980s. Brain fart.
     
  4. alvinnf

    alvinnf In the Starting Line-Up

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    Who's the suprise cut come traing camp?
     
  5. blackglass3

    blackglass3 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    I would say Gerald Wilhite, since him being drafted in the early 80's would put him in his late 40's/early 50's. ;)

    As long as Springs or Bodden don't have a "Fernando Bryant" moment, I have no idea. Mike Richardson and Ray Ventrone, maybe?
     
  6. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    :rofl:

    make me snort Pepsi on my keyboard....
     
  7. Ghost of Ben Dreith

    Ghost of Ben Dreith Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    This above quote is 100% correct.

    The secondary is looking better, but there is still room to improve via the draft IMHO.
     
  8. alvinnf

    alvinnf In the Starting Line-Up

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    Bummer, he's sort of my binkie!!!
     
  9. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    I think the Springs and Bodden signings mark the biggest offseason improvement in the secondary since '03. A nickel unit of Meriweather, Sanders, Springs, Hobbs and Bodden is very good. Could be stellar if Meriweather steps up and Bodden returns to his '07 form.

    I would not be surprised it the secondary is considered a strength of the team by November.
     
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A) As has been pointed out, we should continue to see improvement in Sanders and Hobbs. Also, they will play better as part of a better secondary.

    B) You discuss the top seven: four corners, two safeties and swing defensive back. There is one more real defensive back position: backup safety. We really didn't have that position last year for very long, but I would call Spann a 2008 safety and expect that any safety we pick in the second should be expected to be an improvement on Spann. In another year, one of those safeties might be plugged in as a starter from the beginning of their careers.

    C) There are really no more than 8 defensive back positions. The #9 and/or #10 if there are any are special team leaders. I would expect Ventone or Richardson or Spann to be as good as last year in this position.

    D "Not quite as good at the top" is quite an understatement. As you point out, we did have Law, Samuel, Harrison and Wilson.

    E) So, my bottom line is that the team has done remarkably at rebuilding the secondary. I believe that the secondary is better at every position compared to 2008.

    F) We do need to complete the job by drafting a backup safety, not a difficult assignment.

     
  11. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #75 Jersey

    If were ever going to upgrade our safety position, this would be the draft to do it in. I'm hoping day one pick 34 or 47. If we don't come away with one of Smith,Delmas or Chung I'd be very dissapointed to say the least.
     
  12. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Last year's secondary - after Rodney went down - may have been the worst of the BB era. Improving on that should be a no-brainer.

    It would be desirable to get back to, and event surpass the 06 and 07 secondaries.

    07 secondary:
    Samuel - Hobbs - Sanders - Harrison - Gay - Merriweather

    06 secondary:
    Samuel - Hobbs - Hawkins - Harrison - Sanders - Scott

    And then, if you really want to dream big, it would be amazing if we could get back to the 03-04 level of play with Law - Poole - Harrison - Wilson - Samuel


    It's pretty obvious that those teams had at least a couple of playmakers that last year's team didn't have. I agree that Springs and Bodden are an improvement in that direction. But there's still work to be done.
     
  13. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would add Moore and Rashad Johnson to the list, but your point is well taken.

     
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I don't think the 03-04 secondary is within reach. :)

    But I think that the other years are reachable. Let's consider 2006. We are better at all positions except Samuel's. I don't think the analysis would be much different for 2007.

    2006
    Samuel 2009 Bodden is not as good as Samuel, but will be fine in our system.
    Hobbs 2009 Hobbs is much better.
    Hawkins 2009 one of Wheatley/Wilhite is likely to be much better.
    Harrison 2009 Meriweather should be as good as 2007 Harrison.
    Sanders 2009 Sanders is much better.
    Scott 2009 Springs is much better (and that doesn't consider the draftee).

     
  15. signbabybrady

    signbabybrady Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #24 Jersey

    I really like Delmas and I agree one more adition to this secondary would complete the overhaul. Add in J. Taylor and/or a Rookie OLB plus all the other rooks and this would look like one hell of an offseason on paper (I suppose even with out JT).
     
  16. shakadave

    shakadave In the Starting Line-Up

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    Mgteich alluded to this but I need to echo again:
    Ty Law --- Hall of Famer
    Rodney Harrison --- borderline Hall of Famer
    Asante Samuel --- not impossible to imagine him getting HoF consideration someday
    Eugene Wilson --- very good back then

    I like our recent moves, but we're not approaching 2003-2004.
     
  17. eom

    eom In the Starting Line-Up

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    I know it's been mentione din other threads, but you make the secondary better by bringing more pressure.

    we had a lot of injuries last year, and if they can stay healthy, and maybe add a solid rookie, I think they can bring more pressure.
    especially if brady's really back and the offense can force opposing offenses out of their gameplan.

    that said, I think springs and bodden are huge over o'neal and bryant, or whoever.
    second year corners should be better....and did I mention good health?
     
  18. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I agree 06 and 07 are within reach. And that Hobbs + Bodden/Springs (whichever one starts) should be close to the young Hobbs + Samuel. I'm not quite convinced that Merriweather can be compared to Rodney (even last year's Rodney). And it's my belief that the Sanders of 06-07 is the same as the Sanders of 08 and will be the same in 09.

    Wheatley - the body of work is too small for any kind of evaluation. And with Wilhite, yes there was improvement over the course of the year and I'm sure he'll improve more. But to the level of a quality starter? At the end of last year, I would put him in the Hank Poteat level of play.

    Basically, I have 2 concerns. First, there aren't enough play makers in the secondary, especially at safety. Second, with such a big turnover of bodies, it's hard to say somebody will be an "upgrade" before they've stepped on the field. That's why I'd still like to see 2 DBs added to the roster on day 1.
     
  19. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I agree completely. Samuel was still young and unproven back then, but we also had Tyrone Poole.

    I think the point of this post is quite subtle though. We do NOT have enough talent in the secondary and therefore need to continue upgrading the talent level via the draft.
     
  20. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I believe that this secondary, including a pick 20 to pick 60 safety, could be an awesome secondary with playmakers. I think the problem is lack of pro-bowl level pressure and play from our linebackers. Law, Smith, Harrison, and Wilson were fine, but you will find that part of the reason was that we had 4 pro-bowl quality linebackers (Manning used to vote for all of them).

    In the end we are disagreeing on whether corner is an important enough position to add a sixth corner with a Day One pick. In the end, Belichick may end up almost agreeing with you and draft in the 3rd, and I will lose one of my offensive linemen of the future.

    My bottom line is that we need an ILB, a SS, an OLB and a WR and we have four picks on Day One. That ignores 2010 developmental needs at DE, OG and OT. We do have two 3rds and a 4th. I certainly could see a CB as a substitute for one of the above. It just wouldn't be my choice.

    But free agency isn't over yet. Perhaps we can fill yet another need: at WR or at DE.

     
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