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Was there a defensive problem except on passing downs?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Fencer, Mar 29, 2011.

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  1. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    From memory:


    • The defense had overall good results. Not great, but decent.
    • The defense had terrible results on third-and-long.

    That suggests the defense was pretty darned good except on third-and-long.

    Also: When you have one outstanding CB and a bunch of JAG (at best) CBs otherwise, it stands to reason that you should have your greater pass defense problems when the opponent has more WRs on the field.

    If you get the opponent into a bunch of 3rd-and-longs, which they then convert way too many of, it may not be your regular defense that's the problem.

    And by the way, Ty Warren is coming back into the regular defense, but he's not like to contribute much on passing downs. Similarly for the inconsistent/oft-injured/still-improving Brace.

    Where I'm going with this is to question how central a stud DE is to improving the defense. Yes, Warren is injured and aging. Yes, Wilfork could be hurt some year. Yes, the young guys were inconsistent. Yes, improving is always good.

    Still, unless the guy can play on passing downs, I'm not sure how much of a difference the expected stud DE would make.

    Besides, as I said in another thread, Seymour/Wilfork/Warren were an awesome DL, yet the defense they were on was not awesome.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Calciumee

    Calciumee PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I can see what you are saying, but the stud DE people are hoping for will become a young part of the defence for years to come (hopefully)!
    While it was our 3rd-and-long D that was the problem, having uncertainty at the DE position isn't great! And we don't even know if Ty Warren will be the player he was!
  3. satz

    satz Rookie

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    The problem is a little misleading considering we where bad at 3rd and Long but also bad in getting teams in 3rd and Long.

    if the other team does not commit a penalty , drop a pass and fail in execution our defense could not get a team into 3rd and Long by stopping the run in early downs.

    Our run defense was so bad that any team could keep running knowing you are assured 3-5 yds a clip.
  4. DW Toys

    DW Toys Rookie

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    Cousin, We have nine DE's on our roster. I made a thread about Safety as a bigger need because of our pitiful pass yards against and was torched. I was right, but still torched. In the beginning I thought DE could be addressed but then he goes for Stroud. Does Stroud have more years left? I think our DEs of the future might already be here in Brace who seems to be coming on. I figured he was junk. And the other might be Deaderick who showed some promise in 2010. Pryor was nor bad and I think that Wright who is just at his peak at 29 this last month will be the opening day starter.He played about two thirds of the season and led the Team in sacks. He was a solid DE until the concussion. Does a DE Draft pick unseat him? I don't see it and he is still on the other side of 30.

    BB uses DEs different. They are used more as DTs which is why he wants larger OLBs to set the edge. Wilfork played DE a lot last year. If he goes D Line I suggest he goes for a Taylor or Ellis who he can pick up in round two or three because it gives the Pats flexibility whereas these guys are long enough to play the 5 technique beside NT. I would love Watt but he is off BB's board because of Condon (no player of Condon for the Pats since the Watson fiasco in 04). You don't think Bill holds a grudge? You would think these knuckle head Dratted players would think about the relationship their proposed agent has with certain Teams. It could cost them money.

    Our Safeties played the run very well. They just can't cover as that is not the their rotation Safety's specific talents. Ironically BB resigned Page and Barrett who are of the same mold. One of the top three are going. Merriweather is a FA next year and has value now. Sanders makes $3 m for a backup.

    OLB rush guy is a priority. If BB had some gumption this year he would stop this "trade down til next year" crap and trade up and get a blue chipper like Miller or Quinn and let someone else poke through the sixth or seventh rounders this year. Note to BB: This might be the year you keep your top picks because it is the perfect storm of needs=slots we own. If these two are half as decent as they appear to be and if we can get a coverage safety like a Weddle in FA or convert a CB kid like Dowling who is bigger and faster than Ed Redd and has great coverage skills and tackling ability and more speed than any of our Safeties, we will be much better and still younger.
    DW Toys
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  5. Froob

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    #32 Jersey

    Haven't pats been last in the nfl in 3rd down defense every year since 08? That much be an NFL record.
  6. TheComeback

    TheComeback Rookie

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    Yeah, I don't remember our run defense being anywhere close to that bad.
  7. Rob0729

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    Other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?

    Seriously, who cares if the Pats shut down the opponents on running plays if they get burnt consistently on passing downs?

    I do feel the defense isn't that far away, but the pass defense needs to improve quite a bit. Besides, the run defense was inconsistent down the stretch.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  8. signbabybrady

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    It was pretty bad at times last year but I think it had more to do with injury then anything else. Warren, Brace, and Deadricks injuries really hurt the run game and losing Wright and Pryor killed your depth so guys were playing too much and in roles they shouldnt have.

    I think this problem fixes itself with a healthy Warren and Brace and while there will always be injuries I think last years numbers were pretty high and I wouldnt expect that again and so there is talent and depth on the line. Outside of a first rounder I dont see DL as much of a draft need. I say outside of first round because pretty much any position could use first round talent at anytime (except K, P, and in our case QB)
  9. Brady2Welker

    Brady2Welker Rookie

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    The Patriots defense last year struggled immensely in all facets. They were poor against the run, and awful against the pass especially on third down. Lots of turnovers caused by [mental] pressure on the other teams that they had to keep up with the Patriots offense, made our defense look much better than it was.
  10. DW Toys

    DW Toys Rookie

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    Other Teams completed 68+% of their passes against us.
    Brady in comparison was league MVP with 66+%. But other posters say our Safeties were just fine. Where do you think the most pass yards came? Up the middle. Just saying Cousins!
    DW Toys
  11. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    I'm not remembering the run defense as being bad at all, with the primary problem coming in some games where the passing-sub defense got torched on the run.

    I'm also not recalling 3rd-and-long being rare. Quite the contrary.

    But this is all from memory, with no checking of stats.
  12. sbpatfan

    sbpatfan Banned

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    It's actually really simple why our defense was bad - age. It's hard to be good when you're starting around 6 or 7 first / second year players.
  13. doesntmatter1

    doesntmatter1 Rookie

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    I really dont think our safeties were the problem. We were rarely beaten on deep throws. And our run defense was not that bad, thats why teams were faced with third down so often. Our problem came from who we put on the field for third down. Three players in particular.
    Culprit#1- Gary Guyton. As fast as he is he is so stiff that passes are completed in his area all the time and he sucks at defending the run. He is great at man but should not be allowed to play zone.

    Culprit#2-TBC. I thought he was super overated in 09 and proved it in 10. He's basically useless. Can't hold the edge and when he rushes he leaves a gaping hole on his side. He is not fast enough to rush the way he does. Everything we look for in a linebacker is the opposite of him and i have never seen him even come close to defending a pass. I don't understand why we signed him long term. Maybe he can become effective if he loses weight and gains speed.

    Culprit#3-Myron Pryor. I dont want to be too hard on him because he, unlike the others, can improve and get stronger but he was easily ran at.

    I've recently have become a fan of nate irving a wouldnt mind seeing him replace guyton.
  14. jsull87

    jsull87 Rookie

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    I agree totally. I personally thing that on run downs we were actually very solid last year (Cleveland game excepted). Now the DE people are talking about they envision to be the next perennial all pro e.t.c.

    But i personally think the plan was always a rotation of warren,wilfork,brace,deadrick,stroud on run downs.

    Wright,Pryor et al on pass downs. I think we lot alot of that pass penetration when wright went down but i personally think (like alot of people have forever) that we need an edge presence on those downs.

    More importantly to this scenario of third and long. Bodden will be back he was our best CB just a year ago. Page will now have a full year in the system and so will the other young members of our secondary.

    It is because of this optimism that our Key Vets are back that i am finding it hard to pinpoint who i really want in this draft other then the best pass rusher (OLB or DE) available at 17. The rest for me is just gravy on defense.
  15. Brady2Welker

    Brady2Welker Rookie

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    Our safety play was pretty terrible, you have no disagreement here. Chung is good at/around the LOS but loses his effectiveness the farther he gets from it (at his current skill level). Sanders is decent at best at coverage but he gets worse the closer he gets to the LOS. And I could write a small novel on how bad Meriweather is. I wouldn't complain if they upgraded the safety position with a second round pick. That said I don't think it will matter much unless we get a new DE to mitigate the fact we're getting gouged in the running game or an outside LB who can both set the edge and at least pretend to rush the passer.
  16. cstjohn17

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    #54 Jersey

    It is hard to say, the pass defense (not just 3rd down) was awful, almost 260 yards per game.
    2010 NFL Team Total Stats - National Football League - ESPN

    Based on the eyeball test I thought they were pretty solid against the run, even though they had to move Wilfork around to maximize his impact.

    Just look at the playoff loss, the passing game killed the Pats:
    - big play to Edwards down the sideline
    - Edwards breaks 20 tackles for the short TD before the half
    - blow coverage and Crotchery runs across the middle and down the side for 40 yards
  17. nashvillepatsfan

    nashvillepatsfan Rookie

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    Thats the BB defense. They always give up the middle. Its especially noticeable now, because our young LBs cant cover well. Im hopeful that will improve with experience. The same goes for Chung. I think people need to remember, he's not a seasoned vet yet. He's still learning, and lets see how he does this year. With that said, BB always looks to upgrade all positions. So another safety coming in wouldnt surprise me. Overall, healthy players coming back, and more experience, should make this years defense better. I still don't like the depth at LB though :cool:
  18. supafly

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    I didn't torch you DW, that's far from my style. It's not a big debate for me, personally. I believe that you are certainly on to something, and many of us here wouldn't be surprised at all to see a safety taken. The problem is that Sanders is our smartest and most seasoned safety. While definitely not a game changer, he is certainly serviceable. Then you have 2 guys who were taken as our first overall picks in 07 (Meriweather) and 09 (#34th selection = Chung). When you are the first pick taken by your team, they are likely going to give you a few years to develop and peak. While they aren't great by any means, they are at least average. When you couple them with 2 good CB's in Bodden and McCourtey, you can have a pretty decent secondary. I still think the problem lies with the ineffectiveness of the linebackers, and I think they are the biggest weakness on the defense by far. That and the fact that we dealt with injuries in the trenches, and have absolutely nothing to combat the absence of Seymour have really added to the problem. It's the front 7 in my opinion that need improvement.

    I feel that Chung is the one who needs to defend the pass better, and Meriweather is often freelancing and out of position. That said, we have seen him make some pretty nice plays from time to time, and he does lead the secondary in turnovers since he got here. He has shown flashes from time to time for sure, and his speed is unquestionable. Keep in mind that he did lead our defensive snaps percentage I believe (although DMcC was pretty high too I'd imagine) so BB seems to give him opportunities. Chung has great potential, but needs to improve on his coverage, which is very suspect in my opinion. It doesn't matter anyway, as Meriweather will almost certainly be gone after this season when his contract is up.

    Page and McGowan are serviceable backups, and Belichick seems to be pretty high on Barrett too. Sergio Brown even played okay for a rookie last year.

    So while I can certainly see your point, and I'd rarely if EVER torch anyone, I just don't know the solution right now, while we seem to have the lineup pretty set. I don't know the safeties too well in the draft, but I do know that there doesn't seem to be a plethora of talent this yr. It's certainly possible if not probable that the position will be dealt with more in the next yr or two, and we could even see someone like Page or Barrett get more snaps this year.

    What would you propose is a reasonable solution besides a draft pick busting through in training camp? And even if someone did break through, where would you take away from? Not Chung, not Sanders, and likely not Meriweather. (the order of their importance is obviously arguable, but I really don't see any of the 3 being yanked this year)
  19. patsfaninpittsburgh

    patsfaninpittsburgh Banned

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    This is a stats to nowhere moment.

    It's tough for an offense to put together a drive. The longer the drive, the better chance for a dropped pass, penalty, or other miscue. If an offense starts at the 20 and converts one first down before punting it's inevitable they will have a third down conversion rate greater than 50%.

    Many games saw the defense start 3 or 4 rookies and 3 or 4 second year players. This team had over half the snaps taken by 1/2 year players. Going 14-2 is unprecendented. The reality is it's unfair and incorrect to compare to the dynasty defenses dominated by seasoned players in their prime.

    If you have the best offense in the league why on earth do you not play it safer? The high first down conversion was also the reason for the huge turnover number because more plays means more chances for turnovers.

    The most important point was the defense usually got better during the game and the season. Was at the Detroit game. Once the defense adjusted to keep the QB in the pocket, things were fine. However, all the emphasis was on the first half of the game.
  20. DW Toys

    DW Toys Rookie

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    Fair enough. Very reasonable retort. I could see them moving one of the three Safeties if this was a normal year. I think BB might have more appreciation for Merriweather than we think. I believe he had most of the Safety snaps. He does show those flashes but inconsistent to say the least. Sanders had a good year for him. He is still the weakest of the three in ability. If he is smartest that is all well and good but in the end he costs the Pats $3m in 2011. Way too much for a third string Safety. In a normal year you might shop him or cut him to be resigned as a solid backup but too much money against the CAP. I think Chung has the most upside. He will get better.

    I would have loved to see Champ Bailey here as a Safety. That did not work out. I think Weddle can be had. Is he perfect? No but he is a great DB QB as is Sanders but more talented. He had 96 tackles last year and had his best defending year of 10 P.Def. The problem is he costs us a high pick. Now it appears that the Chargers are eyeing our #28. They have #50 and #61. Maybe #50 and Weddle for #28? That is all of course pending CBA stuff.

    The FA I would consider most is Michael Huff. He was a high pick and got bounced from CB to Safety for years. He was pretty bad his first few season but it was confusing. The Raiders did not use him right. He had his best year last year and is only 28. He had 94 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 FF and 3 Ints. He is 6'1" and 205. He ran a 4.3 in the combine, had 21 reps and a 40.5 vertical. This is what was said: "As a free safety, he brings excellent playmaking ability and would be a great cover man for any secondary". He does not cost us a pick.

    My best option would be to pry Adrian Wilson from the Cardinals. He is one of the most underrated S in the NFL. A little older at 31 but the closest we will get to that Rodney Harrison type.

    As far as a Draft pick, I do not want a Safety on the board in this class. I like big CB Dowling at 6'1" and 200lbs with excellent ball skills and a great tackler. He can cover. Seems like the right resume. Make him our FS with Chung.

    If we Draft a CB how about Bodden as a Safety? Perhaps Arrington? We need a cover Safety.
    DW Toys
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  21. supafly

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    I'm all for more competition at any position--that's without question. If Belichick feels as though Weddle or Huff can make a better impact, then I will be the first to celebrate, for it will certainly give the position more competition and also hopefully improve it. I still do not feel as though it is a position of dire need, and I think I will always hope for improvement from the LB's first, before anything else.

    I too would love A.Wilson, and always have. I would've loved to somehow pry him from Arizona in 2009, but I believe they re-upped him to a very nice deal. I'm not sure about him being that 'under rated' as you say. In my opinion (and many others) he is surely a top 5 safety in the league, definitely top 10 at worst. That would've been a blockbuster signing, and likely one that we wouldn't have pursued, considering that is basically Wilfork money. He will not be a free agent again until 2014, and by then will be pushing 35. He has certainly been a top tier safety for Arizona, and his contract was a 5 yr extension worth about 37+ million, even higher including basic incentives. That's about 8 million per, pretty darn good for a safety--especially since the projected transition tag number is 7.4 million, with the franchise tag being about 8.8 million. Adrian Wilson is in the top 10 paid safety category, and that is even considering he signed his extension 2 full years ago. Not too shabby. He would be the immediate answer, but sadly is nothing more than another one of our pipe dreams.

    Weddle is likely another wish that will not come true, but he'd definitely make the position pretty solid obviously. I am not sure about Huff, as I know I wanted him coming out of school, and he went high, but I also know that he had a couple of rough years there too. I think he did improve for sure, but I can't say if that would be much of an improvement from what we currently have or not.

    The transition from a CB to S is an interesting topic, and always has been, at least since the days of Wilson. I couldn't say if BB would feel as though that'd be an improvement or not, but I suppose it has been talked of before.

    If I had to make a prediction, it would be that the guys we have now will be our safeties again next year, but you never know with this coach and team. They are always looking to improve. You may have to wait until next year to get your different lineup, and if so, the addition of some draft picks and the return of injured starters should help make this defense better anyway. You also will have the seasoning of another year with the younger 1st and 2nd yr guys, and that should help too.
  22. Deus Irae

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    The run defense was a problem. It was just overshadowed by the pass defense, and protected by the team's ability to jump out to leads.

    The Patriots were 11th in rushing yards allowed, and 17th in YPA. They were only 21st in number of runs against, but allowed the 11th most rushing first downs in the league.

    This season, the return of Warren and, hopefully, a healthy and improving Brace, should make the defensive line more stout on running downs, and should ease the run-stopping problems that so often happened when the team got out of the base defense. Spikes and Cunningham will be making the jump from season one to season two, and that should also help quite a bit. Hopefully the team will add talent at DE and OLB via the draft and further sure up the situation for the long term.
  23. Patspsycho

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    Guyton isn't a run stopper. He's not in there on run downs.
  24. Patspsycho

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    This is misleading. It's not fair to blame our secondary when our ability to pressure quarterbacks isn't really there.
  25. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Do you think they will play outside of the base defense?
  26. Deus Irae

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    Yes, although not in every defensive permutation.
  27. Fencer

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    I meant specifically whether they'd play on a significant fraction of passing downs.

    Of course it's highly likely that they'd play in, say, short-yardage packages.
  28. Deus Irae

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    It'll vary by formation. With a 2 DL package, you could see Ty Warren and Wilfork, for example. In the nickel, you could see Ty inside with Wilfork, or Brace moved inside, or some other combination. The important thing is going to be limiting the run/pass substitutions of the D-linemen by getting guys who can be all around contributors. None of the current group is any threat to Julius Peppers in the pass rush department, after all.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011
  29. Fencer

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    I'm just not seeing Brace as mobile enough for passing downs, period.

    And I think the prime in which Warren was respectable enough as a pass rusher to be used the way you suggest was short, and has passed. Maybe pass rushing was just a slowly learned skill for him, and a slight physical drop-off won't make that much difference. But that's not the way I'm betting right now.
  30. Deus Irae

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    Brace could move to tackle in the nickel, just for one example. It's too early to see how it's all going to shake out, and I'm hoping that a 3-4 DE will be drafted with one of the first 3 picks.
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