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What upgrades are essential to the defense?

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  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have added ERFA Ventrone and RFA Woods. I've listed Slater as a STer. He is on most rosters mislabeled as the #5 receiver (which he is at the moment)

    In the offensive analysis, the needs were modest: a FB, a WR or two and an OG. That is easily doable in free agency plus perhaps one Top 100 draft pick.

    To me, the defensive needs seem more serious, both in 2009 and 2010. I presume we'll get a 2010 pick for Cassel which will help a bit. Free agency success will make all the difference, especially in the ability to re-sign and perhaps extend our own.

    DEFENSIVE LINE
    Adams is a major downgrade from Wright. Also, Seymour and Green are in their contract years. We should plan for one being gone in 2010 or even this year. Seymour sat out the last time he was in this position. Wilfork can be franchised for a couple of years if we can't work out an extension. So, for me, there is a SERIOUS need at DE. Even if we extend Seymour or Green and franchise or extend Wilfork, we need TWO defensive ends to replace the production of Wright in 2009 (and beyond) and either Seymour or Green in 2010.

    If Green's 2009 bonus isn't guaranteed, he could be gone before March 1. A $2.3M bonus plus a $2.5M salary is a lot of money for Green.

    LINEBACKERS
    I must say that for the first time in years, this position is in fine shape. We should keep Woods at least for this year. We have him, Crable, Guyton and Redd as developing youngsters to add to the top three LB's. Depending on what the coaches think of the present expected production level of Bruschi, we could decide to move Thomas inside, or not. This is a very young group; Vrabel, Thomas, Bruschi and the kids. I'd rather add a veteran than another developmental player, although the draft has some top 3-4 linebackers. I would be fine with adding one if the value is there.

    SAFETIES
    Bring back the vets! My choices would be to re-sign Sanders, Harrison and Tank Williams. I would also re-sign Lew Sanders as a utility defensive back who can play at any of the positions. I have no problem with replacing any of these re-signs with other free agents. We need veteran leadership from our safeties. It will NOT come from our corners.

    FOUR CORNERS
    I have Lew Sanders or an equivalent discussed as a safety. So, where are we at corner? Bring in the JAGS! Hobbs, Wheatley and Wilhite are who we expect to depend on. We also have Richardson and Spann on the roster. Hobbs could be gone after the season, if there is a new CBA. We wll likely bring our normal 3-5 corners to compete for roster spots, for reps, and perhaps even for a starting position.

    The open question is whether Belichick can find a high draftee that he wants to add. We would end up with a mix of Hobbs and the kids at corner.

    Personally, I view this as the weakest unit on the team, by far. We can win by making up for our corners with solid front seven play plus pressure from our safeties. But there is no hiding the truth of the weakness.

    MY ADDITIONS
    Re-sign: Wright, Harrison, Sanders, Sanders, Williams or equivalent quality free agents
    additional fa or top 100: DE, CB, LB

    In the end, this is a doable wish list.
    ===========================
    DEFENSE
    DE - 3 Warren, Green, Seymour
    DT - 3 Wilfork, Le Kevin Smith, (Adams)
    LB - 8 Vrabel, Bruschi, Thomas, Crable, Mayo, Guyton, Woods, (open)
    CB - 4 Hobbs, Wheatley, Wilhite, (Richardson/Spann)
    S - 3 Meriweather, (open), (open)
    DB - 1 (open)
    ST -3 Ventrone, Izzo/Alexander/Redd, Slater
     
  2. iapatsfan

    iapatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't even think this is close. Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. The #1 reason we give up the 3rd and longs like we do is because of pass rush. Ours stinks. Yes, our DB situation can be improved, but I don't believe the Steelers or the Ravens have an overall sensational defensive backfield. They get after the quarterback and give him very little time to throw. I don't know how many times this year I watched our pass rushers get stoned at the line by single blockers. It almost seems as if our OLB's are taught to lock up and "chicken fight" with the guy blocking instead of making a move to get around the guy. Think about it - How many times do you remember one of our pass rushing linebackers beating his man and coming clean at the QB. Instead they engage the OL and attempt wrestle with the guy and bull rush him into the QB. I don't know why there is so much focus on our D line. I think they to their jobs very well. They are all still in their 20's and I'd put them up against any of the 3-4 D lines in football. Our LB situation (with the exception of Mayo) is a completely different story.
     
  3. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I wouldn't be opposed to an upgrade at OLB, but last year the Pats were without there top 4 pass rushers. Thomas, Crable, Woods - IR, Vrabel - old, tired and slow.

    Look closely at the Ravens and the Steelers, they have elite Safeties which gives the defense a lot of flexibility. Harrison used to be a difference maker at Safety, either as a blitzer or an extra guy in the box. He could cheat up because Law/Samuel and even Wilson could cover.

    I see Safety as the biggest need, if we roll out the same unit as last year with both Harrison and Williams coming off major injuries I would ask you why I should think it is chicken salad instead of chicken-xxxx?
     
  4. E Belichick Unum

    E Belichick Unum On the Game Day Roster

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    You are looking for trouble saying anything bad about Ellis Hobbles. There is a serious case of manlove going on here for him.
     
  5. iapatsfan

    iapatsfan In the Starting Line-Up

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    The three players you mention are not explosive playmakers. Two of them are not even locks to make the roster and the third has one year of double digit sacks in his career. My point is if you give a QB very little time to throw, it makes all the DBs much better. I don't care how good your safeties are, if a QB has all day to throw the ball, they will get beat. A perfect example is San Diego. I would argue their Safety situation is much better now (Weddle) than 2 yrs ago. However, with their explosive edge player either hobbled our out for most of the last two years, their pass defense has suffered greatly.
     
  6. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think the Pats do need to upgrade the LB position. Neither Vrabel nor Bruschi are getting any younger. ILB is the bigger issue. I am willing to believe Vrabel will rebound next year, but Bruschi is a situational guy at best now. Guyton isn't an every down LB yet. I would like to see the Pats upgrade the position. I wouldn't be upset if it was done in the draft with Aaron Curry (granted it would have to be with a draft pick picked up by trading Cassel to get high enoug to get him) or James Laurinaitis or Rey Maualuga.

    Another key area is Strong Safety. Harrison is probably done. James Sanders is a liability in coverage. Wouldn't mind upgrading here. In the draft William Moore looks like the best option.

    In free agency, Dawan Landry looks like a good pick up, but he may get a first round tender offer as a RFA. Although if they tender him with a second round tender or lower, I would consider making him an offer. A bit of a risk since he landed on IR this season. Also, to consider is Jermaine Phillips (11 INTs in the last three years), Sean Jones (14 INTs in the last three years), and Darren Sharper (a bit on the decline and only a short term pick up) to name a few.
     
  7. Brettlax3434

    Brettlax3434 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Great Defenses have great pass rushes. Until this past season we have always had one. Willie McGinnist in the early years, vrable and colvin in later years. We need to take a dominant pass rushing outside linebacker within the first two rounds of the draft. A dominant pass rush mask's secondary problems, and makes an average secondary elite. Luckily, the draft is very deep with 3-4 linebackers this year. BB will adress this blairing need.
     
  8. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    Other than Jerod Mayo, their LB's are a mess right now. Vrabel should be on his way out, Bruschi's time is up and Adalius Thomas is very close to being in the "overpaying FA" category. A.T. better step up his game next season and make more of an impact on the field like he did late in the regular season and '08 superbowl. The Pats should know better to not overpay for someone that justs sits in coverage. Woods is worthless, Redd hasn't shown a damn thing and Crable has become the savior at OLB. However, Guyton has shown flashes but nothing to suggest he can take on the duties full time. The Pats need a MLB opposite of Mayo and one OLB to replace Vrabel.

    I love what Harrison has done for the Pats, but his time is up. Sure, re-sign Sanders if the price is right, but he's not your starter. Tank Williams will not be retained because he gets injured way too much. The Pats need to sign Sean Jones or Jermaine Phillips and move Merriweather to FS.

    Bring in the JAGS? Didn't you see what happened last season? Wheatley and Wilhite haven't done jack to suggest they are the starters. Richardson and Spann are worthless. The Pats need good veteran corners. I don't care who they bring in, as long as they weren't cut from their former teams.


    I'm not saying the Pats need to break the bank and sign every top free agent, but if the Pats keep re-signing their weak links and keep everything status quo, you will get the same results. However, if they do re-sign their own, they better take a backup role because they should no longer be starters. Players that I'm talking about are: Bruschi, Vrabel, Harrison and every DB not named Brandon Merriweather or Ellis Hobbs.

    If the Pats want to get back to their dominant superbowl winning ways, than their going to need an outstanding pass rush and better DB's. You don't have to have pro bowlers in the backfield, just players who can get the job done.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  9. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Could it be that having Thomas and Woods injured affected 2008's pass rush? Could it be that the additions of Crable and another year of experience for Mayo and Guyton will help. You indicate that our pass rush was fine until 2008. Well, it may take a little time to see the help from all the 2008 additions (Mayo, Guyton, Crable and Redd). In addition, we should see help as injured players come back.

    We started 2008 with Thomas, Vrabel, Woods and Crable. Three were injured. Your answer to the fact that the pass rush wasn't good enough is to ask to replace the injured.

    BTW, we don't have close to an "average" secondary. Also, part of the effectiveness of the pass rush comes from corner and safety blitzes. Of course, this leaves the rest on an island. This is a risk with each of our current defensive backs.



     
  10. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

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    My upgrades in order.

    1. CB - I view Wheatley/Wilhite as replacements for Hobbs. Still nobody to replace
    A.Samuel. I watched NFL Network rebroadcast of Super Bowl XXXVI. It was amazing
    how often Law and O.Smith lined up in press coverage. We hardly ever do that any more.
    And, need to work it back into our repotoire. I know the rules have been re-inforced to
    call the 5yd rule. But, we play way too soft. Hell, we don't have anybody on the roster
    as good as Otis Smith.

    2. S - I don't think we need a big thumper like Rodney. With the way teams throw the
    ball I prefer more of a CF type the way the game is headed. B.Meriweather seems to
    play better closer 10-15 yds to the line of scrimmage than playing the deep ball.
    Before anyone tells me what pct. of plays he played. I view J.Sanders as a 3rd safety.
    If he wants to come back for 3rd safety money fine. But, he's the slot I'm looking to
    upgrade.

    3. OLB - There is no indication that P.Woods,S.Crable or Redd can become quality
    NFL starters. And, quality is my key word. We can't afford average olb's in our scheme.
    They have to get to the qb. That's why we paid big money for Adalius Thomas and
    Roosevelt Colvin. Can't afford mediocrity at that spot. That's why M.Vrabel has been such a great player. But, he's in decline and we need a 2010 starter to replace him. I still can't
    fathom how P.Woods didn't recover that fumble at his feet in Super Bowl XLII. I know it
    was only one play. But, he's been in the league long enough to make other plays to make
    up for that, but he hasn't. He is what he is. Excellent special teams player Nice backup.
    Redd wasn't even in the league until injuries devasted our lb corps. Not going to be a
    starter. In best case scenario S.Crable develops into a quality NFL starter. He could play
    opposite the guy we're picking up here. Move A.Thomas inside. Worse case. Guy picked
    up here must be able to replace Vrabel in 2010. I don't want to have to count on a
    rookie next year.

    How to solve. Trade Cassel for a 1st. Use cap space to keep players we have.
    Wilfork,Mankins, extend Seymour. Also, want to keep M.Wright and J. Sanders.Then draft.

    1. cb - Maybe a guy like Alphonso Smith
    1b olb - Maybe a guy like C.Sintim or C. Barwin.
    2a S - L.Delmas W.Michigan
    2b ol
    3 te
    3 suple NG
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You ask why there is focus on our defensive line. The reason is that four of the five we depend on are either free agents (Wright) or are in their contract years (Seymour, Wilfork, and Green). IMHO, we have one of the very best DL's in the NFL. Our defense depends on our three all-pro quality starters, ALL #1 draft picks. It is BECAUSE they are so essential that their contract statuses are so important. Green is so good as a backup and in his role that he is paid like a starter.

    With regard to LB's, I understand that you think anyone over 30 should be at a retirement home. I would note that Belichick has always taken a different view. Of our dozen linebackers, three are over 30. Bruschi is likely to be a role player in his last year; he had many fewer reps than Guyton during the last half of the season). We do indeed depend on Vrabel and Thomas, two of defensive leaders. You would replace them. I disagree.

     
  12. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    Agree on pass rush and Safeties. We have just one. James Sanders will be too much money for not enough talent and is a backup. Now Lewis Sanders I liked his transition to Safety. Jones or Phillips are and upgrade. Yes to either or Otogwe of the Rams who is 210lbs and had 85 tackles and 3 INT's to go with 6 FF.
    I don't like it but I have to admit what you say about the LB corps as well. Another inside and outside LB is needed.

    A safety or even two is a priority (one FA and one drafted). Other than Mayo in our system, Rookies on the defense hardly ever start right away unless there is no one else to go. A drafted safety helps us really only in 2010.
    DW Toys
     
  13. RayClay

    RayClay Pro Bowl Player

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    If you think we have big problems on the defensive line but the linebackers are fine you are insane, and I don't mean that personally.
     
  14. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Let me make sure I understand. You think that you will be able to replace Bruschi, Vrabel, Harrison, James Sanders, add a couple of corner to replace our draftees and do all this with upgrades, and of course NOT break the bank. ANd of cours AT better step up or he is gone. Please note that you have no respect for the quality of our veterans or our youngsters, except fot Mayo.

    Isn't amazing how the front office and coaches that has brought us this defense has had a top defense for every year for a decade?

    I guess I have found my anti-poster, the poster who I disagree with most.

    Yes, if we continue to do as we have, with same cap managemnt, and the same personnel strategies we will indeed have the status quo. I suggest that you read the threads discussing why the patriots are the best team of the decade, and why the patriot dynasty under Belichick is one of the best in the history of the NFL. What kept this team from this week's Super Bowl was Tom Brady's, nothing else.

     
  15. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    I love it when people get so mad when they read something they didn't expect to see. I tell it how it is. I used to be that Pats fan that thought "everything the Pats do, must be the right thing to do". Most people on this board may disagree, but I took my head out of my ass four years ago in thinking "everything the Pats do is the right thing to do". Since 2005 they haven't got it right. What I mean by that is, they have tried to bring in scrubs on defense and rely on the "system" to get them through the season when they have failed miserably. In fact, the Pats have only made the superbowl once in the last four years. I say this because the Pats should make it to the superbowl every year. The Patriots are a mirror image of the Yankees and the Bulls of the 90's, they should win the superbowl every season because they have the best team on paper. And your right, I don't have any respect for the young players. Why should I? They haven't shown us jack s***! As far as the veterans are concered, it's a business and it's time for them to move on. Vrabel can't play, Harrison can't play and Bruschi can't play. I said it before and I say it again, the Pats need to change their ways of personel if they ever want to see another superbowl trophy. They were moving in the right direction last offseason when they let go of Gay and Wilson but made a huge mistake of not re-signing Samuel. Signing scrubs is not going to get it done! If you want the Pats to continue to re-sign the same players and go after the same players, your going to get the same result which is no superbowl trophy. What won helped win the Giants the superbowl last year? An insane pass rush. The Pats do not have that with the players they have. And no, their are a lot of mid level free agents out there that the Pats can sign to fill some voids in the defense. Unless their a top draft choice, your draft should be competition for the vets, not the savior.
     
  16. Deus Irae

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

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    So, you've never actually watched football before?
     
  17. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    No, I haven't. Yet I know every player you guys are talking about. :rolleyes:
    Is that the best you can do?
     
  18. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    In order:
    1. Strong safety
    2. Outside linebacker
    3. Inside linebacker
    4. Defensive end
     
  19. DW Toys

    DW Toys In the Starting Line-Up

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    Add TE to that list and maybe, OG and #3 WR.
    on "O" and we got it nailed both sides.
    DW Toys
     
  20. jczxohn1

    jczxohn1 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with the necessity of keeping our DL together and that the LB corp is in place and just need time and experience. Some feel the below average secondary will be fine if the front 7 can bring pressure. The problem with this attitude is the read-and-react philosophy of the 2-gap system. The only time pressure is really likely is in obviuos passing situations. Play-action situations wind up with OLB's "chicken-fighting" their blockers until they diagnose the play. This defense is very dependent on a SS such as Rodney, who can run or pass blitz as well as cover TE's over the middle. Without an active SS to force the action it is much less efficient. We need to draft or pick up in FA his replacement. Merriweather is a FS, and will be a good one, but he's not going to be the answer at SS, IMO. The SS is the one who makes everyone better, as the Colt's Sanders was called "The Eraser" by Dungy.

    CB position will be OK if the SS position is filled adequately. Many think it was a mistake to let Samuels walk, but while he is a good CB, he just isn't "all that", IMO. If Champ Bailey and Ty in his prime were 10's, I'd put Samuels around 8. My point is both of those guys needed good safeties to play their best. Enough from me.
     
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