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Where is Cunningham in terms of being the answer...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Dec 18, 2010.

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  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    I don't know as much about X's and O's as a lot of guys on here, but in general I notice a trend. Usually, if a guy is good coming out of the draft, you can tell that he's going to be good. If a guy does not play much at all, he is usually going to be a bust. And sometimes you get guys that are really hard to tell. In the case of Cunningham, I don't think there's any dispute that he is in-between decent and great (great being McCourty, very good being Spikes), but I'm wondering what everyone thinks about his long-term prospects. I mean, his position is extremely valuable, as he has a huge responsibility to pressure the QB. Granted, I think an upgrade on the defensive line is also very important to the pass rush. I look at Cunningham and he has just one sack but seems to be pressuring the quarterback pretty well.

    So, what do you think of him long-term? It is early, but supposing you are the GM of the team, how big a need is it to draft a stud pass rusher in the first round. I think it's obvious that, while the Pats are doing well right now, developing this position could play a huge role in their success for the next few years, and we certainly cannot afford another Crable-type of situation. Obviously the draft is based on value and depth as much as need, but hypothetically speaking, have you seen enough potential from Cunningham yet?

    I'd like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  2. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Way too soon to tell if he's got Vrable/Willie potential. Anyone who definitively says otherwise is smokin. Good that he gets mucho reps but tempering that with our lack of talent at OLB pass rushing, who knows? I'm optimistic. Year two should give us much better data.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  3. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think he has the potential to be very good, he has a none stop motor, and seems to get pressure on the QB quite often. But i would still go after a stud OLB and DE in next years draft.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  4. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    He is doing very well for someone who's had to transition from a 4-3 1 gap DE in college, to a 3-4 2 gap OLB in our system. He's quickly picked up on the concept of shedding blocks which I think is key to performing well in our system. He's gotten quite a number of key pressures (e.g., causing Manning's 4th quarter interception).

    I would keep my eyes on him in the 2nd year which is when a player will make significant progress. Right now he's acquiring the bag of tricks you need to have to survive at the pro level (rather than getting by on talent in college).
  5. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 Rookie

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    I read something Belichick mentioned a while back where pressure was more indicative of a pass rusher's performance than sacks. Unfortunately, I have not been able to watch every Patriots game, but Cunningham has been steady from my point of view in the few games I have caught. He seems to hold up decently against the run and has applied pretty good pressure on the opposing quarterback. Granted, I am not an expert in Xs and Os, but to my untrained eye, he has been solid overall at best and unspectacular at worst.
  6. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I've been very impressed with him so far. You mentioned the pass rush pressure, but that's not his sole responsibility. He's been our best OLB at setting the edge in the run game, and has made a big difference there.

    And considering he's learning a new position/system, I've been amazed at how quickly he's adapted and picked things up, especially when you consider how much time he missed in TC because of an injury.

    Still way too early to know what he'll be, but the potential is definitely there.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  7. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Thanks for the input as always, psycho. I like your breakdowns.

    One star for this post? Seriously??
  8. JerseyDevil26

    JerseyDevil26 Rookie

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    Well said. His transition is quite comprehensive into our scheme and I do also believe next year he will show that he's a top OLB in the league. It does seem at times like you don't notice he's on the field, but again for a rookie I think he's doing exactly what BB has asked him to do.
  9. PatsWickedPissah

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    Ignore the idiot
  10. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, his first year is way more impressive than Pat Chung's or Brandon Merriwether's. He seems to be a development project right now more than anything. I think he has the potential to be very effective, but right now he's not dominating any games.

    As Patspsycho noted earlier, he is transitioning from a different D-system (but so is Spikes who seems more comfortable in his role from the get-go - - note though it's a different position).
  11. reflexblue

    reflexblue PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good point, i agree. Both BM and Chung improved greatly their second year, especially Chung. So i expect Cunningham to make just as big a jump next season.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  12. PatriotsInGA

    PatriotsInGA Rookie

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    It seems like every time I watch for Cunningham during a running play, he is constantly filling the gaps. In a passing play, he is drawing one, sometimes two linemen.
  13. ALP

    ALP Rookie

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    interesting, who year would clal him our best edge setter for run support? ive heard conflicting reports about this, and seems a lot of ppl see this differently, IS he our best edge setter?
  14. jays52

    jays52 Rookie

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    Without question.
  15. skspikex2

    skspikex2 Rookie

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    Wasn't Cunningham miss all of preseason plus some games?
    I wait till next year when he get even more reps to see if he's the OLB we're looking for.
  16. TheGreatestEVER

    TheGreatestEVER Rookie

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    Yeh, even though Spikes is more comfortable, Cunningham missed alot of time in Training Camp, and i think i heard somewhere that OLB in the Patriots D, is much more difficult to play than other 3-4 D's
  17. Sciz

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    Great pick. His sacks stat doesn't show it, but I think he's going to be a very dangerous pass-rusher in near future. He's been very close quite a few times (including one extremely obvious facemasking call that he should have gotten), and those near-sacks are going to turn into sacks in a year or two.
  18. BelizePats

    BelizePats Rookie

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    This is a great question and a welcome change from the Mediots/Jets rabble that has been filling this space lately.
    There is no doubt that Cunningham has the physical tool to be a very good player in this league for a long time. What he lacks is technique and the "bag of tricks" that another poster mentioned earlier in this thread. Right now he is getting by on his physical skills and not much else, which may explain why he has been just a little late on many plays. A little better technique and skill set (read experience) and this guy will be making a lot more plays. Year 2 and 3 will be a lot of fun to watch in terms of Cunningham's development.
  19. Brarrell

    Brarrell Rookie

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    The Pats will have 3 picks in the top 33 players I expect one of if not two of these players to be either a DE or OLB that can rush the passer which will make Cunningham even a better player.
  20. robertweathers

    robertweathers Rookie

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    Hes been fine. The simple fact that he is playing regularly, has done well vs the run and has applied some good pressure in key moments (see his tap on Peyton's elbow which led to Sanders' INT) has been just fine for a rook.

    Barring injury, the kid should continue to develop and be at worst a very solid player for years to come.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
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