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Who will replace Willie?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brady#12, May 21, 2006.

  1. Brady#12

    Brady#12 On the Game Day Roster

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    Seems like we have 3 or 4 players on the roster right now capable of taking Willie McGinest's spot at LOLB. Who do you think will emerge as the starter next season?

    Here are the candidates:

    Tully Banta-Cain
    A former California Golden Bear, going into his fourth NFL season. Banta-Cain was selected in the seventh round of the 2003 draft, and was labeled a 'work-in-progress' by the Patriots' coaching staff. Since joining the team, Tully has been a regular contributor on special teams, and has logged an increasing amount of playing time with the regular defense, spelling both McGinest and Rosevelt Colvin, and in 5 and 6-linebacker sets that Bill Belichick occasionally runs in passing situations. Over the last two seasons, Tully has logged 37 total tackles, 2 sacks and an interception.

    Ryan Claridge
    The brother of former NFL guard Travis Claridge, who died earlier this year, Ryan Claridge was selected in the fifth round by the Patriots, out of UNLV in 2005. A dark horse pick, considered by many to hold more value than his draft position indicated, Claridge was known at UNLV for his leadership ability and his instincts. At 6'2", 259 pounds, Ryan has prototypical size for a 3-4 linebacker, and can play both inside and outside. However, it is difficult to know just how far along he is, because his rookie season was ended by a leg injury in training camp.

    Jeremy Mincey
    Ostensibly scouted by the Patriots on the same trip down to Florida in which they grew enamored with receiver Chad Jackson, Mincey is, like Banta-Cain, another former defensive end who is a project at linebacker in Belichick's 3-4 defense. Known as an aggressive pass rusher who didn't always have the speed to get to the quarterback during his time in Florida, Mincey's greatest asset is his hustle. It's hard not to like Mincey who, despite having limited speed and agility, is always making an effort to get to the ball carrier. It will serve him well in the NFL, where effort is at a premium, over natural talent. However, for the moment Mincey seems to be at a disadvantage in the race for a starting job, having never played linebacker, and thus needing to improve his skills as a stand-up edge rusher and in coverage before he can really contribute.

    Pierre Woods
    Pierre Woods was a highly-recruited prospect entering the University of Michigan, and was considered an early Day 2 pick on many draft boards. However, concerns about a possibly poor work ethic that resulted in him underachieving in college kept teams from drafting him at all. A lot of people were ecstatic to learn that the Patriots had signed Woods as an undrafted free agent because of the sheer upside he has. Woods' measurables are terrific. He's 6'5", 250 pounds and has posted 40 times in the high 4.6/low 4.7 range. At Michigan, he logged snaps at both linebacker and defensive end, and was considered a force as a pass rusher from both positions. However, despite his athletic talent, Woods is not known as being especially instinctive, needing to learn not to overpursue and bite on play fakes, as he was known to do in college. He must also add bulk in order to shed blockers at the pro level. His work ethic, as previously noted, was a concern that turned off many pro scouts, but so far he has earned praise for his effort at the Patriots' rookie minicamp, and seems to understand the shape-up-or-ship-out attitude of NFL coaches, particularly Bill Belichick. If Woods can show enough of an improvement to his game during camp, he will not only make the roster, but also challenge for a starting job.
     
  2. Keegs

    Keegs In the Starting Line-Up

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    my pops thinks TBC

    But i think Vrabel will be outside and Monty Beisel will start inside.

    Yeah i know, i hated him last year too.

    but he has to be better now.

    And with a solid D around him, he'll be much better with that 1 year of experience.

    How about I just get rid of the whole idea now: we are not trading for ray lewis.
     
  3. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I agree...if anything there will be a balance between ILB and OLB...to see which 4th LB can be inserted..Besel or another inside or TBC or another outside?? Frankly, I think Vrabel may go back outside, where he may be better suited for playing. He is one that is very versatile,
     
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  4. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Mike Vrabel. IMO the competition is for the 50% or so of the time we have a 4th LB before going to a nickel.
     
  5. SeanBruschi54

    SeanBruschi54 In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    You and Keegs are dead on. Unless someone becomes Willie McGinest's clone on the outside its going to be Mike Vrabel. The battle funny enough is on the inside next to Tedy. Then it could be either Beisel (strong candidate) or Claridge (if he really impresses). Even then there have been whispers of aquring Edwards if he was cut on June 1.
     
  6. borisman

    borisman On the Game Day Roster

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    What happened to Colvin? Is he being moved to safety?

    If Vrabel is moving to ILB then it's TBC, otherwise, all of the above will not start at OLB. I think Beisel will be given first chance to win the spot next to Bruschi. Also, if he fails and Claridge shows enough improvement, then he'll get a shot. The guy next to Bruschi won't have the pressure to be great, just as long as he knows where he has to be. Beisel was caught out of position a lot last year. If he improves in that area then he has enough good/great players around him for him to be succesful on the inside. He does need to gain some weight and get stronger.
     
  7. spacecrime

    spacecrime Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    COlvin is ROLB.
     
  8. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    #24 Jersey

    I think it will be Beisel inside along with Bruschi. Beisel really improved over the last 5 games of the season, and was pretty good in the Jags game.

    TBC will be the rotation guys, TBC outside and Claridge inside. I don't expect to see much of Mincey, Alexander or the UDFAs this year, though I figure 2 of the group should make the final 53 in ST roles.
     
  9. p8ryts

    p8ryts Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Leave Vrabel inside

    The defense came together at the end of the year for a lot reasons:

    Bruschi's return
    Seymour's return
    Artrell Hawkins stabiliziing the safety positions
    Ellis Hobbs stepping up

    but I think Vrabel inside on run downs was an important factor. He still plays outside on passing downs on the end on pass situations.

    We need Tully or someone else to hold the edge on running plays and Vrabel will take care of the outside on passing downs.

    People say Beisel played better at the end of the year, maybe but it wasn't apparent to me.

    I don't know why people give Claridge any credibility at all. We know nothing about him.

    We can only hope Mincey or Woods contribute enough to make the practice squad so they can learn the position.

    I guess BB doesn't like Donny Edwards but I would much rather see him inside rather than Beisel. Isn't Farrior available? What's the deal with him?
     
  10. bucky

    bucky 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    That is a very debatable figure. Even if it were true that the Pats spent only 50% of their snaps in a 34, it should still be noted that Willie, Colvin, Bruschi and Vrabel were on the field in almost every alignment the Pats were in last year. So the question is very legitimate, it just might need to be restated - who replaces Willie in the base 34 and who replaces him in the situational packages?

    In the base 34, I think Vrabel moves outside and Beisel starts inside. In nickel there are 2 options: 1)Vrabel stays in as DE and Rodney (or another safety) shifts inside to the LB position. Option number 2, Vrabel moves to ILB and the DE position is open competition between all the OLBs and DL. I think the Pats will be fine in the nickel. They should also be OK in the base with Beisel. The big question is what happens if any one of those LBs gets hurt for any prolonged number of games?
     
  11. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Donnie Edwards.
     
  12. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Well we talked about it before and the best guess from the smart guys (not me, that's for sure) was that we are in "pass defense allignments" around 50% of the time.

    Sure, we had McGinest as a pass rusher in those alignments but we could easily have a pass rusher like TBC or Jarvis Green in now. I'm not suggesting Green could move to OLB but he could play the pass rush role that McGinest played in nickel situations.
     
  13. Digger44

    Digger44 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Please tell me you are kidding. If Edwards starts the LOLB then Grammatica is at ROLB.
     
  14. Patjew

    Patjew PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    No Jersey Selected

    Vrabel moves back outside and Ray Lewis moves next to Tedy.

    Just kidding. Unfortunately.
     
  15. oldrover

    oldrover 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Who will replace Willie Mac?

    No one.

    Some one will play his position, or will play ILB if they move Vrabel back outside. But no one on the roster will replace what Willie Mac gave to the defense.

    That said, I am hopeful that TBC will play OLB well.
     
  16. PATRIOTS-80

    PATRIOTS-80 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    It all depends on where Vrabel plays. If he stays inside, it will be TBC. If Vrabel goes back outside, it's Beisel. Claridge and Mincey have yet to even to even see a special teams play in the NFL.

    In other words, right now BB has a competition in camp between Beisel and TBC. One will step and will dictate where Vrabel ends up playing.
     
  17. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Green will get lots more reps in passing situations. Banta-Cain will also get more reps.

    Personally, I would like to see more of Banta-Cain and Colvin as our OLB's, with Claridge as the backup. The inside would be set with Bruschi, Vrabel and Beisel.

    I like starting with the presumption that bb knew what we was doing in not drafting an OLB. i don't think that he was planning to create a weakness in the middle, counting on Biesel to start, and an unnamed player to be the backup. I too am counting on Beisel, as a backup.
     
  18. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I doubt BB knows how this will shake out. He likely has a plan A and plan B that he hopes is what happenes but until he see's these guys playing together and against angry competition, he really has no way to know. It's like saying he already knows who all 53 guys are that'll make the final roster now. I don't think he yet knows if Beisel's extra pounds will mnake him a better player or if Tully's learned to stop the run better. I lean to the new 4th LB being an inside guy so Vrabel can go back outside and when they go 5+ DB's it replace this new guy. It may be a vet to start and then maybe a new guy after a few games. But I doubt BB really knows yet. I'm sure he has a better idea than we do though, but the not by a lot.
     
  19. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Donnie at ILB, Vrabes back to OLB. Sorry, just saw the reply. And yeah I know he is smallish for ILB, but can get it done (ask anybody in SD - average of over 100 tackles a year).

    PFnV
     

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