Welcome to PatsFans.com

Why this may be the year to take a Linebacker early

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Ochmed Jones, Jan 16, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,788
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ratings:
    +30 / 2 / -1

    #12 Jersey

    Thanks to NFL network I have had the luxury of watching several of the Pats games for a second and sometimes third time and in the words of Stan or Klye, "I've learned something today"

    For the first half or so of the year, we ran our normal defense. Coverage in the back eight was designed to look one way and then morphed into something different when the ball was snapped. It was difficult for opposing QBs to figure out where the double team was coming from.
    Then Colvin got hurt and Thomas goes to the outside and Junior steps in full time on the inside.
    At that point, the defense becomes very vanilla. I lot of the exotic sedondary looks disappear and we start playing teams straight up. Now we have 3 sometimes 4 rushers and the rest of the defense playing very soft zone. Opposing teams start to figure this out. Routes are adjusted to a.) hit the weak underneath spots in the zone and B.) test the deeper levels with longer routes. Opposing QBs growing less fearful of a blitz off the edge or up the gut are holding the ball a little longer. Suddenly opposing QBs are putting up good to great numbers against us and our pass rush is MIA. Even chicken little himslef Eli Manning looks like a stud hurling the ball down our throats.

    In the Jacksonville game, it looks like BB tried to go back to the exotic defense scheme and unfortunately for BB, the combination of Gay, Junior and Thomas missed the memo because in the first half of that game, we had slow footed Jacksonville WRs running wide open through tons of busted coverage plays. The Jacksonville QB looks like the second coming of Dan Marino.
    So in the second half of the game we go back to the vanilla defense, but then we blitz off of it to try and break the QB's rythem and we catch a break or two when the Jacksonville Wrs drop a couple of balls they should have caught.

    What does all this mean? I think when Colvin went down, it moved Thomas into a position he was not and still remains uncomfortable in. I think Thomas is struggling to adjust to the fact that we play a different defense every week. This has had a ripple affect through the entire defense and affected what types of schemes we can and can not run.

    Botom Line: BB has to create more base defense depth at LB for next season. Calling 38 year old men out of retirement is not the answer. To that end, he must have 3 reliable players for the base defense, not ST, for both the inside and outside. Now whether he does it through FA or through the draft remains to be seen, but at this point I would not be surprised to see us take an OLB in the first round (C Long or Gholston are the only ones I see as potential fits) as well as coming back late day 1 or early day 2 and taking an inside guy.

    Is this the year BB does what we have all been wanting him to do for the past 3 years? I think it is.
     
  2. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,661
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ratings:
    +25 / 3 / -0

    D. Harvey may be a dark horse. He could skyrocket if he shows elite athleticism at the combine.
     
  3. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,043
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    If you think Thomas s struggling to adjust, what do you think would happen to a rookie? I agree with everything you said about playing LB on the Pats, but drafting an athletic freak won't solve it. To fit in the scheme the player has to be NFL smart, which pigeon holes the LB position mainly to players with experience. I would bet this year in FA we'll attempt to sign another LB castoff and hope they can bloom into a Vrabel and not a Biesel.
     
  4. mcbee

    mcbee Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,078
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Yes exactly. Or draft a player with what they think is 'smarts'. Although they would not likely be drafted really high.
     
  5. dryheat44

    dryheat44 Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Messages:
    6,369
    Likes Received:
    33
    Ratings:
    +78 / 2 / -0

    #75 Jersey

    It would help if some more colleges played 3-4. Why can't Groh get any studs in there that aren't character risks?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  6. chowder

    chowder On the Game Day Roster

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    My concern is that i'm not sure a DE/OLB conversion project is worth #7. Long is probably gone anyways by our pick and I'm not sold on Gholston after seeing his unimpressive NC game performance. Other top LBs like Connor either are too small or don't seem to fit our system or aren't worth the #7 money either...
     
  7. ayjackson

    ayjackson Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,232
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    Any thoughts on taking Keith Rivers at ILB (trade down a bit)? Here's what Scouts Inc had to say:

     
  8. chowder

    chowder On the Game Day Roster

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    I thought Rivers was mostly an OLB. Not sure if he is big enough to play ILB in our system but he certainly seems talented. And even if reports say that he has size potential, do you want to spend a first rounder on potential to bulk up? I think you can take a chance on later rounds on a smaller talented player who has potential to grow, or a DE/OLB conversion project but if you are taking an ILB or OLB in the first round and paying first round money, I would want them to be ready to play from the start in terms of size and speed, fitting our scheme, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  9. BradyToMoss

    BradyToMoss Guest

    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Keep in mind, we can stay flexible and move outside pieces, back inside (aka Vrabel or AT). If we're sitting there at #7 staring at Gholston, then grab him and move one of the prior 2 inside. With Jenkins staying put, I'm not sure that 7th pick has the value unless it's Gholston. I wouldn't judge Gholston on the LSU game, look at the full body of work. You know LSU game planned around him. Like Pony Express has said time and again, get the combine numbers, interview the crap out of him, as BB will to see if he could morph into his system. BB will know right away, if he feels like the kid is dumb as a piece of granite and wouldn't get it, he'll move on and trade the pick.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2008
  10. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    5,047
    Likes Received:
    23
    Ratings:
    +45 / 11 / -4

    #54 Jersey

    The LBs will get an overhaul but it won't be as dramatic as we may expect.

    OLB - Colvin, Woods
    ILB - Thomas, Alexander
    ILB - VETERAN, ROOKIE
    OLB - Vrabel, ROOKIE

    Plus a special teamer (it may be Izzo, I am not in his fan club but he has played well this year)

    Some veterans to keep our eye on are Chillar (Rams), Clark (Texans), Smith (may be cut by San Fran), Crowder (Phins, may be able to opt out of his contract), Hobson (Jets, over rated but at least knows scheme), Mitchell (Giants)

    My pick - Of the bunch Crowder is the jewel (I left off Dansby as he is likely to get franchised and wants a whole lot of cash).

    Rookie ILB -Not the strongest year, 09 looks good with Laurintis, Megs and Brinkley. I stepped out of the box with this one in an attempt to get more speed on the field on 3rd downs, I like Gooden (Miami - final 3rd round pick), Wheeler (GT, 4th round pick) to play the role of a small speedy LB, 3rd down specialist and special teams. For the more conservative Larson (Arizona - 4th round).

    End up with something like:
    OLB - Colvin, Woods
    ILB - Thomas, Alexander, Izzo
    ILB - Crowder, Gooden
    OLB - Vrabel, Crable (Vrabel and Crable, it rhymes...)
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  11. PonyExpress

    PonyExpress In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,661
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ratings:
    +25 / 3 / -0

    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  12. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    5,047
    Likes Received:
    23
    Ratings:
    +45 / 11 / -4

    #54 Jersey

    I heard a rumor he can opt out, until I see prove I am going to believe unsubstantiated Internet rumors. BB likes the kid and has inside scouting from Saban.

    http://www.thephinsider.com/story/2008/1/2/0558/07499

    'Then you have to look at Channing Crowder. Now, Crowder can choose to opt out of his rookie contract or decide to stay in Miami and finish up his rookie deal. It ends after the 2008 season. I think it would be wise, despite his recent injury, to lock him up long-term as soon as possible. I like what I've seen from Crowder this year. He started out slow but really came on before his ankle and knee injuries. Losing Crowder would not be good, especially when you consider that the futures of both Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas are both very much in limbo.'
     
  13. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    3,744
    Likes Received:
    36
    Ratings:
    +95 / 9 / -3


    I think we'll take 2 in the first 4 rounds. One in the 1st or 2nd. And, another at the end of round 3 or 4. Honestly, what do we need on offense? Just sign Moss. And, if we don't pick up Stallworth's bonus, use savings to sign Gaffney. We do have S.Morris,D.Thomas and C.Jackson healthy coming into next season. I'd love to pick up 2 cb's, 2 lb's and a ng. Mght be possible to do all 5. Especially, if we can trade out of 7.
     
  14. jeffbiologist

    jeffbiologist Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,434
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0 / -0

    I think we have to get more athletic and faster(Thomas can play but he doesnt have the burst) on the outside next year for sure. I think it has really taken a while for Thomas to catch on, but he will improve. We never really replaced Willie as a designated pass rusher, and we covered for that with our linebacker depth. Now we are getting to a pinch, I dont think its a good idea to try and replace more than 1 linebacker a year in our system. That said, Bruschi, Seau and Colvin(if he doesnt restructure) are on the bubble, figuring on losing 1 and getting Colvin to deal will leave us looking for 1 starter and 1 backup. BB will know if any of the guys out there will fit better than Woods/Alexander, but look for a smart veteran to come in for a ring at a discount(Z.Thomas?) or a draft day trade for an established player. The last few drafts we have got not only Moss and Welker, but Dillon, cb from AZ(forgot his name), and they kind of worked out. Bottom line is that I dont think our drafting has gone as expected so these veterans look that much better.J
     
  15. mesoslo

    mesoslo Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    662
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    early linebacker or trade for a gamebreaker player like Urlacher, Reed, Plaxico Buress.
     
  16. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,788
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ratings:
    +30 / 2 / -1

    #12 Jersey

    I do not think a rookie can come in and start at either inside or outside LB for the Pats, but I do think a rookie can come in and be the #3 guy either inside or outside and get a limited number of snaps in the base defense in year #1 and grow from there.

    I think C Long is the best fit on the outside. He has played in the 3-4 and his pedigre suggests he knows the game the best.

    On the inside I do think that intelligence is required. To that end, if there is one player in this draft capable of being the fastest to pick up the calls, line up the defense and read the offense, it is Goff of Vandy.

    Regardless however, I think we are at a point now where the reliance on veterans without any real depth is hurting what defenses we can run on the field and that has to get fixed this offseason.
     
  17. Maroney TD

    Maroney TD On the Game Day Roster

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Um okay, but none of those players are being traded.
     
  18. sebman2112

    sebman2112 In the Starting Line-Up

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    4,535
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Agreed. Goff not only has the physical ability needed, but the intellect to be a good LB within NE's system.

    Scratch that, Jon would be very good in NE's system.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hV2DBTEP4kw#

    Oh, and he's from Mass.

    responding to some other post:

    I'm not sure about NE picking 2 LB's within the first four rounds. I think their more likely to pick two CB's, or two DB's (one CB and one Safety). I'm hoping they select a LB in this draft though. Right now it seems like Victor Hobson, and some other LB's could be options in free agency, so we'll have to wait and see. You never know, after free agency LB could seem like one of their major strengths going forward...
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2008
  19. chunkypony

    chunkypony Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2004
    Messages:
    1,113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    what the hell would we need Plaxico Burress for?

    Is this a joke?
     
  20. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    5,788
    Likes Received:
    17
    Ratings:
    +30 / 2 / -1

    #12 Jersey

    I just watched that youtube video and Gofff likes to hit up real high. I'm not sure that will work in the pros, but he appearred to have a knack for finding the ball even when the DL was pushed back off the LOS.

    If Goff runs under 4.7, BB needs to jump on this guy big time.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>