Wilfork an Elite 3-4 Defensive Tackle. A Myth?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by maverick4, Jul 12, 2009.

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  1. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    Found by BradyManny:
    FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Football analysis and NFL stats for the Moneyball era - Authors of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

    When teams run against Seymour's side the Pats have the second best running defense. When they run at Wilfork the Pats are 14th in run defense.

    I grant that the weaker inside run D may also be related to Mayo still learning and Bruschi on the decline.

    Is it possible that Belichick selected Ron Brace not just for insurance or to develop as a backup, but rather to eventually fill what he sees as actually a weakness on the team? This off-season is like the 2002 off-season, in which Belichick didn't make the playoffs, had tons of time to self-analyze his own team, and then made major changes to address weaknesses he found at certain positions. I think tight end and cornerback are other positions, in addition to DT, in which he wasn't happy with what he saw on tape.
  2. PATRIOT64

    PATRIOT64 In the Starting Line-Up

    Wilfork is one of the top DTs in today's game,but hes not even had a season close to the production we had out of Teddy Wash in 2003 but then again Teddy was special to any team he went to.
  3. BradyManny

    BradyManny Pro Bowl Player

    I've used that link and also analysis from Joyner in recent months to show why I think Seymour is more valuable than Wilfork. Personally, I wasn't trying to knock Wilfork - into that 14th you have to factor in a) an aging Bruschi struggling to stack and shed b) a young Mayo learning to stack and shed. Though on film, it seems some analysts were noting Vince getting pushed back more last season than in prior years (injuries?).

    On the flip side, teams were 2nd when running in Big Sey's direction despite injuries at OLB, so I think its a credit to Seymour.

    Basically, I'd say Seymour is an elite player and Wilfork is a great player - and there's a big difference there. I don't want to knock Vince, I love him, so to sum it up: I think Seymour is hugely underrated on this board.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  4. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    They play as a team. Trying to use statistical analysis on a non statistical position, with more variables from play to play and seven people involved just in the run stopping aspect is beyond silly.

    Let Wilfork hint that he wants a trade and see how non valuable the rest of the 3-4 teams think he is.

    Statistics are only as worthwhile as the premise, control factor and possible biases.

    I would say believing the play of defensive linemen in a 3-4 can be quantified is the myth.
  5. jbb9s

    jbb9s In the Starting Line-Up

    I think Seymour gets a bad rap here because he had that really bad postseason where in 3 games he was basically invisible (I think he may have had zero pressures or something dreaded like that).

    On the other hand, the Patriots have basically been in the top 10 of rush defenses every year since Vince arrived (with the exception of last year).

    I know this is pretty selective data, but it is what comes to mind when I try to compare their effectiveness. Unfortunately for Seymour, he is way too expensive and with Vince coming up in Free agency, we'll see who BB likes better since it is hard to have 25 million locked up in 2 dlineman.
  6. How dare you talk about Wilfork like that? :rolleyes: For real though, I thought about the same thing about Wilfork being overrated. As I said in a previous thread, lets say Brace shows the Pats that he can be a decent starting NT. If that is the case, I can see the Pats letting Wilfork walk. I honestly believe that if Woods or Crable are average this season, you will see the Pats go after one of the big name premier pass rushers ala Ware, Merriman or Peppers. Also, if Brace shows he is capable of starting, the Pats will chose Seymour over Wilfork. I think the hype of having an "elite" NT in the NFL is a little overrated. Teams like Dallas, converted a DE (Ratliff) into their NT and he is doing just fine. In addition, they finished ahead of the Pats by a yard in run defense without having an "elite" NT. Another team that doesn't have an "elite" NT or D-line running a 3-4 is the 9ers. In fact, they finished one yard better than the Pats run defense, considering they have all no-namers on their D-line. What does that tell you about the Pats D-line? Not only do I think the drafting of Brace was for depth, but I think that Brace will be the Pats starting NT in 2010. In the end, I see the Pats passing on Wilfork, re-signing Seymour and going after a premier pass rusher.

    *update* I previously noted that the Pats would go after Merriman, Ware or Pepprs in 2010. However, I forgot that if there is no new deal with the CBA in place by 2010, Ware and Merriman will be restricted free agents. With that said, the Pats best bet will be to go after Peppers (who I think will be a Patriot in 2010).
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  7. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    I need to add this to the statisitics, I think they're missing something.

    Seymour had 8 sacks even though he was coming back from injury. Obviously he was being sent to rush more, because we had nothing from the LBs where the rush is supposed to come from.

    Knowing Seymour would rush more, they overplayed to his side. When there was a run, Sey was already half way into the backfield, with an overplay behind him.

    That's easily worth 1.2.:rolleyes:
  8. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    I agree it requires people behind them to make plays.

    But you don't think it says something about Seymour that the Pats have the 2nd best run D when teams try to run at him?

    One could go back to when Ted Washington was our NT and see how the Pats run D was up the middle.
  9. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    Seymour is a great player. Wilfork is a good to great young player at a position that is crucial to the 3-4 and very hard to fill. Those large and talented enough are often unwilling to sacrifice glory and put up with the punishment to get to be a top NT. Ted Washington is 40 and is picked up every year because most young tackles don't want the thankless job. Wilfork is as athletic as hell, to boot.

    We know Brace has the low center of gravity, but he sure doesn't have Wilfork's athleticism. Brace also played alongside a big athletic tackle mucher higher rated than him. There's a world of difference in picking up what's left over playing next to the #9 pick and taking on double and triple teams all day at NT.

    Be thankful for what we have, which is the best young 3 man line in football. contract issues will sort themselves out, but statistics are meaningless at this position, you just need to watch the games.
  10. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    Ted Washington was 400 lbs. He was a wall and a talented guy. wilfork has it all over him as far as athleticism goes.

    Our linebacking corps is old or unproven free agents and a former rookie. The linemen aren't responsible for tackling.

    Y'all are looking for problems in our area of strength. Tom Brady and all starting linemen are the strength of the team. They've kept us in games when the rest of the defense was pretty poor imo.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  11. slash83

    slash83 In the Starting Line-Up

    #12 Jersey

    I dont care if the Pats were 14th best vs the run when teams ran right at wilfork. Go ask one of the best centers in mangold who he think the best nt in the game is. Not trying to knock bruschi cause I love the guy but he is a shell of his former self.

    Bottom line is if Vince is gonna get blamed for that stat than its only fair to blame Bruschi and yes even Mayo, Vince cant take on multiple blockers and still tackle the RB, well not all the time.
  12. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    I've believed this for quite some time, and I think you pretty much wrap it up when you claim that Seymour is an elite player, and Wilfork is a great player.

    I know and agree that the statistical analysis can vary somewhat, but it's still a good stat to some degree. It still shows Seymour's strengths once again, and for the life of me I cannot tell why a lot don't care for him too much.

    When looking at the potential cost/financial aspects of keeping either player, I feel that Seymour can be locked up for about 10% more--while Wilfork is going to take a lot more of an increase to keep (100% or more). Obviously, that's what will happen when one is coming off a rookie pact etc, and it is somewhat of a misguided perecentage, I know. But it's one way to look at the potential choice between the 2 in regards to how much of an increase you'll need. All I'm saying is that I'm not so sure the choice is as black and white as most will feel, and it'll be interesting to see who if either, Belichick chooses.

    I recently saw on the homepage, or one of Reiss' blogs that more than 3/4 wanted to keep Wilfork rather than Seymour--that is completely ridiculous, and I'm not sure everyone has the correct priority. Then again, it could've been early in the voting etc, and that stat could be a little changed from when I saw it. Bottom line, put me in the column of rather keeping Big Sey any day, as I think it'd be easier (or at least less dropoff) than keeping Wilfork.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  13. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    It will be interesting to see how the front office looks at this issue and what they do...do not do..
  14. farn

    farn In the Starting Line-Up

    It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes down. Washington was very, very good for us... but let's not forget the LBs he had behind him - basically the best group NE's ever assembled. They had reserves who could start on this year's squad.

    Hopefully, when it comes down to it - all 3 will play hard, be solid, and BB will make the best decision as to who stays and who moves on.
  15. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    I would argue that Ted Washington, at near retirement, was still a much better run stuffer than Wilfork. I'm not sure how much the athleticism argument is worth bringing in when discussing 3-4 DT, when Wilfork doesn't get sacks and it looks like the athleticism isn't helping to create an elite inside run defense.
  16. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #37 Jersey

    I know this is a boring response, but I don't have the skills to recognize who means more to the line and I don't trust individual statistics in a two-gap D. The answer will come at the end of the season when we see who's still with the team and for how much.

    One thing to factor in, though, is Wilfork's durability, but again, it's hard to tell if that's because of his enormous build, or if it's luck. I can't blame Seymour's build for that arm injury he suffered when Harrison ran into him.
  17. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave In the Starting Line-Up

    i think that it's very hard to judge a 3-4 d-line based on stats of ANY kind.
    There are a lot of factors that don't come out in stats.
    We've all gone round and round about sack numbers by our lineman.
    Regardless, I'm not dure how much I would factor in the Brace selection in regards to BB's feelings on Wilfork.
    Maybe he's a solid backup. Maybe more 4-3 this year. Who knows.
    I will say this - If Wilfork is not an elite 3-4 DT, than nobody is.
  18. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    Based on what if you don't trust defensive stats? Your eyes?

    I'm starting to think that Wilfork, in a way like Watson, is benefiting from being a 1st round pick, where people assume he's got the skills. I think he's been getting more of a free pass than Watson as well because when he was picked at #21 everyone said it was a steal. However, just like Watson, Belichick has taken steps this off-season to bring in new blood at the TE and DT position.
  19. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    If 2010 is uncapped, and the Pats do as well as we expect, they won't be able to sign Peppers as a UFA, period, unless someone leaves and signs an even bigger contract than the one they would give Peppers.
  20. PatsFaninME

    PatsFaninME Practice Squad Player

    Thank God we don' have a coach that evaluates players like you boneheads. The only thing that really matters is if the player, any player, performs to a high level at what he is asked to do. For example, you can't look at sack totals for a guy who is asked to fill gaps.

    I think the other thing that is overooked is that opponents approach a defense by exposing their weaknesses. I read talk of 9ers run be being ranked higher. But perhpas 9ers run defense is ranked high because ther pass D was so wea that opponents felt that was way to expose them.
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