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Wilhite over Wheatley ... Guyton over Crable

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by tart, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. tart

    tart Rookie

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    I know that Guyton is a superior special-teams player, but it would seem to me like if they intended to use this new package on defense, with 4 LB's and 6 DB's, Crable would get the activation nod due to his superior defense. Perhaps Martz just caught them off-guard and they countered with the speed package and didn't intend to use Guyton on defense... but... if that is not the case, why did Guyton get the nod over Crable? Guyton did have the fastest 40 of LB's at the combine, so it would make sense that they would use him on the speed package. But even so... I don't think having just a faster 40 time would be enough to give him the nod, if he sucked at everything else. Obviously he has been close enough(or superior) to Crable in every area, that his speed was enough to bump him over Crable. Special-teams also can't explain Wilhite playing CB over Wheatley when both were active.

    I'm not sure what to think. I'm not sure if we just made a great 4th round pick and UDFA pick-up, that have played above expectations, or that Wheatley and Crable aren't playing(well... practicing) up to expectations. Thoughts?
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  2. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    The real question is Guyton over Mayo.

    Based on that, my guess is that they just practiced a particular package with certain young guys, while other guys were working more on all the other packages.

    These are the first snaps all season I know of that Mayo missed. I.e., Guyton over Mayo in the package says little about their relative roles.

    Maybe Wilhite over Wheatley says no more than Guyton over Mayo?
  3. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    I think they're doing now what they did in 2005 and 2006, which is get everybody the playing time they need for seasoning early on the schedule to see how the late season depth chart will shake out.

    I remember they were bringing in James Sanders his rookie year in specific blitz packages to take over for weekly-street-FA-strong-safety so Mangini could yell at them sequentially on the sidelines. Then he hurt his ankle or something in the Falcons game.
  4. tart

    tart Rookie

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    You raise a great point Fencer. My only thought on that, for as amazing as Mayo has been, his coverage has been rather disappointing. PFW actually wrote about this:

    "The Dolphins have exposed weaknesses in the coverage ability of the Patriots’ linebackers. Word out of Foxborough is that as instinctive as they are, the ’backers have difficulty playing the pass if they’re reading run first. The most athletic linebacker they have, rookie ILB Jerod Mayo, has been caught out of position too often, even though he’s racked up a lot of tackles."

    I may be wrong, but from what I saw it seemed like Guyton ended up in coverage alot, which may explain why he got the nod over Mayo in that package. I guess they just haven't liked what they've seen from Crable in the coverage department either. Disappointing, because I had high hopes for his coverage skills after that INT :)

    ---

    Unoriginal, I would agree if Wheatley and Crable weren't also rookies that also need seasoning and playing time. If Wheatley had playing time, and then they made this move, it would make sense, but I think its jumping the gun abit to give someone below him on the depth-chart to get playing time, when the person above him doesn't have playing time either. I also don't think they'd be giving someone playing time for the sake of playing time in such a close game. For whatever reason, they thought Wilhite gave them the best chance to win in that situation and that game.
  5. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    You can only activate so many players. The players they do activate, like you said, are the ones who give them the best chance to win the game, but they're getting the rookies more involved in certain circumstances.
  6. tart

    tart Rookie

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    Wheatley was active ... and still didn't play DB over Wilhite.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  7. Bertil

    Bertil Rookie

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    I think that, next year Vrabel moves inside to the Tedy spot, relegating Bruschi to spot duty (ala Ted Johnson). Crable sees more time outside with Pierre, AD and perhaps a rookie. A LB Corps of Mayo, Guyton, Vrabel and Tedy rotating inside with AD, Woods Crable sounds like a strong blend of youth, speed and intelligent experience. The DL will remain strong. I just see the Pats needing a stud Safety or CB to solidify the DBs and make this D potentially the best point prevention D in the NFL.
  8. Rob0729

    Rob0729 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Crable and Guyton play two different positions. It isn't like if Guyton wasn't on the team that Crable would get reps at ILB. Both Vrabel and Thomas are more able to play every down than Bruschi is. The Pats also have a veterany at OLB as a back up more able to come in and play (Wood) than they have at ILB (the best they have is Alexander).
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  9. tart

    tart Rookie

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    Good point Rob, I guess I was thinking specifically in terms of that package, your traditional positioning isn't really as important, they were all playing sort of hybrid ILB/OLB/D-line roles, so Crable could've played over Guyton, in that package, but I'm sure thats not the only thing they were considering. The ILB depth for the normal packages definitely came into play when determining activations, so I can definitely see the reasoning for that move now. But that still doesn't explain Wilhite over Wheatley.
  10. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Crable hasn't exactly shown anything on the field ... full stop. In particular, he hasn't show anything that would put him on the outside ahead of Vrabel.

    Also, while Vrabel could become somebody who take some snaps inside and some snaps outside in the same game plan, so could AD.

    I'm not sure that my guesses are the same as yours in this.
  11. satz

    satz Rookie

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    I have no idea how you are saying this as fact and basing your whole thread on this.could go back explain why crabel is superior in defence.

    also ,vrabel has a very avg year inside and got 12 sacks last year and 2 playing the OLB position.so i am confused with the whole lets move him so he can be avg player again.I always thought the coach job is to put his players in the best position to make plays and obviously i am wrong.

    Woods is about 20lbs smaller than vrabel. vrabel and AD gives us 2 guys who play defensive end and lineup against tackles and too big for TE to block woods and crabel are smaller which means the tackle /TE wil have a easier time moving them off the LOS for running plays.

    Again , why would you lighten up on your edge setters ?. Is this something to do with lighter faster and cannot stop the run approach?.

    bru backup now is guyton and i am sure crabel being the 4th in the depth chart will help him.In the goal line stand woods was in their lining up against the TE in coverage or blocking as he is lighter a bit faster.
  12. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Guyton plays SILB, which is thin on the depth chart, he is #2 on that depth chart. (A "retired" Junior Seau is #3). Crable plays either OLB position, but which is strong given that AD and Vrabel almost play every snap and Woods has established himself as a good backup.

    As for Wheatley v Wilhite, I'm guessing it has more to do with what position they have been practicing thus far. Wheatley was playing an outside corner position all through camp, when Hobbs left due to injury in the 4th quarter, he came in to play that position. When Wilhite left due to injury, Wheatley looked lost when he was then forced him to defend the slot. Wilhite on the other hand was part of the dime package by design, likely has spent much more time defending the slot in practice.

    I don't think the lack of PT reflects poorly on Wheatley or Crable.
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  13. JDSal45

    JDSal45 Rookie

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    Guyton and Crable don't play the same position. Crable plays outside, Guyton inside. Not to mention I would think Guyton would be the better coverage guy and Crable a better rusher, but they wanted coverage.

    Apples and oranges.

    J D Sal
  14. Lloyd_Christmas

    Lloyd_Christmas I can delete my own crap! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is the best explanation I have read so far. Thanks.
  15. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    I was going to post almost exactly what you explained above. Since you've taken care of that, I'll go in a little different direction. As another poster noted, Crable/Guyton is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Wheatly and Wilhite may not be so easy to dismiss.

    When Wheatley was drafted, I was fairly confident he would get time as a slot corner...essentially taking over Gay's snaps. His skill set seemed ideally suited to do exactly that (excellent hip turn, great short-area quickness, solid footwork). Drafting Wilhite was a mystery to me except he seemed to be a gamer that has had to fight hard to get where he is today. So why did Wilhite start down the learning path of a slot corner while Wheatley stayed outside? Particularly when defending the middle of the field was such a problem area in 2007?

    A perfectly logical explanation is that outside corners are much more valuable and take longer to become productive...especially in a Pats system where the front 7 and DBs must be in sync. Wheatley is being groomed for bigger things in the future. Wilhite is filling a current need area and his attitude/aptitude have gotten him on the field. Sounds reasonable to me but it still leaves me wondering if there is something more.

    Until Wheatley gets more time, I'm left with a nagging feeling that he isn't "getting it". While his skills should be enough to get him on the field in a variety of roles (outside, slot, zone, man), that doesn't seem to be happening. I hope that is because of a long-term view of Wheatley's role and not a mental/physical hole in Wheatley's game that will inhibit his development.
  16. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    Well said - you said it better than I could.

    I'm not sure if I share the same concerns about Wheatley yet. My line of thinking is: The team dropped Fernando Bryant without knowing that they could reach an agreement with Deltha O'Neal (they were both cut on final cutdowns). This would've put Wheatley in line for some considerable PT. Now, I know the team may have been frustrated with Bryant's performance, they must've been - but it's also likely they had some level of confidence in Wheatley in order to take the risk of dropping Bryant. Granted, that's complete conjecture, but I'm going with it for now.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  17. drew4008

    drew4008 Rookie

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    Or it could be way less complicated than all of you are making it seem. Guyton and Wilhite are just more prepared, have learned the system faster, and have progressed further than their positional counterparts, which is why they got the playing time. It wouldn't be the first time a lower draft pick has outperformed a higher one.
  18. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    my 2 cents

    GUYTON
    I don't know that he has been a great special teamer. However, he certainly has been a solid member of the unit. He has been better in coverage than Mayo or Bruschi. I think it awesome that Guyton has been able to contribute at ILB, where many have failed in the past. The bottom line is that Guyton is a solid contributer on defense and special teams. That's pretty good for an UDFA.

    CRABLE
    Who says he is ready able to be counted on in any capacity? We've seen little evidence. Crable certainly could have been activated for the last game. Also, his competition is Woods not Guyton. I am NOT concerned after four games. Some players take longer to develop, many at least one full season. The bottom line is that as a whole, we've done fine with the youngsters at LB. Mayo is a strong starter. Woods has stepped up. Guyton is contributing. Three young contributers is fine in one defensive unit. We can certainly afford one developmental LB.

    WILHITE
    Apparently, Wilhite is getting IT as a dime back and as a special teamer. Who knows what his future will be, but he is a solid competitor after 4 games.

    WHEATLEY
    Who says he is ready able to be counted on in any capacity? We've seen little evidence. Well, we've seen a little bit of evidence. He has played and been activated instead of Richardson or Spann. Both are on the Practice Squad and could have been moved to the 53 (at Price's expense) and played instead of Wheatley. I'm not concerned with Wheatley not being a solid contributor after four games. This is NOT essential because O'Neal is doing fine, as is Wilhite. And hopefully Lew Sanders will be back soon. When Sanders is healthy, I expect Wheatley to be inactive again. He is our #5 corner, behind Sanders on the outside and behind Wilhite (and probably Meriweather) in the slot.
  19. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    Wheatley did play a lot of man/press coverage in college and is probably not showing in practice that he has mastered his responsibilities in the Pats zone defense.
    There are two elements that Wheatley experiences in Foxboro, that he probably has not had much exposure to in college. 1.) the zone and area responsibilities and 2.) communication. The Pats have a lot of hand signals and coverage changes/shifts at the LOS and Wheatley is probably stuck in the thinking instead of reacting phase due to his inexperience in a soft zone defense.
  20. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    ??? Guyton and Crable don't play the same position. Guyton is ILB and Crable is OLB. Just because Thomas and Vrabel can play both does not mean everyone can. You never saw Colvin playing ILB and you aren;t likely to see Crable playing ILB, either.

    Guyton is active because he is the third ILB, and is needed in the rotation.

    Crable is not active because he is the fourth OLB, and is playing behind Thomas, Vrabel and Woods. When one of them gets hurt and is inactive, then you will see Crable activated.

    Willhite was likely active because they wanted an additional slot guy instead of an additional outside guy.
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