7 Players - Same Similar Situation

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Armchair Quarterback

In the Starting Line-Up
The way I see it:

CB: McCourty, Arrington. Dowling, Dennard, Moore
S: Chung, Wilson, Gregory, Allen

Ebner, Williams, Ihedigbo, Cole - battling for maybe one ST spot

Barrett, Ventrone, Brown - not on 53
 

Ring 6

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fair enough

You're correct. I widened the competition to all those competing for the final 3 roster spots. In a sense there are as many as 6, but we are pretty set on some.

2 QB
4 RB
5 WR (including Slater)
3 TE
8 OL

6 DL
8 LB
8 DB

3 SPEC

6 TBD

BTW, I think that Solder was the 3rd TE position in 2011.

Yup, those are minimums. It helps if you look at it that way, and throw everyone else into the 6.
In the end the LB who can cover kicks, but wont play may beat out the OG who is a better player, but not needed because the 8 OL are versatile enough that the 9th is dispensible for example.
 

patfanken

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1) If we have 4 position corners and four position safeties, I don't think that we need a hybrid CB/S. We need a STer. I think that this player is likely to be an emergency corner, since I don't see a lot of our safeties playing corner. The 9th position could also be used for a developmental player.

2) Dennard should have a shot at 4th corner or 9th db positions.

3) I would not be at all shocked to see us keep 10. For example, if Cole cannot win one of the 9 positions, he could make the squad as a gunner.
MG, I think I wasn't clear on what I meant by a CB/S hybrid. My guess is that BB is looking for more coverage skills out of his "safeties". I believe he sees defenses evolving to meet the great threat of the NFL passing game and the skill set line between safeties and CB's is blurring. Thus I think what BB is looking for in his DB's this season are players who have CB coverage skills, but who can make plays with the ball in front of them as well. That would describe guys like Allen, Gregory, Wilson, Dennard and Moore as well as McCourty in a pinch. I think there is only going to be room for one strong safety type on the roster and that will be a battle between Barrett and Ihedigbu
 

patsfan13

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I think 3 of each are locks:
McCourty, Dowling, Arrington
Chung, Gregory, Wilson




Agreed these guys are locks



I think Moore, Dennard, Allen, Cole are in a battle for one or 2 spots and there is no distinct favorite(s) among that group. I think separating Moore and Dennard is more speculation than reality that they have any leg up.
At safety, Id say the same for Ihedigbo, Barrett, and even Ebner, especially if the corner # is 5.


I am thinking we keep 10 DB's this year. I could see 6 CB and 4 S as the split due to the number of nickle and dim sub packages we will run during the year.

If they move Allen to S I can see Moore, Dennard being on the roster and Cole fighting Ihedigbo fighting for the last DB/ST slot.
 
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patsinthesnow

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Obviously, one of the players below could make a strong case for a roster spot, or there could be an injury to one of the top 7. However, for now, I am pretty satisfied with

CB: McCourty, Arrington, Dowling, Moore, Dennard
S: Chung, Gregory, Wilson, Ihedigbo

DB'S ON THE OUTSIDE LOOK IN
--------------------------------------
Allen
Barrett
Brown
Cole
Ebner
Williams
Ventrone

I think I would go with those 9 unless Allen proves that he's better at S than Ihedigbo, as it's been reported he's been playing that position in camp.

Ventrone, Williams, Brown, Barrett--->Trash can.

Cole could make it as a #10 ST Gunner.

I love Ebner and I'm rooting for him, but is a guy who really didn't even play football in college going to make an NFL 53, let alone the Patriots 53?
 

Ring 6

PatsFans.com Wall of Fame Member
Agreed these guys are locks






I am thinking we keep 10 DB's this year. I could see 6 CB and 4 S as the split due to the number of nickle and dim sub packages we will run during the year.

If they move Allen to S I can see Moore, Dennard being on the roster and Cole fighting Ihedigbo fighting for the last DB/ST slot.

Historically, we have only kept 4 corners other than guys who are pretty exclusively s/ters.

The 5th corner really has nowhere to play, but for as an injury sub.
I know its common thought that since its more of a passing league, and we play a lot of sub, that more is better at corner, but in reality while we use the 3rd corner a lot the 4th is used sparingly, the 5th not at all and the 6th would take 2 injuries to be active.
 

patsfan13

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Historically, we have only kept 4 corners other than guys who are pretty exclusively s/ters.

The 5th corner really has nowhere to play, but for as an injury sub.
I know its common thought that since its more of a passing league, and we play a lot of sub, that more is better at corner, but in reality while we use the 3rd corner a lot the 4th is used sparingly, the 5th not at all and the 6th would take 2 injuries to be active.



How many times have we had injured CBs over the past few years?
 

Ring 6

PatsFans.com Wall of Fame Member
How many times have we had injured CBs over the past few years?

We have had some. I am just pointing out the logic that appears to be in place in making roster decisions. If you disagree, I guess you have to take that up with BB.
 

Gumby

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Do you all think a vet gets the nod over an equally skilled 5rnd+ guy who still has PS eligibility?

My assumption would be that anybody 5/6/7/UDFA (except Dennard) would have a good chance to survive to the PS and not get taken on waiver wire. So that would mean if they don't show themselves clearly better than the vet - or at least with way too much upsdie to risk losing; that BB would chance losing the high rounder newbies.

But of course last year the other teams feasted on our cuts. some didnt work out much for those teams, but the players didnt last long on the waiver wire. so
 

mgteich

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I agree with your analysis.

The nagging problem I have is that in the past we have been able to rely on our safeties to be our dime (and even) nickel back in an emergency. James Sanders is certainly an example. I don't see that talent in the current group of safeties, except in Gregory.

So, someone like Allen may make it as the 9th or 10th DB, even if he won't play ST's and would be inactive absent 2 injuries. He would be an insurance policy at corner and safety. Some would call him the 4th safety and have Ihedigbo win a ST spot. The result is the same. The need for a backup veteran who can actually play dime, nickel and safety is definitely there. The question is whether we can afford to use a roster spot in that way.

Historically, we have only kept 4 corners other than guys who are pretty exclusively s/ters.

The 5th corner really has nowhere to play, but for as an injury sub.
I know its common thought that since its more of a passing league, and we play a lot of sub, that more is better at corner, but in reality while we use the 3rd corner a lot the 4th is used sparingly, the 5th not at all and the 6th would take 2 injuries to be active.
 

Ring 6

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I agree with your analysis.

The nagging problem I have is that in the past we have been able to rely on our safeties to be our dime (and even) nickel back in an emergency. James Sanders is certainly an example. I don't see that talent in the current group of safeties, except in Gregory.

So, someone like Allen may make it as the 9th or 10th DB, even if he won't play ST's and would be inactive absent 2 injuries. He would be an insurance policy at corner and safety. Some would call him the 4th safety and have Ihedigbo win a ST spot. The result is the same. The need for a backup veteran who can actually play dime, nickel and safety is definitely there. The question is whether we can afford to use a roster spot in that way.

I think there is zero chance that Allen will accept being a DB who sits inactive until there are 2 injuires. And I don't think BB sees value in having an aging veteran in that role, when he could keep a developmental player who is happy to be in the league rather than disengaged becaiuse of his role.
 

Ring 6

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Do you all think a vet gets the nod over an equally skilled 5rnd+ guy who still has PS eligibility?

My assumption would be that anybody 5/6/7/UDFA (except Dennard) would have a good chance to survive to the PS and not get taken on waiver wire. So that would mean if they don't show themselves clearly better than the vet - or at least with way too much upsdie to risk losing; that BB would chance losing the high rounder newbies.

But of course last year the other teams feasted on our cuts. some didnt work out much for those teams, but the players didnt last long on the waiver wire. so

I think the focus is on the best 53, not whether we keep the 54th, 55th, etc and weaken our team out of a fear someone else will want them.
Thats the equivalent of staying with a girlfriend you don't like much because you know someone else would want to date her.
 

MaineMan

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
Obviously, one of the players below could make a strong case for a roster spot, or there could be an injury to one of the top 7. However, for now, I am pretty satisfied with

CB: McCourty, Arrington, Dowling, Moore, Dennard
S: Chung, Gregory, Wilson, Ihedigbo

DB'S ON THE OUTSIDE LOOK IN
--------------------------------------
Allen
Barrett
Brown
Cole
Ebner
Williams
Ventrone

This is basically the way it currently shakes out for me, too (pre-camp). However, I think there's a bit of role-versatility there - some overlap similar to that among OLBs and Edge-rush DEs - and I'm not all that eager to pigeonhole these guys as exclusively CB or Safety for the roster counts (#denotes demonstrated ST ability).

#McCourty - CB/FS - Good perimeter zone CB where he keeps a lot in front of him, which is why (IMHO) he looked more comfortable as the deep centerfielder in 2011 rather than in press-man.

#Arrington - CB/SS - Very good run-D, probably enough to fill in as an in-the-box guy for Chung (and I think he might well have covered for Chung's injury if he hadn't already been covering RCB for Dowling).

Dowling - CB/? - Possible health issues aside, he seemed (with limited snaps to go on) like a good perimeter press-man corner. Has good size for a safety-ish role, but that's unknown.

Moore - CB/? - Seemed like he became a pretty good perimeter and slot guy toward the end of 2011. Don't think he played enough in a safety-ish role to really evaluate.

Dennard - CB/? - Based on his college play, he has some skills for press-man (more experience, perhaps, than McCourty had coming in), perimeter and slot. But, at 5100/204, he's also kinda "stocky" (8-12 pounds heavier than McCourty, Moore, Arrington, Allen, Cole and even Steve Gregory). His run-D ability remains to be seen (at least on an NFL level), but there could be some in-the-box to the guy. Malcolm Williams, who's about the same size as Dennard, had very athletic workout numbers in 2011.

Wilson - FS/CB - Has college-level experience also at perimeter and slot CB (though speed/agility wise, he's more safety than CB) and is the same size as Chung.

#Gregory - FS - Listed at 185, doesn't appear hefty enough to deal with in-the-box assignments full-time.

#Chung - SS - At his best (so far) in Run-D, though his coverage does appear to be improving. Still, I I don't expect him to be playing a lot of snaps as the deep-cover guy or as a perimeter CB anytime soon.

#Ihedigbo - SS - Decent in-the-box run-D. Coverage not great, but better than Brown's (who's the same size).

Bubble guys:

Allen - CB/FS? Third-best slot CB in 2011 (according to FO) and the same size as Gregory (actually a little stouter).

Barrett - SS/LB? At 6'2"/225, Harrison-sized. Too bad he's never been healthy long enough to assume a similar role.

#Brown - FS/SS? - Didn't seem to "get it" at all in his first season trying his hand at safety, yet managed to duplicate Meriweather's rookie stats.

#Cole - CB? - Smallest DB on the roster (aside from Ventrone). Showed some coverage chops and ball skills for the Jets late in 2010, but forgotten by them in 2011.

#Ebner - SS? - About the same size as Wilson and Chung, fast/very athletic and apparently a serious harda$$.

Williams - CB/SS? - Kinda stocky like Dennard, perhaps more athletic.

Ventrone - DB - Very experienced with signing contracts, but may have issues with carpal-tunnel.

So, I'm good with the nine you've projected with the rookies Wilson and Dennard getting maybe more than typical rotational snaps as the season progresses. If the Pats keep a 10th DB, it seems to me it would have to be a very special STer and he'd be replacing White/Koutouvides (if a guy at another position doesn't have higher priority).
 

mgteich

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Thank you for clarifying.
============================
Fair enough. I agree. We don't need 2 additional strong safeties.
===============================
AND THEN THERE ARE EIGHT POSITION PLAYERS
CB: McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, Allen/Cole/Dennard/Moore
S: Chung, Gregory, Wilson, Ihedigbo/Barrett
================================
HOW TO BEST USE THE NINTH DEFENSIVE BACK ROSTER SPOT
My contention is that this player isn't likely to be a position player. A 9th CB/FS would usually be inactive and only see the field if there are two injuries. Belichick has taken this road before so I do not rule it out. The obvious choice is Allen (if he isn't the 4th CB), but andy says he's rather be cut than take on this role.

I think that one better use would be for a top gunner like Cole. The 4th CB would then be inactive in some games. In any case, Cole would always be active as a STer.

Another better use for this 9th roster spot would be for a player that needs development, but who could play in a pinch. Dennard and Moore come to mind.

BOTTOM LINE
We have 4 corners competing for 2 roster spots. We have competition and a binky. That's a good thing.
================================
AN ASIDE
A 10th DB could make the team, but he would be beating out STer's from other positions. Cole or even Ihedigbo might be good enough on ST's to compete for a ST spot if they don't get a DB spot.

MG, I think I wasn't clear on what I meant by a CB/S hybrid. My guess is that BB is looking for more coverage skills out of his "safeties". I believe he sees defenses evolving to meet the great threat of the NFL passing game and the skill set line between safeties and CB's is blurring. Thus I think what BB is looking for in his DB's this season are players who have CB coverage skills, but who can make plays with the ball in front of them as well. That would describe guys like Allen, Gregory, Wilson, Dennard and Moore as well as McCourty in a pinch. I think there is only going to be room for one strong safety type on the roster and that will be a battle between Barrett and Ihedigbu
 

mgteich

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Do you think that Gregory could play nickel or dime back if needed because of injuries, as James Sanders did? I ask because you listed him only at FS.

And if Allen is the 3rd best slot CB in the league, then he should be able to beat out Moore.

This is basically the way it currently shakes out for me, too (pre-camp). However, I think there's a bit of role-versatility there - some overlap similar to that among OLBs and Edge-rush DEs - and I'm not all that eager to pigeonhole these guys as exclusively CB or Safety for the roster counts (#denotes demonstrated ST ability).

#McCourty - CB/FS - Good perimeter zone CB where he keeps a lot in front of him, which is why (IMHO) he looked more comfortable as the deep centerfielder in 2011 rather than in press-man.

#Arrington - CB/SS - Very good run-D, probably enough to fill in as an in-the-box guy for Chung (and I think he might well have covered for Chung's injury if he hadn't already been covering RCB for Dowling).

Dowling - CB/? - Possible health issues aside, he seemed (with limited snaps to go on) like a good perimeter press-man corner. Has good size for a safety-ish role, but that's unknown.

Moore - CB/? - Seemed like he became a pretty good perimeter and slot guy toward the end of 2011. Don't think he played enough in a safety-ish role to really evaluate.

Dennard - CB/? - Based on his college play, he has some skills for press-man (more experience, perhaps, than McCourty had coming in), perimeter and slot. But, at 5100/204, he's also kinda "stocky" (8-12 pounds heavier than McCourty, Moore, Arrington, Allen, Cole and even Steve Gregory). His run-D ability remains to be seen (at least on an NFL level), but there could be some in-the-box to the guy. Malcolm Williams, who's about the same size as Dennard, had very athletic workout numbers in 2011.

Wilson - FS/CB - Has college-level experience also at perimeter and slot CB (though speed/agility wise, he's more safety than CB) and is the same size as Chung.

#Gregory - FS - Listed at 185, doesn't appear hefty enough to deal with in-the-box assignments full-time.

#Chung - SS - At his best (so far) in Run-D, though his coverage does appear to be improving. Still, I I don't expect him to be playing a lot of snaps as the deep-cover guy or as a perimeter CB anytime soon.

#Ihedigbo - SS - Decent in-the-box run-D. Coverage not great, but better than Brown's (who's the same size).

Bubble guys:

Allen - CB/FS? Third-best slot CB in 2011 (according to FO) and the same size as Gregory (actually a little stouter).

Barrett - SS/LB? At 6'2"/225, Harrison-sized. Too bad he's never been healthy long enough to assume a similar role.

#Brown - FS/SS? - Didn't seem to "get it" at all in his first season trying his hand at safety, yet managed to duplicate Meriweather's rookie stats.

#Cole - CB? - Smallest DB on the roster (aside from Ventrone). Showed some coverage chops and ball skills for the Jets late in 2010, but forgotten by them in 2011.

#Ebner - SS? - About the same size as Wilson and Chung, fast/very athletic and apparently a serious harda$$.

Williams - CB/SS? - Kinda stocky like Dennard, perhaps more athletic.

Ventrone - DB - Very experienced with signing contracts, but may have issues with carpal-tunnel.

So, I'm good with the nine you've projected with the rookies Wilson and Dennard getting maybe more than typical rotational snaps as the season progresses. If the Pats keep a 10th DB, it seems to me it would have to be a very special STer and he'd be replacing White/Koutouvides (if a guy at another position doesn't have higher priority).
 

Armchair Quarterback

In the Starting Line-Up
I think there is zero chance that Allen will accept being a DB who sits inactive until there are 2 injuires. And I don't think BB sees value in having an aging veteran in that role, when he could keep a developmental player who is happy to be in the league rather than disengaged becaiuse of his role.

How about Allen as the third safety. There's no guarantee Wilson will be ready to play meaningful minutes on defense - his likely contribution to the team this year will be on special teams.

I 'd feel much better with Allen out there over Barrett, Brown, Ihedigbo, Ebner, Williams or Ventrone. And I don't think Wilson should just be handed the job just because of where he was drafted.
 

mgteich

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I agree with Allen as backup FS. Ihedigbo and Barrett are solid Sters.

How about

FS: Gregory, Allen
SS: Chung, Ihedigbo/Barrett
#5 developmental: Wilson

This scenario implies a need for only four corners, since Allen can play corner, dime or nickel back if there injuries, much as James Sanders did. That is the function of the 5th CB.

CB: McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, 4th CB

How about Allen as the third safety. There's no guarantee Wilson will be ready to play meaningful minutes on defense - his likely contribution to the team this year will be on special teams.

I 'd feel much better with Allen out there over Barrett, Brown, Ihedigbo, Ebner, Williams or Ventrone. And I don't think Wilson should just be handed the job just because of where he was drafted.
 
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Avenger

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
I'd like to have McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, Dennard, Moore at CB and Chung, Gregory, Wilson and Ebner at S. The 4th safety will not see the field often except on special teams, where Ebner is a demon by all accounts, he's young at the position too, and has a lot of potential to develop into a good safety, I could easily see him being the next Steve Tasker.
"He was probably the most valuable player on that whole team, the most valuable player on that whole team last year," Haynes said passionately. "If there was a guy that we were going to go down with, it would have been Nate Ebner by far. There isn't a coach on that staff who wouldn't say that."

Read more at: Nate Ebner Earns 'Leonidas' Nickname, Dubbed Ohio State's Most Valuable Player for Strong Work Ethic - New England Patriots - NESN.com
 

Armchair Quarterback

In the Starting Line-Up
I agree with Allen as backup FS. Ihedigbo and Barrett are solid Sters.

How about

FS: Gregory, Allen
SS: Chung, Ihedigbo/Barrett
#5 developmental: Wilson

This scenario implies a need for only four corners, since Allen can play corner, dime or nickel back if there injuries, much as James Sanders did. That is the function of the 5th CB.

CB: McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, 4th CB

I hope that Wilson shows enough to be higher on the depth chart than Barrett and Ihedigbo - Ideally, I don't want to see either of them playing on defensive.

Maybe

CB McCourty, Dowling, Arrington, Dennard
FS Gregory, Allen
SS Chung, Wilson


and then

DB Sterling Moore as a developmental player who could be depth at both corner and safety.


with

Barrett, Ihedigbo, Cole, Ebner, Williams, Ventrone and Brown battling the likes of Tracy White, Koutivides and Tarpinian for one or two roster spots whose main contributions will be on special teams,
 
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