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Barring Trades Are All Of These 23 Defensive Locks (or almost locks)?

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sep 12th

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Kenneth Sims

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I strongly disagree with the idea that Crossen is far better at St's than Ebner or King

They’re not comparable as they have different special team roles. The question is which is more valuable. I’m partial to the impact an above average gunner can have covering punts and kickoffs.
 

mgteich

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Please explain the "numbers game" at LB.
We have Hightower, Van Noy, Collins, Bentley, Roberts and King.

I suppose that Calhoun COULD make the team as a STer. Sam could be kept as a developmental EDGE player. Who do have who would replace Roberts in his 2018 role, and shy do you think that this player is more valuable than Roberts who played well last year.

Off of the Bedard list - my guess is that Thomas, Meredith and Ebner remain on PUP moving those decisions until later in the year. Gordon remains suspended until after the season starts. (am guessing 6 games)

One of Beck or Izzo gets cut and picked up on Practice squad

I thought Roberts played fairly well last year but could be a victim of the numbers game. Would not be surprised to see him moved for a conditional pick. Expect the same with a CB or 2 but hard to say which one. Dawson appears to be in trouble.

Would be very surprised if Meyers, Harmon and Simon did not make the team.
 

Ring 6

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Please explain the "numbers game" at LB.
We have Hightower, Van Noy, Collins, Bentley, Roberts and King.

I suppose that Calhoun COULD make the team as a STer. Sam could be kept as a developmental EDGE player. Who do have who would replace Roberts in his 2018 role, and shy do you think that this player is more valuable than Roberts who played well last year.
Bentley was already replacing Roberts before he was injured. And we added Collins. Our base D has been 4-2. perhaps it shifts to 3-3 nickel because of the lb talent but it doesn’t have to. If there were an injury we go back to only needing 2 lbs.
Calhoun is part of the “DE” group not the lb group like winovich Simon and Rivers who he is competing with.
King is not by any means a LB.
 

Family

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It's preseason but I thought he looked good against the Lions. I'll pay closer attention against the Titans and Panthers to see how he's doing.

FWIW both Howe and Bedard singled Butler out for playing poorly against the Lions. Bedard said he had zero impact and Howe said he was outplayed by Nick Thurman.
 

Ring 6

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Off of the Bedard list - my guess is that Thomas, Meredith and Ebner remain on PUP moving those decisions until later in the year. Gordon remains suspended until after the season starts. (am guessing 6 games)

One of Beck or Izzo gets cut and picked up on Practice squad

I thought Roberts played fairly well last year but could be a victim of the numbers game. Would not be surprised to see him moved for a conditional pick. Expect the same with a CB or 2 but hard to say which one. Dawson appears to be in trouble.

Would be very surprised if Meyers, Harmon and Simon did not make the team.
Simon has a battle on his hands. After wise and Bennett, winovich is a lock and Simon is competing with rivers and Calhoun and maybe of Ofamalu for 1 or maybe 2 spots.
 

mgteich

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fair enough

1) Do you believe that King is a lock as a STer?

2) Who, if anyone, do you believe will beat out Roberts for the 5th LB roster spot (per your post, King being a Ster, and Calhoun being a DE)? What you seem to suggest is that Bentley is making Roberts a backup. I'm fine if that happens.

3) I think that we are solid (and have good backups) with Hightower, Van Noy, Collins, Bentley and Roberts. Do you disagree? If not, what would you suggest at LB?

Bentley was already replacing Roberts before he was injured. And we added Collins. Our base D has been 4-2. perhaps it shifts to 3-3 nickel because of the lb talent but it doesn’t have to. If there were an injury we go back to only needing 2 lbs.
Calhoun is part of the “DE” group not the lb group like winovich Simon and Rivers who he is competing with.
King is not by any means a LB.
 

Ring 6

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fair enough

1) Do you believe that King is a lock as a STer?

2) Who, if anyone, do you believe will beat out Roberts for the 5th LB roster spot (per your post, King being a Ster, and Calhoun being a DE)? What you seem to suggest is that Bentley is making Roberts a backup. I'm fine if that happens.

3) I think that we are solid (and have good backups) with Hightower, Van Noy, Collins, Bentley and Roberts. Do you disagree? If not, what would you suggest at LB?
1) yes
2) we don’t need 5 lbs. Bentley is a backup too. Roberts will never see the field.
3) I think we are solid and have good backups with HT KVN Collins and Bentley.
Our base has been 2 LBs. That will only change because we want to get 3 on the field because of talent. If one were injured our base will absolutely be 2 lbs.
 

farn

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1) yes
2) we don’t need 5 lbs. Bentley is a backup too. Roberts will never see the field.
3) I think we are solid and have good backups with HT KVN Collins and Bentley.
Our base has been 2 LBs. That will only change because we want to get 3 on the field because of talent. If one were injured our base will absolutely be 2 lbs.
While I agree with much here : I’d not be surprised to see Bentley starting. I remember him being a key cog at the beginning of last season (even green dot at times, maybe just in camp - but still). He was rated by some as one of the best defenders they had when he got hurt.

It’ll depend on how they deploy, no doubt. But would anyone be shocked by HT playing a more DE style with Bentley at LB with KVN ?
 

patfanken

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DEFENSE (23 LOCKS OR ALMOST LOCKS)
4 DE - Bennett, Wise, Simon, Winovich
4 DT - Guy, Pennel, Shelton, Butler
6 LB - Hightower, Van Noy, Roberts, Collins, Bentley, King
5 CB - Gilmore, McCourty, Jackson, Jones, Williams
4 S - McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Brooks

TOP CONTENDERS FOR 1 OR 2 ROSTER SPOTS
DE - RIVERS
DT - Cowart, Parry, Kamalu
LB - Calhoun, Sam
CB - Crossen, Dawson, MELIFONWU
S - Ebner
Nice Job for this early in the game. People should realize that it's a lot easier to "edit" a book than write it. So, I appreciate the work you put in. But that being said, let me "edit" your "book" just a bit. ;)

1. The thing that pops out immediately to me is you giving Butler a "lock" designation. WAY too early for that. Bedard has pointed out that Butler looks bigger, but slower this TC and hasn't flashed at all thus far. On the other hand, Cowart did flash (at least to me) in the PS game.

2.Barring a trade kI can easily see 6 CB's making the team. Having 5 DB's on the field is the new normal. I think I read it happens on over 60% of plays That's why having 10 or even 11 DB's is possible. So I'd add Crossen to that list of CB's

3. I have Obi ahead of Brooks on the S list. Brooks is having a good camp, but no better than Obi and he has a much better upside than Brooks as the 4th S. Fast enough to play deep, and more than big enough to play inside the box.

4. I also might make the move to put Winovich in with the LB's. To me he is already at more athletic version of Ninko, besides he already has the number. So I'd replace King with Winovich as the 6th LB and add Rivers or Calhoun as the 3rd edge guy, maybe ever both. King can be replaced by the likes of Winovich, Calhoun or even Sam

5. Sadly I see no path where Ebner makes this team. Nice career for a guy who only played ST's at OSU. 3 superbowl rings, a trip to the Olympics, and a place in the very thin book of Jewish Professional Football players.

6. Looks like the team is set up to play more 3-4, 2-5 alignments this season. Wise and Bennett look like the two 4-3 DE's, while Bennett, Guy, and perhaps Butler/Cowart can play 3-4 DE's

7. I think when we see the "final" 53, we will have a big clue as to what we are likely to see alignment-wise early in the season.
 

Ring 6

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While I agree with much here : I’d not be surprised to see Bentley starting. I remember him being a key cog at the beginning of last season (even green dot at times, maybe just in camp - but still). He was rated by some as one of the best defenders they had when he got hurt.

It’ll depend on how they deploy, no doubt. But would anyone be shocked by HT playing a more DE style with Bentley at LB with KVN ?
That puts Collins as well as all but one DE on the bench.


Let me expand what I am saying.

Our base has been 2 DTs 2 Lb 2 DEs and one of those DEs is often a hybrid 34 olb/43 DE. But that guy has been more de than olb. (Nink, Simon, Marsh, Rivers etc)

It’s possible that with the talent at lb that 6th guy could be more olb than lb. HT or KVN most likely)

With this roster it will be
2 DTs

2 lbs ( out of Hightower, Collins, kvn, Bentley)

DE. Bennett/Wise

Then the 6th spot could be any of
-whichever lbs arent in the above, let’s say kvn and Bentley for example) the other of Bennet or wise, Rivers, winovich.

There is no room for 4 lbs and I can’t imagine Bentley being ahead of HT, Collins or KVN.
He will have a role but it’s not one of the top 6 in the base.
 

Ring 6

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Nice Job for this early in the game. People should realize that it's a lot easier to "edit" a book than write it. So, I appreciate the work you put in. But that being said, let me "edit" your "book" just a bit. ;)

1. The thing that pops out immediately to me is you giving Butler a "lock" designation. WAY too early for that. Bedard has pointed out that Butler looks bigger, but slower this TC and hasn't flashed at all thus far. On the other hand, Cowart did flash (at least to me) in the PS game.

2.Barring a trade kI can easily see 6 CB's making the team. Having 5 DB's on the field is the new normal. I think I read it happens on over 60% of plays That's why having 10 or even 11 DB's is possible. So I'd add Crossen to that list of CB's

3. I have Obi ahead of Brooks on the S list. Brooks is having a good camp, but no better than Obi and he has a much better upside than Brooks as the 4th S. Fast enough to play deep, and more than big enough to play inside the box.

4. I also might make the move to put Winovich in with the LB's. To me he is already at more athletic version of Ninko, besides he already has the number. So I'd replace King with Winovich as the 6th LB and add Rivers or Calhoun as the 3rd edge guy, maybe ever both. King can be replaced by the likes of Winovich, Calhoun or even Sam

5. Sadly I see no path where Ebner makes this team. Nice career for a guy who only played ST's at OSU. 3 superbowl rings, a trip to the Olympics, and a place in the very thin book of Jewish Professional Football players.

6. Looks like the team is set up to play more 3-4, 2-5 alignments this season. Wise and Bennett look like the two 4-3 DE's, while Bennett, Guy, and perhaps Butler/Cowart can play 3-4 DE's

7. I think when we see the "final" 53, we will have a big clue as to what we are likely to see alignment-wise early in the season.
Comments on your comments.
1) I wouldn’t put more weight on a week or 2 in camp than 2 productive seasons with Butler. They know what he can do and a slow camp start isn’t a big deal.
2) I believe the pats play 5+ dbs more then 85% of the time. Can’t have enough.
3) good competition.
4) king isn’t a lb at all, only a ster but a damn good one and winovich I’d definitely an edge guy. Whether you want to call him de or olb it’s the same role nink, flowers, etc etc have played. Primarily a rusher but able to drop to mix up the scheme.
5) his doom may actually be the young depth that will be buried on the depth chart but have upside. If there is a st only spot available he will get it but this may be a year the st only spots are thinner.
6) we don’t have a front 7 we have a front 6.
Whether it’s called 3-3 or 4-2 is irrelevant because we normally have some hybrid guys at least partially playing one of the edge roles in addition to the other 3-2 alignment.
2 DTs
2 traditional LBs
1 traditional 43 DE
1 “other” traditionally a hybrid 34olb/43 de but this year may more often be the 3rd of HT KVN Collins
 

patriot1136

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I could see King being cut due to an abundance of solid STers we have. Although, maybe Ebner being hurt keeps King around. Is it possible Brooks and Obi make it? Or is it one or the other?
 

farn

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That puts Collins as well as all but one DE on the bench.


Let me expand what I am saying.

Our base has been 2 DTs 2 Lb 2 DEs and one of those DEs is often a hybrid 34 olb/43 DE. But that guy has been more de than olb. (Nink, Simon, Marsh, Rivers etc)

It’s possible that with the talent at lb that 6th guy could be more olb than lb. HT or KVN most likely)

With this roster it will be
2 DTs

2 lbs ( out of Hightower, Collins, kvn, Bentley)

DE. Bennett/Wise

Then the 6th spot could be any of
-whichever lbs arent in the above, let’s say kvn and Bentley for example) the other of Bennet or wise, Rivers, winovich.

There is no room for 4 lbs and I can’t imagine Bentley being ahead of HT, Collins or KVN.
He will have a role but it’s not one of the top 6 in the base.

Would this lineup really shock ? I know BB has a high % of five+ DBs, but I think it’s within the realm. And, as well as Collins has looked, I’d swap him out for Harmon, producing yet another configuration w Bentley starting.

Bennett-Shelton-Guy-HT
KVN-Bentley-Collins
Chung-DMac
JC J-Gilmore
 

patfanken

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Comments on your comments.
1) I wouldn’t put more weight on a week or 2 in camp than 2 productive seasons with Butler. They know what he can do and a slow camp start isn’t a big deal.
2) I believe the pats play 5+ dbs more then 85% of the time. Can’t have enough.
3) good competition.
4) king isn’t a lb at all, only a ster but a damn good one and winovich I’d definitely an edge guy. Whether you want to call him de or olb it’s the same role nink, flowers, etc etc have played. Primarily a rusher but able to drop to mix up the scheme.
5) his doom may actually be the young depth that will be buried on the depth chart but have upside. If there is a st only spot available he will get it but this may be a year the st only spots are thinner.
6) we don’t have a front 7 we have a front 6.
Whether it’s called 3-3 or 4-2 is irrelevant because we normally have some hybrid guys at least partially playing one of the edge roles in addition to the other 3-2 alignment.
2 DTs
2 traditional LBs
1 traditional 43 DE
1 “other” traditionally a hybrid 34olb/43 de but this year may more often be the 3rd of HT KVN Collins
some comments on the comments to my comments. ;)
1. It is very early, but it's all we have to work with. But with Cowart flashing, it will be something to keep an eye on going forward.

2. Could very well be true,

4. King might be a very good ST'er, but this year roster spots are going to be at a real premium, so I think it will be a lot harder to keep even good ST'er's if they don't also have a role on the regular offense or defense.

With all the new rules regarding the kicking game, ST's is no longer an equal partner to the offense and defense as it used to be. Gunners still are critical, but like KO returns, the number of punt returns are dropping as the hang times are rising. I'd like to think that guys like Winovich, Obi, Calhoun, Rivers, etc can be adequate cover guys in this environment, while Slater and Jones are premier gunners.

5. Well not being able to practice isn't helping either. But his case is much like King's, he's a luxury they can't afford, though IIRC, he plays S on the GL D often. But the thing you'd have to agree with me for this to make sense is that ST's has become less important and no longer justifies having 3 or 4 players who ONLY play special teams (beyond the actual kickers).

Right now the team has 5 that fill that description. (Boldin, King, Ebner, Slater, and Brooks) To get their deepest roster, I think they can only keep 2 of those, unless Brooks proves himself to be the #4 S. Boldin stays because he's a legit RB, and Slater because you still need gunners and he's the best to go along with his leadership importance. As much as I like them, Ebner and King don't provide as much value, and if you keep them 2 legit position players you might need more will end up on someone else's team.

6. I'm have a hard time figuring out who is a OLB/DE/Edge, etc. I think more and more we have to let go of these rigid conception of position names. Way too much fluidity in what we see now. Call it the" amoeba-tization" of defense. (patent pending) ;)
 

Ring 6

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Would this lineup really shock ? I know BB has a high % of five+ DBs, but I think it’s within the realm. And, as well as Collins has looked, I’d swap him out for Harmon, producing yet another configuration w Bentley starting.

Bennett-Shelton-Guy-HT
KVN-Bentley-Collins
Chung-DMac
JC J-Gilmore
Yes because we play nickel base. The league is moving more and more to a passing league with spread formations. We won’t go backward to a run heavy d. Basically you are playing Bentley instead of a corner.

I think you are not evaluating players very well if you think Bentley should be on the field instead of Collins or that we are better with Bentley at lb and HT at DE on a regular basis than with HT at LB and any one of wise, rivers, winovich at DE.
I know Bentley was a pleasant surprise but he is still a late round pick who played 138 snaps last year.

Oh and Pennell would be our there over Shelton.
 

Ring 6

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some comments on the comments to my comments. ;)
1. It is very early, but it's all we have to work with. But with Cowart flashing, it will be something to keep an eye on going forward.

2. Could very well be true,

4. King might be a very good ST'er, but this year roster spots are going to be at a real premium, so I think it will be a lot harder to keep even good ST'er's if they don't also have a role on the regular offense or defense.

With all the new rules regarding the kicking game, ST's is no longer an equal partner to the offense and defense as it used to be. Gunners still are critical, but like KO returns, the number of punt returns are dropping as the hang times are rising. I'd like to think that guys like Winovich, Obi, Calhoun, Rivers, etc can be adequate cover guys in this environment, while Slater and Jones are premier gunners.

5. Well not being able to practice isn't helping either. But his case is much like King's, he's a luxury they can't afford, though IIRC, he plays S on the GL D often. But the thing you'd have to agree with me for this to make sense is that ST's has become less important and no longer justifies having 3 or 4 players who ONLY play special teams (beyond the actual kickers).

Right now the team has 5 that fill that description. (Boldin, King, Ebner, Slater, and Brooks) To get their deepest roster, I think they can only keep 2 of those, unless Brooks proves himself to be the #4 S. Boldin stays because he's a legit RB, and Slater because you still need gunners and he's the best to go along with his leadership importance. As much as I like them, Ebner and King don't provide as much value, and if you keep them 2 legit position players you might need more will end up on someone else's team.

6. I'm have a hard time figuring out who is a OLB/DE/Edge, etc. I think more and more we have to let go of these rigid conception of position names. Way too much fluidity in what we see now. Call it the" amoeba-tization" of defense. (patent pending) ;)
1-5 we will see.

6) agree but there are roles that have to be filled.
Start with we are going to play 5 dbs in our base. That’s in stone now.
That means we need 2 DTs in the middle. Can’t really play nickel base without it. You also need one of the DEs to be able to be a hand in the dirt play the run brawler. (As opposed to the “athletic quick speed rusher type or olb tweeter)
You must have 2 off the line LBs but the amoebaism comes from their versatility.
Then you have the 6th guy who could fit any of the de lb types depending upon your scheme.
I think it’s easy to fit our personnel into those definitions although a few can at times fit into secondary roles (ie HT could be the 6th guy also)
 

Scotty

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Andy/Patfanken....thanks for your posts...this sort of detail helps me appreciate the different make ups of the team and how the roster is put together
 

AlexB

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Would this lineup really shock ? I know BB has a high % of five+ DBs, but I think it’s within the realm. And, as well as Collins has looked, I’d swap him out for Harmon, producing yet another configuration w Bentley starting.

Bennett-Shelton-Guy-HT
KVN-Bentley-Collins
Chung-DMac
JC J-Gilmore

For reference, per Football Outsiders, last year we played with 5 DBs 54% of the time, 6+ DBs was 33%, and 4 DBs was 12%. In order words, we'll see 6 DL + LB most of the time, and will see only 5 about three times as often as we actually see 7. Maybe the exact %s will change this year due to personnel, but I doubt there will be a significant shift.

2018 Defensive Personnel Analysis | Football Outsiders
 

farn

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For reference, per Football Outsiders, last year we played with 5 DBs 54% of the time, 6+ DBs was 33%, and 4 DBs was 12%. In order words, we'll see 6 DL + LB most of the time, and will see only 5 about three times as often as we actually see 7. Maybe the exact %s will change this year due to personnel, but I doubt there will be a significant shift.

2018 Defensive Personnel Analysis | Football Outsiders
I hear what you & @AndyJohnson are saying and I’m sure the % of extra DBs out there was significant.

But did any of us see “heavy running” as the key this time last year ? Did we see that config in the SB ?

I’m not convinced past seasons are a good way of foreseeing the future.

All of your points are valid and they may indeed be true when the season starts. I’m still not convinced Bentley is necessarily “a backup” so we’ll see how it plays out.

I think all of us can safely say that this is potentially the most intriguing D in years !
 

Ring 6

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I hear what you & @AndyJohnson are saying and I’m sure the % of extra DBs out there was significant.

But did any of us see “heavy running” as the key this time last year ? Did we see that config in the SB ?

I’m not convinced past seasons are a good way of foreseeing the future.

All of your points are valid and they may indeed be true when the season starts. I’m still not convinced Bentley is necessarily “a backup” so we’ll see how it plays out.

I think all of us can safely say that this is potentially the most intriguing D in years !
It’s not looking at past seasons it’s looking at the philosophy that Belichick has with respect to how the game is changing. If teams start coming out in I formations with a TE FB and 2 WRs then we will return to front 7 football. But that just isn’t happening any more. 3 wides is normal and most TEs are glorified WRs. It like saying how do you know Belichick won’t go back to the single wing. It’s just the place the game has evolved to.

Bentley is the 4th best lb on a team that typically puts 2 on the field. Unless you are telling me you evaluate him to be among the 2 best of HT, KVN Collins and him, he is a back up. When he was drafted that’s pretty much what the expectations were and I didn’t see 138 snaps worth of play that has me close to thinking he is any where near ahead of any of those 3.
 
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