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Defensive Turnover This Offseason

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by slam, May 9, 2018.

  1. slam

    slam Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The big cry during the draft by the more critical was that we haven't done enough to address the defense. But it seemed to me between returning players, free agents, and draftees much of the defense fielded in the Super Bowl will be different than the defense that will be expected to take the field in 2018.

    Here are the snap counts for the defensive players in the Super Bowl. The thing that stood out to me right away is that James Harrison took 91% of the defensive snaps! Ye Gods. Think of all the players that had to wash out in order for us to use a 15th week waiver claim for 91% of snaps. Ninkovich, Ealy, Marsh, Rivers... all out. It was Harrison or Wise (who had only 6 snaps) or Eric Lee (16 snaps).

    Role Player in SB LII Pos Snaps Snap %
    DE/DT 1 Malcom Brown DT 62 83%
    DE/DT 2 Lawrence Guy DE 57 76%
    DE/DT 3 Ricky Jean-Francois DT 15 20%
    DE/DT 4 Adam Butler DT 13 17%
    Edge 1 Trey Flowers DE 75 100%
    Edge 2 James Harrison LB 68 91%
    Pass Rusher Eric Lee DE 16 21%
    Pass Rusher Deatrich Wise Jr. DE 6 8%

    LB 1 Kyle Van Noy LB 75 100%
    LB 2 Elandon Roberts LB 44 59%

    LB 3 Marquis Flowers LB 18 24%


    CB 1 Stephon Gilmore CB 75 100%
    CB 2 Eric Rowe CB 71 95%
    Safety 1 Devin McCourty FS 75 100%
    Safety 2 Patrick Chung SS 63 84%
    Nickel Duron Harmon FS 65 87%
    DB (Extra) Jordan Richards SS 16 21%

    DB (Extra) Johnson Bademosi CB 11 15%


    I bolded all of the players who are no longer with the team, and put in italics all of the players who would have a reduced or no role at all in the 2018 defense if everyone's healthy.

    Here are how these roles would probably be filled today, provided everyone is healthy and performing as well as expected.

    Role Player in 2018 Training Camp Pos
    DE/DT 1 Malcom Brown DT
    DE/DT 2 Danny Shelton DT
    DE/DT 3 Lawrence Guy DE
    DE/DT 4 Vincent Valentine DT
    Edge 1 Trey Flowers DE
    Edge 2 Adrian Clayborn DE
    Pass Rusher Derek Rivers DE
    Pass Rusher Deatrich Wise Jr. DE

    LB 1 Dont'a Hightower LB
    LB 2 Kyle Van Noy LB
    LB 3 Elandon Roberts LB

    CB 1 Stephon Gilmore CB
    CB 2 Jason McCourty CB
    Safety 1 Devin McCourty FS
    Safety 2 Patrick Chung SS
    Nickel Duron Harmon FS
    DB (Extra) Eric Rowe CB
    DB (Extra) Duke Dawson CB

    New players are in bold, returning players are in italics.

    Had snaps in Super Bowl but no longer expected to play on defense: A. Butler, Richards, Bademosi, M. Flowers, Lee.

    The roles seem pretty set. I could see Bentley/Sam taking over Roberts' spot, and A. Butler and Lee are there to step in for any DE/DT's that falter. Three guys named Jones and some more candidates are around for any DB's that falter.

    If we were to calculate what percentage of the total overall snaps will be taken by either new or returning players from players in the Super Bowl who have either departed or have had their role reduced, it would come out to 39.1% 10.1% of that are the snaps taken by the departed Harrison and Jean-Francois. 8.9% are from the "benched" A. Butler, Richards, Bedemosi, M. Flowers, and Eric Lee. And 18.7% are from players who'd be expected to take on a lesser role (Guy, Van Noy, Rowe, Roberts).

    That's the best possible outcome, of course. Injuries and underperformance will undoubtedly show up to some extent, but hopefully not as much as last year. Using the same methodology, the players penciled into the roles at the beginning of camp that did not wind up making it to the Super Bowl accounted for 39.1% of the snaps lost due to retirement (Ninkovich), underperformance (Branch, Ealy), injury (Hightower, Rivers, C. Jones & J. Jones), and still unexplained to some coach's decision (M. Butler). I think if our lost snaps this year is closer to 15% than 30% we'd all right. The first is near the equivalent of two full time starters. The second is near the equivalent of four.

    The general point I want to make is that the 2018 will be substantially different than the end of 2017 team, with new or returning personnel taking around 37% of the snaps. If you match up the player doing a job at the end of 2017 with the player expected to do that job in 2018, I think the only arguable downgrade is M. Butler to J. McCourty. Otherwise, Shelton is an upgrade over Jean-Francois. Valentine should be an upgrade over A. Butler (and if not, A. Butler is still here), Rivers vs. Eric Lee, Clayborn vs. Harrison. Hightower's return improves all three LB spots, plus we added two draftees for depth. And I would not expect to see Richards and Bademosi on defense unless we see multiple injuries.
     
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  2. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I for one do not expect to see Bademosi at all . . . ;)

    Nice post, though. Should be interesting to see how it all shakes out. We could still add some vets at LB / DE, but we may roll with a youth movement.
     
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  3. stephens44

    stephens44 Practice Squad Player

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    I would expect that this season will have a similar storyline to last year to about November. We have a new coordinator, returning from injury types and a few new players, so similar growing pains to last year IMHO. The issue always seems to be decided by key injuries and if back ups are capable. I expect this group will beat divisional opponents and offenses that rank outside the top 15 in the league, but after that the fate of the season lies with Brady and the offense, again.
     
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  4. PatriotsNumero1Fan

    PatriotsNumero1Fan Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I was hoping to get an athletic LB that can cover and it's good from sideline to sideline.

    Maybe they can add a LB through a trade.
     
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  5. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Josh Gordon's locker is next to Brady's. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm just hoping that youth movement forces Roberts off the roster. He just hasn't improved the way many hoped. That he continued to get snaps even though he routinely shot the wrong gap is a commentary of how badly that unit was banged up in 2017.
     
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  6. maineman209

    maineman209 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    A lot of things might've been different at LB if David Harris hadn't decided to retire last September.
     
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  7. WinstonSmith

    WinstonSmith Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    OP: solid write up. My only slight quibble is, although I agree that Butler is better than McCourty, I think that McCourty has a reasonable shot of being better than the 2017 Butler who played towards his floor last year.

    There's also significant room for additional improvement as we're only at the start of phase 2 of free agency. The Pats still have enough cap room/flexibility to sign defensive upgrades at several positions, and have enough draft capital in 2019 to target a difference maker or 2.

    It won't be a dominant defense but should be better than last year's D and much better than the Superbowl crew.
     
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  8. robertweathers

    robertweathers PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Badman is on the Texans nwo so there is a zero % chance he sees time on the Pats D.
     
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  9. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    The problem is that they're few and far between. There was one linebacker in this last draft who could truly go sideline to sideline and cover as well as a safety: Roquan Smith. He went 8th overall. True, there were other linebackers who had some cover skills, or good athletic traits, but significant weaknesses usually marred their games.

    We traded for Flowers last year to add some more speed to our linebacking corp. I would expect a similar mid-season acquisition this year, since that seems to be the pattern recently.
     
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  10. maineman209

    maineman209 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    What's most shocking to me, and revealing about the 2017 defense, is the snap counts - and years of NFL experience - that were lost from the 2016 SB
     
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  11. slam

    slam Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    True. But I bet if you summed up the current salaries of the 2016 Super Bowl team it may use up the entire salary cap. Lots of them got a big salary bump from then to now. I think Jones, Collins, Hightower, Butler, Ryan, DMac, Sheard and Akiem Hicks average $8-10 million/year or so in their contracts. The whole defense made $47 million in 2015 according to Sportrac.
     
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  12. maineman209

    maineman209 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    But, hey! Dontcha know that "the cap is crap", according to a couple of mediots.

    ;)
     
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  13. maineman209

    maineman209 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Manziel?
     
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  14. ashley1992

    ashley1992 Moderator Staff Member

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    Good post, I know initially you focused on Harrison's snaps, but when you have Richards, Roberts, Lee and Badomosi all playing meaningful plays, you are asking for trouble..... Hopefully this year with our draft picks and players coming back from injuries, we won't see that.
     
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  15. stinkypete

    stinkypete In the Starting Line-Up

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    I expect the defense to be decent, probably to fall in the 12 - 20 rage league wide. The pass defense will remain a big-yardage, (hopefully) low-scoring unit. That's just Belichick's game. The run defense will be above average if not very good, which alone will be a big improvement from 2017.
     
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  16. maineman209

    maineman209 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    The more effective the run defense is, the higher the opponent's passing yardage total is likely to be - the effect of making the opponent's game "one dimensional". Getting a big lead and keeping it also has the same effect.
     
  17. Triumph

    Triumph Pro Bowl Player

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    NE is where defensive players go to retire.

    Harris, Haynesworth, Harrison, Ellis, Starks just to name a few.
     
  18. p8ryts

    p8ryts Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    I thought Bademosi signed with Houston
     
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  19. reamer

    reamer Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    That's the joke. ;)
     
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  20. maust1013

    maust1013 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yeah, it's kinda sad really. If only the Pats could contend once in a while maybe they could become the kind of team players go to for a ring instead.
     
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