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Content Post Idle thoughts - Preseason- defense/ST's edition

2021 Patriots Season:
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Sun
Oct 31st

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This has an opening post with good commentary and information, which we definitely recommend reading.

patfanken

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OK, I finally got a few hours to spend looking specifically at what we got for our defense going into the season.

1. Overview- Again it seems the biggest asset of the defense is a lot like the offense (IMHO) are good solid players and depth on all 3 levels. No superstars, but good players that we hope will be greater than the sum of their individual parts

Supposedly we built a front 7 that was supposed to be a top five run defense. So far this preseason we haven't seen a lot of evidence of that prediction. But Bellichick's defenses have always relied on cohesive play on all 3 levels to be effective and this preseason with injuries etc the defense hasn't developed that cohesiveness. It is highly unlikely that it will anytime soon. In fact I'd be surprised to see it jell before October. Don't forget the Buc's ended the season with one of the best defenses in the league, but it didn't start out that way. So I'm sure the first time an opposing runner rips off a 10 yd gain, there will be the nervous nellies screaming that BB blew the off season and the team is doomed to failure, I suggest some patience here.

In this era of easy hit free TC's, with starters playing less and less every year. You can never tell what a team will be based on what they show in September, good OR bad. Of course, obviously being 4-0 for the month is better than being 2-2 or 0-4, but it still won't necessarily give us an indication of what this team will ultimately be. We have seen too many superbowls won after 1-3, 2-2 starts and the fast start of the first half of the 2019 season, ended in disaster and a one and done playoff run. So all judgements we make now and over the next few weeks are subject to change as the season goes on,

2. The front 7. Adding KVN and Hightower back to the LB corps vastly improves a big weakness of the 2020 D That along with the big step Josh Uche seems to be making the addition of Judon, to go along with Perkins Wino, Jennings and Bentley as depth the core of a strong and deep edge/LB group. It will also be a flexible group that can morph from a 4-3 to a 3-4 easily, though I think the way this team is being built Bill would hope that 3-4 would be its base. I think think in that configuration you'd be able to use your LB depth more with up to 4 on the field, rather than the 2 you'd often get running the 4-3

THIS season, at least on paper, Bill finally the DL people he needs to run the 3-4 the way he wants to. With Anderson, Guy, and Barmore we finally have the 300lb 3-4 DE's that Bill looked for back in the first run of the dynasty. But for that to work either Godchaux, or Davis will have to develop into a first class nose tackle. Both have the size and power to do the job, but Davis has a tendency to blow up the C or G he's against, but leave gaps in the defense, and Godchaux hasn't been handling double teams as well as we'd like the NT to do. Early days for BOTH these guys in learning new techniques.

Early on I don't think anyone can complain about the level of pass pressure we've been seeing from the front 7. I thought it was very good vs Philly Uche and Judon have been forces coming off the edge both as 3-4 OLB's and 4-3 DE's, Some good situational players in Wise, Wino, Barmore and Anderson add depth and flexibility to the group as well. So its easy to see why there is so much hype gong on about this being a top 5 defense. But does that mean it will be a top 5 defense against the run early? I doubt it.

3. Secondary. On paper this looks again to be a strong group and one of the better ones in the league. Still could be, but we haven't seen Gilmore at all, and very little of McCourty, Jackson, and less still of Jones. One plus of the preseason games has been the play of JJWilliams. In the Philly game he was given the task of playing most of the game against the Heisman trophy winner Davonte Smith. On paper that was a clear mismatch in favor of Smith being against a CB you'd seem to want to match up with big WR's or a TE. I happened to watch this one closely and it looked like Williams locked down Smith for the most part. IIRC Smith had 2 short catches. both in the 4th quarter and one didn't look like it was against Williams. A clear victory for the tall guy. BTW- Williams is a very physical CB who made a big hit on a sweep and a special tackle on ST's Always a good thing to have.

I think Adrian Phillips has been the best secondary pick up since Rodney Harrison. The guy is a beast out there. Given I think Mills is a more effective player in the middle than he is on outside we will be strong AND deep at S with McCourty, Phillips Dugger, and Mills to begin with. CB is slightly thinner until Gilmore is back and no seems to know when that will be. I was heartened at the report that Gilmore has been working "extremely" hard getting himself ready to play and this hasn't been a "hold in" I don't think that there is any question that the Pats will give him a "raise", but they aren't going to do it UNTIL they know that he's fully healthy. Remember that he had a serious injury and no one seems to have a feel for when he could be back. Could be tomorrow. Could be mid October.

BTW- I think his deal will be this. They make his $7MM salary into a bonus and add around $5MM in health based incentives Something of that nature. I think this will be GIlmore's last season here, but I DO believe he will be here the entire year. This defense will be good even if he's traded, but it could be GREAT if he has one more All Pro season left in him.

4. ST's Now THIS is an area where we seem to be in some flux. We have perhaps the best punter in the league, but the coverage and protection has been more inconsistent in preseason. All those penalties COULD be due to having a new snapper there. BTW- anyone know when Cordonna is expected back? And the KO coverage has also been sketchy as well. When we have great KO coverage Baily can make those returnable balls kicks and get better than the 25yd line field position. If it stays the way it is now, he'll have to kick them through the endzone.

..... And then their is the FG kicker. There are kickers with great legs and those who can kick consistently and sometimes (like we've had for 20 years), kickers who can do both. Given a choice I would choose the consistent one. The guy who is 90% from the 42 in and I think Bill is with me. So Nick Folk is in the lead, but like Gilmore and Cardonna does anyone have any idea when he will be ready to kick? And of course you don't want to give up on anyone after just one bad game, especially one with a special kind of leg, but Nordin has had a bad history of inconsistency at Michigan. Let's see how he bounces back on Thursday. Lets remember EVERY kicker has bad games and even bad seasons. I remember the season when Adam Veniteri literally cost Pete Carroll his job with 2 misses that turned a 10 win season into an 8 win season with 2 misses. And how many times over his tenure here were people calling for Gotskowski's head and he was one of the most accurate FG kickers in NFL history. I think we can cut Nordin some slack....at least for one more game ;)


5. I just one to make one comment on Cam's Covid issue. We are currently reaching the kind of levels of infection that we had last fall at the peak of the epidemic and its all self inflicted. I guess there ARE a few people who might have medical reasons not to get vaccinated, but the VAST majority of the unvaccinated don't, and THOSE people expect ME to respect their right not to. And I do.....IF they plan on staying away from society for the duration of the crisis. If someone who is unvaccinated comes in contact of me and my family is like a person who points a gun at me an my family. It is an act of pure selfishness that shouldn't be put up with in any civilized society. The latest wave of the Delta variant can be laid directly at the hands of the unvaccinated, It didn't have to happen. Its as simple as that. And to make matters worse, the fact that this pandemic is continuing unnecessarily the NEXT mutation of the virus is inevitable,. and who know how deadly that one will be and if the current vaccines will offer ANY protection. For those who are old enough to remember the old Pogo cartoon, I can think back to one of his most famous quotes. "I have seen the enemy, and it is US."

I can understand why Cam might not have wanted to get vaccinated given he built up some immunity already by getting sick last year, but he purports to ne a leader and the starting QB on this team and by NOT vaccinating he puts the success of the team at risk by being one positive test away from being out a minimum of 10 days. (though there are probably a lot of Pats fans who would welcome it ;) ) For that reason alone he (and EVERY other player on the team) needs to get vaccinated.

Sorry about this rant, but they closed the thread where I would have posted it.

'
 

DarrylS

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Not to integrate the state of COVID affairs into this season would neglect the realities of the day to day functioning of this or any team. Was this a mistake of BB or the training/medical staff??

Of course Felger was ranting and raving about how Newton should be cut over this most recent faux pas, again I turned off the volume... too much f..ing noise.

PFK I do agree with your D/ST's assessments, but not sure about Nordin.
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
I believe Nordin will go on the practice squad and be stashed there, unless Folk comes in and kicks like he has at times in the past. Nordin's struggles last game will hopefully allow him to make it there.

I am hopeful they will sign Gilmore to a 2 year extension.

Your rant about Covid excludes the current fact that the vaccinated can still catch and spread the disease, plus Cam already had the disease so he is probably more protected than most of the people who have had the shot.
 

borg

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The grouping that will be most vital to the success of the 2021 NE Defense is..........

Suspense Anticipation GIF


.....the NE Offense

A competent offense is any defense's best friend. Winning Time of Possession, improving the field position battle, keeping troops fresh, etc......
For example......

2020 vs 2018 (NE's last competent offense)
2018 NE TOP.......32:00 (2nd in NFL)
2020 NE TOP.......28:57 (23rd)
 

betterthanthealternative

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I believe Nordin will go on the practice squad and be stashed there, unless Folk comes in and kicks like he has at times in the past. Nordin's struggles last game will hopefully allow him to make it there.

I am hopeful they will sign Gilmore to a 2 year extension.

Your rant about Covid excludes the current fact that the vaccinated can still catch and spread the disease, plus Cam already had the disease so he is probably more protected than most of the people who have had the shot.

Just stop this. It is intentional misinformation, misleading, and misplaced.
 

betterthanthealternative

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I've not been worried about Gilmore coming back for the regular season, figuring he was using his all-pro veteran's privilege to get healthy and sort out the contract. That is, until reading this message board. Not sure what to think now.

But with NFL Network ranking both he and Jackson in the top 50 players in the League (!), plus Jones as a top slot guy, plus the qualith and depth at Safety, this is an extraordinary defensive backfield. Even the young depth, the #4 and #5 CB's, are of a quality many teams would envy. Having Mills as a veteran Swiss Army Knife on the bench is a remarkable luxury. And only two of the guys are on the downhill - Gilmore and McCourty. Everyone else is either at peak experience, or learning and getting better.

I hear what you are saying @patfanken about the defense getting on the same page, and the time that will take. The key there is the guys in the middle, the LB's, and with HT, KVN, (now veteran) Bentley, and Judon, that shouldn't take too long. And the first three games are against three of the worst QB's in the League at that point.
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
Just stop this. It is intentional misinformation, misleading, and misplaced.
Which part, that vaccinated can get the disease again, that is proven, that vaccinated can spread the disease, that is proven, that having the disease may or may not be as effective as the shot, ok, I guess, some studies say that is the case some don't.

The vaccination makes the disease less deadly, that is why I had the shot. It doesn't make the disease disappear.
 

Nunchucks

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Which part, that vaccinated can get the disease again, that is proven, that vaccinated can spread the disease, that is proven, that having the disease may or may not be as effective as the shot, ok, I guess, some studies say that is the case some don't.

The vaccination makes the disease less deadly, that is why I had the shot. It doesn't make the disease disappear.
Just to correct the misinformation. Vaccination makes it less likely you will catch covid and less likely to spread it because you won't have it as long.

Of course much less likely to be hospitalized and less likely to die.
 

patfanken

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The Covid rant was just something I had to get off my chest. It was a PERSONAL ran and I really didn't mean for it to be discussed or be a focus of the post. I would REALLY, REALLLY hope that the discussion will focus on talk about the DEFENSE. I want to know what others think about the DL, Gilmores absence, Barmore and Perkins. What about Mills? ETC.
 

203Pat

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Starting to wonder about Gilmore. I did take notice when pretty much every single beat writer said there was nothing to worry about during the summer. Makes me think the team wanted it out there a deal would be done but it doesn't see like it has been as easy as some thought.
 

DropKickFlutie

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
1. Gilmore is pissed about his contract. It will be like last year where he's 'injured' a couple times this year. A bit passive aggressive from Gilmore but I get it. Pats should just pay the guy, elite CB1's don't grow on trees and they have the cap room.

2. Defense looks extremely good with the exception of not having a legit fat guy NT. Will see if the inability to be elite at stopping red zone runs will ultimately hurt or not.
 

50-yard-line

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
The Covid rant was just something I had to get off my chest. It was a PERSONAL ran and I really didn't mean for it to be discussed or be a focus of the post. I would REALLY, REALLLY hope that the discussion will focus on talk about the DEFENSE. I want to know what others think about the DL, Gilmores absence, Barmore and Perkins. What about Mills? ETC.
But it will be. And it will be coming up all year long, particularly since the league put its foot down regarding forfeits and such. Suppose Buffalo is fighting for top seed on the AFC and near the end of the season, Beasley tests positive. Forfeit. How'll that go over, I wonder?

The Pfizer shot has full FDA approval now. The league should just require vaccination for everyone (the could legally do it for fans, as well) working for the NFL.

The Players Association wouldn't fight it in court, because they wouldn't have a chance of winning.
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
Just to correct the misinformation. Vaccination makes it less likely you will catch covid and less likely to spread it because you won't have it as long.

Of course much less likely to be hospitalized and less likely to die.
It doesn't make it much less likely then if you have already had the disease though. And Cam has had the disease supposedly.
 

moosekill

In the Starting Line-Up
But it will be. And it will be coming up all year long, particularly since the league put its foot down regarding forfeits and such. Suppose Buffalo is fighting for top seed on the AFC and near the end of the season, Beasley tests positive. Forfeit. How'll that go over, I wonder?

The Pfizer shot has full FDA approval now. The league should just require vaccination for everyone (the could legally do it for fans, as well) working for the NFL.

The Players Association wouldn't fight it in court, because they wouldn't have a chance of winning.
I would imagine it comes down to the language in the contract. I have friends at large companies who are all being required to get the vaccination or they will be terminated. So it wouldn't be anything other than a contract thing.
 

n6249c

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It doesn't make it much less likely then if you have already had the disease though. And Cam has had the disease supposedly.
Is the science clear on that? My impression is that it’s not, but I haven’t studied it closely. Do you have any references I could go study, please?
 

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