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Ways to improve a team

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Sicilian, Mar 12, 2014.

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  1. Sicilian

    Sicilian Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    Just some perspective to clear my own head this morning. Take from it what you will. Disclaimer though: I'm NOT saying that each of these things should be 100% expected to happen. Just that these are all viable ways that a team could improve from one year to the next:

    Free Agency/Trades

    I'll get this one out of the way, since it's the hot topic. Adding veteran talent to areas of need is the quickest and sexiest way to go about it. You have a better indication of what this player is than, say, a draftee, and can target those you feel would fit your team better. There are risks though: Free agents cost more money for what you get, and there's always the risk that a change of environment may not translate their skills. There's also the occasional case of a player getting their big payday and losing the drive that earned them the money in the first place.

    Draft

    This is the opposite really. Rookies are the biggest unknowns, most don't work out. But, if you're drafting roughly 7 kids (and adding X number of UDFA), most years you're going to get at least ONE player who impacts your team in year one. Last year was a slower year for the Pats, though Collins, Dobson, Thompkins, and Ryan all contributed at various parts of the season. I expect at least one rookie this year to earn a starting spot come playoff time, just playing the odds.

    Young Player Improvement

    Not as unpredictable as the draft, but still nothing certain. Any player entering his 2nd or 3rd year could be reasonably expected to improve. How much is the question, and some players do regress, but the following players are all capable of being better than they were in 2013:

    Chandler Jones
    Donta Hightower
    Tavon Wilson (doubtful he'd make any impact, even with improvement)
    Logan Ryan
    Duron Harmon
    Jamie Collins
    Aaron Dobson
    Josh Boyce
    Chris Jones
    Alfonso Dennard
    Nate Solder

    Eleven players who all have the ability to add talent to the team, just by learning the NFL more.

    Consistency

    This is another one that may work against the Patriots this year. The longer a unit plays together, the better it tends to be (all other things being relatively equal of course). Losing Talib means the secondary loses a little bit of that consistency, though it's not like they didn't have experience playing without him last year.

    Losing Edelman might have a bigger impact, just because of his chemistry with Brady. If he's kept though, the consistency of roster should be relatively good. Not including potential moves like having to cut Wilfork, etc.


    Anyway, I guess my point is, we all want to see the team take every avenue it can to make the team better. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking because they haven't made the big free agent moves (yet), that they're going to be the same team they were last year. There's plenty of ways for them to get better (and I didn't even mention health), no reason to concede the season before it begins.
     
  2. Brady6

    Brady6 Pro Bowl Player

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    If they make these moves they are significantly better than 2013 –

    Restructure/Extend –

    - Wilfork
    - Gostkowski
    - McCourty

    Resign –

    - Edelman
    - Blount
    - Fletcher
    - Svitek

    Sign/Acquire –

    - Revis
    - LaFell
    - Sanders
    - Chandler
    - Dietrich-Smith
    - Allen or Peppers
    - Tillman (plays safety)
    - Browner (1-year contract)
    - Woodward

    Then draft well, maybe trade Mallett for a pick and this team is the Super Bowl favorite.
     
  3. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think Shmessy pointed out in another thread that an NFL team is "53 moving pieces" and I agree.

    Right now there is a lot of panic, but it is still one day and there are many more to come before September. In between, the roster will not remain fixed. We know the roster is fluid (seemingly perpetually so) and will look different opening day than it does right now (and how many tweaks and changes will it undergo between now and then?).

    The first day of free agency was frustrating for a lot of fans due to the inactivity and the loss of Talib. Only time will tell if this comes back to haunt the team in 2014 or if the "moving pieces" never skip a beat. As you pointed out above, there is more than one way to build a team, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, to borrow an old cliche...
     
  4. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze In the Starting Line-Up

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    there is a lot of ******* panic because it's the same story every offseason after day one and nothing really changes.
     
  5. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Florida Man PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think there is a lot of panic because this team wasn't even in the same hemisphere as the upper echelon in the NFC like the Seahawks and the Niners even with Talib and Edelman. Never mind the fact that the team just let Talib ride off to their #1 competitor for the AFC crown. There might be a plan in place, though, so people right now need to take the wait and see approach. But it is easy to see where the panic is coming from. Our QB will be 37 years old at the start of the season and he, as always, is the team's best shot at a championship but very clearly needs help in order to get over the hump.
     
  6. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    And yet this same story nets the team consistency in terms of wins and division titles for over a decade.

    Seems to me doing something outside the norm should elicit panic, not staying the course, but I digress.

    I suppose there is a faction of Patriots fans who are growing increasingly frustrated by the dry spell since 2004 and want something done differently in the hope a change of off-season philosophy is what is needed...
     
  7. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Florida Man PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This team doesn't win because of excellence at GM when it comes to selecting personnel or spending their money wisely. They win because they have the GOAT at quarterback and GOAT candidate as a HC. The HC is also the GM though and, on the GM side of things, has hurt his team in recent years.
     
  8. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    To be fair, the Seahawks and Fortyniners had the luxury of fielding/finding an effective QB on a cheap, rookie deal while stockpiling upper echelon talent throughout the draft and complimenting this via shrewd free agent signings/trades these last few years.

    It may sound blasphemous, but this is the blueprint I would like to see for the Patriots post-Brady era. Of course, it is easier said than done...
     
  9. Sicilian

    Sicilian Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    I think what's happening a lot too (and I won't claim this on behalf of any specific poster, just in general), is they look at 2007 where the team loaded up in the offseason and came with two minutes of going 19-0. What is often forgotten with that is:

    1) Most of the guys they brought in were either not big name sexy players (Welker, Stallworth, Kyle Brady, etc), or were had at considerable discount due to non-football reasons (Moss). Moss LOOKS like a big splash because of what happened and because he has a big name. But they got him for a 4th round pick and a paycut. Not a long term, big guarantee contract.

    2) The one big free agent move they DID make was Adalius Thomas. He was pretty good that first year, no issues there. But after that it was an injury plagued year, followed by a year where he was so caustic that Belichick almost gave up on the team. Remember the Football Life clip where Belichick is on the sidelines, defeated, saying, "I just can't get this team to play the way they need to play..." Thomas was the ring leader of that group of discontents.

    So yes, in 2007, one big move and a bunch of low risk, high reward moves turned in one almost perfect season. But we STILL didn't win the super bowl, and it hurt us in future years. Signing free agents is good, but it's no guarantee of success, not even close.
     
  10. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    How has he hurt his team in recent years as the GM? We know how they approach roster construction: they like to "win" the lower third of the roster because they know that injuries are part of the deal and they don't want to crash should they suffer some injuries. And yet, the top third of the roster is consistently filled with pro-bowl caliber players.

    Year - #ofPats in Pro Bowl - rank in the NFL in that category
    2010 - 6 - 6th
    2011 - 8 - 2nd
    2012 - 9 - 1st
    2013 - 7 - 3rd

    So in "recent years", the Pats have consistently produced a ton of pro-bowl caliber players. So clearly the top third of the roster is pretty stacked as well. So if they win the bottom third and they are an elite team in the top third, where are they weak?

    In other words, they don't just win because of the QB and HC. They win because they have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the league, year-in and year-out.

    That's why they routinely win 12+ games a year and make the AFCCG regularly.
     
  11. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would add Siliga to the list of youngsters.

    Another way to improve in 2014 is to have less time lost to injury than last year.

     
  12. Sicilian

    Sicilian Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    A good thought, I just wasn't entirely sure what his situation was with previous teams, so didn't know if he qualified. Vellano could be included as well (though I don't expect a big jump from him personally).

    I also considered including Shane Vereen. Even though he's entering his 4th season, he sat out his entire first year. I think I left him off because injury concerns outweigh that factor.
     
  13. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I never mentioned "excellence" in my post. :noidea:

    True, the coach/GM has made some questionable personnel decisions. But he has also made some good ones.

    And I will not argue that having the luxury of HOF coach/QB combo helps (especially when the team is hit hard with injuries like 2013).

    However, I respectfully have to disagree with your reductive reasoning behind the Patriots ability to win...
     
  14. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Florida Man PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not sure how or why you would disagree with that. It's been painfully obvious that those two are the reasons why the team is constantly in the playoffs. But your disagreement is noted.
     
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Siliga is an UDFA in his 3rd year. Yup, Vellano makes 13. You might even add Forston and Kline (and even Cave and Barker). So, these are 17 kids we have now. As you say, we'll add another dozen in the draft and free agency. This could be almost half the roster.

    I expect more from Vereen because I expect him to play more. In any case, IMHO, Vereen is a veteran in his contract year, rather than an improving kid.

     
  16. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I agree. It did hurt the team a bit... this, coupled with the poor drafts in 2008-2009...

    And yes, I remember that clip. The look of resignation on his face was very telling in that scene...
     
  17. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Florida Man PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Where are you getting 7 Pro Bowlers in 2013? I count four: Brady, Mankins, Talib, and Slater. Of that list, one is on there for ST prowess, two were drafted, and the other one is a trade. Not sure how his personnel prowess as a GM during FA has anything to do with that. In all of those Pro Bowl lists, there is one name that is a constant on there: Brady. So using that as a reason pretty much makes my point for me. A GOAT QB can do so much for a franchise in terms of winning year in and year out. It's the reason why the team went from being dreadful in 2000 to the team we see currently on this streak in 2014. The rest of their roster has some good to great ones sprinkled in here and there (Mankins, Gronk, Wilfork [formerly, anyway], Mayo, McCourty) as do a lot of NFL rosters. But I'm not sure how you can say that it's the deepest in the league and the sole reason why the team wins year in and year out, especially when you throw consistent roster turnover into the equation.
     
  18. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    Just that I feel there are more variables at play for winning in the NFL than having an all-time coach/QB combo... They are a big part of it but not the end-all be all IMO for success of the team.

    It's all good, though...
     
  19. TonyTucker

    TonyTucker Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Mankins was a pro-bowler because of his name. He routinely gets his lunch eaten in big playoff games. Slater is a ST (and sadly, their second best playmaker after Gronk).

    Here's a way to improve a team. Kick the ass of your only rival in your conference, and then take one of their only real impact guys.

    Where, exactly, are all of these "stacked" players the Patriots have acquired in recent memory? Is it Chandler Jones and his goose eggs in two playoff games? How about McCourty and his impersonation of Late to the play Willie Clay?
     
  20. sevengables_2207

    sevengables_2207 In the Starting Line-Up

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    You seem to have a very keen understanding of the roster, Tony.

    What would you do to improve this team so that they do not get their asses kicked again when they inevitably meet their only rival?
     
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