Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

    In response to BabeParilli's comment:

     

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

     

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    I see no reason to believe the D will be significantly improved from these offseason moves. Talib was an excellent addition last year and retaining him if he stays healthy should keep the D respectable rather than dismal. He was a key acquisition. I hope BB has added great contributors. I just don't see any reason to think he has at this point.

     




    Please explain how the D last year was "dismal".

     

     


    I didn't say they looked dismal last year troll. I have actually said the addition of Talib was a key in making them not so.

     

     




    Yes, you did. Talib came in halfway through the season, which mean they were still "dismal" for at least half the season.

     



    Obviously if they were not dismal the entire season one could not label them as dismal for the entire season nutcake. Learn to comprehend the language.

     

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to wozzy's comment:

     

    In response to zbellino's comment:

     

    That is BB's mo indeed. It also buys him time to "develop" the kids.

    Adding Amstead and Kelley (especially) does seem to signal that NE might be running more 34 sets than the past few seasons. 

    I guess the question is, you say those additions are tantamount to "reloading." Are Kelley at 32 and the unproven AA real impact players or just filler? Do they improve the interior pass rush (something that has been especially weak compared to the Seymour years) or just give BB the ability to play a different set with equal quality? Or are they just bodies to cycle in and keep people fresh?

     



    Kelly is an instant starter if healthy, should BB decide to start the season running the four man, upfield rush front of the past three years than Kelly can man the position next to Wilfork, if he goes 3/4 Kelly can play end.  With a bunch of young players he may decide to wait on the 3/4 or sit players like Collins until they're ready in favor of Nincovich and others until midseason.

     

    I might be projecting too positively but I think Armstead will start from day one as well if they go 3/4.  He wasn't just average in Canada, he was a man among boys. This guy was a 2nd-3rd round pick as a Jr but didn't get the benefit of a senior season to cement himself as a 1st round talent, I think he did that up north, I have to think BB agrees that's why he was the very first off season move he made.

    D Line will always be in heavy rotation, especially now that the league has switched to more no huddle offense's, having guys like Wilfork who can stay on the field and not get winded will be crucial, but if you have a show of force on early downs with massive D lineman and overwhelming pass rush linebackers behind them, offense's will have a harder time staying on the field.

    I've stated for a long time that the Patriot defense hasn't suffered from "bad coverage" or "lack of edge rushers" for years now as was contended here and in the local media, that the issue started in the middle, I'm glad we've gotten around to fixing it, this defense has been a slow rebuild, hopefully we should have 2-3 years now of powerful offense and defense to finish out Tommy terrific's career.

     



    I totally agree. Though I think they were suffering from bad coverage as well, though it's improved. 

     

    But the "interior rush" is a huge, huge overlooked issue. People want to see edge rushers because they put up flashy numbers and have explosive highlight shots. But the most proficient defenses in the NFL at pass rushing generate high pressure, not neceessarily high sacks (though one tends to come with the other). 

    NE's dynasty was built on this sort of pass rush, and as recent years demonstrate, it's not going out of style. 

    TK as a starter ... I agree, but partly becase the quality he is facing in camp is not very high.  Partly because I like his game. The only thing I don't like is that it's sort of late in his career. I would have been ecstatic about TK two years ago. 

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:



    Obviously if they were not dismal the entire season one could not label them as dismal for the entire season nutcake. Learn to comprehend the language.

     

     




    They weren't dismal in 2011 either.  They were thinned out and flawed, but far from "dismal".

     

    You used the word "dismal" where you should have used a different word. Don't try to backpedal now, Mr. Troll Sneak.


    I'll stick with my choice of words crackpot.

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    I think Armstead's strength is his quickness more than power.  I don't know about his ability to hold blockers as a two-gap 3-4 DE.  In the CFL, the lines play in more space because the DL has to line up one yard off the LOS and the formations tend to be spread too.  So Armstead wasn't nose-to-nose in the trenches as much as he'll be in the NFL.  We'll have to see how his skills translate.

    He was good, but mostly what I saw was a quick first step and good penetration.  More 4-3 skills than 3-4, I think.

     

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    If you look at it by unit, I think the improvements in the secondary were largely made last year, with the emergence of Dennard, the acquisition of Talib, and the move of McCourty to safety.  I think that unit continues to improve with a year of experience playing together, plus a bit more competition at the second safety and fifth and sixth DB slots.  

    At LB, Hightower should benefit from a year of experience.  I think Collins potentially improves the unit significantly if he can cover well and also rush from the LB slot, plus hold the edge against the run.  If he's a sub LB he helps a bit.  But if he's a truly versatile guy with great athleticism in the passing game (both rushing and covering) and also good against the run so he can be a three down player, I think he could be the piece that transforms our LB unit from good to excellent.  He also may give us a linebacking group that can work in either 4-3 or 3-4.

    At DE, I expect Jones to improve significantly with a year of experience, and expect him to improve our pass rush. Nink probably still plays the other DE spot (at least in 4-3), but I think Francis will continue to improve and may push him a bit on the outside as well as play a role inside on passing downs.  Kelly adds another decent big body at DT, Armstead has some potential to be an inside pass rusher or maybe a 3-4 DE (if he's good enough for the NFL) .  Still the DL is probably an area where another guy like Abraham would help on the edge and another DT would be nice too.  Not sure if this line is a great one for a 3-4 (not enough big guys) so I still expect more 4-3 this year, but we may see a lot of 2-5 type sub packages anyway. 

    Overall, I anticipate some improvement this year--not a complete transformation, but steady improvement building on last year's changes in the secondary, the continued development of last year's rookies, and the new acquisitions made this year.

     

     



    Solid post man.

    I also think Ne will keep using a base 4 man front, though I think we will see some more three man fronts mixed in. 

    And yeah, I'm axcited about Jones. He is a real talent. Hightower. I loved him coming out. He got caught dogging it on a few plays last season, and was called out on the globe. But he is a great athlete, I would love him to be for this defense what he was for Saban's Crimson Tide. 

    Improvement. Care to quantify it? 30th, to 31st, to 29th? You obviously aren't calling for a sea-change, so is this the season NE can crack the top 15 pass defense? Or do you mean even more incremental ... something closer to getting out of the bottom 10 or 5?

    The big questions to me remaining are:

    1.) The depth at CB. Banking on improvement from Dennard, and maintanance by Talib, if one of them goes down Ne really has trash backing them up. Arrington is decent in the slot, but it's been demonstrated before, he is a bad LCB/RCB. 

    2.) Finally finding a functional Safety to play beside DMC (it's been an unmitigated nightmare outside of some solid box play by the oft injured Chung). I'm not talking about someone who can play the big nickel, though that is always something NE needs. But another guy who isn't a nightmare in the deeper quadrants. It's frustrating that NE spends so much time in soft-zone and off-man, two deep ... but still were dead last in 20+ yard passes allowed last season, and 19th in 40+ yard passes.  

    3.) Augmenting the pass rush come he-11 or high water (something that has really lingered as a sore spot for what is almost the better part of a decade at this point) wether through development [Jones taking another step, Collins coming on quick] or FA [TK, AA, or even Abraham]. Whether you think like Wozzy (I tend to do so) that the interior is what's has been missing (Gerard Warren, really?) or you think simply adding a dash of Abraham works it all out, it's something they need to improve on, especially in how it can help the back end of the defense ... the linebackers in particular, who are often basically twisting in the wind, sorting through trash, or being forced to cover underneath routes longer than LBers should.

    I'm tired of hearing people trash Mayo, Spikes, etc, because they don't compare to Bruschi/Johnson when that latter two basically ran around unimpeded behind a terrific front-five of Seymour Washington/Wilfork, Warren, Vrabel, and McGinest. The best (really the best) NE has offered recently to compete with that is Wilfork, Jones, Ninkovich, Love/Deaderick. It's not even a comparison.    

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    I think Armstead's strength is his quickness more than power.  I don't know about his ability to hold blockers as a two-gap 3-4 DE.  In the CFL, the lines play in more space because the DL has to line up one yard off the LOS and the formations tend to be spread too.  So Armstead wasn't nose-to-nose in the trenches as much as he'll be in the NFL.  We'll have to see how his skills translate.

    He was good, but mostly what I saw was a quick first step and good penetration.  More 4-3 skills than 3-4, I think.

     




    I agree. Even on his highlights this seems the case, but that was his dexcription from scouts. It's not that he is overpowering, but for 6'5" 298 ... he is one quick cat, with quick hands to boot. 

    Again, interesting prospect for sure. I tend to be pretty mellow about FA additions, and UDFAs and draft picks, but I understand why people are jazzed about the possibilities he represents. 

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    Also, going to add this.

    People really overlook Armstead as a 4-3 END. I think he has utility there. A lot of teams have used larger players on the edge in 43 lineups. I could see them coming out with something like Jones, VW, TK, AA. It certainly would give you solid edges.

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

    In response to BabeParilli's comment:

     

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

     



    Obviously if they were not dismal the entire season one could not label them as dismal for the entire season nutcake. Learn to comprehend the language.

     

     




    They weren't dismal in 2011 either.  They were thinned out and flawed, but far from "dismal".

     

    You used the word "dismal" where you should have used a different word. Don't try to backpedal now, Mr. Troll Sneak.

     

     


    I'll stick with my choice of words crackpot.

     



    Back your premise. Break down how and why they were "dismal".

     




    I and numerous others have done this over and over for you meathead. Not wasting my time explaining the obvious to a wack job anymore. I've wasted 2 years doing that.

     

     

     

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

    http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/03/14/for-patriots-losing-wes-welker-isn-important-gaining-something-defense/MypxYv4hWbj0xIPFT6XDMN/story.html

    A lot of this pre-draft piece rings true. I'm not sure that WR is as hunky dory (or irrelevant) as Gasper paints it to be here, but regardless, his major point is about addressing a pass defense that has faltered at some key points, is in an offseason on the heels of allowing 56 points in two playoff games, and has held a bottom 4 ranking for three seasons running. 

    They have re-locked Talib and Arrington to bring continuity. They added Tommy Kelley. They added the extremely athletic Jaime Collins via the draft. And veteran near-HOFer Adrian Wilson -- who is a question mark in some ways given his reduced role last season and age. 

    The question I have, now that the draft is over, and the major FA signing period is done, is has NE done enough to improve on defense this off-season?

    Would adding Abraham change your answer?




    I think we are still a year of experience and a couple of players away from being a stout top10 defense. There has been a steady improvement over the last 3-4 years in raw talent, and over the last year it is apparent that they have played more as a team. I would like to see a couple of smart veterans added to the team, and Abraham fits that bill. In both tackles and sacks, he has been very consistent over the last 12 years. The only issue is whether the 2-3 years he would give the Patriots in leadership, mentoring and a diminishing personal role is worth the bucks he would command. My guess is that his return on invested cap does not meet the Patriots' hurdle rate.

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

    There is no question Kelly can play and play well. He's basically Gerard Warren in 2010 but with a pass rush down the middle.  That's the difference in those two and their skill sets. So, we need pash rush upgrade from Love or Deaderick in the 4-3 DT spot, so you get it right there.

    He also has multiple years in the 3-4 at DE. So did Warren. Bonus. 

    I don't know why people keep saying the Wilson and Kelly adds are unknown adds.  Seymour got hurt last year, only playing 6 games. This meant Kelly would be the slam dunk choice to be doubled all the time, which he pretty much had been for most of 2011 when he had 7.5 sacks on a bad D from a 4-3 DT spot. That's impressive production for a guy playing on a crappy team with nary a chance at a sniff at a SB ring.  Go look at how many DTs in the 4-3 get almost 8 sacks in a season. You won't find many.

    Wilfork>Seymour.  Do the math, please.

    Plop him down here next to Vince and are you kidding me? 

    Go ask a knowledgeable Raiders fan. Seriously.  Tommy Kelly was better than Seymour on that team since 2011.

    Seymour played for his last deal at 14 mil, raped the Raiders and then got lazy again.

    As for Armstead, word around the building per Zolak is the guy looks like a beast. I am not sure if this in the weight room or sort mini drills or what the scoop is, but they like the upside there.

    Would not be shocked if he and Kelly are the 4-3 DT guys as a duo similar to how BB used Wilfork in 2003 with Ted Washington and then later Keith Traylor.

    When using the 4-3, whoever is the better fit, with possibly the older Kelly as the subrusher on 3rds/passing downs, with Armstead being that 3-4 DE and 4-3 DT "project", if you will.

    It's fair to say we don't know on a guy who played in the CFL, but Kelly has to be hungry at this point after 10 years in the crap hole in Oakland.  Why do you think Wilson and Kelly didn't even talk to any other team?  They may have had suitors, in fact I know they did, but why do you think they didn't shop themselves? They WANT to be here.

    Keep in mind, Kelly was UNDRAFTED, which means he busted his tail and earned every penny to get what he had.  He'll fit in very well here with Adrian Wilson, two guys who would love a sniff at another ring.

    I can always tells who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't. I get Oakland and Arizona were bad teams and it's unlikely to watch, but it's somewhat annoying for people to look at the age of a player and just assume that means they have little in the tank.

    Houston just paid Ed Reed 6 mil and he just had hip surgery. Good luck!

     




    After I read your comment saying Kelly was essentially Gerrad Warren but with a pass rush down the middle I knew enough not to read another line.

    THose two players are about as FAR apart as you can get and still be DTs. Your comment was just plain ignorant. You can twist your own words in the wind to justify but please, what a LAME thing to say. It would be like saying Vereen is essentially Jerome Bettis but with speed to the outside.

    If you cannot even stay within the realm of ... of.... of sanity then why post?

     

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

    In response to zbellino's comment:

     

    In response to anonymis' comment:

     

    just need depth at the DE/OLB position. Abraham is an option. Need more competition...

     



    So, you think the pass rush was fine coming in (15th ranked)? Or you think Kelley, Collins, et al, answers any deficiencies?

     

     




    Any particular reason why you are ignoring my first post? lmao

     

    You seem to do this when it appears you don't think things through and I sort of challenge your premise.

    Here's a question for you with reagrds to Abraham coming in here or not:

    Do you think with BB not drafting a DT in a deep DT draft, and drafting two rangy looking 4-3 DEs, but one guy who actually started asa a Safety and has college 3-4 OLB experience with high character (both parents died when he was 6), that BB is staying primarily with a 4-3 where Abraham plays?

     



    I just cant read some of your posts when you make some .. well, stupid remarks. And you are asking someone here why they have not responded to you? Maybe it would take a lifetime considering comments like KELLY IS ESSENTIALLY GERRARD WARREN. P -u -l ease...

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

     

     

     



    Solid post man.

    Thanks Z. 

     

    I also think Ne will keep using a base 4 man front, though I think we will see some more three man fronts mixed in. 

    And yeah, I'm axcited about Jones. He is a real talent. Hightower. I loved him coming out. He got caught dogging it on a few plays last season, and was called out on the globe. But he is a great athlete, I would love him to be for this defense what he was for Saban's Crimson Tide. 

    Improvement. Care to quantify it? 30th, to 31st, to 29th? You obviously aren't calling for a sea-change, so is this the season NE can crack the top 15 pass defense? Or do you mean even more incremental ... something closer to getting out of the bottom 10 or 5?

    So hard to tell without seeing the guys play.  I guess the secondary--barring injury or a sophmore slump from Dennard--is now good enough to be a mid pack group.  But overall improvement in pass D will really depend on pass rush and LB coverage too (which I thought was weak last year).  Let's say Collins is a real surprise who can start right away and is excellent in the passing game, Hightower improves a lot too, and Jones, Kelly, Armstead, and Francis all boost the pass rush from the line.  Then I could definitely see us going up to 12 or 15.  More tempered expectations, though, would be somewhere between 15 and 20.  Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I do see this defense as now much better than last in the league.  I see it as at least 20th and maybe well above that if everything goes well.

    The big questions to me remaining are:

    1.) The depth at CB. Banking on improvement from Dennard, and maintanance by Talib, if one of them goes down Ne really has trash backing them up. Arrington is decent in the slot, but it's been demonstrated before, he is a bad LCB/RCB. 

    Totally agree here. An injury or a sophmore slump from Dennard creates real risk.  I'm hoping Ryan or Dowling give us a third corner who can play outside.  Cole and Arrington aren't good there. 

    2.) Finally finding a functional Safety to play beside DMC (it's been an unmitigated nightmare outside of some solid box play by the oft injured Chung). I'm not talking about someone who can play the big nickel, though that is always something NE needs. But another guy who isn't a nightmare in the deeper quadrants. It's frustrating that NE spends so much time in soft-zone and off-man, two deep ... but still were dead last in 20+ yard passes allowed last season, and 19th in 40+ yard passes.  

    Agree here too.  We've got a bunch of in-the-box type safeties, but nobody whose a clear deep guy besides McCourty.  This will be interesting to watch in camp.  Maybe someone will develop or we may see another veteran brought in. If not,  we may need to use more five and six DB formations to get enough cover guys on the field. At least we've got a lot of good run defenders up front so switching out one LB or DL for a DB shouldn't hurt our run D too much, but does it hurt the pass rush by removing a guy who might otherwise be focused upfield?

    3.) Augmenting the pass rush come he-11 or high water (something that has really lingered as a sore spot for what is almost the better part of a decade at this point) wether through development [Jones taking another step, Collins coming on quick] or FA [TK, AA, or even Abraham]. Whether you think like Wozzy (I tend to do so) that the interior is what's has been missing (Gerard Warren, really?) or you think simply adding a dash of Abraham works it all out, it's something they need to improve on, especially in how it can help the back end of the defense ... the linebackers in particular, who are often basically twisting in the wind, sorting through trash, or being forced to cover underneath routes longer than LBers should.

    I think interior rush (from the tackles) is most critical, though I'd like to see more from their ends and LBs too.  It's just not very dynamic now.  I'd love to see a LB blast through now and then.  Or a DB--but I guess we can't risk taking any of those guys out of coverage!

    I'm tired of hearing people trash Mayo, Spikes, etc, because they don't compare to Bruschi/Johnson when that latter two basically ran around unimpeded behind a terrific front-five of Seymour Washington/Wilfork, Warren, Vrabel, and McGinest. The best (really the best) NE has offered recently to compete with that is Wilfork, Jones, Ninkovich, Love/Deaderick. It's not even a comparison.    

    Yep.  The LBs honestly are probably the least to blame, particularly last year.

     




     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

    Also, going to add this.

    People really overlook Armstead as a 4-3 END. I think he has utility there. A lot of teams have used larger players on the edge in 43 lineups. I could see them coming out with something like Jones, VW, TK, AA. It certainly would give you solid edges.



    Yeah, great point.  That's actually what I think BB might do. Also, watch Armstead in pursuit in the open field. Sometimes he looks like a big LB. 

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to BassFishingII's comment:

    There is no question Kelly can play and play well. He's basically Gerard Warren in 2010 but with a pass rush down the middle.  That's the difference in those two and their skill sets. So, we need pash rush upgrade from Love or Deaderick in the 4-3 DT spot, so you get it right there.

    He also has multiple years in the 3-4 at DE. So did Warren. Bonus. 

    I don't know why people keep saying the Wilson and Kelly adds are unknown adds.  Seymour got hurt last year, only playing 6 games. This meant Kelly would be the slam dunk choice to be doubled all the time, which he pretty much had been for most of 2011 when he had 7.5 sacks on a bad D from a 4-3 DT spot. That's impressive production for a guy playing on a crappy team with nary a chance at a sniff at a SB ring.  Go look at how many DTs in the 4-3 get almost 8 sacks in a season. You won't find many.

    Wilfork>Seymour.  Do the math, please.

    Plop him down here next to Vince and are you kidding me? 

    Go ask a knowledgeable Raiders fan. Seriously.  Tommy Kelly was better than Seymour on that team since 2011.

    Seymour played for his last deal at 14 mil, raped the Raiders and then got lazy again.

    As for Armstead, word around the building per Zolak is the guy looks like a beast. I am not sure if this in the weight room or sort mini drills or what the scoop is, but they like the upside there.

    Would not be shocked if he and Kelly are the 4-3 DT guys as a duo similar to how BB used Wilfork in 2003 with Ted Washington and then later Keith Traylor.

    When using the 4-3, whoever is the better fit, with possibly the older Kelly as the subrusher on 3rds/passing downs, with Armstead being that 3-4 DE and 4-3 DT "project", if you will.

    It's fair to say we don't know on a guy who played in the CFL, but Kelly has to be hungry at this point after 10 years in the crap hole in Oakland.  Why do you think Wilson and Kelly didn't even talk to any other team?  They may have had suitors, in fact I know they did, but why do you think they didn't shop themselves? They WANT to be here.

    Keep in mind, Kelly was UNDRAFTED, which means he busted his tail and earned every penny to get what he had.  He'll fit in very well here with Adrian Wilson, two guys who would love a sniff at another ring.

    I can always tells who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't. I get Oakland and Arizona were bad teams and it's unlikely to watch, but it's somewhat annoying for people to look at the age of a player and just assume that means they have little in the tank.

    Houston just paid Ed Reed 6 mil and he just had hip surgery. Good luck!

     



    I think you underestimate what age can do to older players in the NFL...it's a gamble - so two of the biggest free agent signings we had were gambles. Now every player every year is a gamble, but when you are going to be counting on these guys I would of liked them to be younger. Age does matter. 

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

    Also, going to add this.

    People really overlook Armstead as a 4-3 END. I think he has utility there. A lot of teams have used larger players on the edge in 43 lineups. I could see them coming out with something like Jones, VW, TK, AA. It certainly would give you solid edges.



    That combo would seem to be a really good front 4, I hope AA can be a good DE. 

    Stout against the run and they all should really be able to get after QBs

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to mthurl's comment:



    I think you underestimate what age can do to older players in the NFL...it's a gamble - so two of the biggest free agent signings we had were gambles. Now every player every year is a gamble, but when you are going to be counting on these guys I would of liked them to be younger. Age does matter. 

     



    This is what BB has been doing for a while now. Sign a few over the hill vets for cheap and draft some warm bodies toward the same need. Why?

    Because the resources spread out like that aren't apt to garner much criticism if they fail while focusing the same resources into a single draft pick or FA will be a major crapstorm if they fail.

    Trade down, sign a bunch of cheap old vets = safer from negative scrutiny. It probably won't put an outstanding team around your GOAT QB, but it will keep your legacy intact.

     

     
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    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    In response to zbellino's comment:

     

     

     

     



    Solid post man.

    Thanks Z. 

     

    I also think Ne will keep using a base 4 man front, though I think we will see some more three man fronts mixed in. 

    And yeah, I'm axcited about Jones. He is a real talent. Hightower. I loved him coming out. He got caught dogging it on a few plays last season, and was called out on the globe. But he is a great athlete, I would love him to be for this defense what he was for Saban's Crimson Tide. 

    Improvement. Care to quantify it? 30th, to 31st, to 29th? You obviously aren't calling for a sea-change, so is this the season NE can crack the top 15 pass defense? Or do you mean even more incremental ... something closer to getting out of the bottom 10 or 5?

    So hard to tell without seeing the guys play.  I guess the secondary--barring injury or a sophmore slump from Dennard--is now good enough to be a mid pack group.  But overall improvement in pass D will really depend on pass rush and LB coverage too (which I thought was weak last year).  Let's say Collins is a real surprise who can start right away and is excellent in the passing game, Hightower improves a lot too, and Jones, Kelly, Armstead, and Francis all boost the pass rush from the line.  Then I could definitely see us going up to 12 or 15.  More tempered expectations, though, would be somewhere between 15 and 20.  Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but I do see this defense as now much better than last in the league.  I see it as at least 20th and maybe well above that if everything goes well.

    The big questions to me remaining are:

    1.) The depth at CB. Banking on improvement from Dennard, and maintanance by Talib, if one of them goes down Ne really has trash backing them up. Arrington is decent in the slot, but it's been demonstrated before, he is a bad LCB/RCB. 

    Totally agree here. An injury or a sophmore slump from Dennard creates real risk.  I'm hoping Ryan or Dowling give us a third corner who can play outside.  Cole and Arrington aren't good there. 

    2.) Finally finding a functional Safety to play beside DMC (it's been an unmitigated nightmare outside of some solid box play by the oft injured Chung). I'm not talking about someone who can play the big nickel, though that is always something NE needs. But another guy who isn't a nightmare in the deeper quadrants. It's frustrating that NE spends so much time in soft-zone and off-man, two deep ... but still were dead last in 20+ yard passes allowed last season, and 19th in 40+ yard passes.  

    Agree here too.  We've got a bunch of in-the-box type safeties, but nobody whose a clear deep guy besides McCourty.  This will be interesting to watch in camp.  Maybe someone will develop or we may see another veteran brought in. If not,  we may need to use more five and six DB formations to get enough cover guys on the field. At least we've got a lot of good run defenders up front so switching out one LB or DL for a DB shouldn't hurt our run D too much, but does it hurt the pass rush by removing a guy who might otherwise be focused upfield?

    3.) Augmenting the pass rush come he-11 or high water (something that has really lingered as a sore spot for what is almost the better part of a decade at this point) wether through development [Jones taking another step, Collins coming on quick] or FA [TK, AA, or even Abraham]. Whether you think like Wozzy (I tend to do so) that the interior is what's has been missing (Gerard Warren, really?) or you think simply adding a dash of Abraham works it all out, it's something they need to improve on, especially in how it can help the back end of the defense ... the linebackers in particular, who are often basically twisting in the wind, sorting through trash, or being forced to cover underneath routes longer than LBers should.

    I think interior rush (from the tackles) is most critical, though I'd like to see more from their ends and LBs too.  It's just not very dynamic now.  I'd love to see a LB blast through now and then.  Or a DB--but I guess we can't risk taking any of those guys out of coverage!

    I'm tired of hearing people trash Mayo, Spikes, etc, because they don't compare to Bruschi/Johnson when that latter two basically ran around unimpeded behind a terrific front-five of Seymour Washington/Wilfork, Warren, Vrabel, and McGinest. The best (really the best) NE has offered recently to compete with that is Wilfork, Jones, Ninkovich, Love/Deaderick. It's not even a comparison.    

    Yep.  The LBs honestly are probably the least to blame, particularly last year.

     

    Interesting. 

    Let's say you bring it up to 15th, just the pass defense. That would net you about 4 saved touchdowns, and for a lark figure, let's say 4 FGs. That's about 3 points a game. Without even getting into the clock time saved (which means more time for your offense to score) that would bring the defense into the top five in total points allowed.

    That is a lot of ifs you posted to get them there. But it stands to reason, a big win on the inside pass rush would go a lot farther to that effect than most other improvements.  

    Also ... wouldn't it be amazing to get *something* from Ras-I??? I basically count him as a non-factor until he can at least stay upright for a few games. 

    Last, check out the BB Clinic thread I started. This new poster Neimd really just blew the doors off of a question I was posing about why BB would allow his new partner in crime Schiano open access to the Pats' staff model. Really interesting thread now. 

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Gasper pre-draft: Have Pats improved their D?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

    In response to anonymis' comment:

     

    just need depth at the DE/OLB position. Abraham is an option. Need more competition...

     



    So, you think the pass rush was fine coming in (15th ranked)? Or you think Kelley, Collins, et al, answers any deficiencies?

     




    I dunno.  I think the defense needs to get back into top 5 in pts. against, between 10-15 in passing yards against, top 5 in red zone defense.

     

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