LB Versatility & Deployment

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    LB Versatility & Deployment


    It seems we are stacked at the LB position with a mix of veteran proven players and 1st and 2nd year unproven players. What was once considered a weakness, may not necessarily be so entering the 2010 season. 

    I will not go out on a limb as to say Crable, Cunningham, Spikes or McKenzie will all contribute and be All-pro. What i am simply saying is we have on paper, a deep, diverse and talented LB corp, both inside and outside with potential if all stay healthy.

    I think the ILB spot is the strongest entering OTA's. With Mayo, Spikes, Guyton and McKenzie, this group should be set to play in our base 3-4, 4-3 or nickel/dime sets. The question around who starts is an interesting one. Mayo I think is a given.
    Who starts next to Mayo come opening day? Spikes or McKenzie? assuming we line up in our 3-4. 

    Furthermore, if Spikes and McKenzie are both talents, how could we insure each get a large number of snaps? Is there a possibility the Pats have something in store for McKenzie, moving him outside, or possibly even moving Mayo outside to let Spikes and McKenzie play inside? 

    Given the current roster of LB talent, what 4 (2 ILB, 2 OLB) give us the best chance to win? Given the versatility in the group, could we see a more creative use of the LB corps, moving guys around like Mayo & McKenzie, and possibly even using 5 at any given time? 

    Anyone want to take a stab at the above? I think this group is the most exciting I've seen going into OTA's and training camp that I can remember in past few years.




     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ewhite1065. Show ewhite1065's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    In Response to LB Versatility & Deployment:
    It seems we are stacked at the LB position with a mix of veteran proven players and 1st and 2nd year unproven players. What was once considered a weakness, may not necessarily be so entering the 2010 season.  I will not go out on a limb as to say Crable, Cunningham, Spikes or McKenzie will all contribute and be All-pro. What i am simply saying is we have on paper, a deep, diverse and talented LB corp, both inside and outside with potential if all stay healthy. I think the ILB spot is the strongest entering OTA's. With Mayo, Spikes, Guyton and McKenzie, this group should be set to play in our base 3-4, 4-3 or nickel/dime sets. The question around who starts is an interesting one. Mayo I think is a given. Who starts next to Mayo come opening day? Spikes or McKenzie? assuming we line up in our 3-4.  Furthermore, if Spikes and McKenzie are both talents, how could we insure each get a large number of snaps? Is there a possibility the Pats have something in store for McKenzie, moving him outside, or possibly even moving Mayo outside to let Spikes and McKenzie play inside?  Given the current roster of LB talent, what 4 (2 ILB, 2 OLB) give us the best chance to win? Given the versatility in the group, could we see a more creative use of the LB corps, moving guys around like Mayo & McKenzie, and possibly even using 5 at any given time?  Anyone want to take a stab at the above? I think this group is the most exciting I've seen going into OTA's and training camp that I can remember in past few years.
    Posted by PatsLifer


    Let's hope this actually turns out to be a problem. I like Spikes. He's got good speed and a motor that won't quit. I can't wait for preseason to see who is really shining at the other inside spot. You never know what Belichick is capable of. Look what he did last year when we were down and out at the D-line position. In passing situations maybe you bring in the extra LB to blitz instead of bringing in the extra back. It's all hypothetical because we don't know who is actually going to be good but BB will figure out a way to get the most talented guys on the field as much as possible.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ronk1. Show ronk1's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    whaaat???? Mayo had a down season last year. Was it injuries? Maybe, maybe not. Guyton was barely average at best at the ILB spot last season, and seems to be woefully misplaced inside in a 3/4. He screams out as a weakside OLB in a classic 4/3. Cunnigham, Spikes and Mckenzie are rookies, and rookies (Mayo aside) have not fared well in this defense. Crable? Will he make the team? If he does, same comment on the other 3 as he is a rookie.
    I think this is the achilles heel of the team, and if they don't get a rush from the PLB surely the DB's will be exposed again.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from MordecaiBloodmoon. Show MordecaiBloodmoon's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    ronk, I think the point that was trying to be made is we have HUGE potential at ILB, yes it is all on paper and not in games yet, but I do see it.  Will there be growing pains, heck yeah.  Will we see flashes at times and huge mistakes others? yes.  But they will improve, learn, and make a better D.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment


    Yes, Mord is correct. I'm stating the obvious by saying the LB corps looks great on paper and has potential..on paper that is...I think this group will produce and produce at a high level this year. I am counting on Mayo for big things. 3rd year in the system, he is going to be looking like his old self..you know Ronk, the one that one the DROY award? Last year was a blemish due to injury. he is back and paired with real ILB talent in McKenzie and Spikes. That will elevate Mayo's game and allow him to be the playmaker in the middle we drafted him to be.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say both McKenzie and Spikes have good not great years. Solid. McKenzie I am most excited about. He was a tackling machine in college and plays downhill like Spikes but with better speed. 

    I think Crable will make it through the season healthy and play primiarily as a rusher on 3rd down. I think Cunningham has the biggest challenge transitioning, and we see him sparingly, but at times as a 4-3 DE and OLB in our 3-4. Guyton finds a place and stays, playing primarily on 3rd down inside in our nickel/dime.

    The important point here is if everyone is healthy and plays to their ability / what is on paper, these guys can be a fearsome unit. There is verstaility in style of play, speed, power and quickness. I am high on this group going into the season and should be the best group of LB's we fielded in a long, long time. 




     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from garytx. Show garytx's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    I have to agree.  The LB corp can be mixed to match up against any opponent.  Lot's of versatility.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from sportsbozo1. Show sportsbozo1's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    I think everyone will be surprised by Gary Guyton's role on this team,I have a sneaky suspicion that BB has finally found his Hybrid Safety/ILB/OLB,he tried to make Tank Williams into that guy a few years back and i really think that Guyton fits the bill to a tee. As for the ILB's who start itgoing to be a battle to see who gets the slot next to Mayo,my guess is this will be the biggest battle for a position this pre-season.... Also if the Patriots get real lucky Crable will finally show up and stay healthy long enough to see if he really has the projected skills they thought he had when they drafted him.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from spone2. Show spone2's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    I like McKenzie. I agree we can bounce him around on the end.  I am rooting for Crable.  He really can be a difference maker coming off the edge.  If we can only see him play.  Has a lot of potential.
    With Burgess, Banta-Cain long shot Ninkovich to blitz the QB. Hopefully if healthy, the LB can be a blitzing unit! Silmilar to what Bill taught all those years ago with the Giants!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Supernova13. Show Supernova13's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    The following is who I believe gives us the best chance to succeed.
    OLB-TBC
    ILB-Jerod Mayo
    ILB-Brandon Spikes
    OLB-Shawn Crable (depending on health and lack of rustiness from time off)

    I also think McKenzie will log a lot of snaps, as he seems to be a player who will work hard and quietly do what needs to  be done. His neck is so thick, kinda reminds me of Ted Johnson. Burgess came on strong at the end of last year. He could start over Crable, depending on how rusty Crable is, which is probably a lot. I could see Burgess playing like TBC did last year. Cunningham will see some time, enough to leave an impact and get acclimated to the system and game speed. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment


    Maritime,

    I agree. We can't have a LB discussion without mentioning TBC and Burgess. Truth be told, they are most likely our starters come opening day, but I got to route for Crable and Cunningham to give them some competition and inject some speed and youth at the position. TBC and Burgess just don't strike me as hungry, angry players. Neither does Crable, but Cunningham does. 

    I also think we'll see a healthy 3 man rotation at ILB with Mayo, Spikes and McKenzie. That is a solid group. Guyton is the mystery. He's not really an ILB or a 3-4 OLB. More of a guy like sportsbozo above said could morph into that hybrid LB/Safety role. I know BB always wanted this hybrid, but what we have seen to date has been a safety morphing into a small LB, not a LB into a SS. But anything is possible. 

    He certainly has the speed of a safety, just not sure about his quickness or ability to turn his hips and run like a safety. But as One if by Sea said, Guyton is a good match up against TE's. He would struggle against WR's unless you bring him down to the line, nose to nose with one, and ask him to jam the hell out of one so he can't release. OR, just blow the WR off the line of scrimmage with sheer power and sit on top of him. I think he could do this against the big WR's in the league like Marshall and Boldin. Just don't ask him to run stride for stride with one of those guys or he's toast. I mean his 40 speed at the combine was clocked at 4.47, Marshall for example was clocked at 4.52. That is pretty amazing considering his size. But he's doesn't have the fluidity of a CB or WR.

    SuperNova took a good stab at opening day starters in our 3-4. I tend to agree with his projection. The only question mark I think is Crable or Burgess at OLB. Got to give Cunningham some time to develop, but he'll be challenging for the starting spot come next year. 

    Then of course we have a mixed bag of delights in Murrell, Davis, Williams, Ninkovich, Woods and Alexander. Where the heck do these guys fit? Murrell a good special teamer. Woods and Alexander decent special teamers. Davis got high grades coming out of UCLA for his pass rushing ability, but he played DE in college. Williams, I have no idea. Ninkovich, has decent ability and showed some good playmaking ability last year, but he's depth not a starter. 

    Every time I bring this topic up, people say, "What about his size"...Well, here goes again since no one bit on it the 1st time...
    What about McKenzie as OLB? If you don't believe me that BB might entertain this, compare his size next to TBC. Both 6'2", both 250. (McKenzie put on 8 lbs of muscle during the offseason)...TBC runs a 4.79 coming out of college 7 years ago. McKenzie runs a 4.76 at the combine. TBC puts up 25 reps of 225, McKenzie does 27. The similarities are scary. Someone please tell me why he can't play OLB in the 3-4? The only stat I can't find is arm length. That would be an important one. 
    So, could McKenzie play outside and if so, can he challenge TBC, Burgess and Crable for the position?








     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Supernova13. Show Supernova13's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    PatsLifer: I found that McKenzie's arms were 33.25 inches. That means he is taller and has longer arms than Brandon Graham. I think you are correct in assuming he could play OLB as well. Kinda of how Vrabel was an OLB who could play inside, McKenzie could be an ILB who can play outside. I will definitely be watching for that during the preseason games. I believe Guyton's situation is pretty interesting. He seems well suited for the 4-3, so he could replace Spikes if they shift into a four man front. That would allow his speed to be more of a factor. The linebacker position has so many questions, and that is what intrigues me about it.  
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment


    Thanks Supernova. Any idea what TBC's arm length is?...I couldn't find that, but that would bolster my argument that McKenzie can play OLB. Like many, I was a bit surprised we took Spikes when we did. I thought we were decent at ILB with Mayo, McKenzie, Guyton and did not necessarily need to take a ILB that early in the draft. I was thinking we would take one in later rounds as depth. I think bringing Spikes in adds a possible starter day 1, but perhaps, just perhaps BB was thinking he could use McKenzie at OLB as well. Here I am all excited about McKenzie and he hasn't played a down in the NFL yet. But again, it's the possibilities which are exciting. The guy was a tackling machine at USF, and loves physical contact taking on guards and tackles. 

    The group definitely intrigues me. It's why I started the post. We have a great mix of power and speed and I think if these guys can play decently, can create a lot of interesting match ups. I'm itching to see BB bring 5-6 of these guys on the field at once and move them around. 

    If you find anything out on TBC, please let us know.


     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Supernova13. Show Supernova13's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    His arms are 33 and 1/4 inches. 
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Macrawn. Show Macrawn's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    I think BB would be happy with a year of limited injuries. Let's see where we stand after training camp if we do indeed have a deep diverse group of linebackers, or a talented group of glass mugs that get swept up off the mat and deposited on the injured reserve the entire season again. Crable will simply be released if that happens again to him.

    Your scenario might be something that plays out 3 years from now when we see that all of the linebackers are playing great and there isn't enough game time for them. 

    As far as I'm concerned with have a lot of "paper" talent and a lot of unproven rookies (this includes Crable and MaK). 
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from siestafiesta. Show siestafiesta's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    Quantity does not equal quality.  I like our inside guys but still have questions on the outside.  Yes we have several guys who could develop, but I still think there's cause for concern when TBC is currently your best OLB.  Yes, you can sub in guys to take advantage of the differing skillsets but guys still need to be able to do a bit of everything.  You can't just say players A & B play on running downs and players C & D on passing downs.  It's far from written in stone these days that teams run on early downs and throw on 3rd down.  You also see teams go to no huddle offenses to combat the D from subbing guys in and out after every play.  I'd be more comfortable with proven guys that can just line up and play regardless of what the offense wants to do.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Macrawn. Show Macrawn's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    In Response to Re: LB Versatility & Deployment:
    In Response to Re: LB Versatility & Deployment : It is fun to have unproven potential talent - you can project all kinds of things!!! It might be "paper" talent, it might be unproven, it might be projected, but it has a lot of upside that we can feel good about in May!!!!
    Posted by One-If-By-Sea


    I do hope we are feeling good about the linebackers. IF they stay healthy I think we have a great crop of them. They could be a dominating bunch that brings fear back into the opposing offense. 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Wizardsjag. Show Wizardsjag's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    Well if the Cunningham, Spikes, Mayo, McKenzie become the next McGinest, Bruschi, Johnson, Vrabel then the Pats will be whipping a lot of but(t) this decade.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from DaBlade. Show DaBlade's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    The only limb I will go out on is I think the ILB position is going to be so deep and strong I could see some wild defenses drawn up. Mayo, Spikes, McKenzie, and Guyton all are studs and if they are all healthy WOW!
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from DaBlade. Show DaBlade's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    Now I didn't read all these posts word for word but I was thinking about the potential depth inside and if they might trade Guyton to a team that plays 4-3 as I think and many have said over the last year that he could be a very good 4-3 lb.  He is a very big chip to have that could get you a 2nd or third round pick in 2011 I would think.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Supernova13. Show Supernova13's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    I just ran across an interesting thing online. When TBC was just interviewed about the OLB position, the first player he mentioned was Crable. 


    It is the 9th point down. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsLifer. Show PatsLifer's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    Maritime,

    I think you hit the nail on the head. We don't have any true 3 down LB's, less Mayo. Burgess and TBC both are specialists, better at rushing the passer than dropping back into coverage or playing the run. With them on the field, an offense knows what it can do and exploit the match up more easily. 

    Russ brought up an interesting point in moving real-time from 3-4 to 4-3. Both McKenzie and Guyton can play OLB in a 4-3. I don't know how you would move other personnel around to accomodate a real-time move...perhaps with Cunningham or TBC playing one of the other OLB spots in the 3-4, kick them to DE in a 4-3? Move McKenzie out from inside, Guyton stays outside? 

    At the end of the day, all i have is excitement right now based on potential. The honest truth is TBC and Burgess are probably odds favorites at this point to win the outside jobs. Unless, unless someone or two steps up. 

    Without focusing too much on the outside guys, I still go back to the 3-4 man rotation at inside with Mayo, McKenzie, Spikes and Guyton. My gut tells me that Mayo, McKenzie and Spikes are going to be players, guys you want to get on the field as much as possible. The problem in that scenario is you have 3 guys who play inside...so how do you line them all up together IF they are all players? 

    Again, this is just a gut feel based on college production, interviews, etc. Nothing to hang a hat on...This is why I kept going back to the thought about McKenzie playing outside. He has the same measurables at TBC, probably a bit faster/quicker due to youth, so why wouldn't we? If BB's prototype was shattered with TBC, why not consider Mckenzie if he is a playmaker? For that matter, why not run more 4-3 if we have more depth at DL, and more 4-3 DL types and potentially some decent OLB talent in McKenzie and Guyton in a 4-3, with Mayo inside? Odd man out is Spikes in this scenario however. 

    At the end of the day, I think LB will be our strength and not weakness as in the last 3 years. I am hopeful because of potential, and if anyone can coax that potential it's BB. I think BB being more hands on with the defense this offseason is going to pay dividends. Perhaps he sees this, a way to get a lot out of our young LB's. I can't think of him doing or saying this in recent years past. 


     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from artielang. Show artielang's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    i dont see the 4-3 becoming our base defense under any circumstance, but i think we will see it sprinkled in as we always do. but i'm not convinced that mckenzie cannot play OLB in the 3-4. true he doesnt have the prototypical length, but there have been other players in our system that have succeeded despite that. the guy that comes to mind is roman phifer, who switched inside and out, and was kind of a jack of all trades for us. not exactly spectacular but very solid, and a key part of the defense. i could see mckenzie developed into that sort of player. i'm intruiged to see what BB does with him...i just dont see him buried on the ILB depth chart.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from BubbaInHawaii. Show BubbaInHawaii's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    "I think everyone will be surprised by Gary Guyton's role on this team,I have a sneaky suspicion that BB has finally found his Hybrid Safety/ILB/OLB,he tried to make Tank Williams into that guy a few years back and i really think that Guyton fits the bill to a tee. As for the ILB's who start itgoing to be a battle to see who gets the slot next to Mayo,my guess is this will be the biggest battle for a position this pre-season.... Also if the Patriots get real lucky Crable will finally show up and stay healthy long enough to see if he really has the projected skills they thought he had when they drafted him.
    Sportsbozo
    "
    Guyton is too light for an ILB, too small/short for an OLB/DE type of role. He does have speed - so, the question is whether or not he can shed some blocks on blitz packages.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from BubbaInHawaii. Show BubbaInHawaii's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    In Response to Re: LB Versatility & Deployment:
    To the poster who thinks BB might use Guyton as the Hybrid LB/S. I don't see it happening. It is one thing to run fast in a straight line. It is another entirely to be able to move laterally and change direction while dropping back and swinging your hips without losing speed. To say Guyton can line up with TEs consistently is kind of a stretch. He would need to work full time with New DBacks coach Brown and maybe in a couple of years would have some skills in man to man coverage. Guyton has been good at covering RBs and FBs out of the backfield. Basically, that means running out to the flats. Brandon McGowan was very good last year against TEs why don't we keep him in that role. OLB starters right now have to be TBC and Burgess. It pains me to say that but they are at the top and somebody has step up and push. Again only one poster had the right line of thinking. We need players who can play. Not guys who come in specifically for the run or pass. We need guys we can put on the field and play. It is good to have a specialist like TBC, who cannot play the run very well, but can create some QB pressure. He should be relegated to 3rd down in Nickel or Dime situations. So for Crable and Cunningham, great if they can rush the passer but if they cannot stop the run then they are reserve players and we need to wait until next year to find true starters. Why Mackenzie cannot play OLB. If you are going to compare Mackenzie to TBC, then I do not think he can play OLB because I do not think TBC can play OLB. Now, this is for this scheme specifically. Pittsburgh loves those low center of gravity OLBs who speed around tackles, but they play a different scheme. So unless Bill changes or tweaks his scheme a bit, I don't see it happening.
    Posted by MaritimePatsFan


    If Burgess and TBC are our "best"......then one has to worry a little.
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from jcour382. Show jcour382's posts

    Re: LB Versatility & Deployment

    In Response to Re: LB Versatility & Deployment:

    I think everyone will be surprised by Gary Guyton's role on this team,I have a sneaky suspicion that BB has finally found his Hybrid Safety/ILB/OLB,he tried to make Tank Williams into that guy a few years back and i really think that Guyton fits the bill to a tee. As for the ILB's who start itgoing to be a battle to see who gets the slot next to Mayo,my guess is this will be the biggest battle for a position this pre-season.... Also if the Patriots get real lucky Crable will finally show up and stay healthy long enough to see if he really has the projected skills they thought he had when they drafted him.
    Posted by sportsbozo1

    I think guyton will play the rhoman phifer role and come in on passing downs... he was the fastest linebacker in his draft and was not drafted......i think you will see mcgowan fill the tank williams role ...he did it last year when he was replaced as the starter and covered big fast tight ends..


     

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