Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

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    Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    When you picture a core of linebackers rotating you tend to think of a group of solid players at that position filling in for one another in a heated match-up. These types of linebackers are a well-rounded, the do-it-all style of athlete, playing inside or outside, and forming different packages/sub-packages that gives opposing offenses a run for their money.

    The New England Patriots are undergoing a different kind of rotation. The Patriots are not rotating different linebacker schemes just during the game, they are swiftly adjusting their roster, moving linebackers on and off the team in an uncoordinated manner. It's a cyclical change of events that has fans nation-wide scratching their heads.

    What originally spun this madness (and spun it pretty damn hard) was the loss of Mike Vrabel (OLB/captain) trade via Kansas City, then and Junior Seau (ILB/former captain) via retirement. If that wasn't enough during the 2009 NFL draft the Patriots traded up the draft board, dodging some new NFL prospects at linebacker that happen to be producing big numbers for our enemy teams (names here I would rather not mention).

    Either way, 'In Bill we Trust', at least in Bill I trust, I was not worried about the big Boss' draft moves. After all he did use his third round pick for the progressive ILB Tyrone McKenzie out of South Florida. It's just too bad McKenzie went down way too early, injuring himself in practice, he was placed on IR for the entire 2009 season.

    Still, everything remained cool at the linebacker spot, we still had depth from our 2008 linebacker draft picks, where much time and money were invested. This was seen in Shawn Crable and Vince Redd, both returning from 2008 injuries themselves. This is where Coach Belichick made things thin, very thin; he cut both Crable and Redd before the pre-season schedule began. The linebackers were left with Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton and Tedy Bruschi on the inside, and Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods, Eric Alexander and Rob Nonkovich (yet untested) on the outside. The group seemingly hit an all-time-low when Bruschi announced his retirement at the end of pre-season. That decision was the one no fan wanted to see, but respectfully knew it would have to come at some point. No high-end pick-ups were made either, to sign an elite pass-rusher like Julius Peppers before the free-agent deadline ended.

    The position seemed to move rather linear at this time, the exit door seemed like the only option at the position for the players. That was until movement was made in the opposite direction which begun to strengthen the group, picking up free-agents; former pro-bowl pass rusher Derrick Burgess from the Oakland Raiders, and former Patriot ILB/Special Teams ace; Tully Banta-Cain from the 49ers. Burgess had been riddled with injuries, putting a damper on his numbers the last few years. Banta-Cain was mishandled by a head coach that played the exact same position years ago, at that time better than anyone, Mike Singletary and staff couldn't get production from him like the Patriots did, which seems quite ironic for an ex-linebacker head coach.

    We can thank the lord that when Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 Jerod Mayo went down with a knee sprain in week 1, that it only put him out for five games. Jerod Mayo is the defenses new play-caller and captain, he is a powerhouse at inside linebacker capable of producing over 20 individual tackles a game. On the negative side, Derrick Burgess has had an extremely slow start, I don't even know what the hell his role is at this point. On the positive side, the Patriots know what to do with Banta-Cain, and he is running around like a wild-man dropping into coverage when needed, laying out running backs and return specialists, on top of that he has already registered three sacks.

    The twist lies here, Banta-Cain was released two days ago. Also, ILB Alexander was released by New England, the moves sent shockwaves through Patriots Nation. How could they possibly thin out the linebacker position to the point where it has no depth what-so-ever. Christopher Gasper got the inside information on the moves and helped explain the mystery's in the Player Personnel office. To put it simply the two were released, only to be re-signed, this locked both linebackers down with waivers. After the trade deadline, they could have been bantered by other teams, but with the new deals this puts them on a year safety with the Patriots. This is a great thing, the coaches see value in these players and don't want them to be pestered by other teams contract negotiations.

    Another bold move was made seen in the re-signing (for the third time) of ILB Junior Seau, at the ripe age of 40. I feel great about the signing, and like I said before, they didn't sign Laurence Taylor, this guy played last year, and begun playing well. I believe Junior will begin getting rotated into different packages after the bye week, by then he will be fully readjusted and conditioned for full contact game speed scenarios. All-in-all, his leadership and overall knowledge of the position is going to help feed our core of young linebackers.

    Last but not least, formidable OLB Adalius Thomas has also been involved in some rumors floating around the Patriots camp as of late. The 6'2'', 270lbs pass-rusher has been criticized about his play since his move from the Ravens in 2006. The three years prior to the trade he was seemingly at his peak, registering 28 sacks and played in 48 consistent games as a starter. At the same time he provided a powerful run-stop, working beside the likes of Ray Lewis and Bart Scott. Thomas sat out of last Sunday's game while healthy for the first time since his rookie season in 2000.

    VP of Player Personnel and Bill Belichick have not said much on why he sat, other than that they were trying out different defensive schemes that his role wasn't necessary for. I for one am extremely surprised, when healthy Thomas is a monster at OLB, using his huge wingspan to knock down passes and pressure quarterbacks, of course, only when called for. At age 32 Thomas still has a lot of kill in him, and his ability to stop the run has not slowed down either. He knows the defense very well and provides some of the veteran leadership the youthful linebackers and entire defense desperately needs. 

    Thomas looked great during training camp. In fact, he was one of the best looking players on defense, rarely making mistakes, and a couple of times making Tom Brady look stupid by batting his pass attempts out of the air in some of the offenses red-zone operations. If the coaches are having a hard time fitting Thomas into a role they should look at his 2004, 2005, and 2006 season resume'. It was then he was healthy, and whatever he was doing under Rex Ryan was putting up massive numbers, some of these numbers might not be matched again, but he sure as hell can start gearing himself more towards accomplishing them. Thomas can only be as successful as his coaches want him to be, he is upset he is sitting out and he should be. If Pierre Woods can post 80+ tackles and 8+ sacks this year then we can think about a trade, until then, let Thomas do his thing, then sit back and watch and see what can happen.


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  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from Payment84. Show Payment84's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    Sooo is there a question here or something?  Nice basic recap of the season...
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from sox148927. Show sox148927's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    julius peppers was not a free agent and they never had an opportunity to simply sign him...he was/is carolina's franchise player and wouldve required both a boatload of draft picks in trade and resigning him to an astronomical salary to obtain him..
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from mikec645. Show mikec645's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    tl;dr
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    Is there a question somewhere in there or some vague direction?

    Ok where to start, hrm prob the easiest would be Peppers. He was not a FA, mearly a tagged player which we could only hope for a sign and trade or pay 2 1st round picks for plus the money. Not a wise move.

    Vrabel all I can say is that BB must have saw something to let him get traded, and looking at his play so far this year he might have been right.

    Bruschi god knows I love the guy but it was time and both he and BB knew it so instead of releasing him BB proctected him and let Bruschi retire while still under contract.

    Crable/Redd well maybe they weren't as good as we thought. My question is have you heard anything about them since training camp?

    Ad, instead of looking how he was used to get his #'s in Balt why don't you look at their defensive philo first. They were a heavy blitz team which leads to lots of sacks for LB's. Pats don't play that system of overloading the line and allowing LB's to get 1v1 or open shots at the qb. The Pats system is a rush 4 to put pressure on the QB while having prevent and tight coverage downfield leading to shorter plays and more short and 4th situations then counting on sacks to create long and whatever condition. This is not a sack friendly defesive philo but it sure does work well.

    Ok now the good, Mayo got injuried but still one of the best LB's to come out of the last couple drafts. Guyton has been amazing and Nonkovich has been a nice breath of fresh air.

    Seau is a man that knows the system better then any other LB on the market and even at this age just as good as any LB on the market.

    In short BB keeps the defense how he likes it and the LB's generally reflect that in their vesitility and production. In this system a LB is doing his job correctly if you don't hear his name very often(which references them not being smoked) so in that regard the Pats have one of the most balanced and talented LB cores from top to bottom. I would love for you to name a single team that has the LB core the Pats have from starters to bench players for the same amount of money (which yes does count since a less costly but affective LB core means more money for other positions)
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from uncommon-sense. Show uncommon-sense's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    All that effort and you didn't even get your facts straight.

    A few glaring errors: TBC was signed early in free agency not right before the season. It was Rudd and Crable who had injuries and Rudd was cut before preseason. Redd was cut in training camp and subsequently suspended by the league for PEDs and Crable was put on IR on the 53 man cut down day. Seau didn't retire again but a more accurate description was his contract expired.

    Check.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from carawaydj. Show carawaydj's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    With regard to Thomas, you can't discount the possibility he was on the trading block, and therefore he was held out to protect from injury.  Just because he didn't get traded doesn't mean there were no discussions.  Another theory is that BB is regaining control of his locker room; namely the defensive side of the locker room.  He seems to be intentionally shaking things up there.
     
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    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]With regard to Thomas, you can't discount the possibility he was on the trading block, and therefore he was held out to protect from injury.  Just because he didn't get traded doesn't mean there were no discussions.  Another theory is that BB is regaining control of his locker room; namely the defensive side of the locker room.  He seems to be intentionally shaking things up there.
    Posted by carawaydj[/QUOTE]

    Maybe if the guy made more than one freakin play a year, this wouldn't be an issue.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from gmbill. Show gmbill's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    Sorry, I nodded off there, you were saying.............
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from SonnyCorlione. Show SonnyCorlione's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    That's a little long winded but, yeah, obviously the linebackers on this team are slightly less impressive than they had been in the past.  I mean, to think we once had 3 deep with starters both inside and outside and now we're using Tully Banta-Cain as our primary pass rusher, it's a bit disturbing.

    I think it boils down to one thing - premier pass rushers in this league are highly coveted.  They're the equivilent of a Quarterback on defense.  They change the game.  As a result, having not drafted any this decade, the Patriots are well behind the curve in terms of our own products.  Add to that all the free agents we haven't been able to land recently and you see the mess that gets put on the field Sunday.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from SonnyCorlione. Show SonnyCorlione's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    Actually, let me further clarify my comments.  If we were playing a true 4-3 then the combination of Thomas, Mayo and Guyton across would be a solid unit.  Unfortunately, the pass rush up front is just non-existant.  Belichick loves big strong guys but I just don't see four defensive tackles on the line getting the job done - they are helpless against play action.

    I think the coaches are realizing they need to go back to a 3-4 if they have any shot of creating one this season.  In that case, you would think Burgess and Thomas on the outside with Mayo and Guyton inside is pretty decent.  With TBC and Seau backing up those areas respectively I think it looks solid on paper.  The results just haven't been there.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Evil2009. Show Evil2009's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    We're 6th in the league in defense with 2 games lost due to low scoring. WOW we do really stink.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from cowtherabbit-. Show cowtherabbit-'s posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

        Vince Redd was an undrafted free agent who was cut,picked up by KC then suspended for 4 games for taking Sudafed,then cut by KC.No big loss.
        Crable is very talented but has been on injured reserve both seasons since drafting him in the 3rd rd.Can't really predict injuries but Crable is still under contract to NE and has not been cut.
        Bruschi's production in 2008 was almsot non-existent.He had no sacks or INT's and 37 solo tackles.
        Vrabel had 4 sacks,1 INT and 40 solo tackles,which isn't bad,but compared to 2007,when he had 12.5 sacks,the writing was on the wall to get younger at LB. For comparison,Mayo in his rookie year totaled 100 solo tackles.    
        2007 UDFA Guyton seems to have held up well trying to fill Mayo's shoes while he was injured and FA Ninkovich (1 sack,1 Pass def) is making the most of the limited time he gets to play and stands out as a special teamer.
        Woods looks lost on most plays and has a career total of 1 sack/0 INT's in 3 years, so don't expect too much from him.
        Alexander has done absolutely nothing for the 5+ years that he's been here, but it seems BB likes his ST value.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from SonnyCorlione. Show SonnyCorlione's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]Vince Redd was an undrafted free agent who was cut,picked up by KC then suspended for 4 games for taking Sudafed,then cut by KC.No big loss.Crable is very talented but has been on injured reserve both seasons since drafting him in the 3rd rd.Can't really predict injuries but Crable is still under contract to NE and has not been cut. Bruschi's production in 2008 was almsot non-existent.He had no sacks or INT's and 37 solo tackles. Vrabel had 4 sacks,1 INT and 40 solo tackles,which isn't bad,but compared to 2007,when he had 12.5 sacks,the writing was on the wall to get younger at LB. For comparison,Mayo in his rookie year totaled 100 solo tackles. Guyton seems to have held up well trying to fill Mayo's shoes while he was injured  and Ninkovich (1 sack,1 Pass def) is making the most of the limited time he gets to play and stands out as a special teamer.Woods looks lost on most plays so don't expect too much from him and Alexander has done absolutely nothing for the 5+ years that he's been here, but it seems BB likes his ST value.
    Posted by cowtherabbit-[/QUOTE]

    Good analysis of our underacheivers.  I had to chuckle when you brought up Alexnder and Woods.  I don't know why Alexander remains on the team unless they're saying he's the next Izzo who will essentially just plays special teams.  He's started one game in his career, albeit the AFC Championship in 2006, and I can't ever remember seeing him on the field others.  Woods I can only remember seeing on the field, not contributing, and the one play I remember was his non fumble recovery in the Super Bowl two years ago.

    So I think it's fair to say the mid round draft picks by Belichick have not panned out.  He either needs FA rookies, FE vets or first rounders - it's that simple.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    Haha no I am not questioning him. I said 'In Belichick I Trust.' I was only making a reference to cycling the linebackers on and off the rosters recently, certain players inactivity and my thought on why or what could be done, just having some fun with it thats all.

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker : Since when did you become an NFL GM or Coach.  I trust BB decision making over yours.
    Posted by BBRULES23[/QUOTE]
     
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    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]Sooo is there a question here or something?  Nice basic recap of the season...
    Posted by Payment84[/QUOTE]

    No there is no question, I didn't think I needed one. I wasn't recapping the season, I was making a reference to how the linebackers have been cycling on and off the roster and how it effects the cycle during the game by which player you are going to see on and off the field.

    We now know why Banta-Cain (after already being with the Patriots for years) and Alexander were, Seau (came back from two retirements now) third signing total I believe, I also wanted to touch upon Adalius Thomas' recent inactivity, Burgess' slow start and matching him up with Thomas, and the loss of other linebackers and the results.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]julius peppers was not a free agent and they never had an opportunity to simply sign him...he was/is carolina's franchise player and wouldve required both a boatload of draft picks in trade and resigning him to an astronomical salary to obtain him..
    Posted by sox148927[/QUOTE]

    I wrote this too fast, I forgot he was the franchise and I know why they didn't grab him... the point was in the end they failed to sign an "elite" pass rusher the likes of JP.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]Is there a question somewhere in there or some vague direction? Ok where to start, hrm prob the easiest would be Peppers. He was not a FA, mearly a tagged player which we could only hope for a sign and trade or pay 2 1st round picks for plus the money. Not a wise move. Vrabel all I can say is that BB must have saw something to let him get traded, and looking at his play so far this year he might have been right. Bruschi god knows I love the guy but it was time and both he and BB knew it so instead of releasing him BB proctected him and let Bruschi retire while still under contract. Crable/Redd well maybe they weren't as good as we thought. My question is have you heard anything about them since training camp? Ad, instead of looking how he was used to get his #'s in Balt why don't you look at their defensive philo first. They were a heavy blitz team which leads to lots of sacks for LB's. Pats don't play that system of overloading the line and allowing LB's to get 1v1 or open shots at the qb. The Pats system is a rush 4 to put pressure on the QB while having prevent and tight coverage downfield leading to shorter plays and more short and 4th situations then counting on sacks to create long and whatever condition. This is not a sack friendly defesive philo but it sure does work well. Ok now the good, Mayo got injuried but still one of the best LB's to come out of the last couple drafts. Guyton has been amazing and Nonkovich has been a nice breath of fresh air. Seau is a man that knows the system better then any other LB on the market and even at this age just as good as any LB on the market. In short BB keeps the defense how he likes it and the LB's generally reflect that in their vesitility and production. In this system a LB is doing his job correctly if you don't hear his name very often(which references them not being smoked) so in that regard the Pats have one of the most balanced and talented LB cores from top to bottom. I would love for you to name a single team that has the LB core the Pats have from starters to bench players for the same amount of money (which yes does count since a less costly but affective LB core means more money for other positions)
    Posted by PatsEng[/QUOTE]

    Again: I wrote this fast and it was more for fun, just trying this out to kill time, it helps me out getting the feedback though, I write off the top of my head (minus most of the statistics). I don't think peppers was a wise move, more of a mere dream in the beginning, before the true numbers of the trade were released. I was just trying to bring up the point of how they failed to find an 'elite pass rusher' in the draft or via trade/signing.

    We all loved Vrabel and Bruschi, but losing them both was a lot, when it was just Vrabel it was bearable, then when Bruschi retired fans got a bit scared. I think both could still have played at a high level, not the highest... but still very well. It must of been more due to contract issues.

    I agree on Crable and Redd, I did not here about them since training camp, it was not too positive either. I thought they were released? The fact that they were not as good as we thought brings up the point of a wated third round (it happens) and a lot of time invested in linebackers that never contributed.

    I almost brought up the heavy blitz factor, your right about that. In Thomas case he also had the run stop figures as well, so I didn't, this is probably why he started on the inside. The Patriots do not have a heavy blitz scheme like the Ravens did but maybe they could... if thats what they are looking for. I agree on Mayo obviously, Guyton I want to see more of, and I think Ninkovich can be great.... more on him later.

    If i were more clear, I wasn't trying to criticize Belichick, but bring understanding to what he was doing, and also try and clear up why certain players are in the situations that they are in.
     
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    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]All that effort and you didn't even get your facts straight. A few glaring errors: TBC was signed early in free agency not right before the season. It was Rudd and Crable who had injuries and Rudd was cut before preseason. Redd was cut in training camp and subsequently suspended by the league for PEDs and Crable was put on IR on the 53 man cut down day. Seau didn't retire again but a more accurate description was his contract expired. Check.
    Posted by uncommon-sense[/QUOTE]

    -Thank you I will make sure I get some of the minor facts straight before writing so much. I forgot about Bo Ruud and thank you for clarifying about Crable, there's a lot of analysts that say he has came back for his second retirement and third total return for the patriots, but your right again, he was on a vacation. :)
     
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    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]Sorry, I nodded off there, you were saying.............
    Posted by gmbill[/QUOTE]

    Hahaha, I should of wrote seperate posts, I have a lot to say about a lot of the LB's, more direction and style is needed in the writing for sure. Point, taken into consideration I was trying to stuff too much too fast hence the mistakes and haziness.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]That's a little long winded but, yeah, obviously the linebackers on this team are slightly less impressive than they had been in the past.  I mean, to think we once had 3 deep with starters both inside and outside and now we're using Tully Banta-Cain as our primary pass rusher, it's a bit disturbing. I think it boils down to one thing - premier pass rushers in this league are highly coveted.  They're the equivilent of a Quarterback on defense.  They change the game.  As a result, having not drafted any this decade, the Patriots are well behind the curve in terms of our own products.  Add to that all the free agents we haven't been able to land recently and you see the mess that gets put on the field Sunday.
    Posted by SonnyCorlione[/QUOTE]


    I feel your pain, I feel like lack of preparation early has left the linebacker core without a significant line-up that can call themselves starters. With The Bruschi Surprise, the young untested 'backers, and the late additions, it does seem like a mess. I am sure Belichick will untangle it pretty soon, with the help of Junior Seau of course. Forget the linebackers coach he has just been demoted to Brady's glove-getter
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]We're 6th in the league in defense with 2 games lost due to low scoring. WOW we do really stink.
    Posted by Evil2009[/QUOTE]

    I was not saying our defense stinks at all. I am well aware of our defenses ranking, but it has been below average in the run-stop, the battle between the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme has left the defense vunerable I believe. I feel there is uncertainty on where to put certain players in certain schemes and it is obviously taking time to figure out with all of the new, or fairly new additions at LB.

    Before looking at at a decieving number (I am guilty for it too) like defensive rank, understand before last game the Patriots were 20th in run-stop defense, now 13th (I believe). Chris Johnson fouond some gaping holes but there are too many variables; him just being Chris Johnson, the snow, broken plays etc. But last time he played in the snow (maybe the time before) he went nowhere. The warm weather bug found out how to execute against us very well.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from cowtherabbit-. Show cowtherabbit-'s posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

        Bo Ruud was a NE 2008 6th rd pick that spent his rookie year on IR.He was waived in April of 2009,picked up by Cleveland then waived,then picked up by Tampa,where his older brother Barret Ruud plays,then waived again in early Sept. Something on tape/paper didn't translate to the field with this guy. He was underweight for a 3-4 OLB at 234 lbs. but could have made a 4-3 roster like Tampa's had he shown something.
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from BJhough. Show BJhough's posts

    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]Actually, let me further clarify my comments.  If we were playing a true 4-3 then the combination of Thomas, Mayo and Guyton across would be a solid unit.  Unfortunately, the pass rush up front is just non-existant.  Belichick loves big strong guys but I just don't see four defensive tackles on the line getting the job done - they are helpless against play action. I think the coaches are realizing they need to go back to a 3-4 if they have any shot of creating one this season.  In that case, you would think Burgess and Thomas on the outside with Mayo and Guyton inside is pretty decent.  With TBC and Seau backing up those areas respectively I think it looks solid on paper.  The results just haven't been there.
    Posted by SonnyCorlione[/QUOTE]

    I agree, and I dream this is a possibility that can communicate and execute with ease. I want to see the same 3-4 set, if Burgess can leard to read (the playbook), and Thomas can get out of his hiccup, the pash rush could be everything they wanted, especially since Burgess excels on the left. Guyton has shown hes a tough dude, I want to see more but he has potential, Mayo is a beast and a future hall-of-famer if he stays healthy (bold prediction), those two in the middle could be deadly for the run.

    I want to see what Ninkovich can do either as a OLB or ILB, I have seen some great coverage, and aggressive pass-rush. I also saw him stand up Brandon Jacobs high and battle him one-on-one during pre-season, pushing him 4-5 yards backing him way behind the line of scrimmage. That is something you don't see too often. Agreed, TBC would be great as a back-up OLB, and a potential starter if Burgess doesn't get a tutor. Seau can still provide back-up in the middle as well, what a grab for the rest of the D too, his wisdom and play calling ability is quite an asset.
     
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    Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker

    In Response to Re: Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Patriots; Feeling Insecure at Linebacker : Since when did you become an NFL GM or Coach.  I trust BB decision making over yours.
    Posted by BBRULES23[/QUOTE]

    Never! I should of broken this down, sorry to come off that way. I am against some of the other staff in some situations.
     
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