Preseason Prognostications?

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    Preseason Prognostications?

         Apparently, the authors and researchers that make up the Cold Hard Football Facts website do not thing too highly of any of the NFC teams:  http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2766_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_NFC_edition.html

         Heres' how they view the AFC teams: http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2763_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_AFC_edition.html  

         Thoughts?
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Staying under the magic number of 300 points really hit it on the head.. that's a great goal for the Pats D.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]     Apparently, the authors and researchers that make up the Cold Hard Football Facts website do not thing too highly of any of the NFC teams:  http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2766_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_NFC_edition.html      Heres' how they view the AFC teams: http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2763_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_AFC_edition.html         Thoughts?
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]
      TP
          Thanks for the link.  The comments about Eli M are a riot.  I still worry about the Giants front 7 - seems like they'll be stronger this year. Our OL looks to be the same group with the same weaknesses. Koppen and Neal are good blockers in space but Koppen in particular can be bull rushed and Neal gets injured a lot - hopefully his backup will be better this year.  Protecting TB is still job number one on offense. Our defensive DBs look to be a lot better this year (hard to be worse than last year's). I'm hoping the defense will be a lot faster this year and that the tackling by the DBs improves a lot. Watching the Eagles game should give us a lot of insight into this years improvements.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]     Apparently, the authors and researchers that make up the Cold Hard Football Facts website do not thing too highly of any of the NFC teams:  http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2766_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_NFC_edition.html      Heres' how they view the AFC teams: http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/Articles/11_2763_The_Iciest_Issues_in_training_camp%3A_AFC_edition.html         Thoughts?
    Posted by TexasPat3[/QUOTE]
    TP,
         I'd like to see a more aggressive defense this year. We desparately need to generate a pass rush. Seems like the defensive philosophy has been much too conservative. The 3 man front along with rushing one OLB doesn't put much pressure on the QB. On passing downs, I'd like to see the front 3 go all out more often and forget the 2 gap protection just rush the damn QB. We need to blitz with the ILBs more often.
        Hopefully the CBs will pressure receivers at the line and stop giving that damn 10 yard cushion. I'd like to see the CBs play more man to man coverage.
    And tackling needs to get a lot better by the DBs but the whole defense needs to swarm to the ball.  Thursday's nite game will provide some insight into these issues.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Preseason Prognostications? : TP,      I'd like to see a more aggressive defense this year. We desparately need to generate a pass rush. Seems like the defensive philosophy has been much too conservative. The 3 man front along with rushing one OLB doesn't put much pressure on the QB. On passing downs, I'd like to see the front 3 go all out more often and forget the 2 gap protection just rush the damn QB. We need to blitz with the ILBs more often.     Hopefully the CBs will pressure receivers at the line and stop giving that damn 10 yard cushion. I'd like to see the CBs play more man to man coverage. And tackling needs to get a lot better by the DBs but the whole defense needs to swarm to the ball.  Thursday's nite game will provide some insight into these issues.
    Posted by bonkerbear[/QUOTE]

    We don't 2 gap when it's a passing down, that is obvious.  We never have. 

    Blitzing ILBs more often or anyone more often opens up the field for completions.  Even the so-called blitzing teams (Eagles, Ravens) only blitz a fraction of plays.  Most good QBs prefer the defense to blitz because they can take advantage of it. 

    Having the CBs give a cushion is the way BB has developed this team.  The days of Ty Law and Tyrone Poole are over. 

    And we absolutely are not a "swarm to the ball" defense.  Everyone has their responsibilities and they stick to it.  We read and react.  "Swarm to the ball" is a good way to get taken advantage of by a smart offense.

    Basically it sounds like you are advocating a defensive philosophy that is completely different than BB's.  I say we stick with BB's approach.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications? : We don't 2 gap when it's a passing down, that is obvious.  We never have.  Blitzing ILBs more often or anyone more often opens up the field for completions.  Even the so-called blitzing teams (Eagles, Ravens) only blitz a fraction of plays.  Most good QBs prefer the defense to blitz because they can take advantage of it.  Having the CBs give a cushion is the way BB has developed this team.  The days of Ty Law and Tyrone Poole are over.  And we absolutely are not a "swarm to the ball" defense.  Everyone has their responsibilities and they stick to it.  We read and react.  "Swarm to the ball" is a good way to get taken advantage of by a smart offense. Basically it sounds like you are advocating a defensive philosophy that is completely different than BB's.  I say we stick with BB's approach.
    Posted by themightypatriots[/QUOTE]


    I'm probably not using the correct terminology in criticizing the defense. But, I do know that when I watch our defense in single frame replay, that  there is seldom any pressure on the opposing QB. Our usual pass rush is our front 3 and one OLB.  Since Wilfork and Seymour are often double teamed, it would seem there is an opportunity for an ILB to shoot a gap somewhere. I'm not advocating doing that all of the time but doing it an appropriate amount should pay off. It sure worked for the Giants in their SB victory.

      We'll clearly have to disagree on the CB and 10 yard cushion. I'm hoping that with better players this year that the DB coverage will be more aggressive. I think BB has had to play soft coverage because of the players he had in the last couple of years.

      By "swarm to the ball", I'm referring to many cases where the other team completes a short pass of 10 yards or so, our DB attempts to tackle and bounces off the receiver. Often there is no other Patriot close by and the receiver picks up another 7-8 yards. As soon as the ball is thrown, every defender needs to run to the football.  Another example of what I'm getting at is the way Seymour plays. If the play runs to the opposite side, he pursues the play and often will make the tackle from behind.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Whenever there's a 4 man rush, one player is going to be double teamed.  On our D, that would be Seymour.  So it really comes down to the skill of Warren and Thomas in beating one on one blocks rather than the number of pass rushers.  Inside linebackers are badly needed to cover the middle of the field, especially in our 3-4 where the other OLB probably s*cks at coverage.  If the D blitzes too often, it is predictable and the offense will take advantage of it.  The Giants had success during the few times they blitzed because it came as a surprise.  My point is that the only thing that will improve the pass rush is the quality of the rushers.  If Seymour, Green, Burgess, Thomas, Mike Wright and TBC stay healthy this year, they should get some pretty good pressure on the QB.

    I don't think our D holds back once the ball goes past the line of scrimmage.  But while the ball is still in the backfield, they hold their concentration and focus on their gap responsibilities.  They don't overpursue to one side, not even Seymour.  This might result in fewer sacks and tackles for a loss, but it results in more runs being stuffed for 3 yards or less.  I think BB has calculated it's better to stuff the runner as soon as he gets to the line of scrimmage than to have large numbers of tackles for a loss while surrendering lots of long running plays. 

    I don't see any of our DBs being especially good at jamming the receiver at the LOS.  Wilhite, Wheatley and Butler are all Hobbs style smurfs.  Bodden and Springs, I don't know. 
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Bodden can and will get physical. But WWB (Wheatley, Wilhite, Butler) are all finesse corners for sure. But that is alright, so long as you have one guy who can bump, which NE has lacked for a while.

    And the Giants almost never blitz. And they didn't blitz a lot in the SB either. Blitzing is more of a 3-4 thing than a 4-3 thing, as a four man front dictates uphill direction.

    NE should fair better rushing the passer, but the key is keeping the big three healthy and getting high quality play out of the back eight. BB has always run a very conservatve defense, and then likes to shock people by throwing in a random zone-blitz here and there. So a lot of it is written up to contain, and give the big guys a second to collapse the pocket.

    There actually have been a lot of similarities to how BB and Rex Ryan run their D's, as both tend not to blitz too much. I thnk it is a big reason why BB always liked Ed Reed, because he is the kind of safety you can leave back there and wil make plays happen on his own, and a player like that works well in that kind of defense.

     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]Bodden can and will get physical. But WWB (Wheatley, Wilhite, Butler) are all finesse corners for sure. But that is alright, so long as you have one guy who can bump, which NE has lacked for a while. And the Giants almost never blitz. And they didn't blitz a lot in the SB either. Blitzing is more of a 3-4 thing than a 4-3 thing, as a four man front dictates uphill direction. NE should fair better rushing the passer, but the key is keeping the big three healthy and getting high quality play out of the back eight. BB has always run a very conservatve defense, and then likes to shock people by throwing in a random zone-blitz here and there. So a lot of it is written up to contain, and give the big guys a second to collapse the pocket. There actually have been a lot of similarities to how BB and Rex Ryan run their D's, as both tend not to blitz too much. I thnk it is a big reason why BB always liked Ed Reed, because he is the kind of safety you can leave back there and wil make plays happen on his own, and a player like that works well in that kind of defense.
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]

    z - I am not sure what a lot is, but I remember reading that the Giants blitzed about 35% of the time in the SB. 1 in 3 seems like a lot to me.

     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    I would love to read that.

    I coul be wrong in that instance, but the Giants aren't a blitzing team. I can't remember how many times they actually sent five guys, but it wasn't 35%.

    35% blitzes for a 4-3 team is tremendous. That means that you are using only six back end defenders for 1/3 of the game.

    Tremendous pressure is best achieved wth minimal personell.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]I would love to read that. I coul be wrong in that instance, but the Giants aren't a blitzing team. I can't remember how many times they actually sent five guys, but it wasn't 35%. 35% blitzes for a 4-3 team is tremendous. That means that you are using only six back end defenders for 1/3 of the game. Tremendous pressure is best achieved wth minimal personell.
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]


    Here is an ESPN link where Spagnuolo says it was 35%. I remember reading it from a different site at the time though. Fox Sports or CBS Sports.

     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    I loved their take on Jay Cutler with the Bears:

    Naturally, the team is hot for a QB, but hot to the point of desperation, like an 18-year-old kid on spring break surrounded by cheap vodka and fat girls.

    All the "experts" who are proclaiming him to be the new "savior" in Chicago are in for a hard dose of reality this fall!

    And they are spot on in their evaluation of the Patriots. The difference between having a good season and winning the Lombardi ultimately comes down to defense. Had the Patriots managed to make two key defensive plays (one in Indy in the 06 AFCCG and one in AZ in SB42) there would be five trophies in the case in Foxboro, not three. While with Brady back they have (at least on paper) arguably the best offense in the league, sometimes, usually in January, the defense needs to help out late in a close game. Willie Mac used to make those types of plays. Tedy was once key in this department, but has seen better days. Hopefully all the changes will turn out well. But anyone should be an upgrade over O'Neill. And chances are there won't be as many injuries to key players as there were last season.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Well that article confirms the Miami '06 anti-Brady strategy - if you can get pressure on Brady, use press man coverage on his wide receivers.  None of that 10 yard cushion zone junk that Jacksonville tried in the divisional round. 
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

         Are the Patriots and Steelers miles ahead of the pack in the NFL? http://www.examiner.com/x-1324-New-England-Patriots-Examiner~y2009m8d12-NFL-Power-10-Patriots-Steelers-miles-ahead-of-the-rest-of-the-NFL
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    BB has had a "bend but don't break" defensive philosophy that has left some people fuming and screaming bloody murder. Basically he  calculates on the side of caution as TMP says, utilizing run-stuffing because the odds on runs-gained yards occuring are higher than the odds of the "big play" occuring.

    Big plays are what sticks in people minds and infuriate them (maybe because they have to watch the replay over and over again), but when you strictly look at numbers on paper, you see the "big play" most of the time has a negligible difference on the game, but the  incremental gains in yards gained per run just all adds up to the point where it makes or breaks a game.

    The DB's concentration on zone coverage (what people perceive as the "cushion") revolved around Harrison's talent for sniffing out the play, and the CB's ability to funnel the plays into the middle of the field where the SS can contain them (how many nasty hits have you seen?).

    However BB has to take fault for not acknowledging the age factor/decline of play of the core players around which this particular defense was designed (00-'04). The fact that he drafted highly mobile LB's and Harrison's replacement in Chung indicates that he is not about to leave this zone "bend but don't break" defense philosophy, and unless it doesn't work, I don't think he should, because when it is working, it is a highly effective defense because it is calculated on probability, with a pinch of unpredictability thrown in every now and then to keep the other team on edge. Don't forget, BB will err on the side of simplicity/probability. In other words he is more likely to throw different looks on the same play, than he is to use the same looks on different plays.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Yes they are, the only two teams this decade that have won multible super bowls.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    What are you talking about? The patriots use a 2 gap system in passing downs.  They use a combo of 3-4 with a cover 2 all the time.  They were planning on using Tank Williams as the 4th LB in the 3-4 on passing downs last year until he got hurt.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]What are you talking about? The patriots use a 2 gap system in passing downs.  They use a combo of 3-4 with a cover 2 all the time.  They were planning on using Tank Williams as the 4th LB in the 3-4 on passing downs last year until he got hurt.
    Posted by slicksteve38[/QUOTE]

    While it is true that NE is a traditional 2 gap 3-4, they actually run both 1 gap and 2 gap in the 3-4 with 3 down linemen in read-react calls, they have that flexibility because the front 3 (Wilfork/Seymour/Warren) are pro-bowl caliber, so they can do anything.

    The thing is to remember that no defense in the NFL runs anything all the time.


     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]What are you talking about? The patriots use a 2 gap system in passing downs.  They use a combo of 3-4 with a cover 2 all the time.  They were planning on using Tank Williams as the 4th LB in the 3-4 on passing downs last year until he got hurt.
    Posted by slicksteve38[/QUOTE]

    What are you talking about?  In an obvious passing situation, BB doesn't have his linemen stand up the man across from them and wait for the runner to come to one of their gaps.  3-4, cover 2, and Tank Williams have nothing to do with whether the linemen are two gapping it on a passing down. 
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications? : What are you talking about?  In an obvious passing situation, BB doesn't have his linemen stand up the man across from them and wait for the runner to come to one of their gaps.  3-4, cover 2, and Tank Williams have nothing to do with whether the linemen are two gapping it on a passing down. 
    Posted by themightypatriots[/QUOTE]

    Am I missing something? Is the 2 gap system not predominantly the 3-4?  They use the 2 gap alot so that they can blitz linebackers.....or have the linebacker in the 3-4 drop back into the "curl to flat" area so that a safety can come up for the blitz.  In a two gap system the DT's "hold up" an offensive lineman or two, just like in a running play, so that the blitzing safety or LB can break through.  They havent used the 2 gap as much in passing plays lately because they have been missing Warren.  In order to use a good two gap system against the pass, you need two large, strong DT's to hold up the OL in order for the OLB  or blitzing ILB to disrupt the play upfield.  I expect to see more 2 gap set ups on passing downs this year because Warren is back, and with the addition of Brace....a big, strong guy who can lock up the OL.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Well that is an interesting blitz strategy steve, never considered it.  Maybe Psycho or Zbellino can comment on it, being the forum's resident experts.

     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    MVP,

    I am shocked at that number. They really aren't a blitzing defense. And I don't remember that many 5-6 man rushes going on. Maybe some were zon blitzes where they peeled a DE?

    On the other point. The confusion is that 2-gap is an assignment and not a scheme. You can be in 3-4 without having your nose 2-gap. Blitzing usually precludes covering two gaps because a player is blitzing through one.
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    Yeah, I would think that in a blitz, the lineman knows which gap the linebacker is going to shoot, so he would just focus on one gap. 
     
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    Re: Preseason Prognostications?

    In Response to Re: Preseason Prognostications?:
    [QUOTE]Yeah, I would think that in a blitz, the lineman knows which gap the linebacker is going to shoot, so he would just focus on one gap. 
    Posted by themightypatriots[/QUOTE]

    Correct- even in a two gap scheme, you often switch to one gap on blitzes. If the nose controls both A gaps in the base, and an A gap blitz is called, obviously the nose goes to one gap one A gap, and the linebacker hits the other. Many ways for the LB to call this out, gee/haw, gas/brake, star/port, etc.

    Our 3-4 is the modified Fairbanks-Bullough system which is more conservative than most defenses, so you don't see too many ILB rushes. BB likes the modified Fairbanks-Bullough because it gives the greatest flexibility to the LB's who are traditionally athletic and the most versatile, and he can create confusion by shading DL over or under and mixing roles (rush, tackle or drop). The conservative philosophy emphasizes being physical and disciplined, i.e., allowing the play to come to you (which is why Seau had a hard time finding his flow because in SD, his job was to shoot the gap and find the play).

    It is a testimony to how good Seymour, Wilfork, and Warren are every time they get a sack because in a 3-4 three DT cannot reliably collapse a 5 OL pocket, so it is a given that this is the weak point of the 3-4, and emphasis is placed elsewhere (e.g., Dick Lebeau's zone blitz).
     
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