Re: Strong Safety should be HIGHEST Priority in offseason
posted at 2/2/2013 9:12 AM EST
In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:
We would definitely benefit from a better D line. But I wouldn't call our defensive backfield "talent laden" when Arrington and Cole are starting at corner. Without Dennard and Talib this year, that backfield would have been horrendous. If we don't sign Talib (or an equivalent corner) it will be back to horrendous again.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts, Wozzy, on what BB does with the current set of LBs and DLs if he reverts to a 3-4 approach. Wilfork would clearly be the nose. Size wise, the candidates for 3-4 DE would be Deaderick, Love, Forston, Pryor, and maybe Armstead--but are any of those guys strong 3-4 DEs?
For 3-4 OLBs, you've got a bunch of candidates, I guess--Bequette, Jones, Nink, Francis, Cunningham, maybe Hightower--but how many of those can play standing up and drop into coverage? Nink and Hightower for sure, but what about the others? Do players like Jones end up being just situational pass rushers?
I do think our MLBs are well suited for a 3-4--Spikes, Mayo, and Hightower all fit that role well, I think, maybe better than 4-3 OLB, which is what Mayo and Hightower are playing now.
Honestly, though, I think it's more likely that BB keeps headed in a 4-3 direction and just tries to shore up the interior DT position, sticking with Jones, Nink, Francis, etc. at DE and maybe bringing in another rotational LB who has better coverage skills than our present starters. I don't really have any preference for 3-4 or 4-3--I think it all depends on what talent you have. It's an iterative process adopting scheme to talent and talent to scheme, but BB is a master at doing that, adjusting scheme if he can't get the right talent or picking up the additional players he needs to complete his squad and make the most promising scheme for his existing talent work.
Every argument has a caveat (without Dennard/Talib?) but they did have these players and they did lead the league in INT's or are in the top 5 consistantly even without these two. How good would this defense have been with a top 5 pass rush?
It's long been my contention that this defense was not going to be dominant again until they had the talent to field a 3 man front. Defensive tackles are not sexy picks, they don't jump off the stat sheet, but when you have them other players and position groups thrive.
We have the talent now to field more three man fronts, with the addition of Armstead and hopefully another true DT/NT they could field a monster defense. Wilfork at nose, Love/Deaderick at one end and Armstead/player x/Seymour type at the other end. They would start Mayo and Spikes inside and play Ninck and Hightower at outside linebacker on early passing downs and insert Jones at OLB to rush the passer. Willie McGinest was not much of a coverage linebacker either but like Jones would rush the passer 90% of the time and down near the goal line he is too tall to pass over even if he doesn't get to the QB.
In the old days they would also insert a lighter pass rush end in like Bobby Hamilton, who's contemporary would be Francis or even Jones on passing third downs. I could see over the past few years that we didn't necessarily have the talent to run these schemes but its been to our detriment. Our linebackers can cover as well as any linebacker corp in the NFL, the breakdowns in coverage happen because the D takes too long to get to the QB.
I suggest those with Madden football, trade Welker for Seymour straight up and enjoy the dominance of Patriot defenses of old.