Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

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

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    In response to JohnHannahrulz's comment:

    If the Pats use a 3-4 alignment I'd like to see who goes where Chandler (elephant) and Hightower and Collins included. Or who gets used in the sub packages. Obviously different LBs bring different skills sets and some need to be coached up a little.



    That is an intereting question -- but I think if you watch what NE did with him the answer is tht BB views him as an outside linebacker in whatever formation they run. I think if NE was in a 34 alignment more often Hightower might play inside a bit more, but judging from what he did last season in 43, Nickel, 34 etc, he would be on the edge. 

    As it stands, NE used him outside last season most often, and did so from the 43 over/under most often or 33 nickel, their #1 and #2 sets. 

    In the 43 Over/Under they had him outside and inside, but most often he was outside over the DE, not outside over a tackle/end gap the way Mayo lines up in the 43.

    There were some reps that they used him inside over one of the two tackles where Mayo usually lines up, but not many.

    When they lined up in 34 they used him outside almost exclusively (BB likes Mayo and Spikes between the tackles). And in 33 Nickel alignments he was outside. And in their exotic lineups 6-2 sometimes, they would line him up outside. 

    There is the chance they like him as a replacement for Spikes in the long run, which wquld jibe with the Collins selection, who could just play that flex role that Nink has been playing. 

    The interesting bit about that is that Bama used him like NE uses Spikes.... he was almost always an MLB in the 43 so no matter what way they shifted he was in the trash. 

    That said I think BB probably has more in store for this kid.

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

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    People seem really positive about the guy. As another poster noted, he started really fast then lost some steam. 

    Rookie wall? The changes of a defense over a season? Something else?

    I do recall him being called out on Boston.com in extra points for apparently taking a play off, and I'd seen him show a few weak efforts out there, but I didn't see or hear enough to consider it a problem, or point to it as a reason for his explosive start not matching his rather muted finish. 

    I do think NE needs to see a step forward from him .... maybe not probowl caliber (he was a low, low first rounder) but he should be a somewhat bigger contributor, and certainly should have won a full starting position ... something he did not do last season.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from JohnHannahrulz. Show JohnHannahrulz's posts

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    I think Adrian Wilson also, in an odd way, adds to the LB corps in that he can cover RBs and TEs and be used on blitz packages. Collins, to me (because I have little or no tape) could either set the edge or be used in the nickel and dime (please note that I obvioiusly no less about him than even some posters). Could be an interesting year for the defense.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    In response to JohnHannahrulz's comment:

    I think Adrian Wilson also, in an odd way, adds to the LB corps in that he can cover RBs and TEs and be used on blitz packages. Collins, to me (because I have little or no tape) could either set the edge or be used in the nickel and dime (please note that I obvioiusly no less about him than even some posters). Could be an interesting year for the defense.



    Good post, we never needed a "cover linebacker," we needed a true strong safety.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TripleOG. Show TripleOG's posts

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    Good Blitzer. His biggest thing IMO, was taking too long to diagnose plays and not trusting what he saw. That comes with experience, confidence and KNOWING where to be. He will be better year 2, but not sure its gonna put us over the hump. Would like to see him blitz more.

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

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    In response to TripleOG's comment:

    Good Blitzer. His biggest thing IMO, was taking too long to diagnose plays and not trusting what he saw. That comes with experience, confidence and KNOWING where to be. He will be better year 2, but not sure its gonna put us over the hump. Would like to see him blitz more.



    I agree. But you don't just send blitzers because it feels right. 

    As it stands NE has three guys at LBer from the SEC. I watched all of them come through it. They are all to greater (Hightower > Spikes > Mayo) are excellent interior blitzers.

    But anytime you are sending one of them you are either a.) running an exchange, where a DE is dropping into coverage, b.) bringing up a safety and leaving one alone to cover the vacant area, or c.) leaving a hole uncovered. 

    NE hasn't had the backfield to blitz because their corner play over the last five seasons has been too spotty to go into Cover One, it also hasn't had the front 4 to generate pressure consistently without sending extra men. This is partially because they've had some retreads on the outside, but more likely because they have had no one that generates real push inside and it's really easy to double off those outside guys and/or account for an extra guy. 

    If you can lock the field down with 3 or 4 guys on the back end you can send an extra man... if you can get great pressure with 3 or 4 up front, you can get hellatious pressure with 5 or 6 making it easier to leave a few holes in the back end. 

     

    Some area needs to improve (I'm guessing it's CB myself though some combination of Armstead/Kelly might generate more interior umph) if you are going to see more blitzes from your LB-ing crew. 

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

    Re: Under-discussed: Dont'a Hightower?

    In response to zbellino's comment:

    In response to TripleOG's comment:

     

    Good Blitzer. His biggest thing IMO, was taking too long to diagnose plays and not trusting what he saw. That comes with experience, confidence and KNOWING where to be. He will be better year 2, but not sure its gonna put us over the hump. Would like to see him blitz more.

     



    I agree. But you don't just send blitzers because it feels right. 

     

    As it stands NE has three guys at LBer from the SEC. I watched all of them come through it. They are all to greater (Hightower > Spikes > Mayo) are excellent interior blitzers.

    But anytime you are sending one of them you are either a.) running an exchange, where a DE is dropping into coverage, b.) bringing up a safety and leaving one alone to cover the vacant area, or c.) leaving a hole uncovered. 

    NE hasn't had the backfield to blitz because their corner play over the last five seasons has been too spotty to go into Cover One, it also hasn't had the front 4 to generate pressure consistently without sending extra men. This is partially because they've had some retreads on the outside, but more likely because they have had no one that generates real push inside and it's really easy to double off those outside guys and/or account for an extra guy. 

    If you can lock the field down with 3 or 4 guys on the back end you can send an extra man... if you can get great pressure with 3 or 4 up front, you can get hellatious pressure with 5 or 6 making it easier to leave a few holes in the back end. 

     

    Some area needs to improve (I'm guessing it's CB myself though some combination of Armstead/Kelly might generate more interior umph) if you are going to see more blitzes from your LB-ing crew. 




    I agree with this, but we saw more of it towards the end of last year when Mccourty played more single high safety. He has the speed to do it, but if/when a team audibles to take advantage, you have a CB back there trying to hit. This is why I think they drafted Harmon. All of the film I saw, he was playing that single high cover 2, but has much more of a physical presence to dislodge the ball from WR when he arrives which begs the question, than where would MCcourty play but I bet he wants Devin to play up top with another similar, interchangable player and then have Wilson playing the 3rd safety/hybrid backer to cover TEs, blitz,etc. Then the conundrum(sp) for me would be, what do we do with T.Wilson and Stever Gregory who is signed for 2 more years. I say cut gregory, but either way I think this years draft was used to cover up mistakes which s*cks, but either way I will just be happy if they get it right. Let the best man Play I guess. Does seem like we have some redundant players and would be wise to trade a couple guys for others with alternative skillsets..

     
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