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How Should Bill Fix the Secondary? 2012 Edition


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#101 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:33 AM

A decent pass rush would help. Zero pressure on the QB for the last 40 minutes of the game.

#102 JokersWildJIMED


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:06 AM

How many times yesterday did the Pats drop 8 into coverage and Fitzpatrick still managed to find open receivers?

It worked once...when McCourty intercepted the ball. Chandler Jones had his worst game, by far. Besides generating no pressure the ends could not contain and got gashed repeatedly by Spiller or Jackson...just terrible job up front.

It always seems that the answer lies with the players that are not on the field at the time...so I guess that means Talib or Chung is the answer for the moment.

#103 tims4wins


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 09:53 AM

With Gregory returning from injury, Wilson only played 14 of 81 snaps... pretty clear indication of where the coaching staff views him on the depth chart.

I agree with others who say the best lineup is probably Talib and Dennard or Cole at CB, McCourty and Chung at S, Dennard, Arrington or Cole at nickel, and Wilson at dime. Let's pray that Talib is at least a competent cover corner for the Pats.

#104 Stitch01


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 01:40 PM

Dennard, unfortunately, looked absolutely awful yesterday. Lets hope it was just growing pains.

#105 ( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:26 PM

Talib is not going to make the LBers any better in coverage. Maybe he lets a safety give more help to the middle of the field but from my amatuer take on the game the CBs were not really the problem. They just can't deafen the middle of the field.

#106 j44thor

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:37 PM

They also didn't get consistent pressure from the front 4. Even Mark Sanchez can (did) look good if given enough time.

I really think they need to give Wilfork some time off on a more consistent basis. He seems to wear down as the game goes on which one would expect given the constant double teaming he faces. Perhaps they need to keep big Vince out for a series or two in the 2nd/3rd Q in hopes of having a well rested Vince when they are trying to protect a 4th Q lead which is the case more often than not.

#107 tims4wins


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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

They also didn't get consistent pressure from the front 4. Even Mark Sanchez can (did) look good if given enough time.

I really think they need to give Wilfork some time off on a more consistent basis. He seems to wear down as the game goes on which one would expect given the constant double teaming he faces. Perhaps they need to keep big Vince out for a series or two in the 2nd/3rd Q in hopes of having a well rested Vince when they are trying to protect a 4th Q lead which is the case more often than not.


I agree with this 100%. Their 2 best defensive linemen are Jones and Wilfork. They need those guys fresh in the 4th quarter. With the up-tempo style of the Pats offense, the defense is going to play a ton of snaps - like the 81 yesterday. Given that, they need to get the linemen even more rest than a normal team. According to Reiss, they subbed Justin Francis for Jones on the 3rd series of each half for 6 snaps each (12 total), but IMO that still isn't enough - 68 snaps is still probably too many. I'd like to see more of a Giants approach of more rotating guys throughout the game. Wilfork played 77 freaking snaps yesterday - too many.

#108 Super Nomario


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:03 AM

I broke down the latest game for my blog:
http://davebreaksdow...vs-buffalo.html

Cole, Arrington had good weeks; Dennard and the LBs struggled.

#109 Shelterdog


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:27 PM

This is somewhat interesting. According to FO's AGL metric NE has had the second most injured secondary in the NFL since 2004 and has had about twice as many injuries to meaningful secondary players as league average.

http://www.footballo...riots-secondary

#110 RedOctober3829


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

I broke down the latest game for my blog:
http://davebreaksdow...vs-buffalo.html

Cole, Arrington had good weeks; Dennard and the LBs struggled.


I really respect your football knowledge. Do you think the starting CBs will be Dennard and Talib or Cole and Talib?

#111 seageral

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:08 PM

This is somewhat interesting. According to FO's AGL metric NE has had the second most injured secondary in the NFL since 2004 and has had about twice as many injuries to meaningful secondary players as league average.

http://www.footballo...riots-secondary



i wonder if this has anythign to do with bb's insistence that cb's be strong against the run?

#112 Super Nomario


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:32 PM

I really respect your football knowledge. Do you think the starting CBs will be Dennard and Talib or Cole and Talib?

From what I've seen Cole only plays on the inside, so I think he's only on the field in the nickel. So the options are (as long as Chung is hurt):

Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Dennard (corners), Arrington (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Cole depth)
Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Arrington (corners), Cole (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Dennard depth)
Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Dennard (corners), Cole (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Arrington depth)

Cole looked good to my eyes (and my charting) last week, but it was also one of Arrington's better weeks. Dennard / Talib / Cole seems like the best option for man coverage, but it's also probably the worst tackling group they can put on the field. I don't think Talib from not practicing for five weeks to playing 100% of the snaps, so I predict they find playing time for everybody this week. Longer term, who knows? On merit, Arrington should be the odd man out, but I could see Dennard getting buried or Cole going back to his pure ST role.

#113 Shelterdog


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:53 PM

From what I've seen Cole only plays on the inside, so I think he's only on the field in the nickel. So the options are (as long as Chung is hurt):

Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Dennard (corners), Arrington (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Cole depth)
Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Arrington (corners), Cole (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Dennard depth)
Gregory, McCourty (safeties); Talib, Dennard (corners), Cole (nickel), Wilson (dime), (Arrington depth)

Cole looked good to my eyes (and my charting) last week, but it was also one of Arrington's better weeks. Dennard / Talib / Cole seems like the best option for man coverage, but it's also probably the worst tackling group they can put on the field. I don't think Talib from not practicing for five weeks to playing 100% of the snaps, so I predict they find playing time for everybody this week. Longer term, who knows? On merit, Arrington should be the odd man out, but I could see Dennard getting buried or Cole going back to his pure ST role.


Interesting.

From reading the BB tea leaves and taking note of a few of his references to getting the same group playing together and his statement (repeated two weeks in a row) that they've defended the deep part of the field well I think (a) he keeps DMC at safety thoughout the season and, probably, throughout DMC's career and (b) he keeps the starters the same and forces Talib and Chung to earn playing time.

So I predict the same starters as last week, and a three person scrum of Talib/Chung/Cole being used situationally at nickle and dime.

Now this week Talib is new, Chung is still hurting some, and Fleener is out. Indy probably plays a lot of 3 WR stuff with fast smurfs Hilton and Avery on the field, so I bet Cole is probably the fifth defensive back on the field, but I expect liberal substitution.

EDIT: Ultimately isn't it Chung/DMC at safety, Talib/Dennard at corner, Arrington/Gregory as your fifth and sixth defenders with doses of Wilson and Cole depending on the gameplan?

Edited by Shelterdog, 15 November 2012 - 03:06 PM.


#114 RedOctober3829


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

EDIT: Ultimately isn't it Chung/DMC at safety, Talib/Dennard at corner, Arrington/Gregory as your fifth and sixth defendets with doses of Wilson and Cole depending on the gameplan?


That's what I'd think. Talib and Dennard are your two best corners and most physical as well which is important in lining up against the bigger and physical WRs they'll face. Cole should be the primary nickel corner given his play lately. Arrington should be stapled to the bench in favor of Wilson in dime. Chung and DMC should be the safeties. Chung can now gamble more and play the run more aggressively given that he has McCourty in the back cleaning up his mistakes. I'd hope once Chung comes back and is effective that they will go to more Cover 1 because McCourty is better than anyone at FS that they've had and they have 2 competent corners that can play man.

Playing Chung closer to the line would alleviate how much Spikes has to cover as well. Their problems have been in the intermediate to long middle this year so a roving safety could help improve that area of the field instead of one that is 15-20 yards off the ball just taking the long ball away.

Edited by RedOctober3829, 15 November 2012 - 03:08 PM.


#115 Shelterdog


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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

That's what I'd think. Talib and Dennard are your two best corners and most physical as well which is important in lining up against the bigger and physical WRs they'll face. Cole should be the primary nickel corner given his play lately. Arrington should be stapled to the bench in favor of Wilson in dime. Chung and DMC should be the safeties. Chung can now gamble more and play the run more aggressively given that he has McCourty in the back cleaning up his mistakes. I'd hope once Chung comes back and is effective that they will go to more Cover 1 because McCourty is better than anyone at FS that they've had and they have 2 competent corners that can play man.


I think that's what they do. I think BB wants to build something that will be better as the season goes on, so the fact that he's using DMC rather than Gregory as the single high safety suggests to me that DMC is staying there all season long.

#116 bakahump

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:13 PM

The big problem with this Secondary is that no 4 players are week in week out the best.

1 week Arrington looks good. We think GREAT! Maybe we have a CB....the next game or 2 he looks way out of his depths.
the next week in limited action Dennard looks good. Again we think cool....Maybe he's the answer......Then for the next game he is burnt badly repeatedly.

Then we stick Cole in there and he looks good if not great. The following game again he turns to crap.

Mccourty at S has been the only halfway constant in the Secondary that we can count on not to totally blow chunks.

What does this tell us? I am really at a loss. Is it really talent? They have talent one week but not the next? It cant seem to be coaching either....unless we coach suck (which I know is a theory thrown around) and the suck is promptly forgotten until they are presumed the next "savior" and get more one on one tutelage in suck.
Scheme? Does it really change from week to week that much? If so then the coaches need to "stick with what works" after they find a glimmer of success. The only thing that makes sense is Inexperience which leads to inconsistency....problem is they seem SO bad we cant afford to let them gain that experience/consistency..

I fully expect Talib to look like Ty Law v2.0 this week followed by him allowing a 200 yard receiving day next week.

#117 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:49 PM

I'm working on a post for my Patriots blog about Charles Tillman, and I wanted to point out a major difference between the Patriots' defense and the Bears'. Here's Chicago running man coverage coverage with a single high safety:

Posted Image

I mean, obvious, right?

Here's the Patriots running man coverage with a single high safety:

Posted Image

This play is an extreme example. This is 4th-and-1 play, and the Rams line up in the shotgun, with the Pats showing a cover-2 or man-2 look out of their base 4-3. The Rams send Austin Pettis (lined up closest to the left tackle, almost as an H-back) in motion to see if the Patriots are in man, and no one follows. But they are in man! Unfortunately, that means Tavon Wilson has to cover Pettis (see red line), and he's 15 yards off. He actually does a great job closing after the snap, but Bradford completes the pass to Pettis in the flat for an easy one-yard gain and the first down.

The Patriots do this a lot: show cover-2 and play man, show cover-3 and play cover-2, show cover-2 and play quarters, and play different combinations out of various looks. I understand it as part of their bend-but-don't-break philosophy; in addition to making opposing teams execute their blocks and throws and catches play after play, the Pats also make the opposing quarterback (and opposing receivers on option routes) diagnose the defense and make the right read. It also keeps guys like Manning from audibleing into a play designed to attack the look the Patriots are showing. On the other hand: what good does it do if the quarterback is confused on who's covering a receiver, if the guy who's covering him is 15 yards away?

Most of the Bears' superiority on defense is talent, not scheme, but it was surprising to me how obvious they are about their coverages. You can usually tell before the snap if it's cover-2 or man-1 (their two most common coverages). But on the infrequent occasions where they do run something else or disguise their coverages, it can really throw the opposition for a loop; one of Tillman's pick-sixes this year looked like a C3 where the WR and QB were not on the same page (full disclosure: Blaine Gabbert was the QB).

I'm not going to tell BB he's wrong about how to run his defense, but I do think it would play more to the strength of his safeties in particular if they didn't have to move so much pre-snap and right after the snap and could focus more on just executing.

#118 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

I think that's what they do. I think BB wants to build something that will be better as the season goes on, so the fact that he's using DMC rather than Gregory as the single high safety suggests to me that DMC is staying there all season long.

There's a possible hint today on how Belichick will deploy Talib (from http://espn.go.com/b...talibs-progress): "Talib has played mostly on the defensive left side, which is the spot that rookie Alfonzo Dennard has played in recent weeks."

This would put the early money on Talib and Dennard splitting snaps to some degree on Sunday, though Dennard did play the right side (normally Arrington / Moore's side) in weeks 5 and 6. Most significantly, the left side is McCourty's side; I would think this means we don't see him at CB even when Chung is back.

#119 Ralphwiggum

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:20 PM

That is good stuff. I am definitely not nearly the Xs and Os guy that a lot of you are, but I pick up on at least one thing in this forum every week to take with me to watch the game on Sunday.

BBTL gets such a bad rap. We've got some great posters in this forum who know a ton about football and the Pats.

#120 crystalline

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

The difference in disguise between the Pats and the Bears might also mean the Pats get better as the season goes on, because their guys are still learning. There could be a difference in ceiling.

#121 RedOctober3829


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

I've been saying that for a few weeks now regarding the safety play. Why else do you think that they can't cover the middle of the field? The safeties are so far off the LOS that the LBs are in a tougher position because they have to cover so much ground. If the safeties would come up to about 10 yards off the ball then the LBs would look better in coverage simply because they'd have less ground to cover. Yes, Spikes would still be below average but it would be mitigated a bit.

Super, you are spot on. If the younger guys can't understand what they need to be pre-snap, then how are they going to end up in the right position when they adjust? It's frustrating. Play more vanilla coverage, blitz more to make the QB think quicker, and go from there.

#122 tims4wins


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

Talib drawing solid reviews from teammates so far

"Aqib is a great player. He's in the process of really trying to pick up the system and get out there and get a feel for what we're doing, and he's doing a great job of it,” safety Steve Gregory said Friday. “He's a great athlete, covers well, and it's fun to have him around."


“It’s like he’s been here all year,” Arrington relayed. “Can’t talk highly enough about his work ethic. He’s one of the first ones here and one of the last to leave. You talk about it all the time, I guess he’s definitely buying into the ‘Patriot Way.’”


Of course, a blind monkey would probably look good in coverage compared to those two, so take it for what it's worth.

#123 There is no Rev


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

I'm not going to tell BB he's wrong about how to run his defense, but I do think it would play more to the strength of his safeties in particular if they didn't have to move so much pre-snap and right after the snap and could focus more on just executing.


Is there any reason they couldn't invert how they disguise the safeties a bit? Like, Wilson is 15 yards back because he's disguised as being a Cover-2 safety instead of a man guy and that's where safeties play. What if they brought the safeties up 5 yards or so, and then you still have disguise, the offense just doesn't know if one or both will immediately drop back? Would that not allow enough time to keep up with speedy receivers on the outside given the angle they'd have to take on a go? Would the field of vision be too much reduced being that close?

#124 Stitch01


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

Is there any reason they couldn't invert how they disguise the safeties a bit? Like, Wilson is 15 yards back because he's disguised as being a Cover-2 safety instead of a man guy and that's where safeties play. What if they brought the safeties up 5 yards or so, and then you still have disguise, the offense just doesn't know if one or both will immediately drop back? Would that not allow enough time to keep up with speedy receivers on the outside given the angle they'd have to take on a go? Would the field of vision be too much reduced being that close?


Im pretty sure they do some of this as well, at least very late presnap. I would have to go back and look at the film to find an example. I can definitely recall being at the game seeing a safety running back late presnap

#125 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:17 PM

Is there any reason they couldn't invert how they disguise the safeties a bit? Like, Wilson is 15 yards back because he's disguised as being a Cover-2 safety instead of a man guy and that's where safeties play. What if they brought the safeties up 5 yards or so, and then you still have disguise, the offense just doesn't know if one or both will immediately drop back? Would that not allow enough time to keep up with speedy receivers on the outside given the angle they'd have to take on a go? Would the field of vision be too much reduced being that close?



Im pretty sure they do some of this as well, at least very late presnap. I would have to go back and look at the film to find an example. I can definitely recall being at the game seeing a safety running back late presnap


Field Yates has an example in the Baltimore game. Chung was in shallow like he had an underneath zone in a cover-3, then dashed back as the ball was snapped. Yates thinks this contributed to him not being able to get over to help on a deep ball to Torrey Smith.

#126 There is no Rev


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Posted 16 November 2012 - 07:28 PM

The more I learn about this game, the more I move towards the conclusion that, in theory, it is literally impossible to play safety.

I wonder what else Rodney Harrison can do. Has he any interest in being on the Supreme Court?

#127 Super Nomario


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:29 AM

This got me thinking about something I was thinking about before... given the way you like to go deep into the material rather than the breadth which is, I think, what ruins ruins national level analysis, what if you just, like, looked at a half dozen guys who are considered the best. Like, don't start with the presumption of science, just, like, ok, these are the guys everyone agrees is good--what do they look like?

See what the %s look like, the yards etc, see where they are similar, where different. It could be a really cool way to rethink baselines and brainstorm and see wht you find. Everyone's so afraid of not being instantly scientific, they're not being experimental which is where we got science in the first place, yeah?

I really like this idea, and I want to branch out into some non-Pats stuff (especially with the bye week), so this would be cool to look at.

I should maybe make this an on-going series, doing one or two guys at a time, since this kind of analysis is time-intensive.

I went through all of Peanut Tillman's games so far and put this together: http://davebreaksdow...es-tillman.html

He's way ahead of any of the Pats' DBs; I have him as not having allowed a TD pass all year (the Bears have only allowed 8 as a team) and the long pass against him as 16 yards. Obviously he has a lot better players around him, but the numbers are pretty staggering.

#128 Sportsbstn

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:22 AM

Its not all one thing, but Patricia is a poor coach and should not be defensive coordinator. When Bill lost Romeo Crennel he has never replaced him with anything close to his talent, first trying to do most of it himself, now using a guy who cant handle the job. The team needs to hire a strong defensive coordinator. On the offensive side of the ball, coaching is why the offensive line can lose people a lot and keep rolling along. I do not know if it Bill's ego that has gotten in the way or he is simply trying to grow from within.....either way, its not working. Its not all on the coaching staff, but the defense can not be this bad for this long without putting a focus on who the men are coaching it.

#129 Kenny F'ing Powers


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:55 AM

Its not all one thing, but Patricia is a poor coach and should not be defensive coordinator. When Bill lost Romeo Crennel he has never replaced him with anything close to his talent, first trying to do most of it himself, now using a guy who cant handle the job. The team needs to hire a strong defensive coordinator. On the offensive side of the ball, coaching is why the offensive line can lose people a lot and keep rolling along. I do not know if it Bill's ego that has gotten in the way or he is simply trying to grow from within.....either way, its not working. Its not all on the coaching staff, but the defense can not be this bad for this long without putting a focus on who the men are coaching it.


I've heard this line of reasoning lately, but I'm curious what the evidence behind this train of thought is.

I heard an interview with BB a handful of weeks back. I forget what play he was discussing, but the point was that BB called a timeout after seeing how the offense lined up, changed the defensive play, and then the next play resulted in an interception. His exact words were...

"Yeah, I think I changed the play after that timeout."

In other words, he still has his hands in the defensive play calling. I'm not sure how much, but I can say that this Patriots defense looks like every other Patriots defense since BB came on board. Basic shell defenses that make offenses complete long drives for points. Of course, this defense isn't as good as the 03-04 defenses, but the coverage looks pretty similar.

That leads to the "Why should a defense look the same as it did 10 years ago? The game has obviously changed" statement, but I just don't have the energy to go down that rabbit hole right now.

#130 crystalline

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

I'm not sure how much, but I can say that this Patriots defense looks like every other Patriots defense since BB came on board. Basic shell defenses that make offenses complete long drives for points. Of course, this defense isn't as good as the 03-04 defenses, but the coverage looks pretty similar.

That leads to the "Why should a defense look the same as it did 10 years ago? The game has obviously changed" statement, but I just don't have the energy to go down that rabbit hole right now.


I recently saw a list of all the high draft choices the Giants have spent on defensive linemen over the past few years. That's one way I might expect defensive strategies to shift given the passing increase. More pass rush picks and thus by definition fewer secondary picks. Top defenses have both, of course (the Bears) but the Giants have clearly put some emphasis on their d-line.

Not a totally fair comparison as the Giants have had higher draft picks; I'm not sure any team has had as few top picks in the last 10 years as the Pats.
(Which doesn't lead to great optimism for the future- if the new rookie salaries make top-half first round picks way more valuable, that is going to seriously hurt teams that usually pick in the bottom half. Though it will help parity across the league.)

#131 There is no Rev


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Posted 17 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

I went through all of Peanut Tillman's games so far and put this together: http://davebreaksdow...es-tillman.html

He's way ahead of any of the Pats' DBs; I have him as not having allowed a TD pass all year (the Bears have only allowed 8 as a team) and the long pass against him as 16 yards. Obviously he has a lot better players around him, but the numbers are pretty staggering.


Wow. First thing that jumps out is that completion percentage is a very limited statistic. Hey, Megatron, you want to go underneath? Sure thing man--all day. I mean, the yardage statistics are more pronounced than I would have imagined and seems like much more fertile ground for understanding what makes a break back which may be obvious in retrospect, but lots of things are obvious in retrospect. Looks like a huge deal.

Cool stuff, man. Oh, one stylistic note: you used "First of all" in consecutive paragraphs. Figured you'd want to know.

#132 tims4wins


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:25 AM

Defensive back Devin McCourty isn't just a good safety, he's very good. He's reliable, smart, instinctive, athletic, and much more. McCourty has been the target of some criticism in 2012, some of which was merited, but he's been very good all over the field. One play particularly resonated from the first half on Sunday, and it came with roughly six minutes to play in the first half. McCourty was aligned as the safety to the left side of the field, and had deep half responsibilities in the Patriots' cover 2 scheme. Luck worked to fit a throw to receiver LaVonn Brazill down the right sideline, but McCourty glided to the sideline to break the play up. That throw is the most difficult for a cover 2 safety to defend, and it's a play that we've seen Patrick Chung struggle to make this season. McCourty's reliability cannot be overlooked.


Field Yates

#133 Super Nomario


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:04 AM

Field Yates

I want to take a closer look at that play, but I was similarly impressed in real time. That's the play Chung didn't quite have the range to make against Manningham in the Super Bowl last year. I can't remember the last time I saw a Patriots safety make that play.

#134 jsinger121


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:09 AM

I want to take a closer look at that play, but I was similarly impressed in real time. That's the play Chung didn't quite have the range to make against Manningham in the Super Bowl last year. I can't remember the last time I saw a Patriots safety make that play.


Chung shouldn't be relied on to make that type of play. He is an in the box safety not a free safety what McCourty is.

#135 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

How many times yesterday did the Pats drop 8 into coverage and Fitzpatrick still managed to find open receivers?

Anyone have stats on what Fitzy did against 3 rushers, 4 rushers, and 5 or more rushers? I swear that he was 80% + completion against 3, and under 30% against 5 rushers.

I retire, undefeated.

#136 Super Nomario


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

I retire, undefeated.

From my charting, I have it as:
3-man rush: 3 of 5 for 47 yards, 1 interception, 1 5-yard scramble
4-man rush: 23 of 29 for 290 yards, 1 TD, 3 sacks, 1 offensive penalty, 2 defensive penalties, 1 6-yard scramble
5-man rush: 0 of 5, 1 1-yard scramble
6-man rush: 1 of 1 for 2 yards, 1 TD

#137 ragnarok725

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:50 PM

Yeah, the difference yesterday wasn't necessarily Talib. It was the pressure. It looked like after that disaster of a first drive they started dialing up a lot of blitzes and pressure packages. People looking for more Hightower rushing were probably enthused. Spikes, also, looked pretty good shooting gaps in what looked almost like run blitzes.

It was encouraging to see the D generating significant pressure on a regular basis and playing aggressively. However, lost in the Gronkowski injury talk is the other significant injury to monitor from yesterday. Chandler Jones with an ankle ailment is bad news if we want to see that pass rush continue against better offensive lines. And ankle injuries seem to linger...

#138 WilyVet

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:15 PM

Looks like McCourty will be (officially) staying at safety for the foreseeable future, according to the Globe. Not a surprise given the Talib trade and the combination of McCourty's positive work at safety and poor work at CB for the last 1.5 seasons.

#139 koufax32


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:27 PM

Yesterday was the only game I've been able to watch so far. The blitzes were very effective. Luck had pressure on most of his throws. The secondary had several pass break ups too. There were even some allowed completions that were so tightly covered you just had to tip your cap. A starting unit of Talib, Dennard, DMC, and Chunghwa could be, gasp, formidable going forward.

#140 Kenny F'ing Powers


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:46 PM

I'd agree that the defense "turned it up a notch". They started getting some pressure, but they really started flying to the ball and laying some lumber. Hard hits, trying to rip the ball out of arms, etc...it forces players to think about more then just the X's and O's.

Still, I thought Talube (as my FIL called him) looked really good. He was quick off the break (even when WR's made catches on comeback routes, he was half a step behind to make the tackle) and he was alert in zone (his INT was out of a zone I believe). The TD thrown on him was perfectly executed and he was still 6 inches away from tipping the ball on a diving play.

From a quick first glance, he appears more athletic and instinctive then any of our other corners (I suppose that's not much of a feat). He may not be a true shutdown corner, but he's absolutely a quality starting corner in this league. I'm not prone to hyperbole, but I do believe that his play at corner yesterday was the best Patriots corner play since McCourty's rookie year and Leigh Bodden's first year with the Pats. And in Bodden/McCourty's case, a lot of their success was on fundamentals and denying the QB from targeting their WR. Talib has the added ability of making some pretty athletic plays as well.

None of this is to say that he won't turn into a pumpkin next week. But if he plays the rest of the season like he did yesterday, I think we've found a respectable #1 corner heading into the playoffs.

#141 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:53 PM

From my charting, I have it as:
3-man rush: 3 of 5 for 47 yards, 1 interception, 1 5-yard scramble
4-man rush: 23 of 29 for 290 yards, 1 TD, 3 sacks, 1 offensive penalty, 2 defensive penalties, 1 6-yard scramble
5-man rush: 0 of 5, 1 1-yard scramble
6-man rush: 1 of 1 for 2 yards, 1 TD

Thanks for posting this.

#142 WilyVet

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:04 PM

I wonder what Chandler Jones' injury will do to the group, which does seem to be finally rounding into shape. I haven't been able to find out much about the extent of his ankle injury.

He has seen action on something like 90% of the Pats' defensive snaps so far this year and, obviously, generating a pass rush without sending in blitzers can only help the secondary as it jels.

#143 dynomite

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:47 PM

Assuming it's a minor injury, I'm not that concerned.

Wilfork is playing as well as I've ever seen, and Ninkovich, Cunningham and Scott have been playing at a relatively high level as well. This week they're going against a relatively weak Jets line (FO ranked #19) on Thursday. After that, the team has 10 days off to reset and gel in preparation for the @MIA/SF/HOU stretch.

Edited by dynomite, 19 November 2012 - 03:48 PM.


#144 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

I'd agree that the defense "turned it up a notch". They started getting some pressure, but they really started flying to the ball and laying some lumber. Hard hits, trying to rip the ball out of arms, etc...it forces players to think about more then just the X's and O's.

Still, I thought Talube (as my FIL called him) looked really good. He was quick off the break (even when WR's made catches on comeback routes, he was half a step behind to make the tackle) and he was alert in zone (his INT was out of a zone I believe). The TD thrown on him was perfectly executed and he was still 6 inches away from tipping the ball on a diving play.

From a quick first glance, he appears more athletic and instinctive then any of our other corners (I suppose that's not much of a feat). He may not be a true shutdown corner, but he's absolutely a quality starting corner in this league. I'm not prone to hyperbole, but I do believe that his play at corner yesterday was the best Patriots corner play since McCourty's rookie year and Leigh Bodden's first year with the Pats. And in Bodden/McCourty's case, a lot of their success was on fundamentals and denying the QB from targeting their WR. Talib has the added ability of making some pretty athletic plays as well.

None of this is to say that he won't turn into a pumpkin next week. But if he plays the rest of the season like he did yesterday, I think we've found a respectable #1 corner heading into the playoffs.


I agree with this. The touchdown in the 4th quarter was pretty bad but everything else looked good. I'm definitely not going to knock him for the plays on the first drive. That backshoulder throw is nearly indefensible if executed perfectly by the offense (as it was) and the TD was also just a flawless throw-and-catch into a tiny window. In today's NFL, you can't expect DBs to make completions impossible. A good DB should be raising the degree of difficulty for the offense to execute successful plays given down-and-distance, and it seemed to me like Talib did that pretty consistently.

If SuperNomario is planning on another one of his excellent tape breakdowns, I'd love to hear his thoughts on Talib's whole afternoon.

Edited by Morgan's Magic Snowplow, 19 November 2012 - 04:05 PM.


#145 WilyVet

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:00 PM

@dynomite Have you heard it's minor (or, really, anything about the injury)? I've been hunting around. Curious, because he didn't return.

You're right, though, that it's great the Pats have the Jets, even on a short week. And Ninkovich and Cunningham didn't really miss much of a beat with Jones sitting out.

#146 lexrageorge

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:07 PM

@dynomite Have you heard it's minor (or, really, anything about the injury)? I've been hunting around. Curious, because he didn't return.

You're right, though, that it's great the Pats have the Jets, even on a short week. And Ninkovich and Cunningham didn't really miss much of a beat with Jones sitting out.


He got off the field OK, which seems to indicate that it is likely a sprain, and not of the "high ankle" variety. Obviously, we won't know much of anything until the injury reports come out, and even then there's a chance he'll miss the Thursday game due to the short week.

#147 ragnarok725

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:31 PM

He got off the field OK, which seems to indicate that it is likely a sprain, and not of the "high ankle" variety. Obviously, we won't know much of anything until the injury reports come out, and even then there's a chance he'll miss the Thursday game due to the short week.

It was early in the game and we know how Gronk continued to play after the high ankle sprain in the playoffs yesterday. He was on the sidelines after the injury, went in for an X-Ray, came back out, and then didn't return to the sideline with the team in the second half. I think that's basically all we know about it at this point.

FWIW I went back and watched the play he got hurt on a bunch of times. Right at the snap of the ball it looks like he plants, and then gingerly pulls up the right leg before getting bowled over. When the guy gets off him, he's grabbing the upper right ankle area. Not sure if it means anything, but I don't think we've gotten any info one way or the other about it.

Posted Image

I'd be surprised but not shocked if Jones winds up being out longer than Gronk. The potential downside of the high-ankle sprain is bad, especially for an end.

#148 Stitch01


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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

It looked like they tried to retape it on the sidelines, then took him into the locker room. Later in the first half he was getting into his stance and simulating snaps on the sidelines and didnt appear to have any sort of noticeable limp walking around. He was holding his helmet and looked like he might be heading back into the game. I didnt see him on the sidelines at all in the second half, but somewhat hopeful that he won't be out for too long.

Edited by Stitch01, 19 November 2012 - 04:57 PM.


#149 dynomite

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:20 PM

It looked like they tried to retape it on the sidelines, then took him into the locker room. Later in the first half he was getting into his stance and simulating snaps on the sidelines and didnt appear to have any sort of noticeable limp walking around. He was holding his helmet and looked like he might be heading back into the game. I didnt see him on the sidelines at all in the second half, but somewhat hopeful that he won't be out for too long.


That's sort of what I was referring to.

If memory serves, he walked to the sideline without a limp and returned to the sideline after going into the locker room, which usually means x-rays were negative (right?). When Hernandez went down with his high-ankle sprain he could barely stand -- it looked like he had a broken ankle.

Obviously DRS might be able to say that these impressions are wrong/meaningless, but I believe it portends pretty well.

Edited by dynomite, 19 November 2012 - 05:20 PM.


#150 WilyVet

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

If memory serves, he walked to the sideline without a limp and returned to the sideline after going into the locker room, which usually means x-rays were negative (right?). When Hernandez went down with his high-ankle sprain he could barely stand -- it looked like he had a broken ankle.


Exactly. And maybe they learned their lesson w/ Hernandez and decided not to rush Jones back too soon. Here's hopin.




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