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Day After Roster Reactions VII


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#1 SoxScout


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

QB 35 Brady, Tom Safe to say we can still feel good going to war with Brady
QB 24 Mallett, Ryan Showed enough to be the lone backup; outside of that unknown
UFA RB 29 Woodhead, Danny An asset to have but could be looking for best pay day; Vereen/Demps a factor
FB 28 Larsen, Spencer Does not factor into the team
FB 26 Fiammetta, Tony Does not factor into the team
RB 24 Develin, James Does not factor into the team
RB 23 Ridley, Stevan Runs hard and overall a successful first season as a feature back
RB 23 Vereen, Shane Finally healthy; came on strong at the end; looks like he could be a big asset in spread offense
RB 23 Demps, Jeff Can envision him making the team as KR, PR, 4th RB with selective offensive package
RB 22 Bolden, Brandon Ran hard while on the juice and never made the rotation again on his return; looks like good 3rd RB
TE 29 Fells, Daniel Can probably be ruled a bust; will need to battle in camp for 3rd/4th TE spot
TE 25 Ballard, Jake Spent season recovering from ACL and microfracture surgery; probably 2013 3rd TE
RFA TE 24 Hoomanawanui, Michael Had his moments and filled in admirably; overall fair to average; will be a battle to stay on team
TE 23 Hernandez, Aaron Major ankle injury early robbed him of his explosives, but seemed to come on strong; dropped 9% of TAR
TE 23 Gronkowski, Rob Was having another dominating season until two broken arms
TE 23 Herman, Brad Unknown
UFA WR 33 Branch, Deion Thinking we have seen the last of Branch; the gas tank looks to be on E
UFA WR 32 Stallworth, Donte' Maybe one more year on the Patriots taxi squad; 2 targets, a drop and an TD
WR 31 Lloyd, Brandon While not the deep threat, worked outside the numbers like a magician; overall success
UFA WR 31 Welker, Wes Another sterling season ending with a huge drop; would hope sides realize it's better to lock up a fair deal
WR 27 Slater, Matthew Got to stick to special teams this year and overall he is very good at that
WR 27 White, Shun Does not factor into the team
UFA WR 26 Edelman, Julian Questionable usage but seems to have a role and a coaches favorite; interesting FA case
WR 24 Holmes, Andre Does not factor into the team
WR 23 Aiken, Kamar Project
WR 23 Ebert, Jeremy Project
OL 35 Waters, Brian Will probably officially retire
OL 30 Mankins, Logan Early in the year had some big difficulties; seemed like as the line jelled his play improved
OL 30 Connolly, Dan A solid effort guard on most nights; could be an upgradable position
UFA OL 28 Vollmer, Sebastian When healthy clearly a very good player; health has always been a question and how much risk will you take
UFA OL 28 Richard, Jamey Probably gone
UFA OL 27 Thomas, Donald Solid backup and the line, at times, seemed to play better when he was on the field
OL 26 Wendell, Ryan League iron man and first full season at center; seems safe to assume job is his in 2013
OL 25 McDonald, Nick Backup/depth
OL 25 Miller, Colin Does not factor into the team
OL 24 Solder, Nate Had a questionable camp, but was solid for just about the whole season minus a half vs. Aldon Smith
OL 24 Cannon, Marcus Barely saw the field; step back from 2012
OL 24 Hix, Kyle Backup/depth
OL 23 Zusevics, Markus Project


UFA CB 34 Allen, Will Will be replaced
UFA CB 29 Cole, Marquice Fair special teams player and depth CB; picked on in mismatches
UFA CB 26 Arrington, Kyle Best game was probably the ACFCG; everything else seemed to be a disaster
UFA CB 26 Talib, Aqib From wondering if worth a 4th, to must re-sign territory; maybe not great, but very good
CB 24 Dowling, Ras-I Another year, another injury; training camp is probably make or break time
CB 23 Dennard, Alfonzo Short and stout CB; battles hard; not going to be a shutdown, but starter material
S 30 Gregory, Steve One miracle game; fair season overall; major weaknesses in his game in all areas
UFA S 28 Barrett, Josh Would think this is the end of the line for him
UFA S 27 Martin, Derrick Expecting to be gone
S 25 McCourty, Devin Too bad he didn't develop into the shutdown CB; but may be a Pro Bowl level FS
S 25 Williams, Malcolm Will fight for a special teams ace spot in training camp
UFA S 25 Chung, Patrick Play has diminished over the years; not built for coverage; injury prone; moving on
S 23 Quarles, Cyhl Unknown
S 22 Ebner, Nate Got toasted; allowed blocked punt; core special teamer who doesn't look like more
S 22 Wilson, Tavon Played a lot and then playing time diminished; looked good at times; a lot unknown
UFA DE 28 Scott, Trevor Didn't play much until injuries happened; didn't do much and no reason to return
DE 24 Cunningham, Jermaine Was finally breaking out; steroids; never got back into rotation; run stop liability
DE 23 Bequette, Jake Didn't sniff field as a high-motor pass rusher; inactive almost whole season; hopefully developmental
DE 23 Francis, Justin Undrafted high-motor guy; carved a niche and played well and a lot down the stretch
DE 22 Jones, Chandler Started out like gangbusters; slowed down; injury; didn't do much; injured ankle ended season
DL 31 Wilfork, Vince Followed up great season with very very good season; might be time to cut back snaps after 2 huge years
DL 28 Ninkovich, Rob Solid and made some "playmaker" plays; down to down basis a touch overrated
DL 26 Love, Kyle Opened season as starter; played well; then lost his job; won it back then hurt in AFCCG
DL 26 Pryor, Myron Another season derailed by injuries; training camp will be huge for his future
DL 25 Deaderick, Brandon Did not see him take a step forward; when handed Love's job didn't take control
DL 23 Forston, Marcus Developmental
DL 23 Robertson, Tracy Unknown
UFA LB 31 Koutouvides, Niko Special teamer who will probably move on
UFA LB 31 White, Tracy Special teams "ace" who seems anything but; probably gone
LB 27 Rivera, Mike Older developmental player who will need a strong offseason and camp
LB 26 Mayo, Jerod Thought he took his "tackling machine" game up a notch this year
RFA LB 26 Fletcher, Dane Was missed dearly as the cover linebacker after ACL tear in preseason
LB 25 Spikes, Brandon Two down and goal line player; struggled in coverage; some devastating, game changing hits
LB 25 Tarpinian, Jeff Depth linebacker who doesn't bring much to the table
LB 22 Hightower, Dont'a Seemed move in coverage early and in the box later in season; positive, if unspectacular, first season
ST 28 Gostkowski, Stephen One huge missed game winner; but overall solid and good kickoff ability
ST 26 Mesko, Zoltan Patriots offense makes judging his stats tough; I feel good about him as our punter
ST 24 Aiken, Danny Don't remember anything awful; so that's good

Edited by SoxScout, 21 January 2013 - 12:03 PM.


#2 Morning Woodhead

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

Woodhead and Edelman are two interesting cases. While probably not as valuable to the team as Welker, Talib and Volmer, they could bring nice value to the Pats if the price is right.

For Woodhead, he is definitely #3 at best behind Ridley and Vereen, but he is dependable, and more valuable to the Pats then he would be for any other team.

Edelman is a game changer on Punt returns, and showed signs on offense. If Welker takes a hard stance on money, Edelman becomes even more important to resign.

Also, assuming a full return to health, Gronk, Hernandez and Ballard in a 3TE set makes me happy in the pants.

Edited by Morning Woodhead, 21 January 2013 - 12:19 PM.


#3 Super Nomario


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

I think the PT issues with Cannon and Wilson were based on the health of the guys in front of them. The tackles were unhealthy in 2011 so our backup OTs got to play more; this year they were pretty healthy so Cannon only got to play in the Tennessee and Jets games. I think he was fine when in there. Wilson played regularly when Gregory got hurt and was the dimeback when he returned. I guess it's not a positive sign that he couldn't beat out Gregory, but the PT patterns reflect when people got hurt more than anything.

I'm not sure Fletcher is a cover linebacker, either. He struck me as more of a downhill kinda guy.

This is a great analysis overall though.

#4 TheWalthamKid

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:20 PM

Wow, great job with the scouting reports.

I would like to say something about Welker before everyone hops into the "let him walk" mode. Does the guy drop the ball sometimes? Yes. Was the drop yesterday a buzzkill? Absolutely. But if my memory is correct, didn't Welker catch a 20 yd pass, then took an illegal hit from the scumbag Ravens and still held on to the ball? I don't want the occasional drops get in the way of the every game brilliance of Wes Welker. Wes got 72 first downs for this team this year. Only the two Johnsons, White, Wayne and Marshall caught more. Do you really want to see this offense without Welker? I sure as hell don't.

#5 Super Nomario


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

Snap counts (regular-season only at this point):
http://davebreaksdow...nap-counts.html

Might be useful to some of this discussion.

#6 BigSoxFan


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:31 PM

Man, I hate this thread. But good job again, Scout. It will be very interesting to see how the team values Welker, Talib, Vollmer, Edelman, and Woodhead. I think the RB position can survive the loss of Woodhead so I don't see him getting much here.

#7 Otis Foster


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:36 PM

With Tete du Bois, the question is if Vereen replicates his skill at lower cost. I love what he brings to the game, but hard reality may say they need the slot/$ for someone else.

#8 epraz


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:22 PM

With Tete du Bois, the question is if Vereen replicates his skill at lower cost. I love what he brings to the game, but hard reality may say they need the slot/$ for someone else.


Or gueule de bois, if you prefer, as it means both "wood head" and "hangover."

I see Woodhead back next year, though if there's any kind of bidding war, I agree that the Pats won't bite. But he's more valuable to an offense like the Patriots' than most others. Perhaps a team like the Packers might make a run.

I'd like to see Woodhead or Vereen returning kicks next year. McCourty doesn't do enough with it to make it worth the injury risk.

#9 Stitch01


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

Id think KR next year is Demps job to lose

#10 redsahx

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

I thought the Patriots did a good job this year addressing some of their recent weaknesses (developed running game, drafted pass rushing DE, traded for Talib).

One reason I was pessimistic heading into this game was that I still do not like this offense without Gronk when they go against a tough physical D. If they can't run the ball effectively enough, and aren't making big plays down field, you can't ask Welker and Hernandez to do everything on short routes taking all that punishment. Regardless of what they do with Welker, they need to add more down field threats at WR.

#11 SeoulSoxFan


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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

Awesome job as usual SS.

My only disagreement would be with Deaderick. He played well in the few games he filled in, and was somewhat surprised to see Love starting again.

I also have higher hopes for Cannon, and Nick McDonald, who is an slightly above-average rotational OL. Justin Francis seems to make a play or two each game - love the high-motor.

Fells makes too much and you're right on about him getting cut. I'm very much looking forward to a healthy Gronk, Herbs, Ballard (genius pick-up), and Hoo-man (you can do much worse as a blocking 4th TE) combo. That has to be the best 4-TE combo NFL has seen in a long, long time.

I still have the crazy fanboi notion of trading for Larry Fitzgerald, and getting another veteran CB on the decline, not as a top CB but as a decent depth behind Talib and Dennard. Anyone of Eagles' trio - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (poor play), Asante Samuel (age), or Asomugha (poor play/cap cut - $15m salary, $4m guaranteed) may be had on a deal.

Edited by SeoulSoxFan, 21 January 2013 - 02:22 PM.


#12 jp9183

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

Awesome job as usual SS.

My only disagreement would be with Deaderick. He played well in the few games he filled in, and was somewhat surprised to see Love starting again.

I also have higher hopes for Cannon, and Nick McDonald, who is an slightly above-average rotational OL. Justin Francis seems to make a play or two each game - love the high-motor.

Fells makes too much and you're right on about him getting cut. I'm very much looking forward to a healthy Gronk, Herbs, Ballard (genius pick-up), and Hoo-man (you can do much worse as a blocking 4th TE) combo. That has to be the best 4-TE combo NFL has seen in a long, long time.

I still have the crazy fanboi notion of trading for Larry Fitzgerald, and getting another veteran CB on the decline, not as a top CB but as a decent depth behind Talib and Dennard. Anyone of Eagles' trio - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (poor play), Asante Samuel (age), or Asomugha (poor play/cap cut - $15m salary, $4m guaranteed) may be had on a deal.


Samuel was a Falcon all season. I could see them cut Asomugha

#13 jsinger121


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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:38 AM

JamesWalkerESPN: UFC champion @JonnyBones tells@ESPN_FirstTake bro/Patriots' Chandler Jones will train w/him in New Mexico in offseason


This is should be a good start to building himself up to carry more weight.

#14 Super Nomario


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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:48 PM

A lot of the Pats' past great teams were keyed on mid-level free agents, certainly guys like Vrabel who developed into borderline stars, but also just dudes like Anthony Pleasant and Roman Phifer who were solid contributors. That group was a disaster this season:

FB: Added Tony Fiammetta and Spencer Larsen; both had potential to help but neither made the roster
TE: Signed Daniel Fells to a sizable deal; he had 4 catches this year and was a healthy scratch in the playoffs against Houston. Hoomanawanui was a good blocking TE. Jake Ballard didn't play but wasn't expected to.
WR: Brandon Lloyd was basically as advertised; Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth couldn't beat out Deion Branch
OL: Robert Gallery was the biggest signing; he retired before the season started
DL: Jonathan Fanane was a disastrous signing. Trevor Scott was basically a special-teamer
LB: Bobby Carpenter was beat out for a spot by Mike Rivera, twice
DB: Steve Gregory was a starter, if not a particularly good one. Will Allen went on IR before the season started. Marquice Cole was a core special teamer and a useful spare DB.

They got alarmingly little out of this group. Lloyd and Gregory were the only regular contributors.

I think this really hurts the defense. 71% of the defensive snaps this season were taken by guys who were drafted (or signed undrafted) by the Pats, and another 15% were played by Rob Ninkovich (8 games, 4 career tackles before joining the Pats) and Kyle Arrington (one game with Tampa after a year on a practice squad). The whole unit is built from within, and it isn't working. They have to get some talent from outside.

#15 Shelterdog


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Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:56 PM

One very minor point--Pryor is a free agent.
http://www.spotrac.c...ts/myron-pryor/

I assume they can get him back dirt cheap if they want him. Frankly, I'd pass--he's played 11 games in three years and at that point it would be shocking for him to stay healthy for a whole season.

#16 dbn

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

I hope Donald Thomas returns on a reasonable deal. Competent back-up O-lineman are valuable. He played the 6th-most snaps on the O-line, 49% of the total.

#17 Super Nomario


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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:24 AM

Snap counts (regular-season only at this point):
http://davebreaksdow...nap-counts.html

Might be useful to some of this discussion.

Updated through the postseason:
http://davebreaksdow...nap-counts.html

#18 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

Ben Muth of FO has a great wrap-up on the O-line:

http://www.footballo...riots-exit-exam



#19 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:02 PM

Looking at the offense:

 

Offense
Position 2012 Starter 2013 Starter Status
QB Tom Brady Tom Brady FINE
Backup QB Ryan Mallett Ryan Mallett PROBABLY FINE
RB Stevan Ridley Stevan Ridley FINE
3rd-down RB Danny Woodhead Shane Vereen PROBABLY FINE
FB NONE Tony Fiammetta PROBABLY FINE
Depth RB Shane Vereen / Brandon Bolden Brandon Bolden / Leon Washington / Jeff Demps PROBABLY FINE
Outside WR Brandon Lloyd ?? NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
Slot WR Wes Welker Danny Amendola FINE
3rd WR Julian Edelman / Deion Branch Donald Jones COULD BE IMPROVED
Depth WR NONE NONE COULD BE IMPROVED
TE (Y) Rob Gronkowski Rob Gronkowski FINE
TE (F) Aaron Hernandez Aaron Hernandez FINE
Depth TE Daniel Fells / Michael Hoomanawanui Jake Ballard / Daniel Fells / Michael Hoomanawanui FINE
LT Nate Solder Nate Solder FINE
RT Sebastian Vollmer Sebastian Vollmer FINE
Depth OT Marcus Cannon / Markus Zusevics Marcus Cannon / Will Svitek / Markus Zusevics FINE
LG Logan Mankins Logan Mankins FINE
C Ryan Wendell Ryan Wendell FINE
RG Dan Connolly Dan Connolly COULD BE IMPROVED
Depth Interior OL Donald Thomas / Nick McDonald Nick McDonald NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

 

FINE means it's fine (anywhere from awesome to just solid). PROBABLY FINE means we can live with it going into next season, but it wouldn't be bad or shocking to upgrade or add depth. COULD BE IMPROVED means the position is a little weak. Not a train wreck, but an area they might look at in free agency or the draft. NEEDS IMPROVEMENT means I can't imagine they'll go into the season without improving the roster spot.

 

FINE / PROBABLY FINE (15/20 spots)

COULD BE IMPROVED (3/20 spots):

3rd WR: they seem to like Donald Jones, but they could use more depth here. Maybe Edelman returns?

Depth WR: seems shallow, but they did go much of last season with 3 wideouts. There are technically guys like Jeremy Abert, Andre Holmes, and Kamar Aiken here. I expect more camp bodies at least, but the only WR who are more than 50/50 to make the team right now are Amendola and Jones.

RG: Dan Connolly was OK last year, but he's probably the weak link on the line and he's on the wrong side of 30. This was right on the edge between PROBABLY FINE and COULD BE IMPROVED.

 

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT (2/20 spots):

Depth interior OL: With Donald Thomas gone, Nick McDonald is the only backup. They can kill two birds with one stone by upgrading Connolly and making him the interior super-sub. Cannon and Zusevics are also options here.

Apropos of nothing: some mock drafts have the Pats taking Margus Hunt, DE, SMU. I hope they don't do this, because keeping Marcus (Cannon) / Markus (Zusevics) / Margus (Hunt) straight will be almost as bad as Dont'a (Hightower) / Donte' (Stallworth)

Outside WR: Presumed to be Emmanuel Sanders, which would shift this to PROBABLY FINE. I know folks have speculated Lloyd will be back, but I'm bearish. You have to imagine the Pats talked to him about restructuring rather than cutting him before the deadline, so the fact they didn't do a deal suggests to me that either Lloyd / Condon wouldn't do it or the Pats weren't interested in having him back.


Edited by Super Nomario, 24 March 2013 - 02:06 PM.


#20 soxfan121


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:31 PM

Good stuff, SN. 

 

I have no idea how to evaluate the RG situation. First, there is a highly, highly unlikely scenario where Brian Waters got bored at home last season and decides to return. Second, as pointed out, Connelly makes a much better top reserve than starter. Third, McDonald has stuck around long enough in Dante's FS to have become another guy who might just plug & play (a la Wendell, etc.) Fourth, Zuscevics might be seen as a good RG prospect; BB mentioned him and Cannon by name when discussing the position a few days ago. Fifth, given the possibility that Mankins is no longer the player he once was, there is a chance that the G position needs long term attention and a major talent upgrade. 

 

And I still think they are going to ignore "outside" WR entirely, adding another slot specialist and another guy (H-back/TE) who can do a few Hernandez like things and let them run 3 TE/1 WR/1RB sets an awful lot. 



#21 Dogman2


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 02:44 PM

Can you expand on your reasoning as to why you feel Jones could be improved?  

 

The way I see it is that a 25 year old Jones is immediately better than Branch.  He doesn't have the injury history that a similar aged Edelman has and now he has a top 3 all time QB throwing him the ball.  Add in his contract and the schematics of the offense, like 121 noted, and I think Jones is a very nice piece.  Additionally, I think he can easily line up wide and run the 15+ yard patterns.

 

I'm interested in your thoughts, Nomario.


Edited by Dogman2, 24 March 2013 - 02:46 PM.


#22 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

Good stuff, SN. 

 

I have no idea how to evaluate the RG situation. First, there is a highly, highly unlikely scenario where Brian Waters got bored at home last season and decides to return. Second, as pointed out, Connelly makes a much better top reserve than starter. Third, McDonald has stuck around long enough in Dante's FS to have become another guy who might just plug & play (a la Wendell, etc.) Fourth, Zuscevics might be seen as a good RG prospect; BB mentioned him and Cannon by name when discussing the position a few days ago. Fifth, given the possibility that Mankins is no longer the player he once was, there is a chance that the G position needs long term attention and a major talent upgrade. 

With Vollmer and Solder back in the fold and a legit swing tackle in Svitek, it's probably time for at least one of Cannon or Zusevics to make the switch to G. Not sure either of them is ideal size in the Pats' system (they're both a bit tall / big), but there's upside that's obviously not there with Connolly, and I don't think the Pats will carry 5 OTs.

 

I do think McDonald is plug-and-play - hell, he did it last year - but they usually carry two backup interior guys.

 

And I still think they are going to ignore "outside" WR entirely, adding another slot specialist and another guy (H-back/TE) who can do a few Hernandez like things and let them run 3 TE/1 WR/1RB sets an awful lot. 

Whether's it's a traditional "X" receiver or a hybrid guy like Sanders, it's gotta be somebody. Right now the WR depth chart is Amendola / Donald Jones / Kamar Aiken / Andre Holmes / Jeremy Ebert / Matt Slater / Shun White. That's not an NFL wide receiving corps.

 

I know you've been beating the "3 TE" drum, but they ran "13" personnel on about 4% of their offensive plays last year. I could see that jumping to 15-20%, but I'm very skeptical it's something they'll be running 30-40% or more. You have to be able to stretch the field horizontally and / or vertically and the Amendola / Gronk / Leaf / Ballard group doesn't do that. In fact, the Pats often used Matt Slater as the WR in 13 sets to open things up, as he's their fastest "WR."

 

 

Can you expand on your reasoning as to why you feel Jones could be improved?  

 

The way I see it is that a 25 year old Jones is immediately better than Branch.  He doesn't have the injury history that a similar aged Edelman has and now he has a top 3 all time QB throwing him the ball.  Add in his contract and the schematics of the offense, like 121 noted, and I think Jones is a very nice piece.  Additionally, I think he can easily line up wide and run the 15+ yard patterns.

 

I'm interested in your thoughts, Nomario.

Jones does have Edelman's injury history; he ended last year on IR and only played 8 games in 2011. He's got a kidney ailment serious enough that the Pats aren't guaranteeing him any money. He had 443 receiving yards last year, and while he doesn't have Fitzpatrick throwing to him any more, he doesn't get to face the Pats' secondary either (164 yards and 2 TDs in 2 games against the Pats). His skill set (mostly a slot receiver, some speed) seems largely duplicative with Amendola (and Sanders). I don't think he's a lock to make the roster. He's an upgrade on Branch; if this was still Branch, I would call it NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, not COULD BE IMPROVED.

 

EDIT: I'm open to the idea I'm being harsh here; the difference between Jones and somebody better isn't going to make or break the season ... probably.


Edited by Super Nomario, 24 March 2013 - 03:05 PM.


#23 Dogman2


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 03:16 PM

Thanks for that.  Somehow I missed the kidney thing.  At any rate, that's a fair take.  I love that they haven't guaranteed anything and that I'm sure they see him as an improvement over Branch.  I would guess that anyone better would come with guarantees and that makes a difference in roster construction. 

 

I don't think this spot makes the offense better/worse.  



#24 Stitch01


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

They'll run more 3 tight end sets next year. They ran it 10 times in 67 snaps in the opener this year and it was part of the Arizona game plan from all accounts. They can't count on it as a base offense though. Its effective because the Pats have two unique tight ends that create mismatches against a base defense. If Gronk or Hernandez go down, which has happened now and again, its not effective as a passing offense because the rest of the tight ends dont create the same mismatches. Three TE base also makes the Pats a poor come from behind team as the set loses effectiveness when the threat of a run diminishes. If you think the offense needs a shakeup because of recent playoff results, a 3 TE base brings the same problems in spades.

I think that 20% of snaps number might be right, maybe a touch higher, and it will be an effective set for the Patriots. The other 80% of snaps are going to be less dynamic without a little more help at receiver (or Lloyd and Edelman returning at good prices).

#25 SeoulSoxFan


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 05:41 PM

I'm eager to see who this year's last gasp WR would be, following the tradition of Holt/Stallworth/Gaffney/Branch mold. A camp body with a small chance of sticking to the opening roster. 



#26 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:34 PM

Here's how I size up the D:

 

 

Defense
DE Chandler Jones Chandler Jones FINE
DE Rob Ninkovich Rob Ninkovich COULD BE IMPROVED
NT Vince Wilfork Vince Wilfork FINE
DT Kyle Love / Brandon Deaderick Kyle Love / Brandon Deaderick COULD BE IMPROVED
Sub Rusher Jermaine Cunningham Jermaine Cunningham COULD BE IMPROVED
Interior Rusher Jermaine Cunningham Jermaine Cunningham / Armond Armstead / Myron Pryor COULD BE IMPROVED
Depth DL Trevor Scott / Justin Francis / Jake Bequette Justin Francis / Jake Bequette COULD BE IMPROVED
WILL LB Jerod Mayo Jerod Mayo FINE
MIKE LB Brandon Spikes Brandon Spikes FINE
SAM LB Dont'a Hightower Dont'a Hightower FINE
Coverage LB NONE NONE COULD BE IMPROVED
Depth LB Tracy White Dane Fletcher PROBABLY FINE
CB1 Aqib Talib Aqib Talib FINE
CB2 Alfonzo Dennard Alfonzo Dennard PROBABLY FINE
Star (Slot CB) Kyle Arrington Kyle Arrington PROBABLY FINE
Depth CB Marquice Cole / Derrick Martin Ras-I Dowling / Marquice Cole COULD BE IMPROVED
Money (Dimeback) Tavon Wilson Tavon Wilson FINE
FS Devin McCourty Devin McCourty FINE
SS Steve Gregory Adrian Wilson / Steve Gregory PROBABLY FINE
Depth S Patrick Chung / Tavon Wilson Tavon Wilson PROBABLY FINE

 

I have 0 NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, amazingly, but 7/20 spots as COULD BE IMPROVED, reflective of a lot of general weakness and lack of depth.

 

In order of priority, as I see it:

Interior Rusher: the Pats tried to use Jermaine Cunningham in a NASCAR role, with mixed results. He was largely ineffective in returning from suspension. Myron Pryor is technically back, but seems a longshot to contribute, and CFL signee Armond Armstead is a total wildcard.

Sub Rusher: they got flashes from Cunningham and Justin Francis, but a proven edge rusher like John Abraham would make a difference for the defense.

Depth CB: with Dennard potentially facing jail time and his and Talib's injury / suspension history, we're likely to need to pull from the reserves at some point. Dowling has two lost seasons in two years, and Cole is strictly a slot guy who was abused in the AFCCG. I didn't even list Malcolm Williams because he's purely a special teams guy at this point. This seems like a good opportunity to add a draft pick.

Coverage LB: personally I think this is a major concern, after how Pitta abused them in the AFCCG and they struggled to cover guys like Scott Chandler last year. Mayo's a legit three-down LB, but Spikes is comically slow and with Hightower's size it seems unlikely he'll ever be above-average in this respect. There's a good chance the Pats do nothing here, as they haven't carried a nickel LB since Gary Guyton, preferring to fill the role with special teamer Tracy White. With White a free agent, maybe they'll add someone? I'm not holding my breath.

DT: Love and Deaderick are what they are: JAGs who are stout against the run but get no push in the passing game. This draft is deep for DTs and there's an opportunity to make this position more dynamic.

Depth DL: improving some of the above categories will take care of this, but there's no guarantee Cunningham, Bequette, or Marcus Forston makes this team next year.

DE: Rob Ninkovich is the Dan Connolly of the defense: a versatile, average player who's not getting any younger. I'd be surprised if they replace him, but cutting his workload from 85% of the snaps to 50% or so would make the team better. Acquiring Abraham or someone similar as a sub rusher probably takes care of this.

 

PROBABLY FINEs I'm open to arguments on:

SS: Steve Gregory was probably the team's worst starter last year, and Adrian Wilson is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Tavon Wilson was up-and-down, seemingly losing the team's confidence as a deep safety at the same time he was gaining it as a dimeback. I doubt they will add anyone else to this menagerie, but it's pretty easy to see this becoming a problem again.

Depth S: tied to the above note on SS, and they don't have a backup for McCourty who can bring half of what he does

Slot CB: sorry folks, they didn't pay Kyle Arrington $8.5 MM guaranteed to be any lower on the depth chart

CB2: Dennard's fine, it's just uncertainty over his health / off-field issues that puts him here



#27 dbn

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:12 AM

Nice posts, SN.  I love seeing things laid out visually like that.

 

One question: what do you mean by NASCAR role?  Did he run around in left-turn ovals all last year?



#28 Super Nomario


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 09:29 AM

Nice posts, SN.  I love seeing things laid out visually like that.

 

One question: what do you mean by NASCAR role?  Did he run around in left-turn ovals all last year?

Not positive of the etymology, but I think the Giants started it. Basically, in order to get more pass rush, you take off some of your run stuffers, and put on more pass rushers, even if it means playing some guys a little out of position. So the Pats would take off Kyle Love and put on Jermaine Cunningham to play DT, giving them a look with three DEs (Jones, Cunningham, Ninkovich). I think the Giants even did four DEs for their NASCAR. Obviously this is a move only for passing situations.



#29 ( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:05 AM

Coverage LB: personally I think this is a major
concern, after how Pitta abused them in the AFCCG and they struggled to
cover guys like Scott Chandler last year. Mayo's a legit three-down LB,
but Spikes is comically slow and with Hightower's size it seems unlikely
he'll ever be above-average in this respect. There's a good chance the
Pats do nothing here, as they haven't carried a nickel LB since Gary
Guyton, preferring to fill the role with special teamer Tracy White.
With White a free agent, maybe they'll add someone? I'm not holding my
breath.

 

 

Why wouldn't you consider Adrian Wilson for this role?  At 230lbs he is basically a small linebacker and at his age I'd expect him to run more like a LB then a rangy safety.  Do you think his coverage skills have dropped to the point where he would be ineffective against the TE?



#30 Wilco's Last Fan

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:16 AM

Not positive of the etymology, but I think the Giants started it. Basically, in order to get more pass rush, you take off some of your run stuffers, and put on more pass rushers, even if it means playing some guys a little out of position. So the Pats would take off Kyle Love and put on Jermaine Cunningham to play DT, giving them a look with three DEs (Jones, Cunningham, Ninkovich). I think the Giants even did four DEs for their NASCAR. Obviously this is a move only for passing situations.


I read somewhere that the NYG would bring a LB up to the line in a two-point stance in that situation as well, sometimes blitzing him and sometimes dropping him into coverage. 4 DEs and a LB is a lot of speed for an O-line to contend with in obvious passing situations.

#31 Super Nomario


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:29 AM

Why wouldn't you consider Adrian Wilson for this role?  At 230lbs he is basically a small linebacker and at his age I'd expect him to run more like a LB then a rangy safety.  Do you think his coverage skills have dropped to the point where he would be ineffective against the TE?

 

FWIW, they used Tavon Wilson in this role ("money" / dimeback) at times last year and he was mostly effective. I don't think they signed A. Wilson just to upgrade T. Wilson. If A. Wilson's in this role, then we've got Gregory starting at S again, which is a problem.



#32 soxfan121


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:57 PM

With Vollmer and Solder back in the fold and a legit swing tackle in Svitek, it's probably time for at least one of Cannon or Zusevics to make the switch to G. Not sure either of them is ideal size in the Pats' system (they're both a bit tall / big), but there's upside that's obviously not there with Connolly, and I don't think the Pats will carry 5 OTs.

 

I do think McDonald is plug-and-play - hell, he did it last year - but they usually carry two backup interior guys.[/quote]

 

If they are moving one of Cannon or Zuscevics to "G" and McDonald is "plug & play" ready, then they have 4  guards (Mankins, McDonald, Connelly as top reserve and the conversion project), plus Kyle Hix (and he's been around a suspciously long time). This would elimnate it as a draft need and move it to (it's usual place) an UDFA/practice squad need. 

 

Whether's it's a traditional "X" receiver or a hybrid guy like Sanders, it's gotta be somebody. Right now the WR depth chart is Amendola / Donald Jones / Kamar Aiken / Andre Holmes / Jeremy Ebert / Matt Slater / Shun White. That's not an NFL wide receiving corps.[/quote]

 

I am guilty of thinking the Sanders thing is going to drag out until the last possible second before he's acquired in trade. I didn't recall the initial rumors in 2007 that Welker was going to be signed to a $38M offer sheet and that the trade negotiation (adding a 7th round pick) allowed the Pats to sign him to the team-friendly 5/$18M deal. I believe (based on no evidence) that there's on-going negotiations between the Pats and the Steelers regarding Sanders' rights. 

 

Amendola/Sanders/Jones/Ebert/Draftee has little name recognition value, but they are largely interchangeable and fits for the system. 

 

I know you've been beating the "3 TE" drum, but they ran "13" personnel on about 4% of their offensive plays last year. I could see that jumping to 15-20%, but I'm very skeptical it's something they'll be running 30-40% or more. You have to be able to stretch the field horizontally and / or vertically and the Amendola / Gronk / Leaf / Ballard group doesn't do that. In fact, the Pats often used Matt Slater as the WR in 13 sets to open things up, as he's their fastest "WR."[/quote]

 

I do think that offensive group could stretch the field horizontally - in physical mismatches. Gronk and Hernandez can both get depth on routes that break outside, while Amendola and Vereen can exploit the space those guys create. With the nickel becoming almost the "base" for many teams, especially against the Pats, this would guarantee you get more traditional fronts/schemes because the 3 DB would be wasted/run over/boxed out by the size of the package (yup, I did that). 

 

There's no way a team runs a 3 TE offense unless they had the very best all-around TE in the game who can dominate as a receiver and a blocker (check) and a hybrid TE/WR with great size, shiftiness, open field ability and speed (check). Add to that a very good (before the injury) in-line, traditional TE (Ballard). To me that's the key - Ballard is likely to be top 15 in NFL tight ends were he playing somewhere else (possibly higher). So you can assign him all the blocking assignments and the traditional TE assignments and get an average or above performance. 

 

Ballard's inclusion allows Gronkowski to do even more Gronky things. He can be put in motion to destroy the weak side contain. He can run go routes down the seam on every play. He can be split out so the defense has to show coverage. Making Ballard the traditional TE means Gronk is a freelance beast more often. 

 

And then there's Hernandez, who really is the #1 WR on the roster. He's big, he's fast, he's shifty and he'll go over the middle. He can run reverses, he can line up in the backfield or at TE or at the "outside" (X) receiver position. You can move him around and force the defense to account for two premier pass receivers AND the likelihood that everyone could just block and run your small nickel package to death in the hurry up. 

 

3 TE sets gives this offense a huge new dimension. I doubt they just line up 3 TE and have them block on every play. I bet they do more of that formation screen play from the 2011 Buffalo game where Gronk, Hernandez & Welker all lined up wide left and at the snap, Gronk and Hernandez plowed the CB, LB & S out of the way while Welker waltzed into the endzone. 

 

They are going to creatively use their size/skill advantage at the pass-receiver position unlike any team, ever. And it'll include WAY more than 20% of the snaps if everyone's healthy. 



#33 Super Nomario


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:34 PM

I am guilty of thinking the Sanders thing is going to drag out until the last possible second before he's acquired in trade. I didn't recall the initial rumors in 2007 that Welker was going to be signed to a $38M offer sheet and that the trade negotiation (adding a 7th round pick) allowed the Pats to sign him to the team-friendly 5/$18M deal. I believe (based on no evidence) that there's on-going negotiations between the Pats and the Steelers regarding Sanders' rights. 

Amendola/Sanders/Jones/Ebert/Draftee has little name recognition value, but they are largely interchangeable and fits for the system.

 
I think you're right re: Sanders; it's seems like it's going to happen but it might drag on for a while, and it will probably end up being a trade.

 

Amendola / Sanders is fine. But Ebert has proven absolutely nothing, and Jones not a lot more than that. A third genuine WR is still an area of improvement. If you fall behind, you've got to throw, and teams are going to use nickel and dime defenses regardless of the personnel.
 

I do think that offensive group could stretch the field horizontally - in physical mismatches. Gronk and Hernandez can both get depth on routes that break outside, while Amendola and Vereen can exploit the space those guys create. With the nickel becoming almost the "base" for many teams, especially against the Pats, this would guarantee you get more traditional fronts/schemes because the 3 DB would be wasted/run over/boxed out by the size of the package (yup, I did that). 

I agree the 3 TE offense would be countered by base personnel. But part of what the 2 TE gives you is the ability to run against nickel. It's great when opponents go to nickel; it opens up those 5/6/7-yard Ridley runs.
 

And then there's Hernandez, who really is the #1 WR on the roster. He's big, he's fast, he's shifty and he'll go over the middle. He can run reverses, he can line up in the backfield or at TE or at the "outside" (X) receiver position. You can move him around and force the defense to account for two premier pass receivers AND the likelihood that everyone could just block and run your small nickel package to death in the hurry up.

Hernandez is a terrific receiver as a TE because he can match up on linebackers and safeties and those guys can't hang with him. But line him up on the outside against an outside corner, and I don't think you'll see nearly the same effectiveness. He doesn't have #1 WR speed; he doesn't even have have great size. This is the crux of my problem with the 3-TE offense; the idea that Hernandez is "basically a WR" is overblown. He's a mismatch problem because he can line up anywhere; line him up outside consistently, and you eliminate the mismatch. And with a 3-TE offense, some non-WR has to line up outside, and that player is easily neutralized by a CB there.



#34 Stitch01


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:49 PM

Id take up to 500 in action and give 4-1 odds for a Jimmy Fund where I get under 25% of snaps in 3 TE formations in any games Gronk/Hernandez/Ballard are healthy.  Seems like a lot of free money for a good cause if they are going to run way more than 20% of snaps out of a 3 TE formation.

 

EDIT: yes, Aaron Hernandez as a #1 wideout on an NFL offense would not be a good thing.  Compared with other wideouts he has good size, OK hands, below average straight line speed (4.64 40 time), and average quickness.  That package doesn't scream #1 wideout to me, but JMHO.


Edited by Stitch01, 25 March 2013 - 01:52 PM.


#35 Super Nomario


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 01:53 PM

3 TE sets gives this offense a huge new dimension. I doubt they just line up 3 TE and have them block on every play. I bet they do more of that formation screen play from the 2011 Buffalo game where Gronk, Hernandez & Welker all lined up wide left and at the snap, Gronk and Hernandez plowed the CB, LB & S out of the way while Welker waltzed into the endzone.

I'm pretty sure that play was from the 2010 opener against Cincinnati, not 2011 against Buffalo (Welker did have two TD catches against Buffalo in 2011, but neither was as you describe here).



#36 soxfan121


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:02 PM

Id take up to 500 in action and give 4-1 odds for a Jimmy Fund where I get under 25% of snaps in 3 TE formations in any games Gronk/Hernandez/Ballard are healthy.  Seems like a lot of free money for a good cause if they are going to run way more than 20% of snaps out of a 3 TE formation.

 

No offense, but that's asinine. I am not willing to bet money on anything, ever. I am glad you have a charitable heart and encourage you to make donations to a worthy cause.

 

You think the opinion is unreasonable? OK. But you've put me in a position where if I don't agree to your "action", I look like a jerk for not supporting a cancer charity. That's unfair, dude. I am lucky if I can afford to give 500 to charity, in total, every year. 

 

I'll bet you 500 quatloos they run a 3 TE offense way more than 20% of the snaps. Because it fits the personnel they have on the roster and because it's mid-March and because they have two (2!!) real NFL receivers on the roster currently. Because it's a discussion and an opinion. 



#37 Sille Skrub

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:09 PM

Awesome writeups, SN. Thanks.



#38 Stitch01


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:23 PM

No offense, but that's asinine. I am not willing to bet money on anything, ever. I am glad you have a charitable heart and encourage you to make donations to a worthy cause.

 

You think the opinion is unreasonable? OK. But you've put me in a position where if I don't agree to your "action", I look like a jerk for not supporting a cancer charity. That's unfair, dude. I am lucky if I can afford to give 500 to charity, in total, every year. 

 

I'll bet you 500 quatloos they run a 3 TE offense way more than 20% of the snaps. Because it fits the personnel they have on the roster and because it's mid-March and because they have two (2!!) real NFL receivers on the roster currently. Because it's a discussion and an opinion. 

 

No offense meant, so sorry.  You are very aggressive in your opinions, but I worded that more aggressively than I should have upon reflection. Im sure no one thinks you are a jerk.

 

I do think your view of the 3 TE offense, particularly given the personnel at outside receiver, and your view of Aaron Hernandez is a bit crazy.  I like markets, have seen bets propose don here, and figure its for a good cause, but sorry for putting you on the spot so much.



#39 soxfan121


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:56 PM

Well, lots of people think I'm a jerk - just not for that reason. Thanks for the response. 

 

And yeah, I'm probably overestimating Hernandez's abilities. I just don't see them having this roster - and the gaps on this roster - for no good reason. They've got 5 TE (Gronk, Hernandez, Ballard, Hooman, Fells) plus Fiammetta and a comparatively thin WR depth chart. It would be easier to add a TE (3 + 3 backups) than to cobble together a real depth chart at WR. Unless they're going to get Sanders AND Edelman. Or use a high draft pick on someone they are reasonably sure can get the playbook. It's also easy to envision Ebert as the "third" WR, given he has a year in the system after being drafted last year. 

 

I think the talent on the roster skews towards TE, therefore I think they'll use a lot of TEs a lot of the time. I recognize the issues SN references in objection...they exist and I have no good answer for most of them. I also think that the Patriots have continued to evolve offensively and with the loss of Welker & Lloyd, face even more changes next year. Guessing where they are going means I'm often wrong but that's nothing new. 



#40 Stitch01


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 03:57 PM

I think the gaps get filled before September.  Whether its Lloyd and Edelman returning, Sanders signing an offer sheet, a draft pick, whatever, I think two more WR's are getting added to the depth chart.  If they go into the season with this roster, your viewpoint would have more merit to me.  It just seems wildly risky to increase how much the offense revolves around Gronk and Hernandez being healthy all the time (and the passing game out of the 3 TE set becomes pretty weak if Gronk or Hernandez go down, at least relative to the production we are used to seeing out of the passing game).

 

Funny thing is, I probably was too harsh earlier because I actually like the 3 TE set with the Pats personnel. Id like it more if they had someone who could beat one-on-one coverage outside and was a reliable deep threat, but I agree with you that the Patriots are absolutely going to use that formation this year.  They threw a TD to Hernandez out of it on opening day last year IIRC.  I just don't see how they run it when they're behind by two scores in the second half or against teams that are vulnerable to spreading the field.  Since I don't think you can just plug in Hernandez for a WR in most formations, the depth chart at WR needs to be fixed or else the offense is actually less diverse than it was the last couple of seasons. I think the current holes are a function of comfort by BB and company that it can be fixed by training camp from available resources rather than a deliberate attempt to go light at WR.   



#41 Tony C


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Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:07 PM

Coverage LB: personally I think this is a major
concern, after how Pitta abused them in the AFCCG and they struggled to
cover guys like Scott Chandler last year. Mayo's a legit three-down LB,
but Spikes is comically slow and with Hightower's size it seems unlikely
he'll ever be above-average in this respect. There's a good chance the
Pats do nothing here, as they haven't carried a nickel LB since Gary
Guyton, preferring to fill the role with special teamer Tracy White.
With White a free agent, maybe they'll add someone? I'm not holding my
breath.

 

 

Why wouldn't you consider Adrian Wilson for this role?  At 230lbs he is basically a small linebacker and at his age I'd expect him to run more like a LB then a rangy safety.  Do you think his coverage skills have dropped to the point where he would be ineffective against the TE?

 

I think this is where they need to go, too. Their LB corps is simply too slow and I love the idea of bringing in big safeties in passing situations rather than either their starter LBs or their subs. 



#42 Super Nomario


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:09 AM

Looking at the roster today, by likelihood of making it:
Offense
Pos Lock Bubble Cut Total
QB (3) T.Brady M.Kafka 2 (0)
R.Mallet
RB (9) S.Ridley B.Bolden T.Fiammetta 3 (2)
S.Vereen L.Blount B.Bartholomew
L.Washington Q.Hines
J.Develin
WR (12) D.Amendola M.Jenkins A.Holmes 5 (2)
J.Edelman D.Jones K.Aiken
M.Slater J.Ebert
A.Dobson K.Thompkins
J.Boyce T.Moe
TE (8) R.Gronkowski D.Fells B.Herman 3 (2)
A.Hernandez M.Hoomanawanui Z.Sudfeld
J.Ballard B.Ford
OT (6) N.Solder M.Zusevics E.Fisher 4 (1)
S.Vollmer
W.Svitek
M.Cannon
Interior OL (7) L.Mankins M.Stankiewitch 4 (0)
R.Wendell J.Kline
D.Connolly C.McDonald
N.McDonald
TOTAL 21 7 17 45


Defense
Pos Lock Bubble Cut Total
Interior DL (9) V.Wilfork T.Robertson 5 (0)
K.Love M.Forston
B.Deaderick M.Benard
T.Kelly C.Grissom
A.Armstead D.Cherrington
Edge Rusher (8) C.Jones J.Cunningham J.Vega 3 (2)
R.Ninkovich J.Francis
J.Collins J.Bequette
M.Buchanan
LB (8) J.Mayo D.Fletcher J.Tarpinian 3 (4)
B.Spikes M.Rivera
D.Hightower N.Koutouvides
S.Beauharnais
CB (9) A.Talib M.Cole S.Morris 4 (3)
A.Dennard M.Williams B.Jones
K.Arrington R.Dowling
L.Ryan
S (7) D.McCourty S.Gregory K.Davis 5 (1)
A.Wilson
T. Wilson
D.Harmon
N.Ebner
TOTAL 20 12 10 42


The chart doesn't have Aiken / Mesko / Gostkowski, so the players above are competing for 50 (roster) spots and 43 (gameday) spots. For convenience, I put all the UDFAs in the "cut" column, though history tells us that one or two will probably make the team. I put all the 2013 draftees in the "definite" column except for 7th-rounders Buchanan and Beauharnais, who I put on the bubble. History also tells us someone or two will get hurt.

#43 Super Nomario


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:47 AM

Looking at this, I'm surprised they didn't pursue more UDFA running backs. They lost Woodhead, and while Vereen is expected to take on the lion's share of that role, he's had trouble staying healthy and only had 8 career catches. Leon Washington was used a lot as a pass-catcher with the Jets (123 catches in 4 seasons), but sparingly with Seattle (just 23 catches in 3 seasons). Blount has just 21 career catches in his 3 seasons, Ridley just 9 in his 2, Bolden just 2 in his 1. The only UDFA HB they signed was Quentin Hines, who had only 7 catches (and only 37 rushes) in college and couldn't start for the Akron Zips last year. Are they going to add somebody? Maybe we're going to see a bunch of 3 WR / 2 TE sets.



#44 RedOctober3829


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 11:55 AM

This might not mean anything at all, but I did see a few plays on Josh Boyce's tape of him lining up in the backfield. He ran it in one play too.

#45 Mooch

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 12:15 PM

They could also use Hernandez out of the backfield more. With the Gronk injuries, it seems the Pats abandoned that strategy for most of last season but could return to it in 2013.

#46 dcdrew10

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 08:08 AM

Pat's will release Ebert, per Reiss



#47 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:42 PM

We should see some pretty good camp competition.

 

The DBs will be interesting to watch.  BB has carried 10 on the 53 man roster to start the last two years so that seems likely again.  Barring injury, I only see two spots for the group of Gregory, Ebner, Dowling, Williams, and Cole.

 

We have carried 12 skill position players (RB/WR/TE) the last two years to start the season.  I could see that going to 13 but not any higher.  Bolden and Blount are probably competing against each other.  I wouldn't consider Edelman or Slater a lock at this point.  I think those guys plus Jones might be competing for two jobs, with a lot depending on how things shake out elsewhere in terms of special teams players and kick returners (which is clearly a significant part of Edelman's value).



#48 Super Nomario


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:24 PM

We should see some pretty good camp competition.
 
The DBs will be interesting to watch.  BB has carried 10 on the 53 man roster to start the last two years so that seems likely again.  Barring injury, I only see two spots for the group of Gregory, Ebner, Dowling, Williams, and Cole.

Gregory and Dowling didn't play any special teams last year, so I think they're longshots barring injury (or a miraculous resurgence by Dowling). Logan Ryan might make Cole superfluous. Williams should still have practice squad eligibility, so that seems the likeliest route for him.

 

We have carried 12 skill position players (RB/WR/TE) the last two years to start the season.  I could see that going to 13 but not any higher.  Bolden and Blount are probably competing against each other.  I wouldn't consider Edelman or Slater a lock at this point.  I think those guys plus Jones might be competing for two jobs, with a lot depending on how things shake out elsewhere in terms of special teams players and kick returners (which is clearly a significant part of Edelman's value).

Edelman also is the only guy with experience. He's not an unthinkable cut, but I'd be surprised, especially if he's healthy. I think there's a decent chance he's the week 1 starter, to be honest. I'd be pretty surprised if Slater got cut, too. I know they added a bunch of WR, but from a practical standpoint he's competing with guys like Williams and Cole more so than those guys.



#49 soxfan121


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:34 PM

Gregory and Dowling didn't play any special teams last year, so I think they're longshots barring injury (or a miraculous resurgence by Dowling). Logan Ryan might make Cole superfluous. Williams should still have practice squad eligibility, so that seems the likeliest route for him.

 

They have to be hoping Dowling finally puts together a healthy season, if only as the primary backup outside CB and FA/Talib insurance into next year. 

 

Gregory's lack of special team ability and spot on the depth chart relative to Adrian, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner and Duron Harmon, plus his salary make him a likely training camp cut if everyone else is healthy and productive. 

 

Logan Ryan for Marquise Cole is an eminently logical roster swap - Cole can't play slot corner in a pinch or in the AFC Championship. Ryan had an insanely good 3-cone time, is physical and fits profile to develop into a very good slot corner while filling Cole's primary role on special teams. 



#50 Morgan's Magic Snowplow


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Posted 29 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

Gregory and Dowling didn't play any special teams last year, so I think they're longshots barring injury (or a miraculous resurgence by Dowling). Logan Ryan might make Cole superfluous. Williams should still have practice squad eligibility, so that seems the likeliest route for him.

 

Edelman also is the only guy with experience. He's not an unthinkable cut, but I'd be surprised, especially if he's healthy. I think there's a decent chance he's the week 1 starter, to be honest. I'd be pretty surprised if Slater got cut, too. I know they added a bunch of WR, but from a practical standpoint he's competing with guys like Williams and Cole more so than those guys.

 

On further reflection, I agree with you about Edelman.  Its hard to see them starting the year with zero WRs that have any real game experience with Brady.  I'm not so sure about Slater, especially if they only keep five WR.   Unless Dobson or Boyce advances really quickly in training camp, it will be hard to run 3WR sets without Donald Jones.  They might just end up keeping 6 WR and only keeping 8 OL on the 53 man roster, with guys like Zuzevics and an UDFA on the practice squad waiting to get promoted if there's an injury.






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