Pats Preseason: Defense Edition

SeoulSoxFan

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By all accounts, Christian Barmore has been terrific. Per Boston.com:

Defensive tackles Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy, and rookie Christian Barmore continually stood blockers up or burst through the line of scrimmage to blow up plays in the backfield. At one point, Deatrich Wise Jr., who’s known mainly for his pass-rushing ability, busted through Shaq Mason to get a tackle-for-loss on James White.
I am quite hopeful that his foot injury isn't serious. Per Herald:

Defensive lineman Christian Barmore, kicker Nick Folk, wide receiver Devin Ross, safety Cody Davis and cornerback D’Angelo Ross all missed their first practices of the summer. Devin Ross left Wednesday’s session early with an apparent hamstring injury. Barmore dealt with a foot issue at the end of Tuesday’s practice.
I am beyond excited for the defense this year. Not having Gilmore back would be deflating (ala Krejci) but assuming the CB is back for at least one more year, it should be a top-5 group in the league.

During one of the Lazar & Barth podcasts, they pointed out Myles Bryant as a solid & consistent slot corner while Adrian Phillips as standing out as a hybrid S/LB, a role that Chung played well after coming back to the Pats.

The joint practice sessions will tell a lot more in the coming days.

P.S. Yup, losing McMillan sucks: https://www.sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?threads/raekwon-mcmillan-torn-acl.34254/
 
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SMU_Sox

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Hightower, Bentley as a will and a downhill early down thumper and Uche should suffice. Raekwon (RIP 36 Chambers) was a bit of a long shot to me anyway.

Bryant is a good depth piece because he can handle slot duties as well as go or you some Harmon like ability to play split zone. Whether he has the range to do more will be determined. Barmore’s talent was never in question but his coach-ability was. If Barmore gives them what he gave Bama in the playoffs this defense will be legitimately good.

I don’t care if it’s early I am of the opinion this is going to be a good defense. Top half of the league. Unless Gilmore doesn’t come back well from the quad tear which is a possibility and JCJ can’t handle it this defense should not be a liability which they were last year.
 

Soxy

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I don't think you're early at all and I thought it was insanity when The Athletic ranked all 32 defenses and put the Pats 18th.

They've completely rebuilt the front-7 and they needed to, because they were awful up front last season. They couldn't stop the run and they couldn't rush the QB. (Reminds of that scene from Office Space: "what would you say you do here.....?")

They were the only NFL defense to face <500 passing attempts last season. Granted, only one defense faced fewer plays (Packers) than the Patriots, but why throw the ball against an elite secondary when you can just run all over the front-seven? I don't think they'll have that same problem this season. There's a chance only one of those guys will be a returning starter (Guy). Everyone else will likely be new or, in the case of Hightower and Van Noy, returning from a year away. All of the players they added (Judon, Godchaux, Anderson, Hightower, Van Noy) appear to be significant upgrades to the players they are replacing. If Uche makes a leap and the rookies (Barmore and Perkins) are ready to contribute, they'll be talented and deep with a nice blend of vets and youth. What was a major weakness could be turned into one of the team's strengths.

I don't expect a dominant unit like they were for the first half of 2019, but I think they'll be a lot closer to that than the horror show we saw at times last season.
 

Super Nomario

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I think it's easy to tell the defense will be better than last year, but hard to tell how much better. Could see fringe top 10, could see averageish.

They were the only NFL defense to face <500 passing attempts last season. Granted, only one defense faced fewer plays (Packers) than the Patriots, but why throw the ball against an elite secondary when you can just run all over the front-seven?
The dirty secret with the 2020 Patriots is the pass defense wasn't a lot better than the run D. At one point, they were dead last in net yards allowed per pass attempt; a couple decent late-season performances brought that up to 23rd. They were an elite pass defense in 2019; they were not an elite pass defense last year.
 

Soxy

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The dirty secret with the 2020 Patriots is the pass defense wasn't a lot better than the run D. At one point, they were dead last in net yards allowed per pass attempt; a couple decent late-season performances brought that up to 23rd. They were an elite pass defense in 2019; they were not an elite pass defense last year.
Yup, I even said similar in this forum last season. I recall other posters pointing to counting stats that made the Pats pass defense look fine but their rate stats (per-play) were far worse. The discrepancy was that teams simply weren't throwing the ball against them very often. Mainly because they didn't really have to, but teams found some success when they did. Not always top notch passing teams either. I remember Joe Flacco and Breshard Perriman inexplicably torching them on a Monday night.

They did tie for the NFL lead in interceptions despite facing fewer passes than anyone else, so that counts for something. I tend to think the defensive struggles were ultimately more tied to the front-7 being a sieve that couldn't get any push more than anything, and that the secondary should be okay if they get back to stopping the run and getting a pass rush. But you're not wrong. The play in the secondary slipped a bit last season. When I step back and look at the whole picture, I tend to give them a bit of a slide just because they were getting absolutely no help up front and last season was so weird. They were basically playing safeties out of position at linebacker all year long.
 

Mooch

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This defense has top 5 potential written all over it. Depth, impact guys and no real glaring weaknesses.
 

Saints Rest

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This defense has top 5 potential written all over it. Depth, impact guys and no real glaring weaknesses.
I think the weaknesses are in top end depth at MLB (behind Hightower) and CB. For the latter, I think we saw last year that although JCJ is one of the best CB-2's in the league, he struggles as CB-1. So getting Gilmore active is vital. And I'm not sure how good the depth is behind those top two should either of them go down.

When they can line up Gilmore, JCJ, and JJones in the slot, I think it's as good a secondary as almost anywhere. But I'm not sure about Mills, Williams or Bryant to replace any of those guys.
 

Harry Hooper

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This defense has top 5 potential written all over it. Depth, impact guys and no real glaring weaknesses.
Secondary is questionable, given its most decorated players (DMC and presumably Gilmore back) face age/injury concerns. Dugger is a work in progress in terms of coverage abilitiy. Plug-ins for injury, as Saints Rest noted, are of uncertain quality.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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PFF has Barmore as a dark horse candidate to win DROY:

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-darkhorse-candidates-win-defensive-rookie-of-the-year-2021

Barmore’s slide in the 2021 NFL Draft was questionable, to say the least. He was the clear No. 1 defensive lineman on the PFF Big Board and 12th-rated prospect overall. Yet, the Patriots were able to grab him in Round 2.

The pre-draft chatter about how the former Alabama star might not respect or seek out coaching was seemingly overblown; it has yet to be an issue up in New England playing for Bill Belichick, and he has the kind of talent that warranted a first-round selection.
Reports indicate that Barmore was a force to be reckoned with in one-on-ones in camp last week before a minor injury forced him to the sidelines — and he got to see reps with the team’s starting unit.

Again, this isn’t a surprise. Barmore has the ideal frame at 6-foot-4 and 310-pounds with 34 ⅝-inch arms, and he also boasts great hand usage, burst, power and bend. There's no wonder why he earned a Power Five-best 92.2 pass-rush grade from 2019 to 2020, or why he generated a 91.3 pass-rush grade and 12 pressures against Notre Dame and Ohio State in the 2020 College Football Playoff.

Barmore is as NFL-ready as they come. If he ends up with a starting spot, count on him making an impact.
 

pappymojo

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I think the weaknesses are in top end depth at MLB (behind Hightower) and CB. For the latter, I think we saw last year that although JCJ is one of the best CB-2's in the league, he struggles as CB-1. So getting Gilmore active is vital. And I'm not sure how good the depth is behind those top two should either of them go down.

When they can line up Gilmore, JCJ, and JJones in the slot, I think it's as good a secondary as almost anywhere. But I'm not sure about Mills, Williams or Bryant to replace any of those guys.
I get a bit confused with the linebacker designations. Is Langi a middle linebacker?
 

rodderick

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This defense has top 5 potential written all over it. Depth, impact guys and no real glaring weaknesses.
I think they're expecting a lot of pass rush to come from unproven players and I don't know how good this secondary can be without Gilmore, but the median outcome is still likely a top-12 defense. Don't think they're among the best in the game, though, at least not talent wise.
 

RedOctober3829

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If the run defense can be a massive upgrade from last year, it will go a long ways for this team. It was demoralizing at times watching them try to stuff the run and I feel like they went a long ways to address that this offseason with Davon Goodcheaux, Henry Anderson, possibly Montravius Adams, and the return of Hightower. A good run defense is the base for a good defense. If they can stop the run, the pass rush and secondary will look a lot better by default(and they massively upgraded the pass rush department as well).
 

Saints Rest

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I get a bit confused with the linebacker designations. Is Langi a middle linebacker?
I think so, but I'm not sure he even makes the squad.
Seems to me that Bentley is Hightower's de facto backup, and as we saw last year, he's no DHT. In reality, I think if/when DHT is out, that KVN might move inside and get the green dot, while Uche sees more time on the edge.
 

simplyeric

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How much of the defensive effectiveness is going to be based on the nature of the offense? I mean, obviously the defense plays defense. What I mean is, if we run with Cam, and it's a ground and pound (toss and boss, since it's still an air attack?) offense, using up a lot of clock time, it's not going to be a shoot-out situation. Teams who are shooters are gonna shoot. But doesn't seem like we'll be forcing other teams to play super aggressively downfield.
Pats averages 20 points per game last year. Seems like we'd have to do a lot better than that this season, but what kind of points per possession and time of possession do they need to achieve in order to force other teams out of their comfort zone? If teams can just play their game, then the Pats D will really have to be able to key on each team in very specific ways. (as opposed to if we were scoring 30 ppg, other teams have to play aggressive, and we can set the tone).
 

lexrageorge

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The team was in the mid-20's in most defensive categories last season. Lot of new faces this year, but some of them like Hightower are older. I'm fairly confident that they will be at least league average, but the unit could be vulnerable to injury. Their depth took a hit with McMillan going down early.

As Gilmore was mentioned upthread, he's been spotted practicing in the lower field with the other PUP/NFI list players nearly every day. So he's likely a candidate to be activated shortly after their preseason game against Washington.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Is there any word how much 3 man front they're going to run?

With Barmores skillset, I hate the idea of him just plugging gaps in a 3-4. And this team has used 3 safeties on the field before which sometimes lends itself to a 3-3-5 (not sure if thats what they ran when they had 3 safeties on the field). Again, 3 downlineman isn't going to play into his strengths.

Would like to see these guys be able to pin their ears back, even if its at the cost of some rushing yards.
 

Saints Rest

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How much of the defensive effectiveness is going to be based on the nature of the offense? I mean, obviously the defense plays defense. What I mean is, if we run with Cam, and it's a ground and pound (toss and boss, since it's still an air attack?) offense, using up a lot of clock time, it's not going to be a shoot-out situation. Teams who are shooters are gonna shoot. But doesn't seem like we'll be forcing other teams to play super aggressively downfield.
Pats averages 20 points per game last year. Seems like we'd have to do a lot better than that this season, but what kind of points per possession and time of possession do they need to achieve in order to force other teams out of their comfort zone? If teams can just play their game, then the Pats D will really have to be able to key on each team in very specific ways. (as opposed to if we were scoring 30 ppg, other teams have to play aggressive, and we can set the tone).
I think the NFL has clearly become a league where the best defense is indeed a good offense. When your offense can get out to a lead and make the other tema play catch up, you've taken the run game away in some measure. I think this is what hurt the Pats a ton last year; they were hardly ever playing with a lead, which meant that the other team's offense had its full playbook available to it all the time. Making that worse was the fact that since they couldn't stop the run, opposing offenses had a ton of second and shorts, and vey few third and longs.
 

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I think that we're discounting the effect of improving the front seven. Even if the secondary is the same or even a touch worse this year due to injury or age, the front seven won't be hot garbage like last year. I don't just mean edge guys. Overall ability to stop the run and collapse the pocket will be improved. That type of stuff makes mediocre secondaries look fantastic. More 3rd and long, more sacks, etc.
 

Saints Rest

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Is there any word how much 3 man front they're going to run?

With Barmores skillset, I hate the idea of him just plugging gaps in a 3-4. And this team has used 3 safeties on the field before which sometimes lends itself to a 3-3-5 (not sure if thats what they ran when they had 3 safeties on the field). Again, 3 downlineman isn't going to play into his strengths.

Would like to see these guys be able to pin their ears back, even if its at the cost of some rushing yards.
I asked that question in another thread, and someone much wiser than I (SMU??) said that the bigger question than the number of guys with their hands in the dirt is their gap responsibility, one vs two.
 

simplyeric

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I think the NFL has clearly become a league where the best defense is indeed a good offense. When your offense can get out to a lead and make the other tema play catch up, you've taken the run game away in some measure. I think this is what hurt the Pats a ton last year; they were hardly ever playing with a lead, which meant that the other team's offense had its full playbook available to it all the time. Making that worse was the fact that since they couldn't stop the run, opposing offenses had a ton of second and shorts, and vey few third and longs.
But, there's a difference between good (points per possession) and good (points per game).
Let's say that the Pat's are very efficient this season and average high points per possession, but their possessions are long and slow. They might have a pretty powerful and damn good offense, but one that would not score a lot of points per game (fewer possessions due to time), and that wouldn't really push teams to play catch up.

So if the new o-line and TE's and Cam makes a tight unit that takes time to march methodically down the field, that's great, but it means the D has to be on point.

If they can get break-out plays downfield, so they aren't needing 10 minutes to score a touchdown or FG, then they can force some offenses out of their comfort zone and play catch-up.
 

rodderick

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Is there any word how much 3 man front they're going to run?

With Barmores skillset, I hate the idea of him just plugging gaps in a 3-4. And this team has used 3 safeties on the field before which sometimes lends itself to a 3-3-5 (not sure if thats what they ran when they had 3 safeties on the field). Again, 3 downlineman isn't going to play into his strengths.

Would like to see these guys be able to pin their ears back, even if its at the cost of some rushing yards.
My guess is they'll use Barmore like they did Adam Butler, at least at first. But then again, he was a situational player even at Alabama, so I don't know how reasonable it is to expect him being a regular with the Pats, especially as a rookie.
 

Super Nomario

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But, there's a difference between good (points per possession) and good (points per game).
Let's say that the Pat's are very efficient this season and average high points per possession, but their possessions are long and slow. They might have a pretty powerful and damn good offense, but one that would not score a lot of points per game (fewer possessions due to time), and that wouldn't really push teams to play catch up.

So if the new o-line and TE's and Cam makes a tight unit that takes time to march methodically down the field, that's great, but it means the D has to be on point.
Not really, because then you're limiting the number of possessions the other team has, too. So it helps the D as well. We saw this Week 1 - the O was efficient on a per-drive basis, putting up 21 points on only 9 possessions, and as a consequence, Miami also only got 9 possessions, and thus only put up 11 points.
 

simplyeric

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Not really, because then you're limiting the number of possessions the other team has, too. So it helps the D as well. We saw this Week 1 - the O was efficient on a per-drive basis, putting up 21 points on only 9 possessions, and as a consequence, Miami also only got 9 possessions, and thus only put up 11 points.
It doesn't mean that the other team doesn't need to score...obviously they do. But they can score on a PPP basis not a PPG basis.

League average PPP has been right around 2 pts per possession for the last few years (trending up from 1.9 to 2.2 over those years).

Week 1:
21 points on 9 possessions was a little better than league average. (2.3 as compared to 2.2)
11:9 is way under league average, obviously.

If our O is around league average in PPP, doesn't that kindof by definition mean that we would not really be making other "average-ish" teams play catch-up? If the Pat's put up 9-10 points in the first half, noone is panicking. The opposing O can stick to their playbook and play to their own strengths, and they won't need to do anything unusual.

So, that means Pats O would not force the other team's O into a shoot-out, so Pats D has to be able to match p with whatever the other team's strength is. If they air it out, they can air it out. If the ground and pound, they can ground and pound because we won't be forcing them to alter that.
 

MegaBiffHead

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I think that we're discounting the effect of improving the front seven. Even if the secondary is the same or even a touch worse this year due to injury or age, the front seven won't be hot garbage like last year. I don't just mean edge guys. Overall ability to stop the run and collapse the pocket will be improved. That type of stuff makes mediocre secondaries look fantastic. More 3rd and long, more sacks, etc.
I 100% agree with this. This is one of the main reasons I'm mildly excited about this Patriots team (Well, I'm just a homer so maybe that's it). But I feel like with this defense, and a chew the clock offense, they can be a playoff team with their tied for 19th strength of schedule.
 

Super Nomario

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It doesn't mean that the other team doesn't need to score...obviously they do. But they can score on a PPP basis not a PPG basis.
I don't understand what this means. All scoring is on a points per possession basis. The possession is the unit of opportunity. Scoring 30 points on 14 possessions is not more or less difficult than scoring 15 points on 7 possessions.
 

simplyeric

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I don't understand what this means. All scoring is on a points per possession basis. The possession is the unit of opportunity. Scoring 30 points on 14 possessions is not more or less difficult than scoring 15 points on 7 possessions.
Yeah that was badly phrased.
Maybe "they can score on a high PPP/low PPG basis"?

If you're efficient but slow, the other team can be similarly efficient and slow.
If you score a lot of points fast, the other team has to play catch-up.

Again, you're cite of game 1 was an offense that was basically dead average PPP.
At 21 points for that game, that's the bottom quarter of teams, in terms of PPG.

That's not forcing any opposing teams to do anything special. They were efficient and slow, and there's nothing about that which would cause the opposing team's O to do anything in particular.

Obviously efficient scoring is better than not scoring...I'm not saying it's bad.

I'm just saying, if it's low scoring games, the D has to play to the opponent's strengths.
If it's a high scoring game, the D has to play against the opponent's air attack, or play bend-don't break v. a ground attack. If the opponent is ground-heavy, then you've forced them out of their comfort zone, which is better for our D (if your D is built to defend the long/quick game).
 

Super Nomario

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If you're efficient but slow, the other team can be similarly efficient and slow.
You say this like it's easier to be efficient and slow than efficient and fast. It's not.

If you score a lot of points fast, the other team has to play catch-up.
Which they have to do by being efficient, just like a slow-but-efficient game. "Catch up" doesn't come from how many points the opponent scores; it comes from the score differential. If you're losing, you have to catch up, even if it's a low possession slog. If you're not losing, you don't have to catch up, even if it's a shootout.

Again, you're cite of game 1 was an offense that was basically dead average PPP.
At 21 points for that game, that's the bottom quarter of teams, in terms of PPG.

That's not forcing any opposing teams to do anything special. They were efficient and slow, and there's nothing about that which would cause the opposing team's O to do anything in particular.
They forced Miami's O to be really efficient, because Miami's offense only got the ball three times in the second half. The Dolphins weren't, so they lost.

I'm just saying, if it's low scoring games, the D has to play to the opponent's strengths.
If it's a high scoring game, the D has to play against the opponent's air attack, or play bend-don't break v. a ground attack. If the opponent is ground-heavy, then you've forced them out of their comfort zone, which is better for our D (if your D is built to defend the long/quick game).
All this stuff depends. Late enough in the game, yeah, you gotta throw and the opponent knows it. But there's a lot that goes into that - the score differential, the number of possessions you figure to have, your timeout situation, etc. There's a time for "lengthening" the game and a time for "shortening" it; ideally you can do either/both situationally, and I disagree that doing one is fundamentally better than doing the other.
 

simplyeric

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You say this like it's easier to be efficient and slow than efficient and fast. It's not.
I'm not saying it's easier to be efficient and slow. But there's efficient and slow, and then there's high-scoring. You can be "inefficient and fast" but if the Pats limit possessions by being slow, then that's a little bit off the table...or is normalized by the TOP of a slow methodical offense,
[/QUOTE]
Which they have to do by being efficient, just like a slow-but-efficient game. "Catch up" doesn't come from how many points the opponent scores; it comes from the score differential. If you're losing, you have to catch up, even if it's a low possession slog. If you're not losing, you don't have to catch up, even if it's a shootout.

They forced Miami's O to be really efficient, because Miami's offense only got the ball three times in the second half. The Dolphins weren't, so they lost.
[/QUOTE]
Ok I get what you are saying, but..."Catch up doesn't come from how many points they opponent scores"...yeah no kidding It comes from how many points you score, and prevent. If you score slowly, you are very unlikely to force opponents to play catch up. Unless your D is particularly stingy..as in, limiting opponents to well under league average.

They didn't force Miami to be "really efficient". They forced Miami to be barely average, which Miami failed at, definitively. They scored well below average in PPP and PPG in that game. Like, bottom quarter in both stats. Three possession in second half would have been 6-7 points, league average. 6 in the first half would be 12-13 points, average. That should have been ~20 points, league average by PPP. And, again, 20 points per game was bottom quartile for the season.

They didn't force Miami to do shit. Miami did, in fact, not do shit.
All this stuff depends. Late enough in the game, yeah, you gotta throw and the opponent knows it. But there's a lot that goes into that - the score differential, the number of possessions you figure to have, your timeout situation, etc. There's a time for "lengthening" the game and a time for "shortening" it; ideally you can do either/both situationally, and I disagree that doing one is fundamentally better than doing the other.
Score differential is a big deal, especially late. But if you are slow and efficient, your score differential isn't going to be that high...it can't be. So if you are "on" and score 27, and they are "average" and score 20, then late in the game it's a one score differential.
If your D is great, then so be it

My point therefor is:

If you're a high powered scoring machine, you can force more slow/methodical teams to play catch-up.
If you're a slow and methodical offense, your D has to respond to what the other team likes to/tends to/wants to do.
If the Pats go with Cam and a short game and TE's and QB run options, etc., that might mean they score consistently, but also that they're D has to have a correspondingly low PPG-allowed on D>
 

Super Nomario

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Ok I get what you are saying, but..."Catch up doesn't come from how many points they opponent scores"...yeah no kidding It comes from how many points you score, and prevent.
Yes, we agree.

If you score slowly, you are very unlikely to force opponents to play catch up.
Nope, here we disagree. It depends on the relative efficiencies of both teams on each side of the ball.

If you're a high powered scoring machine, you can force more slow/methodical teams to play catch-up.
Not if they're efficient. If the slow / methodical teams can match you possession for possession, they won't be behind and need to catch up.

If you're a slow and methodical offense, your D has to respond to what the other team likes to/tends to/wants to do.
If the Pats go with Cam and a short game and TE's and QB run options, etc., that might mean they score consistently, but also that they're D has to have a correspondingly low PPG-allowed on D>
They will need to score more points than they allow to win games, yes. Every team has to play defense about as much as it plays offense. If they're executing better than the other team on both sides, they'll build up a lead and the other team will have to throw. If they're deficient in some area, it might be close and neither offense will have to get predictable. If they're really deficient, they'll be behind and they'll be the ones who have to throw. The pace is a really minor factor compared to efficiency.
 

pappymojo

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I think so, but I'm not sure he even makes the squad.
Seems to me that Bentley is Hightower's de facto backup, and as we saw last year, he's no DHT. In reality, I think if/when DHT is out, that KVN might move inside and get the green dot, while Uche sees more time on the edge.
Langi played 45 percent of the snaps on defense for the Jets last year (and 55 percent of the snaps on special teams). I am still rooting for him very much. Kind of a delayed binkie.

Granted, I get confused distinguishing between the linebacker positions, but if there are depth concerns behind Hightower at MLB, maybe that helps Langi to make the team.
 

SMU_Sox

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The 3-3-5 vs 4-2-5 is interesting. When they go dime is it 4-1-6 or 3-2-6? Typically I saw them only use 1-2 ILBs last year when they went dime. They compensated for the lack of ILB with Phillips and Dugger. I think with Dugger and Phillips it’s easier to utilize sub packages.

We’ve seen them have issues at corner in camp. The coverage has been less than stellar with Gilmore out. A lot of us were clamoring for CB in the draft last year and IMO it was surprising that they didn’t at least draft one corner. My concern with the D is that Gilmore won’t be even the guy we saw last year and their depth at outside corner doesn’t hold up. There will be times when they want 3 outside guys and if JJW, Virgin, et al can’t hack it that could be an issue. They might also have issues if either JCJ or Gilmore misses time. I don’t think this will be a top 5 unit. Top half though yes and like SN said fringe top 10. That’s still a good defense and much better than what they produced last year.
 

nighthob

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If you're efficient but slow, the other team can be similarly efficient and slow.
If you score a lot of points fast, the other team has to play catch-up.
As can be seen by the way the Falcons rode that strategy to a Super Bowl victory. ;)
 

simplyeric

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As can be seen by the way the Falcons rode that strategy to a Super Bowl victory. ;)
Scoring 28 points in 2-1/2 quarters is not "efficient and slow", and the Patriots really had to play catch up bigtime.

I mean, it's like the exception that proves the rule?
The exceptions: One of the most dramatic comebacks, by the skin of their teeth, helmed by the greatest of all time, against a win percentage of practically zero at one point.
The rule: You play that game 100 times, I think even TB12 only wins a few times.
And any team not named "Tom Brady's New England Patriots"? Yeah, the Falcons had a strategy to ride to victory... The Falcons failed, sure. But their defensive approach at 28-3 was different than if it had been 10-3.
 

Soxy

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We’ve seen them have issues at corner in camp. The coverage has been less than stellar with Gilmore out. A lot of us were clamoring for CB in the draft last year and IMO it was surprising that they didn’t at least draft one corner. My concern with the D is that Gilmore won’t be even the guy we saw last year and their depth at outside corner doesn’t hold up. There will be times when they want 3 outside guys and if JJW, Virgin, et al can’t hack it that could be an issue. They might also have issues if either JCJ or Gilmore misses time. I don’t think this will be a top 5 unit. Top half though yes and like SN said fringe top 10. That’s still a good defense and much better than what they produced last year.
I trust that the corners are going to look a lot better when the Pats aren't the 26th ranked team at getting to the QB.
Both of these things can be true.

I generally think the secondary will be fine, but they aren't very deep at corner. Seems like the Pats are basically counting on Gilmore and Jackson being available all season long. Which could happen, certainly. If one or both get injured for any length of time, they could have issues. They're already there if Gilmore isn't back in time for week one. I think the contract stuff will work itself out, but he's got to get healthy and on the field first.

They just don't have much depth at outside corner right now. A lot seems to be riding on the development of Joejuan Williams and the reports out of camp haven't been great. I'll be very interested to see how he looks in preseason. I've been a defender of his the past couple seasons, for the most part liking what I've seen in his limited snaps, but it's put up or shut up time.

Fwiw (not much), some in the national media are getting on board the Pats D bandwagon early. Mina Kimes had a podcast a couple months ago where she and Dominique Foxworth ranked their top ten defenses going into the season. They both had the Pats at #9. They liked all of the guys they added through FA and the draft. I recall Foxworth being particularly bullish on Barmore. Said he didn't understand why he fell to the second round.
 

Soxy

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I don't think anything is riding on JJW. In fact, he's a very plausible cut.

Someone out of Michael Jackson, Virgin, Bryant needs to step up.
That doesn't make me feel any better about the situation. Seems a bit worse when you put it that way.
 

Soxy

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It shouldn't. I'm just noting that JJW has shown nothing and is at the end of his rope.
Sure, but least he's a former second round pick who has been stuck behind two really good corners. Dee Virgin is a special teamer who has barely played any snaps at corner in the NFL. Myles Bryant is a slot guy, more likely to back up Jonathan Jones. Maybe there's something there with Michael Jackson? I don't know, man. I think I'd rather not have to find out. Maybe he turns out to be a player, but it's probably a bad situation if he's getting a bunch of snaps on defense.
 

SMU_Sox

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I'll talk about corners first before I get into the other positional groups. Like the offense review these are just my thoughts after one live watch. I know I mentioned it in the 53 man thread but I have some concerns still about their outside corner depth. I know JMC did some safety and slot and other things aside form outside corner but he played a lot outside too.
In 2020 he played 65% of snaps. Gilmore missed time
In 2019 he played 47% of snaps but he missed 4 games and JCJ and Gilmore played all 16.
In 2018 he played 80% of snaps but JCJ only played 38% and was a rookie.
Point is that 3rd outside corner is going to get reps. I didn't see Mills enough to know if he played well but Michael Jackson and JJW did not. JJW might have had two nice results but his overall coverage was not tight and he gave up too much separation and couldn't stick to guys. Maybe Mills is fine as the 3rd corner but that isn't what he did best in Philly and right now their depth there looks weak. If Gilmore isn't back to his usual self or JCJ or Gilmore get hurt this situation could be less than ideal. Luckily for them though the front 7 looks scary. That will help.

Edges including Uche: Judon and Uche looked nasty. Bentley can blitz downhill well. If you limit his liability in space and the DL controls the size of the gaps Bentley can have a role on early downs. Van Noy played multiple roles and will give you quality reps at OLB.

Perkins did a couple of very Perkins things.
@SeoulSoxFan He can convert speed to power and when he gets underneath guys pads he will get sacks that way (see Oklahoma game).
He had a rep against their fringe OL guys or backups where he did just that - timed his speed to power and got a guy on skates.

Also, he needs to tone down the aggression when he knows the play because he has abandoned back-side cutoff way too many times when he thinks he has an in and the play goes around him. That can be coached up.
Similar outcome happened on a run defense snap where he wasn't patient enough and overplayed his angle and the back got around him. His stiffness shows up when he is beat - he doesn't have that quick twitch reaction ability (to be faaaaaaair that is a rarer trait) and most edges would not have recovered when they get beat like he did in that play.

I watched him closely but he didn't show an increase of pass rushing moves and by far the one above is still his best. I can't wait to see if it works against better competition.

Overall though their edges excite me.

ILB: Bentley and the starters look good. I am not sure about the depth guys like Langi and $ but you only need 3 ILBs and I think they are going to be fine. I will be curious to see where they play Jennings and if he plays ILB or OLB.

DL: Not sure if anyone popped aside from Carl Davis and Godchaux who I thought looked disruptive. I am so stoked to see Barmore join them.

Safeties: Nitpick with Dugger. Think he has a couple things he needs to tighten up at the point of reception/catch-point. Aside from that nothing stood out on first watch that I can recall.

I disproportionately focused on Edge/ILB/Corner so some notes are sparse until the rewatch.

Overall I am excited about the front 7 and the safeties but have some concerns about the corner depth.
 

nighthob

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Scoring 28 points in 2-1/2 quarters is not "efficient and slow", and the Patriots really had to play catch up bigtime.
You stated that fast offense was better, but the truth is that scoring efficiency is all that matters. The problem with the 2020 Pats wasn’t that their offense was slow, it’s that it was inefficient.

I mean, it's like the exception that proves the rule?
The exceptions: One of the most dramatic comebacks, by the skin of their teeth, helmed by the greatest of all time, against a win percentage of practically zero at one point.
The rule: You play that game 100 times, I think even TB12 only wins a few times.
And any team not named "Tom Brady's New England Patriots"? Yeah, the Falcons had a strategy to ride to victory... The Falcons failed, sure. But their defensive approach at 28-3 was different than if it had been 10-3.
The Falcons offense, even when scoring never stayed on the field, and as a result by the end of the third quarter their D couldn’t get off the field. There’s a great deal to be said for scoring efficiently and controlling the time of possession.
 

mwonow

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Sep 4, 2005
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I'll talk about corners first before I get into the other positional groups. Like the offense review these are just my thoughts after one live watch. I know I mentioned it in the 53 man thread but I have some concerns still about their outside corner depth. I know JMC did some safety and slot and other things aside form outside corner but he played a lot outside too.
In 2020 he played 65% of snaps. Gilmore missed time
In 2019 he played 47% of snaps but he missed 4 games and JCJ and Gilmore played all 16.
In 2018 he played 80% of snaps but JCJ only played 38% and was a rookie.
Point is that 3rd outside corner is going to get reps. I didn't see Mills enough to know if he played well but Michael Jackson and JJW did not. JJW might have had two nice results but his overall coverage was not tight and he gave up too much separation and couldn't stick to guys. Maybe Mills is fine as the 3rd corner but that isn't what he did best in Philly and right now their depth there looks weak. If Gilmore isn't back to his usual self or JCJ or Gilmore get hurt this situation could be less than ideal. Luckily for them though the front 7 looks scary. That will help.

Edges including Uche: Judon and Uche looked nasty. Bentley can blitz downhill well. If you limit his liability in space and the DL controls the size of the gaps Bentley can have a role on early downs. Van Noy played multiple roles and will give you quality reps at OLB.

Perkins did a couple of very Perkins things.


He had a rep against their fringe OL guys or backups where he did just that - timed his speed to power and got a guy on skates.



Similar outcome happened on a run defense snap where he wasn't patient enough and overplayed his angle and the back got around him. His stiffness shows up when he is beat - he doesn't have that quick twitch reaction ability (to be faaaaaaair that is a rarer trait) and most edges would not have recovered when they get beat like he did in that play.

I watched him closely but he didn't show an increase of pass rushing moves and by far the one above is still his best. I can't wait to see if it works against better competition.

Overall though their edges excite me.

ILB: Bentley and the starters look good. I am not sure about the depth guys like Langi and $ but you only need 3 ILBs and I think they are going to be fine. I will be curious to see where they play Jennings and if he plays ILB or OLB.

DL: Not sure if anyone popped aside from Carl Davis and Godchaux who I thought looked disruptive. I am so stoked to see Barmore join them.

Safeties: Nitpick with Dugger. Think he has a couple things he needs to tighten up at the point of reception/catch-point. Aside from that nothing stood out on first watch that I can recall.

I disproportionately focused on Edge/ILB/Corner so some notes are sparse until the rewatch.

Overall I am excited about the front 7 and the safeties but have some concerns about the corner depth.
Maybe it's just because I have no idea how to evaluate IDL (that's not a 'maybe,' that's true!), but I was less impressed with Carl Davis than I expected to be. He's a very bug guy who's been getting a bunch of positive notice in practice, and I have him on my 53, but the middle of the line seemed to be getting pushed back on inside runs while he was in there.
 

simplyeric

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You stated that fast offense was better, but the truth is that scoring efficiency is all that matters. The problem with the 2020 Pats wasn’t that their offense was slow, it’s that it was inefficient.



The Falcons offense, even when scoring never stayed on the field, and as a result by the end of the third quarter their D couldn’t get off the field. There’s a great deal to be said for scoring efficiently and controlling the time of possession.
My point was not about offenses per se.

My point was: offensive style can affect the priorities of the defense (different squads for the same team)
this isn’t about the pats offense.

because the falcons O put up those points, they were able to play prevent D. Any one or two plays, and the Falcons win that game.
did the falcons stack the box to prevent a grinding run game of 10 minute drives?
Or did they try to protect against the air game?
There we’re a dozen plays that, if flipped, the narrative would have been ‘falcons got up early, pats had to play catch up, but the falcons held them off’.

if you are playing against a good team who has a bad half, you could be up 7-10 if you’re a slow but efficient team, or up 17-21 (or 25) if you’re a fast and efficient team.
In the third/4th quarter, does your D play any different with a 7 point lead than a 14 or 17 pt lead?

the alternative is that the nature of offensive performance has no effect on the game plan for the D in a given game, and I don’t think that’s true.
 

Zososoxfan

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Jul 30, 2009
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I'll talk about corners first before I get into the other positional groups. Like the offense review these are just my thoughts after one live watch. I know I mentioned it in the 53 man thread but I have some concerns still about their outside corner depth. I know JMC did some safety and slot and other things aside form outside corner but he played a lot outside too.
In 2020 he played 65% of snaps. Gilmore missed time
In 2019 he played 47% of snaps but he missed 4 games and JCJ and Gilmore played all 16.
In 2018 he played 80% of snaps but JCJ only played 38% and was a rookie.
Point is that 3rd outside corner is going to get reps. I didn't see Mills enough to know if he played well but Michael Jackson and JJW did not. JJW might have had two nice results but his overall coverage was not tight and he gave up too much separation and couldn't stick to guys. Maybe Mills is fine as the 3rd corner but that isn't what he did best in Philly and right now their depth there looks weak. If Gilmore isn't back to his usual self or JCJ or Gilmore get hurt this situation could be less than ideal. Luckily for them though the front 7 looks scary. That will help.

Edges including Uche: Judon and Uche looked nasty. Bentley can blitz downhill well. If you limit his liability in space and the DL controls the size of the gaps Bentley can have a role on early downs. Van Noy played multiple roles and will give you quality reps at OLB.

Perkins did a couple of very Perkins things.


He had a rep against their fringe OL guys or backups where he did just that - timed his speed to power and got a guy on skates.



Similar outcome happened on a run defense snap where he wasn't patient enough and overplayed his angle and the back got around him. His stiffness shows up when he is beat - he doesn't have that quick twitch reaction ability (to be faaaaaaair that is a rarer trait) and most edges would not have recovered when they get beat like he did in that play.

I watched him closely but he didn't show an increase of pass rushing moves and by far the one above is still his best. I can't wait to see if it works against better competition.

Overall though their edges excite me.

ILB: Bentley and the starters look good. I am not sure about the depth guys like Langi and $ but you only need 3 ILBs and I think they are going to be fine. I will be curious to see where they play Jennings and if he plays ILB or OLB.

DL: Not sure if anyone popped aside from Carl Davis and Godchaux who I thought looked disruptive. I am so stoked to see Barmore join them.

Safeties: Nitpick with Dugger. Think he has a couple things he needs to tighten up at the point of reception/catch-point. Aside from that nothing stood out on first watch that I can recall.

I disproportionately focused on Edge/ILB/Corner so some notes are sparse until the rewatch.

Overall I am excited about the front 7 and the safeties but have some concerns about the corner depth.
Anything to note re Winovich? I thought he'd be a serviceable edge/passing down guy at least.