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20379Re: [patriotzip] Re: "Rebuilding Year" or "Transition Year"

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  • George Richman
    Jul 23, 2013
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      I agree with the points you made about Fletcher, Francis, and Kelly, Frank. But the limited action of Fletcher at LB, and Francis on the DL don't fill me with confidence that they can do it in extended duty. That's how I judged Wilfork, Ninkovich, and C. Jones in classifying them as solid. As for Kelly, he comes to us with a rep for "taking plays off" all too often. He, like Fletcher and Francis, falls into the "hopeful" column for me. They all have to show us, in camp and beyond, that they truly are solid players. 

      I have to stick by what I said. We have only 6 players in the Front 7 group that have, IMO, proven that they are better than average in extensive play: Wilfork, Ninkovich, C. Jones, Mayo, Spikes, and Hightower. Beyond them, it's all "hope" and "some evidence of talent". We'll need at least 9-10 players performing at above average levels in that Front 7 to have the defensive success we'll need to cover for our "developing" offense over the first half of the season. I'm not saying that it can't happen. I just contend that, while there's plenty of reason for hope, there's no evidence to support a high level of confidence in it right now. 

      --- George


      On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 11:42 PM, frankdanabrewster <frank.dana@...> wrote:

      Good breakdown, George. I would make a couple comments.

      You mentioned Dane Fletcher when discussing ST, but not at LB. I think he is a solid player, and really adds to the quality depth at the position.

      On the D-line, Justin Francis looked pretty good in limited action last year, and Tommy Kelly could add a significant veteran presence.

      LB and DL may be in a little better shape than you think.

      Yes, WR and TE are the real crap shoot here. Gronk, Edelman, and Ballard have all been placed on PUP. Remains to be seen if any of them are ready for the regular season. I would guess that we won't see Gronk until week 7.


      --- In patriotzip@yahoogroups.com, George Richman <patswingr@...> wrote:
      > Pick your term; but this is going to be a season of significant change for
      > our Patriots team.
      > By my count, the Patriots have 29 rookies on the roster, as they open
      > Training Camp ... 29!! Just about 1/3 of the camp roster is made up of
      > players who have never played in an NFL game. When you add Armond Armstead
      > and Jason Vega, our imports from the CFL, that number goes to 31 of the 90
      > players on the roster. WOW! That's an incredible number of inexperienced
      > players. Doesn't that spell "rebuilding year"?
      > Well, not necessarily. We have to look at the team in terms of the on the
      > field "units" to get a more accurate picture. Think about this.
      > On Offense:
      > * QB - Solid, with a future HOFer starting, and a backup experienced in the
      > system, if not on the field.
      > * RB - Solid, with 4 veterans who've had success in the NFL (Ridley,
      > Vereen, Blount, Washington).
      > * OL - Solid, with 5 veteran starters who've played together, and a couple
      > of experienced backups, with some starting experience.
      > * TE - Thin? Perhaps beginning a bit thin; perhaps not. But when Gronk
      > returns, despite the loss of Hernandez, still a solid position.
      > * WR - NOW we're talking "rebuilding". Just one of the 5 units of the
      > offense that is a question mark heading into camp.
      > Overall, that's a lot better position than most of the teams in the league;
      > and certainly better than teams usually tagged with the "rebuilding" label.
      > On Defense:
      > * DL - Thin. Anchored by a probable HOFer (Wilfork), with a solid Patriots
      > vet (Ninkovich) on one side, a very promising 2nd year player (C. Jones) on
      > the other, and, we must admit, a lot of "hope" for the "change" in the rest
      > of this group. A lot of new faces, most of whom are very young, and, for
      > the most part, unproven at this level. One could argue that this is a
      > "rebuilding" unit.
      > * LB - Thin. Much like the DL, this unit has a couple of proven high
      > quality players (Mayo and Spikes), and a very promising 2nd year player
      > (Hightower); but uncertainty beyond those 3. The best hope is our rookie
      > OLB, Collins; with a couple of decent 2nd year guys, Tarpinian and Rivera,
      > showing some promise in backup roles and on STs. Looks good at the starter
      > level; but frighteningly thin beyond that.
      > * CB - Solid. IF Dennard stays out of jail, the Patriots look as solid as
      > they have in a long time here, if they stay healthy as a unit. Yeah, I
      > know. Two "ifs" in one sentence! Talib, Dennard, Arrington, Dowling, and
      > highly rated rookie Ryan Logan should mean improvement for the team here.
      > * S - Solid. Again, a group that looks solid. McCourty is proving to be a
      > much better S than he was a CB. Adrian Wilson is as good as they get for
      > another couple of seasons. Tavon Wilson showed well as a rookie, and Steve
      > Gregory is OK for depth. The secondary, IMO, is better than it's been in
      > recent years.
      > Overall, there's plenty of reason to worry about the defense, due to the
      > questions about a couple of starting spots at DL and LB, and the lack of
      > proven depth in both of those units. There's reason for optimism about the
      > players who'll be fighting for those positions in camp; as there always is
      > in July. But there's no reason to feel confident that we'll see positive
      > results on the field in the regular season.
      > Special Teams:
      > * K & P - Solid. Both of our kickers should be above average, at worst.
      > We're better off than most teams here.
      > * KR/PR - Solid here too. Washington still has it as a KR guy; and Edelman
      > is also above average or better as a PR.
      > * Coverage - Who knows? We know we have some top people here in Slater,
      > Arrington, and Fletcher. But, with new guys joining the STs every season,
      > it's always a question mark going into camp. I haven't been overly
      > impressed with our STs coaching lately. But it's certainly at least
      > average.
      > So, is it a "rebuilding year", or a "transition year"? A little bit of
      > both, I'd say. In any case, it's going to be a very competitive Training
      > Camp for a few starting positions and many depth positions. My guess is
      > that at least 1/3 of the opening day roster will be different from the
      > final roster of last season - 14 or 15 new names, I'd say.
      > I hope to see a lot of personal observations and opinions from those of you
      > who are able to attend some of the "open to the public" sessions. I'll
      > definitely be logging into the Patriots' web site for their reports on a
      > daily basis; and watching every preseason game on 'NFL Game Pass' here in
      > Thailand.
      > Hoping for minimal injuries, and the emergence of a few "surprise stars".
      > GO PATRIOTS!!
      > --
      > --- George
      > Still a US citizen. Just not proud of it anymore.

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