Posts Tagged ‘Analysis’

Polamalu’s Winning Formula?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010
Randy Moss Troy Polamalu

Does Randy Moss lead to a bad defense?

In Mike Reiss’ latest blog post, Mike references a Troy Polamalu quote about how to win in the NFL:

“I think it’s unique no question. Especially in today’s game. People don’t think that you can, for the most part, have a really smothering defense. But, with the smothering defense, you can’t have a pass-happy offense. For example, you would think you could take a great defense and mesh them together, but our defense would not work well with a New England Patriots offense or Indianapolis Colts offense. They may put up a lot of points, but it takes a lot more energy to play our defense than a Tampa 2-type defense.”

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2010 Patriots Team Needs: Linebackers

Friday, February 19th, 2010

2009 Unit Grade: C+
2010 Starter Need: High
2010 Depth Need: High

The linebacking corps, who was supposed to be led to reigning DROY Jerod Mayo, was led by San Francisco cast-off Tully Banta-Cain, at least on paper. Mayo was injured in the season opener vs. Buffalo and seemed to never fully recover. Shawn Crable (shocking!) and Tyrone McKenzie also succumbed to the injury bug before the season started.

The Patriots need to find a viable pass-rush option to pair with Tully Banta-Cain if he re-signs. This could come through the draft or free-agency. Adalius Thomas and Derrick Burgess were inconsistent at best, and ineffective at worst in 2009.

Tyrone McKenzie should provide some competition for Gary Guyton at the inside linebacker position.

Potential NFL Draft Prospects: Rolando McClain, AJ Edds, Pat Angerer, Austen Lane, Jerry Hughes, Sergio Kindle, Ricky Sapp, Micah Johnson

Tully Banta-Cain
2009 Grade: A-
Signed Through: 2013

Jerod Mayo
2009 Grade: B-
Signed Through: 2012

Rob Ninkovich
2009 Grade: C+
Signed Through: RFA

Gary Guyton
2009 Grade: C+
Signed Through: Exclusive RFA

Pierre Woods
2009 Grade: C
Signed Through: RFA

Derrick Burgess
2009 Grade: C
Signed Through: UFA

Adalius Thomas
2009 Grade: F
Signed Through: 2012

Shawn Crable
2009 Grade: I
Signed Through: 2011

Tyrone McKenzie
2009 Grade: I
Signed Through: 2012


2010 Patriots Needs: Defensive Line

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

2010 Starter Need: High
2010 Depth Need: Low/Medium
2009 Unit Grade: B

Vince Wilfork
Signed Through: 2015
2009 Grade: B+

Ty Warren
Signed Through: 2013 ($5.5m, 5.7m, 6.3m, 5.8m)
2009 Grade: C+

Mike Wright
Signed Through: 2012 ($1.7m, 1.8m, 1.7m)
2009 Grade: B

Jarvis Green
Signed Through: UFA
2009 Grade: C

Myron Pryor
Signed Through: 2012 ($422k, 507k, 592k)
2009 Grade: B

Ron Brace
Signed Through: 2012 ($962, 1.15m, 1.34m)
2009 Grade: D

Darryl Richard
Signed Through: 2012 ($320k, 395k, 470k)
2009 Grade: I

The Patriots defensive line, once the stalwart of Super Bowl champions, seemed to be missing something in 2009. The Patriots received little if any pass-rush from their starting defensive ends, getting the best pass rush from backup Mike Wright.

Run stopping was decent, but Vince Wilfork injuries hampered his ability to anchor and fend off two or three blockers. Ron Brace showed some promise as a 2-gap defender, but Myron Pryor easily out-played him. Pryor is also better suited to play in a one-gap scheme if the Patriots make that transition.

Look for the Patriots to bring in one or two versatile defenders to get the d-line back into form.

2010 NFL Draft Potential Targets: Everson Griffen, Corey Wootten, Alex Carrington, Carlos Dunlap, Dan Williams, Terrence Cody


2010 Patriots Needs: Tight Ends

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

2010 Starter Need: High
2010 Depth Need: Medium-High
2009 Unit Grade: B+

Ben Watson
Signed Through: Unrestricted Free Agent
2009 Grade: B+

Both Baker and Watson had solid, if unspectacular seasons. They blocked well, caught the ball when it was thrown to them, and scored a few td’s. They weren’t asked to do much this year, as they clearly weren’t a priority in Bill O’Brien’s offenseive philosophy.

Ben Watson seems committed to testing free-agent waters and Chris Baker has been released, so the Patriots have zero tight ends on the roster. The Patriots value versatility, so ends that can demonstrate in-line blocking skills as well pass-catching abilities will be more apt to land in Foxboro.

2010 NFL Draft Potential Targets: Jermaine Gresham, Tony Moeaki, Anthony McCoy, Colin Peek, Garrett Graham, Jim Dray


2010 Patriots Needs: Wide Receivers

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

2010 Starter Need: Medium-High
2010 Depth Need: Medium-High
2009 Unit Grade: B

Wes Welker
Signed Through: 2011 ($4.2m, 4.4m)
2009 Grade: A

Randy Moss
Signed Through: 2010 ($10.5m)
2009 Grade: B

Julian Edelman
Signed Through: 2012 ($414k, 499k, 584k)
2009 Grade: B+

Sam Aiken
Signed Through: Unrestricted Free Agent
2009 Grade: C

Isaiah Stanback
Signed Through: 2010 ($585k)
2009 Grade: C

Brandon Tate
Signed Through: 2012 ($591k, 676k, 771k)
2009 Grade: I

The injuries sustained during 2009 to Wes Welker (knee), Randy Moss (shoulder), and Brandon Tate (knee), will be on the mind of the Patriots Front Office this off-season. If Welker and Tate are both unable to start the year, the Patriots are in dire need of a third receiver to pair with Moss and the improving Edelman.

If Welker and Tate are ready to go, and Moss is back to reasonable health, then the Patriots would only need to start developing a replacement for when Moss hangs up the cleats.

2010 NFL Draft Potential Targets: Golden Tate, Aurrelious Benn, Brandon Lafell, Damian Williams, Andre Roberts, Mardy Gilyard


2010 Patriots Needs: Running Backs

Monday, February 1st, 2010

2010 Starter Need: Medium
2010 Depth Need: Low
2009 Unit Grade: B-

Laurence Maroney
Signed Through: 2010 ($2.0m)
2009 Grade: C+

Sammy Morris
Signed Through: 2010 ($1.4m)
2009 Grade: C+

Fred Taylor
Signed Through: 2010 ($2.73m)
2009 Grade: B

Kevin Faulk

Signed Through: Unrestricted Free Agent
2009 Grade: A-

BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Signed Through: 2010 ($477k)
2009 Grade: C+

Other than Kevin Faulk, the 2009 season for the running back was full of ups and downs. Injuries derailed Taylor and Morris at times this years, while fumbling concerns knocked down Laurence Maroney just as he was hitting his stride.

The Patriots have an immediate need at 3rd-down back if Kevin Faulk is not re-signed. While Faulk has been quoted as wanting to play with the Patriots, it remains to be seen whether he will get that chance or fall under the same chopping block that caught Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, and Richard Seymour.

With no clear #1 back and three expiring contracts, one or more of the trio of Maroney, Morris, or Taylor could be on their way out if a free-agent or draft pick that the Patriots feel fit their system would become available.

2010 NFL Draft Potential Targets: CJ Spiller, Jonathan Dwyer, Ryan Matthews, Anthony Dixon, Jahvid Best, Joique Bell


2010 Patriots Needs: Quarterbacks

Monday, February 1st, 2010

2010 Starter Need: Low
2010 Depth Need: Medium
2009 Unit Grade: B+

Tom Brady
2009 Grade: B+
Signed Through: 2010 ($10.2m)

Brian Hoyer
2009 Grade: B+
Signed Through: 2011(406k, 491k)

Tom Brady performed well for the Patriots in 2009, but couldn’t live up to his 2007 standard. Probably preventing Brady from an A- grade was the lack of a true #3 threat a la Jabar Gaffney or Dante Stallworth. Joey Galloway and Sam Aiken just couldn’t cut it.

Brian Hoyer showed that he could be a quality backup in the league during some mop-up duty, also having the potential to develop into a starter in the next few years.

Only having two QB’s is a dangerous game to play, and the Patriots would be wise to look at a few free-agents or take another flier late in the draft. They should have at least three compensatory picks that can’t be traded that would be well-used on a developmental QB.

2010 NFL Draft Potential Targets: John Skelton (Fordham), Mike Kafka (Northwestern), Tim Hiller (Western Michigan), Bill Stull (Pitt)




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