I don’t love Nix here or at all for the Pats really. Our problems are on passing downs. How much impact will Nix make on passing downs? Wilfork has/had rare athleticism and from the combine results it doesn’t look like Nix does. Would rather go with Tuitt here.
|—||2014 NFL Offseason - New England Patriots’ projected lineup, cap situation, free-agent and draft targets - ESPN|
It’s a good question. I think that priority free agent additions are at positions where you need experience and fairly immediate contributions. Overall, they should fill EVERY major need in free agency, but I’d put Defensive End and Center/Guard as the main focuses right off the bat.
You also will likely see additions at receiver, defensive back and running back as well. Maybe not guys who are expected or needed to start, but more of mid-to-low range free agents. Guys who were stuck on bad teams, had bad luck with injuries or just want one last shot.
Sometimes those guys work out (Mark Anderson, Alge Crumpler, Andre Carter) and sometimes they don’t (Marcus Benard, John Lynch, Torry Holt).
The goal is to go into the draft with no needs, especially not at the top of the depth chart. Eventually every position could be a need in-season, so you just have to take players who fit in New England and can play for BB.
As a result, sometimes depth is a little thin at positions. They got by with basically two defensive ends this year, but their lack of depth at defensive tackle came back to haunt them somewhat.
You’re essentially describing the Pats’ subpackage front, but traditional base 4-3 lines are a little different. They subscribe to the “Stop the run on the way quarterback” philosophy.
Maybe the best example of the traditional 4-3 is the Giants defense that whacked us twice in the Super Bowl. They matched up well against the Pats in those years because New England couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stick with their running game.
BB’s version of the 4-3 has had an interesting evolution. It started in 2011, when, in the strike-shortened preseason, BB felt it best to install the nickel front because it was less complex than the 3-4 which he usually used as the building block for his defense.
Now we’ve seen the Patriots are primarily a sub-package team, at an approximate 60% sub, 38% base, 2% short yardage clip.
So the sub front is as you described. Usually one big tackle in the middle and then an assortment of three pass rushers along the line. If we’re talking about the 43 base it gets a little more complex. Here’s a great read on it.
Essentially BB mixes who’s two-gapping and who’s shooting gaps. One side of the defense could be a traditional two-gapping 34 defense, while the other side is a one-gapping 43.
There wasn’t a place for a nose tackle really in a traditional 43, but in BB’s there is, and he’ll be moved around the formation as BB pleases to take away the run.
Overall, this is a new approach and somewhat revolutionary. I think for it to hit it’s full potential the Pats really need more depth than they had in 2013 both at defensive tackle and defensive end.
Once they can mix and match a little easier I think we’ll see some really good things, especially with the progress of Chandler, the steadiness of Ninkovich and the promise of Siliga, Chris Jones and Armond Armstead. If Kelly and Wilfork come back, look out!
|—||Vince Wilfork’s Future With Patriots Depends On Intangibles Versus Analytics | New England Patriots | NESN.com|
Good names from Frenz here that are somewhat off the beaten path. Hakeem Nicks is interesting to me if he’s looking for a one-year deal to prove he’s still got it. The Giants and Pats have similar offensive terminology, that could help him assimilate. However I don’t think a lucrative long-term deal is the way the way to go.