PDA

View Full Version : Patriots' linebacking corps stepped up in Sunday's win


Sucka Micok
10-19-2010, 02:02 AM
Down 20-10 at the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like we all had a glimpse of the post-Randy Moss Patriots. QB Tom Brady had not been efficient or productive, and the young defense would not be good enough to keep the Pats in games.
Then, recently reacquired WR Deion Branch emerged, the defense stepped up and the Pats walked away with a come-from-behind victory over one of the AFC's favorites.
Branch was the star in his return to Foxborough, catching nine balls for 98 yards and the TD that sparked the comeback. He had just as many catches on Sunday as Randy Moss had in four games with the Pats before being traded.
While the offense finally found its groove late, it was the defense that helped seal the victory for New England, holding the Ravens scoreless for nearly 28 minutes the last 14:53 of the fourth quarter and all 13:04 of overtime. Specifically, the four starting linebackers helped contain Ravens RB Ray Rice and came up huge in the win.
The PFW Spin
A couple days before the Patriots' Week Six game against the Ravens, I asked former Patriots star and current broadcaster Gino Cappelletti how the Patriots can shut down Rice, and he mentioned the linebackers. "The linebackers have been coming together quite nicely. The linebacking situation looks like a good, developing cohesive outfit," he said. That unit did its job Sunday.
In two games against the Patriots last season (including the playoff game), Rice had 262 yards on 33 carries, an average of a little less than eight yards per carry. That includes his 83-yard TD run to open the playoff game.
On Sunday, the Patriots held him to just 88 yards on 28 carries (3.1 avg.) and kept him out of the endzone.
The star of the linebacking corps, Jerod Mayo, led the team with 18 tackles, the second-most of his career. Rookie ILB Brandon Spikes had 14 tackles, including two on special teams.
Rookie OLB Jermaine Cunningham is continuing to make his presence felt, getting more and more playing time. The Pats' best pass rusher recorded six tackles, including a sack. He also had a pass defensed and stripped Ravens QB Joe Flacco (Flacco recovered).
OLB Rob Ninkovich, who had two interceptions and a sack in Week Four, had the job of spying on Rice, consistently keeping the Ravens' back from getting past the second level when he caught balls out of the backfield. Rice had eight catches for just 38 yards. Ninkovich added two QB hits to his eight tackles.
And last but not least, undrafted rookie OLB Dane Fletcher saw his first significant playing time. Fletcher stopped Rice dead in his tracks following a reception late in the fourth quarter, and on the next play, Flacco targeted Rice again for an incomplete pass with Fletcher waiting for the hit before the first-down marker.
The starting 'backers combined for 46 tackles. It's important for this group to lead a defense that has an extremely young secondary and lots of shuffling along the D-line. With a stout Ravens defense, we saw on Sunday a game in which the Patriots' defense needed to make stops to win, something previous games made seem impossible, but if the linebackers can continue their elevated play, the Pats might not need to score so many points to win games this season.

http://www.profootballweekly.com/2010/10/18/patriots-linebacking-corps-stepped-up-in-sundays-w

Flagg the Wanderer
10-19-2010, 01:54 PM
He just singled out the following guys for praise:
- Mayo (a leader, but only in his third year)
- Cunningham, a rookie who was making his 2nd (?) start
- Ninkovich, who was the definition of JAG and in his first year starting.
- Spikes, a rookie
- Fletcher, an UDRFA that no one thought would make the roster.

Then he says this:It's important for this group to lead a defense that has an extremely young secondary and lots of shuffling along the D-line.Que? :huh:

You'll notice the youth, the fact that I named 5 guys, plus he didn't mention Crable's increasing minutes, or the 2nd year UDFA Guyton, who has been playing pretty well, too. The LBs are at least as young as the DBs, who have Meriweather & Sanders, plus a few 3rd year guys. And there's almost as much (if not equally as much or even more) shuffling in the LB corps as on the DL. Especially when you throw Tully into the mix.

Everyone is young, and they will all stumble. And every unit will step up and pick up slack when one of the other units stumble.

It's called a "team". A young and, I suspect, inconsistent team. And they're just going to keep learning their craft and how to work with each other as the year progresses.

I called it weeks ago, and here it is again. At the end of the year, let's look back at just the final 4-6 games. Taking just those games, I'll wager that the Patriots are at least a top 10 defense, and maybe even top 5.
Posted via Mobile Device

Box_O_Rocks
10-19-2010, 02:01 PM
Que? :huh:Don't touch that 00-Flagg! That's my backerhood.

You'll notice the youth, the fact that I named 5 guys, plus he didn't mention Crable's increasing minutes, or the 2nd year UDFA Guyton, who has been playing pretty well, too.Both 3rd year, but don't tell Anderson about Guyton. ;)

The LBs are at least as young as the DBs, who have Meriweather & Sanders, plus a few 3rd year guys. And there's almost as much (if not equally as much or even more) shuffling in the LB corps as on the DL. Especially when you throw Tully into the mix.

Everyone is young, and they will all stumble. And every unit will step up and pick up slack when one of the other units stumble.

It's called a "team". A young and, I suspect, inconsistent team. And they're just going to keep learning their craft and how to work with each other as the year progresses.

I called it weeks ago, and here it is again. At the end of the year, let's look back at just the final 4-6 games. Taking just those games, I'll wager that the Patriots are at least a top 10 defense, and maybe even top 5.
Posted via Mobile Device:clap:

Box_O_Rocks
10-19-2010, 02:05 PM
Down 20-10 at the start of the fourth quarter, it looked like we all had a glimpse of the post-Randy Moss Patriots. QB Tom Brady had not been efficient or productive, and the young defense would not be good enough to keep the Pats in games.
Then, recently reacquired WR Deion Branch emerged, the defense stepped up and the Pats walked away with a come-from-behind victory over one of the AFC's favorites.Then Billy O'Brien emerged and called for No-Huddle, unleashing Terrible Tommy from his slumber.

PatsFanLisa
10-19-2010, 02:18 PM
Then Billy O'Brien emerged and called for No-Huddle, unleashing Terrible Tommy from his slumber.

Something that has been sorely missing since 2007. At least it gives Tom a chance to do what he does best instead of O'Brien doing what he does sub-mediocre.

Box_O_Rocks
10-19-2010, 02:29 PM
Something that has been sorely missing since 2007. At least it gives Tom a chance to do what he does best instead of O'Brien doing what he does sub-mediocre.BO'B still calls the plays my friend. o:-)

Oswlek
10-19-2010, 02:31 PM
Something that has been sorely missing since 2007. At least it gives Tom a chance to do what he does best instead of O'Brien doing what he does sub-mediocre.

Things still need to play out, but early returns indicate that Moss was the biggest contributor to the issues we credited BoB for.

dchester
10-19-2010, 03:07 PM
Things still need to play out, but early returns indicate that Moss was the biggest contributor to the issues we credited BoB for.

Josh McD didn't seem to have any issues with how to utilize him.

Oswlek
10-19-2010, 03:19 PM
Josh McD didn't seem to have any issues with how to utilize him.

********. The Patriots offense was completely different that year. And if you actually look at how the latter season games played out, the only one in which the Pats displayed anything remotely like their initial dominance was against Jax.

BTW, this isn't revisionist history or piling on Moss. I said this long before he was gone. He contributed to the predictible offense by not being able to run as many routes as prior NE receivers and I didn't want him back in 2011 regardless of the year end statline.

EDIT: I forgot to say that Moss isn't the player he was 3-4 years ago.

dchester
10-19-2010, 03:44 PM
I forgot to say that Moss isn't the player he was 3-4 years ago.

That's the only argument that holds any water, for me.

Flagg the Wanderer
10-19-2010, 04:05 PM
I stand by the theory that it was the #s 3 & 4 WRs that made the 2007 offense really rock and roll. They were just dangerous enough that Tom would absolutely bury you if you tried to focus too much on the Wonder Twins.
Posted via Mobile Device

Oswlek
10-19-2010, 04:12 PM
That's the only argument that holds any water, for me.

Yeah, you've made your opinion pretty clear on this one, I just don't agree and feel as strongly about mine as you do yours. :archive: