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Defensive Tackle: What Can We Do?
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TomRalph


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:28 am    Post subject: Defensive Tackle: What Can We Do? Reply with quote

Vince Wilfork is out for the year, we knew that'd be an impossible hole to fill at this juncture of the season, and with the silence about Tommy Kelly since Sunday bordering on deafening (I think bringing him on on that 3rd and 1 down before he went off after the 3rd and 6 was just to see if he could go, which he couldn't) the DT position is currently being held down by Joe Vellano and Chris Jones with AJ Francis (I believe) on the PS and Armon Armstead on the NFI. That is a brutal DT corps that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy (OK, I'd give a left nut for that to be the Jets D-Line). Considering the SB aspirations for the team, you'd figure a move would have to be made, either schematically, or via roster movement in order to keep the team afloat and keep this impressive Defense at a high level (because it doesn't look like the O is gonna pick up the slack anytime soon).

What does FF think about this position, what sort of changes could, or need to made in order to fill this gaping hole? I figured this needs to be a discussion amongst us all, because it's a big concern right now.

And look - not one mention of a Phil Taylor trade! Go me! Cool
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patsfan25


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you made the thread. I've been meaning to discuss this since I was daydreaming while making pizzas at work earlier tonight. Here are a couple factors to consider:

1. I don't think playing the NT/DT is a hard position to play in the NFL compared to all other positions in terms of it being sophisticated and translating over. I know there's gap responsibility and you have to understand leverage, but if you're big, fat and really strong you already have the tools to succeed.

2. There are some decent stop-gap solutions out there via FA and trades. I don't want to have to give up another draft pick unless it's a 5th or lower.

It's hard for me to gauge who we may target. I don't think we make a trade for someone. I think we look for a veteran big body out on the market. I can see us lining up in more 4-3 looks though with Mayo, Hightower and Spikes as they are all huge thumper LBs. Spikes really showed up against Cincinnati and was able to blow up some runs, even with the huge gaping holes in front of him. Our base defense has been majorly a Nickel 2-4-5 with Spikes and Hightower rotating but I expect to see a lot more hybrid 4-3 looks on early downs from here out..
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There isn't much that can be done. Signing a fringe vet like Garay or trading for someone of that ilk is about it.
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ChazStandard


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was pleasantly surprised with Jones' play on Sunday. Obviously it's still a weakness. I guess it depends on Armstead, wherever he is, although it's looking doubtful he'll contribute much this season.

Weird of BB to neglect the position. Especially when the DL has been such a big part of his success here.
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derekstanggt


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was also thinking about this, and discussed it briefly in my "defense" thread. I was thinking, if BB sticks with the 4-3, maybe we see Buchanan and Nink at DE, with Chandler kicked inside alongside one of Kelly/Vellano/Jones. I'd hate to see Chandler inside wasting his ability to come off the edge, but there really aren't a lot of in-house options. Perhaps Hightower can line up as a 4-3 DE with Collins at OLB? I know I'd rather have Hightower and Collins over Buchanan.

Other than that, I wouldn't even know. Kick the tires on Hampton or Pouha perhaps? This is a big area of concern.
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

derekstanggt wrote:
I was also thinking about this, and discussed it briefly in my "defense" thread. I was thinking, if BB sticks with the 4-3, maybe we see Buchanan and Nink at DE, with Chandler kicked inside alongside one of Kelly/Vellano/Jones. I'd hate to see Chandler inside wasting his ability to come off the edge, but there really aren't a lot of in-house options. Perhaps Hightower can line up as a 4-3 DE with Collins at OLB? I know I'd rather have Hightower and Collins over Buchanan.

Other than that, I wouldn't even know. Kick the tires on Hampton or Pouha perhaps? This is a big area of concern.


Pouha is unlikely to play again, he has a back problem.

If Kelly is healthy, they can probably get by with Vellano/Chris Jones. If Kelly is out, no in house option is going to be much help.

It's a problem but the offense is a much bigger worry for me unless Kelly goes down for a long stretch.
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derekstanggt


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcmurtry86 wrote:
derekstanggt wrote:
I was also thinking about this, and discussed it briefly in my "defense" thread. I was thinking, if BB sticks with the 4-3, maybe we see Buchanan and Nink at DE, with Chandler kicked inside alongside one of Kelly/Vellano/Jones. I'd hate to see Chandler inside wasting his ability to come off the edge, but there really aren't a lot of in-house options. Perhaps Hightower can line up as a 4-3 DE with Collins at OLB? I know I'd rather have Hightower and Collins over Buchanan.

Other than that, I wouldn't even know. Kick the tires on Hampton or Pouha perhaps? This is a big area of concern.


Pouha is unlikely to play again, he has a back problem.

If Kelly is healthy, they can probably get by with Vellano/Chris Jones. If Kelly is out, no in house option is going to be much help.

It's a problem but the offense is a much bigger worry for me unless Kelly goes down for a long stretch.


Of course the offense is the biggest concern now, but it's only amplified if the defense (the stronger unit so far this season) starts to stumble. I've been doing a lot of research on Chris Jones, and he looks pretty good. Granted he played in the weaker MAC, but I think he could be a solid rotational guy this year. It looks like his move pool is fairly limited in the brief highlights I saw, but I'm sure that could be learned.
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NextBigThing


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Armstead was supposed to be a borderline 1st round talent. Pray?
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derekstanggt


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NextBigThing wrote:
Armstead was supposed to be a borderline 1st round talent. Pray?


I'm surprised he's missed so much time with an infection/surgery. I really don't expect much, if anything from him this year. He hasn't even practiced yet, has he?
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

derekstanggt wrote:
NextBigThing wrote:
Armstead was supposed to be a borderline 1st round talent. Pray?


I'm surprised he's missed so much time with an infection/surgery. I really don't expect much, if anything from him this year. He hasn't even practiced yet, has he?



Who knows what is wrong with him but the report a month or so ago that indicated he looked slimmed down makes me think that his going on NFI was as much or more related to regaining strength than recuperating from his illness.

I don't think he does much this year but I hope he can get on the field by November.
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Deadpulse


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calling the Giants wouldn't be a bad idea. Honestly I cant think of any realistic options. If there were any FA that BB thought could play in this defense better than the inhouse options it probably would be done already.

Subsequently you have to believe that Kelly is ok and has a chance of playing this week.
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TomRalph


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadpulse wrote:
Calling the Giants wouldn't be a bad idea. Honestly I cant think of any realistic options. If there were any FA that BB thought could play in this defense better than the inhouse options it probably would be done already.

Subsequently you have to believe that Kelly is ok and has a chance of playing this week.


The silence is deafening. Unfortunately.
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24isthelaw


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing is even if Armstead gets on the field... we have four guys at DT (Kelly, Armstead, Chris Jones, Vellano) who all are meant to play more of a penetrating, upfield role.

Its just frustrating that this injury has robbed us of seeing a nasty Patriots defense. After all these years of soft and mediocre defenses, we finally had the pieces in place to just bully people around. And bam, Wilfork goes down. Sad
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mcmurtry86


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pats signed Andre Neblett.
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goldfishwars


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

24isthelaw wrote:
The thing is even if Armstead gets on the field... we have four guys at DT (Kelly, Armstead, Chris Jones, Vellano) who all are meant to play more of a penetrating, upfield role.

Its just frustrating that this injury has robbed us of seeing a nasty Patriots defense. After all these years of soft and mediocre defenses, we finally had the pieces in place to just bully people around. And bam, Wilfork goes down. Sad


Not finding any sort of back-up for Wilfork seems to be one of the more questionable personnel decisions of the off-season and it's come back to burn us.
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