Belichick and the Patriots are stockpiling TEs (1 Viewer)

NaJ88

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Source -- Former Indianapolis Colts TE Dallas Clark visits New England Patriots - ESPN Boston

What does he know that we don't??? (Insert spygate joke here.)

They already have Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Brad Herman (UDFA)... and now they're looking to add Dallas Clark?

I believe that Sean Payton and Bill Belichick are similar in that they understand the value of large receivers with big frames and good hands. It helps tremendously in the intermediate passing range, and on third down. But then again.... the Patriots are also loaded at Wide Receiver already, so I can't really say that the Pats are simply finding a replacement or substitution for using their wide receivers.

Will we see some 4 or 5 TE sets coming out of New England this year? (Only halfway joking...)
 
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NaJ88

NaJ88

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Not sure Daniel Fells and Brad Herman constitute "stockpiling".
Yes... I'd agree.... But you only picked the 2 least recognizable names out of the 5 that could end up on the roster. Having Gronkowski, Hernandez, Fells, and Clark would mean you're pretty stacked at Tight End... I think a lot of people would understand that these guys aren't just depth bodies. They were all starting tight ends last year.
 

blackngold4877

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Fells isn't getting cut, he signed a 3 year deal with 2 million guaranteed and it would be very unlike Belichick to cut a guy after that. The likely scenario here is due diligence on a guy who when healthy can contribute and if he is sill unsigned come week 3 or 4 when Hernandez gets his inevitable MCL sprain maybe they can bring him in. You have to assume looking at the Patriots roster that the following are locks:

Gronkowski
Hernandez
Fells

Lloyd
Welker
Gaffney
Branch
Slater

So that leaves 2 spots at most for the other receivers on the roster and if you bring in Clark who is essentially a glorified receiver that makes him at most 4th on the depth chart at receiver and 3rd at TE? Don't see it happening without an injury.
 
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NaJ88

NaJ88

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Fells isn't getting cut, he signed a 3 year deal with 2 million guaranteed and it would be very unlike Belichick to cut a guy after that. The likely scenario here is due diligence on a guy who when healthy can contribute and if he is sill unsigned come week 3 or 4 when Hernandez gets his inevitable MCL sprain maybe they can bring him in. You have to assume looking at the Patriots roster that the following are locks:

Gronkowski
Hernandez
Fells

Lloyd
Welker
Gaffney
Branch
Slater

So that leaves 2 spots at most for the other receivers on the roster and if you bring in Clark who is essentially a glorified receiver that makes him at most 4th on the depth chart at receiver and 3rd at TE? Don't see it happening without an injury.
I think this is a good assessment. I was also imagining (with all of the anti-Welker talk going on due to him being unhappily franchise tagged) that they have got to be considering turning Hernandez into a slot receiver. He's surprisingly quick for a tight end. They even used the guy as a tailback last season. Welker could be gone after the franchise tag year, as strange as that sounds. ESPN's John "Alien Face" Clayton came on the air this morning talking about Brees / Welker / Rice and their franchise tag situations. He stated the Pats are extremely unhappy with the way Welker has been talking with the media.
 

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All that offensive talent and nothing on defense.

Don't care about the draft either, Patriots defense is absolute total crap. Rank 31st in total defense back to back seasons with piss poor coverage against the pass and all they do is stock pile on offense. Very smart coming from Belichek when they all claim he's some "genius" on defense.
 

blackngold4877

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I think this is a good assessment. I was also imagining (with all of the anti-Welker talk going on due to him being unhappily franchise tagged) that they have got to be considering turning Hernandez into a slot receiver. He's surprisingly quick for a tight end. They even used the guy as a tailback last season. Welker could be gone after the franchise tag year, as strange as that sounds. ESPN's John "Alien Face" Clayton came on the air this morning talking about Brees / Welker / Rice and their franchise tag situations. He stated the Pats are extremely unhappy with the way Welker has been talking with the media.
Welker signed the tag, he's happy making the 9 million bucks. The Pats don't like any contract negotiations being public but this is a team that has legitimate Superbowl hopes in a weak conference with a relatively easy schedule so Welker will be in camp and play out this season and maybe they'll franchise him again, who knows. The issue with Welker is that he's old enough where the Pats don't want to give him a long contract and if they franchise him 2 years in a row they are essentially just giving him the guaranteed money he'd demand in a contract anyway without the long term commitment and they don't have to cut him if his production declines in a few seasons.
 

blackngold4877

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All that offensive talent and nothing on defense.

Don't care about the draft either, Patriots defense is absolute total crap. Rank 31st in total defense back to back seasons with piss poor coverage against the pass and all they do is stock pile on offense. Very smart coming from Belichek when they all claim he's some "genius" on defense.
You jump into every Patriots related thread, youre worse than me.

You can't say "dont care about the draft" when the draft addressed the defense. That's just being a hater, you know that. They spent 2 first round picks on defensive guys that they think can contribute. There is some talent there now, maybe not high end, but maybe enough to be middle of the pack which is what they need. Remember that they also lost Dowling early last year and he looked good at corner.

Also 31st in total defense based on yards, who cares. The Giants were 27th, Saints 24th. The Pats were 15th in points, Saints 13th, which is what really matters.
 
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NaJ88

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You jump into every Patriots related thread, youre worse than me.

You can't say "dont care about the draft" when the draft addressed the defense. That's just being a hater, you know that. They spent 2 first round picks on defensive guys that they think can contribute. There is some talent there now, maybe not high end, but maybe enough to be middle of the pack which is what they need. Remember that they also lost Dowling early last year and he looked good at corner.

Also 31st in total defense based on yards, who cares. The Giants were 27th, Saints 24th. The Pats were 15th in points, Saints 13th, which is what really matters.
I agree that points trump yards when you're talking about a defense's production. Or, at least make sure you're getting some turnovers! However, my personal philosophy about fixing a defense would be to stop the huge yardage numbers first... In my mind, if you give up less yards, you won't end up with your back against the end zone so often. Best way to avoid poor red-zone numbers is to make sure they don't get there in the first place.

But I agree with the other point that Belichick is widely regarded as a defensive guru, and yet we see him doing innovative things on offense, with a defense that is mediocre at best, currently. I do like what they did in the draft however. I'm still intrigued at the fact that they are ALWAYS adding receivers... while the Saints seem to be content to return the same group of guys year after year.
 

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You jump into every Patriots related thread, youre worse than me.

You can't say "dont care about the draft" when the draft addressed the defense. That's just being a hater, you know that. They spent 2 first round picks on defensive guys that they think can contribute. There is some talent there now, maybe not high end, but maybe enough to be middle of the pack which is what they need. Remember that they also lost Dowling early last year and he looked good at corner.

Also 31st in total defense based on yards, who cares. The Giants were 27th, Saints 24th. The Pats were 15th in points, Saints 13th, which is what really matters.

What if that draft class turns out to not adjust to the NFL?
Look at all the time they spend stock piling on offense, and doing nothing to help that defense. 31st in yards, I would be worried. They obviously don't care. Their offense is already stacked enough, how much more weapons can you get? The Packers are very similar: stacked on offense, terrible on defense but so far they've been making big moves to fix their defense.
 
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NaJ88

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What if that draft class turns out to not adjust to the NFL?
Look at all the time they spend stock piling on offense, and doing nothing to help that defense. 31st in yards, I would be worried. They obviously don't care. Their offense is already stacked enough, how much more weapons can you get? The Packers are very similar: stacked on offense, terrible on defense but so far they've been making big moves to fix their defense.
I think both teams are very similar, but I'm not sure the Packers are making that many more moves than the Patriots are. You're underestimating the draft, I think. You can get some promising players out of the draft, and a lot of times you can find some guys that contribute right away. Just look at Jimmy Graham... who many people thought would be a project player who would take a long time to develop into a starter. Instead, now he is the cream of the crop, along with Gronkowski (who was also drafted in the same year.) Both young guys, both stepped in and filled a void right away. The Packers have been a little more lively in Free Agency on the defensive side, but they've also done nothing to improve their offense through FA either. I think you have to strike a balance instead of knee jerking in the direction of your deficiency.
 

blackngold4877

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What if that draft class turns out to not adjust to the NFL?
Look at all the time they spend stock piling on offense, and doing nothing to help that defense. 31st in yards, I would be worried. They obviously don't care. Their offense is already stacked enough, how much more weapons can you get? The Packers are very similar: stacked on offense, terrible on defense but so far they've been making big moves to fix their defense.
What stock piling on offense are you referring to? Receiver is a need. It was last year when Ocho was brought in and failed miserably. It was a clear need in the Superbowl when Gronkowski was injured and the only outside threat was Branch. Bringing in legit outside guys like Lloyd and Gaffney who have produced with McDaniels is a good move and gives insurance in case the main guys (Hernandez, Gronk, Welker) get hurt. Bringing in Addai was a case of a low cost guy who they know can pass protect while they bring along the younger backs.

On defense they brought in Trevor Scott and Jonathan Fanene. Fanene had 6.5 sacks last year and will play next to Wilfork. Scott had a couple of down years but they're clearly hoping he can contribute outside and regain form.

They essentially have 2 first round picks at corner (Dowling being 33rd overall) one of which had a down sophomore year. Give them time to contribute! They are set at ILB with Mayo, Spikes, and Hightower. Jones will contribute outside in a 3-4 and on the line in a 4-3 and sub packages. You can't say they didn't address the defense, who were they supposed to bring in? Mario Williams?
 

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I think the Pats opened a lot of peoples eyes with 2 top notch TEs, and I expect other teams to follow. Big receivers and TEs are almost impossible to cover straight up.
 
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NaJ88

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I think the Pats opened a lot of peoples eyes with 2 top notch TEs, and I expect other teams to follow. Big receivers and TEs are almost impossible to cover straight up.
That's true... it's a copycat league and we just saw the Colts draft Coby Fleener AND Dwayne Allen back to back, at the top of the draft.
 

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Bellichik is on to something, when both Gronk and Hernandez were on the field at the same time in short yardage or goaline situations, no way both of those guy were completely covered. I think we need a good #2 catching TE. I saw a huge gains when Thomas was healthy and blocking, and then those last few games where Higgins played and had some key catches. We just need a better #2 TE that can both catch and block. Graham needs to work on blocking too, he has the strength and size to block well, so it's just form and technique he needs to work on!
 

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