Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pepper pot...

So, the big rumor right now is that the Pats are on the verge of acquiring Julius Peppers. A lot has to be done before that acquisition is a reality. Even if the Pats and Panthers reach an accord, it will be contingent upon negotiating a new contract with Peppers, who right now is in line to make more than Tom Brady in the coming season.

That's not going to happen - not on the Patriots.

If this does happen, I would say that the trade is probably about a month away. I would be at least a little surprised if the trade happens more than two weeks before the draft actually happens.

But let's take a look at the potential Patriots retooled defense, just for fun...

The Pats had two games in which the Offense was culpable in the demise of the defense due to its inability to stay on the field in those games, and had three other games where the defense either couldn't get off the field due to their lack of pass rush (Chargers, Jets), or the defense's inability to adjust to what the opposing offense was doing (Dolphins).

Some of the issue was pass rush, some was coverage.

The retooled starting line-up (if the Peppers trade works out) will look like this...

Adalius Thomas (OLB) Leigh Bodden (CB)

Richard Seymour (DE)
Jerrod Mayo (ILB) James Sanders (SS/FS)
Vince Wilfork (NT)
Tedy Bruschi (ILB) Brandon Meriweather (SS/FS)
Ty Warren (DE)

Julius Peppers (OLB) Shawn Springs (CB)

Nickel: Ellis Hobbs

With the injuries suffered by the Pats last season at a lot of these positions allowing for significant playing time for Gary Guyton, Pierre Woods, (and the early injury to Shawn Crable) as well as corners Jonathan Wilhite and Mike Richardson, as well as the (re)signings of Eric Alexander, Mike Wright and Tully Banta-Cain, these moves give the Patriots significant depth on defense that they lacked last year.

Additionally, this gives the team two legit cover corners, and a healthy Warren, Thomas, and the addition of Peppers, a solid pass rush. Should the Peppers deal not be consummated, I would expect that Thomas would move to the other side with a likely platoon of Crable and Banta-Cain coming off the backside, unless the Pats sign Jason Taylor. If the Peppers trade happens, I don't think the Pats sign Taylor.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see a move at safety before preseason.

Other quick thoughts -

Yup, it's official, Jay Cutler is a moron. I said this before, and I will reiterate it - first, it's disingenuous of someone to demand a trade, then get offended when his name comes up in trade talks. Second, I can only hope this idiot gets traded to Detroit.

This guy thinks he should be untouchable, but among starters he had the 6th best QB rating in the AFC alone, behind Matt Cassel (and 16th overall, behind such immortals Seneca Wallace, Matt Schaub, and Matt Ryan), 9th best completion percentage (14th in the NFL, behind the likes of Shaun Hill and David Garrard), the 2nd most interceptions (in both the AFC and NFC).

Yes, he logged a lot of yardage last season, but he didn't do it well, and somehow he was a pro-bowler. This is a guy that's a middle-of-the-pack starting quarterback, and he seems to think he's a top five sort of guy.


Chris Stone said...

I totally agree about Culter. And hope also that he gets sent to Detroit!

Peppers is way expensive. I kinda hope they don't go that way. I am still rooting for Crable.

Kevin Smith said...

The way I see it, they might be exploring it, but if they can't get him on their own terms, it's not going to happen. I just can't see Belichick paying a lot for a veteran that's never played the position before. Too much learning curve to be a good value given there's no proof he could do it.

David Sullivan said...

I love the idea of Peppers here and that lineup you posted. One last gasp before a total rehaul of the D.

Dave said...

I want Peppers as well. But the more I look at it, the Taylor option seems more likely. It fits more with what they do. And I think Taylor wants to prove that 2008-09 was a fluke.

Kevin Smith said...

Also, unless and until Peppers signs the tender, he's not trade-able. And I doubt that the Pats would give up the two first rounders just to sign him. It could still happen, but the longer this plays out, the less likely I think it is.

Chris Stone said...

what's funny is.... until peppers signs, he's keeping the panthers out of free agency. i'm not sure why he'd do that.