I both agree and disagree with this. I'll start with where I agree, I looked up some of Reed's statistics on Pro Football Focus and his tackling and run defense are both below average. He could make up for that if he was a top level cover safety but he's not. His coverage numbers were around average for the 80+ safeties who played over 50% of their' teams snaps. He still has very good ball skills as he had 4 INTs and 7 passes defensed but the Pats don't necessarily need that, especially with McCourty at the other safety spot. So at this point, Reed has become overrated. While he might help in coverage, is he good enough in that area to make up for his lack of run defense? It doesn't look like it.
Originally Posted by bagwell368
However, where I disagree with you is that I don't think our safety opposite McCourty- be it Gregory, Chung or whoever else- is good enough. The Pats were strong against the run this year and McCourty is one of those great all around safeties who can play either SS or FS IMO (i.e. he's good against the run). So I think if necessary, he could move over to SS. However, I do believe that in this pass happy league, having 2 safeties back there who can cover will help. McCourty is a good run defender as well, so I don't think it'd hurt the run D. Then when you consider we have Wilfork and maybe the best run stopping LB core in the league, I don't think our run D would take much of a hit.
The reason I'd like another safety is because I think we need someone who can cover TEs and RBs. So we need a coverage LB (or one of our guys has to develop further) and I think a Safety who can cover as well.
Per Football Outsiders:
As you can see there, the Pats struggled covering TEs and RBs. While we ranked 30th in covering "other WRs", that was a problem that was mostly fixed when we moved Arrington to the slot. And of course, our inability to cover TEs reared its ugly head in the Championship game with Pitta scoring a TD and gaining 55 yards. In 2 games against us this year, he had 10 catches for 105 yards and 2 TDs. We probably win either game if we have someone capable of covering him. And of course, that's not just limited to the Ravens, per FO, we struggled against TEs all year (even Owen Daniels had 9 catches for 81 yards the week before against us).
Usually teams will put a Safety or a LB on a TE with another LB getting the coverage against RBs. As an example, again using that AFC Championship game, per Pro Football Focus- Pitta was targeted 7 times in that game with Spikes in coverage once, Hightower in coverage once, Mayo in coverage twice and Gregory in coverage against Pitta 3 times. Pitta's numbers against Gregory- 2-3 for 22 yards and a TD allowed. Gregory in that game also gave up a 15 yard reception to Rice and a 17 yard reception to Leach. To say he was not good in coverage in that game would be an understatement. He was one of the problems.
Anyways, while I realize thats only 1 game, again, we had issues covering RBs and TEs all year and often, the guy who is tasked with covering one of those positions is Gregory. Unless Tavon Wilson can make a significant jump in year 2, I think we need to replace Gregory with someone who is better in coverage.
Is Reed that guy? From the looks of it, no. Although, he does have good ball skills, his coverage abilities this year weren't that great. If he took a pay cut to join the team, sure. But if he's going to cost decent money, I'd pass and look for another safety.
As a team, there's a lot of decisions to be made for the Patriots. Do they franchise Welker or let him walk? The same goes for Talib and Vollmer. And how do we prioritize Welker, Talib, Vollmer vs. getting a LB and/or Safety who can cover RBs and/or TEs? And of course, what is the trickle down effect of letting Talib go? There's no doubt Arrington can't be on the outside and we really can't be in a situation where he's 1 injury away from being on the outside. Dowling will be back but can he be counted on to stay healthy? On offense, do we have to worry about injury prone TEs costing us playoff games? And if so, should the Pats then value Welker's ability to stay healthy by franchising him?
I think this will be a very interesting offseason. The team is VERY close and with another year under their belt, many of the younger players should take big steps forward.
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