Patriots Mailbag: Why Pass Rush Is Nothing To Worry About In 2017


The New England Patriots didn’t really do much this week, so let’s get right into this week’s mailbag. Deal? Deal.

@DougKyed how real of a concern will the pass rush be with only Flowers, Nink (who is super old) and a Carolina castoff at DE
— @KevinWilson310
The Patriots definitely aren’t done adding defensive ends. They run front-seven alignments with three and sometimes four defensive ends on the field at the same time, so they can’t get by with just Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Geneo Grissom, who is a special-teamer.

So the Patriots likely will either sign or draft at least three more defensive ends before training camp begins in July.

The Patriots also have Dont’a Hightower, Shea McClellin and Kyle Van Noy, all of whom are experienced rushing the passer as blitzers and from the edge. It’s unlikely any of those players will take on full-time defensive end roles, but they’ll get reps. More than 16 percent of the Patriots’ playoff defensive snaps were run with one of those players on the line.

The Patriots also added Lawrence Guy this offseason. They didn’t have a … wait for it … are you ready? … guy … (do you see where I’m going here?) like Guy (nailed it) on their roster last season. They either had defensive ends who were roughly 265 pounds or defensive tackles who were 320 pounds or more.

Guy is a hybrid player who can take on more interior pass-rushing reps. That should help.

@DougKyed why is everyone saying EDGE instead of DE? What does edge stand for if it’s all in caps? #maildoug
— @whatisatweetnik
Defensive end has become too broad of a term, because, depending on the front, they can either weigh 250 pounds (4-3) or 315 pounds (3-4). A five-technique defensive end is more of an interior lineman, while a seven-technique defensive end is a pass rusher, or edge defender.

Edge encapsulates 4-3 defensive ends and pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebackers. When it’s in all caps, EDGE stands for eclectic defensive gritty end.

I just made that up.

I don’t know why EDGE sometimes is typed in all caps. Maybe it’s because sacks are exciting, so people start yelling with their typing fingers when they write about pass rushers.

@DougKyed Is there any real chance we get Revis? #maildoug
— @prayucatchbey

I’ll still only fully believe it when I see it, but Darrelle Revis could be viewed as an undervalued commodity by the Patriots.

Revis certainly wasn’t great last season, but he probably was closer to being average than bad. He suffered a precipitous drop, but Revis was so good that when his game dropped off a cliff, it still only made him average. Because his game dropped off so far, many assumed he became terrible.

I think Revis makes sense for the Patriots if he’s willing to sign for pennies. He’ll get paid $6 million next season, regardless. He’d be doing the Patriots a favor by signing for, say, $1 million, while the Jets still would have to pay him $5 million.

That would be a pretty good goof on the Jets. “Hey guys, we’re going to beat you and finish in first place while you’re paying one of our key defenders.”

I actually think the slot would be a good spot for Revis, who probably would be best suited not covering young receivers deep. He also could potentially find the fountain of youth by dropping the weight he gained last season. It would be a fairly low-risk, high-reward signing. We’ll see if it happens.

@DougKyed what is the current population of revis island? #maildoug
— @AndrewSousa79
Can I make a confession? I don’t think I really understand most Revis Island metaphors.

I get that he called himself Revis Island because he was by himself on the football field, covering receivers without other defensive backs around or helping him.

But what does it mean for someone to populate Revis Island? That means they beat him? Does that mean he beat them and then trapped him on his island? Is that a mixed metaphor, am I just dumb, or does the metaphor just not really make sense?

I think the current population of Revis Island is one. It’s just Darrelle.

@DougKyed #maildoug If they end up with Butler and Gilmore, will they change defensive scheme?
— @MrQuindazzi
It’s likely the Patriots will tweak their coverage scheme regardless of whether or not Malcolm Butler comes back, simply because they mix Cover-1, Cover-2, Cover-3 and Cover-6 so often anyway. I could see them being more aggressive if they have two No. 1-caliber cornerbacks on their roster. It could mean more matchup-based coverage with spread-out safety help. It also could mean more blitzing if the Patriots have more faith in their defensive backs.

The Patriots would have perhaps the best secondary in the NFL, so it would make sense to be a little more aggressive up front. Butler and Stephon Gilmore both have the skill to take out top wide receivers, and Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon can protect over the top better than any other safety duo in the NFL.

So, basically what I’m saying is Flowers should be able to feast on opposing quarterbacks next season. The hype for Flowers will be aggressively high going into next season.

Let’s go rapid fire:

@DougKyed I’m bored, no news, can we trade all of our picks away for no names and make them famous?
— @halifaxdave
“Uhhh, I don’t like that.” – Bill Belichick, probably.

@DougKyed If you have time for them, what podcasts do you listen to? #mAiLdOuG
— @teepke
I do have time for podcasts. My favorites are “Pardon My Take,” “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and “U Talkin’ U2 To Me?” (I don’t actually like U2, and a new episode hasn’t dropped for almost two years, but I still highly recommend it).

Also, listen to my podcast, “Between The Tackles.”

Tim Wright – 6
Scott Chandler – 4
Marty Bennett – 7
Dwayne Allen – ?
— @JustinMH90
Five, maybe?

That fits the pattern, right? This seems like a Wonderlic question.

@DougKyed Have you ever seen Michael Williams pro day numbers?
— @JustinMH90
Yeah, they’re real bad.

They’re actually pro-day numbers, but he ran a 5.19-second 40-yard dash with a 1.82-second 10-yard split, and posted a 8.15-second three-cone, 4.90-second short shuttle, 8-feet broad jump and 25.5-inch vertical leap. He also had just 11 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

They’re among the worst pre-draft testing numbers I’ve ever seen for a 6-foot-6, 278-pound prospect. I’d do worse, though.

@DougKyed is pizza a PIE. Your answer hinges on whether or not I continue following you.
— @SickOFThis33
I guess? It’s a pizza pie. There’s crust. But is there really a filling? Does pie require a filling?

I’m saying it’s a pie in the broadest sense. But when I think of pie, I think of dessert pies or savory pies that look like dessert pies.

@DougKyed my question: who will win? @jeffphowe, a Volcano,a Panda with a skateboard, Samoa Joe,a Modelo beer or David Hasselhoff? #Maildoug
— @Luffy_Hz
A volcano, definitely. What possibly could beat a volcano? Don’t think the dinosaurs even beat volcanos.

@DougKyed Gary Payton or Shawn Kemp? #MailDoug
— @salvaje50
Ooh, that’s really tough. I think I’m going Kemp, if only because “Reign Man” is a better nickname than “The Glove.”

Payton was the better player, though. But I have a Kemp jersey, and I don’t have a Payton jersey. So there we go.

@DougKyed hey dougie fresh. With more than 25 mil in cap space what are the pats doing? Signing Butler? @Revis24 ?
— @DelGrex
They’re converting all of that cap room into gold coins and then just diving into a pit of them, Scrooge McDuck-style.

No, but really, they might be trying to carry over as much cap room as possible so they don’t take a giant hit by franchising Jimmy Garoppolo next offseason.

@DougKyed is Tom Brady good at football?
— @HailtotheHoodie
Am I going to Kowloon tonight?


@DougKyed what’s the deal with airplane food? #MailDoug
— @BradyToCooks
Know what’s kind of crazy? This reference is so dated that even I don’t totally relate to it. I was not really old enough to know how bad airplane food was by the time they stopped regularly serving it. Airplane food to me is weird snack mixes, peanuts, pretzels and those air-puffed chips.

I will eat anything that is handed to me on an airplane, though. Don’t use that piece of information for evil, please.

@DougKyed Just turned 22 today, any bday advice? (I already like the Pats and have cats&dogs so that’s covered.) #MailDoug
— @StephenPorier
Eat pizza and listen to pop punk.

@DougKyed predictions for Wrestlemania?? And how did Doug’s Bugs on IG come about??
— @FromDa401
“Doug’s Bugs” or “Doug’s Buds” came about because I told my friends that I was going to start a web show for NESN (it eventually became “The Football Word”), and they suggested I call it “Doug’s Bugs” or “Doug’s Buds.” I didn’t think NESN would go for it, so I started doing it on my Instagram stories (just follow me already). It’s mostly just me and my friends eating weird snacks and then rating them on a scale of bugs (bad) to buds (good). It’s kind of a hit among the 160 or so people who watch.

As for WrestleMania, I don’t really know. I’m not really looking forward to the card too much, but I’m sure it still will be fun.

@DougKyed What kinda #Wrestlemania snacks are we gonna eat?
— @zacxwolf
I want some pizza. I could use some chips and dip. I wouldn’t mind some lava cakes, and maybe some breadsticks, too.

There will be many episodes of “Doug’s Bugs” to be watched.

Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

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