The league is about passing now. A critical penalty awaits the defender who hits the QB the "wrong way." Belichick is a statistician. He knows that a 15 yard penalty for roughing the QB might be 7 points. I suggest here that he does not value sacks. He assuredly values INT's. The Patrtiots have been top 5 in INT's over the last couple of years. Is this because the Patriots have HOF DB's? Is it because the Patriots pass defense is so poor that opponents elect to throw the majority of the time?
There is no one reason for these results. The Patriots are usually ahead, so, the enemy is catching up. NFL teams don't really run anymore....at least the good ones don't.
If you watch the game films, Belichick drops 7 to 8 defenders on a regular basis. He prefers 7 or 8 guys in pass defense inside his own 35 yard line. The 9th defender is the end zone. Belichick is NOT going to give up the bomb. He insists on keeping the passing game in front of his defenders. His DB's MUST be able to execute the bend don't break or, he cuts them (he has cut about 15 DB's in the last two years/this may be normal for the NFL I haven't looked it up).
What does this mean for the draft? He needs defenders who can drop and execute. Hell, Vinny had two INT's.
This is the point of all of this...Belichick does not value the sack as much as we do. He sees the sack as a penalty risk. If you don't agree with me look at the stats and watch the films. He drops "max" defenders. He doesn't usually over load blitz or play any games on the D Line in passing situations. He drops his guys and, if a DT he gets a sack, so be it.
In the draft, "pass rushers" are valued quite highly by many NFL teams. Belichick does not agree with these valuations and his draft record reflects this.
Belichick will sign Mario Williams at the end of his career and get what he needs for 75% off today's price. The Bill's suck because they don't know how to use the salary cap to build a team for the long term. The Patriots are a great team because they "pay the right people."
Is there a defender in the top 10 that BB likes this year? Will he break the pattern and trade up? I wish he would and think he might this year, but, not for a defender. (my next post addresses this trade up possibility)
Want a pass rusher? Ellis, Carter, Anderson and Haynesworth are your answer. Not sexy but he has won as many games as anyone else in the last 2 or 3 years.