All Along the Hightower

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
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Dec 12, 2007
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One quick observation - I think we might be nearing new thread territory to discuss Hightower, because something seems seriously wrong. After the first play, he had two tackles, was moving like a sloth, and appeared to be avoiding contact. Here’s one example I noticed in the highlights, which I noticed several other times during the game. Play is at about the 44 second mark:

No bueno. Maybe he can play DE?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
18,219
One quick observation - I think we might be nearing new thread territory to discuss Hightower, because something seems seriously wrong. After the first play, he had two tackles, was moving like a sloth, and appeared to be avoiding contact. Here’s one example I noticed in the highlights, which I noticed several other times during the game. Play is at about the 44 second mark:

No bueno. Maybe he can play DE?
A number of us commented in the game thread as soon as that happened. He really should have stopped Watson several yards earlier but it looked like he was just jogging.

There can't be any way the coaches aren't seeing this so if they're fine with him, they must have reasons. But yeah that play in particular looked horrific.
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
42,527
One quick observation - I think we might be nearing new thread territory to discuss Hightower, because something seems seriously wrong. After the first play, he had two tackles, was moving like a sloth, and appeared to be avoiding contact. Here’s one example I noticed in the highlights, which I noticed several other times during the game. Play is at about the 44 second mark:

No bueno. Maybe he can play DE?
Yikes. I missed that play. He shouldn’t be on the field if that’s what he’s giving us. His cap hit next year is over $10M and I think there’s like a $5M dead cap hit if he’s cut. Seems like a potential re-structure or cut candidate.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

Homeland Security
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Dec 4, 2005
19,615
Portsmouth, NH
One quick observation - I think we might be nearing new thread territory to discuss Hightower, because something seems seriously wrong. After the first play, he had two tackles, was moving like a sloth, and appeared to be avoiding contact. Here’s one example I noticed in the highlights, which I noticed several other times during the game. Play is at about the 44 second mark:

No bueno. Maybe he can play DE?
I didn’t pay particular mind to other plays by him later in the game, but that one seemed to my eye to be equally as likely that he was trying not to over commit. Like, he knew he had containment in front of him, but not behind him, so let him get his gain and don’t risk him ripping off a huge chunk.
 
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DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
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Dec 16, 2010
48,302
Yikes. I missed that play. He shouldn’t be on the field if that’s what he’s giving us. His cap hit next year is over $10M and I think there’s like a $5M dead cap hit if he’s cut. Seems like a potential re-structure or cut candidate.
If that play was a complete lack of effort he likely would not have played 70% of the defensive snaps.
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
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If that play was a complete lack of effort he likely would not have played 70% of the defensive snaps.
It doesn’t really matter what it was. That was a horrendous football play. It’s not like we have great options behind him as it is. Hopefully it’s just a weird game as he rounds into form after a long absence.
 

Ed Hillel

Wants to be startin somethin
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Dec 12, 2007
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It wasn’t just that play, he was extremely slow overall. The one thing that gives me some hope is that he’s done this, to a degree in the past, and then later in the season shown a big upgrade in impact. Last year he started very slow and then looked quicker and started making plays until he blew out his pec.

But I’ve never seen him as slow as Sunday overall. Someone used “glacial,” and that pretty much nailed it. Maybe he got hurt and played through it?
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Dec 4, 2005
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It doesn’t really matter what it was. That was a horrendous football play. It’s not like we have great options behind him as it is. Hopefully it’s just a weird game as he rounds into form after a long absence.
See, that’s kinda my point. If he was was 100% healthy, at his prime and had gone full steam at him - and Watson cuts back inside and rips up the middle for 30, we’d blast him for a Jaime Collins type of play. Again, I didn’t notice him being ‘glacial’ all game, but it seemed to me that the plan was to rush 4 and contain Watson from making plays with his legs. That play looks like that to me, but what the hell do I know. We don’t know what his assignment was all game. I just think we should hold off talks of cutting him after one game, maybe? (Not that you wanted him cut end of year, but it’s been mentioned.)
 

BigSoxFan

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May 31, 2007
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See, that’s kinda my point. If he was was 100% healthy, at his prime and had gone full steam at him - and Watson cuts back inside and rips up the middle for 30, we’d blast him for a Jaime Collins type of play. Again, I didn’t notice him being ‘glacial’ all game, but it seemed to me that the plan was to rush 4 and contain Watson from making plays with his legs. That play looks like that to me, but what the hell do I know. We don’t know what his assignment was all game. I just think we should hold off talks of cutting him after one game, maybe? (Not that you wanted him cut end of year, but it’s been mentioned.)
Fair enough. I remain a Hightower fan but I did agree with Ed Hillel that he looked off to my untrained eye. It’s obviously indisputable that this team is better with him on the field so I’m hopeful he rounds into form. My fear is that his physical skills have deteriorated and he’s not able to make the plays he used to make due to physical reasons, like post-injury Mayo or post-stroke Bruschi. Far too early to come to that conclusion but I think it’s worth monitoring.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Dec 4, 2005
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Portsmouth, NH
Fair enough. I remain a Hightower fan but I did agree with Ed Hillel that he looked off to my untrained eye. It’s obviously indisputable that this team is better with him on the field so I’m hopeful he rounds into form. My fear is that his physical skills have deteriorated and he’s not able to make the plays he used to make due to physical reasons, like post-injury Mayo or post-stroke Bruschi. Far too early to come to that conclusion but I think it’s worth monitoring.
He had a miniscus injury a coupe years back, but beyond that I’d have to be remembered about a lower body injury. He got rave reviews all pre season from everything I saw, at least, that he was in prime shape. Maybe he tweaked something, sure, but if we’re questions if he couldn’t advance faster on the ball carrier in that play, I think we may need more to work on before declaring him deteriorated at 28. Ymmv.