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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading the Tea Leaves: Who Lines Up Where in Week 1?

A few more bits of insight on scheme and personnel, courtesy of Todd Grantham:

On playing with an undersized nose tackle…
“There’s two types of 3-4. There’s the traditional 3-4, which is New England style, big, massive nose guard. When we were in Dallas, Jay Ratliff made the Pro Bowl, and he’s an undersized nose tackle. We’re going to be more of a one-gap team, so you can play with guys that are like that, and I think that’s critical. So as we move forward, we’ll have a standard for what we’re looking for down the road, but right now I think it’s important to take the players you have and find ways to fit them into your system.”

On what he's looking for in his inside vs. outside linebackers...
“Your inside guys are your inside guys. Inside backers in a 4-3 and a 3-4, they’re going to have similar characteristics. When you start talking about outside guys, those body types can be different, too. … There’s always going to be special circumstances for each player, but your edge guys, you’re looking for guys that can set the edge in the run game, can play over tight ends, can generate pass rush. Your inside guys you’re looking for guys that are a little bit better at blitzing as opposed to rushing and are a little bit better at covering, have a little bit better man coverage skills. That’s the basic differences, but as far as body types, everybody’s going to want to have a guy with this length or that length, but players make plays and find a way to get it done, so I think it’s important to take the players you have and fit them into your system.”

On the effectiveness of a 3-4 against multiple-formation offenses...
“In the 3-4 you can be balanced. You really don’t have to declare your rusher until you see the formation sometimes. I think it gives you a better advantage over teams that are multiple formation-wise because you don’t get outflanked. You basically adjust your backers and you can still be solid against the run. And you also aren’t telling them who’s coming. The thing with the 4-3 is, the guys who put their hand in the dirt are the guys rushing. In a 3-4, I can tell you that the three guys with their hand in the dirt are coming, but one of those other outside backers is going to be coming 95 percent of the time. So they’ve got to account for all four of those guys on every snap, yet only one of those guys is going to be coming. So I think it gives you more position flexibility relative to the formations and I also think it’s a little bit tougher for quarterbacks.”

On creating winning matchups individually...
“In pro ball, the biggest thing is you have to find a way to take away the players that can beat you. As you do that, you’ve got to find a way to find the weak link in who they have, and then you’ve got to create matchups. I think there’s no question that for the last 11 years, we’ve been dealing with matchups. Very seldom do you get a guy running free to the quarterback in pro ball. The best thing you can do is create one-on-ones. You try to get the guys that can win for you against the guys that can’t win for them. I don’t think there’s any question that can be an asset for us, and I think that some players will thrive because of that. I think some guys will enhance their careers because of that because we’re going to find ways to make guys in protection – whether it be a back or a freshman guard or tackle – we’re going to find ways to make those guys block.”

OK, so reading what Grantham has said about the defensive line and linebackers, I'm still not sure we can make too many educated guesses at this point about how the depth chart will shake out.

That said, I think a player like Cornelius Washington can be a stud at outside linebacker. I think Abry Jones or DeAngelo Tyson could fill the nose tackle spot well. And I'd guess the inside linebacker positions might be best filled by Marcus Dowtin and maybe Darryl Gamble.

My best guess on a starting front seven -- and this is completely a guess at this point -- might be Justin Houston, Tyson, Demarcus Dobbs up front with Washington and Nick Williams at OLB and Dowtin and Gamble at ILB.

Of course, that leaves guys like Jones, Montez Robinson, Akeem Dent, Kiante Tripp, Christian Robinson and a bunch of the new guys coming in up in the air still, so really the bottom line is… I have no clue.

But I'll put it to you… What do you think the front seven will look like at the end of spring practice? How about Week 1? How might Richard Samuel fit into that picture? What would you prefer to see, best-case scenario?

Also, I have a story on Grantham's early work (all three days' worth) in today's Telegraph that you can check out HERE.

13 comments:

HotDamn said...

I would like to see Tyson and Geathers at the nose,Abry and Kiante at one end, Dobbs and Woods at the other end. Houston,Washinton, Hebron and Williams at the outside. Dowtin, Gamble, Gillard and Robinson in the middle. Smith, Boykin Pugh and Cuff at the corners. Rambo, Hamilton Commings and Ogltree at safety.

Wesley said...

I think alot of it will come down to the grades that CTG said he was gonna base his defense on. If Washington, Houston and Dobbs all get high grades it will be interesting to see how that shakes out. I think Washington and Houston both have the capability to play that stand up rushing linebacker we all associate with the 3-4

PTC DAWG said...

I'll admit that I have no clue...anything else is just a guess unless you are a Coach...

Anonymous said...

I like Gamble and Dent in the middle and Washington and Houston as outside backers. Tyson, Dobbs, and Jones could like up with their hands in the dirt.

BZ said...

I want to see Richard Samuael with his speed and toughness as an outside linebacker. We have enough running backs for him to make the move and if ealey or king get hurt than he can go back. Now is the perfect time for him becuase its a level playing field of competition to learn the defense. Marcus Dowtin will loves this defense and look for Christian Robinson to be another Rennie Curran. Gamble still has alot to prove along with williams, but as long as our corners and safety's learn to cover and tackle, then we should be much improved from this past year. When is G-Day again??? Cant wait!!

Billy Barou said...

Honestly, I see Abry Jones as a prototypical NFL 3-4 end and Justin Houston as a prototypical NFL 3-4 OLB....I think both those guys would THRIVE at those positions! From the outside linebacker position, Houston and Cornelius Washington could wreak havoc!

bhdawg said...

Granthams idea of matching our players vs the rival , I like it. Means a starting position is not secure unless you perform every week. GATA Coach

GENXDAWG said...

I have felt this way all throughout the 2009 season...I have serious doubts about whether Gamble is hard-nosed and physical enough to be an ILB, especially in this system. The 34 defense requires a downhill, hole-filler at that position. I just have not seen that routinely from Gamble. He may be the "best option" at the position, but I certainly hope that is not the case. I think Dowtin can be phenomenal in the middle.

Also, I totally agree that Washington can be outstanding in the rush OLB position.

Anonymous said...

Samuel moving to linebacker or possibly even safety, which i would like to see, could be interesting. one other player that could step up with a new coach is,,Akeem Hebron. he's a guy that could come in with a whole new mentality, seeing as he kinda was on the outs with CWM. he was a stud in HS(and heck, he's about 23 yrs old now). could be a men amongst boys..

Anonymous said...

"Bend but Don't Break" is what TG thinks when he makes love to his wife.

TG is 1/8th Cherokee. Only because he ate an Indian.

Jessica Simpson was using Romo to get to Todd Grantham.

Percy Harvey's migraines are Grantham related.

TG's visor throws Steve Spurrier

CTG can gargle peanut butter.

Todd Grantham thinks a directional kick is putting a foot in someone's $ss

Todd Granthem tells Herschel Walker which personality to use

Coach Todd Grantham already knows what the Water Girl wants to know


David. Thought you might enjoy some recent posts from Dawgvent.

Dawgfan17 said...

Don't know about them all but I have a feeling that Houston is going to be an outside backer in the mold of what Baltimore does with Suggs. He showed against Tech he has the speed to play sideline to sideline and would be a beast as the primary passrusher. If he is at DE his ability to rush will be taken up a bit as generally ends in a 3-4 are more of space eaters.

Justin said...

I think to get the best/most athletic combination of players on the field Houston will need to stay at end. In the one gap style 3-4 that Grantham talks about Houston should be able to more than hold his own there. Gamble is an outside linebacker! I know he's big but he played safety in high school and we experimented with him rushing the passer off the edge last season at times so he makes too much sense not to have him play OLB. Washington will be great at the other OLB. Dowtin and Dent in the middle. Nuf Said.

William said...

My two deep is D. Tyson and K. Geathers at the nose. D. Dobbs, A. Jones, B. Woods and K.Tripp at def.end. At Inside backer M. Dowtin, D. Gamble, C.Robinson, A. Dent and A. Hebron. On the outside J. Houston, C. Washington, M. Gilliard, N. Williams, M. Robinson. On the Corners B. Boykin, B. Smith, V. Cuff and M. Pugh. And at the safety spots B. Rambo, J. Hamilton, S. Commings, A. Ogletree and the dark horse really is Q. Banks if he can stay healthy.