Originally posted by sfout:
Smith doesn't have a natural position he played TE and DE in high school then DE in college. He is learning the entire LB position from scratch, his "natural" position is whatever he is being taught. The only reason he replaced Haralson on PASS RUSHING situations is because he is the better pass rusher of the 2. Brooks is a complete linebacker, which is coincidently what we are grooming Aldon to be.
Brooks is more fluid then Haralson and has an easier time guarding TEs and in rare cases WRs on 3rd down. Haralson is an East-West only player, he lacks hip fluidity and cant turn and run with receivers. He is great against the run and thats it.
If Brooks walked Aldon would definitely start in his place and play opposite Haralson on 1st and 2nd down and then on 3rd down Haralson would get swapped for Dobbs or another pass rush specialist that is yet to be determined.
Oh sure...I mean his natural position, the one he played all last year, is the WILL spot and mostly on 3rd downs. Only a few times did I see he and Brooks swap or play side-by-side to rush (both effective BTW).
Right now he is learning to be an every down WILL who will line up behind or next to Justin Smith on stunts, sealing the edge but b/c he's on the weak side, he will have a VERY heavy focus on getting to the QB first and foremost! You don't suddenly ask him to start over McDonald and rush from the left side of the field where the QB can see him in plain view every time. The SAM (Brooks position) is different...a lot different. The WILL is balls out for the QB every snap en route to sealing the edge. The SAM however, is generally lined up over the TE and has to play off his blocking as well as a RT and sometimes a RB as well. He doesn't just blow up the field. Often times he is to stay at the LOS, crash down on the TE or chuck him and disrupt his route, provide underneath coverage, diagnose screens and other potentially dangerous plays quickly and make those TFL while taking on two guys as well as seal the edge and force the action inside to Willis/Bowman. The fact that Brooks had 8 sacks with 46 pressures in plain view of the QB is a HUGE success. The fact that he also lead the team in TFL "and" was top 6 in total tackles is quite remarkable. The fact that he also provided very good underneath coverage and had outside containment on WR/RB's was tremendous. That he is young and can play every LB position on the team (even MIKE) as well as DE and further inside at DT (saw that this year) is remarkable.
Aldon Smith has a long way to go before he will be a complete LB like this and no rookie or FA is just going to step in and solve this problem if Brooks leaves. This is why, if forced too, you franchise him and sign Carlos/Alex and offer Goldson his original contract of 5 for 25. Of all the players, Goldson, IMHO, is the least valuable and in the 3-4, the front 7 always trumps your back end. You do everything you can to improve (or in this case, maintain) the front 7. You give him fair market value and ask Rogers/Goldson to sign that home town discount.
[ Edited by NCommand on Feb 23, 2012 at 11:38 AM ]