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Can Aldon become a three down OLB?

  • mayo49
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We need to get him on the field on all downs.
that's the goal. Right now he's a liability in coverage. Then again, so is Brooks and he plays on all downs. I'm pretty sure Aldon will be on the field full time next season.
  • mayo49
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Originally posted by ChazBoner:
that's the goal. Right now he's a liability in coverage. Then again, so is Brooks and he plays on all downs. I'm pretty sure Aldon will be on the field full time next season.

Yeah, I was worried because of his height it might be a problem. But, Manny was the same size and he was exellent in coverage. I can't wait to see what kind of damage he will do when they unleash him on all three downs.
  • mayo49
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[ Edited by mayo49 on Dec 21, 2011 at 6:04 AM ]
he's been playing more on running plays and dropping into coverage as well. He will get there no doubt.
Originally posted by Ajanke:
he's been playing more on running plays and dropping into coverage as well. He will get there no doubt.

Yes ..I saw him drop back in coverage a few times, he is a great athlete and should be able to provide some decent pass coverage ....

Aldon Smith is what we thought when we were getting when we drafted Manny Lawson.....it's about time we hit another home run with our first round pick on a player for the defense, Willis was a home run and now Smith , ...makes up for wasted picks we squandered on players like McGrew and Balmer
  • carl
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  • Posts: 3,754
I would be surprised if he's not a starter and 3 down player next season. I think the two main reasons he's not on the field more is:
1. He's a rookie.
2. Short offseason.

Those two things combine into me thinking the coaches don't want to overload him with the playbook or wear him down in a long season. If we were not going to the playoffs, I'm sure he would be playing more to get that experience.
The inability to make quick adjustments in coverage was one of his negatives coming out of college; but of course, that doesn't matter much for looking for an elite pass-rusher. Fangio and Leavitt will get a full offseason to teach him up. He may struggle early on, but I expect by the end of next season he'll be decent in pass coverage, a reliable run stopper, and one of the most feared pass rushers in the league.
Not this season but maybe next season. Hes coming along just fine for the time being.
Originally posted by ace49ers:
Not this season but maybe next season. Hes coming along just fine for the time being.

This. Will he? Yes. Will he this season? Probably not. Rookies were more affected than anyone by a lack of an off season and mini camps. He has adjusted to the NFL very well, and to our coach's credit, he's only be asked to do what he does well. Next year, with a full season under his belt and a full off season to practice, he will become an every down player.
If it's not broken, don't fix it.
Originally posted by NeeJ49er:
Originally posted by Ajanke:
he's been playing more on running plays and dropping into coverage as well. He will get there no doubt.

Yes ..I saw him drop back in coverage a few times, he is a great athlete and should be able to provide some decent pass coverage ....

Aldon Smith is what we thought when we were getting when we drafted Manny Lawson.....it's about time we hit another home run with our first round pick on a player for the defense, Willis was a home run and now Smith , ...makes up for wasted picks we squandered on players like McGrew and Balmer

Agreed, Manny proved to be everything but a good pass rusher. Aldon will be the total package.....
IMO everyone saying that it's the pass defense aspect that is holding Aldon back is getting it wrong. It's much more an issue of run defense and preserving his freshness for pass rushing.

Even with an incredible athlete like Aldon, if we ever see him dropping back regularly into coverage then we know the game is not going well. He's already a lanky 265 lbs at age 22. With a year of NFL strength coaching and natural growth, he'll probably be at at least 270 next year, and upwards from there in the future. It's almost impossible to envision a guy like that being effective in coverage on anything more than zone blitzes, etc.

What Aldon hasn't had to do yet is play the run - he's not had to learn to yet. He's got the power to bullrush guys, but setting a hard outside edge and learning to shed blockers is a different game. He's never had to learn to diagnose run plays quickly, worry about gap assignments, etc. His game right now is strictly a full-throttle pass rush.

Elite pass-rushing OLBs like Ware, Mario Williams, Suggs, etc. - these guys play all three downs but rarely are asked to cover anything more than a short zone a few times a game (if that). Aldon will be the same for us. Having him consistently backpedal into coverage would be a waste of his talent.
But can he rush the passer?
Originally posted by johnnyredneat:
IMO everyone saying that it's the pass defense aspect that is holding Aldon back is getting it wrong. It's much more an issue of run defense and preserving his freshness for pass rushing.

Even with an incredible athlete like Aldon, if we ever see him dropping back regularly into coverage then we know the game is not going well. He's already a lanky 265 lbs at age 22. With a year of NFL strength coaching and natural growth, he'll probably be at at least 270 next year, and upwards from there in the future. It's almost impossible to envision a guy like that being effective in coverage on anything more than zone blitzes, etc.

What Aldon hasn't had to do yet is play the run - he's not had to learn to yet. He's got the power to bullrush guys, but setting a hard outside edge and learning to shed blockers is a different game. He's never had to learn to diagnose run plays quickly, worry about gap assignments, etc. His game right now is strictly a full-throttle pass rush.

Elite pass-rushing OLBs like Ware, Mario Williams, Suggs, etc. - these guys play all three downs but rarely are asked to cover anything more than a short zone a few times a game (if that). Aldon will be the same for us. Having him consistently backpedal into coverage would be a waste of his talent.

This man knows what he's talking about. Brooks has actually been very good in dropping back this year in zones. The Steelers were able to match him up with a TE up the sideline where Brooks was supposed to have underneath coverage, which obviously, he did. But the problem was our safeties were playing SO deep respecting the speed of their WR's, they were very late...twice...getting over to help over the top so Brooks stayed with his man. In the 3-4, OLB's DO NOT COVER. They drop back in zones and clog passing lanes before passing off prospective receivers to others. Aldon has done that well this year. He is NOT a liability in coverage. That responsibility falls on the shoulders of the ILB's and secondary. The Steelers did a nice job of scheming and this will happen time to time in a chess match. We also need to remember that for Brooks entire career, he had a total of 400 snaps. This year for us, he's already racked up 700+. At the beginning of the year, he was our sack-master. In contrast, we've moved Aldon slowly along and now HE is reaping the benefits of being fresh and is taking full advantage of his opportunities. So to answer the OP? Yes, he CAN be an every-down OLB but he doesn't need to be on this team. The coaches, IMHO, are bringing him along perfectly.

The bigger question to ask is...if Aldon does become an every down OLB, will his production start to fall off d/t teams having more film on him and him being more physically worn down with say, 700+ snaps through 14 games?