Originally posted by NCommand:
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?
Good point , which is why I think we should look to add another blue chip pass rusher in the draft, having another pass rusher would make our defense much more difficult to prepare for