Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Honestly, he only has value at this point because of the injury to Flemming. Haralson has been a stalwart against the run and 'good' at setting the edge, but he lacks elite sideline to sideline speed to be great at setting the edge (Manny Lawson was much better at this than Haralson). He's a mediocre pass rusher, at best.
At this point, he is a 'high-motor', expensive back-up who is a leader. Most of the time, leaders are indispensable; however, we have plenty of leaders on our defense. And before Flemming's injury, I was all for cutting him to keep our D-line talent. But now we are going to be stretched thin at OLB, requiring us to keep Haralson.
But your point that anyone who thinks he as no value doesn't understand a 3-4 is off, IMO. Our 3-4 OLBs are pass rushers, #1. We happen to have the two best ILB in the game patrolling the running lanes and who can flow sideline to sideline. Our OLBs must get to the QB. Haralson has proven he is under-capable of this, especially with the increased mileage on his body.
The way our 34 plays, only 4 men are rushing the passer on most downs. In most cases, those 4 men were one of the following combinations
JSmith, Soap, Mac, Brooks
ASmith, JSmith, Mac, Brooks
Haralson's job was to set the edge and he did an excellent job on 1st and 2nd down last year. This requires far more than a high motor to accomplish. Anyone who knows defense knows that in order to have an elite run stopping unit, you need every single player on the field to efficiently do his job to contain the run. Elite sideline to sideline speed was not required to effectively do this (proof being there effectiveness stopping the run, there was no one better) and I would much rather have a well rounded starting 34 outside backer than a speed guy like Manny Lawson who gets blown off the line of scrimmage.
[ Edited by DirtyP on May 16, 2012 at 2:33 PM ]