Originally posted by JimDrinkAMiller:
I enjoy debating with you because you keep an open mind unlike a lot of others. I also appreciate what you said about debates making us all a more educated fan base.
Sure, nothing wrong with a civilized good debate to help cover all the bases. This isn't a Raider, Hawk or KC fan forum here! LOL
First I would like to talk about my guy Vernon. The most talented physical specimen of a tight end to come out of college in the history of the nfl. When I say his hands aren't the best I'm taking into account the tony Gonzales' of the nfl. His hands are very good and much improved as you noted, so if you thought I was saying his hands needs to be improved that wasn't my intention. What a stud, I remember him coming out of Maryland and I was drooling over this guy. A lot of people were mad that we drafted a tight end so early but I was very happy.
True, Tony's hands are ridiculous. If Roman every learns to use VD properly, get him involved early and often like Jerry Rice, it would open up everything for the offense. You can line him out at the X or Z, or in the slot /Y, up the LOS ofd tackle, from the Q formation (backfield), etc.; like how the Rams used Amendola, we can use VD the same way and really soften up a defenses. It's on Roman to use his players better...like Fangio with the 4 LB's.
Next I would like to get into the brooks conversation a lil bit more. Like I said brooks pass-rushing ability isn't the best but that isn't my only knock on him. He doesn't drop back in coverage too often because he can't keep up with these tight ends and runningbacks. For people to call him a sideline to sideline linebacker is a bit of a stretch because he doesn't have enough speed to be considered sideline to sideline. Even though he doesn't have a ton of wear and tear on his tires he is getting up there in age. My thing is if we have someone that is even a bit worse than brooks at the end of the year, they will still be a lot younger and can gain a ton of experience by learning from the best linebacker group in the league.
Let me help you a bit on Brooks. His sacks and pressures and hits are typically top 3 on the team whether starting or not. As to coverage, this is a big misnomer IMHO. Brooks, when asked to drop back is NOT required to match up 1on1 on RB's, WR's or TE's. His job and responsibility is to 1) recognize the offensive play 2) diagnose it and his responsibility and 3) drop back in zone coverage
if a pass or the RB/TE flares out. This means that he has coverage for a specific portion of the field until that receiver passes into another's zone. His coverage is very good. The problem is with the other LB's or CB's and S's. For instance, let's say he is to have outside coverage/containment on the receiver but the MLB or S/CB is supposed to have the inside coverage. If the pass is completed inside, it may "look" like he gave up a pass. The most common issue is that we've had terrible top coverage (ask our outside CB's) and if Brooks has the underneath zone...he often times has no help over the top. Rarely is he ever in man-to-man coverage. Aldon is the more "athletic" OLB and has a 20 ft wing span...ask yourself how often you see him drop in coverage. Most is b/c the TE lines up on Brooks side and b/c Brooks is much more accomplished in coverage (and we want Aldon rushing the passer from the blind side).
I don't know who called him a sideline-to-sideline LB but he did start his career as an ILB so he has range and speed esp. for a man his size. There should be no circumstance where he'd need to be a sideline-to-sideline player. That said, if you find a sideline-to-sideline SAFETY, please let Baalke know ASAP. We need one badly!!!!
That's a fair point on his age. Most of these guys can play well into their low-mid 30's though so I wouldn't be too worried about it esp. if we can establish someone training in the background and spelling him...a win-win for us now and into the future. Brooks will do whatever he can to train this youngster.
People keep pointing to aldon being slowly brought in to take over for Haralson in 11 but they also have to remember that we had a very short offseason due to the lockout. I also disagree that Haralson was a "very weak" will olb. That also played a HUGE part aldon's development and he probably would've seen even more PT if he had a full offseason to be brought up to speed. You point to brooks getting double teamed a lot but the truth is a lot of players on our defense get double teamed. Justin would be first on the list as he gets double teamed the most often, but mac and soap also got doubled every so often and even aldon got doubled sometimes.
No doubt the short offseason helped bring Aldon along slowly but this is a theme we see with the 49ers anyhow, no matter how talented or what round they were drafted in. They need to be ready. Even then, I think you are minimizing the complexity of the LBs in a 3-4 defense and how long it takes to know your assignments. If he was a DE like Tank/Okoye, OK, you're not risking as much on the training curve (b/c of who you have around and behind them) but the OLB's are THE playmakers in a 3-4 and they have a lot of responsibilities.
Haralson is very weak in the pass rush department, in coverage and he's not even stellar at sealing the edge. He does excel at diagnosing plays (experience) and is a pretty sure-tackler. He's stout against the run and plays off blocks well. But unfortunately, for the WILL position in particular, we need MUCH more from this player. This is why I expect to see quite a dog fight between Haralson, Lemonier, Flemining and Johnson. Bring it on!
It's not that Brooks is double-teamed, it's that the opposition is focusing on him which opens up Aldon on the blind side. There have been teams that have tried switching alignments to Aldon's side to but primarily, it's on Brooks side, far and away. To face double-teams in the QB's sight line while playing off and through them while still getting QB pressures, hits, sacks at crucial moments is monumental. We shouldn't minimize that. How many more sacks do you think Aldon would have playing the SAM...what would the drop off be at crucial times of the game, in play recognition and run defense, TFL, etc? If you're objective, you'd go from a 19.5 sack guy down significantly mainly b/c of how teams would play him and he'd have to "think" a lot more and quicker.
Again a lot of you are acting like brooks doesn't get enough chances to get after the qb but he does. When we rush 4 it's usually brooks mac and the smiths. Yes brooks has more responsibilities than aldon but IMO bowman and willis have more responsibilities than brooks. Though we aren't as diverse in our 3-4 package as pittsburg, I think brooks has plenty of chances to get after the qb, as he doesn't drop back in coverage often. If lemonier is indeed a "CLONE" of brooks and is learning from brooks himself as well as the rest of the linebackers, than why wouldn't he be able to take over for brooks this year or next? I would go with the cheaper option if he picks up the defense quick enough.
You are assuming that b/c Brooks takes every snap he is getting a chance to rush the passer. First, it has to be a pass where his assignment is to rush the passer (TE, RB stays in, 3rd and long, etc.). Second, is he off the LOS, standing up, or does he have his hand in the dirt as a LDE next to McDonald. Is he on a delayed blitz? Is his assignment to stunt and occupy two for McDonald? Its way more complicated than you think. His job is basically to rush the passer en route
to diagnosing the play (pass or run and who and where to drop back) disengaging the blockers and chasing down the QB in his sight line. On Aldon's side, it's basically, seek-and-destroy with Justin tying up two guys (either inside or outside) from the QB's blind side. This isn't Madden and you won't find many straight-up SAM's (like ours) with 10 sacks. We just don't run that type of scheme. Period. And yes, Brooks does drop back in zone coverage a lot.
I meant Lemonier looks like a clone of Brooks in terms of his build. If he, like Willis/Bowman, were to put on a 55, you'd be hard pressed to tell them apart. As to that, doesn't that tell you about what Baalke wants at the SAM? He didn't go out and get a tall, lean, athletic freak of a DE converting to an OLB pass rusher. He went out and got another Brooks who is big, strong, physical, can play off blocks, is stout against the run, athletic enough to provide consistent pressure and drop back in zone...has to be smart, take great angles, play off his DE's, occupy 2 OL for others, etc.
Bottom line for me is I think you've seen the better days of players like brooks rogers and mac, and I think that aldon Iupati Crabtree kaep ect.. still have better days ahead of them even though they have played very well. You can say that brooks would put up double digits sacks playing the will but we can't be sure as he doesn't play will. I would disagree as aldon is a step or 2 faster and has long arms to keep offensive lineman off his body allowing him to rip and swim through the block and get to the quarterback more easily than brooks would be able to. Just my opinion.
Look forward to hearing back from you pal.
I agree about Rogers unless he decides to man-up this year under the microscope and d/t the pressure of Nnamdi/Culliver. But Brooks and McDonald have at least two more great years in them. I genuinely think giving these two guys plus Justin some serious breathers will make a ton of difference down the stretch. Taking 97% of the snaps and fighting through constant double-teams is very taxing...we are very lucky McDonald and Brook's injuries haven't been more serious.
No question Aldon is the better of the two pass rushers...heck, he may be top 3 in the entire NFL but my point is, his assignments would be very different at the SAM in "our defense." Ideally, and what I have always wanted, I'd love to see Aldon and Brooks free to rush from both sides and even line up at MIKE or TED and rush inside from there as well...use them interchangeably. I'd love to see Fangio ID weaknesses in an opposition's OL and attack them all game long, inside and out. But sadly, we don't play that way...we play vanilla, straight up, the anti-exotic 3-4. This is MUCH easier for the OL to study the OLB's and scheme towards blocking assignment. Teams don't worry much about the inside LB blitz or S and CB blitz or the 4 LB's working interchangeably.
I come from the old San Diego Chargers theory of using your best pass rushers back off the LOS to get a running start and plow over OT's or dip and blow past them with speed, quickness, moves, etc. They used to take Merriman standing up and he'd walk back and forth (like a tiger sizing up how he'll get out of his cage) behind the DL, deciding what gap to exploit (working in conjunction with the DL). The Jets used to run the most exotic 3-4...Pittsburgh...Pats. We just don't do that even though I think we'd be highly successful with it.
If you are expecting a rookie to come in at the SAM position and get close to 10 sacks in our defense, you may need to put the controller down and turn Madden off (kidding). Whether it's coming off the bench in pass rush situations or starting, expect the SAM to continue to produce 5-7 sacks with consistent pressures and hits, knock down passes, stellar edge-sealing, TFL, zone coverage and play recognition.
[ Edited by NCommand on Jun 4, 2013 at 10:09 AM ]