Originally posted by NCommand:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If I ever implied that Lemonier was going to come in and IMMEDIATELY be an upgrade over brooks than I was def. wrong, but I don't think I ever said that. I think this year he will spell brooks and maybe take over late in the season. More than likely it won't happen until next season though. I do think when he picks up the defense and has a full season that he could produce 10 sacks in a year. I also think he can get 70-80 tackles a year and get more turnovers than brooks does.
Although Lemonier isn't tall and lean, he will be converted from a DE to OLB just like aldon. He might not be as quick as aldon was coming out of college but he is athletic and strong. 4.6 40 30 reps of 225. I do think he was brought in to be a pass rusher.
You say that we run a pretty straight forward VANILLA defense so wouldn't that be a little bit easier to learn than a complex and diverse defense such as pittsburg? Again quarterback is a lot more difficult of a position to grasp than olb. I do however agree that we give our guys time to mature and learn the position before throwing them out there. But if this guy can catch on quickly and pick it up than what's going to stop him?
What you say about brooks pretty much applies to all olb linebackers on running downs and although brooks has more assignments than aldon, he doesn't have as many as willis or bowman. I think part of it is that aldon is so good at getting after the qb that fangio doesn't want him dropping back in coverage NOT that he can't do it well enough. His run d and coverage is much improved from his rookie year. All outside linebackers have to chip the tight end at times, provide constant pressure, knock down passes, set the edge, recognize plays, and drop back in coverage. I think aldon isn't too far behind in anything else other than play recognition and why would he be close? It was only his second year last year.
I don't think I have to argue that bowman and willis are better in coverage than brooks. Yes they have inside responsibility but if brooks let's a tight end get inside in a pretty quick period of time than it makes it hard for willis and bowman to close that gap. Again I don't think brooks is very fast. He might be fast for his size but if you compare his lateral quickness and straight line speed to other linebackers on the team and in the league than he would be mediocre.
I agree that players can go into their mid 30's without a problem, but if you have a guy that is more athletic than brooks (not saying lemonier is but he could be) and is younger than why not give him some starting experience once he gets the playbook down? Even if he isn't as polished it will be better for you in the future.
OLB's aren't the only "playmakers" in the 3-4 btw. I think you were referring to 4-3 defensive ends being the playmakers in their defense so I do get what your saying.
I also don't think the opposition focuses on brooks. I think they game plan more for aldon smith, pat, navaro, and others than they do for brooks. I think brooks flys under the radar like he does with MOST football fans. NOT HERE ON THE WEBZONE, where IMO he is a BIT overrated.
I understand that it is a bit more complex than I'm making it out to be, but your acting like every down aldon and Justin just have to bull rush. They have their assignments too.
I'm going to go back to playing madden, where Wilkerson is my LE and Suggs is my LOLB. haha
[ Edited by JimDrinkAMiller on Jun 4, 2013 at 5:48 PM ]