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View Full Version : How do you see Spencer Larsen fitting in?


montrose
02-16-2009, 02:08 PM
http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/4034/larsen2yv0.jpg

In somewhat of a branch from my Brian Cushing thread, I was wondering what the consensus here on the Mane was regarding Spencer Larsen. I personally think he is well-equipped to be a starting NFL ILB in a 3-4 defense as a 2-down player. He appears to have good football instincts and is a hard-nosed, solid tackler - right in line with the McDaniels/Nolan-type of LB, but some may disagree. With a lot of Rey Maualuga talk, I wanted to broach the subject of Larsen's long-term status to gauge other opinions.

BigPlayShay
02-16-2009, 02:10 PM
He will be the Broncos version of Larry Izzo.

BroncoMan4ever
02-16-2009, 02:15 PM
i think he can be a good ILB for us, but with DJ and the need for a little more size he is probably going to end up being overlooked and relegated to backup and ST duties.

illbroncsfn
02-16-2009, 02:15 PM
I like Larsen A LOT- however I believe that he is most realistically a stop gap ILB, but I would be thrilled if he proves to be more...

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 02:17 PM
He will be the Broncos version of Larry Izzo.

I'd take that. His best would be Bruschi. Larsen can rush the passer too. I hope he gets a shot.

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 02:19 PM
i think he can be a good ILB for us, but with DJ and the need for a little more size he is probably going to end up being overlooked and relegated to backup and ST duties.

Larsen is 6-2 240. That's prototypical of a 3-4 inside linebacker.

SoCalBronco
02-16-2009, 02:24 PM
He can be a long term 2-down starter at SILB, although he still needs some work. I would think that at the very least, he can be a short term starter at the position. Obviously, he'll have to be taken off the field on clear passing downs, but that's ok. He's got some good size...he could get a little bigger though, a very good mind and is very physical. I think DJ at WILB and Larsen at SILB is a solid combination.

Spencer is a classic "football player" and we are lucky to have him. He can be a solid, above average NFL starter in our new scheme with some more seasoning.

cmhargrove
02-16-2009, 02:25 PM
My heart chooses long term starter, but my head chooses stop gap.

It all depends on him, really.

All our guys are learning a new system, so he gets to start on even footing - that's a plus. He definitely can takle really well, and can knock O-linemen backwards when he rushes. He's a good, powerful presence on the inside, especially if his job is to attack downhill.

With a tough nosed LB coach like Martindale, and Nolan's love of hard working LB's he definitely has the chance to succeed. I'm pulling for him.

Inkana7
02-16-2009, 02:26 PM
If he can take on blockers and blow them up, he can start at SILB. One thing that makes the Ravens defense so good is that Bart Scott blows guards the **** up. It's so impressive watching a 245 pound LB destroy 344 pound Chris Kemoeatu.

Tombstone RJ
02-16-2009, 02:28 PM
He's been my adopt-a-Bronco from the beginning, I'd love to see him become a starter. He's nothing flashy, he won't win style awards. However, he can be a long term solid ILB in the line of great Broncos LBs who worked hard, knew their assigments, and made tackles and plays.

Drek
02-16-2009, 02:33 PM
He can be a long term 2-down starter at SILB, although he still needs some work. I would think that at the very least, he can be a short term starter at the position. Obviously, he'll have to be taken off the field on clear passing downs, but that's ok. He's got some good size...he could get a little bigger though, a very good mind and is very physical. I think DJ at WILB and Larsen at SILB is a solid combination.

Spencer is a classic "football player" and we are lucky to have him. He can be a solid, above average NFL starter in our new scheme with some more seasoning.

I got to agree 100% with this post. Larsen showed in limited duty last year that he 1. isn't afraid of taking on blockers and 2. that he can effectively shed them and keep moving through traffic.

He totally changed the way our defense played in the Falcons game because all of a sudden we had an ILB who could pursue down the line and close off inside cutbacks, letting our OLBs do their job and seal off the outside to contain and make the tackle.

Do we want him on the field when we go to a nickel 3-3 front? Probably not, and definitely not in a dime. But in a straight up 3-4 he and Haggans gives us two solid options to do the dirty work that will let DJ play sideline to sideline.

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 02:58 PM
Analysis

Positives: Has a well-proportioned frame with developing upper-body muscles and good thickness in his thighs and calves, with room to add at least another 10 pounds of bulk without losing quickness...High-motor type who plays with good intensity and aggression...Very alert and active to key and diagnose plays, showing the awareness, vision and instincts to call defensive assignments...Demonstrated much better ability and strength taking on blocks as a senior than he did in the past, as he refined his hand placement and improved his hand technique to prevent the blocker from gaining leverage...More quick than fast, but keeps his pad level down and shows the loose hips to redirect and chase down plays from the backside (see 2007 Southern California, Stanford and Washington games)...Has the power to take on fullbacks and clog the interior rush lanes. Does a nice job of staying on his feet and making plays moving down the line...Has the hip swerve to redirect and close from the outside (looked a bit stiff in his hips earlier in his career, but has shown a quicker flow to the ball as a senior. See 2007 Brigham Young and Stanford games)...Shows the lateral agility to flow with the play, staying low in his stance to extend his arms, wrap and secure the ballcarrier near the line of scrimmage...Unquestioned team leader who will not hesitate to take underperforming teammates to task...Shows no hesitation closing on the ball and is quick to track down ballcarriers, doing a nice job of redirecting the corner runners back inside...Has good tackling form, taking the ballcarrier's outside leg to impede the opponent's forward progress...Rare to see him fooled by misdirection or eye the backfield too long when playing in the zone...Uses his hands with force to jolt the blockers back and also in redirecting and jamming the tight ends at the line...Gets physical when taking on the tight ends, delivering strong hand placement to reroute his man away from the play, as he uses his strength effectively to easily jam the opponent...When he keeps his pads down, he shows the ability to slip through blocks...Combative working through trash, using his hands well to defeat the blockers attacking his feet...Has greatly improved his body control as a senior, as he no longer overextends when attempting to make tackles...Shows aggression filling the rush lane, lowering his head and driving with his legs to engage the fullback...Versatile athlete who can play the "Will" or "Mike" position...Reliable tackler who can break down and face up...Does not have the speed to play in the deep zone, but has the functional quickness to stay with slot receivers and tight ends in the short area...More of a downhill tackler, but is capable of making plays in front of him...Shows good anticipation skills and has developed good rip and swim moves to generate a quick outside blitz...Very intelligent, both on the field and in the classroom...Generally in position to make plays and engages the bigger blockers well, playing at the proper pad level with good knee bend...On the blitz, he has a solid hand jolt to maintain separation knifing through traffic and the closing burst to disrupt the quarterback in the pocket.

Negatives: Active and physical at the line of scrimmage, but must continue to improve his hand punch and keep his hands inside his frame to prevent the bigger blockers from getting underneath his jersey and washing him out of the play...Has good closing speed, but will struggle at times to recover and redirect when he outruns the play...Might be a better fit at the "Mike" position to compensate for a lack of explosive quickness to chase down the perimeter runners going long distances...Plays with great intensity, but will sometimes get too aggressive and get taken out of the play...Shows the functional foot agility to drop back in pass coverage, but does not have the pure speed to stay with the receivers on deep patterns.

Compares To: JAMES FARRIOR-Pittsburgh...Whether playing on the weak side or in the middle, Larsen is a high-intensity type who does a fine job of making plays in front of him. He has great field vision and ball-awareness skills and with his intelligence, he might be a better fit calling defensive signals from the middle. He has made very good strides improving his hand placement and punch as a senior and is relentless in his pursuit of the ball working through traffic.

Injury Report

2005: Suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in his right knee during spring drills and had surgery in March that forced him to sit out the Utah (9/02), Northern Arizona (9/10) and California games (10/01), while seeing minimal action vs. Purdue (9/17) and Southern California (10/08) clashes.

Inkana7
02-16-2009, 03:53 PM
James Farrior isn't a bad comparison. Farrior might be a better blitzer, but we haven't seen much in that department from Larsen, if any.

Fusionfrontman
02-16-2009, 03:53 PM
I voted stop gap...but I think he has the potential to be long term. I just can't justify my thinking of it based off one game starting. I don't think McDaniels is going to give him the job, he's going to really battle it out.
I DO feel that Larsen and Hillis starting can be the heart and soul of this team for years to come.

Broncos_OTM
02-16-2009, 03:54 PM
Kaylore i liked Larsen alot but that write up makes me happy as hell. i thought he might be able to play mike. and i think it might have helped him playing FB for a year. Dude is a train wreck waiting to happen. i liked what i seen last year from him hope he can build on that if he can i see him as a long time starter if not. he's a good special teamer

AND HE HAS TO KEEP THAT NUMBER!

Broncos_OTM
02-16-2009, 03:56 PM
I voted stop gap...but I think he has the potential to be long term. I just can't justify my thinking of it based off one game starting. I don't think McDaniels is going to give him the job, he's going to really battle it out.
I DO feel that Larsen and Hillis starting can be the heart and soul of this team for years to come.

From everything we know about McD he places a HIGH priority on "football smarts" and well Larsen is that. i think if he plays 3-4 he is gonna come on! i love that MCD brough in Phifer to show these guys how to play LB.

elsid13
02-16-2009, 03:56 PM
Larson is one of the guys that I expect to have better camp this season then last, and make it hard for the coach not to let him see the field on Sunday. He won't run 40 yards down the field with TE or be a MLB in Tampa2 Team, but he can be that thumper in the middle that would hold up the point of attack and force other team to run away from him.

lex
02-16-2009, 04:14 PM
The defense was at its best for the couple of games he and Woodyard played. It wasnt great. I mean, you still had the 10 yard cushions to overcome but there also seemed to be more wrapping up, filling, block shedding, etc...things that Ian Gold and Nate Webster suck at. There were a couple of times when Larsen was out of position (eg the Thomas Jones TD) but he played very sparingly as a rookie. I think he is solid but thats what we need. Solid and smart. And say what you want about his athleticism but I watched him play against USC and Oregon in college and did quite well in both games against two of the most athletic teams in the Pac 10. And now with the 3-4, his "lack of speed" shouldnt hurt as much.

Broncos_OTM
02-16-2009, 04:21 PM
The defense was at its best for the couple of games he and Woodyard played. It wasnt great. I mean, you still had the 10 yard cushions to overcome but there also seemed to be more wrapping up, filling, block shedding, etc...things that Ian Gold and Nate Webster suck at. There were a couple of times when Larsen was out of position (eg the Thomas Jones TD) but he played very sparingly as a rookie. I think he is solid but thats what we need. Solid and smart. And say what you want about his athleticism but I watched him play against USC and Oregon in college and did quite well in both games against two of the most athletic teams in the Pac 10. And now with the 3-4, his "lack of speed" shouldnt hurt as much.

Gold? or winborn?

ludo21
02-16-2009, 04:22 PM
I think were all homers ;D

But I also think Larsen can be our long term solution if we give him those reps at LB instead of FB this year in Training Camp.

lex
02-16-2009, 04:24 PM
Gold? or winborn?


What are you asking?

ZONA
02-16-2009, 04:56 PM
Yup, there really needed to be another option on that list. How can we clearly see him as a long time starter when we really haven't seen him in action but for a few short spells. I'd love to put him there for the first half of the season and evaluate him. If he's stinking the joint up, he's not the answer and we will unload him the following season. If he's working out, then yeah, he could be solid for awhile. I hate to use the word "long time" in the NFL.

BroncoBuff
02-16-2009, 05:24 PM
The only right answer is "he can be a long term starter," especially in a 3-4 where you need two ILBs.

It's way too early to start being pessimistic about the guy.

BroncoMan4ever
02-16-2009, 06:44 PM
Larsen is 6-2 240. That's prototypical of a 3-4 inside linebacker.

true, but isn't Nolan's defense have ILB more in the 6-2 260lbs frame?

i may be wrong. but if he is given a legit shot, i think he could be a badass ILB for us.

broncosteven
02-16-2009, 07:00 PM
Anyone that plays both ways in today's NFL is one tough SOB.

Kaylore
02-16-2009, 07:55 PM
true, but isn't Nolan's defense have ILB more in the 6-2 260lbs frame?

i may be wrong. but if he is given a legit shot, i think he could be a badass ILB for us.

Not really. Patrick Willis, Nolan's golden boy, is 6-1 240. Ray lewis is 6-1 250. I'm not saying Larsen is going to even sniff their level of play, I'm just saying pretty much cookie-cutter standard for ILB's in a 3-4 is 6'2" 240.

BroncoMan4ever
02-16-2009, 08:53 PM
Not really. Patrick Willis, Nolan's golden boy, is 6-1 240. Ray lewis is 6-1 250. I'm not saying Larsen is going to even sniff their level of play, I'm just saying pretty much cookie-cutter standard for ILB's in a 3-4 is 6'2" 240.

cool. in that case he would be a good 2 down ILB for us who would have to come out on obvious passing downs.