|05-15-2007, 11:10 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2003
Changing Roles of LDE's in the NFL
I wanted to address this earlier, but have not had the time. Luckily, this article and especially the quote from McKay puts this issue of playing the run into a modern perspective.
Displaying wisdom belying his youth, Jamaal Anderson folded himself into a too-small chair after the first minicamp practice of his new career and talked about a critical component of NFL life.
"Sacking the quarterback, that's what they pay you for at this level," said the Falcons' rookie defensive end, demonstrating that he is as quick at grasping the pragmatic nature of some NFL realities as he is at exploding past an offensive tackle. "Stopping the run, that's kind of a bonus, really. I mean, you want to do both, definitely. But getting a sack ... that's a special play."
...GM Rich McKay has been around long enough to remember when left ends were hardly sack threats. Strongside ends typically were meant to be anchors versus the run, bigger ends with less movement skills, defenders who could take on tight ends and pulling guards and hold firm at the point of attack.
But the game has evolved to a point where strongside ends are expected to get upfield and get after the quarterback. Left ends such as Michael Strahan of the New York Giants, Carolina's Julius Peppers, and even a blue-collar guy like Aaron Kampman of Green Bay, have emerged as big-time pass rushers.
"When we were in Tampa Bay, what we found was that you had to have a way to rush the quarterback with four (defenders)," McKay said. "If you committed more than that, then you weakened your defense in other ways. So we focused on pass-rush skills. That comes first and then playing the run comes second. We think Jamaal can be a really good pass rusher and a pretty good player against the run. And those kinds of guys, especially anymore, are hard to find."
Yes, Ideally, you want a guy like Strahan who is a beast as a pass rusher and can play the run like a traditional LDE. But a player like Peppers who is a great pass rusher and penetrator and plays the run on the way to the QB is the new paradigm in the NFL. Remember that he was horrible his first two years in the NFL at playing the run. Teams just ran right at him as he vacated his gap too much. He made technical adjustments in his game and got better at reading the plays and is now an above average run defender.
Just like the DT's, DE's need time to learn the proper techniques and strategies to play the run as well as rush the passer. It is not about weight, it is about mentality. That is why a player as thin as Jason Taylor can still hold the POA more often than not. This is the biggest reason you draft DE's today, to rush the passser first and develop the skills to play the run. It just depends on how much the player wants to play the run and how well he gets coached. We all know Bates and Johnson are excellent DL developers. Now, they finally have real DE's to develop
|05-15-2007, 11:35 AM||#3|
Tebowing the long haul
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: TX, USA