Well hello folks, I hope all is well and you are enjoying the NFL’s extended answer to Christmas morning; Free Agency. (And I don’t mean that fugazi Free Agency from several days ago where the NFL made it seem like shit was going to happen and then at the last minute told everyone that while they could talk, they couldn't talk publicly about the talking that was going on privately.)
Anywho, I have been itching to compose another FanPost but wasn't entirely sure what to write about. I asked resident prospect guru Mike for a suggestion and he threw this idea at me; describe what we can expect from our 5 tech DEs. Now, as I have mentioned before, I am not an X’s and O’s wizard who can break down any play and tell you what the coach was thinking or provide useful insight into what we need out of each position. I am however a guy who can Google such things. And seeing how Spooky (Isaac Sopoaga) and Dixon are NTs, Fletch is a better option as a 3 tech, Cedric Thornton is an unproven but interesting option at the 5 tech and Frenchy left town for Indy because we apparently weren't offering enough money, a quick and dirty review of what we are likely looking for from a 5 tech may be worthwhile right now.
Shall we get started? Good, I was worried you would say no.
Oh, and of course the normal "we don't know exactly what defense we are running" caveats apply, so I am going to keep this pretty basic.
This FP is
stolen borrowed from a write-up that came from Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post: (It should be noted that he is talking about the Broncos 34 specifically and compares it to the 34 the Patriots use and I am paraphrasing his thoughts to cut down on block quoting in this FP, but he gives the basics that just about every article I researched also provided)
First, the 5 tech DE is going to line up over the OT and generally be responsible for 2 gaps on running downs; the inside shoulder and the outside shoulder of the OT.
Next, the defensive end is supposed to engage the tackle, read the play, shed the blocker and try to stop the play. He is supposed to hold the point of attack and control the line of scrimmage. What you don't want is someone who is just going to shoot into the backfield with utter disregard for what the Offense is doing. He also needs to be a guy who can think pre-snap about what is most likely going to happen on that play and then dissect the play right after the snap.
Most importantly though, in this arrangement, the DE has to maintain his 2 gap discipline and eschew the desire to shoot the gap to rush upfield and try to rack up stats. Doing so would leave your Backers up against OL and they aren't usually going to win that 1 on 1 battle.
As Jeff states, your DE has to be "a very talented player who can play without an ego" and points to Richard Seymour as the prototypical DE for this role. The thing is though, Richard Seymour's don't just grow on trees, at 6'6" and an athletic 310 pounds, he had enough reach to control OTs and enough mass to anchor and power to hold the edge.
So, if we are indeed going to be using a 34 as our base defense (and while we may not this year because the personnel may not be best suited for that, I am certain that we will within the next 2 or 3 years), and given the FA options, I can expect that we will draft a prototypical 5 tech DE in the early rounds of the draft. I have a bit of a man crush on Hankins, who could play either NT or DE in a 34 and think he could end up being an outstanding building block to add to a Defense in transition.
Thanks for reading. Time's yours. Have a great day and a better tomorrow.