REAR ENTRIES: Getting Defensive
August 08, 2011 at 10:48am by Scott • 3 Comments »
AHMAD BLACK HAS A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER: When you’re a 5-9, 184-pound safety, you better run really fast at your combine. Ahmad Black didn’t, so he came into the draft with the perception that he’s short, light and slow. And Black is getting tired of hearing all the negativity.
“What are they going to say next? I don’t talk good enough?” Black said.
“Well enough”, Ahmad. You don’t talk well enough. That’s okay, he went to Gainesville. We all understand.
“I was the happiest guy in the world when he ran a bad time at the combine because I knew I had a chance to get him a little bit later,” Raheem Morris said. “He’s come in here and he’s got that Cody Grimm-type of attitude. He’s just a playmaker who makes plays.”
Raheem wasn’t any happier than I was. I love Black and was really excited to see him come to Tampa. His 40 time is meaningless in pads — the guy is always around the ball and everyone forgets that he’s only 184 when he’s delivering the hit. I’ve seen him stop some of my Vols dead in their tracks with great form and plenty of power.
The article notes that the team lost a huge special teams contributor in Maurice Stovall to free agency (he went to Detroit), so there is a vacancy for Black right away for one of the key leaders of that group. I think he’ll make an immediate impact there.
CHANGING STANCES: Seeing as how the only time I line up in a three-point stance is for sexual purposes, I never really considered how the d-line’s stance mattered. I kind of always thought it was a personal preference. It turns out that there are all sorts of reasons to use one stance over another, and Keith Millard and Grady Stretz, the two new defensive line coaches, are here to explain it all. They used to be angled, now they’re lining up square with the line of scrimmage.
“There are a lot more strengths in our opinion to being squared up,” Stretz said. “Most of all, we think it’s a lot more beneficial in terms of being able to penetrate (the line of scrimmage) and get into the backfield.”
I’ve always said penetration was the most important thing.
“I mean, there are a few blocking schemes where it’s an advantage to be in a tilt but when you look at the big picture and the schemes we’re facing, it’s a lot more advantageous to square the guys off.”
Gerald McCoy says the stance is getting him into the backfield a lot more during practices, and Brian Price and Roy Miller are both on board with it as well. Watch the first preseason game to see how everyone lines up and notice if they seem to get in the backfield faster. Or, you know, at all.
MLB SWINGS IN FOSTER’S DIRECTION: Mason Foster has evidently overtaken Tyrone McKenzie as the leading candidate to start at middle linebacker.
Foster, the former Washington star, took all the reps with the first-team defense in Saturday morning’s walk-through and is in a battle with second-year pro Tyrone McKenzie and rookie Derrell Stephens, an undrafted rookie from Syracuse.
Oh yes, I’m sure Stephens is neck-and-neck with the other two.
The only thing I had heard about McKenzie that was negative was that he had dropped a couple easy interceptions. Everything else has been stellar. This may be just to get a better look at Foster or it could be that he is simply outperforming McKenzie in the eyes of the coaches. Almost everyone is predicting Foster to win the battle and the coaches are doing everything possible to make it happen. McKenzie can be a solid backup, but I really hope he is getting his fair shake at starting.
BECAUSE IT’S MY BLOG: Jonathan Crompton in a Bucs jersey. He may not have much of a shot to make the team, but this still makes me smile.