HERE’S THE SITUATION: GRIMM WILL START
September 23, 2010 at 10:57pm by Slow Joe • 3 Comments »
Head coach Raheem Morris today announced that rookie 7th round pick Cody Grimm will start at free safety against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. To hear Morris tell it, it didn’t seem the decision was all that hard:
“You watch the kid go out there and perform and then you put him in different situations that you didn’t see him in college, and he performs the way he has so far,” Morris said. “He’s been a student of the game. The limited amount of errors that he has made as a rookie, it gives you a great feel about him. I want to see him go out and play.”
I can’t say I’m shocked. Though I’ve hardly seen Grimm at all, I’ve heard nothing but positives about his play. Football is in his blood, so I’m sure instincts and football IQ won’t be a problem for him. His lack of experience scares me, but the alternative is Sabby Piscitelli. If I’m afraid of Grimm making a dumb mistake because he’s inexperienced, I’d be just as afraid of Piscitelli making a dumb mistake because he’s Sabby Piscitelli.
“There was definitely thought about Sabby. Sabby’s played over there a little bit. He’s the backup strong safety, and he definitely would have went in if anything would have happened to (Jones). … He’ll still be a significant part.”
I believe Morris when he says this. First off, the two safety positions are similar, but not interchangeable. When Dexter Jackson and John Lynch were the starting safeties in Tampa Bay, then-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin made the two spots so similar they were basically the same position. Back then, Lynch still had enough giddyup to cover the pass and Jackson was surprisingly strong in run support. But throughout most of the rest of the history of the “Tampa Two” defense, the two different safeties had two different sets of responsibilities.
So, with a rookie who’s learned nearly nothing but the free safety position, you’d probably not start him at strong safety if Sean Jones went down. Conversely, with a 2nd-string strong safety who you’re trying to for-Christ’s-sake-and-all-that-is-holy get his head out of his ass when he’s on the field so he can take advantage of his physical gifts, it probably isn’t a good idea to start him now that Tanard Jackson is suspended.