The nouveau supermen of the National Football League are capable of both dropping back into pass coverage and bull rushing offensive tackles. They can race around linemen like they are stuck in quicksand, yet jack up tight ends at the line of scrimmage and toss them aside like rag dolls. They are the most feared defensive players in the game today for a variety of reasons and they all have one thing in common: They play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Monday night's contest between the Redskins and Steelers was just the latest example of physical specimens with ornery attitudes with the Steelers'
What makes their stats even more impressive is that outside linebackers in a 3-4 scheme are often only in position to rush on obvious passing downs and have to take turns getting after the quarterback with their partner on the other side during early down and distance snaps. The flip side, however, is that opposing offenses often don't know which of the two will be rushing, making it a guessing game that often results in the outside linebackers being matched up one-on-one against tight ends and running backs, matchups that a superb pass-rushing outside linebacker should win 90 percent of the time. Offensive coordinators wake up in a cold sweat thinking about those nightmarish scenarios.
The problem is it is very difficult, if not impossible, to put together a pass protection package that puts an offensive lineman on both players in every passing situation. It simply can't be done, and if you attempt to fan out the offensive lineman on both sides to take care of the defensive ends and outside backers, you leave yourself extremely vulnerable to an inside blitz from a guy like the Steelers'
Coordinators who run a 3-4 also have a lot more blitz options at their disposal than the typical 4-3 offers. That means there is a much better chance that the offense's pass protection unit will get confused by a
Whether it ever comes out publicly, the Browns' decision to start
Do the Browns think Quinn is the man who can spark this team back into the playoff hunt? I highly doubt it, though I am sure that is how they will sell it. Are they trying to get him some experience so that he can play at a higher level when he becomes the opening day starter in 2009? It's possible, but I would argue it's premature with eight games still to play.
The much more likely alternative is the powers that be in Cleveland, and I don't mean head coach
I don't like the move because the Browns still have an opportunity to rally and make the playoffs should they go on a run, something the streaky Anderson is certainly capable of doing. And that leads to this point. Yes, Anderson is streaky, but do the Browns really know what they have in him at this juncture? I would say no. A week ago the talk was that the Browns had won three of four, Anderson hadn't thrown a pick, and they were turning things around. Then it all changed with one horrendous pass that
Anderson is 13-10 the past two years as a starter for a mediocre team with question marks, both with the pass rush and secondary, a clear recipe for disaster in the NFL. Anderson was also steering an offense that had a couple of flat tires.
I would have given Anderson two or three more starts to attempt to cement what type of player he is and what he can do when the chips are down. If he or the Browns were to falter, I would then turn it over to Quinn and give him five or six games to get ready for 2009. I would have been resigned to move forward without Anderson forever because once you make the move, I don't think you can ever look back.
Instead, the Browns will turn to Quinn now, and don't think for a second that the fact that Thursday's game is at home and televised nationally didn't have a lot to do with it. The Browns are an inherently insecure organization and this gives them an opportunity to try to showcase their future and now present the face of the franchise against a
I am officially jealous of
So watching Herremans score made me envious, considering I scored one touchdown in 18 years of football, dating to 7th grade. Herremans spiked the ball with authority, which I probably would have done as well. I just hope he later picked up the ball and kept it, which would have been the key to the entire celebration. At any rate, here's to more O-linemen getting a shot at some glory.