Originally Posted by Yachtzee
Not to bust your chops, Mario-Rijo, but I often see a lot of praise for Smith, Thornton, and Robinson from various sources. However, I also hear praise for Geathers and Peko, yet the Bengals DL consistently fails to get pressure on the QB.
You mentioned Smith, Thornton and Robinson as guys doing what they're supposed to and standing out as playmakers. Smith and Thornton I've always seen as role players rather than top money guys. They get paid as though they should be top performers. The problem with those guys, as I see it, is that other teams didn't seem to have to do a lot this season to neutralize them. Smith's problem on passing plays, as I saw it, was that his specialty was to bull rush from the outside. The problem is that tackles would just take a matador approach and guide him past the QB as the QB steps up in the pocket. Why could teams do that? Because there was no push up the middle to collapse the pocket. Who's up the middle? Thornton and Peko. While you don't necessarily expect Thornton and Peko to get a lot of sacks, you hope they get enough push to collapse the pocket so the QB can't step up and has to throw early or get sacked by Smith or Geathers. Even if Thornton is double-teamed, you'd like to see him push one of those guys back into the pocket to make things tight for the QB. If they can't get push up the middle, then Smith and Geathers at least need to have the ability to shed blockers and get to the QB. At least that's my rudimentary understanding of DL tactics on a non-blitzing pass play.
So if Smith, Thornton, and Robinson are doing what they're supposed to be doing, does that by elimination mean that Peko and Geathers are the weak links on the DL?
I agree to some extent with what your saying. Sure what you want is guys to provide pressure to the passer (not necc. sack him, although that's ideal) and stop the run. The problem I have is blaming the players for the guys who put them in place. Now if I had reason to believe that something the players are doing would fix a part of their problem I would have more of a problem with them. I just don't see that in them so much as I do a problem with the assembling of talent.
Marvin has this philosophy of looking for guys who are versatile, which is the exact opposite of "specializes in". We don't have a great sack artist, we don't have a great run stuffer etc. What we have is a collection of guys who can move all around the place, sort of a host of jack-of-all-trades but masters of none. They are avg or slightly better in all areas but don't do anything at a high level. I guess what I am trying to say is that any team would love to have any of these 5 guys (including Robinson) but not many teams would like them all on the same line at the same time.
1 other thing I must add to the Geathers point is that he was often a duck out of water playing LB. He likely did the best he could do given the circumstances. Here's a guy who has already played DT,DE and LB in some lengthy stints since he has been here and is only suited for one. Sure the guy has done an ok job in those areas considering, but he should have been manning the DE position the whole time. And when he mainly played that position last year game in and game out he flourished.
So again Hunley had a point, and I'll expand that to include Marvin want's way too much versatility out of these guys and therefore that's all he's mining is guys who can do a little of everything but nothing particularly well. Or what they do well isn't primarily what you want out of that position. That's a flawed approach IMO and that shouldn't be taken out on the guys who are trying to do more than they are capable of.
I'll say this it's not a bad philosophy to have guys who are versatile but it's bad execution both in targeting the right people for it and developing them. But either way it doesn't much matter what the front 4 is doing when you have virtually no talent or continuity at the LB position. You saw what happened once we had some continuity the last 5 games or so, now just imagine if we actually had some talent w/ brains to boot.