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View Full Version : Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?


AngryNateFTW
05-18-2014, 12:32 PM
Brooks Reed's biggest strength is being able to set the edge and keep the play in front of him. With Mercilus not being able to rush the passer (or it at least looks that way) should we push him inside and let him line up next to Cush? All last season I can only recall him having 1 great game and that was when he spent all game spying Russell Wilson. Playing from the ILB position he'd be able to spy, and has the athleticism to try to cover the RB's out of the backfield.

At this point, him playing ILB looks like a stretch and if he can't play there he might not even be a starter on this team. To me, he looks like a bust if we can't find a place for him.

Thoughts?

badboy
05-18-2014, 12:38 PM
I don't see moving Mercilus and think Bullough has good chance of starting ILB. I like Merci more than Reed as OLB and expect to see a rotation of the four including Williams if healthy.

The Pencil Neck
05-18-2014, 12:45 PM
Whatever works and whoever works out.

badboy
05-18-2014, 12:50 PM
Whatever works and whoever works out.IIRC there was talk last season of Reed working out in practice at ILB but don't recall him playing there. If that was not an option then what has changed?

kingtexan
05-18-2014, 12:56 PM
If that was not an option then what has changed?

The coaching staff ...

badboy
05-18-2014, 12:58 PM
The coaching staff ...

not buying that. With team going down the toilet, Phillips would have tried anything to be better; maybe not Kubiak but Wade would have.

Hottoddie
05-18-2014, 01:06 PM
Imo, starting linebackers for the opening game will look like this:

SLB: Clowney
ILB: Reed
ILB: Cushing
WLB: Mercilus

The Pencil Neck
05-18-2014, 01:26 PM
IIRC there was talk last season of Reed working out in practice at ILB but don't recall him playing there. If that was not an option then what has changed?

They tried him out there a little bit.

With the addition of Clowney, you've got two guys (Clowney and Mercilus) who appear to be the same position but everyone's talking about moving Mercilus to Sam and putting Clowney at Will and Reed at Sam.

Given high round draft picks used on Cushing, Clowney, Mercilus, and Reed, those are the "favorites" to being our starting 4. People are looking at different configurations of those guys hoping that one of the configurations will "click".

Unless Bullough develops immediately (which is a lot to ask from a rookie, especially a UDFA), we have a hole in the middle. Some people have even suggested moving Cushing back to Sam... but that leaves us with TWO holes in the middle... unless the middle LBs become Bullough and Reed.

Anyway, let's run down some of the options:

1. Clowney -- Probably our Will/Rush OLB. The guy is an athletic freak but he has no experience in coverage. However, the guy is good against the run and apparently, has been picking up coverage really quickly. So he COULD be our Sam but probably our Will.

2. Cushing -- Almost definitely our ILB. He was an OLB early in his career and he could go to Sam, but probably not.

3. Reed -- The big question. He's probably a better option at Sam than Mercilus but he's got the flexibility to probably move inside.

4. Mercilus -- The other big question. It's been said he's expected to play Sam but he's only ever played Will so far and I don't know that he's got any ability to cover. He could be moved inside, but again, the inability to cover becomes an issue. I see his two most probably positions as Sam or as a backup to Clowney at the Will.

5. Bullough -- Can he develop in time? If he steps up and becomes the guy we were hoping he could be when we wanted him to be drafted, he could fill that inside spot.

So... I think our most probable scenarios (barring the development of someone else or the acquisition of someone else) is:

1. Clowney - Reed - Cush - Mercilus (Sam/Will or Will/Sam depending)
2. Clowney - Bullough - Cush - Reed
3. Clowney - Mercilus - Cush - Reed
4. Clowney - Reed - Bullough - Cush

The Pencil Neck
05-18-2014, 01:29 PM
not buying that. With team going down the toilet, Phillips would have tried anything to be better; maybe not Kubiak but Wade would have.

I think the problem was that they judged that having a functioning SAM OLB was more important than having a better ILB.

I think the problem was that we didn't really have anyone to fill the SAM except for Reed. I don't think Mercilus could do it. So they experimented with Reed inside but kept him outside where they thought he could do the most good.

badboy
05-18-2014, 01:31 PM
I think throwing Bullough into the fire in this projected defense may be way to go. I only hear fans talking about Reed at ILB nothing from team. TC will be interesting in this matter

Playoffs
05-18-2014, 01:35 PM
I don't see moving Mercilus and think Bullough has good chance of starting ILB. I like Merci more than Reed as OLB...Agree. If Vrabel can't get more out of Mercilus or if he turns out to not be a fit we need to do a player trade.

IIRC there was talk last season of Reed working out in practice at ILB but don't recall him playing there. If that was not an option then what has changed?
ILB play was at ~average for all who played except for a couple of games for Sharpton that were poor. Moving Reed inside would have created a hole at OLB that we didn't have a body to fill. Lesser of two evils.

TheRealJoker
05-18-2014, 01:37 PM
I think we'll get the most out of Mercilus coming off the bench in pass rushing situations. Him, Watt and Clowney all rushing the passer would be good.

He is no good against the run though.

kingtexan
05-18-2014, 01:38 PM
not buying that. With team going down the toilet, Phillips would have tried anything to be better; maybe not Kubiak but Wade would have.

I like Wade as much as anyone, but have to disagree. One of the main reasons this team never reached its potential was predictability. Wade uses the same defense everywhere he goes, and the league has caught up to him. He doesn't try new things because what he had worked so well for all those years, but it has now passed him by. Same with that Denver version of the West Coast offense (which is in reality an off-shoot of the SF system).

Bulls on Parade
05-18-2014, 01:44 PM
I think throwing Bullough into the fire in this projected defense may be way to go. I only hear fans talking about Reed at ILB nothing from team. TC will be interesting in this matter
Jadeveon Clowney (ROLB), Louis Nix (NT), Jeoffrey Pagan (RDE) and Max Bullough (ILB) all have a chance to start as rookies if they really shine in training camp. Obviously Clowney and Nix will definitely start, IMO. I think Brooks Reed deserves a chance to start if he proves worthy but Max Bullough has a chance to become something special in the long run.

Here's a nice video montage (mix) of Max Bullough at Michigan State

http://youtu.be/oQTlcFJDxZg

One thing is for certain. Romeo Crennel has a ton of young talent to work with on defense. It's hard to believe some of those guys just fell into our laps. Pagan should have been a third-round pick. Bullough should have been a fourth-round pick. Mike Vrabel's coaching may rub off on a guy like Max Bullough.

If everything pans out, the Houston Texans may have the best defense in the NFL for the next decade. A lot of amazing pieces and great coaching all around. Now if we can just feel as optimistic about our offense it wouldn't shock me if we're playing in the Super Bowl in two or three years.

IDEXAN
05-18-2014, 02:31 PM
Was on another Board recently that's devoted to track and field and they were talking about Garrett Scantling, one of the countrys leading decathlon athletes
and a prime candidate for the next Olympics in his event. Anyway guy on the Board who plays football at UNC said he'd competed with/against both Scantling and JD and said JD besides being bigger, stronger, and faster than Scantling, is also just a better all around athlete. So with that in mind I'm confidant that after Clowney gets some training and then practice and then some game experience as an OLB, he'll will be our best SAM and our best WIL. The thing is we didn't draft him and his talent to cover TEs in passing plays, we drafted him to rush the QB. So we need to figure out who's going to play SAM, because JD will be busy over on the weakside concentrating on rushing the passer most of the time.

CloakNNNdagger
05-18-2014, 03:58 PM
I think we'll get the most out of Mercilus coming off the bench in pass rushing situations. Him, Watt and Clowney all rushing the passer would be good.

He is no good against the run though.

Last year, I saw Mercilus being thrown around like a rag doll too many times if he didn't have a straight unobstructed shot.

ChampionTexan
05-18-2014, 04:27 PM
I think throwing Bullough into the fire in this projected defense may be way to go. I only hear fans talking about Reed at ILB nothing from team. TC will be interesting in this matter

Well, Reed's talking about it, and I'm gonna go more with what he's saying than anyone that doesn't have "Coach" in front of their name.

Brooks Reed’s role in Romeo Crennel’s defense may change with the addition of first-overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney at outside linebacker. It doesn’t seem to surprise Reed, who says the topic of moving him inside has come up for the past three years. “Obviously, we drafted some talent and the coaches will adapt to switching the players as need be,” Reed said Monday. “From the beginning, I’ve been preparing to play inside backer if I had to so I’m ready if I do, I’ll play outside if they need me to play outside.”
LINK (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/article-2/Brooks-Reed-on-moving-to-ILB/d6b78ef0-5d14-4f51-a48f-815a60155537)

Goatcheese
05-18-2014, 04:58 PM
I see the offseason isn't over yet. :gun:

thunderkyss
05-18-2014, 07:21 PM
Brooks Reed's biggest strength is being able to set the edge and keep the play in front of him.

Thoughts?

The ILB has a lot of pass coverage responsibilities. That's why people think of moving Brooks inside, as our SAM backer, he's been used in coverage, usually playing man on the TE.

As the rush LB, Whitney hasn't done much, if any dropping into coverage. Both were DEs in college, so neither had much experience with coverages before getting to the NFL, something that Brooks has had to learn since he got here. So most people don't think about moving Merci inside because he's starting from a point further away than Reed.

Still, playing inside is a lot different than playing on the edge. Everything is in front of you, meaning there's a lot more traffic between you & the ball. Being able to get through that traffic clean & make a play on the ball is no easy task & I haven't seen much to suggest Brooks can do it.

Cushing played SAM at USC & when he came to the NFL in a 4-3, meaning that he did line up inside from time to time. So it wasn't as big a stretch for Wade to move him.

It's more wishful thinking that Reed can handle the move, not many have, at least not many worth a darn. I think Vrabel was an exception to the rule, so we'll see what happens. I want it to work, but most likely, it won't.

thunderkyss
05-18-2014, 07:24 PM
not buying that. With team going down the toilet, Phillips would have tried anything to be better; maybe not Kubiak but Wade would have.

Wade's biggest problem was penalties by the DBs. Most of the big plays we gave up were PIs & holding, that's why the yardage against our defense doesn't look so bad.

Other than penalties, we did a good job of limiting big plays. Maybe not as good as some would have liked, but when we allowed a 70+ yard drive, there was usually a big penalty involved, some times more than one.

badboy
05-18-2014, 07:33 PM
I like Wade as much as anyone, but have to disagree. One of the main reasons this team never reached its potential was predictability. Wade uses the same defense everywhere he goes, and the league has caught up to him. He doesn't try new things because what he had worked so well for all those years, but it has now passed him by. Same with that Denver version of the West Coast offense (which is in reality an off-shoot of the SF system).Wade's defense may remain same but if he can bring a better player in he would do that. Injuries played huge role last year more so imo than opponents figuring it out.

Hervoyel
05-18-2014, 07:35 PM
Jadeveon Clowney (ROLB), Louis Nix (NT), Jeoffrey Pagan (RDE) and Max Bullough (ILB) all have a chance to start as rookies if they really shine in training camp. Obviously Clowney and Nix will definitely start, IMO. I think Brooks Reed deserves a chance to start if he proves worthy but Max Bullough has a chance to become something special in the long run.

Here's a nice video montage (mix) of Max Bullough at Michigan State

http://youtu.be/oQTlcFJDxZg

One thing is for certain. Romeo Crennel has a ton of young talent to work with on defense. It's hard to believe some of those guys just fell into our laps. Pagan should have been a third-round pick. Bullough should have been a fourth-round pick. Mike Vrabel's coaching may rub off on a guy like Max Bullough.

If everything pans out, the Houston Texans may have the best defense in the NFL for the next decade. A lot of amazing pieces and great coaching all around. Now if we can just feel as optimistic about our offense it wouldn't shock me if we're playing in the Super Bowl in two or three years.

How does somebody with that kind of hustle go undrafted? That just makes no sense whatsoever. Glad we got him though.

badboy
05-18-2014, 07:39 PM
Last year, I saw Mercilus being thrown around like a rag doll too many times if he didn't have a straight unobstructed shot.
True but he still had 7 sacks. Perhaps with this coaching staff he could see double digits.

badboy
05-18-2014, 07:44 PM
Well, Reed's talking about it, and I'm gonna go more with what he's saying than anyone that doesn't have "Coach" in front of their name.


LINK (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/article-2/Brooks-Reed-on-moving-to-ILB/d6b78ef0-5d14-4f51-a48f-815a60155537)
Yep he is talking about it for three seasons but actually doing it? Nope.

badboy
05-18-2014, 07:53 PM
Not even close TK, the biggest problem was injuries. We had no depth and when starters went down, the slide began.

thunderkyss
05-18-2014, 08:13 PM
Not even close TK, the biggest problem was injuries. We had no depth and when starters went down, the slide began.

Which is probably what lead to the poor coverage & having to commit so many PIs.

I'm not saying we dominated on defense other than penalities, I'm just saying for the most part, we limited big plays outside of penalties. But if a team needs 3 yards, limiting big plays doesn't really get you a lot.

But Darryl Sharpton wasn't playing so bad (or Tarpinian for that matter) that we had to get Brooks inside. Especially after we cut Montgomery & WillieJefferson.... who were we going to put in Brooks spot if we moved him inside?

powda
05-18-2014, 08:34 PM
Keep hearing about "multiple defenses and fronts" and to me reed fits that mold. He's a guy with the potential to play inside or out on any given down. We'll see how "multiple" we are I guess but he's a piece that looks like he could play whole games at either spot or swap roles a couple dozen times a game.

If we're playing a run heavy team I think I want him outside. Pass heavy, put him inside while shifting Clowney and mercy to olb.

I don't think we'll ever get an official announcement on any position change. We'll just see reed inside for the portion of a game once every 2-4 games.

leebigeztx
05-18-2014, 09:00 PM
Wade's biggest problem was penalties by the DBs. Most of the big plays we gave up were PIs & holding, that's why the yardage against our defense doesn't look so bad.

Other than penalties, we did a good job of limiting big plays. Maybe not as good as some would have liked, but when we allowed a 70+ yard drive, there was usually a big penalty involved, some times more than one.

One of wades biggest faults were the predictability by which he ran his defense. Since he played small nts. So he couldn't get the pocket push,it led him to a gap blitz a lot. The texans blitzed more on 2nd down than any team iirc. So now the inside drag routes and the man coverage out was getting exposed. What I know from RAC,he's more of a pressure/coverage guy. He will bring the heat or just use the pressure,but he will cover 2/cover 3 behind the blitz or pressure. The texans have more zone guys than man guys and that's what they will play.

In terms of Reed,he will do fine inside. He can't beat lt or rt on a regular basis,but getting on a shoulder and playing zone,he will be ok. Nobody complains because willis isn't good in coverage. Knowing your landmarks in the defense,closing windows,and not taking the bait is the most important in being good in coverage. People forget vrable was let go by the steelers before he found his nitch in NE.

thunderkyss
05-18-2014, 09:36 PM
In terms of Reed,he will do fine inside. He can't beat lt or rt on a regular basis,but getting on a shoulder and playing zone,he will be ok. Nobody complains because willis isn't good in coverage. Knowing your landmarks in the defense,closing windows,and not taking the bait is the most important in being good in coverage. People forget vrable was let go by the steelers before he found his nitch in NE.

Nobody complains about Willis because when the play is behind the LOS, he can get there in a hurry & knock the sht out of the ball carrier.

My concerns about Reed is whether or not he can get through the traffic. Not something he's done much of playing on the edge.

NastyNate
05-18-2014, 10:13 PM
Reed and Mercilus have both been abysmal. Moving them inside just adds to their list of deficiencies. Reed might not be the worst inside linebacker in the league, I guess that's the upside? Mercilus has zero shot at success inside. He's just too limited to play that role.

mussop
05-18-2014, 10:44 PM
I would rather see Cushing move back to OLB and see Bullough and Reed inside. Let Mercilous rotate with Clowney a little and put him in rush packages.

Hottoddie
05-19-2014, 03:13 AM
I think we're going to see a big improvement in our linebackers this year. We finally have a couple of legitimate NT's & a bigger DE to keep the linebackers clean. Cush is going to love these guys. No more hybrid 34's. Let's run the 34 like it was designed to be run.

Hottoddie
05-19-2014, 03:54 AM
Here's an off the wall question. What if we signed/traded for a big line controlling DE to play the left side & move JJ to the SLB, Clowney to the WLB & have Cush/Reed in the middle? Could JJ play standing up? Imagine those four playing linebacker with a D'line that can keep them clean. Just a thought.

The Pencil Neck
05-19-2014, 11:55 AM
Here's an off the wall question. What if we signed/traded for a big line controlling DE to play the left side & move JJ to the SLB, Clowney to the WLB & have Cush/Reed in the middle? Could JJ play standing up? Imagine those four playing linebacker with a D'line that can keep them clean. Just a thought.

When I found out RAC was coming, my first thought was they might move JJ to the OLB and bring in a couple of two-gapper DEs. That doesn't appear to be the direction they want to go at this point, though.

NCTexan
05-19-2014, 12:12 PM
When I found out RAC was coming, my first thought was they might move JJ to the OLB and bring in a couple of two-gapper DEs. That doesn't appear to be the direction they want to go at this point, though.

I kind of hope that they'll actually have Watt single gap with the rest of the line two gapping. It'd be sweet to let him keep trying to penetrate every play.

The Pencil Neck
05-19-2014, 12:21 PM
I kind of hope that they'll actually have Watt single gap with the rest of the line two gapping. It'd be sweet to let him keep trying to penetrate every play.

From what I've heard, that's what RAC does with his DL. Watt won't be penetrating every play but for most of them.

Hottoddie
05-19-2014, 12:29 PM
When I found out RAC was coming, my first thought was they might move JJ to the OLB and bring in a couple of two-gapper DEs. That doesn't appear to be the direction they want to go at this point, though.

It does make you drool to think about it though.

badboy
05-19-2014, 01:22 PM
It does make you drool to think about it though.
at my age there is nothing uncommon or exciting about drooling.:good:

xtruroyaltyx
05-19-2014, 01:41 PM
I'd like to move Reed Inside and Move Cushing outside to play over the TE. Cushing has played on the edge before and when he was a rookie he was a beast playing OLB (PED's and 43 aside).

Plus, I think it's less wear on him having to deal with Guards having a straight run at him. Dealing with TE's and tackles right off the line vs dealing with guards diving at your legs from different angles and having a straight run at you is a little easier. Cushing is big enough and strong enough to play that position. His coverage is more than adequate for SOLB and when he's asked to rush, he can do that as well.

And then in nickel and dime you can still move him back inside. And I'm not big on Mercilus anyways. I'd let him be a situational pass rusher if he proved to be good enough.

So in my universe it'd be Clowney, LB?, Reed, Cushing

My second option would be to just leave Reed outside to play the strong side.

I didn't like Reed as an ILB in Wade's 34, but I think in this 34 he'll be fine.

And with Mercilus, maybe this coaching staff can find something in him to get him to play right. For as athletic as his reported as being, he should play with that burst on the field. I didn't see it in college and I haven't seen it in the pros. They've gotta clean slate that guy and re-develop his thought process on the type of player he is.

mussop
05-19-2014, 08:21 PM
I just don't see mercilous being able to drop into coverage.

drs23
05-19-2014, 08:58 PM
I just don't see mercilous being able to drop into coverage.

From all the comments so far, you're not alone. Nor am I.

Don't see it coming to pass myself.

DocBar
05-19-2014, 09:45 PM
Crazy idea. Bad idea. Don't ever post this garbage again. lol

AngryNateFTW
05-19-2014, 10:52 PM
Crazy idea. Bad idea. Don't ever post this garbage again. lol

BM. :faildetector:

Hottoddie
05-28-2014, 04:40 PM
When I found out RAC was coming, my first thought was they might move JJ to the OLB and bring in a couple of two-gapper DEs. That doesn't appear to be the direction they want to go at this point, though.

I'm starting to believe they are going to do this. Watch the videos with JJ talking about Clowney & Reed talking about playing ILB. JJ is very coy with his answer when asked about playing standing up. Both times he keeps getting a big grin on his face & just says he's comfortable with doing anything on the football field. Add to that, the fact that Reed is being worked at ILB & I can't help but think they are going to go that way. Dang it! There I go drooling again. :drool::D

http://www.houstontexans.com/

msbbc833
05-28-2014, 04:47 PM
I'm starting to believe they are going to do this. Watch the videos with JJ talking about Clowney & Reed talking about playing ILB. JJ is very coy with his answer when asked about playing standing up. Both times he keeps getting a big grin on his face & just says he's comfortable with doing anything on the football field. Add to that, the fact that Reed is being worked at ILB & I can't help but think they are going to go that way. Dang it! There I go drooling again. :drool::D

http://www.houstontexans.com/


So who plays DE? Just anyone with a pulse I guess.. Crick and Pagan?

Hottoddie
05-28-2014, 04:49 PM
So who plays DE? Just anyone with a pulse I guess.. Crick and Pagan?

Not sure, but Ricardo Matthews & Pagan are my guesses.

thunderkyss
05-28-2014, 09:35 PM
So who plays DE? Just anyone with a pulse I guess.. Crick and Pagan?

I'm sure it's going to depend on the team we're facing & the offense they field. We're going to be a "multiple" defense. Versatility is the key.

DocBar
05-28-2014, 09:36 PM
So who plays DE? Just anyone with a pulse I guess.. Crick and Pagan?

Not sure, but Ricardo Matthews & Pagan are my guesses.

I'm sure it's going to depend on the team we're facing & the offense they field. We're going to be a "multiple" defense. Versatility is the key.Does it really matter? JAG will do fine.

mussop
05-28-2014, 09:59 PM
Not sure, but Ricardo Matthews & Pagan are my guesses.

I thought i heard Mathews was gone???

Hottoddie
05-29-2014, 01:37 AM
I thought i heard Mathews was gone???

He's still listed on the roster & I don't see any transactions showing they released him. Could you be thinking of Rico Richardson instead?

http://www.houstontexans.com/team/transactions.html

He's #94 on slide 57 of the day 2 OTA's.

http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/photo-gallery/Texans-OTAs-Day-2/3fde0f88-aea0-4b6f-af2d-589d44a58bc5#a0589a7a-ef4e-45e6-a3ee-ac2801520977

mussop
05-29-2014, 11:40 PM
He's still listed on the roster & I don't see any transactions showing they released him. Could you be thinking of Rico Richardson instead?

http://www.houstontexans.com/team/transactions.html

He's #94 on slide 57 of the day 2 OTA's.

http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/photo-gallery/Texans-OTAs-Day-2/3fde0f88-aea0-4b6f-af2d-589d44a58bc5#a0589a7a-ef4e-45e6-a3ee-ac2801520977

Hell I don't know what I was thinking. I swear I heard that somewhere. Oh well good I was hoping he would make it. I would love that lineup in your sig. Hell replace Mathews with the guy from Tulane I don't care. Throw some big boys up in front of those FOUR to tie up blocks and let them make plays all over the field.

CloakNNNdagger
05-30-2014, 02:36 PM
From what I've read, looks like several of our LBs will be interchangeable depending of the situation.

Playoffs
06-12-2014, 06:47 PM
Whitney Mercilus on his role (http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-media/videos/Whitney-Mercilus-on-his-role/86fe5db1-4003-43c1-b27c-36011400a40e)
LB Whitney Mercilus spoke about Coach Vrabel, Jadeveon Clowney and more in this 'Extended Cut'.

Whitney back in school... a good thing.

xtruroyaltyx
06-12-2014, 07:36 PM
I've been down on Mercilus since the pick was announced. BUT the guy has physical tools. I've never liked the way he actually played though.

If this staff can identify his shortcomings and coach him up he could be an impact player. He's gotta be able to consistently stress the hell out of single blocks though and on occasion beat them and get sacks or pressures.