Originally Posted by Number19
First, I never wrote " NT isn't required to penetrate". His responsibility is to penetrate the A-gap. Each of the front 5 has responsibility for a gap. But it is expected that he'll draw the double team in which case his responsibility is to stack the A-gap and not be moved out of position. If he draws the single block, Wade needs a player to collapse the pocket, but he is not to freelance. His responsibility is the A-gap and only the A-gap, unless there is a stunt or other play called. If he is to rush the passer, it should be through the blocker. He is not free to abandon the A-gap or go around the block. Often you'll see a defensive player use a move to disengage from the block and in the process goes around the block to one side or the other. I guess what it boils down to is a strong bull rush is what is required of a NT in Wade's defense.
I just re-read the analysis, twice, and fail to see any mention of your statement. Other than a generic "(the NT) penetrates the A-gap", mentioned several times, the only other statement I find on the play of the NT is: "(the NT) is plugging the A-gap and ideally drawing the guard on a double team to stop the interior pressure."
I'd agree with you mostly.
However, I've seen the NT in previous Wade's defense go on the attack with one DE staying home.
There are also instances when the line left the middle wide open; I expected one of the ILBs to come down quickly, but he's often picked up by an O-lineman.
Wade takes chance sometimes like that.
It seems to me he prefers not to see the runner or the QB to get to the outside.
Once in a while, we'd see a RB or QB up the middle.
At any rate, back to the NT.
In the days of the Charges and the Bills, once in a while I would see the NT two-gapping, but mostly they performed the functions you describe.
With a big NT, it's usually the bull rush.
However, as Wade employs multi-fronts and move his players around all the time, I don't know if we can say that the guy who starts as NT would have such and such responsibilities most of the time.
In SD, I saw the NT mainly at the 1-tech, and occasionally at the 0-tech; but in Denver and Buffalo, big Ted Washington moved around a lot;
You can even find him at 5-tech.
The main point goes back to Wade's philosophy; he would tailor the defense around the players he has available, from season to season, from game to game, depending on the offense he faces.
In this draft, a guy like Jesse Williams fits the Chargers' mold, and I believe he can work well.
The rest of the guys were moved around by their college coaches, and they would work in different fashion.
Even big guys like Jonathan Hankins and Jonathan Jenkins saw less time at NT when I watched their college tapes.
Smaller guys like Short was moved around a lot.
If Wade wants a true NT, I think it would be Jesse.
This is not to say that the other guys can't man the spot.