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Old 05-13-2013   #1
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Default Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

A look into our "interesting" rookie.

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Houston Texans Rookies: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

The reaction to the pick has been one of a bit of confusion because no one knew how Sam Montgomery was on the draft board and where he fits on the field. With a little time, we can figure it all out.

First, I think Montgomery's personality is just quirky. He's an interesting cat with a lot of things on his mind. I don't think he's a quitter nor do I think he doesn't love football. In this case, I think Houston has the perfect locker room for this guy. Arian Foster writes poems and ponders philosophy, Antonio Smith is a self-proclaimed Ninja Assassin (part-time Cowboy), Ben Jones eats turf, and Brian Cushing is an all-around lunatic (in a good, charming way), just to name a few.

As for Montgomery, the pick is one with a ton of value. The pre-draft consensus was that Sonic Sam was a second round talent, meaning immediately capable of contributing, be it starting or rotational, next season. If you want to go a step further, a Mr. Mel Kiper, Jr. once had Montgomery as a top-five talent as recently as one calendar year ago. Let's see that talent on display. Here's an ESPN highlight video, and I'll link a game video below.



Sam Montgomery vs Alabama 2012 VIDEO



You'll notice a huge knock on Montgomery from the get-go. He has a lot of work to do on improving his snap recognition and reaction times. There are times where he clearly is the last man to move onscreen. As one scouting report guesses, it's almost as if Sonic Sam is watching the tackle and not the ball. It's a game of inches and Montgomery's reaction could be all the time a professional tackle needs to engage and keep him occupied.

It's hard to judge how he plays and translates because LSU has him more as a defensive end in tight and more on the tackle than outside him, as opposed to how Houston will use him as a strong-side linebacker who will set the edge. What'll help Montgomery there are his long arms, his ability to get underneath and fight with this bigger tackles, and a very competitive spirit. You'll see that all on display perfectly at 3:10. That's exactly what Wade Phillips will look for him to do on run plays. I strongly don't buy into the "quitter" or "lazy" talks. Sure, he may not have been amped up to play creampuffs, but he definitely rises to the occasion against competitive teams. He wasn't an All-American and All-SEC player for nothing.

The ESPN video shows the exciting part more than the in-game footage, but Montgomery can flat out move after the snap. His speed, his quickness, his ability to run down plays across the field at 262 pounds is phenomenal. This is his speed before he drops down into the 250s to play linebacker for Houston. Dropping weight and converting fat into muscle should help Montgomery become quicker and move a bit more fluidly. He doesn't look like a naturally big man, so I think his work with Strength and Conditioning Coach Cedric Smith will be a big help to Montgomery's game.

Pass-rushing wise, I like Montgomery's spin move. He could work on tightening the rotation, but it's a good move. His bull rush, despite the slow get-off, isn't bad. As lanky as Sonic Sam is, there's a lot of strength there. It's rare to see him washed aside. He does do a good job of trying to fight for interior hand position, but I'm not seeing a lot of hand use on shedding blocks, a common rookie problem. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of a more athletic, not-quite-as-strong Brooks Reed rushing the passer.
REST OF THE STORY

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Old 05-13-2013   #2
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

Are you sure that was a highlight reel? Other than a lot of hustle, he got caught out of position a lot. I wish I hadn't watched this now. It seemed more like a 99 is on the field reel than highlights.
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Old 05-13-2013   #3
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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Are you sure that was a highlight reel? Other than a lot of hustle, he got caught out of position a lot. I wish I hadn't watched this now. It seemed more like a 99 is on the field reel than highlights.
That's a game reel against Alabama. It's not a highlight reel.

What I thought was interesting is that for a lot of the plays, he was the last guy off the snap... by a large margin. But later in the game, he was getting off the snap pretty good. I'd heard the knock on him that he's late off the ball but... that was odd.

What I do like is that he looked like he was working hard.
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Old 05-13-2013   #4
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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Are you sure that was a highlight reel? Other than a lot of hustle, he got caught out of position a lot. I wish I hadn't watched this now. It seemed more like a 99 is on the field reel than highlights.
If you go to the actual story, it has a link to this:

The ESPN Highlight reel for Sam Montgomery.
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Old 05-13-2013   #5
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

Nothing wrong with him, he's just an INTJ.
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Old 05-13-2013   #6
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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That's a game reel against Alabama. It's not a highlight reel.

What I thought was interesting is that for a lot of the plays, he was the last guy off the snap... by a large margin. But later in the game, he was getting off the snap pretty good. I'd heard the knock on him that he's late off the ball but... that was odd.

What I do like is that he looked like he was working hard.
76T and others who did film study on him determined his keying off blocks is what gives the impression of slow off the snap. Scheme.
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Old 05-13-2013   #7
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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Originally Posted by The Pencil Neck View Post
That's a game reel against Alabama. It's not a highlight reel.

What I thought was interesting is that for a lot of the plays, he was the last guy off the snap... by a large margin. But later in the game, he was getting off the snap pretty good. I'd heard the knock on him that he's late off the ball but... that was odd.

What I do like is that he looked like he was working hard.
That film was without a doubt unimpressive IMO. He was late off the ball quite often & for whatever reason he always seemed to be the furthest off of the ball when lining up. I'm not sure if he thought it helped him set up moves or something creating that much space, but it didnt seem to work as it seems he depends on his bull rush quite often. Too often to be honest. The RB ran by him quite often & he was often swallowed up by 1 blocker & on occasion that blocker was a TE. Outside of his one sack I didn't see much in that film. It doesn't mean he's a bust before ever taking a snap as an NFL player, but it surely didn't erase any doubts either. I'm still skeptical of the pick & that video didn't change my mind much.
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Old 05-14-2013   #8
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

I'm going to be perfectly honest...... This is my first time watching highlights or any game film on him other than the games I've watched live. Watching this kind of gives me a sense of what the FO sees in him though. From what I see footwork wise I think he'll be more comfortable as a stand up LB than he was as a DE coming off the the ball.

There were some assignment issues in a couple of plays that were evident, but those are easily correctible things. I have a strange feeling he's going to be more explosive without his hand in the ground on every play.

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Old 05-14-2013   #9
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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76T and others who did film study on him determined his keying off blocks is what gives the impression of slow off the snap. Scheme.
So a guy who's always late getting off the snap was voted first-team SEC by the other coaches???
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Old 05-14-2013   #10
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery



He's a little goofy
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Old 05-14-2013   #11
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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He's a little goofy
He's going to fit in just fine.
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Old 05-14-2013   #12
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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76T and others who did film study
This always gives me a chuckle.
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Old 05-14-2013   #13
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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He's a little goofy
Haha, I like that about him.
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Old 05-14-2013   #14
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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So a guy who's always late getting off the snap was voted first-team SEC by the other coaches???
Hmmm...

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He's a little goofy
That's hilarious -- hug it out, ref.
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Old 05-14-2013   #15
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

The late off the snap stuff is actually kind of encouraging to me.

That's something that can be fixed.

I like the fact that he's often late off the ball, but the first one to beat his man. I can't wait to see him on the field. I think he's going to be hell on the edge.

One thing I do want to see him work on though is runs towards him. It's fine that he's not allowing much movement by the OLinemen he's engaged with, but he needs to get much better at coming off the block to make the play.

That's something that Brooks Reed is pretty damn good at.
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Old 05-14-2013   #16
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
A look into our "interesting" rookie.


REST OF THE STORY
I think that was a well written article. I watched the videos as they came up in the story & I have to agree with his analysis. Being late off the snap was a glaring issue. I did not see any quit.

He looks like a slow twitch guy, but he's got a good set of moves & really good recognition & keeping his eyes on the ball. He doesn't appear to be strong enough to engage an NFL tackle like that on every down. He'll have to use those long arms to keep the tackles off of him & beat them with speed & quickness (another flag as I just mentioned he's a slow twitcher). Eric Winston would bowl over him in the run game.

Of course, this is before Wade, Kollar, & Herring gets their hands on him.

Another thing.... just based on these videos, I don't see him as any more of a pass rusher than Brooks Reed. But, I'd rather have that guy out there chasing the QB on broken plays than Brooks. Or even just trying to contain.
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Old 05-14-2013   #17
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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It doesn't mean he's a bust before ever taking a snap as an NFL player, but it surely didn't erase any doubts either. I'm still skeptical of the pick & that video didn't change my mind much.
I'm going to be honest.

& I believe I'm probably the most guilty. But perhaps we are setting expectations way too high.

Without a doubt, I want SonicSam & Trevardo to come in & be the pass rushers Connor, Brooks, & Mercilus weren't from day one. After watching these videos.... probably not going to happen.

But he was one of the last picks of the 3rd round. 95th overall. A compensatory pick. He can play up to that position & never be a star in this league. A solid role palyer, a starter in year 3 or 4.
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Old 05-14-2013   #18
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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I'm going to be honest.

& I believe I'm probably the most guilty. But perhaps we are setting expectations way too high.

Without a doubt, I want SonicSam & Trevardo to come in & be the pass rushers Connor, Brooks, & Mercilus weren't from day one. After watching these videos.... probably not going to happen.

But he was one of the last picks of the 3rd round. 95th overall. A compensatory pick. He can play up to that position & never be a star in this league. A solid role palyer, a starter in year 3 or 4.
Or... he could be Jared Allen (4th round pick.)

Now is the time to have high expectations and be excited.
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Old 05-14-2013   #19
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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The late off the snap stuff is actually kind of encouraging to me.

That's something that can be fixed.

I like the fact that he's often late off the ball, but the first one to beat his man. I can't wait to see him on the field. I think he's going to be hell on the edge.

One thing I do want to see him work on though is runs towards him. It's fine that he's not allowing much movement by the OLinemen he's engaged with, but he needs to get much better at coming off the block to make the play.

That's something that Brooks Reed is pretty damn good at.
Exactly!
For whatever reason, the Tigers wanted him to key off the Olineman's movement in most instances.
If the Texans want him to key off the ball, he will.

May take a while for him to develop some moves though.

At times, it seems to me that the Tigers wanted him to set the edge first (on run play toward him). I'm not really sure about that, but it does seem like it.
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Old 05-15-2013   #20
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Default Re: Figuring Out Sonic Sam Montgomery

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Exactly!
For whatever reason, the Tigers wanted him to key off the Olineman's movement in most instances.
If the Texans want him to key off the ball, he will.
The guys at battleredblog (Brett Kollman specifically) commented on this saying that it takes a lot less time to teach how to key off of the Tackle rather than the ball, and that with the limited amount of time to practice in college, this technique is taught because it can be taught in a few hours.

Much like the 3-step shuffle technique you see a lot of slower corners use in college to mask their speed deficiency, it's taught because it's easier and can cover up some things. It sucks as a technique in the NFL because all of the skill position players are elite, unlike in college where you might only run into a few truly elite talents at those positions.
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