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Old 05-18-2014   #1
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Default Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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?
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Old 05-18-2014   #2
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #3
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

Whatever works and whoever works out.
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Old 05-18-2014   #4
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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?
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Old 05-18-2014   #5
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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If that was not an option then what has changed?
The coaching staff ...
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Old 05-18-2014   #6
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #7
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

Imo, starting linebackers for the opening game will look like this:

SLB: Clowney
ILB: Reed
ILB: Cushing
WLB: Mercilus
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Old 05-18-2014   #8
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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
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Old 05-18-2014   #9
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #10
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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
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Old 05-18-2014   #11
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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.

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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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #12
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #13
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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).
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Old 05-18-2014   #14
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #15
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #16
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #17
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
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.

Quote:
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
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Old 05-18-2014   #18
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

I see the offseason isn't over yet.
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Old 05-18-2014   #19
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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Originally Posted by AngryNateFTW View Post
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.
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Old 05-18-2014   #20
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Default Re: Crazy idea...Move Mercilus to ILB?

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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.
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