Re: Who is the best linebacker in the NFL today?
posted at 7/1/2010 7:54 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Who is the best linebacker in the NFL today?
O.K....As of TO-day (meaning-this very moment): So say, I'm runnin a 3-4 D, Many on here are absolutely dead-on with 2 positions, 2 players whom I want locked in stone as mainstays: Patrick Willis & Demarcus Ware. First off (besides quality of play), A1, I need some guys that I can buil a team of the future around, LONG-term. I need guys hopefully UNDER 30 years old...guys with several seasons left on their bodies. Now, I want Demarcus Ware at SAM (Strongside OLB) for a few reasons: WHY not weakside OLB, the pass-rushing specialist? Well, I want my Strongside guy at the bare minimum, 6'3 and above 260lbs, in order to set the edge best on that wider expanse of the field. I want him with a total & complete game set of skills-Run Stopper (big, stout enough), Pass Defender (fast in open field, good at pass coverage), and then in that ideal world, I want HIM too, to be a pass-rushing threat. Ware is still like 27 yo, or something. 6'4, just above 260lbs, This guy's coverage skills, ability to set an edge are simply top-notch, and man having a guy with above 10 Sacks in all but his first season, simply is cake. Overall, I DO know of smaller guys with lesser TOTAL skill-sets, who can man that weakside OLB spot (a place Ware could line up also), but I DON'T know of a guy equal to Ware who could line-up at Strongside...so he goes here period. Let's jjust bang Patrick Willis outta the way, cause this dude's goin' somewhere Inside...the big question is whether He's lining up @ JACK (weakside ILB) or MIKE (strongside ILB)- (also I know the names differ in NE's Defense somewhat, but standard terms apply here)... So look, even THOUGH I once recall Willis stating in some interview once awhile back, that he actually LIKED and REVELED in taking on Offensive Lineman (like a strongside ILB is more prone to do in order to free up the weaksie ILB for the tackle), I'm STILL placing Willis @ JACK, the WILB spot). Here's WHY: Willis is still roughly only 6'1 and something like 245lbs or just under... Willis CAN do it all, and he'll be asked to, since in a 3-4 even with that Strongside ILB, He'll still be seeing more and freer O-Lineman in his direction. Also, I don't want Willis @ 6'1 and some 5'11-6'0 guy BOTH in the middle...I want a lil' more girth and weight in the middle of the field there... Willis can cover, blitz, and He'll now in my 3-4 D Dream, Be less impeded to knock the fillings outta a ball carrier. Also, Dude's been in the league for only like 3 years, so the age thing is ideal... Moving On to Weakside OLB (WILL)...pass-rushing specialist. Wow- Dis here's an extremely tough one. Finding an under 30 year old NFL player who's a sack machine at OLB is sorta hard. Finding an under 30 yo old who can also cover the pass, Is much tougher...BUT, Finding an under 30 year old OLB who is NOT UNDER-sized (and do ALL the above) is somewhat problematic here for me... I absolutely NEED my weakside OLB to be Defensively versatile, and NOT the other way around...I NEED to be able to have my Defense give different looks, and NOT in any way be BOTH single player HAVING to line-up somewhere (to use his very specific qualities and skill-set). In the same sense, I Do NOT want some Tully Banta-Cain on the weakside spot, who CAN be a somewhat decent enough pass-rushing threat, but who IS a negative when the ball is being run to his side of the field. I'M exploiting the Offense, and I ain't having it the other way around people, with the Offensive Play Calling exploiting me, by exploiting the limited skill-set of one'a MY players...No Way. So who do we got? You say, "Elvis Dumervil", and at 5'11, I'll laugh in your face. 6'2 about 260lbs and with wear and tear left on their tenure in the league... O.k., as Uttterly and ridddiculously painful as this is for me to say, James Harrison is out...and he's probably my favorite OLB in a 3-4 in the league the past fw seasons. Harrison is physical, smart, smart and smart. He's a leader and had right abouts 10+ Sack average the past few years, and he CAN cover very, very well...But god, It's his something like 7 forced fumbles a year which I LOVE... ALL these other guys wanna do the big things: Big hit, Big Sack Big INT...Harrison KNOWS that an unheralded break-up of a pass, or simply stopping a ball-carrier, or stripping the ball, IS a huge play that you WON'T see on ESPN (you'll just get the Win). So upon me lauding Harrison's skill and team-play, @ 32 years old and @ roughly 6'0 and just over 240lbs (gulp), He's gonna slow down soon and I DO want a bit better size to set the edge on a run (this hurt). 2 choices: LaMarr Woodley & Terrel Suggs...It's their job to lose. Both roughly the same size: 6'3 260 for Suggs and 6'2 and 265 for Woodley, Imho Sugga has ust a bit better total game in all aspects (excellent at pass-coverage imo and very good at stopping the run)...but (and this another tough call)- I'm taking Woodley. I DO need a pass-rushing threat at this spot and Suggs looks pretty darn good, but His average of about 8 or 9 sacks a year simply doesn't sell me as much as Woodley's 13.5 and 11.5 Sacks the past 2 years. Woodley has only played 3 years thus far (more time still to play), and Suggs has played about 7 or so. Woodley=BIG backfield threat, Over 60 TTs the past 2 season, longer time to play, decent in coverage (but not as good as Suggs)... LaMarr Woodley is my WILL (3-4 weakside OLB). Finishing my usual hour long post, We got the MIKE to deal with (3-4 Strongside ILB). I'm dead-set on 2 choices here. Look, again I really have to get a guy who can play smashmouth with an O-Lineman in order to free up Patrick Willis to crush the ball-carrier, 6'2 and abouts 250lbs...And I absolutely NEED that team defense that IS versatile, so No 2-down big dude who can ONLY be in on running downs. I want a big SILB who can cover too ideally...Under 30 yo makes this an almost impossibility, right? The Choices are clear, and the answer is even clearer...Ray Lewis and Brian Urlaher. 2 years ago I woulda went with Ray Lewis manning the MIKE as an over half a decade long choice of mine...But Lewis is slowing down (I know, I know- IF Seau can play SILB until 60, Lewis can too), But Leis has 4 more seasons of wear on his body than 32 year old Urlacher. Find me a SILB under 30 who's STILL maintaining such an excelled level of play as rlacher, and I'll renege on my Under-30 yo stipulation... Until then it's Urlacher. Over 100 TTs a season, about 7 PDef's a year, can still throw in 4 sacks (at ILB!) a year (8 sacks last year), and @ 6'4 and 258lbs, well...enough said.
Posted by LazarusintheSanatorium
Laz for President!