Why put Brace under the microscope?
posted at 11/27/2009 9:26 PM EST
I realize that we spend our time here when we're on our computers as an alternative to Facebook, solitaire, WoW, et al, but I think that the time spent contemplating Ron Brace as a bust 7-8 months into his rookie year is asinine.
How many college teams play a two-gap system? How many college d-linemen have to use technique as a means by which to beat their inferior opponents from cupcake schools on a regular basis? Or have coaching staffs that teach technique at a pro-level?
Off of the top of my head, I can only name two college coaches that would teach NFL-level technique on the defensive line (Nick Saban and Urban Meyer), and out of those two I can only see Saban teaching two-gap for a 3-4 system. I do remember Belichick mentioning that Ty Warren's college team had utilized a system in which the fundamentals were somewhat similar to the Patriots' (Texas A&M???), but other than those three, who else plays ANY 3-4 at all, let alone 3-4 with 2-gap principles?
This implies that there are three major learning curves for a defensive line prospect to overcome:
(1) Facing top-level talent on EVERY play in EVERY practice and game - there are no I-AA teams in the NFL
(2) Learning NFL-level technique - some players who dominated purely based on their talent in college find themselves at the stark realization that every player in the NFL is talented
(3) Learning the Patriots' system - and it's pretty complex, featuring two-gap defensive line techniques in the 3-4 that players probably wouldn't have encountered in college, as well as an extensive playbook.
Does anybody remember thinking that Ty Warren was a bust his rookie year? That he was a nobody - a lost body next to Richard Seymour? I know some people might not remember, but Ty Warren took a couple years to truly come into his own.
Come back to me if Brace hasn't started contributing in two years. I'll try to disregard all other posts that I see about him being a bust in the mean time.