The off season - Printable Version
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The off season - ggp - 02-08-2013 11:01 AM
This team is in great shape. People tend to feel bad about changes to the roster. I feel the same way, but the NFL is all about change. IF done properly, the changes needed will set this team up for many years. Dimitroff has a lot of work to do this off season. The cap needs to be managed and we will probably see some significant roster shuffling. Here is a list of possible cap casualties:
John Abraham. I know that he is our best pass rusher. Hell, he was our only pass rusher. But, Nolan wants to run schemes that surprise offenses with pass rushes that come from all angles. JA is great, but he is a part time player with a heavy salary. I would prefer to see him on our roster next season, but I don't think that will be the case.
Michael Turner. This has been discussed, at length. He should have been dropped last off season. There is no way he returns (with his present contract).
Dunta Robinson. He is a good CB but not a great CB. Unfortunately, his contract is worthy of greatness. We have way too much money invested in our secondary, especially after Moore is signed. I think the time has come for a parting of ways. Although Owens and McClain have looked pretty good, we will need to draft a tough guy that can cover in big nickel packages.
Jonathan Babineau. This is the toughest and worst possible cap casualty. I like Babs a lot, but his cap value is high and he is on the cusp of a natural decline. Babs is like Turner was last off season. TD has to ask himself this: Is it better to drop a player one year too soon, or one year too late? As much as this may hurt, we have to be realistic. Babs has out-performed his physical abilities. Remember that he entered the NFL as a MLB, worked hard to bulk up and became a terror in the middle.
Sam Baker. This guy has battled injury after injury and the team has stood by him. I doubt that will mean anything to him during contract negotiations. Here is the big question: Is Holmes ready to step into the LT spot? If he is, then we should let Baker walk. If not, we need to keep him for a while longer.
Stephen Nicholas. I mention him only because his name keeps popping up on these boards. Personally, I like him. He is not expensive and he is a good player. I don't see the advantage to dropping him.
Enough with the bad stuff, here is my suggestion for a draft that will move our defense towards Nolan's vision and allow us to manage our cap, going forward.
1. Kawaan Short (DT): He is 6-3, 315 lbs. He is a stout run defender but his greatest attribute is his speed/quickness. He often beats interior OL's to the gap and provides an excellent pass rush from the interior. The "knock" on him is that he has an inconsistent motor. This is often the criticism of interior DL's that weigh over 300lbs.
We need a better pass rush. Babs has been a terrific DT, but his age is catching up to him. There are no other significant pass rushing DT's on this roster. This guy will provide Babs with needed rest and could end up starting, if Babs spends any significant time on the trainer's table next season.
2. Tony Jefferson (S/CB): Nolan loves to run the big nickel. Jefferson is a Bob Sanders type of player. He is a sound tackler, can cover like a CB and is an experienced Safety. He is the ideal prospect to add to our secondary. He will probably make news in Indy and get drafter earlier, but for now, I am including him in this mock.
Our secondary is getting too costly. Moore has to be re-signed, so something has to give. If we can draft Jefferson, we will be able to allow Dunta to walk away. The cap space gain would be significant, yet the schematic impact would be negligible.
3. Chase Thomas (OLB): He has the size, athleticism and intelligence to play a significant role in his rookie season. He is a sure open-field tackler and is an effective pass rusher. We will play four games against Read-Option QB's next season. He is the sort of player we need to keep those running QB's at bay. Hopefully, he will not "wow" scouts at the Combine and we will be able to draft him in the third round.
4a. Alex Hurst (OT/OG). This LSU product is big and is an excellent run blocker. He does not yet have the pass blocking technique to step into the OT role, but he could serve as a versatile back up.
It is my belief that TD wants Reynolds and Manley to step into the RG position next season. Having said that, I would feel more comfortable with another hoss competing for the RG spot.
4b. Joe Kruger (DE) This guy is the classic 3-4 DE. He is strong and long. In my opinion, Nolan will continue to run a hybrid defense, but he will need to rely on the 3-4 alignment more often (especially against the mobile QB's). Kruger fits in very well and should complete the overhaul of the DL.
5. Stepfan Jefferson (RB). This Nevada prospect is 5-10, 210 lbs. He has the power and shiftiness to perform very well in the NFL. He could be next year's Morris. I like Eddie Lacy, buy Jefferson can give us the same production at a lower cost.
6. Phillip Lutzenkirchen. This poor guy suffered at Auburn. His QB rarely threw him a good pass. If I were him, I would have been one pissed-off dude. He maintained his composure and battled through the pain of losing.
I remember some draft sites mentioning him last year, so I made it a point to watch him carefully this year. I am telling you this: this guy can play. He catches the ball in traffic like he was born to it. He reaches for the ball and has hands similar to Tony G. He will never be a deep threat, but he will move the chains, as well as provide meaningful blocking help.
On a side note: Chase Coffman is listed as a TE, but he is really a possesion receiver. Coffman's knock is his reluctance to catch the ball in traffic. In other words, he doesn't have the cojones to perform as a NFL TE. However, he is a gifted receiver and it is time for Koetter to make the best use of him. Coffman could end up being the complimentary receiver that HD is failing to provide.
Well, that's it. Tell me what you think. I am sure that my cap casualty section will piss off more than a few people. Let's discuss it. I will keep an open mind.
RE: The off season - Beef - 02-08-2013 11:38 AM
Too many moves. TD and Smitty are about consistency and continuity. They're just not going to stir the pot this much.
Abe, Baker, and Babs aren't going anywhere. Baker played incredible this year. Dunta will likely re-negotiate his contract. We hold all the power on him.
Your picks are ok, except I don't see us taking Jefferson/CB or an OL so high. DE/DT/RB are likely 1, 2, and 3 in no particular order.
RE: The off season - ggp - 02-08-2013 12:28 PM
(02-08-2013 11:38 AM)Beef Wrote: Too many moves. TD and Smitty are about consistency and continuity. They're just not going to stir the pot this much.
To be clear, I am not advocating all of these moves. I am simply pointing out the possible candidates. I believe that Baker will be retained because I don't think that Holmes is ready.
Abe and Babs must be weighing on TD's mind. Those contracts are heavy and neither player is likely to play up to those numbers next season.
Nolan will want to keep offenses guessing. The key to that is to have several players rushing the QB from different angles and at different times. In order to employ that kind of flexibility, Nolan needs a real NT and a bunch of fast, aggressive players. Like it or not, we all have to admit that neither Babs nor Abe are as fast as they used to be. And, unfortunately, they will both continue to slow down. From my point of view, Abe should be released and Babs kept for another season.
RE: The off season - Jesus - 02-08-2013 05:51 PM
Holmes was a mid round project. There is no way he gets the nod to protect Ryan's backside. We had a worse season last year and made fewer moves. We were ten yards and a bad no call from the super bowl. Dont expect big changes.
RE: The off season - ggp - 02-09-2013 06:50 AM
Once again, let me clarify. I am not suggesting all of the changes. I am simply listing the possible candidates as cap casualties. As I review my original post, I realize that I forgot to list Todd McClure.