I'm changing my stance on needing a big space eater...Chicago did well against the run with a line smaller than ours...both of thier ends are 260 and the tackels are both just at 300 (if Tommie Harris REALLY weighs more than 285-290 then I'll eat my hat)
we just need guys to play their gaps and not blow assignments and we can get away with having a small line
Steve-O, I agree. The Bucs for years never had really beefy guys in the middle and they were always very strong vs. the run. Now, it was true that during the height of the Dungy years the Bucs were always susceptible to a power running game with a really solid interior line (like the Steelers attack a few years when the Bus was still running strong), but considering that they would only face a team like that once a year, it was acceptable.
Sapp is listed at 303, but when he was at his peak in Tampa Bay he was more like 290-295. Brad Culpepper was only 270 or 275 and was a starter for a few years at DT. Booger McFarland is only 300 or so, but I do think he played at a slightly bigger weight.
People talk about the big 320+ DTs, but these guys really aren't as common as people seem to make them it seem. There's really only about 30 or so of these guys around the league. And the majority of them are more like Gerard Warren and Fred Robbins (AKA Underachievers) than the likes of Shaun Rogers and John Henderson. And a lot of these massive guys have only recently become so. I looked it up and guys like Robaire Smith, Jamal Williams, Kris Jenkins, and Ron Edwards combined since 2003 have put on 126 pounds of weight. And has any of these guys play improved significantly over the past 2 years as opposed to how well they played in 2003 and before? No.
I also looked it up and saw just how big top run defenses interiors are vs. poor run defenses. I found the results mirrored what I discovered about smaller offensive lines: size does not matter. I looked at units in the past 2 years that have ranked in the Top 12 in both yards per carry and yards per game in run defense and also in the Bottom 12. A total of 8 teams over the past 2 years have managed to be good run defenses by this standard, and 14 teams have had poor run defenses. Then I looked at these teams DT rotations and basically averaged their playing weights based on the DTs that registered 5 or more tackles in the season. Here are the results based on percentages. Note that I discounted teams that ran the 3-4 or hybrid defenses in those years.Under 300 pounds:
38% of the Good Run Defenses averaged under 300 pounds at DT
21% of the Bad Run Defenses averaged under 300 pounds at DTBetween 300-310:
50% of the Good
36% of the BadOver 310:
13% of the Good
43% of the Bad
This evident seems to indicate that if you are running the 4-3 defense, it is better to have generally lighter and quicker DTs than having big hogs.
People once again (as they were with the OL argument) are overemphasizing size, and underemphasizing that it is ability that matters more than size.
The Bills and Falcons were teams that were considered Good Run Ds by those standards in 2004, but in 2005 were among the Bad Ds. The Seahawks were the opposite going from bad in 2004 to good in 2005. Why these changes? I'll explain...
In 2004, the Bills had Pat Williams (317) who was the smallest of their rotation. Fact is that Sam Adams (335) and Ron Edwards (320) are much better pass rushers than run stoppers despite their size, and the guys that filled Williams void in the rotation were not anywhere close to his talent level: Tim Anderson (304), Justin Bannan (305), and Lauvale Sape (296). You take away your best interior defender, a guy that is Pro Bowl caliber and replace him with 3 decent players, but just rotational bodies, and you see the drop in play. It's not because of the drop in size. You'll notice that the Vikings run defense improved significantly from 2004 to 2005 with Williams on their team.
In 2004, Jasper (293) was our main man along with Coleman (285), Lavalais (293), and Lake (308). Jasper is replaced by Lavalais in 2005, and guys like Shropshire (301) and Babineaux (286) along with Lavalais are unable to fill the void.
In 2004, the Seahawks starting DTs were Cedric Woodard (310) and Rashad Moore (324) with guys like Rocky Bernard (293) and Marcus Tubbs (320) on the bench. The next year they go out and get Chatric Darby (298) and Craig Terrill (290) makes a bigger contribution. Darby is better than Woodard, and Tubbs also improved as he was a rookie in 2004 and was beginning to grow into his 1st round talent in 2005. Their improvement was because Tubbs and Terrill made bigger contributions and played better, and also they upgraded 1 of the starting spots.
Why the sudden charges on these 3 teams? Although their sizes did change from one year to the next, it wasn't the pounds they packed but the talent they had. Players played better or worse from one year to the next.
at this point i really don't see us bringing in a DT...what we have now is what we'll take into the season unless someone gets hurt
I agree. I don't see the Falcons addressing DT possibly until at the end of camp if an injury occurs or the team doesn't like the progress Lavalais/Lake/Babs/Shrop have made in camp.
Here is to Antwan Lake taking over as starting NT and making a name for himself, the same way Ed Jasper had done the same earlier...
I've watched Lake the past two years and I really don't expect much from him in terms of improving our run D. I think some people see that Lake is 308 pounds and automatically assume he's a better run stopper than the much smaller Lavalais, Coleman, and Babs. Well, I'm here to say he's not. I hope you're right ether, and Lake does make a contribution. But the way I see it is that Lake entered the NFL as an oversized DE (he was listed at 285 in 2003). And he essentially is still that same player. He is basically a pass rusher in a large body. From all the things I've seen from him the past 2 years, he adds absolutely nothing to the run defense when he's in the game. In fact, he may in fact hurt it. He's a revolving door. I hope he improves, but I don't see it.
My hope for our improve run defense mostly lies in 3 players: Lavalais, Shropshire, & Hartwell.
Many people are fed up with Lavalais right now, and understandably. My hope is that he is a late bloomer like many NFL DTs and will really find his feet this year. If he does not, then I really don't think our run defense is going to do well. We really need him to play well. Shropshire I believe can definitely help, but I don't have too high hopes for his upside. I'm not sure he's capable of being a force as a starter, instead just a guy that can give you 15-20 good snaps a game, but nothing more. Also Hartwell is in the equation, and hopefully he can be a force against the run that I saw glimpses of in last year's season opener.
Now if someone else like Lake or Babs steps up and becomes a force then I'll be happy. But to me, those 2 along with Coleman aren't going to be our salvation.
It starts up front, and our D-line needs to set the tone, so that it filters back to the LBs and DBs.