Do you hear that? That nothingness you hear is the sound of dead period of the NFL. It’s the time between the last set of OTA’s and when Training Camp Starts in June. That means, there isn’t much new news to talk about for the next 4 weeks until the team gets in full swing. So that means it’s time to dust off the Hot Take Machine and let’s take a look at the position groups I’m most excited about this year,
Okay my takes in this one isn’t going sizzle. However, on defense, I am excited to see what Head Coach Brian Flores does with this LB Group. I’m not very good at dissecting coach speak but the staff has said quite a few times that the defense will be “multiple” in terms of fronts, and “fluid.” This tells me that there is going to be more pass rush work for the young group.
Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan may be the focus of the new group. They both have shown steady improvement in throughout 2018 and McMillan may be the voice of unit and the defense, while Baker takes a look at generating that pass rush that we need from a 3-4 Outside linebacker look. We can also, in a 3-4 Scheme look for rookie Andrew Van Ginkel to cover the other OLB spot, as he is no stranger to stunts and blitzing from his position. The last piece is from that front is Kiko Alonso. I have never had a problem with Kiko being and playing Kiko. When I say that I mean, he is a prototypical, old school LB, who has perfect read and react ball skills, but if asked to cover, he tends to get confused and it ends up as a blown coverage. He is better with run protection than covering backs and Tight Ends.
Let’s flip this over to a 4-3 look. We would more than likely see a scenario where McMillian is the Middle Linebacker, and Alonso and Baker are your Outside Linebackers. In a 4-3 scheme, the pass rush is generated from the Defensive Line, so I’m not sure we will see a ton of this front, simply because we don’t have the capability to generate the rush from the line with our best linemen, Devon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor, on the inside.
Regardless of what scheme the team runs on each down, we can look for the young LB core to provide the balance that we lacked last year; starting with the emerging talented Ohio State Alumni, and finishing with Kiko doing what he does best and not being asked to do too much.