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Ekuban out for the season!

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Morambar View Post
    Um, define "Rush End". If you mean PASS rush, I agree; we've got Lang, Dumervil, Moss and Crowder, all of whom have the speed to be quality pass rushers so long as there aren't two guys free to block them on every down. However, against the run, the only one who's not a big liability is (maybe) Crowder; Moss is the biggest at 260, assuming that ten pound gain is accurate, and his combine press doesn't give me a lot of confidence he can smack Tomlinson or Johnson around in the backfield.

    As far as rushing defense Ekuban, Engleberger and (maybe) Crowder were it for us; now it's Engleberger and (maybe, hopefully, since he's starting) Crowder. If either of them get hurt, Crowder isn't ready or Engleberger reveals he was just the best of a bunch of guys who looked great in training camp and lousy in their first two scrimmages against other teams, we got trouble, right here in River City. Particularly since our first team DTs have been shoved around at will by two mediocre offensive lines (yeah, yeah, I know, the Cowboys and 49ers have great offensive lines; that's why the '9ers were 7-9 and Dallas can't keep a QB more than two seasons.... ) Unless our DTs get a LOT better I shudder to think what will happen when we actually DO face good lines in the C/Bolts. Right now it looks like we've got gaping holes at DT in most facets of the game, and without Warren, Kennedy or McKinley look like the only hope to fill them on first and second down. The loss of Ekuban, one of the few solid run stoppers we had at end, makes that just so much worse. Personally, I think if we had to lose a starter we could afford Warrick Holdman a lot easier than Ekuban, but it's a moot point; they're both out of football for at least a season, and Bates' fair haired boy Eddie Moore is probably gone for good.

    Allow me to clarify a bit more...

    Generally, but not always, defenses (similar to offenses) position their lines with the objective of putting a "Power End" on the left side against the more stout and powerful Right Offensive Tackles, while putting a "Rush End" on the right side, against the more finesse Left Offensive Tackles. Generally, the Power End's primary job is to hold the outside rushing lane and turn the Running Back towards the middle of the field (if not making the tackle). The Power End is typically fighting through the stronger Right Tackles, Pulling Guards, and Tight Ends as well. The emphasis is less on pass rush and more on discipline and technique.

    Meanwhile, the Rush End's primary job is to typically "out quick" the Left Tackle, usually by spinning or rushing around him. The Rush End's primary responsibility is to get to the quarterback and create havoc. Generally, but not always, the rush end is poor against the run, which the defense compensates for by bringing a safety or Linebacker on a run blitz to the Rush End's side of the field. The Rush End will rush wide, as is always the case in a Jim Bates scheme, and the blitzing S or LB will come up inside the cutback lane to blast the Running back.

    In the preseason, we do not perform our run blitzes, as we don't want to tip our hand. With our incredible secondary skill players and depth, combined with the elite blitzing ability of both John Lynch and Ian Gold, we'll be blitzing almost non-stop all season long, whether its a run blitz or pass rush blitz. When that occurs, the cutback lanes we are seeing exploited during the preseason will be filled.

    The key point is this...Ekuban is a Power End. We were playing him out of position on the Rush End side because John Engleberger is even more of Power End. Ekuban at least has some pass rush ability, though he's by no means an elite pass rusher. However, his primary job as a Rush End would have been to line up wide and rush the quarterback. In that sense, he's not a huge loss because Kenard Lang is just as good as he is in that type of role. Ekuban was starting over Lang because, as mentioned, Ekuban does bring run stopping ability while Lang does not. So, if you have a two-way type end, you'll play him over the one dimensional end. But, the most important aspect of a Rush End is the pass rush aspect. With Lang, Dumervil, and Moss. We have that covered.

    Remember, Ekuban was just a 2 down RDE, he moved inside in our nickel defense, and I guarantee we will run the nickel roughly 70% of the time. So, what we need, is for Lang or Dumervil to become as disciplined as Ekuban in holding their pass rushing lanes, and we'll just need to run a few more run blitzes to that side then we originally planned on running downs. IF Dumervil or Lang don't step it up. I assume Moss remains solely in a pass rush role.