Sunday, June 24, 2012

Soldiers First ~ Book Review

by Mark Dudziak

I was given the opportunity by author Joe Drape to read his new book Soldiers Story : Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point this weekend way before it's September release.

First let me start by saying how much I enjoy Joe's writing style. In Our Boys he sucked me into Smith Center KS so much I have looked into moving there more then once.

Soldiers First is more then a book about football. Joe Drape digs deep into the heart of why men and women choose to go to the point and become future leaders in our military.

A sample: " The Sound was forlorn,the tune haunting. Steve Ezinger had heard "Taps" played at 2230 every night he had been on campus for the past thirty-nine months. "

You will hear from LT. Tyson Quick "I got blown up by an IED in Afghanistan. I stepped on it, and lost both my legs "

Football ? Plenty from Coach Ellerson pre - game : ' Sixty minutes,one play at a time" he called "Sixty minutes, one play at a time " they shouted back.

To his wisdom :

" We Learned how much emotion you have to bring to the game, how much resilience you have to bring to the game, what it's like to turn the scoreboard off and play and love to play"

To the spectacle and tradition that is West Point,

On,brave old Army team !

On to the fray.

Fight on to victory

For that's the fearless Army way.

But what Joe Drape really captures is the heart and soul of the cadets and their struggles being a student athlete at the academy.

Duty, Honor, Country is a must read not just for football and sports fans but for all of you that want to look into the soul of men that are selfless human beings. Who each day give everything they have so each of us can be free.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. I highly recommend it. If you have not read " Our Boys" by Joe Drape grab both and understand Why Joe Drape is a very special author.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When Enough Is Enough

By 68md

In the last 24hours events have unfolded with Anthony Hargrove ( I was framed ) and now Johhny Jolly wanting to be reinstated.

I want everyone reading this to think like a coach for a minute. Come on just push away and stay with me.

OK you drafted a DE/DT in Worthy that you want to start and have excel, you have several young studs like CJ Wilson and Lawrence Guy. You have x number of practices and limited time to get them going and see who goes and who stays.

Do you keep Hargrove ( out 8 games and looking rather um scruffy) and possibly a guy in Jolly 2 years removed from action ?

Do you take snaps away from the guys that will play and are guaranteed to contribute ?

Yes I know everyone wants JJ to come back and succeed. But at what cost ? This is a very deep football team that had some great OTA and is bonding.

At some point as a GM and HC coach you have to move on. We kept guys like Justin Harrell one year too long. Let's be fair and cut both these players loose and move on as a team and organization.

My two cents

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chalk Talk - 3-4 scheme

By 68MD

Defense... Lots of talk about last years defense. Let's talk a little 3-4 defense.

At it's heart the 3-4 defense is pretty simple. You have three defensive linemen, four linebackers, two cornerbacks, and two safeties.

The requirements for players in a 3-4 are different than for players in a 4-3, and it all starts with the nose tackle. Joe Collier spent 20 seasons with the Denver Broncos and was the one who brought the 3-4 to Denver. Bill Belicheck has credited Collier with teaching him the 3-4 originally. This is what Collier has to say about the 3-4.

"You build it from the inside out," Collier said. "The nose tackle and the inside linebackers, those are three guys that are very important. But when you go through it, the nose tackle is probably the single-most important guy."

Your nose tackle needs to be a massive guy. Generally you want him around 6'0 or 6'1 and around 330lbs or so (the average size of the starting NT in the NFL in 2009 was 328 lbs), though nose tackles do come smaller (Jay Ratliff at 303 lbs) and much bigger (Kris Jenkins at 360lbs). His job is to tie up both the center and the two guards, preventing them from reaching the LB. If he does this, he's done his job. If he can collapse the pocket as well, even better since this means that the blitzing LB has a clear shot at the QB.

The DE in a 3-4 have similar jobs as the nose tackle. They are there to provide some pass rush, but mostly to tie up offensive linemen and force runs to bounce outside where the linebackers can make plays. In a 3-4 team your linemen won't generally have big stats--the fact that Cullen Jenkins did is a testament to his ability as a player. The pass rush comes from the OLB in a 3-4 based defense.

Your outside linebackers in a 3-4 were generally college defensive ends who are too small to play that position in the pros. You want them to be around 240-260 lbs. They have specific responsibilities as well. The weak side LB (the weak side of the line is the one opposite of the tight end) is the speed rusher. You'll sometimes see our OLB switching spots on the field based on the offensive alignment and this is why.

The strong side linebacker has a different job. He needs to be able to be strong enough to take on a blocker as well as quick enough to drop back into coverage.

Finally your inside linebackers need to be quick enough to get side to side in a hurry, though if the front linemen are doing their job it's an easier transition for them.

Very few teams run a 3-4 all the time, because it's difficult to get pressure on the QB in a passing situation (in fact that's one of the major weaknesses of a 3-4). To rectify this problem Dick LeBeau invented the zone blitz. Basically you have your three down linemen rushing the QB, and then one of your outside linebackers also rushes the QB. The rest of the linebackers fill the gaps in the secondary with help from the safeties and do so in zone coverage, rather than man to man. The cornerbacks will still generally play man coverage. On almost every play at least one of the linebackers is rushing the quarterback, sometimes two or three.

A big disadvantage of this scheme is that it leaves you vulnerable across the middle to seam routes from tight ends (Owen Daniels anyone?) as well a vulnerable to the screen since one of your OLB is caught up in rushing the passer.

So with that little review why all the issues last year ? Simple put the DL did not tie up blockers consistently and allow the LB to make plays.

AJ Hawk stated this week " “Watching film I felt like I got stuck on blocks a little too much,” Hawk said Thursday after the team’s mandatory minicamp concluded. “When I was able to blitz, a lot of times I’m blitzing up the middle or going against a center or a guard, and I feel like I got Velcroed or stuck to them a little too much. So I’ve focused on working on my hands and getting off (blocks) and get to the ball more.”

He should not have to worry about shedding blockers ? The staff MUST get our backers free of the OL and making plays. Keep an eye on our DE/NT early in pre season to see how they engage the OL and if our LB are flowing more freely to the ball.

If the DL improves so will this defense.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Best of the NFC North

Hey guys,

My name is Caleb and I am the newest blogger for GB Packer Addicts.  I do want to let you all know that I care deeply about the Packers and have enjoyed being alive for two Super Bowl wins of theirs.  While the Packers are above and beyond all other NFL teams in my heart and mind, I figured that I would start of with my objectivity by creating the Best of the Division roster.  Consider it as a Pro-Bowl team (if we keep having them), but only with players from the division we like the most.

1.  Aaron Rodgers
2.  Matthew Stafford

Rodgers has the NFL MVP from last season and has one of the best TD-INT ratios that anyone can remember.  I picked Stafford over Cutler simply because I think he is a better QB and let's face it, we all know that Cutler has no heart.

1.  Adrian Peterson
2.  Matt Forte

Some people who read this may think that I am putting Peterson ahead of Forte because I am an Oklahoma resident, but really when it comes to college ball I am a Husker fan.  Peterson is bigger and more likely to run you over and Forte simply leaves something to be desired.  The Packers could have some room for improvement here but with our great passing game it hasn't really mattered that much, and besides we clearly don't mind that much when....

1.  John Kuhn

Kuhn is our "Jack of all trades" running, receiving, blocking.  He simply is the best.

1. Calvin Johnson
2. Greg Jennings
3. Brandon Marshall
4. Jordy Nelson

MEGATRON has been awesome since he played at Georgia Tech and imo he deserved the #2 overall pick by Detroit even though it probably cost Matt Millen his job.  Jennings has been great and has the experience to prove it.  I fear that many people will be upset at me placing Marshall #3 on this list, but when he actually has a QB to throw to him, he has been really good--see Denver.

Pass Rusher
1.  Jared Allen
2.  Julius Peppers
3.  Clay Matthews

Don't get me wrong Packer Addicts, I am crazy about Clay Matthews and enjoyed him getting in on the discount double take commercials.  Jared Allen has been great on the Chiefs and Vikings and racked up 20 sacks last season.  Peppers has always been great and has that extra threat to block field goals/extra points when the game is on the line because he is just an athletic freak.  That Means that Clay is 3rd.  I already told you all that I am a Husker so Suh is probably next but it is tough to put him 4th on a divisional list as well.  I want to see Nick Perry be first on this list next year.

1.  Charles Woodson

Let's face it.  Putting someone number two behind Woodson would be a slight to Woodson.  He is a true future HOF and has a Heisman that he took over Peyton Manning, yeah, a college football championship at Michigan and now his Super Bowl win with the Packers.  Let's also not forget that he stripped the Football in what has now become known as the tuck rule game.

Well.  If you guys have any questions just let me know by commenting or send me a tweet: @kdiggs74.  Let the debate begin.