Let's look at the landscape: Who is our blocking TE? (A: A hybrid TE/FB?) Who is our FB? (A: A hybrid FB/RB?) Who is our LT? (A: Below average in pass protection) I say Ward is a good fit because he can stonewall LBs in pass protection, lead block for runners, and help inferior OTs block DEs. He can catch passes and play special teams. He is the closest thing we have had to Brad Hoover since Fiametta. I say he wins a job, but here is the good news: If he is put on the PS, how many teams use a FB now? He should be fairly safe.
Chancellor and Irvin want to be paid now---where is Seattle finding their money? As for Luke, we cannot assume that he is not interested in money because he just loves him some football. He is a professional athlete who expects fair market value. He is better than Wagner, and if Wagner is worth that, (there are instances where a team overpays and it does not "set the bar"--see Hurney, Marty: Godfrey, Charles, Williams, Deangelo) then Kuechly is worth $11-12 per---easily. Sure, you have the cap, but Kuechly (like Cam) is such a clean-cut, face of the franchise type player, from selling jerseys to making commercials to promoting the team--he brings in way more than that. He has a cult following (mostly my wife and millions of other females) and, when combined with Cam, is building a young fan base that will make this team iconic over the next several years. All we need to do is get in the spotlight more. Cam, Luke, TD, Boston, Bene, Star, KK, Stewie, Norman, KB, etc--we have a bunch of likeable guys who can get the job done. The teams that are loved nationally--Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Dallas, SF, and New England--all had 1 thing in common--they won multiple super bowls and had wholesome faces of the franchise. We just need to win a super bowl or 2. I think we will, very soon.
TRANSLATION: I followed the draft and I know the first 2 players the Panthers took. They were rated lower on my board than where the Panthers took them. If you ask me to pick a winner in the division, I will mention 75% of the teams. I am so good at riding the fence, I will pick the Panthers to go 7-9 or 9-7, but not 8-8 because that makes me look indecisive.
This. We met him at OTAs. Soft spoken, laughed at my Ohio St joke, It is not arrogance, it is something else. He signed my son's mini helmet at OTAs and he signed everything everyone else wanted him to sign.
When I played college ball, that was the biggest "No-no" one could do at practice. You were to meet with that position coach after practice, which meant that you would do "belly busters" (sprints where you dive on your belly every 10 yards) until you have vomit spewing from your face mask. And that is NOT an exaggeration. But what was fun was the rivalry between the offense and defense. It was real. I was offense, and most all of my friends were too. The only time we seemed to like each other was game day. I imagine KB was joking because it does not seem to be that way in the pros, but he must have experienced it before to know it was taboo. I never realized other teams had that "rule" until now.
Now lets talk about the importance of a Norwell or Ward or a Tolbert or a Brockel. If Oher knows a G, FB or HBack has B gap should the End stunt inside, he can concentrate (lean) to the outside. If the DE spins inside, he jams him to stall his momentum and lets him go, looking for a LB, DB, or even DT to come up and rush around the end. We are all assuming that Oher will be given man blocking assignments, when drop back pass protection requires zone. Translation? OK if Alexander could have done a spin move inside. If Alexander was rushing C gap, he takes himself out of the play by spinning into B and gets yelled at--even if rushing--they have lanes. Have 2 guys rush cam through B gap and see how far he runs around the end. When it appears that a DE spins and changes gap in a game, it is because he set up the T to think he was going C and instead stunted to B. Oher is not going to be great, but he is going to be fine. It bothers me that we have Chandler behind him, when Chandler couldn't beat out Bell for LT last year, but I expect Remmers to be the backup once Williams is ready.
I like Oher, and here is why-- While he is giving ground, he makes contact earlier than Bell used to--Bell used to take a bout a 170 degree drop and engage the DE some 5-6 yards into the backfield. Oher seems more determined to play on the LOS, so giving ground is expected. If you watch this one play, he seems to be surrendering ground to get his angle at 100 degrees or so. That may sound like math, but I have never seen a T initiate contact in the QBs ear like Bell did. We did that because he sucked. Oher wants the battle at the line-- he could be too much LOS and needs to drop more before initiating contact. His feet look good here, and if you can ride the bull for 4 seconds, you win. It is hard to tell where the QB would be, or how much Alexander's movement would be limited with other players on the field. Alexander, on the other hand, tries a rip move after being engaged for a while. Too late. He seems frustrated. He jacks Oher's head, which gets a call in the NFL, but Oher stays with it. I am not impressed with Alexander at all on this play, but I see some promise for Oher.
A lot of lineman make the mistake of overextending. They forget the angle the DL needs to take to get to the QB and they chase the DL, losing most of the time. Norwell gets it. He does not waste motion. Been saying that since last season. I LOVE Norwell.
I agree 100%. People need to remember, if Cam runs the option once, the defense has to game plan for it. If he breaks out of the pocket and runs on occasion, the defense has to game plan for it. When they have to shadow Cam, keep a DE/OLB in contain mode, or even better, bring eight to the box---then watch how good Cam's passing gets. If we run between the tackles, the DTs can't pin their ears back on play action. If we run the option, it changes things on the outside for the defense. Throw in a good screen package (something we need to work on, IMO) and some deep balls, and we have stretched the D to cover the whole field every play. Sometimes Cam is not as important as the threat of Cam.
Remember last year, when we were relying on rookies down the home stretch, the one that put us in the playoffs? Remember Benwikere, Boston, Glanton, Norwell, Turner, Benjamin, Brown, Ealy, and even Byndum at times having to play, and we won? They ain't rookies now. And the biggest year for improvement is the second. Many of the key players above only have a half season of experience. People have not factored into the equation the number of rookies we had playing at a high level last year. The look at free agency and the draft. "sometimes the answer is on your own roster."