Fletcher Page does some interesting speculating about what Rodney Garner’s announcement this week that Justin Anderson is the leading candidate to start at defensive tackle means.
… But here is my take:
I understand that Todd Grantham inherited these players. They’re not the Dallas Cowboys, and there wasn’t time left to grab someone that would fit the bill. Grantham is currently working on that.
But a statement I’ve come to learn and use that applies to everything in life: You just have to make it work.
Nobody cares that these aren’t Grantham’s guys. Nobody cares if Kwame is young and Bean is adjusting. Nobody cares. It’s just going to have to work.
What people do care about is winning and being successful.
In order for that to happen, I think either Bean or Kwame needs to step up to make this line legitimate…
In other words, even if these guys aren’t ready for it, they’re being put into the positions they need to occupy and achieve at in order for this defense to have a chance to succeed this year. It’s not so much a gamble as it is a realization that this is the best placement of the existing square pegs in personnel in Grantham’s scheme’s round holes. Which is another good reminder that we need to be cautious about gauging how much he’s going to be able to accomplish in one season.
One minor thing that I don’t think Page gets right is Anderson’s role in this.
… Yes, Justin Anderson did just move to the defensive side of the ball in the spring. But he does have the stereotypical size for a nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme. So I can see Bean starting. And I also could see him struggling. Neither scenario would be surprising.
That’s a fairly common point I’ve seen made often, but it’s not entirely correct. Georgia’s not playing a two-gap defensive line version of the 3-4, where a massive nose tackle is critical. The needs at the position are different in the one-gap scheme that Grantham intends to deploy.
… But new Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who imported the 3-4 from the Dallas Cowboys, believes a nose tackle can flourish in his system. He pointed out that Jay Ratliff was an All-Pro and had eight sacks for the Cowboys last season.
The key is whether a nose tackle has to attack one or two gaps in the offensive line. In the Redskins’ new system, for instance, the nose tackle has to attack two, which tends to limit the opportunities to make plays — like sacks.
But in Grantham’s system, the nose tackle only has to mind the one gap and has more freedom.
“You can make some sacks as a nose if you’ve got some initial quickness and some burst,” Grantham said.
The man who’s got the responsibility of making the Anderson move work out puts it another way.
“I guess the 3-4 (scheme) that everyone’s so paranoid about, when you have that two-gap, you need that big 350-pound nose guard that can just sit in there and just hold the point at center and play both of them ‘A’ gaps,” Garner said. “And I don’t have that.”
All we can do is wait and see if the experiment works.