Wolf Tackle ~ Eddie Van Der Does ~ Los Angeles Bruins ~ 6030/304
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Wolves ~ Wolves are the smaller, faster Defensive Tackles. Whereas Grizzlies will generally be counted on to command Double Teams and stop the Inside Run, Wolves will usually be asked to penetrate the Pocket and disrupt, especially against the Pass. The Prototype would be somewhere around 6015/300 or less, and they're getting smaller.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Wolves may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Wolf Tackles, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body Strength in the world will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous Asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Endurance and Drive: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power ~ lower body Power. Core Power trumps Torso Power. Tyrannosaurus Rex had exceptional Core Power.
* Torso Power ~ upper Body Power. Important, but not crucial. T Rex had lousy Torso Power...yet was King.
* Anchoring Strength against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Tremendous. Excellent Core Power and extraordinary Torso Power.
Agility: Competitive. Mediocre Launch Velocity. Sufficient Fluidity. Impressive Acceleration and Closing Speed.
Frame: Mediocre. A bit High for Optimal Vertical Leverage, and mediocre Length.
Combat Skills: Extraordinary. Impressive Pass Rush Repertoire. Tremendous Paw Positioning. Awesome Punch.
Processing Speed: Mediocre, but with Potential. Flashes Brilliance, but he's inconsistent. Time & Training are needed.
Motor: Impressive. He let'is Ass go, last Year, but my Gut ~ which has itself had its good Days and its bad ~ tells me that it was not so much a Case of a Slacker Being A Slacker as a Kid getting his first Wake Up Call later than most get'm. I absolutely could be Dead Wrong on this one, but as someone who's Engine runs Hot so consistently that dealing with Conditioning Adversity in the wake of an Injury struck me as amusing until I realized that I actually had to make a point of focusing on Conditioning for the first time in my Life, I feel like that's what Van Der Does was going through, last Year. Looking back at 2014 Tape, it's pretty clear that he's focused, and pretty clear that he's intense.
Run Defense: Phenomenal. Incredibly Staunch at The Point of Attack, and very active In Pursuit.
Pass Rush: Effective. As abysmal as his College Stats were, I get the sense that Van Der Does will be considerably more effective at the next level than he was in College: Pressure Equals Production, and while his pedestrian Launch Velocity and Fluidity won't make many QuarterBacks lose Sleep at Night, his Power, Combat Skills, Persistence, and Closing Speed translate, prospectively, to consistent Pressure...and that translates to Impact Player, as I tally things.
I've read a lot about Eddie V's being Injury-Prone and about his bloated 2016 Campaign, but while I do certainly concur that these are legitimate and therefore affect his Service's Value, I don't believe that I impart as much into those particular considerations as most do. As far as I can see, he had the one Major Injury on Opening Day in 2015, and it not only obliterated 2015, it cast a Shadow on'is 2016 Campaign, as anyone who's familiar with my long-held Theory that 18 Months are needed for a Return to 100% Former Form will know: Throw out his 2016 Campaign, I say.
Considering how short FootBall Careers tend to be, I'm fully cognizant that my dismissing 2 full Years will almost certainly come across as a bit cavalier to many, and that's OK by me, because I am cavalier. My Job is to give you my best Perception of things as they are, and my Spidey Sense it telling me that "Eddie V's Energy is that of a motivated Warrior, and because I know damned well that you can and should dismiss any GameTape burned within 18 Months of a Major Injury, I know therefore that the 2014 Tape is a far more accurate Representation of Eddie V's Potential."
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
This is not is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning: Caveat Emptor!!