Sean Lee and Bruce Carter will determine the success of the Dallas Cowboys' new 4-3 defense. Even though the Cowboys have switched to a scheme featuring an extra defensive linemen, their two young linebackers will determine its success.
Wily old coordinator Monte Kiffin places a lot of coverage responsibility on his linebackers. They are charged with covering short, underneath areas and deep zones.
Kiffin demands superior athletes at the position. Fortunately that's exactly what he has in Lee and Carter.
If the pair stay healthy they are arguably the best tandem of young linebackers in the NFL. Both possess sideline-to-sideline speed and a knack for making plays in pass defense.
Kiffin's scheme will rely on their playmaking talents. Carter will have one of the most important roles as the weak-side linebacker.
In Kiffin's 'under' fronts, two defensive linemen are usually stacked over on the weakside. That keeps the weak-side 'backer covered up and free to make plays.
Washington Redskins News: Can Mike Shanahan Turn Late-Round Picks Chris Thompson And Jawan Jamison Into 1,000-Yard NFL Running Backs?
Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has a great history of turning late-round draft picks into 1,000-yard running backs in the NFL. However, can he do the same for 2013 rookies Chris Thompson and Jawan Jamison?
The answer is yes. Both fit his famous zone scheme and are versatile enough to push for playing time as rookies.
Shanahan just loves to select a running back in the late rounds of the NFL draft. So it shouldn't have surprised anyone when he used the Redskins' fifth-round pick this year on Thompson. He followed that by using a seventh-round selection on Jamison.
This is despite the presence of Alfred Morris, Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr. All three were taken in the late rounds of the last two drafts and all have shown considerable promise.
Shanahan traded up to select Helu Jr. in the fourth round in 2011 and still took Royster in the sixth round of the same draft.
Despite solid rookie outings, both were upstaged last season by 2012 sixth-rounder Morris. He won the starting job and finished second in the league in rushing.
The New York Giants are meeting with free agent running back Tim Hightower today, according to Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News. Big Blue would be smart to sign the veteran runner.
Hightower was out of football in 2012 and last played for the Giants' fierce NFC East rivals the Washington Redskins. Hightower was putting together a fine season for the Redskins in 2011.
He had carried the ball 84 times and gained 321 yards on the ground, before tearing his ACL during a Week 7 clash on the road against the Carolina Panthers. He tried to recover, but was deemed surplus to requirements in a crowded backfield rotation prior to the start of last season.
The Redskins decided to go with rookie Alfred Morris as their workhorse and penciled in youthful duo Evan Royster and Roy Helu Jr as his primary backups. Washington didn't need Hightower, but the Giants do.
I’m in the minority, both at home and abroad.
Quarterback, to me, is not THE ISSUE for the local football franchise that plays at Lincoln Financial Field just up the road, nor is it for the 2013 NFL Draft, which begins tonight in New York City.
Oh, it’s been talked about, near and far, to the umpteenth degree for weeks, heck, for months – how the Eagles need a new one, a surefire, can’t-miss guy to run the show in new coach Chip Kelly’s offense for years to come, and how this year’s available choices are lacking, not only in that regard, but just in general.
I just don’t buy it, on either count.
Put it this way, the view here is that Philly doesn’t necessarily need a quarterback. That it’s fine if GM Howie Roseman opts to fill another spot with the No. 4 pick tonight, or if the Kelly/Roseman braintrust opts to pick a QB, too – because the pickings are pretty darn good … for any team.
The New York Giants have Eli Manning. The Dallas Cowboys have Tony Romo (for now, at least), and even the long quarterback troubled Washington Redskins found the future of their franchise in Robert Griffin III. The NFC East should continue to be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFC with the rise of the Redskins last season coupled with the realization that the Giants won't stay down for very long as long as they continue to find talent the way that they do.