Using Martin as an End

Submitted by iawolve on September 21st, 2010 at 11:44 AM

 

I want to first establish a few things that I assume to be generally true. One is that Mike Martin is our best defensive player who will be successful anywhere on the line and the other being that we are married to the 3 man front. If he is the best, then in a three man front, we should at least try a move to an end due to his uncanny explosiveness and strength. Now Martin can obviously play the nose and fight through double teams, but he could also potentially be a more dominant lineman away from the nose. I would almost prefer to see what would happen if by playing others who could simply hold or occasionally lose the point of attack over the center if we could gain “beast mode” from the end position since we have seen the potential of Bangesse and I am not sure the ceiling is that much higher.

If you look at comparisons to other teams with 3 man fronts, you can almost see where GERG wants to go. For the best comparison, I felt it makes the most sense to compare to NFL teams since they can choose very specific talent for their schemes based on “hiring” and economic incentives. For this I pulled the Steelers (the gold standard) and the Chiefs (team in transition to a 3 man front which is sort of where we are). All 3 man fronts have is a space eater at NT which Martin is already doing very well. This space eater is typically containing the point of attack and in Martin’s over achieving case, occasionally breaking through a double team to actually cause some disruption in the backfield.

Strangely enough, the physical sizes of most positions match up (with the exception of Gordon since we are not running a 3-4 defense) with Martin still giving up about 30lbs to a comparable NT and I don’t know if you want him to carry 30 more pounds. While Martin is somewhat shorter than a Steelers DE starter (he is about the same as their second string FWIW), he is dead on with Dorsey from KC who was very disruptive in college from the tackle position and doing well in the NFL within Crennel’s 4-3 scheme due to his explosiveness.

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Pos

Steelers

Ht, Wt

 

Good Guys

Ht, Wt

LDE

Smith

6-5, 298

 

Van Bergen

6-5, 280

NT

Hampton

6-1, 325

 

Martin

6-2, 294

RDE

Keisel

6-5, 285

 

Banks

6-4, 275

LOLB

Superman

6-2, 265

 

Roh

6-5, 249

LILB

Farrior

6-2, 243

 

Ezeh

6-2, 240

RILB

Timmons

6-1, 234

 

Mouton

6-2, 228

ROLB

Harrison

6-0, 242

 

Gordon

5-11, 208

 

Pos

Chiefs

Ht, Wt

 

Good Guys

Ht, Wt

LDE

Jackson

6-4, 296

 

Van Bergen

6-5, 280

NT

Edwards

6-3, 315

 

Martin

6-2, 294

RDE

Dorsey

6-1, 297

 

Banks

6-4, 275

LOLB

Vrabel

6-4, 261

 

Roh

6-5, 249

LILB

Johnson

6-3, 242

 

Ezeh

6-2, 240

RILB

Belcher

6-2, 228

 

Mouton

6-2, 228

ROLB

Hali

6-3, 275

 

Gordon

5-11, 208

 

Due to Martin’s unusual strength, he can continue to excel at the NT, but think about him with Roh dropping down along side him from the LB spot. The only issue this creates is that it only leaves Will and Ash (who probably won’t play this year) as “big enough guys” with Patterson really undersized for the position. I really don’t care if Will can’t run distance due to his summer at Cass Tech, but we also need to consider than you can play your way into shape if we his not “there” and going against Molk all week in practice can make most guys look bad. At least you could determine his unknown upside instead of waiting for Bangesse to show something after multiple years in the program. It is also quite possible he is too tall to get leverage as a NT and he should be at the end anyway.

Something to think about at least. Coaches like everyone else can have tunnel vision or dog houses that don’t get vacated for whatever reason. Might as well try it before conference play starts so we can see what we have.

Comments

jmscher

September 21st, 2010 at 11:52 AM ^

Martin will be back next year and Campbell will be in shape and ready to start and this will be effective, but if Thor is still not in great shape and is only a sophmore who still probably has some technique issues (pad level, etc.) I think he might be a bit overmatched trying to hold up to doubles.  It might also hold back his progess if we throw him to the wolves (barwis wolves??) before he is ready.  I think Campbell will be a good player but is probably not ready quite yet, another instance of it being too bad we didnt have enough depth to reshirt someone.

Magnus

September 21st, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

So you're suggesting that we weaken ourselves at NT in order to improve ourselves at DE?  What's the net effect?  If you put Martin at DE, I'm running to the opposite side.  At least with him at NT we have a chance of getting a push up the middle and making a play to either side.

iawolve

September 21st, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

We have 3 games against what seems to now be a poor team (UConn), a meh to decent team (ND) and a FCS school. We have seen very little production from the End position. Why not try it and shut down half of the field. We watched UMass hit the edge time and again with Mike in the middle, it is simply asking a lot of the guy to bust up the middle every play. You might also have MM fresher. 

I guess the net effect *might* be more pressure on the QB, maybe more sacks or maybe we would have two guys run for 100 yards on us like last game. We don't know since we have not seen the alternative. BG on one side or the other last year seemed to work pretty well.

WolvinLA2

September 21st, 2010 at 1:00 PM ^

No, we have not seen that yet, but I'm willing to bet the coaches have.  They have so much faith in Campbell that he's third on the depth chart behind Patterson, who is like 275 lbs.  Having a better DE is not worth giving up everything up the middle.

I think we're a year away from your plan.  However, putting Roh at Banks' spot and playing Herron (when he's healthy) or JB Fitzgerald at Roh's OLB spot might be a better fix.

TheOracle6

September 21st, 2010 at 5:55 PM ^

Mike Martin's only job is to clog the middle of the field.  I'm pretty sure Big Will could do that just on the basis that he's 6'5'' 330lbs.  Campbell is better suited for nose tackle and if Martin moved over to one of the ends he would be unstoppable getting doubled rarely.  I think this is an option that although is unlikely should be given a chance.  I'm sure as this season goes on we're going to see more and more of Big Will anyways and if he shows some real improvement it would be an interesting package to deploy, I'm not sure how teams would react to it.

dearbornpeds

September 21st, 2010 at 10:31 PM ^

If other teams consistently ran away from Martin, wouldn't that give us an advantage?  Essentially it would be shrinking the field and that could only help a defense that was undermanned.  When Woodson was playing man-to-man, he essentially occupied 1/3 of the field and made the job easier for the other db's.

Meeechigan Dan

September 21st, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

Given the great black hole that is my football expertise, this sounds great to me. Roh, Martin, Will at NT and VB, with Roh floating. Hell, try it one series this weekend and see. Since no one is going to call the holding on Martin, we lose some of Hulk's value.

Because I can...

DreadTheLocks

September 21st, 2010 at 12:04 PM ^

I agree with Magnus on this one....unless we have someone else to put at the other end thats 3/4 as dominant as Martin, teams will just run away from him.  That's why I think more 4 man fronts need implemented where Martin has to take on less lineman.

Mitch Cumstein

September 21st, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

That the success of the 3-3-5 was hinging on having a stud NT that could get penetration and slow down running plays up the middle.  If this is in fact true (please someone that actually knows things about football correct me if I'm wrong)I feel a lot better with Martin in the middle.

iawolve

September 21st, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

http://www.americanfootballmonthly.com/Subaccess/articles.php?article_id=4788&output=article

But before we do that, we should take a look at the type of personnel it takes to run it successfully. Most coaches feel it takes a different kind of defensive lineman to fit the scheme of the odd stack. So if you’re a high school coach wondering if you got the players up front to play the scheme or if you’re thinking about incorporating the 3-3-5 as your base defense at the collegiate level, it would help you to know exactly what type of players to look for.

Noseguard - The real “true defensive lineman” of the group. He’ll see plenty of double teams inside with the center and guards and he needs the strength to fend them off. He’ll be asked to play the double A gaps, so he needs to be bigger and squattier. Air Force Academy’s noseguard is in the range of 245-280 pounds, while the University of Tulsa’s man in the middle tops out at 330 lbs. Both play in the odd stack.

Defensive End (tight side) - The stronger of the two ends, mainly because teams have a tendency of running to the tight end side. He should be strong enough to handle double teams from the tight end in the power o run game. Most of these ends at the college level are LB converts, because speed is a necessity. They need to get off the ball quickly and have the ability to redirect on the snap.

Defensive End (open side) - Needs to be your best pass rushing defensive lineman. Playing away from the tight end, he’ll see a lot of option schemes and bootlegs. This is generally the most athletic d-lineman. He must be able to play well in space, especially if teams like to put their split end to the field side of the formation.

WolvinLA2

September 21st, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

Look, iawolve, most of your point makes a lot of sense and your research was thorough and well thought out.  The only problem, and this is a big problem, is the one Magnus raises - if we move MM to the End, we don't have anyone the coaches are comfortable with playing the NT, which is a very important position.  If BWC was a beast who we knew could own OL's on the interior, I would be begging for this switch.  But that's not the case, at least not right now.

If Campbell and Ash can work their asses off over the off-season and show that they can be a solid 1-2 at the NT, then moving MM to the Banks spot would be an easy choice, and would actually be pretty dominant.  We would have over 900 lbs of human being on our 3-man front, not bad. 

Sextus Empiricus

September 21st, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

Can he speed rush out there?  I know he can throw people around.  I've seen him pursue extremely well.

Patterson would be the one to replace him given the rotation so far this year.  Is Patterson better than the other options on the edge?  As a fan, I don't think we have seen enough of these guys in this way to make this call.

NTs don't get the cheer...but Martin will not go unnoticed by the NFL.  We are lucky to have him at NT. 

Getting Roh on the line is a no brainer.  How to do that is not.

SCarolinaMaize

September 21st, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

but NT is critical.  Putting in Will if he's not ready, along with the way the LBs have been, would be bad, very bad.  MM is doing a great job there and we still can't fill the gaps he's leaving.  I just think that we have the best available combination up front.  Maybe later in the season we'll have better options but for now......

yostlovesme

September 21st, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

You know i contemplated this as well, but when you think about Martin up the middle demanding a double team its only going to open up holes somewhere for our linebackers (if they ever make a good play) to fill the gap and wreak havoc. 

MightAndMainWeCheer

September 21st, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^

It would probably mean that we have decided to run the 3-3-5 less. 

The NT needs to command a double team in this defense or you will see guards going to town on our MLB.  Given that Martin appears to be our only lineman who commands such a double team and Ezeh hasn't shown the ability to consistently beat blocks, I don't see how putting Campbell in at NT would result in net gain for the defense.

Unless of course if Campbell improves (strength/technique/conditioning/whatever it is) to the extent that he is able to become a NT that is at the very least able to stalemate his man, then I would pray that we switch to a 4-3 over and make Martin our 3-technique DT who would command doubles from Guards and Tackles, thus allowing our linebackers cleaner shots on the ballcarrier.