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According to defensive coordinator Bob Diaco this morning, even though Dan Fox can't physically participate this spring while recovering from shoulder surgery, he will be the swingman at the two inside linebacker positions, while Carlo Calabrese and Jarrett Grace will be more ensconced at their respective positions.
Said Diaco: "Carlo is going to be the Will. He is not a multi-position guy for us. Dan is definitely going to be a multi-position player for us, and Grace will be at Mike. That’s mechanically how we’re going to structure ourselves.”
Look for more on the home page this afternoon.
I find this fact very, very interesting. Does there exist the possibility that Diaco & Co. may deploy Dan Fox in the same manner as Tony Springmann was last season (in that Springmann was brought in for alignments that required a fourth down lineman; either inside our outside)? Would it be feasible to bring in Fox as an auxillary middle linebacker to complement the other four linebackers already in the game (presumably Spond, Grace, Calabrese and Shembo)? So instead of a 4-4 with an extra downlineman, ND could use a 3-5, with an extra linebacker.
The reason I mention this is because I feel Nix will probably occupy both the center and at least one guard in every 2013 game. Tuitt will almost always be double-teamed in some regard, either with a TE, RB or the other "I'm not blocking Big Lou" guard. More than likely, ND's opponents will have a maximum of two offensive linemen to run block or for pass protection. If Shembo has his hand on the ground, that opens up lanes for sacks and punishing hits on running backs as soon as they're handed the ball.
So, in essence, what is the likelihood we see five linebackers on the field at once?
I don't see 5 linebackers, but foremost is that Fox is the top inside linebacker. He would start ahead of Grace at Mike. What would more likely occur is a three-for-two deal on the inside. It can be Fox at Mike and Carlo at Will, or Grace at Mike and Fox at will, because Fox can play both. Maybe on occasion to get a break, it could be Grace (Mike) and Carlo (Will), but the versatility of Fox lends itself to him seeing the most time.
And if the staff feels Spond is needed inside, or a few injuries occur there, then Spond might be able to move there in a pinch as well.
Thanks for the response. But you're totally bummin' my trip, brah.
Logically, getting more bodies in and out of the game makes the most sense. And the fact that Dan Fox is versatile enough to play both positions is a blessing, indeed. This really puts into perspective the gem we had inside for four years.
I look back now and realize there were many times when I took his presence for granted. I - and probably many others - just didn't have to worry about the Mike becasue Manti had it covered. Filling his shoes is no enviable task.
It was the other parts of the field (most notably the secondary) that were worrying guys like me. Now, the D-Line is more than covered and stable, the secondary will be even better than it was last year, the OLB's are experienced ... But here we are, looking inside again, in this way, for the first time in four years.
But maybe, just maybe, Diaco gets creative and puts in five ... just for fun.
C,mon Coach Diaco ... you know you want to.
The five or six are far more likely to come from the defensive backfield in the nickel and dime packages. Last year they couldn't even get to dime because they didn't have the confidence to insert people at that dime spot. This year, it appears the staff is looking at safety as a position of strength, especially if Elijah Shumate and Austin Collinsworth continue to develop and complement Matthias Farley.
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