Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Option at Nose Tackle? Shaun Rogers Cut by Browns.

(Could Rogers serve as an elite NT in a 3-4? Picture via)
Both Pro Football Talk and Fox Sports are reporting that the Cleveland Browns have released six players including massive defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. At 350 lbs., Rogers would fit the prototypical size of a space eating nose tackle. While the Redskins saw some production towards the end of the year with Anthony Bryant, the Skins may not have the ideal player to play nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme. Nose tackle is a critical position in the 3-4 scheme as that player is responsible to take on double teams to allow linebackers to make tackles and not get blocked. The nose also helps collapse the pocket preventing the quarterback from stepping up and making his pass. This allows outside linebackers to get sacks on the edge because the QB has nowhere to go but outside the pocket.

Currently only Bryant looks like he'll be a solid option for the Skins with Maake Kemoeatu struggling at the position and Albert Haynesworth refusing to be a NT in this scheme (he wants to penetrate and make plays, something many NTs don't really do). Rogers could be a possible option. His bulk combined with some athleticism forces teams to constantly put double teams on him. He has been unstoppable at times when motivated and his price tag (was set to get $5.5 million in 2011 with a $500,000 signing bonus) while not cheap, is reasonable by Redskins standards (compared to Haynesworth).

(Not just a run stuffer. Imagine this guy flying at you for a sack.)
There are problems however in this scenario. First, Rogers is coming off of injuries that has limited his playing time. He has only started in 12 games in the past two years. Second, Rogers will be 32 when (if?) the 2011 season starts. For a team that is trying to get younger, Rogers is a step backward. It also goes in line with the classic Snyder-era mistake of bringing in a big name player that may be starting to get past his prime and paying too much for little production. Third and most importantly comes the motivation factor. Rogers can be unstoppable when motivated......where have we heard that line before? The Skins already have a player that is like that in Albert Haynesworth. A player like this will have difficulty playing for a coach like Mike Shanahan who expects 100% both in practice and in games.

I still would like the Skins to look for a nose tackle in the draft. I am high on Baylor's Phil Taylor as a early to mid second round pick who may be available when the Skins choose at #41. I also like Hampton's Kenrick Ellis as a late day two or day three option. Both have questions about off field issues that will need to be researched, but based on what I've seen of them on the field, both have a great deal of potential to be solid NFL starters.

I'll have more on Taylor and Ellis when I file my reports on the Senior Bowl and the Texas vs. The Nation game. Either way, a good 3-4 NT is hard to find and it's nice to know that the Skins have another option to look at if they are unable to find their guy in the draft.

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