This off-season for our Buffalo Bills has been somewhat unexpected in a few areas. One I would like to dive into is some positional changes to our line backing corps. Coach Gailey made a statement after moving Arthur Moats to inside linebacker that he didn’t have the proto-typical size of an outside linebacker. We have seen some people comment arguing the fact that Moats is a similar size to Elvis Dumervil and James Harrison. I guess the thing that confuses me is that according to CBS Sports, Danny Batten is also 6-2. Do you remember how tall Cornelius Bennett was? Give you a hint...yes, 6-2 according to pro-football-reference.com. Now in our last pre season game Alex Carrington got the start at OLB. How many OLB's play at 305lbs? If you know please tell me because I can not find any. Don't get me wrong, this writing is not to dismiss the talents of Danny Batten, Alex Carrington or even the 6-1 Antonio Colemen as valuable members of our beloved Buffalo Bills, but to discuss the options at linebacker for the team this year and beyond. I have never bought into the "prototypical" football player. Obviously Chan Gailey doesn’t either as he now has a 6-4 305 OLB. I do believe that the general consensus from fellow Rumbler’s is that Moats didn’t play particularly well last year in preseason at ILB, but showed a lot of potential on the outside. I started to buy into the belief that Moats’ pass rush ability could be an asset from the inside. I am starting to change my mind back to my original thought that his talents are better suited for the outside. I know I’m not alone by saying that I was looking forward to seeing Moats growth from last year to this as a rush outside linebacker. I felt that a full camp and pre season at OLB help Moats grow and reach so much of that potential that a lot of us saw in his game.
The other side of this is Alex Carrington. He was another young defender that a lot of us seemed eager to see how his game progressed from his rookie season to this one. Carrington showed a great deal of potential as a solid defensive end who could eventually grow into a starter opposite Marcell Dareus. Carrington showed up to camp ready to compete and to play by adding 20 pounds of muscle. Next thing you know he is moved from defensive end to outside linebacker.
Now I know that you cannot judge careers on such a small sampling of pre season games or from a few regular season games from rookie campaigns; but it seems our team could be hindering the growth of such promising young players. Tonight’s game will help sort something out I suppose, and final roster cuts could sort some others out as well. In the mean time, here are some questions to ponder:
Was Moats moved to ILB only to make way for Carrington’s move?
Are we hurting Carrington’s development as a promising young defensive end? (I for one tend to think that we are hurting the development of both players with this series of position changes.)
Is the coaching staff too focused on stopping the run that other aspects of the defense are being sacrificed?
Last one, is all of this movement only to add diversity in sub packages and to keep opposing offenses guessing? In other words, will the final depth chart have Moats listed as an OLB, and Carrington as a DE?