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http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/football/falcons-reed-find-his-way-at-the-leo-position/nr69H/ Falcons Reed finds his way at the LEO position Things are starting to come around for Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed at the coveted LEO (hybrid/defense end) position. The sixth-year athlete, out of Arizona, is making the transition to the spot after primarily being an outside linebacker most of his career. At Friday’s training camp practice, he said that the process is getting smoother and that he is picking up on the defensive schematics. “I am just focusing on the (defensive) keys and the strength at the point of attack and that has helped me a lot,” Reed said. “Just knowing the offensive and defensive tendencies is important for the LEO position. You get a bead on the tight end or where the ball is going, you can beat the ball to the gap.” Last season, Reed recorded 17 tackles in 13 games. He missed a couple of games due to a groin injury that lingered throughout the season. This year, he says that he is feeling better and ready to improve at his new position. “It is just baby steps and I plan to keep getting better, stronger and faster to continue developing skills at that position,” Reed said. Reed lined up with the first team defense at the LEO position during Friday’s camp. http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/football/falcons-finally-centered-on-their-real-problem/nr6jG/?icmp=ajc_internallink_referralbox_free-to-premium-referral Falcons finally centered on their real problem By Jeff Schultz - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Posted: 5:28 p.m. Thursday, July 28, 2016 If football positions were ranked by degree of glamour, center would sit somewhere between last and the laundry room. Even on a good day, the center plays in the middle of the offensive line. Amid a mass of thundering blubber. Far from the unobstructed view on the outside, where blockers can bulldoze pretty-boy cornerbacks. There’s also the indignity of having to bend over every play and knowing the play won’t start until the quarterback puts his hands … there. “In college I used to just tell people I played football and then hope they didn’t know enough about the sport to ask me what position,” said Randy Cross, a former Pro Bowl center and guard with San Francisco. “Besides, I played at UCLA. If I told them I played center, they would think I was Bill Walton.” The Falcons haven’t made the playoffs in three years, but it’s not because they’ve lacked glitz. They’ve lacked the requisite number of competent uglies. They’ve lacked a center who knew how to make pre-snap reads, hit like cinder block and not make snapping the ball look like it requires a degree in astrophysics. They’ve needed Alex Mack. (He doesn’t have a degree in astrophysics, but he did win the “Draddy” while at Cal, the equivalent of the academic Heisman.) Mack is this team’s most important addition since Julio Jones. Maybe more important. Doubt that? We’ve seen what happens to the offense, and Matt Ryan, when the Falcons’ weekly flotsam at center is getting steamrolled or boat-raced. The offensive line has been one of the Falcons’ weaknesses. It may now be one of their strengths. Why is the center position so important? “It’s important to have a guy in there who sees the whole defense, can make the right points and tries to get the whole offense on the same page so you can run the play efficiently,” Mack said. “You try to take the pressure off the quarterback position so all he has to do is throw the ball and read the coverages, not that that’s easy.” Pushing veteran center Todd McClure through the exit door after the 2012 season ranks as one of the worst personnel decisions in franchise history. General manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith believed draft pick Peter Konz was ready to take over. They were wrong — about Konz and every misfit or spare part that followed him. McClure “literally fixed everything,”former Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said. “Todd always made sure somebody was on a body, which alleviated pressure on Matt.” Is there an echo in here? Cross said a good center “creates calm for an offense, especially if things aren’t going well. I liken the position to an old-school coffee cup. If you turn it upside down and pour something on it, everything just spills off to the side. That’s what you want because the middle doesn’t move, and it gives the quarterback an area to step into. He makes everybody else’s job easier.” The calm works both ways. The Falcons are providing Mack with needed serenity after he was subjected to seven years in Cleveland, over which time the Browns had 13 starting quarterbacks, from Brady Quinn to Seneca Wallace to Brandon Weeden to Jason Campbell to Johnny Manziel. You think that didn’t have anything to do with his decision to exercise the escape option in his contract and come south? “It was enticing to come here knowing they had a quarterback,” Mack said of the Falcons. Would he have stayed in Cleveland if the position wasn’t such a mutant circus? “I like the way I answered the question,” Mack said, smiling. The Falcons gave him a $45 million contract, with $28.5 million guaranteed. That also helped. Liking coach Dan Quinn and being familiar with the scheme and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan from Cleveland also were factors. “This offense has a chance to be really good,” he said. We’ve thought that before. Then the middle collapsed. This might be the smartest money the Falcons have ever spent. http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/football/obadas-rugged-life-journey-aided-by-falcons/nr7Cd/?ecmp=ajc_social_twitter_2014_falcons_sfp Obada’s rugged life journey aided by Falcons If this football deal works out for Efe Obada, there’s going to be a movie telling his life story. Obada, who was signed by the Falcons on Thursday, incredibly was trafficked at age 10 from Nigeria to the Netherlands before landing in London, where he and sister were homeless. They later lived with a friend of his mother, but she had five children of her own. The Obadas ended up in the London’s social services system and moved from house to house. “I learned a lot and I encountered a lot of obstacles,” Obada said. “I went through a lot of adversity, but it’s what you make of it. How you overcome these adversities and how you let them affect you.” Obada had trust issues and felt that people were just being paid to look after him and his sister. “I was forced to grow up early,” Obada said. “I had to become the man for my sister and provide and stuff.” Obada found himself involved in seedy side of London’s gang set before landing a job as a security guard. The drudgery of that job working in a warehouse was necessary and help him maintain. “I just learned that in life, sometimes things are not going to be given to you the way that you think they are going to be given to you,” Obada said. “Sometimes you have to go and take it.” Obada discovered football when a friend invited him to play for the London Warriors. It’s a club team that has teams of all ages. He started work at his job at 6 a.m. and played for the Warriors in his spare time. Obada, who didn’t attend college, was a tight end and defensive end for the Warriors and helped them to win a national championship. He played all of five organized games before the Dallas Cowboys gave him a workout while they were in London to play Jacksonville. Warriors defensive coordinator Arden Durde was a former intern with the Cowboys and recommended Obada to the team. When Obada signed with Dallas he became the first British player signed by the NFL to have never played professional or a college level sport. “Prior to Dallas, I didn’t really know much about football,” Obada said. “I did play some football with the London Warriors. Everybody does play soccer or rugby in London, but I wasn’t really a sports person.” After two stints on Dallas practice squad and a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, Obada wants to make the most of his chance with the Falcons. “I was very anxious because training camp was fastly approaching,” Obaba said. “I had a workout with the Vikings and it didn’t go as well as planned. They didn’t make the decision that I wanted, so I was a bit anxious. Getting a call from the Falcons was amazing. I know it’s another opportunity to try and get myself out on the field.” The Falcons are leaving no stone unturned in trying to improve their pass rush. They like Obada’s size and speed. He’s 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds. “He doesn’t have an extensive football background,” Quinn said. “He played a little bit last year with Dallas in the (exhibition) season. I had a chance to watch that tape. In the workout, he really looked good. He’s a 6-5 guy who’s 250 pounds and he can move.” The Falcons had only 19 sacks last season, which was last in the league. “He’s definitely worth looking at as a possible project,” Quinn said. “Is there a rusher out there who doesn’t have the experience of being on the edge? Can we teach him the hands? The get-off, you have to have that as part of your talent.” Obaba thinks that discovering football has changed his life. “Prior to that I was doing all that I could do,” Obada said. “But when I found football it changed my mentality. It changed my perspective of who I was and what I wanted to be as a man.” Obada was unaware of Quinn’s history as a defensive line coach, who’s worked with some of the NFL’s top rushers. “I’m told a lot of positive things about him,” Obada said.
Having read the article below this is how I see our current front 7 depth chart. What stands out to me is that all of our players seem to fit for what is required to make this a success, at least on paper. For example the description of the LEO fits Beasley perfectly. What do you guys think? NT: Hageman, Soliai DT: Babineax, Jarrett LDE: Clayborn, Goodman/Jackson LEO: Beasley, Schofield/Biermann SAM: Reed, Shembo MIKE: Worrilow... WILL: Durant, Bartu Creating the Position Archetypes Having re-written an entire new scheme from scratch, Carroll had to also re-write each position on the front seven's strengths, responsibilities and attributes he was looking for in his players. Below is a compilation of what he wanted in his defensive positions during his time in USC: (Note how the language he uses is an equal mix between what you hear in a 4-3 and what you hear in a 3-4) On the "One-Technique" Nose Guard: "The nose tackle plays in the A gap to the tight end side of the field in our defense. We have done a number of things with this position based upon the opposition at times. We have put him right in the A gap, we have cocked him on the center at times, and as needed we have even played him in a direct shade technique right over the center at times. The way we play him on base defense is as an inside-foot to outside-foot alignment or a 1 technique on the center to the strong side of the alignment." "At Nose Tackle you have to find a player who likes to mix it up. We want a big guy in there who likes to get down and dirty. He is going to get doubled a lot on the run and pass and is going to get down blocked a lot. He has to be a tough player. This guy can be a short and stubby type of player." On the Three-Technique: "The prime spot on the defense to the weak side is the B gap player. He is an inside-foot to outside-foot alignment on the offensive guard to his side. He is a 3 technique player. He has B gap control but he can't get reached or hooked by the defense due to the way we align him. The whole scheme of this defense is predicated upon not getting hooked." "The 3 technique player should be your premier interior pass rusher. He is going to get a lot of one on one blocks as it is hard to double team him because of where he lines up." On the "Five-Technique": "The defensive end to the tight end side needs to be a defensive player that can play the run. He does not have to be a big time pass rusher, but he has to play the C gap and stop the run. [He] must works for leverage and force and allow the Free Safety to work off of the him and fills where he is needed on run plays. On the LEO: "The best pass rusher on the team is usually the defensive end to the openside of the field. That puts him on the quarterback's blind side and makes him a C gap player in this defense. We often align him wider than this in order to give him a better angle of attack and allow him to play in space. We align him a yard outside of the offensive tackle most of the time. He has to play C gap run support but at the same time he is rushing the passer like it is third and ten. He has to be able to close down however if the tackle blocks down on him." "(He) has to be one of your best football players. Size does not matter as much. We want an athletic player who can move around." On the SAM: "The Sam linebacker controls the D gap to his side of the field. He is in an inside-foot to outside-foot alignment on the tight end or what most coaches call a 9 technique spot. He can never get reach blocked by the tight end in this position. "He is the force player for everything run to his side of the field and turns everything back inside to the pursuit. Often he has the tight end in man to man in coverage. He has him anywhere he goes for this defensive call. He never switches if we are in this coverage and will go with him if the tight end does go in motion. He also has to be a good containment player. He has to be big and strong enough to play on the edge of the tight end. He has to be able to run in pass coverage also." On the MIKE: "The Mike linebacker is in an inside-foot to out-side foot alignment on the offensive guard on his side of the field. He's a traditional middle linebacker. He is instinctive and makes a lot of calls for the defense. He may be the guy with the most experience or the best feel for the game." On the WILL: "The Will linebacker is aligned against the offensive guard to his side of the field. He is basically a protected player in this alignment and should make a lot of tackles. He has to control his weak-side A gap and play relative to the Mike linebacker and the Free Safety. In coverage, he often plays the short middle. "The Will linebacker can be a smaller player. He is generally protected in the defensive schemes and will not see as many blocks. All you want him to do most plays is flow and chase the football. We want our fastest linebacker at this position." http://www.fieldgulls.com/football-breakdowns/2013/5/13/4320540/defining-the-seahawks-defense-an-introduction