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Will and Sam, whats's the difference?


capATL
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I have no problem displaying my ignorance. I would really like to know what the difference from a scouting standpoint in the weak side LB and the strong side LB. Any "experts" out there who can share their expertise? Heck,lets include the MLB also.

I have read where someone here said that Boley was originally a Will, and may be best suited for that. If so, we should be looking for a Sam instead?

I have also read from one of the draft pundits that Gerald McGrath was one of the best natural WLBs coming out, or at least a strong draft candidate. Any comments?

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generally a WLB has more free room to roam than the SLB, because the SLB has to contend with the TE in many formations.

WLB are usually not needed to be as large, because alot of running goes to the SLB side where the TE deploys. Along with being in more space, a WLB usually has responsibilites to cover recievers deploying from the backfield.

there is more to it, but this covers a basic difference. I think we have a WLB, Boley. I made the comment a few times today about it, so that might be what sparked your question. Nicholas is larger than Boley and a bigger hitter. He also sheds blocks well, and would be a good SLB....which the coaches moved him over this season.

Like I mentioned before, the only reason I can see that Boley is NOT @ the Will spot now is because they want Brookings leadership and experience out there w such a young squad.

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Wikipedia has a decent definition.

Outside linebacker

Strongside linebacker

The strongside linebacker (SLB) is often nicknamed "Sam" for purposes of calling a blitz. Since the strong side of the offensive team is the side on which the tight end lines up, or whichever side contains the most personnel, the strongside linebacker usually lines up across from the tight end. Often the strongside linebacker will be called upon to tackle the running back on a play, because the back will be following the tight end's block. He is most often the strongest linebacker, at the least he possess the ability to withstand, shed, and fight off blocks from a TE or a FB blocking the backside of a pass play. The linebacker should also have strong safety abilities in pass situation to cover the tight end in man on man situations. He should also have considerable quickness to read and get into coverage in zone situations. The purpose of the strongside linebackers is to read the quarterback's eyes and try to figure out what he is going to do before he does it. The "Sam" linebacker has to read the offensive play if he wants to shut down the opposing team's strategy on all 4 downs of the quarter, and for 4 quarters of a game.

Weakside linebacker

The weakside linebacker (WLB), or "Will", must be the fastest of the three, because he is often the one called into pass coverage. He is also usually chasing the play from the backside, so the ability to maneuver through traffic is a necessity for Will. Will usually aligns off the line of scrimmage at the same depth as Mike. Because of his position on the weakside, Will does not often have to face large interior linemen one on one unless one is pulling. In coverage, Will often covers the back that attacks his side of the field first in man coverage, while covering the weak flat or hook/curl areas in zone coverage. In a 3-4 defense the "Will" Linebacker plays on the "weakside" of the two middle Linebacker positions and a 4th Linebacker comes in to play the weakside. Known as a "Rush", "Rover", and/or "Buck" Linebacker, their responsibility is more pass rush based but often is called into run stop (gap control) and pass coverage.

Middle/Inside linebacker

Typically the middle linebacker (MLB), or "Mike", is responsible for calling the defensive play and communicating with the coach. The middle linebacker's primary responsibility is to shut down the opposition's running attack. In some defenses, Mike is responsible for a specific gap, while in others he's given more freedom. Because of his position directly over the ball, Mike must be able to effectively shed blocks coming from interior linemen but must also possess the range and speed to cover backs and shut down wide runs. Intense aggressiveness is often a desirable characteristic in a middle linebacker as hesitation of any duration can be fatal at this position. In the 3-4 defense, there are 2 different inside linebackers that occupy the middle, therefore the one closer to the strong side is called the "Mike", while the weak side is called "Will" and less often "Buck" or "Jack". Also Middle and Inside linebackers are known as LILB or RILB, which stands for Left Inside Linebacker and Right Inside Linebacker. This just depends on whether or not a linebacker is put in for the Middle Linebacker position when they usually play Outside Linebacker.

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good link RObb. supports why Boley should not be our SLB. He is the softest LB we have, but also the fastest, and best in coverage.

Like I said, Brooking is holding Boleys true spot, but he may never see WLB for us :(

I think he will. Boley will take the WLB next year and a SLB will be drafted high, major signing in FA, or Stephen Nicholas will take the spot in 09. Boley's true spot is WLB and Brooking's true spot is away from the Falcons. We NEED to get Lofton better vs. the pass and we need speed at that SLB spot. Someone said Thomas Howard COULD be available for trade. He would be a perfect fit. I know a bunch of OLB are in this draft. I think TD will draft wisely like last year.
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According to this we should put Boley at WLB now and start Nicholas at SLB. If we were out of the playoff hunt I think we would be doing that to see if they could hold those positions but we don't want to change anything right now.

If Nicholas could show he was a good SLB and Boley could show he was a good WLB, we would be set at those positions and we would not have to draft one.

However, as a SLB in the Cover 2 Boley is not going to be resigned by our FO for the money he will want and Nicholas has not gotten a shot to prove himself. With that said, we could be looking at drafting 2 OLBs in this draft.

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However, as a SLB in the Cover 2 Boley is not going to be resigned by our FO for the money he will want and Nicholas has not gotten a shot to prove himself. With that said, we could be looking at drafting 2 OLBs in this draft.
I think that is asking for disaster. Boley NEEDS to be resigned to play WLB, and we NEED to sign a SLB(Leroy Hill). I think that would sure up the LB corp.
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I think you guys are a little too worried that our coaching staff and FO aren't going to do their due dilligence this offseason. Have a little faith, the get paid a LOT of money to put a competitive team on the field and there are reprocusions if they get it wrong. If we can come up with this stuff I'd say they know about it too ;)

P.S. I hope we draft a linebacker on the first day too

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I really, really want us to get Taylor Mays with our first pick! He is going to be a absolute stud!!!!!! I hope he's still on the board. If not, then maybe an OLB, TE or DT.

If DT, how about Raji or if he's gone then Walker from G Tech.

GO FALCONS!!!

We believe in you, TD! Kick some a_ss in the draft!!!

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