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The how and why behind John Cominsky’s emergence in training camp


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https://theathletic.com/2040238/2020/09/03/the-how-and-why-behind-john-cominskys-emergence-in-training-camp/

 

by Tori McElhaney for The Athletic

 

When it comes to the recent development of John Cominsky, there’s actually a really simple explanation behind it. It doesn’t involve a big, complex formula, Cominsky said. He simply got out of his own way.

“I overthought things last year,” he said. “I was trying to do everything right, and I was still learning the system. I felt like I was scatter-brained. I played with just a millisecond of hesitation.”

So, that, Cominsky said, was a habit he wanted to break early.

This is a common theme for players going into their second year in the NFL. It’s why you see such a jump in either a) production or b) consistency from players at almost every position, but especially for those along the line of scrimmage, as they go from Year 1 to Year 2. While they are on the other side of the ball going against Cominsky at times, second-year offensive linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary have made comments similar to Cominsky’s.

They’ve all said they have settled in, and it has made a difference.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has brought up Cominsky on a few occasions during his daily news conferences. As it was noticed Cominsky was getting more and more reps with the first-team defense throughout training camp, Quinn commented on just what he had seen from the defensive lineman who plays just as much inside as he does outside as a hybrid.

“John Cominsky from the first practice with pads all the way up through today, he has seemed like somebody that’s taking that jump,” Quinn said. “I thought two line of scrimmage people going from Year 1 to Year 2 … Lindstrom and Cominsky in particular — they’re fit, they’re strong, they’re putting out great effort. So, those would be two that have impressed me, and John specifically at defensive line.”

That was the first time Cominsky had been brought up, and the questions about his emergence on the defensive line and the steps he had taken only grew from there. Asked what gave him the confidence to say that about Cominsky, Quinn gave examples.

First, Quinn explained, “His get-off for a big guy is on point.” Second, there was a noticeable difference in Cominsky’s attack in the pass rush, which is something the Falcons need this year after a lackluster season in that category last year. Quinn said Cominsky has been a player who could disrupt, but he’s now playing with knowledge and confidence to intensify that disruption. It’s why he likely could earn a spot on the 53-man roster when cuts take place at the end of the week.

Simply put?

“He just looks like a different ballplayer to us,” Quinn said.

But how did he get there? How did Cominsky transform himself into a “different ballplayer” in the eyes of the coaching staff? Cominsky credits that transformation to a long, reflective, meticulous offseason.

“We had a lot of time to ourselves,” Cominsky said. “There was a lot of time to kind of reflect, sit down, think about some of the experiences I had, some of the mistakes I made, what I did well, and I had a lot of time to think about it. Then, get it into a simple format in my head so that when I come in here I am confident, very precise about what I am doing, very specific about my movements. My head is not scattered like how it was last year. I am a lot more fine-tuned.”

A part of that was Cominsky just watching himself. He took a look at practices, watched film and tried to pick out the moments when he felt like he looked and played like himself.

After all this time spent meticulously scouring his game, Cominsky said it wasn’t until he finally was able to put on pads that he could see that time was time well-spent.

“The question of, ‘If I am going to be a better player’ doesn’t really get answered until you’re playing football again,” Cominsky said. “Those long six months, however long January to now, that question was kind of up in the air: ‘Am I going to look better on the football field? Is all of this stuff that I’m doing going to pay off?’”

Based off Quinn’s comments and the added first-team reps sent Cominsky’s way, it seems it did.

“When you start to hear it, when you start to get that feedback from the coaches, it’s very comforting,” Cominsky said. “It reassures me that all the time that I put in and all those hours, all those mornings that I didn’t want to get up this offseason, the obstacles I had to fight around, just reassured me that I was doing the right thing and that I did something to make a difference for me as a player.”

Fellow defensive lineman Grady Jarrett has commented on Cominsky’s growth, saying without even a moment of hesitation, that Cominsky was “night and day” from where he was last year.

“He’s a guy that Coach tells him to go do something, and he’ll go do it at 100 percent, and it’s going to get done right,” Jarrett said. “He’s also going to make some big plays. I’ve been really, really impressed with John.”

Jarrett commented on Cominsky’s motivation and his attentiveness in asking questions in meetings, becoming more vocal. But Jarrett also has noticed Cominsky’s comfort level has risen.

From the beginning, the Atlanta coaching staff sought to teach Cominsky the hybrid role, playing roles as a tackle and an end according to what the defense needed.

Cominsky said he was glad the staff was able to see the potential he had to play both positions and switch at a moment’s notice because, to be honest, he was a bit unsure of himself.

“I am glad that they saw that early because I had a whole year to experience both inside and outside,” he said. “I do like it because now I am flourishing on the outside and on the inside.”

Quinn explained there are several reasons why Cominsky works so well in this role. Looking at it from defending the run game, Quinn said when matched up against a tight end it’s a hard block for the tight end to make going up against a player who is 290 pounds (which is where Cominsky is and would like to stay). In this case, you have a bigger body to set the edge and in Quinn’s words, “stop some things from getting started.”

From the view of the pass rush from the inside, Quinn said sometimes widening the alignment and using Cominsky’s quickness can help the defensive line “get on the move.”

“So, outside, better strengths for the run game,” Quinn said. “Inside, better strengths for the pass rush.”

Regardless of how and where he’s used, there are those who’ve seen Cominsky every day at training camp who say there’s just something different about him heading into 2020.

“John is somebody who I have 100 percent confidence in going into this year,” Jarrett said.

Injury notes

• Dante Fowler Jr. was back at practice Wednesday after missing the first couple days of the week with what Quinn reported was a sprained ankle.

• Marlon Davidson is still working through a left knee strain that he has had for about two weeks. Quinn said Tuesday that even though Davidson has missed all of the team’s scrimmages he believes Davidson will be able to jump right back in once he returns, which Quinn said was going to be soon. Quinn said he believes from a knowledge standpoint that Davidson is right where he needs to be but that it could take a few weeks to get him into game shape.

• Matt Hennessy also did not practice Wednesday. He has missed all three practices this week, wearing a knee brace on his right leg. James Carpenter missed one practice this week for an undisclosed reason but has since been back out at practice as Hennessy works on the side.

• Tight end Khari Lee and linebacker Mykal Walker also missed practice again Wednesday, both for undisclosed injuries.

• Steven Means is still on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Because clubs are not permitted to disclose whether players on this list have either 1) come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, or 2) tested positive themselves, means there is no timeline available for Means’ return.

 

 

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Cominsky started flashing some late last year. He's 6'5 290lbs. Compare him to a guy like Marcus Davenport, who was hyped coming out of UTSA. He got comparisons to Clowney and was a surprise first round pick by the Saints. He's been pretty decent so far, with some inside rushing ability to boot. 

Davenport
6'5 265lbs
4.58 forty
1.62 ten second split 
33 inch arms
9 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps 

Cominsky
6'5 286lbs
1.67 ten second split
4.69 forty
33 inch arms
10 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps

Think about that. Cominsky largely had the same numbers as Davenport, at 20 pounds heavier. Yes, he only played 100 snaps last year, but he graded out to 82.1 on PFF. If the training camp hype is real, Cominsky could be a massive player for this DL. We know Grady and Fowler are going to bring it. Takk seems primed to capitalize on it as well. But if Cominsky is for real, paired with Davidson, this DL could be tough to handle. 

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26 minutes ago, vel said:

Cominsky started flashing some late last year. He's 6'5 290lbs. Compare him to a guy like Marcus Davenport, who was hyped coming out of UTSA. He got comparisons to Clowney and was a surprise first round pick by the Saints. He's been pretty decent so far, with some inside rushing ability to boot. 

Davenport
6'5 265lbs
4.58 forty
1.62 ten second split 
33 inch arms
9 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps 

Cominsky
6'5 286lbs
1.67 ten second split
4.69 forty
33 inch arms
10 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps

Think about that. Cominsky largely had the same numbers as Davenport, at 20 pounds heavier. Yes, he only played 100 snaps last year, but he graded out to 82.1 on PFF. If the training camp hype is real, Cominsky could be a massive player for this DL. We know Grady and Fowler are going to bring it. Takk seems primed to capitalize on it as well. But if Cominsky is for real, paired with Davidson, this DL could be tough to handle. 

Great post bro. I may be in the minority, but I think he has starter level potential. 

Been watching his tape and later on in the season he really started to be a more patient, which is key. Over ran a decent amount of misdirection plays, which was expected. He really improved his last 2 games of the season.

Grady does not heap praise on many people but went out of his way to say how much Cominsky improved. I'm just saying he might be the reason why we have been so quiet about adding an additional pass rusher. Might have a diamond in the rough here....

Edited by gHost83
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I love hearing about the improvement and hope it's real.

I don't like the simple binary he's a run stopper at end and a pass rusher at tackle.

It's great to have someone with that end/tackle flexibility, but let him rush some from end.  Make the tackle stand up to a 290 lb guy coming straight at him and then a 255 lb guy trying to go around him.  Some OT's are very susceptible to power.  Utilize that.

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Potential to be one of the best defenses we've had in a long time. Our secondary made major strides down the stretch last year and surprisingly left me with hope in that unit (same kind of hope i had early in our defense in 2016 that got hot at the end of the year.) Now we may see Takk take a leap forward in a contract year, Fowler produce similar to last year, Grady be Grady, and Cominsky emerge. Sounds too good to be true, but it's not farfetched. 

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1 hour ago, vel said:

Cominsky started flashing some late last year. He's 6'5 290lbs. Compare him to a guy like Marcus Davenport, who was hyped coming out of UTSA. He got comparisons to Clowney and was a surprise first round pick by the Saints. He's been pretty decent so far, with some inside rushing ability to boot. 

Davenport
6'5 265lbs
4.58 forty
1.62 ten second split 
33 inch arms
9 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps 

Cominsky
6'5 286lbs
1.67 ten second split
4.69 forty
33 inch arms
10 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps

Think about that. Cominsky largely had the same numbers as Davenport, at 20 pounds heavier. Yes, he only played 100 snaps last year, but he graded out to 82.1 on PFF. If the training camp hype is real, Cominsky could be a massive player for this DL. We know Grady and Fowler are going to bring it. Takk seems primed to capitalize on it as well. But if Cominsky is for real, paired with Davidson, this DL could be tough to handle. 

I think a more interesting athletic comparison is J.J. Watt.  By NO MEANS am I saying he will be a similar player as that future HOF but just compare the combine numbers...

 

Watt

6'5 290lbs
4.91 forty
1.71 ten second split 
34 inch arms
11.1 inch hands
37 inch vert
34 reps 

Cominsky

6'5 286lbs
1.67 ten second split
4.69 forty
33 inch arms
10 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps

Watt was of course stronger by a good deal but he had access to a D1 level meal plan and athletic department.  My nephew plays for Wisconsin and I know he put on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle in his first 3 months. 

Meanwhile my boy Cominsky came in to the combine fresh off of Hot and Readys and his high school gym and ripped a 4.6 lol.  Strength is a thing a player can easily improve upon with dedication and he definitely looks stronger this year.   I just want the guy to develop into a player that offenses have to account for in the formation.  His potential to be really good at stunts is there.  Going to be fun to watch him this year.

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1 hour ago, gHost83 said:

I think a more interesting athletic comparison is J.J. Watt.  By NO MEANS am I saying he will be a similar player as that future HOF but just compare the combine numbers...

 

Watt

6'5 290lbs
4.91 forty
1.71 ten second split 
34 inch arms
11.1 inch hands
37 inch vert
34 reps 

Cominsky

6'5 286lbs
1.67 ten second split
4.69 forty
33 inch arms
10 inch hands
33 inch vert
22 reps

Watt was of course stronger by a good deal but he had access to a D1 level meal plan and athletic department.  My nephew plays for Wisconsin and I know he put on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle in his first 3 months. 

Meanwhile my boy Cominsky came in to the combine fresh off of Hot and Readys and his high school gym and ripped a 4.6 lol.  Strength is a thing a player can easily improve upon with dedication and he definitely looks stronger this year.   I just want the guy to develop into a player that offenses have to account for in the formation.  His potential to be really good at stunts is there.  Going to be fun to watch him this year.

Yep. He's a very raw player, but if he can take the few flashes he had last year and make them more consistent plays, he could be a problem for teams to handle. 

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3 hours ago, gHost83 said:

Meanwhile my boy Cominsky came in to the combine fresh off of Hot and Readys and his high school gym and ripped a 4.6 lol.  Strength is a thing a player can easily improve upon with dedication and he definitely looks stronger this year.   I just want the guy to develop into a player that offenses have to account for in the formation.  His potential to be really good at stunts is there.  Going to be fun to watch him this year.

Good post.

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@vel His RAS was outstanding for his build. If he keeps getting stronger and stays as fast, look out!

I like him to play anywhere on the LOS eventually but pretty much agree with Quinn on situational for now. I do think outside at DE would be a potential pass rush threat as well.

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I re-read this article which was written the week prior to the draft and my hype level is increasing. I'm excited to see how he progresses. He got to Charleston after playing QB and DB. Every year, he got substantially better in his role as a DL. That suggests that he learns with experience. It also makes me think that we may be years from seeing him peak athletically and professionally. Let's hope we see that practice praise translate into gameday heroics.

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/sports/mec_sports/university-of-charlestons-john-cominsky-grows-into-nfl-draft-hopeful/article_64eb4756-ad75-5894-9734-5fe6efa6de12.html

 

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4 hours ago, Ergo Proxy said:

@vel His RAS was outstanding for his build. If he keeps getting stronger and stays as fast, look out!

I like him to play anywhere on the LOS eventually but pretty much agree with Quinn on situational for now. I do think outside at DE would be a potential pass rush threat as well.

D5LWukxWAAA9Eqr?format=png&name=small

That's freak stuff. Take another example from this past draft:

He's bigger than Epenesa, yet way more explosive/athletic. If he develops, people will wonder how a player with those numbers fell that far. 

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48 minutes ago, vel said:

Rico basically confirms in this video that he's playing in the box now and that makes me excited about his role in this defense

 

It looks like Foye and Walker are splitting time next to DeBo. Can’t tell which players are base or sub package if that is also a factor. Might be running some of that 5-2 front with 2 LBs and bringing down Neal to flex Takk or Fowler as a rusher instead of upright DE on the LOS. Might be the 4-3 under look too.

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