Marinelli's men; how will they adjust?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's getting to be that time of year with 2009 season previews, and Athlon Sports has one with a fairly astute breakdown of the Lions in different areas -- and one point I found particularly interesting:

Marinelli was proud no defensive lineman weighed more than 300 pounds entering training camp last year. Now Schwartz has told everybody to bulk up, and he acquired a couple of monsters to stick in the middle. The Lions signed tackle Grady Jackson, who is listed at 345 pounds but weighs much more. They also drafted tackle Sammie Hill, a raw, 329-pound prospect out of Stillman. Keep an eye on end Cliff Avril, who was a tweener when the Lions drafted him in the third round last year. He likely will start at right end as a speed pass rusher, but the Lions might move him around creatively. Dewayne White and Jared DeVries are solid, know-what-you’re-getting ends. But it will be interesting to see how end Ikaika Alama-Francis and tackles Andre Fluellen and Landon Cohen fit. All were drafted by the previous regime for the Tampa 2.

The Athlon writer also notes "Former coach Rod Marinelli wanted smaller, quicker players, and he wanted them to execute his Tampa 2 defense generally the same way regardless of the opponent. Schwartz wants bigger, stronger players and more versatile schemes. He wants to play to his players’ strengths and opponents’ weaknesses."

I think the Athlon writer is right, that IAF, Flu and Cohen may have more to prove to the new regime this training camp than some others. If Schwartz's and Cunningham's defense don't play to their size and/or strengths, how versatile can they prove themselves to be, being able to adjust?

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