Packers Dial up the prototypical DE for Capers’ defense

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Da-news-now, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Da-news-now

    Da-news-now RSS Reporter Reporter

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    By BOB McGINN

    Height along the defensive line was one of the undervalued assets that helped make the Green Bay Packers of 1996 the National Football League’s top-ranked defense and Super Bowl champions.

    The ferocious front four of coordinator Fritz Shurmur featured starters Reggie White (6-5, 305) and Sean Jones (6-7, 283) at the ends and Santana Dotson (6-5, 285) and Gilbert Brown (6-2, 344) at the tackles.

    The primary backups had ideal size, too. They were end Gabe Wilkins (6-4 ½, 300) and tackles Bob Kuberski (6-4 ½, 295) and Darius Holland (6-4 ½, 310).

    When Dom Capers brought his 3-4 fire-zone scheme to Green Bay in 2009 the Packers had a bunch of average to short guys lining up at defensive end. Every 3-4 coordinator wants long, rangy, heavy men at end to disrupt throwing lanes and both control and shed tackles in the run game.

    It took nine years, but Capers finally has two ends with prototypical size.

    Last year, the Packers drafted Dean Lowry (6-5 1/2, 294) in the fifth round. He starts at the 5-technique end in the base defense while squatty Mike Daniels plays more inside at the 3-technique.

    On Tuesday, the Packers signed Quinton Dial (6-5 ½, 315) three days after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. Dial presumably will back up Lowry, Daniels and possibly nose tackle Kenny Clark.

    To make room for Dial, Green Bay waived Christian Ringo (6-0 ½, 300), an undersized defensive lineman.

    “They probably swapped out Christian Ringo just to get bigger,” an executive in personnel for an NFL team said. “You definitely get bigger, definitely a little more imposing up front. Dial takes up a lot of space. He’s a large, large man.”

    The Packers signed Dial to a one-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum of $775,000. Dial counts $2.3 million against the 49ers’ salary cap after receiving a three-year, $12 million extension in February 2016.

    San Francisco moved from a 3-4 to 4-3 defense this year under new coach Kyle Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch. Dial was much too slow for end in a 4-3 and got beat out inside.

    Dial and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who was cut by the 49ers Aug. 25 and agreed to terms with the Packers five days later, were starters on San Francisco’s awful defenses the past two seasons under coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. Those defenses ranked 32nd last year, 29th in 2015.

    The Packers paid Brooks $3.5 million for one year with only the $1.75 million signing bonus guaranteed. The contract also includes a $1 million base salary and a per-game roster bonus of $46,875 per active game ($750,000 maximum). Based on his sack total, Brooks could earn up to an additional $1.5 million in incentives.

    San Francisco was able to clear $5.2 million from its salary cap by dumping Brooks, whose last deal with the team contained $13.8 million in guarantees.

    “Always remember that when there is a new regime they will make mistakes and cut players from the old regime,” said one scout. “It happens all the time.”

    At 6-5 ½, Lowry and Dial are the tallest ends Capers has had. At various points his ends have been Cullen Jenkins (6-3), B.J. Raji (6-1 ½), Johnny Jolly (6-3), Jarius Wynn (6-2 ½), Ryan Pickett (6-2), Mike Neal (6-3), C.J. Wilson (6-3), Jerel Worthy (6-2 ½), Datone Jones (6-4), Josh Boyd (6-2 ½), Khyri Thornton (6-2 ½), Letroy Guion (6-3 ½) and Mike Pennel (6-4).

    Perhaps the closest to having ideal size was Lawrence Guy (6-4 ½), a seventh-round draft choice in 2011 who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve (concussion) and was then signed off the Packers’ practice squad by Indianapolis in October 2012. He’s currently listed as a starter for New England.

    “I think his measurables are obviously the first thing that jumps at you when you meet him,” coach Mike McCarthy said, referring to Dial. “He definitely helps us in that area. We’ll move him around.”

    Dial played two years in junior college and two at Alabama before being drafted in the fifth round by the 49ers. He ran a slow 40 at his pro day (5.31) weighing 312 but his arms measured a long 34 ½ inches and his hands were 9 3/8 inches. He scored 17 on the Wonderlic intelligence test.

    Here’s a sampling of what some personnel people said about him in 2013 just before the 49ers selected him in the fifth round:

    AFC scout: “He played 5-technique at Alabama and that will be his position in the pros. He’s got a turf-toe surgery and he won’t be ready for a while.”

    NFC scout: “He has some tools to work with. Size and length. He’s not developed in the weight room yet but he’s a JC guy so he’s behind the curve. He’ll do something for somebody if he buys into it emotionally.”

    AFC scout: “I kind of like him as a late-round pick. Like his size and his power. Needs to improve his hand use and shedability. You take him late and work with him, he may have a future.”

    AFC scout: “He’s got some up side. He’s got the body build to become a 5-technique. He will give you a little bit of rush but not much.”

    After a three-game, 18-snap rookie season on a 12-4 team, Dial played 31.1% of the snaps in 2014 (14 games, six starts), 56.3% in 2015 (15 games, 15 starts) and 41.6% in ’16 (14 games, 11 starts).

    “It’s a good signing and Ahmad Brooks is a good signing,” said one personnel man. “He could start. He’s better against the run but he has enough wiggle to get pressure on the quarterback.”

    Together with Ricky Jean Francois (6-2 ½, 313), the Packers have a pair of backup ends with a combined 12 years of experience.

    “He’s taller than (Jean Francois) and a little more stout player,” said one scout. “Ricky Jean probably has a little more pass-rush ability but (Dial) will be a better run defender at the point.

    “You get a big body with Dial that can take on blocks. Solid against the run. That’s about all you get from him. Very little pass rush. More of a power-press type player.”

    ***
    Lane Taylor moved up from 39th to 22nd among NFL guards in average salary by signing a three-year extension worth $16.5 million ($5.5 million average, $5 million guaranteed). Using calculations favored by the players union, Taylor moved to 11th on the Packers’ salary list.

    Taylor will play 2017 under terms of the two-year, $4.15 million deal that he signed in March 2016.

    His new contract contains a $5 million signing bonus, base salaries of $1.1 million in 2018, $2.6 million in ’19 and $3.8 million in ’20, roster bonuses of $1 million roster in March 2018 and $750,000 in March 2019, per-game roster bonuses maxing out at $500,000 each year and workout bonuses of $250,000 each year.

    With Taylor under contract for four more years, the Packers can concentrate on securing center Corey Linsley before his contract runs out after the season.

    “Any time you can lock up a starter that’s good business,” an NFL executive said Thursday. “The way some of these guards have been paid, $10, $11 million a year, that’s relatively sound.

    “Particularly if you let him (Taylor) go to free agency and you get into a bidding war with one club that just may want to overpay a guy for whatever reason. Then you can be stuck without two interior guys.

    “They’ve got a guy locked up that they feel good about. Everyone can poke holes in it but if you’re happy with a guy and he plays to your liking, so be it.”

    Left tackle David Bakhtiari’s four-year, $49.677 million extension from 12 months ago included $16 million in guarantees. In March 2015, right tackle Bryan Bulaga signed a five-year, $33.75 million deal with $8 million guaranteed.

    Guard T.J. Lang’s contract in Detroit was three years, $28.5 million with $19 million guaranteed. Guard Josh Sitton’s contract in Chicago was three years, $20.5 million with $9.5 million guaranteed.

    The post Packers Dial up the prototypical DE for Capers’ defense appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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  2. TW

    TW Moderator

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    Interesting article, but Shurmur ran a 4-3 defense, while Capers defense is a 3-4, and the players that man both of them are quite different in several areas. We watched a top level defensive end in the 4-3, that most people thought would flourish in the 3-4, turn into a guy the Packers no longer wanted. Aaron Kampman.

    Dial losing his job in San Francisco is the complete opposite. He was a 3-4 player, not a 4-3 player.

    The problem is, outside of OLB, and defensive line, there doesn't seem to be too many guys who can play ILB and the DB positions in the 3-4. The last guy I saw who was really good at it was Charles Woodson, and it beat his body up pretty badly.

    I wish we'd convert to the 4-3, and do a quick build. I honestly think the defense would be better in transition than it is now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

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