Last time I looked at the Ruby formation Jerry Gray wants to run this year in Tennessee. That post outlined the responsibilities of each position, but now comes the tougher challenge. I set out to create my ideal 3-2-6 with our current personnel. The great thing about this formation is that it has a lot of different possibilities. Not everyone will agree with my idea, but all the different options should generate some great discussion. I'm looking forward to hearing where you would put them. You didn't think I'd give you the set before the jump though, did you?
At DT/NT, I'd go with Mike Martin. I like Jurrell Casey a lot, but Martin's experience playing in a three man line is an asset we need to capitalize on. He's also known as a good run stopper, which is great because this formation is typically vulnerable to the run. Derrick Morgan would man one of the defensive end spots. He will prove to be a well-rounded defensive end this year. As of right now, Kamerion Wimbley gets the nod. He's undersized to play this spot consistently, but hopefully he can generate pressure off the edge. The one wildcard here is Leger Douzable. If he makes the rosters, I'm curious to see if he could rotate in at that spot. He'd certainly give us more size there, and perhaps more run support. What do you think?
Only two spots to fill here, and we've got four linebackers to work with. My primary two would be Colin McCarthy and Zach Brown. As mentioned in the previous post, I want speed linebackers here and that's where Brown comes in. Play to his strengths and allow him to roam the field in various coverages. McCarthy still holds onto the middle linebacker spot. I was really tempted to put Zach Brown in the middle with Akeem Ayers on the outside, since Brown does have experience playing MLB at UNC, but I was too concerned with big runs.
Let me get the easy ones out of the way first. Michael Griffin and Jordan Babineaux would remain in their safety spots, and Jason McCourty remains the top outside corner. Alterraun Verner moves inside to the nickel position. We've got two remaining spots left. MCM favourite Tommie Campbell would be my choice on the outside. Finally, we get to the dilemma. What initially started this two part series was that Jerry Gray wants three capable safeties to work with. The remaining choices are Markelle Martin and Robert Johnson. Neither of those guys elicit much enthusiasm, and as a result we're left to look at other choices. Forced to choose between the two though, I'd go with Markelle Martin.
To recap so far, the lineup looks like this:
Morgan-Martin-Wimbley / McCarthy-Brown / Campbell-Verner-Griffin-Babineaux-Martin-McCourty
The offseason is a perfect time for some speculation, so let's break off in that direction. The weak spot in the defense seems like Markelle Martin. The first scenario I want to discuss is a simpler switch. We can replace Martin with Campbell and put Chris Hawkins on the outside. Hawkins played adequately in the Saints game when he was asked to play at that spot, and I'm not too concerned with Campbell's switch to safety. It'd be a tougher switch from corner to free safety or strong safety, but in this case the third safety acts a lot like a dime back.
A scenario I'm much more interested in was correctly guessed by alijeal in my first post. Zach Brown would move to the safety spot with Ayers slipping back in as OLB. First, the positives: Brown's got great speed, excels in coverage, and has played deep in coverage at UNC. The negatives? Brown's good in coverage for a linebacker. As a safety, it's a major question mark. Brown's move to the safety spot could be construed as a move to the 3-3-5, and out of the Ruby, but in this formation some positions blur together. His responsibilities in this formation would be no different than what I would ask the third safety to do, and in the last post I mentioned looking for a linebacker/safety hybrid.
What unit do you prefer? Are you more comfortable moving Campbell or Brown to safety?