FanPost

Bigger Is Better; A Partial Retread From Last Year


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In a FanPost written in February of last year, I broke down some tendencies of John Fox's interior defensive linemen while in Carolina.

With Von Miller being Von Miller, and because the draft preceded free agency last year, we didn't end up grabbing up any Defensive Tackles in April - instead opting to add Ty Warren later in Free Agency and Broderick Bunkley through trade. The need at defensive tackle is still there this year so I thought it might be worth while to re-post a little background illustrating Foxy Bear's undying and unwavering love for some of the fattest boys in the league.

As we saw last year, variables such as those referenced above will certainly affect how we plug the middle. However, I hope to show last year as an anomaly, and to show that it's more likely than not that our next DT will be a fat one. Now this isn't to say that we need to take just any 'big' - I'm against Dontari Poe, for example, but when given the choice, Coach Fox has shown a fat propensity to use starting DTs that are abnormally large. How large? Gi-normous. Bigger is better, as Fox has said himself.

Starting Defensive Tackles in a 4-3 defense that weigh over 340 pounds are incredibly rare in this league. Very much so. Anybody know how many there are right now? I would probably say there is probably one of them, maybe two, league-wide. And yet check out these fatties from ex casa de Fox (pay special attention to the bold print)...


Pts Yds Sks Yds per rush LDE LDT RDT RDE
2002 5 2 2 1 Julius Peppers Brentson Buckner Kris Jenkins Mike Rucker



6'7, 283lbs 6'2, 310lbs 6'4, 360lbs 6'5, 275lbs
52 3.7 12 GS, 12 Sacks 8 GS, 5 Sacks 16 GS, 7 Sacks 15 GS, 10 Sacks
2003 10 8 7 12 Julius Peppers Brentson Buckner Kris Jenkins Mike Rucker





6'7, 283lbs 6'2, 310lbs 6'4, 360lbs 6'5, 275lbs



40 4 16 GS, 7 Sacks 12 GS, .5 Sacks 16 GS, 5 Sacks 14 GS, 12 Sacks
2004 15 20 24 12 Julius Peppers Brentson Buckner Kindal Moorehead Mike Rucker



6'7, 283lbs 6'2, 310lbs 6'2, 299lbs 6'5, 275lbs
34 4 16 GS, 11 Sacks 15 GS, 3.5 Sacks 12 GS, 2 Sacks 16 GS, 3.5 Sacks
2005 5 3 7 4 Julius Peppers Brentson Buckner Jordan Carstens Mike Rucker





6'7, 283lbs 6'2, 310lbs 6'5, 300lbs 6'5, 275lbs



45 3.6 16 GS, 10.5 Sacks 16 GS, 1 Sack 15 GS, 4 Sacks 14 GS, 7.5 Sacks
2006 8 7 6 7 Julius Peppers Ma'ake Kemoeatu Kris Jenkins Mike Rucker



6'7, 283lbs 6'5, 364lbs 6'4, 360lbs 6'5, 275lbs
41 3.9 16 GS, 13 Sacks 14 GS, 0 Sacks 16 GS, 3 Sacks 14 GS, 5 Sacks
2007 15 16 31 4 Julius Peppers Ma'ake Kemoeatu Kris Jenkins Mike Rucker





6'7, 283lbs 6'5, 364lbs 6'4, 360lbs 6'5, 275lbs



23 3.8 14 GS, 2.5 Sacks 13 GS, 0 Sacks 15 GS, 2.5 Sacks 16 GS, 3 Sacks
2008 12 18 9 23 Tyler Brayton Ma'ake Kemoeatu Damione Lewis Julius Peppers



6'6, 280lbs 6'5, 364lbs 6'2, 301lbs 6'7, 283lbs
37 4.4 16 GS, 4.5 Sacks 14 GS, 0 Sacks 15 GS, 3.5 Sacks 16 GS, 14.5 Sacks
2009 9 8 23 20 Tyler Brayton Hollis Thomas Damione Lewis Julius Peppers




6'6, 280lbs 6'0, 340lbs 6'2, 301lbs 6'7, 283lbs
31 4.4 14 GS, 5 Sacks 13 GS, 0 Sacks 16 GS, .5 Sacks 14 GS, 10.5 Sacks

The chart above reflects the starting roster for Coach Fox’s first eight years in Carolina. I chose not to include the ninth year because the roster was purged of talent and expenses to such a large degree that I believe it would have negatively impacted averages and eschewed perceptions.

The first thing to notice is the bold ink, which represents a starting player that weighs 340 pounds or more. As you can see, there were just two years where Fox didn’t use a mamouth DT as the starter, and even that’s a little misleading. The first occurrence was in 2004 when Coach Fox still had 360 pound Kris Jenkins as his starter. Unfortunately, four games into the year, injury prematurely ended Jenkins’ season. The only other year Fox didn’t primarily use a 340 pound starter at DT was 2005. But again, this was due to injury. Jenkins started in week-one and never played the rest of the year.

There can be no debate, therefore, that for the two years where Fox didn’t start a huge defensive lineman… He did plan to... but was unable to do so due to injury. After those two years where injury stopped Coach Fox from utilizing a mammoth lineman, Fox went out and insured against further injury by bringing in 364 pound DT, Ma'ake Kemoeatu. That year, 2006, Jenkins stayed healthy so both starting DTs were an astonishing 360 pounds or more. The same starters remained the next year, then when Jenkins left after the ’07 season, Fox still had his big boy Kemoeatu. When Kemoeatu left after the ’08 season, Fox brought in 340 pound DT Hollis Thomas.

Coach Fox had at least one 340lb+ starting Defensive Tackle on opening day for all eight of his meaningful seasons in Carolina. The roster was purged of talent in his ninth year, and money was not being spent. And even then, Coach Fox went out and sneaked in mammoth DT Louis Leonard on a budget (Leonard didn't end up making the cut, but Fox tried to get his big even though his hands were tied on the budget).

In sum, it's epically rare for NTs in a 4-3 defense to weigh 340lbs, but it was the norm without exception during Fox's tenure in Carolina. Our new DC jack Del Rio also has shown a strong propensity for the biggies in his time in Jacksonville.My theory isn't that Foxy Bear just loves the chubby bunnies, but rather that he loves the little linebackers which means he's got to then compensate on the DL with a big boy.

Variables prevented us from having our 'big' last year, but I would bet on history rather than on last year's anomaly.

Again, hell no to Poe! I'm just saying if we're faced with a choice at DT at any given moment, I think it's more likely than not that we go after a guy like Brockers or Still that already have size and height, and also the frame to get bigger.

Thanks to CH74 in his current post, as well as EverVigilent for striking up the topic.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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