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Smith knows importance of DT tandem

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Mar 4, 2009.

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  1. NewsGrabber Guest

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    <em>Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky</em> <p>Just had my first chat with new Jaguars general manager Gene Smith, and you'll get a lot more from that on Thursday in a column-length blog post.</p> <p>We didn't talk in specifics about remaining free agent possibilities or his thinking on draft needs. But I did ask him about John Henderson's play last season after the trade of Marcus Stroud.</p> <p>So far Smith's words and actions have shown him a guy willing to give an honest assessment.</p> <p>Cutting Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence, for example, was an admission that the chances the team took with big contracts for the two free agents last year were a mistake. I appreciate executives, coaches and teams who are willing to say as much, instead of never showing a willingness to admit a mistake and trying to force things to work. Because let's face it, even the best in the business miss on personnel with some regularity.</p> <p>Here's what Smith had to say when I brought up Henderson in his first year without Stroud on the team:</p> <blockquote> <p>We expect great things out of John. He has played outstanding football for us and John's still got a lot left. I do think if you're going to constructively look back and say did [the trade] have an impact, well it did, maybe more than what we thought it would. Because there was a long period of time when we had two guys in side that, if you didn't double both of them, if you left a guy one on one, he was going to win a lot more times than not.</p> <p>I think they fed off each other. I thought Rob Meier, who'd been the third tackle for a number of years playing in rotation with John and Marcus, he played well at times last year. But certainly losing a Marcus Stroud, a Pro-Bowl caliber type player, in a season like we had last year, it certainly not only impacted John, but it had some impact on our football team.</p> </blockquote> <p>For several years, the Henderson-Stroud interior tandem was the team's identity as much as anything. Smith sounded like a guy who would love the chance at No. 8 to find another dominate interior lineman - B.J. Raji of Boston College could be in play at No. 8 -- to help re-establish that identity, though the team clearly has needs as big or bigger right now at left tackle and wide receiver too. While Smith mentioned all the injuries, he made it clear he didn't think interior defensive line play was any more responsible for the team's shortcomings last season than anything else.</p> <blockquote> <p>Maybe because I played defensive line and I coached defensive line and my philosophy is to build a roster from the inside-out. I think on the defensive side of the ball the people that have the greatest impact on the game are the people that are playing closest to the football. So anytime you get a defensive lineman that takes three or four hands to block, you've got to account for him with more than one guy, obviously he's going to have a greater impact on the game. He's going to be freeing somebody else up. And that's what we had for a long time.</p> </blockquote>

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  2. Fry Hatin' is what I do.

    Casey
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    a sign of things to come
  3. Gut Starter

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    Yes...

    Exactly what I'm thinking/concerned about!
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