John Mullin at csnchicago.com posts the intriguing idea that some of the draft picks from the Phil Emery era that appeared to have been on their way to busting might actually benefit from the scheme change on defense. In particular he makes a good case that Will Sutton, who was universally considered to be a on the way out as a misfit in the 3-4 scheme, might find a place in it. Perhaps even more surprising, he’s being tried at nose tackle, not defensive end:
“Although Sutton was drafted to be a speed-based three-technique, he had played in a two-gap 4-3 at Arizona State. Meaning: While he doesn’t bring classic mass at nose tackle, he is not unfamiliar with the blocker-control elements of the Bears’ new system.”
Mullin further reports that Ego Ferguson, who I considered to be a natural fit at nose tackle, was asked to lose weight to play defensive end.
I will be fascinated to hear what the reasoning is for putting each of these men into their respective positions. Though teams typically talk about making do with lighter men at nose tackle when they don’t have the classic, massive body type available, I’m surprised that they actually putting the lighter Sutton at nose tackle by choice while asking the heavier Ferguson to lose weight to play end.
Obviously there’s more to placing these players into their positions that body type. For instance, perhaps Sutton is more sudden with tight movements whereas Ferguson moves with better speed given more space. In any case, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and/or defensive line coach Jay Rodgers have seen something to change up what we all thought were slam dunk decisions.