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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; This got my wheels spinning, a great breakdown of the differences in a 4-3 MLB and a 3-4 ILB. Originally posted by Puddinhead ... I'm not coming down on either side in the Hartwell Debate, but I'd like to point ...

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Old 02-25-2005, 11:30 AM   #1
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

This got my wheels spinning, a great breakdown of the differences in a 4-3 MLB and a 3-4 ILB.
Originally posted by Puddinhead ...
I'm not coming down on either side in the Hartwell Debate, but I'd like to point out something that a coach at a reasonably successful program (albeit a high school program) took the time to explain to me some years ago regarding the difference between a 3-4 ILB and a 4-3 MLB.

It was back when the Saints were first talking about switching from the 3-4 they'd been so successful with for most of the years under Mora to a 4-3. I asked why they'd consider that switch, he said that the Saints had been blessed for a number of years by having two guys (Mills and Johnson) who could excel in the ILB role, when for most teams it was really hard to find even one. With Johnson's career being in jeopardy due to injury the team was beginning to think about what they would be best served by doing as far as matching their scheme to personnel in the future. The guy told me that a 3-4 ILB has to be much more physical, and has less space to be responsible for. Physical because often the offensive guards will be right in front of him and uncovered, and if the defensive linemen can't tie up more than one blocker the guard may be free to come after the LB. Even if the guard doesn't come free, the ILB would still be met by a huge blocking FB. So his job description was going to involve being someone quick, if not actually fast, so he can get to the point of attack between the tackles, and physical, because he most often was going to have to take on a blocker when he got there, shed him, and still get a hit on the ball carrier. Speed wouldn't be as big a requirement because ideally the OLB would be turning sweep attempts back inside for the ILB to make the tackle anyway.

For a 4-3 MLB, I was told, the job description is sort of different. You're going to assume that the MLB won't have a blocker in his face on most running plays because the guards are both covered by the DTs, and the center has to worry about the snap and then about one of the DTs crashing for the center-guard gap from one side or the other on every play. So he's delayed in getting out after the LB. So a 4-3 MLB doesn't have to be the huge physical specimen that a 3-4 ILB has to be (yeah, I know Sam Mills wasn't big...but he said that Mills was way, way the exception to the rule in that he was so perfect in anticipation and technique that he could get away with not being a monster), but, because you don't have the OLB AND the CBs turning running plays back in to him, he has to have more "speed in traffic" to get down the line faster than the RB does to meet him at the corner on wide runs.

For what it's worth, his opinion was that most LBs who play inside are either better suited for one scheme or the other, and while they could probably play in either, might not be the force in the "secondary" formation that they are in their "primary" formation. Those guys who CAN excel in either are really quite rare.
With Hartwell's 4.8 speed, I have some serious doubts about him excelling as a 4-3 MLB. The differences in a 3-4 and 4-3 ILB is becoming clear to me. While its pretty obvious Hartwell would be an upgrade over Ruff, I have doubts that he'd be an upgrade over Watson (in a 4-3). I'm now more convinced than ever that we should keep Watson in the middle and target a solid SLB/WLB instead. But I'm flexible.

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Old 02-25-2005, 11:35 AM   #2
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

That was pretty good Danno. Nice read. I am myself am leaning more towards Pierce from the Redskins. He may not be as expensive as a Hartwell either. What do you think of him?
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:38 AM   #3
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

Anyway, he is a 4 year player, and was a stud at MLB for them this year. He definitely is a 4-3 MLB. Thoughts? He will be an unrestricted free agent if he doesn;t work an extension with the Skins by the 2nd.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2005Feb22.html
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:38 AM   #4
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

That was pretty good Danno. Nice read. I am myself am leaning more towards Pierce from the Redskins. He may not be as expensive as a Hartwell either. What do you think of him?
I remember reading good things about him. I just can\'t remember what they were. Got any pos/neg\'s on him?
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:41 AM   #5
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

I posted an article about him becoming a free agent. He anchored the D and had 112 tackles, 87 solo. Theor d-line is weak and he held up pretty well in the games I saw. I can tell you Redskins fans are high on him, and want him to stay, even with Arrington. He was behind Trotter year before last but stepped up when he got his shot. I don\'t know too many negs. He has good size, 6-1 240, and seemed to have pretty good range. I remember in a game I think against the Cowboys where he was wheeling back in pass coverage and he jumped HIGH in the air to get an INT over the middle. That was pretty impressive. If you like, I can poll some Redskins fans and pos their opinions of him.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:21 PM   #6
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

How would Kendrell Bell fit in this argument of 3-4, 4-3??
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Old 02-25-2005, 06:15 PM   #7
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

Good food for thought guys!
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:56 PM   #8
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

Good food for thought guys!
JKool, does this info alter your opinion of Watson\'s being too small?

I think 6-1, 245, with excellent sideline to sideline speed is perfect for a 4-3 MLB. This kid will be solid for years to come.
He\'s smart, fast, talented, and motivated.

How many Saints can you say that about?

I can think of about 4 or 5.
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:05 PM   #9
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

Danno, you convinced me of that a long time ago.

I\'m thinking SLB once again.
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Old 02-26-2005, 09:12 AM   #10
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Hartwell, a glorified Ruff?

Speed isn\'t anything if you don\'t have the instincts to play the position. Just like the case of Antonio Pierce who people seem to love now, he\'s not the fast or biggest guy in the league, he\'s just smart. And that is definately what Hartwell is. Sam Mills, Zach Thomas, Ed Hartwell to name a few.

I find it true to be associated with wide receivers too. Mark Clayton, Anquan Boldin, Mike Williams, etc... not the burners of the league, but they get open and get it done.
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