By John Turney
Since Chris Long was taken by the St. Louis Rams in 2008 he has played a number of positions along the defensive line, other than left and right defensive end. His best position and the one he played most was left defensive end. In his first two seasons, he played right defensive end most of the time, though he'd spell Leonard Little at left end.
On occasion he'd line up as an inside rusher over a guard or reduce down to 3-technique when the Rams would run some
However, these things were a rarity, game-in and game-out Long was a left defensive end when he was at his healthy peak, from 2010-2013.
Last Sunday night, though, we saw Long play seemingly all of those in the same game, well, except for being a left defensive end (5-technique) in a 3-point stance, which is how he made his bones in St. Louis. That position, he didn't play.
In the 39 snaps I counted, he lined up as a stand-up 0-technique, standing
Twenty-four times he was in a 9-technique and a couple of those were 9
So, while none of this, except playing base
As far as production he had 3 tackles, one sack and as a 3-technique (defensive tackle) he was held on a key play that put the Cardinals back 10 yards. So, he's still 95% rusher, but a few times he was asked to drop into a zone and cover.
Certainly no one asked me, but any snap where Long is not going forward is a wasted snap. Any snap where he's inside a 5-technique is not wasted, but in the times I've seen it over the years, it's not going to be as productive as when he's outside. And any snap as a 5-, 5-wide, or 9 that is not on the left, is going to be good, but his excellence, in my view, has been from the left side. But, then again, I suppose Bill Bellichick and Matt Patricia have the skins on the wall to make it work. (
Here are some screen shots:
|Classic 3-4 defensive end spot, a 5-tech, outside shoulder of tackle|
|Head up on the tight end. 6-tech|
|Almost a |
|Long is on t|
|Here is where Long is really a stand-up defensive end in a 40 nickel, really. Again, a 9, though could be called a 5-wide|
|Similar the a 3-tech, Long is in a 4i, the inside shoulder or of the tackle|
|Head up, in a two-point stance, on the tight end. A 6-technique|
|Outside shoulder of the guard, a defensive tackle position|
|Outside shoulder of tackle. Where he usually played with the Rams, though much more on left side.|
|Standing in the A-Gap, a 1-tech, but not sure of |
|This is a zero or 1 strong, pressure situation, all four rushers in two-point stances.|
|A 5 tech, though outside the shoulder by a couple of feet, has a 9-tech in his hip pocket.|
|Again, could be called a 5-wide rather than a 9, he is a stand-up left defensive end in the nickel package here.|