Bandit ~ Tyus Bowser ~ Houston Cougars
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Bandits ~ This is my term, derived from Defensive Schemes, for Players with the WingSpan for the Defensive Line yet who, unlike Dragons, lack the Size to play there regularly, because they can't be expected to Anchor against the Run.
They are thus the right Size though a bit tall to play MidFielder and can generally do so, but I believe are optimally employed as Wild Cards, deployed all over the Formation from Snap to Snap, usually in the murky, shifty region between the Defensive Line and the MidFielders, usually standing up, and generally giving no clue as to their Intentions.
I believe that the Bandit, whatever he's called in a given Formation, stands at the very EpiCenter of the disruptive Changes that Defensive Formations are undergoing today. Their unique combination of Size & Speed offers precisely that Wild Card Variable that I believe is potentially priceless for Defenses to compete and indeed to excel in the incessantly and rapidly evolving Strategic LandScape of the 21st Century. The Prototype would be around 6030/245 or so, I'd say.
As the ultimate Defensive Hybrid, Bandits could quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Blitz the Run, or Drop into Coverage on any given play, and from virtually any alignment on the Line or in the BackField. They won't anchor against the Run very effectively, they won't overwhelm with Power in their Pass Rush, and they're not built to Turn & Burn with WideOuts in Coverage, but they are in fact optimally built to conceivably compete effectively in all three Facets of the Game.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Bandits may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Bandits, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body Strength in the world will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous Asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog Ditto.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power ~ lower body Power. Core Power trumps Torso Power. Tyrannosaurus Rex had exceptional Core Power.
* Torso Power ~ upper Body Power. Important, but not crucial. T Rex had lousy Torso Power...yet was King.
* Anchoring Strength against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Impressive and potentially outstanding. Grading Bowser not as a Dragon or as a MidFielder, but as what he is ~ an Hybrid who's best deployed in around or on the Line of Scrimmage but without his Hand in the Dirt ~ Bowser exhibits mediocre Drive Power but excellent Anchoring Strength, and his sensational Vertical Jump at The Combine reveals substantial Intrinsic Power that has not yet been converted into Functional Power. Mind you: The Gutters are littered with the Corpses of Intrinsic Power and Agility that ultimately fails to translate, but here's the thing: Bowser has only recently dropped BasketBall and converted to a full-time FootBall Player. When a Prospect who's been playing nothing but FootBall for his whole life exhibits and enormous gap between his Intrinsic ~ Combine ~ Power or Agility and his Functional ~ Game Tape ~ Power or Agility, it seems to me that the Chances are generally higher that there's a fundamental DisConnect, there ~ probably mental ~ and that one should therefore expect a higher Casualty Rate ~ a Failure to translate the Talent unto the GridIron, even with Time and Training at the NFL Level. However, when there is a very tangible explanation for this gap, such as because a Prospect hasn't been entirely focused on the Sport because of another Sport, it seems to me far more likely that there is no fundamental Disconnect, that it's just a matter of Time & Training, and that the Casualty Rate should therefore be expected to be far, far lower...especially if the Prospect in question has exhibited spectacular Improvement in every Aspect of'is Game ~ including Power ~ as Bowser did in 2016.
Agility: Sensational. Launch Velocity, Fluidity, Acceleration, and Closing Speed are magnificent.
Frame: Outstanding. 6025/247 is compact for a Bandit, and his WingSpan is extraordinary.
Combat Skills: Mediocre, but substantially improved from 2015.
Processing Speed: Competitive. Dramatically improved from 2015. And disciplined.
Motor: Excellent. Exceptional Intensity. Tremendous Stamina.
Run Defense: Competitive and potentially outstanding, Bowser is mediocre at the Point of Attack because he's developing his Power and his Combat Skills, and I wouldn't yet go higher than Effective In Pursuit at this point, because he's developing his Field Vision, but he's got the Intrinsic Power and the Functional Agility to be a Force.
Pass Coverage: See Above. 2016 was his first Season in a 34, and thus with substantial Coverage Duties, but by the end'f the Year he was looking competent, and he's go the natural Agility to cover adeptly and the WingSpan to develop into an enormous Impact Player at The Catch Point. All he needs is Time and Training to develop all of that.
Pass Rush: Impressive and potentially sensational. With Top Shelf Intrinsic Power that I believe he'll eventually translate to the GridIron, Elite Agility, a compact Frame, and a sprawling WingSpan, Bowser has SuperStar Potential.
Raw. Stunning Agility, Frame, and Raw Power Mix. Sky's the Limit.
Pretty damned strange: I kept reading how Bowser's Production didn't match his Talent. This is a guy who played in a new and therefore strange System, switching in 2016 from a 43 to a 34 under Coach Tom Herman, spent a lot of Snap dropping into Coverage or playing Contain, and still racked up 47 Tackles and 8.5 Sacks in 8 Games.
Somebody might want to tell these folks ~ Links not provided because we all act the ChowderHead from time to time ~ that Bowser missed a Month in the middle of the Season. 47 Tackles and 8.5 Sacks? Dropping into Coverage and playing Contain half the time, and in a new and complex System? I could feast on that kind of lack of Production!!
Tyus Bowser's Potential as a Tactical WildCard who can be moved all over the Front Six or Front Seven and deployed as an unpredictable Coverage/Pass Rush Hybrid is magnificent. And all Reports on his Character as well as the remarkable Improvement in all Aspects of his Game in 2016, once he set BasketBall aside and channeled all his Time and considerable Energy into FootBall, tell me that he's an awfully good Bet to fulfill that Potential.
Pay the Man!!
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
None of this is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning!! Caveat Emptor!