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y2lamanaki

Jimmie Ward - CB or FS?

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Seems like a few beat writers are starting to travel down this path: 

I'm with others that say they're excited to see Jimmie Ward in the Earl Thomas role. I think he'd be perfect for it. But the question is - is the secondary better if he moves to shore up that CB #2 spot alongside Robinson with Lorenzo James at FS? James has apparently been lights out all camp, and if Jerome starting at FS > Johnson (as of now) starting at CB #2, then I say we have to go for it. Great sign for us that a UDFA known for being faster on the field and always on the board dropped for slow timed runs and is showing that he's faster on the field and always around the ball. 

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If Jerome is the real deal then the move for Ward to CB makes sense. But I still want to see how he looks at FS. If he is a complete game changer, then you keep him at FS and take the bullets with the suspect CB play. You just hope Ward prevents most of the big plays and our front 7 wrecks havoc.

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1 minute ago, J-ALL-DAY said:

If Jerome is the real deal then the move for Ward to CB makes sense. But I still want to see how he looks at FS. If he is a complete game changer, then you keep him at FS and take the bullets with the suspect CB play. You just hope Ward prevents most of the big plays and our front 7 wrecks havoc.

Pretty much in agreement with J. The problem is, we take Ward out of the free safety role, and our starter becomes an undrafted free agent rookie. That may be thinner then where the corners are at right now. If he's really good, okay, then yeah, I'd move Ward back to corner for the time being because I think a top 3 of Ward, Robinson and Williams is competent. Add Johnson or Reaser or Redmond on the back end, and that's okay. It's not one of the best secondaries in the league, but it's acceptable. 

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7 minutes ago, Forge said:

Pretty much in agreement with J. The problem is, we take Ward out of the free safety role, and our starter becomes an undrafted free agent rookie. That may be thinner then where the corners are at right now. If he's really good, okay, then yeah, I'd move Ward back to corner for the time being because I think a top 3 of Ward, Robinson and Williams is competent. Add Johnson or Reaser or Redmond on the back end, and that's okay. It's not one of the best secondaries in the league, but it's acceptable. 

My philosophy - if a UDFA is even making you think about it this early in training camp, and he does nothing to dissuade you throughout the preseason? Then go for it. Get the best guys on the field. We'd expect some growing pains, but if he can be great, let him be great. It was his size and timed speed that dropped him, and he was still thought to be a mid-round pick: 

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/lorenzo-jerome?id=2558206

And what the scouts said during his senior year, at the Senior Bowl, and before the draft have all matched what we've heard in camp. 

Now, I am with you both that if Ward is a monster FS, you don't move him just to get Jerome on the field. But if Ward to Jerome isn't a large drop-off, and Ward is an improvement over Johnson (almost certainly is), then go for it. 

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1 hour ago, y2lamanaki said:

Seems like a few beat writers are starting to travel down this path: 

I'm with others that say they're excited to see Jimmie Ward in the Earl Thomas role. I think he'd be perfect for it. But the question is - is the secondary better if he moves to shore up that CB #2 spot alongside Robinson with Lorenzo James at FS? James has apparently been lights out all camp, and if Jerome starting at FS > Johnson (as of now) starting at CB #2, then I say we have to go for it. Great sign for us that a UDFA known for being faster on the field and always on the board dropped for slow timed runs and is showing that he's faster on the field and always around the ball. 

 

I dont know about Jerome being "lights out". Could have sworn I saw a quote on Twitter from Saleh about Jerome taking "too many risks" in coverage for Saleh liking and was still a work in progress. I don't see Jerome starting for this team, this year if those sentiments are indeed correct. 

 

But I will concede if we go out and trade for or sign a veteran with range that fits the scheme, Ward could be move back to CB. Personally I'm not as down as the CBs as most. Its a young group, going up against a veteran WRs corps on offense. everyday. They're going to take their lumps. They'll be better for it in the long run. I'm fine with letting them play through their mistakes. If this is a rebuild, let the young guys play and develop. That goes for Ward too, who will be learning a new position. Let the guys take their links and develop. Nobody was expecting much from us anyway...

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18 minutes ago, 757-NINER said:

I dont know about Jerome being "lights out". Could have sworn I saw a quote on Twitter from Saleh about Jerome taking "too many risks" in coverage for Saleh liking and was still a work in progress. I don't see Jerome starting for this team, this year if those sentiments are indeed correct. 

 

Well yeah, all rookies are a work in progress. I have not seen any coach say anything that could be perceived as a negative toward Jerome's play at this point. Caution not to make too much out of practice snaps, like any coach for any player would do, but nothing serious. The fact that he was bumped to the 1s so early with Ward out says plenty, given that Sunseri was considered the go-to 4th S entering camp. Will be interesting to see what happens when Tartt returns to full practice (tomorrow?)...

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I never wanted to move Ward from corner personally. I think he was solid there last year and would only grow with more time. I would prefer Jerome at FS with Ward at CB. 

 

Here is Saleh's comment on Jerome.

“He’s an instinctual football player. Sometimes I look at the tape and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you can do that bud.’ But, he always ends up in the same spot. He has a good feel, and again he’s a rookie and he’s going through and he needs all the reps, and he needs to see it over and over again. He’s been doing alright.”

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Posted (edited)

Brock just had his DV case dismissed. Maiacco tweeted that we may have interest in bringing him back. That would do wonders for our secondary.

 

Edited by Gore Whore 21

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Posted (edited)

I've been clamoring for Ward at FS since he was drafted. I think its a bit premature to be so worried about the CBs that they move Ward back there. I like our top 3 CBs. Regardless of Robinson's early camp struggles, I really believe in his talent and skill-set and this rough patch of practices will only made the kid better. Saleh had nothing but praise for Johnson in his presser and I feel like he could turn the corner in his development, as a starter in this scheme. And by all accounts Williams has been  having a good camp and is pretty much a lock at nickelback. Now beyond those three, we have some real questions but like I said before, its a young group. There are always going to be questions about young players until they have an opportunity to prove themselves and go through the fire so to speak. But I want young players, developing players to have a chance to play and make mistakes this year. This will probably be the ONLY year the team as whole gets a pass and expectations are at a minimum. Perfect time to throw young players out there and let them sink or swim in certain situations. Let guys like Reaser, Redmond and Witherspoon serve as primary depth this year isn't necessarily a bad thing to me.

So I'm all for keeping Ward at FS and letting Jerome serve as his back-up. For this defensive scheme to really take off, you have a FS with range and cover skills to play the centerfield. I believe Ward is really the only player that fits that mold right now. I really do like Jerome's potential but I'd rather bring him along slowly if possible. I think Ward as the starter and Jerome as the back-up helps us more in the long-term than moving Ward to CB and making Jerome a starter this year IMO. It let's us know if Ward is the answer at FS, sooner rather than later and lets Jerome ease into a starting spot. I'd much rather he earned the role because he's clearly better than Ward@FS as opposed to being handed the starting spot because we were lacking elsewhere so we had to shake-up the depth chart. 

Edited by 757-NINER

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@757-NINER Great points all-around. However, it should be noted that if Ward IS the answer at FS, Jerome likely won't fit anywhere and won't be more than a backup. Not necessarily a bad thing if those corners pan out, but just the reality of the situation. 

Obviously, a lot can and probably will happen between now and Week 1. 

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, y2lamanaki said:

@757-NINER Great points all-around. However, it should be noted that if Ward IS the answer at FS, Jerome likely won't fit anywhere and won't be more than a backup. Not necessarily a bad thing if those corners pan out, but just the reality of the situation. 

Obviously, a lot can and probably will happen between now and Week 1. 

I actually think Jerome can play SS and function just fine. He's a tough, physical player so that could translate to SS in this scheme. I want the best players to play and if Ward is better than him then he was destined to be a back-up. Everyone can't start. Doesn't mean he couldn't contribute as a back-up and still help us in sun packages. Ward being "the guy" doesn't mean Jerome can't be the heir apparent to Reid. If he talented enough, he will find his way onto the field. Just don't want us to hand him the position by default.

Edited by 757-NINER

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But if Ward is better than him, and he's better than Johnson/Reaser, and Jerome at FS/Ward at CB is better than Ward at FS/Johnson/Reaser at CB, why play Johnson/Reaser?

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2 minutes ago, y2lamanaki said:

But if Ward is better than him, and he's better than Johnson/Reaser, and Jerome at FS/Ward at CB is better than Ward at FS/Johnson/Reaser at CB, why play Johnson/Reaser?

 

Is he better than Johnson? The #2 CB is a very important position on any NFL roster and for all intents and purposes, Johnson has pretty much solidified his spot. Jerome has earned the right to be in the conversation as possible starter down the road maybe. But if Ward had been healthy and playing well thus far, are we even having this conversation? I just think its a bit premature to crown Jerome a definte starter and our CB corps in shambles and we haven't even played our first pre-season game yet. Roles and future projections will be defined as the season progresses. I dont want to jump to conclusions in August about the future. Let ALL the young guys prove themselves over the course of a season.

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