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Mailbag: Stopping The Run With Taco? Sorting Out Defensive Tackle Rotation?

LANDON CABELL
CHARLESTON, SC

I like our chances to seal off the edges to opposing runners with Taco Charlton and David Irving playing opposite sides with their long frames. If we can clog the middle and let our LB's play free, do you think this unit's strength could be stopping the run?

Bryan: This defense was ranked first against the run and 14th in average per attempt last season -- so they were good enough without Irving and Charlton on the edges. Now that might have been masked because they were 26th defending the pass, so we will see. I really don't have a problem with how they've played the run – it's the pass defense that I have worried about, which is why they let the majority of those guys walk.

Rob: Bryan is right: the calling card on defense last season was stopping the run. David Irving could be the perfect strong-side, left defensive end for the reasons Landon laid out: he's long, he's 285 pounds, and he's got enough bend to be a disruptive pass rusher on that side. The hope, obviously, is that that Taco can take ownership of that right defensive end spot. I do think both have the frames to set the edge. They need more pass rush, though.

ROBERT VASQUEZ
WILMINGTON, CA

With Tyrone Crawford's hefty contract situation and possibly being pushed out of the conversation to land a spot at defensive end, his best chance at starting would be as the three-technique tackle. If so, can you see Maliek Collins excelling at the one-technique position?

Bryan: I was really impressed with what we saw from Collins last season and there is no question in my mind that he can excel at the one technique. His strength and quickness are a real plus for the position. He is one of those guys that I believe you can line up at either spot and he'd be just fine.

Rob: As good as Collins was at the three-technique last year, I'd be inclined to leave him there. He does have the size and strength to play it, though. I do wonder where Crawford best fits because I think he can play just about anywhere, yet there's a real logjam at defensive end now. Pairing him with Collins probably makes the most sense.

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