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Mailbag: Who benefits, regresses under Zimmer?


With a new coordinator hire, there are guys who benefit, and guys who don't. With Mike Zimmer now leading the defense, who benefits the most and who perhaps regresses from what Dan Quinn had in place? I'm hoping not the hybrid-type safety/linebackers like Markquese Bell and Donovan Wilson. I really liked how they played last season.– Nathan Mattison/Glens Falls, NY**

Patrik: I'm hard-pressed to identify, in early June, who might regress in this new system simply because not only is it too soon to know, but also because of what's already taken place that indicates many players should PROgress. For example, Bell is being moved back to safety and that can only be a good thing, especially given the deepened versatility he takes back to the position after his stint as a linebacker. Mazi Smith is being required to put weight back on to be a true nose tackle as he was at Michigan. Eric Kendricks and Marist Liufau will help upgrade the linebackers corp that also features Damone Clark and a returning DeMarvion Overshown, all standing to benefit from Kendricks' mentoring and play. I could go on and on here but my main point stands: anyone who regresses under Zimmer needs to take a long hard look in the mirror.

Nick Harris: There's a solid opportunity on the table for Damone Clark to really grow in his third season in a Mike Zimmer defense that will take responsibilities off his plate while maximizing what he does best with a three-linebacker system. His downhill nature will be on full display while he can pass off some coverage responsibilities to guys like DeMarvion Overshown or Marist Liufau. As for who could regress, I'm looking at the safety position as a whole mainly because Quinn used so many of them during the course of a game. Zimmer will get still those guys involved while maximizing the young talent, but there simply won't be as many opportunities with an extra linebacker on the field.

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