After last week’s mostly offense-focused posting, it’s time to look at the other side of the ball. Later this week, I’ll write a couple posts taking a more in-depth look at Akeem Ayers, but first I wanted to write about new defensive end Kamerion Wimbley. I wrote a little about his ability when he signed with the Titans, but it’s worth taking a more in-depth look.
To get a better insight into Wimbley’s play, I went back and watched all of the sacks he had over the last three seasons; 6.5 in 2009 as a member of the Browns, 9.0 in 2010 in his first season with the Raiders, and 7.0 last year. I didn’t break down the plays the same way when I wrote about the Titans’ sacks, but instead focused on general trends. A couple stood out.
First, though Wimbley was nominally a starter at outside linebacker all three seasons, most of his sacks came lined up at defensive end. He played OLB first for the Browns in their 3-4 and then, similar to Akeem Ayers, lined up primarily as a 4-3 strongside linebacker for the Raiders in 2010 and 2011. In all three years, though, most of his sack production came when he was lined up as a defensive end, with his hand in the dirt. This typically occurred as part of a nickel package, when he was a member of a regular 4-man line. While he’s never done it full-time, he has experience playing with his hand in the dirt, something he’ll likely do a lot of in Tennessee.
Second, Wimbley had some success from both left defensive end and right defensive end. He played an awful lot of right defensive end in 2011, as the Raiders’ normal starter at RDE, Matt Shaughnessy, was lost for the season. In 2010, though, half of the ten sacks on which he was involved as a defensive end (including split sacks) came from when he was playing left defensive end and half came from when he was playing right defensive end.
Third, Wimbley is primarily an outside speed rusher. Kam Wimbley LOVES the outside speed rush with the shoulder dip. Looking at my notes, it’s dip, dip, and more dip, with an occasional bull rush or T-E loop stunt thrown in for variety. If you remember his sack in the 2010 season-opener, he used the shoulder dip to beat Mike Roos and knock the ball out of VY’s hands. While he didn’t force many fumbles, expect to see him try that move again and again.
The bigger question, of course, is how those talents fit into Jerry Gray’s preferred defensive scheme. I think I now have a better answer than I had in March, but that will be the subject of a post that should go up tomorrow.