The coaching staff has done a good job giving the appearance of competition at linebacker. The only secure position appears to be WLB. That is Thomas Howard.
Ricky Brown has been getting a lot of reps at starting MLB and Jon Alston a lot of first team reps at SLB.
Come the season, Morrison could be right back at MLB and Ricky Brown at SLB, but is that a lock or are the coaches actually considering making a change?
Cable admits they have thought about moving Morrison outside. At SLB he could have the opportunity to drop into coverage more and would also help cover up a weaker than expected job plugging the run.
The question is can Ricky Brown be better in the middle? If they have considered it seriously, why isn’t Morrison getting snaps at SLB?
The dark horse in this is Jon Alston. If both Alston and Brown produce at SLB and MLB, could Morrison find himself on the bench in certain scenarios?
Mostly, I think the coaches are trying to push Morrison. He must be better at plugging holes and you probably wont see the MLB drop into coverage as much under John Marshall as under Rob Ryan. If Morrison proves incapable of plugging the run consistently at MLB, the best thing would be to find a linebacker who can. It isn’t as if Morrison wouldn’t be used, his strength as a coverage LB would make him the front runner to play SLB should they award the MLB to Brown.
The Raiders have been getting away with having 3 or less decent linebackers on the roster for several years. Now the Raiders have 5 versatile linebackers with rookie Slade Norris being the fifth.
Going into camp, I didn’t think LB was a position to watch, but it certainly is now. Who will emerge as the starters? More than that, will they continue to be every down LB?
On run heavy downs it might make sense to take out Alston and Howard in favor of some combo of Brown, Morrison and Norris.
On passing heavy downs it might make sense to have a Howard, Morrison, Alston combo.
The common player in both alignments is Morrison. Morrison could lose his job as captain or at MLB, but he will likely still be on the field a lot, just where?
Expect the unexpected, predict the likely. Morrison will be and is being challenged. I predict he will rise to the challenge and plug the run better this season. I also predict more of a LB rotation this season than in the past.
Morrison remains a fan favorite. He is one of my favorites as well. However, he must plug the run better. Turd Sands sure isn’t going to help. Kelly will jump offsides trying to rush the passing and that will leave a gapping hole for opposing RBs.
Can we call KC and see what it would take to get Glenn Dorsey? He is a horrible fit in the 3-4 as we will all see this season.