Scooby Wright III was my pet cat this year. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The Jones’ bush-league planning and draft strategy will continue to haunt the Cowboys entering the 2016 NFL season.
Pretty much anyone who is knowledgeable about the game of football will tell you that quarterback is the most important position on the team. He is the consummate leader and needs to be the smartest player on the field. In many cases, the decisions he makes with the football determine the outcome of the game. But hey sports fans: the defense needs one too. Scooby Wright III may not have looked like much in gym shorts, but neither did Tom Brady. How did that work out?
Much like the QB of the offense, the MLB needs to be able to make good reads and understand his keys, A key for a MLB is an offensive lineman or two. Typically the center and the guard. Hall Of Fame former Cowboys’ coach, Tom Landry, invented the use of keys and now it has been incorporated by all 32 teams. The Mike linebacker needs to be able to diagnose where the play is going and make the proper call to attack it.
If the offensive QB makes a good read of the protection and changes the play at the line, the MLB needs to be able to make a split second adjustment on the defense. He not only needs to have a complete understanding of the defenses playbook, he needs to have a complete understanding of opposing offenses. I have never seen a MLB fresh out of college better at this than Scooby Wright III.
I don’t care how athletic a player is, if he doesn’t have the instincts and football IQ to accomplish this, he is useless as the QB of the defense. The MLB needs to spend hundreds of hours in the film room and studying his playbook. The video below will give you some insight on LB keys for run plays.
A linebacker can also determine if the play is going to be a pass play by watching his keys. The keys don’t change: they still watch the same linemen. The only difference? When the play is a pass play the offensive linemen will not shoot out trying to get push. Instead they will practically stand up and move backwards to set their feet and form a wall around the quarterback.
Therefore, when the offensive linemen stand up and back up instead of surging forward, the linebacker can diagnose the play is a pass and drop in to his zone to prevent a completion or shoot the gap and try to sack the QB. However, a highly intelligent MLB like Scooby Wright III, who does his homework, understands the formations the offense uses and knows where the ball is going before the snap. This gives the defense a huge advantage.
One of the most important reads for the MLB is diagnosing a play-action pass because the offense will typically line up in their most successful run formation. By using 3 keys in what is referred to as the triangle, he watches the tackle, the center and the guard. The way they line up combined with how their feet are set, will show him that the lineman is preparing to pass protect rather than run block.
How important is the QB of the defense?
The absence of Ray Lewis in Baltimore tells the whole story. According to Football Outsiders the defense that did the worst against play action relative to overall pass defense was the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had a pass defense DVOA of -5.2% against regular passes, which would’ve been good enough for 10th in the NFL. However, against play-action, the unit crumpled, compiling a DVOA of 37.0%, fourth-worst in the league. This happened only a year after the Ravens posted the third-best DVOA against play-action. The bottom line is, you can replace the LB, but you can’t replace his vision and read react skills. His ability to diagnose and react properly is imperative.
Scooby Wright III has the best instincts I have seen in years. He is also the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. If you study his tape, more times than not, he knew where the play was going before the snap. If you combine that with his outstanding snap anticipation, he was able to make up for what he lacked in straight line speed. I don’t care how athletic a MLB is, if he doesn’t have the mental toughness and the instincts to go along with it: he is toast. The Browns head coach, Hughe Jackson, noticed this right away with Scooby Wright III when he undercut a deep out route, intercepted a pass thrown by fellow rookie Cody Kessler and bee-lined for the endzone.
“That a way, Scooby. That a way, Scooby,” Jackson said, running toward Wright to congratulate him with a pat on the helmet. “Good job, Scooby. Scooby, nice job. Scooby, nice job. Scooby, that a baby. That a baby. That a way. That a way.”
The amusing part is: Many draft pundits knocked Wright saying he wasn’t asked to to cover much at Arizona and would be a liability in coverage. Back to the work ethic. Scooby knew prior to the draft that he would be asked to drop in to coverage more often in the NFL and spent a great deal of time working with the DBs to improve his craft.
“He’s done an excellent job of trying to learn our defense, working very hard. He’s going to have a bright future,” Browns inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland said as mandatory minicamp came to an end. “Scooby plays with the effort that we like. He’s a very intense player, and he had a lot of production in college.”
Scooby Wright III was a two star recruit coming out of high school and Arizona was the only D-I school in the nation to offer him a scholarship. Thus his Twitter name: @TwoStarScoob. He not only started as a true freshman making an immediate impact for the defense, he had an astonishing sophomore season in 2014.
Scooby ranked in the top five among FBS players with 164 tackles, 29.5 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles.
Wright became only the 6th unanimous All-America selection in school history. He won every award out there for the nations best defensive player.
The Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Award, Rotary Lombardi Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. That wasn’t a fluke sports fans.
Scooby is ready to shut up his critics once again as his new Instagram name, SeventhRoundScoob indicates. It is my belief the Browns got the biggest steal in the 2016 NFL draft.
“I’m just having fun with it,” Wright said last week when the Browns rookies participated in a youth football camp at the stadium. “It’s nothing too serious. Just kind of a badge of honor.
“It’s been like that my whole life. I was a two-star recruit [coming out of High School]. Only had one offer. But I did my thing in college and then got hurt.”
Coach Holland is well aware of Wright’s plight to prove his critics wrong.
“His production he had as a college football player his sophomore year, if he had been healthy, there’s a possibility he could have gone higher [in the draft]. Scooby always plays with a chip on his shoulder. [People] probably told him he can’t do certain things, and I think that motivated him to play.
“He’s shown he’s overcome [skepticism about his speed and size] ’cause he’s been a defensive player of the year, won all the awards and made a lot of plays. … Smart players, there’s a place for them in this league. Everybody’s not a 4.5 guy [in the 40-yard dash], and everybody’s not 6-3, 245 pounds, but Scooby has something that you want in a player. He has heart. He works hard. He wants to be good. He comes to work every day. He’s a lunch-pail guy, and we like those kind of guys.”
If Scooby Wright III hadn’t been drafted by the Browns, Bruce Arians would have done whatever it takes to give him a home in Arizona..
“Scooby’s a great blitzer, and I actually had Scooby on the phone, begging him to come with us as a free agent because I think he has something special about him, and the Browns drafted him,”
Arians had told Scooby during that phone conversation that he thought he was a special player, but the suits didn’t agree with him. I wonder how the 31 GM’s that passed on him will spin it when he becomes All-ProScoob?
“I’ve still got a lot I need to fine-tune,” said Wright. “I don’t think I’ve even touched my ceiling as a player yet.”
“I have an opportunity,” Wright said. “I’m going to just try to take the most advantage of it. I can’t think too far ahead. I’ve just got to think of getting better these next couple of weeks, getting strong, faster and more mentally prepared.”
Once again Scooby Wright III is facing a ton of adversity in a crowded LB room. He will be competing with the likes of veteran Demario Davis and their 2014 third-round pick Chris Kirksey; who are currently expected to be the Browns starting inside linebackers.
As for me, the distraught fan of the Dallas Cowboys: I am ready to chew nails. Unlike the Browns, the Cowboys didn’t have a plan entering the 2016 NFL draft. They knew damn well Rolando McClain was a time bomb waiting to explode. My uncle was spot on when he reported there were rumors that McClain’s personal leave was to clean up his urine. Low and behold, not long after, the news broke of his anticipated 10 game suspension. I digress.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys brain trust, used their 2nd round pick on Jaylon Smith. He is not a Mike Llinebacker. Smith played OLB for Notre Dame and his physical makeup is better suited for that position. Whats worse? He may never suit up again. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have no solid depth behind Rpmac.
Even if Smiths’ nerve miraculously refires he will have to learn a new position. I am sorry sports fans, but you don’t learn to be the QB of the defense over night. Unlike Scooby Wright III who was the best at that position in the nation and will just need to learn the defense, Smith will have to learn both the playbook AND a new position.
There is no doubt that Smith is an athletic freak of nature, but it takes a certain breed of man to have the instincts, IQ and physicality required to play the position. At the end of the day, the Browns got the man who should be wearing a star on his helmet in the 7th round. The Jones could have gotten what may prove to be the biggest steal in the draft in round 6 and chose to add a 2nd RB to an already crowded room.
They also added a project basketball player instead of securing the most important position on the defense. Believe it or not sports fans, the QB of the defense is every bit as important as the QB of the offense and our beloved Cowboys don’t have one. If you don’t believe me, ask the Ravens. Personally: I wish we had the Browns problem. They already had two “solid starters” when they drafted Scooby and the Cowboys currently have none.