Is it time to move Sam Acho to ILB?
I like the idea knowing Mike backer is an area Big Red needs to address. Paris Lenon is an unrestricted free agent and 35 years of age. Lenon is one of my favorite Cardinals: tough, fierce and smart. But the Cards need to get younger at the position and they may not try to re-sign Lenon.
Playing Mike in the National Football League is 60 minutes of bull-in-the-ring. It is a brutal position and many Mike backers wake the next morning looking like the surface of the moon. Defensively, Mike is the nerve center of the line of scrimmage. Many times, he is responsible for aligning the front and making sure people are in their proper gaps. He needs to be capable of taking on blocks, holding up at the point of attack, getting off blocks and making tackles. He needs to run from sideline to sideline and be one of the best tacklers on the team. In short, playing Mike requires a player to be smart, tough, athletic and physical.
Sam Acho is a 6-3, 250-pound linebacker that runs the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds. He might be the smartest player on the team and has the acumen to shine at Mike.
But a Mike backer also needs to hold up in space.
And this is where my enthusiasm wanes in regard to moving a productive player like Acho to Mike. I don't know if Sam would hold up well in the open field. Mike backers need to be capable of covering backs out of the backfield and tight ends down the seam; they need the foot speed to cover option routes, the technique to jam and run with big guys and the experience to decipher route combinations.
Sam Acho would be learning all of this at the highest level. Then again, you could always move him back to the outside…
Yeah, I officially like the idea again: Move Sam Acho to Mike.
Ron Wolfley, Co-host of Doug & Wolf