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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beason on Nakamura



To lift the quote from Scott Fowler's article on Nakamura (since, otherwise, there's nothing new in it):

"Kind of reminds me of Chris Harris, but with a lot more ability."

Nakamura is a welcome addition, undoubtedly, but that's a lot to put on him.  While we're on it, yes, he was behind Ed Reed, but the Ravens do employ two safeties - and Nakamura wasn't the other starter.  Bernard Pollard was.  And while Pollard is much larger - the Ravens did want a true SS - they didn't find much room for Nakamura to play.   Hopefully, he either gains the position himself or pushes Sherrod Martin toward making decent decisions and making fewer mistakes.

But let's not get carried away - he played behind Ed Reed, which isn't to say he is Ed Reed.   For one, they're different players in terms of athleticism.  Reed was a championship level athlete who also happens to understand the game well.  He was one of the best players at a huge program, and a first round pick.  Nakamura isn't that guy.

That's where Nakamura and Harris parallel more evenly.  Later picks who scrapped their ways to success.  Even then, Harris was a SS, and Nakamura's size is more of a corner's, at 5'10, 190, than Harris' wide shoulders and extra 30 lbs (where he was more of a small LB, especially in the Cover 1 Robber version of the Tampa 2 that Ron Meeks often ran).

With everything else said, what we have in Nakamura or any of the other pickups will be determined by camp, as will Nakamura's spot on this depth chart (I think we understand just fine where he was on the Ravens').  But, I have an issue with another development that's already trending:

Beason and Harris were the only two things keeping the post-2005 John Fox defenses afloat.  Dominant in three of its first four years, Fox and company struggled to put much together afterward (including a late 2008 collapse).  Beason, the team's first round pick, and Harris as a training camp addition, revitalized things.  Harris, however, seemed affected late in 2008, and seemed to wear down from his hard hits (example - 10 forced fumbles 07-08 before the crushing hit against San Diego which drove a lead blocker into Ladainian Tomlinson, and a very modest 3 in the two years after).   It's possible that Beason is remembering that second Harris, the guy who struggled a bit more over time to tackle, along with most of the team.

But, you just don't say it.  There's no advantage to downing another player, and Beason's done that a couple times now.  It's more or less harmless (for now), but I hope it's not a trend that continues.
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