With all this fuss over who should start at WR and how good is our O-Line going to be, topped off with how concerned should we be over LB depth and our D against the running game, there has been someone whom has been ignored greatly over this preseason, and its a DT. No, its not Henry Melton. It definitely ain't Matt Toeina nor Stephan Paea. Here is a clue, he is wearing #91, and you better not say Tommie Harris. I'll let you figure out who it is after the jump.
Give up? The answer is..... Amobi Okoye. Throughout the year we have been wondering who would step up and fill the void left by Tommie Harris years ago when said former pro-bowler tore his knee apart, only to virtually never be heard from again in terms of production. DT in particular 3T has been a concern as it is perhaps the key position in our Tampa 2 style 4-3 defense. Henry Melton has certainly looked great at times, and continues to improve. But, when we are without Anthony Adams in the rotation, a noticible differance has emerged when defending against the run, in addition to additional pressure from DTs in general. Someone has to step up and take the reigns before it gets out of control. And personally, I feel we already have said player on our team, and he wears #91.
Amobi Okoye not only has produced for the D-Line, he is the production. All 4 sacks recorded on the D-Line, which is led by All-Pro/Pro-Bowl DE Julius Peppers, have been recorded by Amobi Okoye. I don't care if its just preseason, as recording 4 sacks in 3 games is impressive by any standards, especially by a DT. And its not like its all against 2nd teamers, he has had his fair share of snaps against starters and still produced. Shoot just last night we saw him swat the ball out of the sky. And unlike what Mark Anderson was, Okoye is anything but a 1 trick pony.
With all the grief given about the run defense without Lance Briggs and Anthony Adams, Amobi Okoye has more than held his own in that department. His one problem coming out of Houston was his ability against the run in a 2-gapped version of the 4-3. Biggest difference between our scheme andtheir scheme, we tend to run a good amount of 1 gap stunts for our "Rushmen", and Amobi certainly has benefitted from this. He has improved and at times looked dominant against the run, just needs to get more consistent. Otherwise, he has been the most impressive DT all round given his tremendous pass-rushing skills and improved play against the run.
After a great deal of analyzing, I feel Henry Melton, Anthony Adams, and Amobi Okoye are our best 3 DTs on our roster. There is no telling as to how long AA will remain sidelined, and with us going up against the high powered offense from Atlanta led by Matt Ryan, we have to figure this out now. Place Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye as our starters at DT, with Melton playing 3T and Okoye as the NT, and I truly feel we can have a great interior presence to go with our bookends Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers.
Someone has to step up, and I feel our best bet is wearing #91.