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The Tape: Colin Cole Hammers Atlanta, Part 2

Don't be too surprised, today's Tape reveals not doom and gloom but achievement and hope.

I'm serious.

See, Colin Cole has a bit of the Howard Green syndrome: Coaches see his size and instinctively plug him at the one, opponents run right at him, he is swallowed by double teams, proves to be a very poor anchor, and said Coaches give up on him. But Green was a one gap tackle locked in a two gap tackle's body. Or maybe an even better description of Cole is that he's a one-and-a-half gap tackle. Did I say Cole?

Remember how Green and Red Bryant, seen in week one against the Bills, turned out to be a pretty stout pairing? Makes me wonder if part of why Green always struggled was his rotational pair: Craig Terrill. Terrill rarely forces double teams, but sometimes disappears behind them. Mostly, Terrill attempts to knife into the backfield and is single blocked out of the play. Terrill's tackle mate is doubled by default. Green couldn't handle it and Seattle's sometimes great run defense crumbled.

If Seattle rotates Cole with Brandon Mebane, this signing will fail. If Mebane stops forcing double teams, however that might happen, this signing will fail. If Seattle pairs Cole with Mebane, Mebane continues his forced double team mojo and keeps Cole single blocked, well...

Let's take a stroll through single blocked Cole.

Instead of moving Mebane, Seattle might want to entertain keeping Mebane where he's excelled, at the one, and starting Cole at the three. Green Bay eventually moved Cole over to the three tech. He's not a traditional three, but he has some hybrid qualities.

On the first snap after Turner's 22 yard gash, Cole holds his ground against a single block by Harvey Dahl. Michael Turner rushes for two.

Next snap, Cole is doubled, blown back, but sheds the blockers and holds ground. Turner runs right at him and nets five.

Cole is subbed out.

Cole returns on 3rd and 6 from the Green Bay 32. This time, the Packers create a favorable matchup for Cole by positioning him over center--the zero tech.


Cole isn't tremendously quick off the snap, a skill that I believe is coachable, be he's quick out of the blocks. This single gap, attacking forced double team is very Mebane. Cole is not controlling a gap, but his speed, power and utter dominance of the opposing center forces left guard Justin Blalock to apply a support block.

That ends the drive.

Cole next sees action at the start of the second quarter. Again, he's spotted not at the standard "power pig" right defensive tackle position, but the playmaking left defensive tackle position. What he does next is kind of pretty, and the 12-inch guns in his pass rush arsenal.


Engage. Chuck. And separate.

Cole tackles Jerious Norwood after three.

Next play, Cole is again on the left, but shaded inside in a mirrored one. Matt Ryan throws a quick hitch to Norwood. You might think that Cole couldn't contribute on this play, but sometime before Nick Collins tackles Norwood for a loss of two, Cole runs nearly to the flat, pushing Roddy White to the ground en route.

That ends the drive.

Cole starts the next drive once again over center. He explodes off the snap, shoots the gap and nearly tackles Turner in the backfield. Turner evades, but the play is sufficiently aborted, and is tackled after one.

Cole shades over right to the one. Three keys here: He's single blocked. He's single blocked by Justin Blalock. He ragdolls Blalock.


Cole slides over to left defensive tackle, pushes through a double team but is neutralized.

Cole subs out.

Cole subs back in on 2nd and 9 on the Green Bay 42, back at left defensive tackle. He shows a decent bull rush, but is quickly neutralized by xx Dahl.

Next play, still at LDT, Cole holds that point and successfully forces Turner to bounce the ball outside.

He's in, but doesn't contribute on the next play. Ryan completes to White for 22 and the score.

Cole didn't see any action against Atlanta's two minute offense.

Green Bay saw Cole primarily as a run stuffing interior force. They failed to pair him with another tackle that could force double teams, and played against his strengths, Cole failed. When Cole matched against single blocks, he looked strong even dominant at times. What a difference context can make, because Colin Cole, alongside, rather than alternating with, Bradon Mebane sounds like it could be kind of awesome.