ARTICLE: Steal of a deal (Shanle from Dallas)

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Angus, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. Angus

    Angus Active Member

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    Steal of a deal

    Saints' Shanle becomes defensive stalwart

    Advocate sportswriter
    Published: Jun 3, 2007

    METAIRIE — The trade the New Orleans Saints pulled off with the Dallas Cowboys last Aug. 22 hardly registered a blip on the NFL radar.

    One day after playing the Cowboys in an exhibition game in Shreveport, the Saints dealt a seventh-round draft pick to Dallas for linebacker Scott Shanle — not exactly earth-shattering news around the rest of the league.

    Two days later, Shanle was taking repetitions with the first-team defense at weakside linebacker. Four days after the trade, he was in the starting lineup when the Saints played the Indianapolis Colts in a preseason game.

    Over the next four months, Shanle would become a stalwart for the NFL’s 11th-ranked unit. He started 15 of 16 regular-season games, recording 117 tackles, which ranked second on the team, and added four sacks and one forced fumble.

    That turned what seemed like a meaningless preseason trade into a steal for the Saints and earned Shanle, who could have become an unrestricted free agent, a four-year contract that included a $4 million signing bonus.

    As the Saints concluded the first of two minicamp practices Saturday, defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs could only smile when the word “steal” was used in a discussion about how the team obtained Shanle.

    “We’re glad we have him,” a grinning Gibbs said.
    Actually, the Saints had some inside information on Shanle.

    Gibbs worked with Shanle for two years as the Cowboys linebackers coach while Saints coach Sean Payton was also on the Dallas staff. The connection made it easy for the Saints, who were desperate for linebacker help during training camp, to part with a seventh-round draft pick.

    “I was excited about the opportunity I had in front of me,” Shanle said. “Coach Gibbs and Sean revived me. They were in the process of getting this team going and I was excited to be a part of it.”

    At the time, he didn’t know how big a part he would be. But it didn’t take long for him to step in and mesh with his new teammates. By the time the season opened on Sept. 10, Shanle was starting with strongside linebacker Scott Fujita and middle linebacker Mark Simoneau — two other newcomers.

    Knowing what he knew, Gibbs was confident Shanle would fit right in.

    “Scott is a good man and a good athlete, so we thought we knew what we were getting,” Gibbs said. “He can run and he plays well in space. When we were at Dallas, we went to a 3-4 defense and that was different for him. We knew we were getting someone who was going to work hard and was athletic. Obviously, he came in and did a really nice job for us.”

    The only game Shanle did not start was when the Saints opened in a dime, or six defensive-back package, against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 1. Despite not starting, he registered a season-high 10 tackles and later matched that at Tampa Bay. He had at least seven tackles in 12 of 16 games.

    That productivity helped him exceed Gibbs’ and Payton’s expectations.

    “On one hand, he did because he had never been in that (starting) situation,” Gibbs said. “To play as well as he did over a full 16-game schedule and stay healthy and do a variety of things was a pleasant surprise, and something that made us look at him and say this is a pretty good player.”

    “I think he’s certainly improved as a player, and I think really in his first full season as a fulltime starter he handled that well,” Payton said.

    As a result, the Saints made him one of their top priorities this offseason and rewarded him before he could test the open market. He was the first key player they re-signed for their defense.
  2. NextGenBoys

    NextGenBoys Well-Known Member

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    That is what was Parcells' main strength. Developing players and coaches. Especially at the linebacker position.
  3. dallasfan

    dallasfan New Member

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    Wish we held out for more, but I can't complain since he would've got cut here
  4. BouncingCheese

    BouncingCheese Stay out of my Bidness

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    Fujita is a better player than shanle IMO; if the saints can find a better mlb than Mark Simoneau, then they can have a top-ten starting lb core in the league. ( products of the system no doubt, but if they do their job well how can you blame them?)

    If we kept the 4-3, these would have been the players to stay with... when BP came, I was okay about him changing the D because I knew alot of our more talented 4-3 players were aging; but I had no idea the younger guys we had were THIS talented. It's irrelevant however since we have all this talent in this scheme.
  5. Gryphon

    Gryphon Merge Ahead

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    This is year lets see what Shanle and Fujita can do.
  6. TEK2000

    TEK2000 New Member

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    He would have been cut here. We did good getting SOMETHING for him.
  7. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    Neither guy would make the Cowboy's roster in '07 IMHO. Fujita is too "stiff" off the edge and Shanle isn't athletic enough for the inside.
  8. BouncingCheese

    BouncingCheese Stay out of my Bidness

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    Then again, I think they are much better 4-3 guys than 3-4 players; what you said is correct, but if you put them in the OLB position in a 4-3 their know-how of rushing the passer can be used as a serious plus, and they are decent in coverage too.

    The thing that pisses me off is how that brilliant bastid in Sean Payton is taking our CASTOFFS and building a great team, pretty much in one season.

    I wish him continued success; however the next time we play them I hope we eat them alive 39-3
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Shanle and Fujita are not 3-4 LBs. They are a lot like Dexter Coakley; quick and sharp and very good when not tied up by O linemen. 3-4 LBs have to be able to deal with O linemen. Simple as that. BOth of them would have been backups at best here. There they are good LBs. BUT do not let the hype fool you- they are not pro bowl level or even close. They are good but no more.
  10. Crown Royal

    Crown Royal Insulin Beware

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    He is their Bradie James. His 11y billion tackles doesn't much matter. I think he made those tackles after an average of a 4 yard gain or something. If I can run/throw to the weakside for a 4 yard average, guess where I am going.
  11. CrazyCowboy

    CrazyCowboy Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, I did not like it when we let him go.........
  12. ThreeSportStar80

    ThreeSportStar80 Benched

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    Shanle isn't anything special...goodbye.
  13. tunahelper

    tunahelper Well-Known Member

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    I think many Cowboy fans were not surprised with Shanle's play in 4-3 defense.

    He showed good recognition and speed in his time with us. He just wasnt big enough for BP and his 3-4 defense.

    It is a shame he still isnt here!
  14. BouncingCheese

    BouncingCheese Stay out of my Bidness

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    Shanle is a 4-3 player.

    We run a 3-4.

    Shanle is terrible in a 3-4.

    It isn't a shame IMHO that he isn't here.

    Fujita is way better than Shanle.
  15. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    Unless they have someone like Brian Urlacher or the like in the middle, they reak of averageness, no way they are top 10. They had one of the worst run defenses in the league last year (if I recall correctly) and OLBs certainly play a huge role against the run.

    The guys are serviceable, but not premier.
  16. BouncingCheese

    BouncingCheese Stay out of my Bidness

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    No way are they premier your absolutely right about that; but then again you don't exactly need the best players at the position to be the best or around that area. Look at the Pats Defense of a few years ago, they didn't have a single probowler in the Linebacking core (I mean maybe they were voted in, but that was because of fan notoriety and not really because they were the best at the pos.) yet they were the main reason teams could never get any rushing yards.

    I think if the Saints got a player like Pozlulzny, a fast, smart, athletic player who doesn't recessarily need to be strong, they could have a great 4-3 lB core. The Saints can find a player who has those attributes, and I am sure teams have them; I mean, shoot the Saints found Fujita and Shanle

    If you think about it, it isn't that hard to have a top-ten D if you think about it; Either you play well, you play terribly, or you are in between.
  17. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    Neither were the players we kept instead, like Al Singleton and Ryan Fowler. Both were liabilities during our defensive collapse.
  18. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    So you are saying Shanle, Pozluzny(sp?), and Fujita would be a great LB corps? They don't strike any ounce of fear into me personally.

    Don't underestimate the Pats LBs, they are very good, the key to that defense that won 3 super bowls in 4 years.

    Bolded: Um, duh?:laugh2: I think the Saints lbs would fall somewhere in between.
  19. TEK2000

    TEK2000 New Member

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    Do you ever rate any player higher than "average" or "liability"?

    I bet that Ryan Fowler turns out to be a fairly competent player in the 4-3. His play recognition was good during his playingtime during the Rams game 2005.

    The only time Fowler ever stepped foot on the field in 2006 was on Special Teams and Goaline Defense.
  20. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    And he was very suspect in the goalline defense.

    I put more stock in his play then than I do the meaningless season closer against a bad Rams team two years ago.

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