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Recap: RECAP: Greg Ellis finally speaks

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Chocolate Lab, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    Just heard a bit on the 103.3 nightly show... Paraphrasing, of course...

    -- Said he didn't speak for a few days because he was focusing on his new job and wanted to make sure his head was clear.

    -- Said his head was swimming a little after just a few days at a new position, but Bill and Zim are working a lot with him, and they and the scouts are telling him he's doing a good job and is capable of doing this.

    -- Said he hopes things work out, because you know what happens when they don't (that the player gets cut)

    -- Asked to compare the change this year to last year, he said last year was more physical, in dealing with the size limitation. And he said Bill was right that he was too small to play DE in the 34. This year is more of a mental challenge. He's never been in space, never covered before, and said he often doesn't even know what these routes are called.

    -- Said that despite the encouragement from the coaches, his confidence in the new position is not there yet.

    -- The tone in his voice, and the interviewer Dave Shore said the same, indicates that Greg is doing his level best, and seems more open to the idea of this working. He does sound a little fearful that he won't be good at the new position, though.

    Greg haters won't like it, but it sounds like he's not being any kind of distraction at all.
  2. Dale

    Dale Forum Architect

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    Greg seems to lack confidence in himself in transitions like these. He did the same thing last year. It's a shame, because all indications are he's doing a pretty good job (or at least from what I've read).
  3. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    It's a major change for him. I'd be reluctant and want a trade as well. After TC, Bill and Greg both will have an idea if this is going to work. If it does, great. If not, he's great trade bait.
  4. 5Stars

    5Stars Here comes the Sun...

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    Ship him outta here! Pronto! He will never learn....he's a bust! Trade him for some Shrimps and Fish...

    Or, teach him...which they will...and he will see for himself! :D

    He might see a shiney ring...on his broken finger! :)

    :star:
  5. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    It's only been 4 days Greg.
  6. The30YardSlant

    The30YardSlant Benched

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    That was a classic example of someone trying to save face
  7. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    Seems you have experience in the matter.

    ;)


    *cough* 30 yard slant *cough*
  8. sago1

    sago1 Active Member

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    Here's a good article on Ellis: Walking In Greg's Shoes by Mickey Spagnola - Email - DallasCowboys.com Columnist
    August 2, 2006 5:38 PM Change Font Size A A A A

    OXNARD, Calif. - Took a walk from the locker room to the mess hall with Greg Ellis the other day.

    You know you guys, some of you haven't been very sympathetic to his predicament. Actually, pretty hard on the guy in some of those e-mails. Wish you could have walked along with us.

    Gregory Lemont Ellis is one of the nicest guys I've come across in this game. You would have enjoyed the conversation, and I'm guessing you'd have a better understanding where Ellis is coming from on this entire ordeal.

    Now it's kind of an ordeal, this deal of Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells experimenting with the eight-year veteran defensive end moving to outside linebacker, a position he has never played, only because Ellis has been leery of the move, and somewhat balking. Not on the field, mind you, but in ways just to let the organization know he's not been happy with his guinea pig status.

    Yeah, he worked out on his own during the off-season, and then didn't attend the team's OTA's. And after letting everyone know he was not happy with his situation during the mini-camp, he reiterated his position on the tarmac of Point Mugu Naval Air Station upon arrival by saying, "I don't want to be here."

    But since, Ellis hadn't said a word to the media throng just waiting to fan the embers until Tuesday after practice. And he really had been quite polite avoiding everyone, the previous two days telling those following him off the field after practice "Tomorrow . . . tomorrow," and then when tomorrow arrives, he says "tomorrow" again until today.

    So we walked and talked after he had showered Sunday. He reiterated his position. I told him he was fighting a losing battle. He sort of knew. I told him the battle he's fighting is the same one guys in the NFL, which does not guarantee player contracts, have been fighting for like ever. He knew that, too, but thinks there should be some concessions made for guys being asked to switch positions, especially this late in their careers. Told him that's a collective bargaining deal, which he's well aware of, since he's been the team's NFLPA rep the past several years.

    Told him it seems as if they were putting him at outside linebacker in passing situations so far, that the only difference seemed to be rushing from a two-point stance instead of a three-point stance. He said he's got no problem with that, but eventually he would be asked to drop into coverage, and he's worried about that since he's gong to be 31 in two weeks and has never been asked to do that.

    Funny, the very next day he was asked to drop in coverage. My goodness, on one play, from his left outside linebacker spot, he was asked to step into the slot against Terrell "Friggin" Owens.

    Now that's what he's been talkin' about - worrying about.

    Of course they weren't asking Ellis to run with the gazelle. Just re-route him and cover in the flat. Well Owens went into the flat left, and there was Ellis cutting off the angle. The pass was incomplete.

    But later he was dropping with Jason Witten. He kinda got lost in space, which he fears will happen. And in the next practice, he ended up chasing a receiver my way to the sideline, and he exaggerated his run out after the incompletion to right where I was kneeling to sort of emphasize what he had been saying to me. It was actually kind of funny, really. We both had a good laugh.

    So Tuesday, and remember this is just the fourth day of training camp practice, so probably shouldn't jump to any conclusions just yet, I asked Parcells how Ellis has looked dropping into coverage.

    "We're just giving him some work on that," Parcells said. "He's doing pretty well."

    Bill has mentioned how he's successfully made this conversion with other guys such as Willie McGinest and Tony McGee. When I mentioned that to Ellis, he says, yeah, but Cleveland tried to do the same thing with Kenard Lang two years ago when moving to a 3-4 defense, and when it didn't work out so swell, well he was released. Ellis was thinking, that could be me.

    So that's why I asked Parcells if learning to drop into coverage was a difficult transition for the McGinests and McGees of the world. Here is how he responded, and probably shed some clearer light on this situation:

    "I don't know what we're doing here with Ellis. I think you guys are way, way ahead of (us). We're just trying to give him some things that will increase the versatility of our defense, to not only include the versatility of Greg Ellis, but to also include DeMarcus Ware.

    "Our ability to appear in one kind of front and make them identify somebody and do something else with the same people on the field increases our versatility, and that's a little of what we're really trying to do."

    If you are following along at home, and this is basically how defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer explained this all to me, if you have a legitimate pass-rush threat on the opposite side from Ware when you are in your base defense, then teams can't make too many concessions to blocking Ware, who by the way has just about been, as they say in the business
    "unblockable" here in camp.

    "He's ready to rock," was what Parcells said of his second-year linebacker's camp so far.

    Also, if you have five big guys on the line of scrimmage, which is the look the Cowboys give when Ellis is at outside linebacker, then you have spread out the responsibilities of the offensive linemen into one-on-one assignments, with few double teams and no one available to pick off the two inside linebackers unless you want to try to block those glorified defensive ends playing linebacker with a tight end and/or running back.

    Like instead of the center and guard doubling your nose, or one guard picking off a linebacker, you're making them account for your five-man front. But again, to make this all work, Ellis must drop into coverage every once in a while, otherwise teams will simply know that when he's in the game he's coming after the quarterback and can game-plan that.

    "If we can just find out what he can do and what he can't do, and see how we can fit him in," says Zimmer of the approach the Cowboys are taking with Ellis this camp. "He's smart. Was a basketball player. He doesn't understand all the concepts of coverage - yet - but was just the second day."

    Ellis laughs, pointing out they are talking about watching this route or that route, and he says, "I'm just finding out what a hook and curl is."

    Now this whole experiment makes a whole lot of sense to me, and probably makes sense to Ellis. It's just that Greg is a known worry-wart. He's a perfectionist, and is worried about change so late in his career. He's also worried about his security, i.e. money. Can't really blame him for that.

    But just seems to me Ellis has been too valuable - and is too valuable - for the Cowboys to do something that would waste his talent. After all, the question you must ask yourself, especially those espousing the theory of trading Ellis: Besides Ware, where else are you going to get eight sacks if Ellis isn't here? Come on, who? And, got you any pass-rushing nickel ends for the side opposite Ware?

    Because if you don't, Ware will be neutralized.

    Now when Ellis finally spoke with the media after Tuesday's practice he mellowed his stance considerably, from "not wanting to be here" to "how I am as a person, and I will fulfill my obligations. I'm a football player.

    "I'm a little more optimistic now because I see (Parcells) wants me to be part of it. He's done an ultra sell job."

    So when our walk ended, and Greg went on and on, it's apparent he's uncomfortable with the situation, but he's such a nice guy, his anger probably doesn't translate the way, say T.O.'s did last year in Philadelphia. In fact, it doesn't even seem to translate on the field.

    Zimmer said he asked his coaches if they have seen any change in Ellis, either in the meeting room or on the field, wanting to know if his veteran leader is half-assing it out there because he "doesn't want to be here," as he said that Thursday afternoon.

    "They all said they can't see any difference," Zimmer said, and Ellis followed on Tuesday by pointing out that if this doesn't work "it won't be because of a lack of effort."

    That's Greg. Too bad you aren't here to see all this for yourself, too.
  9. The30YardSlant

    The30YardSlant Benched

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    Cliff notes?
  10. ddh33

    ddh33 Active Member

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    I understand Greg Ellis' predicament. I think most fans do. At the same time, it's hard to find anyone who thinks he has handled this the right way.

    I have always thought Greg was an important part of this team. It always sounded to me like Jerry and Bill thought that too. It seems the only person who didn't know was Greg.

    I always thought that Bill wasn't trying to sabotage anyone's career. I thought he was trying to do what was best for the team. I even believed him when he said that he thought this made Greg Ellis a better player. It seems the only person who didn't believe that was Greg.

    Now, we are hearing that Ellis is getting a lot of opportunities to work on these unfamiliar parts of his game. I'm sure it's going to be challenging at times. But I don't think he's going to be asked to run with TO 30 yards down the field. If he can help in the flat and cover his area, he's going to help a lot...

    Now, Greg Ellis just needs to be convinced.
  11. wileedog

    wileedog Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary this is the best stuff Ellis has said in about a year. At least he's trying, and while I understand his lack of confidence (especially 3 days in) it was quite refreshing to hear him not whine about wanting to leave.

    MOst of the reports about Ellis have been positive in his new gig - maybe, just maybe, Parcells understands a little bit about turning undersized DE's into pass rushing OLBers. And maybe that might dawn on Ellis sometime in the coming weeks.
  12. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    ZING!

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