REAR ENTRIES: Getting Educated And Patriotic

Published: June 30th, 2010

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HARDY NICKERSON AT ROOKIE SYMPOSIUM: Hardy Nickerson was one of the featured speakers at this year’s rookie symposium, the multi-day rookie convention that desperately tries to teach young players to not do the stupid shit that many of them will go ahead and do anyway.

“When I got a vision that I wanted to be a linebacker and got a taste of it — got a taste of that first contact, that first tackle — man, I immediately went and started studying and finding out about all the great players that played the position.”

Nickerson is smart and cool and old school, so he went and studied and became the pivotal player in a complete reformation of one of the league’s historically worst teams. These days, rookies have dreams of holding out after two years into a six-year deal because they made a highlight reel somewhere. Plus they play their stereos too loud. YOU CALL THAT MUSIC?

(For the record, I don’t feel this way about Sean Weatherspoon, the featured rookie in the linked clip. He will go on to do great things for the Falcons, some of them at the Bucs’ expense.)

STEVE WHITE IS SMART: People throw around terms like “under tackle” and “over front” like they know what they’re talking about. People like me. Steve White decided to throw all of us poseurs a bone and explain the differences between the under and over fronts of a 4-3 defense so we don’t look like complete dumbasses next time.

In our normal base defense with four defensive linemen we normally line up in whats called an “Over” Alignment. What that means is when there is one tight end the defensive end to that side (what we call the under tackle)lines up head up over the tight end. The defensive tackle on the tight end side (the call side) lines up in a 3 technique on the outside shoulder of the guard on that side of the center. The defensive tackle away from the tight end (away from the call) lines up in a cocked alignment between the center and guard with his hand on the outside foot of the center. The defensive end away from the tightend (away from the call) lines up in a five with his hand on the outside foot of the offensive tackle.

He goes on for several more paragraphs like that, so if you’re into the technical stuff, it’s gold. Pull it out Good Will Hunting-style when you hear some uneducated prick in a bar talking about how he would use the linebackers if he was the coach. But make sure he’s smaller than you before you do it. Uneducated pricks tend to have short fuses.

SANDY CHARBONEAU IS SERVING THE COUNTRY: I’ve been hard on Sandy Charboneau over the years for being unnecessarily mean and for wrapping our beloved cheerleaders in what were essentially colorful burkas for last year’s calendar shoot. She left last year and was replaced by Cathy Boyd, and I always wondered what happened to Sandy. It turns out she is now working for Armed Forces Entertainment, the division of the military that sets up all the fun stuff our soldiers do to take their minds off all the shitty stuff they do. So even though it’s not exactly front line infantry, she is doing her part to serve the country, and I respect that.

Sandy recently participated in the P-R-O convention here in Atlanta as an instructor representing AFE. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a single Buccaneer cheerleader at that convention, and I have some really kick-ass binoculars, so I think I would have noticed. Maybe the Glazers didn’t want to spend the money to send them this year. That sad thing is that I’m not even kidding. That’s probably really the reason. Hell, they went to sexy Caribbean islands and the Keys for the calendar shoots a few years ago. Now they basically go to St. Pete, and you know it’s because it costs them nothing to do it. Next year they’re going to shoot it on the practice field. I can handle spending cuts on free agents and equipment, but not writing the checks to make the cheerleaders the absolute best squad in the league is damn near intolerable.