The San Francisco 49ers have been working to turn Tank Carradine back into more of an edge rusher role, after wasting much of the last two years. He dropped 20-something pounds, and has been slowly returning to a role that seemed to be where he was best suited coming out of college.
On Thursday, defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was asked about Tank's development. Mangini is happy with his growth, and pointed to an example in practice where he did something particularly well. Given how Jim Tomsula praises the practice work, we should probably hold off on getting too excited.
Mangini discussed the idea of Tank as a 3-4 outside linebacker vs. more of a four-man front edge rusher. He seemed to suggest a transition process, but obviously we'll have to wait and see if Tank can actually execute the transition. And of course, we don't know Mangini's future with the team. If Tomsula sticks around, I don't see Mangini leaving, but the defensive philosophy is not exactly locked into place. Maybe we see a transition to more 4-3, maybe they stick in the 3-4. We'll find out plenty more early next week.
Here is a transcript of Mangini's comments about Tank.
How has DT Tank Carradine adjusted to his role these last few weeks?
"Tank's been good. Tank's shown a lot of growth. Not just in that role, but just watching him as a player and learning about him, he's embraced it. He's jumped into it. He made a really great play at practice yesterday and it was a sheer effort play and those things I've really enjoyed about Tank. I think as he gets more experience working outside, working on the edge, you'll see some more of that."
What kind of play was it?
"It was really, it was a wide receiver screen and it was a chase play. But, with that you've got to recognize the way the tackle sets you and then goes out because he's trying to get you to go inside. But, he recognized the tackle. It wasn't his traditional set. And that to me is growth because it's not clean, he's trying to disguise it and then he pushed outside. The corner did a nice job of forcing it back in and he made the play."
Do you envision him becoming a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker or is it more up for interpretation as far as him just being an edge guy?
"I think there's potential for that. There's a lot of guys that transition from hand in the dirt to a two-point stance. Sometimes it takes a year, sometimes it can take a couple years with those guys, but I've been around a ton of them. And you start them as edge guys and sub, outside guys and sub. We have some dropping zone blitzes, you've got some coverage responsibilities and then you work them into base and see how quickly they pick it up."
Do you think, in the offseason, do you want him to learn that? Where is he in the process going into the offseason? Is he going to try to be a base guy?
"Yeah, all these guys that have sub roles, we always have them slotted in base roles too because you want to build depth. So, Tank will work both those spots and in the offseason spend as much time as he possibly can really focusing on, what does that mean? What does that role entail? Because, it is pretty different and there's calls that you have to listen to and there's either-ors that you've got to get used to hearing. It's a little bit more involved than the sub stuff."