For this week’s film review I thought to myself “Why not take a look at the Defensive Line for once?”. So I tossed it out to everyone on Twitter for who they would like me to take a closer look at, and undrafted rookie Anthony Lanier was the most popular suggestion. So let’s take a closer look at what Lanier did against the Vikings.
Lanier’s season up to this point has been unspectacular, due to being one of the healthy scratches on the game day roster. After having a very strong showing in training camp and preseason Lanier was a fan favorite to make the 53 man roster on the DL. Fans, including myself, have been waiting to see him finally get some regular season action and now he’s finally getting it. Unfortunately it’s only bee a limited number of reps that he’s getting but as you’ll see shortly, he’s playing his way to get more.
This play was Lanier’s very first play in the game. Vikings run a toss play and Lanier is so explosive off the snap that he ALMOST hits Sam Bradford before he gets the toss off. Even though the Bradford still gets the toss off, Lanier gets a huge hit on him. This is a very impressive play by the rookie, especially coming off the bench. Plays like this leave an impression on coaches and they’ll put you out there more if you continue to make plays like this.
Lanier then follows that play with this one. Watch him chase down the tight end 20+ yards down the field. Does he make a tackle or a sack here? No, but the hustle and effort out of him here is incredible and like the last play makes a huge impression on coaches. Effort and hustle like this gets you on the field a lot more if coaches know that you’re going to put out that effort like this. That is the classic “pursuit drill” seen in game action.
Later in the game, Lanier got a chance to rush the quarterback from the Nose Tackle position as you’ll see in the clip above. After stumbling slightly off the snap, Lanier slants across the Center’s face, dips his shoulders, and rips his right arm underneath the Center’s arms. He then gets a huge hit on Sam Bradford for the near sack. On this next play he almost gets home on another sack:
Here Lanier gets a one on one shot against the left guard. Off the snap he does a great job of working his hands by using a club-and-swim move. He could have done a better job of staying tighter off the edge of the guard’s left shoulder instead of rounding it out after getting past him. It probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference on this play though, because Bradford got rid of the ball very quickly. Looks like it was a designed quick throw, so Bradford only needed to take a three step drop.
Lanier may not have gotten a ton of reps in his game against the Vikings but in the small amount of chances he got, he made an impact. It should be noted that Lanier was on the field for most of the Vikings’ final drive of the game. I think the coaches are taking notice to how he is performing and will look to get him more reps as the rest of the season unfolds. This defensive line needs young talent to step up, maybe not for this season, but for the future. Lanier’s development will be very interesting to watch.
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