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Saturday, March 19, 2005
Bashing Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has received
I've been reading a lot of posts here recently and have to admit suprise at some of the bashing Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has received. I've read a fair number of posts in here complaining about KGB's liability as a run defender. The Packer fans who expect KGB to be a run defender AND pass rusher simply do not understand his job responsibility and have also set their expectations too high.
Against the run KGB's assignment is to cover a predetermined gap and hold his ground OR force the runner to someone else's gap. If the runner is coming directly at him, KGB's job is not to necessarily to commit in a direction to make the tackle, but rather to hold his blocker and force the play inside where the inside linebackers should be free to make the play. This is one reason why you saw Barnett have an incredible 162 tackles for the season.
On outside running plays, Gbaja-Biamila's job is to get upfield and into the tackle, before the the tackle is able to get outside of him. Here again, he is not expected to make the play until he sees the running back declare which gap he is taking, then pursue.
Because the Packers do not have a strong pass rusher on the opposite end of the line to complement him, in my opinion KGB has had the toughest task on the defense of taking on double team blocks from the tackle and tight end. In cases when the tight end releases and block a linebacker it is KGB's job to control the tight end and tackle and use up two blockers. No one can deny that he has done that.
He is also expected to be the Packers primary rushing end. Here again, he led the team despite facing double teams and despite going against players who are considerably heavier and stronger (Minnesota Vikings left tackle Bryant McKinnie is an example of a player who weighs more than 100 lbs than KGB!).
Remember that this guy was drafted as a right end pass rusher. However, more has been asked of him because the team is weak on the opposite end of the line. If the Packers had a complementary pass rushing end and a run stuffing tackle other than Cleditus Hunt, the statistics that everyone is looking for would skyrocket because teams no longer would have their focus on KGB as the primary player they can double team.
Just remember Packer fans who bash KGB: There are very few players in the league who are asked to be the anchor of the defensive line in terms of the pass rush and stuffing the run like Reggie White had done. They certainly never weighed 248lbs.