line, it is a'changin'
To hear certain folks -- okay,
me -- tell it, "the Cobras would have to be pretty satisfied with their
line play in 2000."
like I was just a bit off base with that statement, from my preview of
the 2000-01 free agency period. In all, the Cobras signed 13 new
linemen this offseason, shed three and re-signed five.
Taking a play
from the playbook of the NFC Champion New York Giants, the Cobras went
after veteran leadership on their line, with three free agent signees,
Kelvin Ingram (Arizona), Rob Stanavitch (Los Angeles)
and Webbie Burnett (Orlando), ready to step in and give the
team an entirely-new set of starters.
The three have
very different backgrounds. Stanavitch, a six-year veteran and AFL
journeyman, had 13 tackles and a sack last year for the Avengers.
Ingram, before spending the last two seasons in the desert, won an ArenaBowl
ring with Orlando in 1998. He had 11 tackles and a sack last season
on a Rattlers line that emphasized pass protection, not pressuring the
quarterback. Burnett, finally, was a first team All-Arena lineman
back in 1994, and re-signed with the Predators last season after being
courted heavily by Los Angeles. Though an injury cut short his season
last year and he finished with only one tackle, he is the favorite going
into camp to replace Jerry Sharp at center. He brings
the experience of playing in six ArenaBowls, including one in which Ingram
was his teammate.
the team to battle for a spot is a flock of rookies from a whole variety
of sources. The cream of the crop is Silas Demary,
an All-af2 selection in the AFL's minor league last year. Demary
led the af2 with 12 sacks and three safeties, and was named MVP of his
team, the Norfolk Nighthawks. Hoping to beef up -- literally -- the
Cobras' line is Adrian Luster, a two-year starter on the
defensive line for The Citadel who bench presses 610 pounds and has NFL
camp experience. Anthony Jenkins, a three-time All-Southern
Conference selection at Western Carolina, had 14.5 sacks in his college
career, and 73 tackles as a senior.
additions are Jason Berger, Charles Dorsey,
Chris Mintz and Harold Williams, along with
UNC alum Allen Mogridge and N.C. State alum Lonnie
Gilbert, both of whom are on the exempt roster while playing in
the Cobras retained the services of Hunter Adams, Tyrant
Marion, Dary Myricks and Carl Reeves,
some of their starters on the line last year, but lost leading sacker Brad
Keeney to the XFL.
report was completed, Mogridge, Gilbert and Keeney were activated from
the exempt roster.]
Gone too is
Sharp, the veteran leader of last year's line with the Quote-o-matic mouth,
who was a free agent not re-signed by the team.
What this all
means is that, barring a training camp surprise, the entire starting unit
for the Cobras will be different -- more seasoned and more skilled.
Behind them, last year's starters will be pushed strongly by some of this
year's new signees, particularly Demary and Luster. The improvement
should pay huge dividends in all facets of the game: Fred McNair
will have more time to throw, Marrio Grier will have more
room to run and the defensive secondary will get help in the form of quarterback
for all its aerial acrobatics, is still a war in the trenches. With
new troops, the Cobras hope to win a lot more battles in 2001.
THE BOTTOM LINE
up the talk about making changes by signing serious veterans and promising
Worst move: Failing
to re-sign Sharp, who was valuable both on the field and as a team spokesman
Keep your eye on:
Luster, who's in training for some type of Strongest Man competition -
AFL veteran Webbie
Burnett is among three free agent signees on a revamped line.
(FA from Arizona), Rob Stanavitch (FA from Arizona), Webbie Burnett (FA
from Orlando), Silas Demary (af2), Jason Berger (rookie), Charles Dorsey
(rookie), Chris Mintz (rookie), Adrian Luster (rookie), Harold Williams
(rookie), Anthony Jenkins (rookie)
|Jerry Sharp (FA
not re-signed), Dwaine Robinson (cut), Emerson Martin (retired)
Tyrant Marion, Dary Myricks, Carl Reeves
|Lonnie Gilbert (XFL), Allen Mogridge
(XFL), Brad Keeney (XFL)
Brian's Depth Chart
|1. Webbie Burnett
|2. Kelvin Ingram
|3. Rob Stanavitch
|4. Hunter Adams
|5. Tyrant Marion
|6. Dary Myricks
|7. Silas Demary
|8. Adrian Luster
What do you think?
Discuss the Cobras' situation at
OL/DL in the Rating
the Roster thread of the CZ Forum.