The Nose Tackle Game

Announcer Guy:  From fabulous Reliant Stadium in sweltering Houston, Texas, this is "The Nose Tackle Game!"  "The Nose Tackle Game" is brought to you by Clorox brand drinking bleach.  Are you hosting a Houston Texans game watching party?  Has the defense played like brain damaged sheep...again?  Then turn to Clorox brand drinking bleach to make the pain go away.  Clorox brand drinking bleach, ahhhh, just feel that stomach lining burn.  And now, here's your host:  UprootedTexan!

UprootedTexan:  Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

Audience Member:  You suck!

UT:  Ah, another fine audience today.  This is the Nose Tackle Game, where one lucky NFL defensive coordinator will ask a series of questions ranging from world politics, nuclear physics, and their comprehension of defensive schemes to our panel of eligible nose tackles, without seeing them first.  At the end of the show, he must pick a starting nose tackle from one of these players.  And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere they are...after the jump.

Announcer Guy:  Our first nose tackle has been a Texan ever since he was drafted as a fetus in 2007.  He enjoys obscure Moldavian films, helping the poor, and replaying video of him chasing a frightened Matt Cassel around the field as time expired during their game against the Chiefs in 2010.  Say hello to...Amobi Okoye.

(Polite applause, sneeze)

Announcer Guy:  Nose tackle number two is relatively new, having only been drafted last year, possibly due to a clerical error.  He likes actually seeing the playing field, and used to play, as a surprise to nobody, tight end!  A round of applause for Earl Mitchell.

(Sound of dead horses being beaten)

Announcer Guy:  Our third nose tackle has been an abject failure at each stop in his long and pitiful career.  His hobbies included eating Doritos, disproving that our sponsor, Golden Corral, is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and taking up space.  Please give a warm welcome to...Shaun Cody.

(Tepid applause, crickets chirping, light snoring)

Announcer Guy:  Our next contender was just drafted 11th overall recently from the University of Wisconsin.  He's an ideal fit for the 3-4 at defensive end, but with Mario and Antonio at DE, he has to go somewhere.  This is...J.J. Watt.

(Noisy applause, a man in a panda suit runs past)

Announcer Guy:  And finally, he's a big galoot and a favorite of Texans fans everywhere.  He enjoys devouring quarterbacks' souls, hunting unicorns for fun and profit, and using  his perfect calligraphy skills to send death threats to offensive tackles.  He's on tonight for the same reason Watt is:  they have to put him somewhere.  It's Mario Williams!

(Wild applause)

UT:  Now, to keep our defensive coordinator from hearing the introductions of these nose tackles, we've place him in a soundproof booth and played Justin Bieber's greatest hits so he'll keep his hands over his ears.  Assuming he's still sane, please welcome to the show:  Wade Phillips.

Audience (bows repeatedly):  We're not worthy, we're not worthy, we're not worthy...

UT:  Wade, thanks for being on tonight.

Wade Phillips:  Aw, shucks.  Glad to be here, UT.

UT:  Before we begin, I'd like our nose tackles to say a quick hello to Wade, maybe you can get some idea of what kind of player these guys are from their voices.  Nose tackle number 1 say hello to Wade.

Okoye:  Hi, Wade.

UT:  Nose tackle number 2.

Mitchell:  Hello, Coach.

UT:  Nose tackle number 3.

Cody:  (mumble, crunch), Wade.

UT (shakes head):  Nose tackle number 4.

Watt:  Hiya, Coach.

UT:  And Nose tackle number 5.

Williams:  'Sup, Coach.

Wade:  NT number one, tell me a little bit about yourself and what you would bring to my defensive unit.

Okoye:  Well, I'm about 6'2" and weigh 315 now.  I've been lauded for my ability to stop the run.

Wade (perks up):  Really?  By whom?

Okoye:  Pancakes.

Wade (slumps down):  I...see.

Okoye:  I have also only been playing football for a total of eight years.  If you look at my combine numbers from 2007, my vertical jump is 30" and had 29 reps at 225 lbs. in my bench press.  I am still strong and explosive just as I was then.  In 2007, a lot of scouts thought I could play as a nose tackle in a 3-4.  I still have a lot of potential as a pass rusher and I work hard, and would do so as your starting nose tackle, Coach.

Cody:  I heard your strength was marginal at best.

Okoye:  He wasn't talking to you!

Wade:  NT number 2, why would you be a better fit for my 3-4 scheme?

Mitchell:  I'm not as big as NT number 1.  I'm only 291, but then again, you and Bill Kollar like those smaller nose tackles, like Jay Ratliff back in Dallas.  I rely more on my quickness to disrupt the offensive line and I'm younger than NT number 1.

Okoye:  I'm only 23!

Mitchell:  I mean I've only had one year of coaching under Frank Bush, as opposed to two years of Richard Smith and two of Mr. Bush.  And if we're going by what scouts have said, I'm also a good fit for a 3-4 defense.

Okoye:  Yeah, as a defensive end.

Mitchell:  Pipe down, Junior.

Okoye:  We're the same age!

Mitchell:  Anyway, I'm used to dealing with more one-on-one matchups than your standard nose tackle.  However, since you're looking for a one-gap tackle, I think I fit that role perfectly.  Lastly, I haven't had much of a chance to get on the field and show what I can do.  And if you give me the chance, you won't be sorry because I have a high motor.

Watt:  We all have high motors!

Cody:  I don't (crunch).

Wade:  NT number 3, what would you bring to my defense that the others don't?

Cody:  Right now, I'm only 310 so I'm not far off from NT number 1's size.  But I love me some bacon (munch, munch), and I did love me some Golden Corral until they forbade me from coming back.  I can put the bulk on and be your human shield, like Jamal Williams in San Diego, or better still, Ted Washington!  He was 400 or so, right?

Wade:  Um...Yesss, he was.  Are you just trying to find an excuse to get bigger?

Cody:  Um...no.  But consider this.  My entire career has been with Detroit and Houston.  I haven't had a lot of good coaching around me, or whatever.  Would I have to actually move my feet as nose tackle?

Wade:  Probably.

Cody:  Crap.  Can I get some nachos here?

Wade:  Nose tackle number 4, I--I mean WE, Kubiak and I, drafted you with the 11th pick, so you'll likely be starting somewhere on my defense.  Where do you see yourself making the most benefit?

Watt:  I've been a defensive end for quite a while now.  And I'm really good at it.  But with Antonio Smith and Mario Williams at defensive end, I think I would make a pretty good nose tackle.  I'm quick, I like to pursue the quarterback, which you prefer in a nose tackle rather than a run-stuffer.  I think with Mario, Antonio, and me as your defensive line, that would cause headaches for any offensive coordinator in the league.

Wade:  Interesting point, nose tackle number 4.  Nose tackle number 5, same question.

Williams:  I'm a prototypical DE in a 4-3 system, so all this is all kinds of new to me.  I'm a pass rusher, pure and simple.  So there are two options you can do with me.  Either put me at WOLB like you did with DeMarcus Ware in Dallas or, since you like to be creative, place me at NT between Antonio and J.J. Watt and let me tee off against any center they dare to put up against me.  I may not be as quick as Jay Ratliff, but I am strong.  I'll make Chris Myers have night terrors just from having practiced against me.  Peyton Manning will crumple to the ground like David Carr when I'm at NT.  Also, I'm only 10 pounds lighter and two inches taller than Ratliff.  Did I also mention that I have powerful upper body strength similar to Ratliff?

UT:  Thank you, NTs.  So we'll leave it to you, BRB.  Who do you think Wade should choose as his starting nose tackle next season:  Amobi Okoye, Earl Mitchell, Shaun Cody, J.J. Watt, or Mario Williams?

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