Something we’ll be keeping a close eye on this off-season is Jermaine Phillips (aka Flip) transition into replacing LB Derrick Brooks at weakside linebacker. There’s only been one day of Mini-Camp, but so far so good…
Phillips on the transition:
"It's been interesting, I feel like I'm moving slow. I feel like I'm a linebacker already, but I'm still learning. It's coming, though. It was a smooth transition. I lined up in the right places and things like that." per the Pewter Report
LB Barrett Ruud (aka Stache) on Flips transition:
"I've always said he should just come play down here with me. He's only a few steps away. I told him now he can add a few pounds, eat all the cookies he wants and be fat and happy." per the Pewter Report
Jim Bates on Jermaine at WLB:
"This is the first day, but we did have a few sessions with him two weeks ago. Today I paid a little more attention to Flip than I did the other players and I thought he got an excellent start. We didn't go against the run this morning, we just did 7-on-7 against the offense. He's picked it up well and done some things surprisingly well." per the Pewter Report
I’m actually pulling for Flip to make the transition. Sabby isn’t going to gain anymore experience by giving Jermaine breathers here and there or by playing special teams. His continued growth will come with learning on the job. While that may not be the best remedy for this defense, it is the cards that we have been dealt. If Raheem and Bates can find a way to get the best players on the field at the same time we will be better for it, no matter how unorthodox those players may look in new positions. The results at the end of the day are all that matter.