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Q&A about Mark Anderson

Alright, so Mark Anderson is a Buffalo Bill. I keep wanting to say Tim Anderson, remember him? 10 sacks sounds great on paper, but do we really know anything about this guy? Of course not. Here’s where we bring in Stephen Sheehan from our sister website Foxboro Blog to give us the scoop on Anderson’s impact for the Patriots. Also, I reached out to Midway Illustrated -the Bears website on bloguin- to see what happened to Anderson in Chicago.  First up, the Pats point of view:

1) What type of player is Anderson? Strengths and weaknesses? 
Anderson is a very good situational pass rusher who is stretched out as a starter. His best asset is his athleticism and ability to bend. He uses his speed rush effectively, but is limited in his pass rush repertoire. He lacks the lower body strength to consistently hold up against the run and relies too much on his speed rush.

2) How come Anderson never started?
The Patriots envisioned Anderson as a situational pass rusher who could come on the field for Shaun Ellis or Brandon Deadrick on third downs. By limiting his snaps, he’s able to stay fresh and do what he does best- get after the quarterback. I do think he can start in Buffalo because he’s playing with excellent talent around him, but he can be targeted in the run game.

3) How does he play against the run?
He performed better than expected but he lacks the girth and strength to hold the point of attack. He’s too small at 255 to face offensive tackles on a consistent basis. He grades out as a slightly below average run defender in my book if he’s a starter.

4) Is Anderson better suited to play in a 4-3 or 3-4? Why?
I’d be interested to see him play in a 3-4 because he has more space to operate in. However, I don’t think he’d be able to set the edge in the run game. By that token, his best position is to play weakside defensive end in a 4-3 where he can take advantage of one-on-one matchups.

5) Dave Wannstedt really likes quick defensive ends, does Anderson fit that mold?
Anderson definitely fits the bill of a quick defensive end. I do think he has a tendency to waste some motion with his hands during his initial get-off, but he’s certainly one of the more athletic defensive ends in the league.

6) Why did he do nothing the past few years with Chicago and Houston, only to thrive in New England?
Teams were able to figure him out and he proved that he wasn’t as effective as a starter. He also didn’t play with great talent on the defensive line in Chicago since Peppers wasn’t there and Tommie Harris was beginning his decline. Houston relied solely on Williams until the past year when they upgraded big time. Anderson benefited from a limited role and teams having to game plan for Andre Carter and Vince Wilfork.

7) What were his best performances this past season?
I think his two best performances came against the Broncos. He stepped up in the regular season game (2 sacks and 3 tackles) after Andre Carter went down. He also really excelled in the playoffs, racking up a 2.5 sacks. He was extremely active and a nightmare with his speed.

8) Do you think this is a good deal for the Bills?
I don’t particularly like the financial commitment because his past performance indicates he isn’t best suited to be a full-time player. However, in terms of a scheme fit, I think it’s both good for the team and player. He should compliment Mario Williams’ power game with his speed and should face single teams because of the talent of the front four.

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Here is Brett Solesky from Midway Illustrated to tell us the deal on Anderson’s time in Chicago.

1) Why was Anderson so successful in Chicago during his rookie year?
Anderson was successful his rookie year because he was primarily a third down specialist.  Anderson was simply asked to go out and rush the QB on third down.  Anderson wasn’t very consistent in the pressure he got, but he got a lot of sacks in bunches throughout the 2006 season.  His rookie year was very up and down, but his 12 sacks helped get the Bears into the Super Bowl.

2) Why did his sack totals go down every year after?
During his second season, Anderson started 14 games and at no point did he come anywhere near his 12 sack rookie year production.  He was a liability against the run. And because of that and playing every down, you could see he was worn down when he tried to rush the passer.  In 2008, the Bears went back to making Anderson a third down rush specialist, and again he struggled. 2009 was the same thing as 2008. Do you see the pattern? In 2010, he started out with the Bears and played in five games but continued to struggle. Soon thereafter, the Bears cut him.

3) Why did the Bears get rid of him?
Lack of production, lack of growth within the defense, and he just never got better.  He was always a liability against the run in Chicago and was an under-sized DE built to be a 3-4 OLB.  He excelled in New England’s hybrid 3-4 scheme, where he didn’t have the same responsibilities he had in Chicago.  He has never been a four down DE, as he’s struggled each and every time he’s been asked to be a full time starting DE.  I saw the season he had with New England and I congratulate him on bouncing back, but I wouldn’t want him back in Chicago. He is a very up and down player. His career in Chicago was baffling at how he went from having a big rookie year to bombing out.  Rod Marinelli worked a lot with him and tried to get what he could out of him, but Anderson never got better.

Joe

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