Q&A with Schobel

Right end Aaron Schobel had a monstrous game vs. Minnesota, recording three sacks, which tied him for the NFL lead. He had a sack on the Ron Edwards touchdown in the fourth quarter. Schobel said he was initially credited with the whole sack, but the NFL took half a sack away from him and gave it to Pat Williams, who was also in on the play. Williams was credited with the forced fumble. Mike Doser sat down and talked to Schobel in this Shout! exclusive.

Mike Doser: A lot of people didn't expect this line to do well early on, particularly with the preseason you guys had. What's been the difference?

Aaron Schobel: In preseason, the starting front didn't play the whole game so it's hard to get sacks in a quarter, quarter and a half. You don't really get in the flow of the game. So in that little time you don't really feel the guy you're playing against out enough. I figure you got to show the guy a couple of different moves before you get any sacks. They say 100 snaps before each sack is pretty good. I probably didn't have 100 snaps the whole preseason. For me, sacks always come in bunches. Last year, I probably had all six and a half in nine games.

MD: How do you think you're personally doing in this defense now in your second year?

AS: I think I understand it more. I understand that I just can't run around these guys. I got to counter move. I gotta be able to come underneath, spin inside, do stuff like that. Set them up too. O'Neil (Gilbert) is helping me with that – the new guy. Coach Levra is more of a "tell you what you're going to get" kind of coach. O'Neil is helping me more with one-on-one rushes.

And I'm understanding stuff better. Last year, I wouldn't know what the guy was doing to me until I watched it on film. Little stuff like that has helped me.

And I tell you, the secondary is playing a lot better and that always gives you a big chance. The first sack I got (vs. Minnesota), I was blocked (by Everett Lindsay) and I just kept running. So with the secondary playing better, it gives you more time to get there. You can have the perfect move and not get there if the receiver is open. That's why sacks are so big, because it's the whole team.

MD: What's your strategy in setting a left tackle up?

AS: Run upfield two, three times, try to just run the corner. Next time, I know he's floating on me, trying to stop my speed and I might boot him or something like that, come underneath, get him going upfield then stop and come underneath. Little stuff like that.

MD: Don't they decide the stunts that you guys do along the line during a play from the sideline?

AS: They'll give us a high call or something like that, then we can make our own games on the field with hand signals. Or I can just tell the guys, cover me, and that means I'm going to do whatever. If I come inside, the tackle (Pat Williams or Ron Edwards) work outside on containment.

MD: So they took half a sack away from you and gave it to Pat. I don't think that's in the stats yet.

AS: The NFL looks into all that because sacks impact so many guys' contracts.

MD: Was the run stopping affected last Sunday because you guys were in the nickel and concentrating so much on Moss?

AS: A lot of the Vikings yards came on draws, it was a pass and then they ran with it. They weren't just running downhill on us. If they're doing draws and stuff like that, that means we're getting after them pretty good. That's a good thing.

MD: How do you think the line is coming together in general. You have Chidi Ahanotu at left end now and Ron Edwards at under tackle. That's a new lineup, compared to what you had in the preseason.

AS: Ron is going to be really good. He's so powerful and explosive. When he really gets it all together, you watch, he's going to be something serious. He's getting better. He's getting a lot better. One-on-one, they can't stop him. So when he puts it into 11-on-11, he's going to be serious.

MD: What do you want to improve?

AS: I need some more pass rush moves. I still need to do that. Overall, nothing special. Little things – getting off blocks better, playing better against the run. I got to start playing the reverse a little better. I've always struggled with that because I run. I feel I can make every tackle running away. When they cut back, I feel I can make it, and that gets me in trouble sometimes. So I got to make sure nothing's coming before I do that next time.

MD: Do you like the line rotation?

AS: It's pretty good. I'm playing probably 80 percent of the snaps. It's good. It's a long season. You need a break every once in a while, especially in pass rushing. When they're throwing the ball, if you rush hard every time, you're going to get tired. I don't care who you are.

MD: Someone mentioned to me that you need a break because you're light, compared to other ends.

AS: I ain't that light. I'm 265. I weigh more than Grant Irons. Some people just say that just because I'm built bad. That's what they tell me. They say I got short arms with a big belly, oh well. They told me here yesterday. They say I look fat on TV, so OK.


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