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Opposing line coach on Dontari Poe: “He took plays off”

2012 NFL Combine Getty Images

Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe absolutely blew up the Scouting Combine. He was hand timed as fast as 4.87 in the forty-yard dash at 6-foot-4 and 346 pounds. He led every player invited to Indianapolis with 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

But can Poe play football, or is he just a workout warrior?

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman interviewed one veteran college offensive line coach who game planned against Poe in Conference USA. The position coach gave Poe mixed reviews.

“He’s probably the best talent I’ve seen in several years,” said the assistant. “He took plays off and wasn’t a great effort guy, but he is a freakish talent.”

Feldman suggested that most oversized defensive linemen take some snaps off.

“Yeah,” the coach conceded. “But he took off more than most. He did get better last year than he was the year before. He just was never that productive, but I heard they didn’t require him to do that much. He was definitely someone I took into account with schemes. … I’m not at all surprised to hear that he’s blowing up at the Combine, at all.”

Poe started 30 games in college, racking up 21 1/2 tackles for loss, five sacks, and seven forced fumbles. The C-USA coaches voted him second-team all-conference in 2011.

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32 Responses to “Opposing line coach on Dontari Poe: “He took plays off””
  1. dcsween says: Feb 28, 2012 11:22 AM

    Dontari Poe sounds nothing like Albert Haynesworth. For one thing, they have different first names. For a second thing, they have different last names.

  2. vontazemebro says: Feb 28, 2012 11:23 AM

    No one is Burfict.

  3. cmich2006 says: Feb 28, 2012 11:26 AM

    This is the same ‘rep’ Ngata had coming out of Oregon…right team he could dominate.

  4. baltimorons says: Feb 28, 2012 11:29 AM

    Not a good sign. NFL scouts don’t need this guy to tell them this though. They’ll see it on scouting tapes.

  5. jtm12180 says: Feb 28, 2012 11:38 AM

    Put him on the line with Keisel and with James Harrison behind him. He might take one play off, but I guarantee you with the Steelers veterans, he wouldn’t take off another!

  6. 3yardsndust says: Feb 28, 2012 11:38 AM

    Maybe he just needs millions of dollars on the line and someone screaming in his face. Motivation is funny that way.

  7. gmsalpha says: Feb 28, 2012 11:44 AM

    There’s not a whole lot you can do to change a guy’s attitude. With the right coach, you may get him to perform, but it’s a lot more difficult than you think to change who a guy is.

    I imagine he’s a guy who will play hard in a contract year, but otherwise, looks like a red flag to me.

  8. jakek2 says: Feb 28, 2012 11:44 AM

    An offensive line coach for some other middling C-USA was talking bad about an in-conference rival? I don’t believe it.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure that I can show up and become offensive line coach for some team in C-USA.

  9. dawsonleery says: Feb 28, 2012 11:46 AM

    He will go a lot higher than he should. I could see Kansas City drafting him. They have been looking for a NT for awhile.

  10. realnflmaster says: Feb 28, 2012 11:48 AM

    @3yardsndust, just like how Haynesworth needed millions and someone screaming in his face?

    If these kids don’t have motivation is college(cough Gholston, JaMarcus) they won’t have it in the pros after getting a few extra zero’s added to their bank accounts.

  11. Michael David Smith says: Feb 28, 2012 11:52 AM

    This is NOT the same rep Haloti Ngata had at Oregon. Ngata was a first-team All-American at Oregon. No one questioned his on-field production. Poe isn’t even first-team All-Conference-USA.

  12. bikeman99 says: Feb 28, 2012 11:56 AM

    After the glowing reviews in shorts it all comes down to being a football player. The combine is secondary to what a player produces on the field.

    Understand he bought new Escalade to celebrate.

    Just don’t see the production son, not enough to spend the 15th pick in the draft anyway

  13. karlpilkington says: Feb 28, 2012 11:59 AM

    Exactly, coaches will see it on tape if its true. No need to say it out loud. Thats just ignorant.

  14. brokea$$lovesmesomeme says: Feb 28, 2012 12:04 PM

    Someone somewhere will take this guy and say to themselves I can change him, he won’t a take plays off when I coach him. The same thing will happen with Vontaze such or such

  15. boilerup1869 says: Feb 28, 2012 12:19 PM

    Anonymous naysayers are so obnoxious

  16. calvikefan1 says: Feb 28, 2012 12:32 PM

    As a former lineman in college, I don’t see how you could take plays off without getting your butt kicked. So why would you want to?

  17. richardhurtz says: Feb 28, 2012 12:38 PM

    If this “veteran college offensive line coach who game planned against Poe in Conference USA” is too much of a coward to put his name behind his words, why should anyone give a funk about his opinion.

    Seeing all of the haters who come out every draft is funny. These losers are just jealous that these kids will make more in their first NFL contract than then will make in their entire life!

    Bottom line is either put your name behind your quotes or shut the funk up!

  18. realitypolice says: Feb 28, 2012 12:47 PM

    Like I said yesterday, someone with that quickness and strength failing to stand out on the field to the point where he wasn’t even in anyone’s top 20 is a pure red flag.

    He wasn’t exactly playing in the SEC either.

  19. hatesycophants says: Feb 28, 2012 12:49 PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with richard. The veteran offensive line coach is just plain gutless.

  20. fsf7 says: Feb 28, 2012 12:51 PM

    3yardsndust says:Feb 28, 2012 11:38 AM

    Maybe he just needs millions of dollars on the line and someone screaming in his face. Motivation is funny that way.

    Most fans have never met an NFL player before, much less gotten to know any of them.

    I can honestly say that I have met and ranged from casual acquaintences (would frequent same gym and occasionally talk) to being friends with and hanging out with current/former players.

    I would say the largest misconception that fans have is that they assume the player who is on their team wants to win and succeed as much as the fan wants them to. The NFL has an extremely long list of players who had the ability to succeed, but not the will. A quick payday and a sense of entitlement for being a high draft choice happens more often than you realize.

    And no team is immune – no matter what their existing leadership is. There was no physical ability that Limas Sweed was missing, yet it still did not prevent him from completely underachieving and failing — even with Hines Ward instructing. Nor did having leadership all around him – did it keep Brandon Merriweather from being undisciplined and selfish.

  21. belairirish says: Feb 28, 2012 12:52 PM

    cmich2006 says:
    Feb 28, 2012 11:26 AM

    This is the same ‘rep’ Ngata had coming out of Oregon…right team he could dominate.

    __________________________________

    Yup, and with the name “Poe”, he is destined to be a Raven.

  22. EJ says: Feb 28, 2012 12:57 PM

    Put Dontari Poe between Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams and I bet you won’t see him on the sideline much. Add Chris Kelsay and you’ve got one terrifying front line.

    I can’t wait for the draft!!!!
    A lot more talent overall this year!

  23. ibreathefootball says: Feb 28, 2012 1:09 PM

    So he’s one of the best run stoppers in college football if not the best, but this guy decides to go anonymous and goes the coward way out to throw a couple of jabs. Funny. Wilfork 2.0 here we come!

  24. realitypolice says: Feb 28, 2012 1:35 PM

    @fsf7:

    Couldn’t agree more. And I can add the fact that no matter what they say, 90% of these guys couldn’t care less about fans.

    One of my best friends in High School played offensive line in Arizona for 10 years and says interacting with fans was most painful part (mentally) of the entire job for most players.

  25. slowclyde86 says: Feb 28, 2012 1:36 PM

    His coaching situation in Memphis was off-the-charts poor. Does not excuse his lack of production in weak conference, but it is worth considering.

  26. rexismybff says: Feb 28, 2012 2:34 PM

    dcsween says: Feb 28, 2012 11:22 AM

    Dontari Poe sounds nothing like Albert Haynesworth. For one thing, they have different first names. For a second thing, they have different last names.

    ======================

    Dontari also hasn’t been busted for trying to slide his credit card up a stranger’s bra at a nightclub. Not yet…

  27. richardhurtz says: Feb 28, 2012 2:36 PM

    How long before one of the high school heros tells us they “never took a play off” and bench press 225 20 times during their work outs at the YMCA?

  28. mswravens says: Feb 28, 2012 2:41 PM

    Michael David Smith – you are dead WRONG! Mark Schlereth blasted the Ravens for taking Haloti Ngata & went off about Ngata taking plays off, playing lazy, and that he would be a bust. Most everyone thought otherwise, but there absolutely was an undercurrent of criticism exactly like what is being said here about Poe. Put this guy on a team with veteran leadership like Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Saints, etc…and he’ll be fine.

  29. qdog112 says: Feb 28, 2012 2:48 PM

    That loser coach is NOT being looked at by the NFL. You can bet on it. Now it’s all about devaluing a kid’s worth. Leave him alone and let the teams figure it out. If they wanted your opinion – you’d at least be a scout.

  30. qdog112 says: Feb 28, 2012 2:51 PM

    realitypolice says: Feb 28, 2012 12:47 PM

    Like I said yesterday, someone with that quickness and strength failing to stand out on the field to the point where he wasn’t even in anyone’s top 20 is a pure red flag.

    He wasn’t exactly playing in the SEC either.
    *******************************
    Last time I checked Andrew Luck didn’t play in the SEC either. Didn’t seem to hurt his stock.

  31. samoanjungle says: Feb 28, 2012 3:32 PM

    “Michael David Smith says:
    Feb 28, 2012 11:52 AM
    This is NOT the same rep Haloti Ngata had at Oregon. Ngata was a first-team All-American at Oregon. No one questioned his on-field production. Poe isn’t even first-team All-Conference-USA.”
    ———————————————————
    Yes, they were saying the same thing about Ngata during that combine.
    However some speculated it was a smoke screen by teams who hoped he may fall to them. This could be the same thing.

  32. iplaybad says: Feb 28, 2012 5:34 PM

    How people forget! All during the Combine, Mayock compared Poe to Haloti… During the Combine a few years back, Haloti received criticism for not being physical enough on every play and “taking plays off”. When Haloti was taken by the Ravens, the pick was both criticized and lauded because Haloti was going to a team where he would be accountable for loafing around when he was on he field.

    When big men can move like these guys, teams at the bottom of the first round (i.e. good teams) love these kinds of stories. That means they’ll get a tremendous talent for a screaming deal. Poe shouldn’t get out of the top 10, but he’ll likely land around #25….

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