You thought it was over. You thought it was finished. You thought the days of whiffed tackles, half-assed effort, and botched assignments were done. You thought you'd seen the last of The Gilbert Gardner. The man. The myth. The legend. Like a bull fighter, Gilbert was a master of the "Oh Lay!" school of linebacking in 2006 for the Colts.
That's a cute and clever way of saying he sucked balls playing SAM (strong-side linebacker) for Ron Meeks' defense.
Heck, Meeks got so fed up with Gilbert that weeks after Gilbert got benched, Ron took a few shots at him through the media. However, it seems Meeks' authority was overruled by the boss: Tony Dungy. According to Yahoo! Sports, Gilbert Gardner is the new starting WILL (weakside linebacker) for the Colts, replacing Cato June who signed with the Bucs.
Run for the hills, folks!
It's important to note that the WILL position is the most important linebackers position in the Cover 2. Typically, the WILL in a Cover 2 will lead the defense in tackles. Derrick Brooks in TB is a WILL. So was Cato (which is why it's a bit odd TB signed Cato). Lance Briggs is the WILL in Chicago. Ernie Sims is the WILL in Detroit. And now, Gilbert is our WILL.
Now, before we get all worked up over this, let's remember something: The very same comments I've heard several fans make regarding Gardner are the same fans made about Rob Morris. Morris was insulted, berated, and demeaned by Colts Nation repeatedly, until last season. Last season, he was a savior, replacing (drum roll please) GILBERT GARDNER as a starter. Rob came in and played amazing football. So, it is very possible Gilbert could do the same. Rob Morris was never comfortable as a starting MLB. However, he was a very good SAM backer. Gilbert was extremely uncomfortable as a SAM backer. However, when he filled in for an injured Cato June in 2005, he played the WILL quite well.
Maybe WILL is the better, more natural position for Gilbert. Maybe pigs with wings will fly out of my butt hole.
Look, Dungy had faith in Morris and after years and years of average to bad play, it paid off. Maybe Dungy sees something in Gilbert Ron Meeks and the rest of us don't.