Mario Addison leads the Carolina Panthers with 7.5 sacks. But because he doesn’t start fans might not appreciate him.
Addison is a specialist, a closer. At 6-3 and 260 pounds, he isn’t big enough to play every down. So when he enters on passing downs he is fresh, fast. He might be as fast for a defensive end as Ted Ginn Jr. is for a receiver.
Addison played running back for his Pee-Wee team in Birmingham, Ala., and quarterback for Tarrant, his Birmingham high school team. As a quarterback, he didn’t run to give his receivers an opportunity to break free of defenders. He ran because he could. If a receiver didn’t break free immediately, well, son, you are officially a blocker.
If offensive tackles can’t stop Addison on passing downs, what would linebackers and defensive backs do if Addison grabbed a screen pass out of the backfield? I asked him last season why he didn’t lobby for the ball?
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Inside every defensive player is a running back, receiver or quarterback. Addison said he had lobbied Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
Great. What did Shula say?
Said Addison: “We’ll keep you in mind.”