When it comes to evaluating how Shaun Ellis, the veteran defensive lineman may fit with the New England Patriots, Eric Mangini gives an insider’s perspective.
Mangini was the head coach of New York Jets from 2006 to 2008, a stretch in which Ellis did not miss a game for the team, with a total of 118 tackles and 18 sacks.
Prior to that, Mangini was defensive backs coach on 2000 to 2004 and defensive coordinator in the year 2005 in New England, so he knows the roots of Bill Belichick’s system.
Mangini said, who has connected ESPN this season as a football analyst, “I think it’s a really good signing for New England because Shaun has more experience in this family than probably anyone else they could go get.”
According to the source, “He was drafted by [Bill] Parcells, played for Al Groh and played for me; there is a lot of similar terminology and he has a ton of experience. It makes sense. The learning curve shouldn’t be very big.”
If the Patriots were running their average 3-4 defense, Mangini sees Ellis as a good “run-stopping end,” with his best fit at Ty Warren’s old left end spot. But Ellis as well has flexibility to play on the right side.
Mangini said, “He has versatility, he even played some outside linebacker for us when we wanted to get really big. We’d stand him up over the tight end and he can kill guys. I don’t know if that’s something Bill [Belichick] will do, but he can do it and do it well. He can drop into coverage; he has that type of athleticism in the base [defense].”
When the Patriots are in a sub defense, which they were about 57% of the time in 2010, Ellis offers other alternatives.
Mangini said, “He can play down, inside, outside, which adds another layer of versatility. He’s a good pass-rusher, a physical guy.”
Mangini said, “He could play end in that system. That’s where he played in Rex’s system [with the Jets]. Rex runs a 3-4 but with 4-3 spacing. That’s what Baltimore does, what Pittsburgh does, it’s 3-4 personnel but set up like a 4-3. That’s another reason Shaun makes sense. He has a comfort level with that. He’s a unique guy. You can do some creative stuff with him that you couldn’t do with a lot of defensive ends.”