I think the ABs are trying to change their style/game plan based on where they think the rules/interpretations of rules are currently at in order to really hit their straps in 2019.
I think what I saw yesterday was the ABs lowering their point of impact in tackles for example. A lot more "ankle cutters" or waist high hits, rather than the previous chest high attempt at a dominant tackle. This means the opposition will get dropped but will have the chance to off load/recycle but also means less chance of an AB YC/RC from a poor (or slipped up) tackle. This may mean that while we continue to expect both backs and forwards to be able to play the jackal, we have to rethink the openside role again....but I think Cane would adapt if necessary, just like McCaw adapted to a changing role over time.
I think also the ABs think pace/elusiveness is the answer to a new style of game and this smothering rush defense but have yet to figure out the rest of what that game means. Their non-injury/retirement/off-to-Europe-to-earn-big-euro forced picks kinda suggest this. DMac brings elusiveness. Reiko brings pace.
The problem is that when trying to find a new style game, shit happens, players get selected that might remind you of Ben Blair style midgets but I guess its good they are trying to move the game forward while everyone else (looking at you England) tries to be what the ABs used to be.