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Old 03-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by mikiemo83 View Post
yeah great stuff in here

I love talking football with fans from all teams and also learning about football, it nice to see this thread will have to take some time and read the post so I can get caught up and not ask something that has already been asked or explained.
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:41 PM   #227
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Kirwan over at NFL.com writes a good piece on how specialization has taken over the NFL game:

http://www.nfl.com/draft/story;jsess...o&confirm=true
It wasn't that long ago when teams were looking for six different types of defenders and eight offensive positions.

Defensive tackles were defensive tackles, linebackers were either inside or outside guys, and defensive backs were corners or safeties. On offense, a left tackle was different than a right tackle, but guards were guards, and a tight end was a tight end.

Situation substitutions, multiple personnel groupings, fire-zone blitz schemes, two-gapping 3-4 defenses, 4-3 one-gap penetrating fronts, and a host of other nuances in the modern game has changed the number of positions teams have to identify, and then locate the talent to play those positions. NFL personnel people probably have closer to 16 offensive and 19 defensive positions to identify.

For example, take a look at the running backs in this draft. Teams are breaking down the old-fashion running backs into close to seven categories.

Is the guy a "bell-cow" back, which means he can play in every down-and-distance situation? Is he a "third-down" back who comes in for passing situations and understands protections? Or is he a "matchup" back who is going to motion out of the backfield and run a route against an inferior defender? Does the defense treat him like a receiver and sub in a dime defensive back for a linebacker when the "matchup" back trots on the field? Does that substitution by the defense tell the offense to run the ball?

What about the "short-yardage" back for goal-line and short-yardage packages? When he comes in the game, is it time for an extra linebacker? Of course, there is the fullback, but is he a blocking back or a West Coast fullback? Then there's the H-back, who occasionally lines up like a tight end, but could as easily be in the backfield.

Tight ends can be "in-line" types, which means they line up next to the tackle and establish the off-tackle run. They can be a "move" tight end, which means they motion around to create different formations and are more adept at blocking safeties for the run game. How about the "hybrid" tight end, who is supposed to be a matchup nightmare for the defense. He lines up wide like a receiver and is expected to defeat safety coverage, and if the player is really good he beats a corner in the red zone.

There's no chance a wide receiver is just a wide receiver anymore. Teams are looking for "X" receivers who are preferably tall and physical to play on the line of scrimmage and look more like NBA small forwards. "Z" receivers work off the line of scrimmage, use some motion, run a reverse, maybe are able to throw a pass or two and have plenty of speed to get deep. No team could go into the draft without knowing who the "slot" receivers are because they control the short passing game and keep the coverage off the big "X" receiver.

The defense needs left ends, right ends, designated pass rushers, tweeners, two-gap tackles, one-gap tackles, three-techniques, space-eaters, "Mike, Will and Sam" backers, "plug" backers, 3-4 outside backers, man corners, cover-two corners, strong safeties, free safeties, nickel backs, dime backs, and a hybrid defensive end who can play linebacker or defensvie end when the coach wants to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

In the old days, players went both ways. The center was the middle linebacker. Then platoon football came around, and the offense and defense had their own players. Then came the modern game, which has more moving parts than a chess game. After the coaches and personnel people sort everyone into one of the 35 to 40 positions that the modern game calls for, then they have to decide if they have a package for the skill sets identified.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's telling how in an era of specialization, the Pats tend to put a premium on players with versatility.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:11 PM   #228
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Quote:
=Wandering Athol It's telling how in an era of specialization, the Pats tend to put a premium on players with versatility.
I've heard Joe Paterno talk about how the game of football has changed since he started playing/coaching over 50 years ago. He says that the two changes that had the biggest impact were the introduction of the african-american athlete into the game and the specialization that has developed since football went to two platoons.

That's a nice article and a bit of a standing guide when discussing personnel issues. It identifies why the Pats wouldn't sign a quality guy like Lorenzo Neal to their roster because, regardless of his outstanding ability, his skill set doesn't give them the versitality they need at that position.

Football has developed into a game of situations and match-ups. Luckily for Pats fans, BB is one of the best at exploiting both.

Last edited by AllWorldTE; 03-28-2008 at 03:12 PM..
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:17 PM   #229
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I wonder if the coaches and scouts have been distracted about talk of specialisms and have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to fundamentals. Can a defensive player make an open field, wrap up, tackle? Can a running back find the hole, go through it and get an extra yard?

Personally, I think BB HASN'T forgotten this, which is why his LBs are generally interchangeable and the DBs can play quite a few positions. Equally, we can talk about 1 or 2 Gap DTs, but it doesn't count for sh*t if they can't push the OL around, stay disciplined, and cause mayhem.
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Old 03-28-2008, 04:22 PM   #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomezcat View Post
I wonder if the coaches and scouts have been distracted about talk of specialisms and have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to fundamentals. Can a defensive player make an open field, wrap up, tackle? Can a running back find the hole, go through it and get an extra yard?

Personally, I think BB HASN'T forgotten this, which is why his LBs are generally interchangeable and the DBs can play quite a few positions. Equally, we can talk about 1 or 2 Gap DTs, but it doesn't count for sh*t if they can't push the OL around, stay disciplined, and cause mayhem.
At the professional level, that is a given. Much more focus has to be spent on scheme. In the pros, when you see a player miss, it's generally because he's out of position. There simply isn't enough time to have to focus on the fundamentals that million dollar athletes should be expected to bring with them as the buy-in to play.
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