You can see throughout the history of the NFL how it has evolved from a running league to now be a passing league. In this draft there may not be a running back selected in the first two rounds meanwhile Wide receivers and Left tackles remain an extremely hot commodity and are deemed necessary in todays game. That makes me ask the question, what is the next step and what is the next breakthrough in the game of football? Most of the time teams that can keep innovating and be creative tend to be more successful on the football field.
Platooned Offensive Line
Way back in the day players would play all 60 minutes of the game such as RedGrange, Fats Henry, Chuck Bednarik and Jim Thorpe before executives thought it would be better to tailor ones game to a single position. As time went on players would be at one position but only on specific downs such as a nose tackle on 1st and 2nd down, a pass rusher in long distance situations, and an extra offensive lineman on short down situations. What I am proposing now is to use some offensive lineman in specific situations such as bringing in more lean and slender types for passing situations on the inside of the line and heavier more mauling types on running downs. Such a move would hurt pass rushers trying to beat the slower guards on the inside. Such a move would make other teams cautious when putting in the pass rushing interior lineman as they would be heavily outweighed.
Running Backs with Slot Potential
As you can see with Chris Johnsons 2yr 8M contract and with the potential for no running backs to be taken in the first two rounds the value of the running back position has deteriorated. Full back used to be a big position played by the likes of Franco Harris and Jim Brown but now they are mostly 3rd tight ends or sparsely used players. I think running back with speed could be very dangerous in the slot especially speed backs. Lets take Chris Johnson and say you go out in the I formation with 2 WR and 2TEs the defense will likely come out in their base 3-4/4-3 defense. If CJ runs to the slot who will cover him? You have the corners matched up on the receivers and that leaves the safeties and LB to cover 1 or 2 tight ends and a running back who is likely too fast for a linebacker. The defense now has to decide who will cover the taller tight ends and the speedy running back which will cause mass confusion.
In todays NFL you see the quarterback as the key piece of an offense and without one many question a clubs ability to succeed and to a large degree I agree with that but I see a growing value in having a multi-dimensional game. In todays NFL Defenses are focusing more on rushing the passer and being more agile in the secondary. When Ray Lewis played his last season he lost 10-15 pounds before the season so he could keep up with the more spread out game. I am finding a weakness in defenses as they are lighter and faster in todays day. In 2014 every guard that made the pro bowl except Marshall Yanda of the 2012 champion Ravens were on a playoff team (Evans,Grubbs,Iupati,Mankins,Vasquez) meanwhile only 3 receivers (Green, Thomas, Jackson) were on playoff teams. The interior is easier to dominate in todays game due to linebackers being lighter and 4-3 DT being quicker for the pass rush. If teams put more stock and $$$ into the undervalued guard and center positions they should be able to gain key strides in the run game which can create a signifigant advantage when competing against defenses designed for defending the pass. Combine elite guards with a power back and these lighter defensive players are in for trouble.
Any ideas? Post them in the comments
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