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How the NFL changed my mind this year


LIJetsFan

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Interesting article.

I'll take a crack at summarizing two of his points, "The Backup Quarterback," and "Special Teams," by saying his thesis is that even the little things, the often overlooked and devalued portions of football are important and should have resources dedicated to them.  He didn't dive into punters or long snappers, but those could be possibilities for what he learns after the 2020 season. :P  I don't disagree with him, but the fact is that there are limited resources, two in particular, that matter here, when trying to have a great backup and great Special Teams while also having a very good defense, offense, starting QB, etc.  The first resource obviously is the Salary Cap.  Not too many teams can carry two starting-caliber quarterbacks on their roster.  The ones that can (ex. Saints with Brees and Bridgewater), can only sustain it for a year or two and typically have a guy on a 1-year deal or have him with the understanding he may be the heir apparent.

The other limited resource is the space on a 53-man roster and this one impacts Special Teams.  There's no denying that Special Teams impacts the game.  The author cites 20% of plays.  I recall Parcells generalizing and saying that Special Teams is one-third of the game and that there's lots of "hidden yardage" in that phase, meaning that returning a punt for 30 yards instead of 10 yards effectively removes two 10-yard completions for first downs that your offense would have to make.  But unless you have players who are great at Special Teams AND good enough to be solid, contributing backups then you have to make sacrifices and that 53 player limit starts to constrain what you can do.

It would be awesome to have a robust roster with no weaknesses, great players everywhere including at backup QB and ST.  I agree with the author that backup QB and ST are important, but there's a cost associated with both of those things.  If you're fielding a very good defense, a very good offense, and paying a Top 15 starting QB then it will be very difficult to also have a top flight (starting caliber) backup QB and to make sure that a full 11-14 members of your team (20-25%) are excellent ST players while also being ready to step onto the field in the case of injury to start at LB, WR, TE, and other positions.  Just my take.

 

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1 - Backup QB is very important and can be the difference between throwing a season away and still being decent, on top of that many a time a backup has come in and suddenly become the #1 guy.   It is worth investing in, even if you wince at paying a guy 10 million to sit on the bench.

2 - I agree with this to a point.  The more specialized you make players with more defined roles the more open you are to not being able to replace them if they get hurt.

3 - Special teams are the classic thing that every one down plays the importance, until it costs you games.  Clear evidence of this with the Jets this past year.

4 - #1 thing for a GM is just to be smart and know how you want to build a team.  You can hire scouts and cap people and such but you need a clear vision of how to build a team.  No more clear example of a guy who had no clue on how to build a team than our last GM.

5 - As a few of us have said, Mike Shanahan should be the NJ Jets president of football operations.

Good article.

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4 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

3 - Special teams are the classic thing that every one down plays the importance, until it costs you games.  Clear evidence of this with the Jets this past year.

I always remember Parcells saying special teams was 1/3 of the team with offense and defense being the other 2/3. So many critical ST plays during a game and season. NOT an area to be down played.

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1 hour ago, Thai Jet said:

I always remember Parcells saying special teams was 1/3 of the team with offense and defense being the other 2/3. So many critical ST plays during a game and season. NOT an area to be down played.

I hate to say it, but the Pats won 2 games directly because of special teams, blocked punts won them the 1st Buffalo game and the Cowboys game.

A real FG kicker will win you at least 1 game a year over a crap kicker. 

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