Re: BB Continues To Be A Trailblazer
posted at 4/30/2013 3:43 PM EDT
At the turn of the century the NFL had achieved something called "parity". We were assured that no team would stay on the winning side of .500 for very long. In the 21st century BB has gone 146-46, a full 100 wins over .500, so now we have NFL parroting. If you want to win in the NFL today you have no other option, you must hire away BB's coaches, you must pay double for any Patriots free agent, you must emulate the Patriots' drafting strategy, you must line up exactly as the Patriots do and you must change your team's colors to... no, not quite that far yet.
BB popularized the heavyset 3-4 with extremely tall defensive ends and a375 pound nose tackle. He dabbled all the way to 5-2 run support and 1-6 coverage of the Hail Mary play, where Vince Wilfork rushes the passer and everyone else drops way back. Then he created the elephant position where Chandler Jones puts his hand on the ground about 50% of the time. He emphasized interceptions. He pretty much ignored sacks and even yardage if that particular chunk of yardage didn't lead to many points. He became a master of the prevent defense and the prevent offense.
He understood the importance of a tall dink-and-dunk quarterback with a quick release. He filled the offensive line with smaller, mobile tackles and mauling tight ends. He adapted a route system with 100 starting points but only a few ending points, where one receiver or another would always be at one particular spot on time, so that the quarterback just had to look once and throw to whomever.
He understood the importance of 3-cone drill times. He understood the importance of arm length. He invented a crazy but winning play where the center hikes the ball over the punter's head and out of the endzone. He fell in love with the big nickel. He often recruited the meanest guys in the league. He loved malcontents if it seemed to be the other team's coaching staff that was in the wrong. He drafted a player in the middle of chemotherapy (Cannon).
He drafted lots of famous whosthat players. Logan Mankins turned out great. Both Gronk and Hernandez slid a long way down in retrospect. Matt Cassell was a seventh rounder, simply because he had never played a college game as a quarterback in his life. Steve Neal didn't understand how to put on football padding when he arrived in camp, but he was a gold medal Olympic wrestler so he did just fine.
This year, columnists are starting to get sick of BB trading out a #2 pick this year for a #1 next year. A BB disciple, Mike Lombardi in Cleveland, pulled one of those. At least BB traded away his #1 for multiple lower picks, where the real value sits.
Now the rest of the NFL world wants to know what the heck BB sees in Duron. The kid hits like a truck apparently, and longer arms won't help much if that's the main job requirement. I want to see if Collins can play a 250 pound big nickel some time. Did BB get another Randy Moss out of Marshall?