NFL Starters

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    NFL Starters

    Been thinking about this for a while and thought it would be a good topic.

    In the old NFL you had 22 starters, 2 specialists, and a bench. The offensive allignment and defensive allignment never varied much personnel wise and you just strapped em on and played.

    Over the last decade or more there has been a dramatic change in that formula, but we still identify 11 'starters' on offense and 11 starters on defense as if it was still 1970.

    The reality is most teams spend as much time in specialty allignments as they do in their base allignments - Pats played base defense under 50% of the snaps last year for example.

    So looking at defense - an average team has 4 DBs and maybe 2 LBs that average around 80+% of the snaps. And they probably have 2 DLine that average 70+%. So that is 8 traditional 'starters'. The other 3 or 4 defensive 'starters' are really rotational players selected out of a pool of players that all play at least 30% of the snaps - so you have 2 additional DBs for nickel and dime formations, 2 or 3 situational LBs, and 3 or 4 situation DLine. These guys provide serious production to the overall defensive stats. (e.g. 2 years ago I think Anderson had 6 sacks in situational duty prior to when Carter went down and his playing time went way up.) And these guys are not the traditional definition of 'bench' or back-ups. And we should really be thinking of them in the same light as the 'starters' in terms of the team make-up. I would say the 'starting defense' is really composed of around 16 players, and not 11.

    Looking at Offense - specific to the Pats. Again traditionally you have 11 'starters'. But the reality is you have 5 OLine and a QB that play 90% of the snaps, 1 tight end and 2 receivers that play 80+%, and then it is again a rotation - situational allignments. A platoon of 3 backs, none of whom top 50% of snaps, another 2 TE and 1 or 2 receivers that see 30+% of the snaps. So 9 traditional starters and 6 or 7 rotational players. Again somewhere around 16 players that represent the totality of the 'starting offense'. The numbers may vary a little by team and offensive scheme but the variety of formations used by most teams is similar to the Pats.

    I just thought this was interesting when we get into discussions of drafting and 'building depth' vs. getting 'starters'. And when looking at the versitility that BB values so much.

    The Pats are really looking to build a roster of 32 'starting' caliber players and a bench of 20+ injury back-ups. That requires a different mindset than looking to have 22 'starters' and a bench of 30+ players. And it also has serious salary cap implications. And it has bearing on the type of players that comprise the bench - players that can provide spot duty in multiple roles is very important when you only have 20 instead of 32 back-ups.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from JohnHannahrulz. Show JohnHannahrulz's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    Agree. In the pass happy current NFL you need to have good-great sub-packages. This often means that teams should alter their roster and try to get rotational players they believe can be successful in specific roles (coverage LB, nickel and dime DBs). You also have players on the roster who contribute on STs (Edelman, Slater). Nothing wrong with being the next Larry Izzo.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from 42AND46. Show 42AND46's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    In response to mia76's comment:

    Been thinking about this for a while and thought it would be a good topic.

    In the old NFL you had 22 starters, 2 specialists, and a bench. The offensive allignment and defensive allignment never varied much personnel wise and you just strapped em on and played.

    Over the last decade or more there has been a dramatic change in that formula, but we still identify 11 'starters' on offense and 11 starters on defense as if it was still 1970.

    The reality is most teams spend as much time in specialty allignments as they do in their base allignments - Pats played base defense under 50% of the snaps last year for example.

    So looking at defense - an average team has 4 DBs and maybe 2 LBs that average around 80+% of the snaps. And they probably have 2 DLine that average 70+%. So that is 8 traditional 'starters'. The other 3 or 4 defensive 'starters' are really rotational players selected out of a pool of players that all play at least 30% of the snaps - so you have 2 additional DBs for nickel and dime formations, 2 or 3 situational LBs, and 3 or 4 situation DLine. These guys provide serious production to the overall defensive stats. (e.g. 2 years ago I think Anderson had 6 sacks in situational duty prior to when Carter went down and his playing time went way up.) And these guys are not the traditional definition of 'bench' or back-ups. And we should really be thinking of them in the same light as the 'starters' in terms of the team make-up. I would say the 'starting defense' is really composed of around 16 players, and not 11.

    Looking at Offense - specific to the Pats. Again traditionally you have 11 'starters'. But the reality is you have 5 OLine and a QB that play 90% of the snaps, 1 tight end and 2 receivers that play 80+%, and then it is again a rotation - situational allignments. A platoon of 3 backs, none of whom top 50% of snaps, another 2 TE and 1 or 2 receivers that see 30+% of the snaps. So 9 traditional starters and 6 or 7 rotational players. Again somewhere around 16 players that represent the totality of the 'starting offense'. The numbers may vary a little by team and offensive scheme but the variety of formations used by most teams is similar to the Pats.

    I just thought this was interesting when we get into discussions of drafting and 'building depth' vs. getting 'starters'. And when looking at the versitility that BB values so much.

    The Pats are really looking to build a roster of 32 'starting' caliber players and a bench of 20+ injury back-ups. That requires a different mindset than looking to have 22 'starters' and a bench of 30+ players. And it also has serious salary cap implications. And it has bearing on the type of players that comprise the bench - players that can provide spot duty in multiple roles is very important when you only have 20 instead of 32 back-ups.




    no doubt the game has evolved....to be honest I wonder what the percentage of 4 down players on either side of the ball is in 2013? or in the last decade? players come in and out and there is much more specialization because offenses and defenses are now so complex as opposed to a generation or two ago

    be an interesting number to find out

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from mia76. Show mia76's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    Mike Reiss did a break-out for 2012 but it of course does not take account of missed snaps due to injury but:

    Defense - 4 players with over 80% snaps - McC (98), Mayo (96) Nink (83) and Fork (81) There were 13 players with between 20% and 69%

    Offense - discounting OL because missed time there was almost 100% due to injury. And QB because Mallett never played.

    RBs - Ridley (45) Woodhead (34) and Vereen/Bolden (20)

    TE - Gronk (60) Hern (46) Fells (24) Hoom (23) - Inuries played a big part here

    WR - WW (88) Lloyd (85) Branch (39) Edelman (24)

    So I was about right - 17 defensive which might be high because of injuries and changing depth chart.

    Offense - 16 - which is a little high because without injuries it would probably be just 3 TE, and I cheated a little with the Vereen/Bolden combo.

     
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  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from mia76. Show mia76's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    bump

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    Great post mia76.  This is exactly right.  On offense, most teams start the five offensive linemen and the QB, but the other five positions (eligible runners/receivers) should be looked at as a "pool" of players you mix and match to present the defense with a series of different challenges.  I think to have enough diversity you need 8 or 9 players in that pool, all of whom could be considered "starters" since they aren't really backing each other up, but just acting as different weapons you switch in and out to create different possibilities and match-up challenges for the defense to grapple with.

    On defense it's actually more complex, I think, because you don't have that set line and QB. Instead, you're looking at a series of different skills you need, and you're trying to create combinations of guys that get the right mix of skills on the field to counteract the offensive skills of your opponents and the likely types of plays the offense will run based on game situation. I think you need something like 16 or 17 defensive players to get all the combinations you need.  Again those guys aren't backing each other up. They are just different pieces you switch in and out to change the complexion of the defense to counter different personnel and tactics employed by the offense. 

     

     

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from mia76. Show mia76's posts

    Re: NFL Starters

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    Great post mia76.  This is exactly right.  On offense, most teams start the five offensive linemen and the QB, but the other five positions (eligible runners/receivers) should be looked at as a "pool" of players you mix and match to present the defense with a series of different challenges.  I think to have enough diversity you need 8 or 9 players in that pool, all of whom could be considered "starters" since they aren't really backing each other up, but just acting as different weapons you switch in and out to create different possibilities and match-up challenges for the defense to grapple with.

    On defense it's actually more complex, I think, because you don't have that set line and QB. Instead, you're looking at a series of different skills you need, and you're trying to create combinations of guys that get the right mix of skills on the field to counteract the offensive skills of your opponents and the likely types of plays the offense will run based on game situation. I think you need something like 16 or 17 defensive players to get all the combinations you need.  Again those guys aren't backing each other up. They are just different pieces you switch in and out to change the complexion of the defense to counter different personnel and tactics employed by the offense. 

     

     



    Right - I would say the QB and MLB function similarly and are always on the field. The contrast O to D is that on O it is the 5 Linemen (closest to the ball) that also never change where on D itis the 4 DBs (furtherest away) And on most DLines you add in one fixture who typicals is only pulled to keep him fresh (Vince for the Pats.) 'All Change' for the rest of the O and D.

    And the implications for roster management are huge. Obviously you have different talent levels, but for the team to operate well - the rotational pool on both sides of the line need to be a at a fairly high level and a cut above 'developmental' or 'emergency replacement' bench warmers.

     

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