THE 12: #11 THE NFL’S SCARIEST PLAYER
It’s the little things that make all the difference in the world. The details build the solid foundation and set the stage for the big things to take place on. Bear with me.
In Basketball if you have a dominant low post player, the perfect complement to help him be his best, are two guys who can shoot from the outside. It spreads the floor and lets your “meat and potatoes man” have room to operate. It doesn’t even matter if the shooters can create their own shot. What matter is that they’re good enough to make you respect them at all times. The result is easier scoring in the paint and more offensive rebounds.
In Baseball you bat your clean-up hitter 3rd or 4th (usually 4th) to get him walks if there are men on base; or to let him break open a game if a pitcher is dumb enough to throw him anything he can hit with more than one man on. You protect him with guys who work the count on either side of him, or (if you have it) a second guy right behind him who can drive the ball a bit. The result is manufactured bases (and likely runs) through small ball.
Both of these things require no great additions, or effort, or brilliance in coaching. It’s just recognizing a detail and implementing it.
Michael Vick is left handed. When he rolls out, he rolls left. So why is his most dangerous WR always on the opposite side of the field? To get a ball to DeSean Jackson requires Vick to throw across his body, and across traffic. That is unless Jackson is running his trademarked Deep Post to the middle of the field. That only negates Jackson’s speed by giving opponents time to close from the opposite side. Why are we making life easier for our opponents?
Jackson catching balls in the middle also only exposes him to another potential vicious concussion. Why do we run him on these silly routes? I saw a graphic Monday that showed the WR’s with the most 20+ yard catches since 2009. Calvin Johnson was #1 with 53, Jackson was #2 with 49. This is despite drops and missed games. Yet he still isn’t used in the way that would make him the NFL’s scariest player.
Switch DeSean Jackson from lining up on the right, to lining up on the left. That’s it. Right there. The Eagles would then have the most unstoppable offense in football. I’ll explain.
Will a CB give Jackson a cushion? Yes. In fact they usually do despite his trouble with jams at the line. Nobody wants to let him get an early step on them.
Will the FS give “over the top help” if Jackson no longer has to cross the field to be an easier target? You’d better believe it! He could just take off and run a Fly as opposed to finding depth, making a cut, and getting visible while running a Deep Post. With this it’s just “throw it at the endzone”.
Will that much attention keep teams out of 8-man fronts? Yep. More room inside for McCoy.
Will that keep the FS out of a front-side blitz? Yep. He has to stay back to help. This means that the TE knows the OLB is his blocking assignment. There’s no more LB or DB confusion now.
This clearing out gives Vick room to roll out and head for the sideline after a 5, 6, 7 yard gain.
The left side would be there for the taking, but we can’t do that same thing with Maclin, Cooper, Avant, or McNutt lined up there. Only Jackson has the speed to scare defenses out of trying anything funny. And there’s nothing to stop Jackson from settling into a hole and catching shorter passes (like a Hook or a Quick Out route) if the CB bails on a blitz. It would still be free yardage.
It’s one little detail, but it can yield LOTS of benefits.
(By the way, if the defense tries to be slick and roll coverage, then we’re talking 1-on-1 on the right all the way down the field. I’ll take that too!)
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