Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mike Shanahan

I just can't believe that Mike Shanahan got fired. I just can't. Seems like 2 Superbowl rings don't mean much in today's NFL. Though, I believe that the reason for his firing was complete lack of interest to build up a good defense. Mike has been using players from other teams to build his D. This is not the right way to build up a soild defense. I understand that his background is offense but the job of head coach is to build the TEAM not just offensive side of the ball. He ignored building the defnese and three seasons without a postseason appearance has casued him the job which everyone thought was his for the lifetime.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Building a Successful team - The Players

In last post we talked about how to build a successful team from management point of view. Coaches will coach and players will play. Without bringing players who don't buy into the coaches philosophy, one can't build a strong successful team. It's not only about bringing the right players but to start building from inside out.

One might ask what is this inside out approach all about? An avg. fan recognizes the players at skill positions on the field. For them, the skill positions are the fun thing to watch. That tall strong armed QB throwing deep balls to WR or that flashy RB making those beautiful cuts or Linebackers and safeties delivering those bone jarring hits which will be shown on sportscenter again and again. All these things are made possible by those big guys in the trenches who people forget to watch when the play is happening. They protect the QB, open the holes for the RB and on the other side of the trench, these big guys do all the dirty work and the linebackers, Defensive backs get the credit. Though Defensive End position is becoming a glorified position these days.

If I have to identify one position on offensive side that needs to be addressed when building a team, I would go for a LT. Some might say QB but I think unless you know for sure that the guy is a John Elway or Peyton Manning, take the Left Tackle because he would be the one protecting the QB from those premier pass rushers. After the LT, I would take the QB. The rest of positions you fill based on your need. If it's a west coast style offense, you need to get tall strong WRs. I would also pay attention to the TE position. A Tight End running through the middle of the field covered by linebacker can create big mismatch problems, plus with the decline of Full Back position, more teams are using two TE sets for running. The Running Back (also known as Tail Back, Half Back) position has seen some changes over the years. Teams are using 2 set of RBs to make sure that the NFL life of the RB exceeds. Some teams like to draft a solid RB high in the draft and some teams believe that they can get a good RB late in the draft. Both strategies have worked but if you see a playmaker like Adrian Peterson, my recommendation is to get him. Players like him can change the outlook of the game in one play.

On the defensive side, I would start with a big nose tackle for a 3-4 defense or premier pass rusher in case of a 4-3 defense. Nice big Defensive Tackles are also very important because you don't want teams to run over your defense. The defensive line dictates how the defensive side plays ball. Linebackers in a 4-3 defense are mostly responsible for gap integrity whereas the linebackers in a 3-4 defense have big shoes to fill in. The OLBs in a 3-4 are sometimes used as Defensive Ends. Acquiring a solid secondary (corner backs and safeties) is very important for the defense if they want to survive in the pass happy league. The offenses are using 4-5 WR set and this means that the nickle and dime corner back has to be on the field for more snaps and if these corners are junk, the defense can be picked apart. Safeties are one of the most underrated position on the defensive side of the ball. I would highly recommend picking a great safety in the draft or via free agency. Just look at Ed Reed, Bob Sanders and Troy Polamalu, these guys are playmakers , three best safeties in the league in no particular order.

We can go on and on about how to acquire players at different position. Truth is that a hard working player who buys into the system and believes in his coach is more important than a player with immense talent but has on and off the field trouble. Stay away from players with selfish behavior, their attitude would kill the team moral.

We can go on and on about how to draft players, please post your comments and ideas. Would love to hear from you. I will add some more posts about interesting plays and players very soon.