For Students of the Game!

Surferosa

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And others...This has been bothering me for some time, but now I will post about it after successive threads about Todd Wade and Arturo Freeman:

Its funny how most of still us (I'd say 95%, including me) don’t really understand the fine details of football. While most of us can judge the skill positions, we, as fans, generally are unable to measure the individual success of non skill positions - including the OL, DL, OLB's (in a 4-3) and the Safeties.

Its easy to recognize a running back's skill when he carries a pile for 5 extra yards. But are any of you honestly telling me that you can single out a particular offensive linemen that is consistently missing assignments or playing out of position? Again, I’m not talking about the obvious – such as an OL that allows a DE to run by him for a QB pressure. I’m talking about all the technique, timing and strength needed for that same OL to help power a 4 yard gain (which may be a much better barometer for judging a player since happens 15-20 times a game). Can you honestly tell if Arturo Freeman was in position to redirect a running play inside so that Zach makes the tackle? My TV screen is only so wide, and it focuses on the runner and the guys making the tackle, not the guys on the periphery. This board is filled with unsubstantiated threads about players that are underachieving, and I honestly wonder where they derive from.

Here’s a few suggestions I’ve come up with (would like to hear your thoughts as well):

1) We are too caught up in statistics and box scores, when most players are not judged by statistics and box scores. Thus we have no way of weighing a players productivity.
2) When a player’s position is not weighed by statistics we turn to the media, coaches and announcers for help because we have no way of determining his performance for ourselves. (which, in itself is flawed and we are all guilty of it). Timbo could be plugging three offensive linemen on every play while Larry Chester is sitting on his *** picking his nose and we would never know it, unless Wanny singles him out in a post game interview or an astute announcer picks up on it during a game. Similarly, Derrick Rodgers could be blanketing half of the field in the little time hes on the field, but we don’t see pass protection on TV. Instead, we only hear his name when the receiver hes guarding finally catches a ball.

Point is, I consider myself a student of the game, and I still consider myself very naïve when it comes to discussing football :cool: . I respect some of the more knowledgeable fans in this forum (such as Parrothead and others), and Im curious to ask: how much do you really understand, and how much is based on reading other peoples opinions (coaches, media, etc).

I bring this topic up because there are many critics on this board that litter the forum with false assessments based on incorrect observations. Its funny that we can love a sport so passionately without truly understanding the strategy behind the play calling. I for one would love to learn about the game I n greater depth.

Thoughts?
 

Dajesus

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Good post! I would agree I mostly use what the coaches say and the meida to evalutate the o-line play. They just aren't on my TV enough for me to see. The defenseive backfeild is similar, but there is a way to evaluate them. With the exception being ints you know a corner or safety is doing in a great job in pass protection if he doesn't apear on your TV. Fletcher is great proof of this. At the begining of the season he would show up about 10-15 times a game, now you only see him 3-4 times. It also seems that Fletcher has been getting praise from the coaching staff and meida. As far as the LBs go I think you can accurately judge how they are doing by watching at home. Mostly on running plays if you don't see all of the 3 lbs near the play or making the play they aren't getting their job done.
 

Surferosa

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I agree about everything Dajesus except for your comment on the LB play. By definition, as OLB’s in a 4-3, Rodgers and Greenwood are meant to direct all running plays to the inside of the field, so Zach, the “up†safety and the D-Linemen can make the tackles. They are not responsible for attacking the line of scrimmage on every play. They must get wide enough that the RB’s feel that they wont be able to turn the corner. Thus, on most successful defensive stops, they do not get credit for the tackle, though they were a key components in the play.

You plug Joey Porter into our 4-3, and they will make about the same number of plays as our guys.
 

Ducken

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Great thread!!

Guys I will admit I am not a student of the game. I love football and the Phins, but I have too many other intrests to devote the kinda time it takes to understand things the way some of you guys do. Thus it is one reason I don't post as much. I rely on The media, and alot of you guys to help understand how the O-Line etc... are playing.

I am a Moderator at a hunting BB, and I enjoy it there, and one of the biggest reasons is you don't have to worry about being slammed if you have a "stupid question". Most of you guys are great, and would answer the question with making me or anyone else look like a fool. But there are some here that will slam you if you ask a question that alot of people know. Don't get me wrong I love this place, and I think 90% of the guys here are great. I just wish folks like me could ask things with out worring about the other 10%. I know it is the internet and it should not bother me, but it does make it less enjoyable when you come back to see if anyone has responded, and you see you have been slammed. Well I'll get off my soap box on that point now.
 

SWS84

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Nice thoughts everyone. You definately make a good point about not seeing the whole picture. I think those who were fortunate enough to play football in college or the pros would be able to evaluate better than most. As for me, I didn't play oraganized football, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn once... so...

...anyway, kidding aside. I'm probably on par with most of those around here as far as football experience and knowledge go. I think most fans grew up watching the NFL and have learned on the fly. The internet is accelerating the learning process though, with so many sites that have more knowledge than your dad, brother or grandpa.

As for the evaluation process, IMO it's very difficult to understand what is happening during the game, of course unless a guy is being eaten alive. That's why the teams use technology. Recording the game and pictures throughout the game help THEM understand better and enables them to evaluate and make adjustments. As with Surferosa, the limited view on the T.V. makes it frustrating for me, especially if you are trying to learn and evaluate. My hope is that the T.V. screens get so big we can split the screen with the usual close up view that we see now and then have a wide view that shows the whole field.

Duckin, don't ever worry about asking a dumb question or looking like a fool. Most of us are in the same boat as you and are here to learn and discuss football. Sure there are some folks with more knowledge, but that doesn't make them perfect. IMO, what makes this board nice is the mix of people from different areas and the different levels of knowledge they bring.

Quack...Quack...
 

inFINSible

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I usually get my opinions from a number of different sources, Like someone said already, I don't really have the time nor the inclination to actually break down "game film" so I rely on SOME people in here and others that I have grown to trust elsewhere. I take alot of convincing, so, if someone says something or I read something that I have no clue about I'll try to look for it the next game, although, unless it's along the O-line or D-line the chances of actually seeing what you need to, are slim to none, especially at game speed.
While I will comment on things that I think I see, I am always open minded to the possibility that I'm wrong, but, at the same time I'm arrogant enough to stubbornly cling to a position until my cold dead fingers are pried off of my keyboard.;)
 

BSQX4

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When teams break down film during the week they are looking at a much different picture than we are, meaning the average fan. They are able to both key in on one guy or if they choose look at a wide shot of the whole field. They have all types of slow motion capabilities or they can view at game speed. All we can do is watch what were shown on the screen and on the replay. If you're at the game and you want to key in,for example on Jason Taylor, you'll miss what Madison's doing so you have to make a choice. The choice is even narrowed further with binoculars. If you key on the running back you might miss alot is they hit a quick pass. The coaches not only know exactly what to look for but they have many more video options such as slo-mo and wide lens as well as the isolation camera. Even the most astute fan can't see everything going in a ballgame so all of us must rely on the post game comments by the coaches and the comments by the play by play and color guy. I listen to the radio during the game and get alot of insight from Jim Mandich. Maybe the technology will get better in the near future and wide-screen T.V. will give us more of the playing field. If your a nut like me you tape the game and by re-watching you learn alot. With the slo-mo devise on my remote the line play can be seen much better and even as a layman you can see who's missing blocks etc. I taped the Buffalo game but you couldn't pay me to rewatch that one! Here's to a big bounce back game for Lucas vs. Green Bay.
 

Surferosa

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Nice post BSQ4, thats one of the reasons that I like reading Dr Z at the CNNSI site. His rankings are often controversial, but he tapes 8 GAMES A WEEK and grades ALL THE PLAYERS from all the games he watches. So when he gives props to a player in his weekly article (especially his all-pro article at the end of the year), whether a RB or a Left guard, you can be pretty sure that its based on more than jusy heresay and reputation.

I would love to have his job. :D
 

Scrap

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Nice thread.I would also like to add that on any given play, the fan does not know how the offensive play is designed.That being said,we can't always say who is supposed to block who.Sometimes the guard is supposed to pull, and if he didn't remember to,Ricky may get slammed.To the average fan this play would not be perceived the same as it would by the coach, and players.
Great thread Surf.I have always felt the same way.
 

phinfan_1

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Re: Great thread!!

Originally posted by Ducken
Guys I will admit I am not a student of the game. I love football and the Phins, but I have too many other intrests to devote the kinda time it takes to understand things the way some of you guys do. Thus it is one reason I don't post as much. I rely on The media, and alot of you guys to help understand how the O-Line etc... are playing.

I am a Moderator at a hunting BB, and I enjoy it there, and one of the biggest reasons is you don't have to worry about being slammed if you have a "stupid question". Most of you guys are great, and would answer the question with making me or anyone else look like a fool. But there are some here that will slam you if you ask a question that alot of people know. Don't get me wrong I love this place, and I think 90% of the guys here are great. I just wish folks like me could ask things with out worring about the other 10%. I know it is the internet and it should not bother me, but it does make it less enjoyable when you come back to see if anyone has responded, and you see you have been slammed. Well I'll get off my soap box on that point now.
Good post Ducken. We all need to listen to Ducken if we want more people on this site.
 

Surferosa

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Originally posted by va dolfan
Nice thread.I would also like to add that on any given play, the fan does not know how the offensive play is designed.That being said,we can't always say who is supposed to block who.Sometimes the guard is supposed to pull, and if he didn't remember to,Ricky may get slammed.To the average fan this play would not be perceived the same as it would by the coach, and players.
I just wish we had some way of perceiving it the same way as the coaches. Some of the ESPN pre game crew take time out to explain some of the strategy that goes into the game, and puts blame where it belongs. Ron Jaworski comes to mind.

Unfiortunatlely though, as a rule, CBS, FOX and even ESPN have little interest in explaining the finer details to the fans during the game, because they keep guys like Terry Bradshaw and Paul Mcguire in the studio. What a shame.

Having said all that, I still enjoy talking with all you guys about Football. And NOONE should feel intimidated to ask questions, someone is always here who knows the answer. And when noone knows the answer, someone is bound to make something up that sounds good....:D
 

fin-atic

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Well, I for one am a student of the game. As former college player(SEC) I truly understands it. I also have met several fans who really do understand the game. I am amazed sometimes at how much. They understand coverages, blitz packages, blocking assignments. Some even know different techiniques like D line swim moves, stunts, gap assignments etc.
I believe this is for several reasons. One is that information is more readily available now than ever. And with fans (like us) always looking for that perfect analogy of their team, they have made the effort to learn more about the game. Some is from Media and coaches, but also some is from internet resources etc.
I am even amazed at how accurate and detailed plays and formations are in Madden video games. Unbelieveable!!

So, I respect people who have learned the game. The ones who have not should always remember that, and not jump to conclusions. The biggest example I can tell you is when fans call out the coaches. In these positions you have men who have exceled at their profession so much that they have moved up to a job that only 31 other people are lucky enough to hold. When you hear about their work habits they are up at 5:00 am and often work until late at night. It is a passion. They spend hour, upon hour reviewing film, analysing players, consulting with the medical team, leading a team of assistant coaches in breaking down film and creating game plans based on massive amounts of research. They are experts at their craft. What happens more often than not is that the game plan the other coach has come up with is better or just executed better.

Nothing makes me crazier than for that $8.00 per hour parts clerk to jump up and down because he know what the team should be callling and what player moves should be made and how "stupid" the coach is. Reality is most would not last a quarter trying to coach an NFL game.

Great post, and lets go MIAMI!
 

Baz

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I agree with all of you on this. It kinda bugs when poeple call out players without knowing whats going on, like Morlon Greenwood. The guy is only on the field 40% of the time, and they expect him to make big plays. He probably plays the least recognized postion on the defense, strongside linebacker, and is on the same team as Zach Thomas, and you all want him making every play? Its crazy......
 
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