I have kind of an odd job in that I don’t generally write the books that I publish, but I write about them. By the same token, I write about the sports our books cover, but more as just a fan. What I write is not a replacement for what I publish.
The NFL is a crazy expensive business. And figuring out how things are trending and how you are going to react is critical, unless you are one of those setting trends. It is also important to understand when a trend is coming to an end.
A trend in the NFL might last a long time, but at some point they go bust.
Sometimes lighter pass catching tight ends are popular and then big blocking tight ends take over. Then a great pass catcher comes along and everything changes. Teams saw Rob Gronkowski win important games catching critical passes that everyone in the stadium knew were coming right at him. Big and fast, flexible, a good leaper and great hands–that’s all it takes to be the next Rob Gronkowski! Teams might try to emulate a great tight end like Gronkowksi, but that may be easier said than done.
Urlacher looked like linebacker of the future when he started busting up pass pays as well as closing down running lanes. Teams could not get their hands on Urlacher duplicates, but they could get some very fast strong linebackers if they compromised on size. So now there are many Linebackers who wouldn’t have fit the specs a few years ago, but they are making the grade now. It seems like there are always some exceptions and some coaches seem to be more adept at using talent in precise ways.
A recent trend is the idea that young coaches have a greater top create novel schemes, motivate young players, and use unexpected plays that can be used at critical times in a game. I always thought of Mike McCarthy as a young man, but others don’t think of him that way–he is 55 years old. They believe that apparently he was not a spokesman for the newer offenses that are in vogue right now. I remember someone telling me that another NFL coach was too old, but at the time I knew the most successful coach in NFL history, Bill Belichick, was older than him. I like many of the young coaches, but I am not sold on the idea that today’s prototype coach has to be young. He may have to be young at heart, but I don’t think it’s disadvantage to be experienced. Now if coaches take criticism too much to heart, there is always someone out there who will tell you that you are too old. And if you feel like you are too old, you may become too old.
The competition is stiff. I think we know that when the linebackers get a little too thin, teams will all be looking for the latest bone-crushing fullback. The point that I get is that you need to be flexible and understand that what works today may not work tomorrow. Maybe that’s the real new trend.