As I've been for years now, I'm interested in the overall process of
changing football - I've tried not to get too deep into the process of
changing tackling and hits, but I think that's bogus for instance.
Needless to say, I was interested in how the Eagles and Chiefs game
went - and certainly, it's fair to say that the easy way to attack the
Eagles is with pressure. The Chiefs definitely got pressure, though
it's also worth saying that the Chiefs gave up 250 yards on the ground
to get it. In the end, the failure seems to have come at the hands of
the quarterback. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles' offense
ends up post-Vick, and how it deals with the somewhat odd nature of
having a non-running QB in Matt Barkley possibly being its longterm guy.
But it's interesting to see people writing off the way the Eagles are
doing things, not unlike how they weren't interested in the zone read as
more than a gimmick this time last year. Cam Newton wasn't having as
much success suddenly, and other teams hadn't heated up yet. That seems
to be here to stay for a while, and I don't think Chip Kelly's suddenly
done with his tricks three games in either. I still believe this is the
way things are headed.
As well, the Trent Richardson situation bears overall scrutiny. I know
the Browns, helmed by Rob Chudzinski and featuring plenty of former and
would've-been Panthers, aren't ready to give up. It's interesting, the
initial reaction was to suggest the Browns are folding. And looking at
some of the other guys they're willing to drop, maybe they're willing to
have more growing pains right now. They're probably not going to be the
sexy sleeper for the AFC playoffs anymore.
But the thing is, I can see Richardson maybe not fitting there.
Richardson is polarizing - to some he's a do-everything back on a team
that needs a back to do everything (and more). And to others, he's a
non-breakaway threat who's being paid with the esteem of being more than
a battering ram. His 3.5 yard per carry average, while only facing a
stacked box 17% of the time, isn't exceptional.
I would write about the lack of value that RBs have anymore. So many
teams are using RB by committee, and teams are finding value in later
round players. But then the Colts gave up a 1 for the guy. Richardson
was a high first, but there were plenty of first round type guys who
historically had produced more and haven't been worth that. So I can't
say that Richardson has value - he garnered a future first where others
haven't. The only explanation might be low miles - he didn't start that
much in the Alabama system and he's only got a year on him in the pros.
So, in the end, you have the Browns valuing a guy low - they didn't
draft him in this system, and Chudzinski's going to throw the ball a ton
- and the Colts being what I'd assume to be one of the few that really
value a guy like Richardson high. So I don't know if there's actually a
lot to learn here - some will value the RB, and some won't. It's not
system specific either - Pep Hamilton and Chudzinski come from similar
roots, pro style systems that really could use a big back.
And then the Browns beat the Vikings, in what could've been an
emotional letdown (statistically, it's more that Christian Ponder is
really not very good).
But, as the league goes to a more spread, more option type game
overall, it's harder to say that the RB is going to become a more
valuable, more premier position than it has been.