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5 pivotal NFC players (Smoot)


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hehe has this been posted if not this is my first news post w00t...

http://www.foxsports.com/content/view?contentId=1490832

SCOUT'S HONOR: Five pivotal NFC players

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BY BRIAN DELUCIA

Special to FOXSports.com

Jun. 25, 2003 6:37 p.m.

The following five NFC players must have big seasons to elevate their respective teams to the next level in 2003.

Marshall Faulk, Rams RB:

The Rams offense begins and ends with the speed and versatility of Marshall Faulk. The matchup problems he creates really made their offense special for a few seasons. He just opens up the passing game for everyone. Now Faulk is coming off an injury-plagued year as the Rams struggled last season. The biggest question regarding Faulk is whether that was a spell of tough luck or the beginning of his decline at age 30.

Fred Smoot, Redskins CB:

If there is one player on the hot spot, it’s Fred Smoot. Smoot draws a lot of criticism for his overconfidence and antics, but must back it up. He’s not going to mix with all coaches, as was the case last year with defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Smoot must also get over back problems that nagged him last season. Smoot has trouble against bigger receivers, but is instinctive enough to be in a position to make plays when focused. That’s what the Redskins need from their secondary … more turnovers and consistency.

Joe Johnson, Packers DE:

SCOUT'S HONOR

Brian DeLucia

Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Brian is in his third season with FOXSports.com providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft after previous stints as a contributor with Rivals.com and ProFootballDigest.com.

SCOUT'S HONOR ARCHIVE

AFC's Five Pivotal Players

2003's Breakout Pass Rushers

Cleveland's Great QB Debate

FIRST LOOK: AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West

FIRST LOOK: NFC East | NFC North | NFC South

MORE FROM THE SCOUT

Although he’s not a superstar, when at his best Joe Johnson is one of the more complete perimeter players in the NFL. Johnson can play the run very well and generates a solid pass rush when healthy. But injuries were the problem last season and the Packers received next to nothing from Johnson. Now he has legal problems hovering over his shoulder from earlier this spring. The biggest question the Packers have is whether they’ll get enough production from their front seven. That’s why Johnson is so critical for the Packers. But as he hits age 31 this season, doubts certainly linger whether he can return to form.

Dale Carter, Saints CB:

I still view the Saints secondary as suspect. Dale Carter is one reason for that view. Carter is the one corner the Saints have that possesses the tools to shut down opponents and create turnovers. But Carter will turn 34 during the season and too much time has been interrupted by off-field problems since his days in Kansas City. His grades have been ordinary during his comeback stints and it could be hard to recapture that magic at this point of his career.

Ray Buchanan, Falcons CB:

While being nagged by injuries in 2002, Ray Buchanan began showing his age. Buchanan isn’t very big, but he’s the closest thing the Falcons have to a shutdown cover guy. Buchanan is poised to prove he still has a lot left in the tank and the Falcons need more consistency from their secondary. Atlanta will have more depth at cornerback this season, but could still be faced with limitations against top passing teams.

More thoughts around the NFC ...

Expect even more action around Tampa's Warren Sapp in the midst of his contract year.

Ezra Shaw /

Getty Images

There will be a lot of interest directed at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they look ahead towards contract talks with veterans. Both Anthony McFarland and Warren Sapp are scheduled to hit the free-agent market next spring. But the Bucs want to avoid having both starters on the block entering next off-season. The word around town is that Tampa Bay will approach McFarland in hopes of having him locked up with an extension by September. Although McFarland is coming off an injury-ravaged year, he’s five years younger than Sapp and remains on the upswing. Expect to see a very motivated Sapp on the field this season.

The Chicago Bears have some definite concerns with their run defense with training camp a month away. Keith Traylor and Ted Washington were stalwarts at defensive tackle in 2001, which was pivotal in the Bears surge that season. But as in 2002, both aren’t looking very healthy at all this spring. Traylor is having problems with a chronic knee problem and Washington is in very poor shape and doesn’t look very healthy at all. The Bears have cautious optimism regarding former end Bryan Robinson’s move inside, but he’s still fighting some off-field demons.

New Seattle defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes has been impressed with the performance of two rookies -- Marcus Trufant and Ken Hamlin -- during the Seahawks’ spring camps. Trufant has been displaying the natural matchup ability that Rhodes likes from his corners. His presence will be a major boost to the Seahawks’ this season. And Hamlin has been extremely aggressive while displaying good instincts around the ball. He’ll push safeties Reggie Tongue and Damien Robinson for playing time all year. Meanwhile, Rhodes has made a definite impression on Shawn Springs over the past month. Springs spent a lot of time working with Rhodes lately and his attitude is the best it's been in years.

A lot of people are reading much more into the Akili Smith joining the Green Bay Packers than needed. It’s really simple. The Packers like Smith’s natural tools. He displays a good arm and has the quick feet Green Bay likes in its quarterbacks. The Packers would like to evaluate how Smith responds to the mental side of reading defenses and going through progressions in their system to see if he offers any future value to their long-term plans. Putting Smith in a positive environment surrounded by Brett Favre, offensive coordinator Tom Rossley, and quarterback coach Darrell Bevell will help unless it proves too late to squeeze any growth at this stage. But having questionable quarterback instincts coming into the league while being drafted by a team that had a poor track record in developing quarterbacks is a lot to overcome.

Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Formerly a contributor with Rivals.com and ProFootballDigest.com, Brian is in his third season with FOXSports.com providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft.

umm part of the article got messed up when i was cut and pasting it on there... just click on the link to read the fulll article...

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with all due respect to Fred, the key to the Redskins season is health and Ramsey :)

Ramsey being a very good qb vs. being an average qb is the difference between going 7-9 or going 10-6 or even 11-5.

With Alex Molden in as the veteran #3 corner, I think the Skins are covered in case Smoot turns in another subpar season after a very good 2001.

Molden has started a lot of games in the league and has the speed and cover skills to be paired opposite Champ if necessary.

I was surprised he was still available when the Skins signed him.

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Originally posted by bulldog

With Alex Molden in as the veteran #3 corner, I think the Skins are covered in case Smoot turns in another subpar season after a very good 2001.

Molden has started a lot of games in the league and has the speed and cover skills to be paired opposite Champ if necessary.

I was surprised he was still available when the Skins signed him.

I agree, Molden was a very good pickup.... I'm sure Smoot will bounce back this year. But if he doesn't, at least we have a competent backup.

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I think this is really strange. I mean, if you're gonna make a list of pivotal players, why Smoot? To me a pivotal player is one that if you lost him to injury, it would really hurt the team.

With the Skins, Ramsey falls in that category. So do both OTs. So does Coles. So does Champ. But Smoot? Come on. Molden and Bauman can't fill his shoes?

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The rationale here is simple guys. Smoot is a pivotal player such that if he returns to his level of play as a rookie and even last year from Tennessee until he fell against the Rams and hurt his back, the Redskins have a chance to be taken to the next level on the strength of two legitimate lock down corners.

I believe Ramsey is the measure of our success this year in that how he goes we go and for that he is pivotal to our success, obviously. However, if Ramsey is merely a 55 percent passer capable of a 3,500-yard passing season which is not overwhelmingly high expectations, we can still be a dominating football team if Smoot is playing as he did as a rookie and some of last year.

You look at the loss of Gardener on the defensive line and rightly have to wonder where our plays will come from. Yet, we had a much weaker overall defensive line in 2001 without Gardener yet as a general statement the defense felt much more stiff. Certainly over an 11-game stretch it was as good as we've seen in Washington.

Why?

We were worse off at defensive line, linebacker and probably even safety then than we were last year or this year. Yet, that defense was great. No pass rush, but still legitimate. Smoot was a key component of that. If he returns to that level over 16 games it will be very clear how pivotal he'll be to leading us to the next level I'd think.

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The rationale here is simple guys. Smoot is a pivotal player such that if he returns to his level of play as a rookie and even last year from Tennessee until he fell against the Rams and hurt his back, the Redskins have a chance to be taken to the next level on the strength of two legitimate lock down corners.

I can think of five positions where the Skins have players that are more pivotal than Smoot.

Upshaw would count. If he can play like he used to, that's a big upgrade for the skins. To me, that's more important than Smoot. Ramsey would of course be more pivotal. Canidate would be the best example of a "pivotal" player: if he turns out to be good, the Skins are really gonna have a dangerous offense. If not, well, oops. If BDW can return from injury (and the breakfast buffet at Dennys) and be disruptive in the middle, that would be pivotal. If Dockery is ready to start and moves Fiore to center, that might be pivotal too.

Smoot isn't all that pivotal. If the Skins just use Champ against the #1 receiver, he'll get better. If he gets worse, well that would be pivotal.

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EM,

Upshaw has never been a dominating player. If he plays like he used to it simply means we have a fairly good starter rather than a lousy one. I tend to agree on Ramsey as I said. BDW does need to rebound and in 2001 he was a very good player when our defense was turning it around, though more from a disruptive standpoint than a production one.

Smoot, though, is more pivotal than any of these spots or the rest you mentioned -- save Ramsey -- using the definitions provided for why the writers here assigned him that. Pivotal players to taking their teams to the next level. The list includes many players who've been among the best at their positions at one point in their careers.

Guys who were at one point so good by themselves they altered how the opposition game planned. Guys who in three of the five cases probably aren't that good anymore and in one of the five (Faulk) could still be. In Smoot's case, he's the only young, unproven guy. He's a guy they are assigning immense talent and the ability to be dominating to.

He has more ability to dominate at his position than most players we have who already aren't dominating -- or considered so (like Arrington, who isn't yet, but people think he is). Again, I agree that Ramsey is really the measure by which the Redskins will be viewed this year. If he's good, we'll be good. If he blows, we're going to suck.

Smoot is pivotal by how the article assigns the term such that if he plays at a level he's capable of that could lift the team to the next level. Given a greater level of talent throughout the roster than in 2001 or last year the statement, again, is, if he does return to that level of play, Smoot becomes a player who can take a position of relative strength and turn it into a position of overwhelming strength, making every other spot better.

Of the other guys in your list, really, only Upshaw has such a capability, meaning if he emerges as a dominating player every other spot improves by the attention he'd draw. I just think we're better off assuming Upshaw will be a 6-8 sack guy who's high energy and helpful, but not dominating, because he's never been that. If he is though we may not need Ramsey to be all that successful :).

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1. Wilkinson WAS an above average performer for us in 2001 under Marty and in that regard the DL inside was not as 'needy' as some would believe in retrospect, although I agree overall the line was better in 2002.

2. The fact the Redskins may have 7 defensive linemen who can all play but none of whom is a star caliber performer, does not mean the defense won't be effective. The 1991 team didn't have the greatest personnel on the DL vs. other teams in the NFC, but was VERY productive due to the depth we were able to employ. Upshaw and Noble should be very effective for us. Haley, if he stays out of trouble gives us something we have not had in recent years, a #3 tackle that has the size and strength to stop the run consistently.

When critics mention the 'loss' of Dana Stubblefield, Kenard Lang and guys like Carl Powell in recent years, they are obviously not watching the games. Stubby was largely a bust, who for the money we were paying him never won the big matchups inside with other 'star' players such as Larry Allen. Lang played both DE and DT but never showed the consistency at either spot to warrant a long-term contract. Powell was a good plug-in on the DL, but also was not worth making a commitment to starting him as the Bengals and Lewis evidently have done.

The only highly productive player we lost has been Gardener, and in his case the health complications and associated risk were more the deciding factors than strictly dollars and the willingness to recognize talent and performance on the part of the Skins front office.

If Gardener gets hurt in Denver and doesn't play long enough to earn his full bonus then Snyder and Co. will have been proved right.

But don't expect anyone around the NFL to give the Skins kudos for properly assessing the risk :)

When the Skins let Cory Raymer and Stephen Alexander go, people criticized the team. And yet, what have these players done since leaving town?

Raymer has done what he did in the past here, get hurt. Ditto for Alexander.

Other 'losses' such as Albert Connell to New Orleans and Michael Westbrook to the Bengals showed in short order how astute we were for letting these bloated egos go.

Neither one of them is even on an NFL roster at this point.

Meanwhile we have Coles, Gardner and Jacobs.

That's a great trade of personnel if you ask me :cool:

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Smoot is not "pivotal", not even by the definition in the article. Look at the other guys on the list -- Faulk, Joe Johnson, Ray Buchanon, Dale Carter.

Here's a quiz for you: which one of them isn't an aging vet? Which one of them isn't a former Pro Bowler? Which one of them isn't expected to be the leader at his position for his team? Which one of them doesn't have serious injury or legal problems to recover from?

The answer: Smoot.

Smoot just doesn't belong on the list. He's the #2 DB on the team, no question, and he's not a team leader. He's a third-year player. He had some nagging injuries last year, but nothing that kept him out of the lineup. And he's not pivotal to the team in the ways that those other 4 are to their teams.

Answer me this: If you could have one of the following players make it to the Pro Bowl this year, which one would have the biggest impact on the skins: Ramsey, Upshaw, Wilkinson, Canidate, Bowen, Trotter, Wynn, Gardner or Smoot?

I'd take Ramsey first, of course, but then I'd take Canidate (long shot), BDW (longer shot), Upshaw, Wynn, Bowen, Smoot, Gardner, and Trotter.

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Well, one thing is certain..this year will be pivotal to Smoot's career. If he doesn't perform well this year, we'll upgrade the position without hesitation. I tend to think that he'll bounce back, having experience in the system and having recovered from injury. But if he gets abused again this year he'll likely be playing for somone else in 2004.

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I think you're right Luca -- the skins weren't afraid to lose him this year if the trade rumors were true, so all the pressure is on him. He's a free agent in 2005, so if the skins are gonna get anything good for him they have to trade him next year.

But i bet he has a great year. If champ gets the #1 receiver this year, Smoot should look good. He'll get lots of practice because the skins aren't likely to put a lot of pressure on the QB.

I'd rather have him play well and keep him. Two solid young corners is a luxury. If the skins lose smoot, they almost have to draft one in the first round. That would hurt because they need help so badly on the DL.

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EM,

I think I pointed out that Smoot was different than the other four. I think I may have even mentioned that the other four had in common in their playing career the accomplishment of being among the best at their position in football.

This is where the similarities are drawn and why Smoot is included.

Smoot, more than any other player you would put ahead of him (other than perhaps Ramsey) has the ability to be among the best at his position. He was among the best as a rookie once Marty allowed his corners to go primarily in man after three quarters of the Carolina game.

He was not as good last year despite a stretch of similar production. The other four guys have to recapture their past glory to fit the role assigned here of being key to getting their teams to the next level. Smoot has less history at that level and his assignment is more to capture all of his potential and become that player.

More than any player we have, again, with the exception of Ramsey, Smoot is a guy who isn't among the best players at his position but who could make it, and if he does, he transforms the whole of the defense as happened in the final 11 some games in 2001.

Smoot's play then allowed Washington to become an elite defense for a longer period than any of us can easily remember. That level, over 16 games, would do the same for next year's defense which is better and deeper overall than the 2001 unit in terms of talent.

I don't think a running back in Spurrier's scheme even qualifies as a hinted at pivotal player. Running backs to Spurrier are almost incidental and while Canidate or Betts or Watson could emerge as good players who are a threat and our running game could be a strength, they really aren't pivotal in this scheme to the success of the team. Spurrier will generate yards rushing by formation and audibles similar to last year.

Otherwise I might even go with Canidate as pivotal, but, again, the article seems to be taking the baseline that a player either has been or should be among the better players at his position in order to qualify. But, that's just within the context of what this writer produced.

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Originally posted by bulldog

with all due respect to Fred, the key to the Redskins season is health and Ramsey :)

Ramsey being a very good qb vs. being an average qb is the difference between going 7-9 or going 10-6 or even 11-5.

I

couldn't have put it any better....:D

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Smoot, more than any other player you would put ahead of him (other than perhaps Ramsey) has the ability to be among the best at his position. He was among the best as a rookie once .

Among the best corners as a rookie? Says who?

Those other four guys have been among the best -- they were pro bowlers. Some of them multi-year pro bowlers. Smoot had a good rookie season, but he wasn't among the best. The best go to the Pro Bowl -- or at least the playoffs. Yeah, he had 5 INTs, but 21 players had 5 or more INTs. You don't compare one great rookie year to Marshall Faulk. Define "among the best" -- do you mean that, or do you just mean above average? He wasn't in the top 10% of DBs.

I think I may have even mentioned that the other four had in common in their playing career the accomplishment of being among the best at their position in football.

No, that's where they're different. Smoot might have the potential to be among the best at his position, but it's just potential at this point. Those other players have proven they are among the best at their position, and the question -- the pivotal question -- is whether they can get back there.

Smoot doesn't belong in that group.

I don't think a running back in Spurrier's scheme even qualifies as a hinted at pivotal player. Running backs to Spurrier are almost incidental and while Canidate or Betts or Watson could emerge as good players who are a threat and our running game could be a strength, they really aren't pivotal in this scheme to the success of the team. Spurrier will generate yards rushing by formation and audibles similar to last year.

I tell you what: if Canidate goes to the Pro Bowl, the Skins are going to the Superbowl. Running backs aren't incidental to Spurrier's offense. This is a mistake a lot of people make. Spurrier's offense is a pass-first offense, but it's not one-dimensional. Spurrier wins more games when he rushes for more yards than passes. What makes Canidate a threat is his speed and his pass-catching ability. If he were to emerge as a top flight RB (like he's shown flashes of), the Skins would have a dangerous, multi-dimensional and fast offense that would be difficult to defend. If Canidate is just another average back like Betts or Watson (or worse -- a fumbler), the Skins will be less effective.

But we all know Canidate won't get enough touches to go to the Pro Bowl.

Otherwise I might even go with Canidate as pivotal, but, again, the article seems to be taking the baseline that a player either has been or should be among the better players at his position in order to qualify. But, that's just within the context of what this writer produced.

Well, Canidate didn't have the rookie year that Smoot had (kinda hard to behind Faulk), but he did show flashes of brilliance before he got sent to the doghouse. I'm hoping he's working hard right now to prove them wrong in St Louis.

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EM,

I think you may have misspoken when you said that Spurrier wins more games when he rushes for more yards than passes. It's relatively rare for any team, even devoted running teams, to run for more yards than the pass on any consistent basis.

Spurrier's offense is pass-first and I didn't say it was one-dimensional. But, in his offense, the running game is incidental to the type of offense we run. As it is in any pass-first offense, the running game is an accompanying part, but not a basis by which the offense is built, making it incidental. More so in Spurrier's offense is the fact that he doesn't call a running game like many teams.

Even his preferred type of run is a pass look -- that being the draw. But, beyond that is the fact that in Spurrier's scheme a running back is incidental. Not only are we a pass-first offense, similar in many regards to a traditional West Coast offense or the Rams offense, but, unlike both of them which are heavily reliant upon a running back -- if not as a runner, then as a receiver -- Spurrier would prefer the 20-yard incomplete pass in many cases than the 4-yard dump off.

The running back position in Spurrier's offense is incidental because it's almost a very minor part of the offense for them to catch passes in the general offense, and being pass first, one that runs even in pass-style plays, no running back, even Faulk, is likely to be the type of player who could be pivotal to the success of the team.

As to Smoot, he was an elite corner as a rookie once Marty went to predominate man defenses after five games. He was better as a rookie than Champ was in 2001 -- though as has been pointed out, Champ had the generally more difficult assignment. The quality of a corner is certainly not as easy to quantify as other positions are, but, it does go beyond making the Pro Bowl to determine who may actually be among the best.

The Pro Bowl is a nice honor, but it is a popularity contest both among fans and players. Few rookies are so popular early that they arrive at such an honor. Aging players often make it as a last send off before the presumed fall of their play -- see Armstead as an example. Some guys make it more on reputation than performance, which I'd qualify Bailey doing in 2001 and Arrington doing last year (though the competition is not as fierce at his spot really).

Making the Pro Bowl does mean you are among the better players in the league in any given year. But, not making it doesn't mean the same thing. Daryl Gardener, as an example, was certainly among the best defensive tackles in football last year and he didn't make it. Smoot was similar in 2001. And he is, of the players we have who haven't consistently been among the best, the guy who has the best chance.

Of the guys who have been among the best, only Bruce Smith could return to form and lift the level of the team. I know exactly what the author is talking about just thinking back to 2001 when we were in man coverages and we put out one of the best defensive units for two-thirds of the season that we've ever had.

That type of defense isn't possible on our team without Smoot being consistently as good as he was as a rookie. You don't recognize him as being as good as I do or this author does. Some people are more fixated on the fact that Smoot's last game was a horrible one, ignoring a great rookie year and similar production and strength during parts of last year.

But, if I'm not mistaken, you're also a guy who thought 252 yards rushing against us wasn't the key reason we lost to the Niners last year. Or that might have been Die Hard :). In either case. I trust my powers of observation more than that guy :).

RTandler,

Interesting list and one we should probably break out into another thread and let guys post their top 10. Why don't you do that and we'll all chime in.

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Not a bad list, but ...

1. There is no way that FB is a pivotal position.

2. The composition of the OL and DL are THE most important issues this year besides Patrick Ramsey. So Larry Moore at 10 and R. Wynn at 8 together, plus the rest of the pass rush issues, should be #2.

3. Iffy at SS

4. Whether McLean High School cheerleaders are better looking than we when we were there ... Rich ... pivotal ...

Originally posted by Art

EM,

The running back position in Spurrier's offense is incidental because it's almost a very minor part of the offense for them to catch passes in the general offense, and being pass first, one that runs even in pass-style plays, no running back, even Faulk, is likely to be the type of player who could be pivotal to the success of the team.

Art - Incidental and minor is way too strong a characterization of the RB contribution to the SS offense. UF had some games, even in bowl games, where RBs such as Fred Taylor had over 200 yards rushing.

The Houston game where 2 RBs had over 100 yards each is an example of that.

The SS offense is to take what you can get. It is an agressive offense (redundant, maybe) that pushes the D to its limits and tries to take advantage of overplays by the D.

If you can run - go for it. If you can succeed by short passes - go for it. If you can hit the bomb - go for it.

That SS has picked up on the fact you can cover more yards by the pass in general if you can reduce the risk of sack and double coverage has lead everyone to believe that SS is a pass-only offense and that running is indicental and minor.

It's not the case. It's as if a great poker player refuses to play his diamonds.

Its all about setup and misdirection - whether its in the passing game, running game or between both, SS will find your weakness and exploit it.

He had Fred Taylor and sometimes just played Hog football. Look it up. With our new OL I believe he could realize the same thing that Joe Gibbs did (who was the original SS by the way) ... that you play to your strengths whether its running or passing. Gibbs came from the Don Coryell school - even more pass-happy than SS.

This COULD be the best group of WRs we've had in a long time ... time will tell.

But the most important thing is that the OL is definitely better than any we've had since the Hogs - ergo - options of run vs pass are wide open.

When Gibbs realized he didnt have the receivers that San Diego had he went to the Diesel as the main weapon. Joe Theisman even went to him and told him to run the ball because he was trying to jam the pass-first approach down the throat of the wrong team.

SS is there. Betts is the Riggo, Canidate is Joe Washington.

We'll see ...

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Yank,

I fully appreciate the Houston game. I fully expect Spurrier will have a running game go over 200 yards this year as well. I fully expect we're not going to have any real issues with the running game.

But, you summed it up precisely. Spurrier's offense takes advantage of what's there. The right play for every defense is what he hopes to check to. More than any other offense, Spurrier does not really base his playcalling on down and distance. It's based on each defensive play if out guys know what they are seeing and predict it correctly of course :).

The running game, itself, is not a key part, however, of what we do. It's incidental not in the way that it's accidental, but in the way that it's supervenient. It's not the essense of the thing. The essense of the thing is there's an offensive play for every defense. And Spurrier uses pass and pass style runs to exploit those weaknesses something approaching 70 percent -- this is 56 to 58 of straight pass plays and another 12-15 percent of draw style runs.

In the end though, what I said initially and believe to be very true is the running back is incidental to Spurrier's offense. In the passing game it is almost an accident for a running back to receive a pass outside of the called screen. It's not based on check downs to the back, something Matthews adored.

Spurrier does need backs who can run his style of run. And in that way, that type of player is necessary, and I think Canidate and Morton help augment what we had in Watson and Betts in a way that gives Spurrier the style of back he needs in the offense. But, Spurrier will never have to have a dominating running back to make his system work. His system could create a dominating running back.

And I think what EM was saying when he said Spurrier wins more when he runs for more than he passes he meant Spurrier wins more when his running game is working and keeps teams honest, and that's true. Spurrier's system though isn't based on the running game. It's based on threatening the field with passes and pass looks that open up draws and running seams against a stretched out defense.

Davis, I think, is a far superior running back to any we have here now. But, I don't think he gave Spurrier the threat necessary to keep safeties honest in the running game and I expect losing a better player in Davis won't be crushing given what I perceive Spurrier to need in a running back. Could be wrong though :).

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