There are some intriguing FA’s…that are available now. Not after the draft. Now. We can sign them the day our season ends, and start teaching them. We don’t have to wait for the free agent period.
There is one other player who won’t be available until the free agent period, and will probably be cheap. Terrence Cody. Is he a situational player? Absolutely. But, he does what we want him to do. Occupy blockers. But, the best thing about Cody, is that he allows us to use the draft on other positions.
This also leaves us free to attempt to get one of the CB’s. I don’t think we need to replace both. If we just replace one this year, with a massive upgrade, we can cover for the deficiencies of the other CB. It is just hard to cover for the deficiencies of both CB’s. Talib, V. Davis, and Verner will probably all hit the market. Perhaps V. Davis is franchised. I doubt the other two will be franchised. This also allows us to use the draft more wisely.
Now…to the free players.
Calais Campbell as you may recall is the most athletic tackle ever. Of course, talent isn’t everything. What if he had a great teacher/coach? He is free. He is available for league minimum. He is not going to argue. He knows he doesn’t have another chance to play…i.e. humble. If coaching can turn him around, you have a great tall tackle, with long arms, who is incredibly fast. And best of all, you pay nothing for him.
Kerry Rhodes. Yes, his all-pro year was many years ago. But, his reason for being unemployed is because of his sexual orientation. Who cares. We took Teo. If he can make us better…great.
The last player is not so much a player..as a ploy. It is a trick play. A 6-10 power forward. Get the best player who has graduated and is not playing basketball. Have him line up as a TE. He must be at least 250lb. Looking for a fast player with long arms and great leaping ability. He learns how to block, and to run 7 yards downfield and turn around. The defenseless player rule will apply. The defensive player cannot hit him. As a general rule, the LB may be as large as 6-5 or even 6-6. However, the middle linebacker is generally about 6-2.
Rivers knows how to throw. He is accurate. He can find a 6-10 player that can jump. He basically plays jump ball with the TE. Now, the major issue is that there is a good way to defend against this play. The safety comes up and hits the player in the knees. However, look for the rule change this year, that the defensive player cannot hit a defenseless player in the knees.
If this rule change goes into effect, which it is believed that it will…this becomes an unstoppable play. No point guard can stop the high pass to a Power Forward. The DB, Safety, and LB are just the size of a point guard. The Power Forward has been taught his entire college career how to jump up to get the pass.
Once the other team sees this play, they will put a defensive player on the TE. This is the best thing for the TE. He is trying to avoid the hard hit. Having a player on him will just lead to a tackle. The play is not looking for extra yardage. It is just looking for an extremely reliable 1st down play. It also works perfect for plays in the red zone.
This type of player is only good for this play. If you try to get him running, he is susceptible to an interception. Hitting him in stride only works when the play is completely broken; which in the NFL should be rare.
This does not work with a smaller player. A 6-6 player will not work with this play. The player must be 6-10. A great DB will have a vertical leap of 3 feet. Basically, this will allow them to dunk a basketball. However, a 6-10 player with a great vertical jump can get up much higher. Almost a foot and a half taller. Even better, the TE and QB do not have to worry about an interception from behind. Only from in front of the player. Once the QB and TE practice the same play 500x, it becomes muscle memory for the QB. Easier to hit this play than any other. Because he knows exactly where the TE will be. There is no movement to make the play harder for the QB. It is a very easy play.
Now, add to this play a WR running behind the TE. Does the safety play the TE or the WR?
The same is true for the Lb who would eventually be assigned for the front of the TE. The defense commits 2 players for one offensive player. The LB knows he has to follow the TE to the spot…but if it is a runplay, the TE has been taught how to block, and is able to isolate the LB in space.
The great aspect of this play, is that the more the defense tries to stop it; the more they help the play develop, and create a margin of safety for the TE. The way to defend it, is actually to not defend it. To allow the catch, and work on creating a fumble with the tackle.
However, the key to this play is to have a player who can block, and who can jump. You don’t have to teach him to catch. He learned this playing basketball. You don’t have to teach him to run routes. He doesn’t run routes, except one. He just plays the same play everyday…allday. And he blocks.
The other great thing that happens will come from the refs. Once they see the same play, they know the TE is running a 7 yard route. Each time, everytime. They know if the defensive player is touching him, it is pass interference. There is never a question if he is past the 5 yard from scrimmage line. They know he is always 7 yards downfield. Even better, they know the defensive player can’t be going for the ball, because there is no way to get the ball. The defensive player can’t get that high. Any attempt to stop the play will be pass interference.
The other key is to teach the player how to be tackled. He will be falling a long way. And under the current rules, the ground may cause a fumble/muff.