After spending last week in New York City, where there was some sort of ridiculous storm, I returned home to Charlotte to a ridiculous storm. I have not left my house since Tuesday, which is pretty normal in the grand scheme of things. We've got questions. We've got answers. We've got Your Best 11 Mailbag!
Because points, yay!
I think most football fans are ball watchers, for starters, and since the offense has the ball, that is what the majority of fans pay attention to on the snap. They really only notice defenders when there is a sack, tackle for loss, interception or perhaps a big hit. Otherwise, Joe Fan is busy watching the ball go from the center to the quarterback to the running back or wide receivers.
Oh, and also points. That's all people seem to care about, scoring points. Points mean good. Points mean something is happening. They can be watching a defense paint a masterpiece performance, but because they're busy watching the ball and there are no points, it's just a "bad" game to them.
Honestly, I wish more people would stop being ball watchers.
The answer is safety. Now, perhaps I am biased here because I think safety is the best position in all of football. However, the point is that if you can get great safety play, you can have just average cornerback play and make it work.
Wait. Actually, maybe cornerback is the answer, because if you get great cornerback play, you can make due with average safeties.
See what I did there? They are linked. The ideal situation is to get great play from both and have a shutdown secondary. That said, if you can get great play from one or the other, your defense can still be stout. Louisville had great safeties and just decent corners that allowed them to get it done. Michigan State had decent safeties but great cornerback play, and they were the nation's best defense.
This is not an easy list, but here it goes in only alphabetical order: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu at Oregon, Kendall Fuller at Virginia Tech, Vernon Hargreaves at Florida, Zack Sanchez at Oklahoma and Trae Waynes at Michigan State. Yes, I know Quandre Diggs, Jacoby Glenn, P.J. Williams and a slew of others guys are not here; they probably all have a great case to be made.
As for the sleeper, I'll give you two, both out of the Big Ten: Tim Bennett at Indiana and Desmond King at Iowa. I really like both of their games. I think Bennett is just a sound technician who knows how to make plays, and King is a guy who just has so much to add following a strong freshman campaign.
Whew, a real life 10-second rule?
I guess I'd have to use that on people at the grocery store. More specifically, I'd use it on people in the grocery store who feel like they have to hurry up to get through the checkout. I use the cashiers because I'm not in a rush. We make small talk, they know who I am because I grocery shop a lot, and then I get my groceries packed in my own bags that I bring before loading those into my cart and exiting the store.
What I don't need is Rushing Ricky breathing down my neck and invading my personal space as I wrap up my transaction. I need a clean 10 seconds to get my receipt, say goodbye to the cashier and move my cart away before Ricky moves to the payment area.
Actually, I'd like 10 seconds at the airport, too. When you go through security and people step up in line right behind you, trying to put their bins next to your bins and the bins touching, they are basically trying to force you to hurry along.
Anywhere the people lineup and I'm in line with them, they invade my space and give me 10 seconds before they can do that rule. Movie theaters. Movie theater concession line. Stadium bathrooms. Bars where people are trying to jockey for position and basically push me out of the way to have my spot. All should get a 10-second rule before action.
Look, people, it is not my fault that you feel the need, real or not, to rush. Do not inconvenience me by putting your body closer to my body.
This is a good question. One area that I plan on getting stronger in is offensive line. I spend a lot of time on defensive backs and defense in general. Offensive systems come with the defensive stuff because they are tied together from a defensive adjust standpoint, but I'd like to get better with offensive line information.
I've always liked offensive line; I understand what they are doing when I watch it, but I figure it'd be nice to look at some more specific points of the offensive line this offseason. I have been watching more of the mixing spread principles with traditional run-blocking, and I think that's a good start.