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Thread: The NFL Thread

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    How similar are plays from team to team? Say you've been playing as a defender (if that's the right term) for the Miami Dolphins, would it be that different if you moved to New York?
    Depends on the coach. Some run simple offenses/defenses, and others run incredibly unique and complex ones. There are of course a group of core-plays that all teams will have in their playbook, and there are several distinct types of formations. 3-4 defense, 4-3 defense, spread offense, etc. If you have someone like a Rex Ryan running your defense (New York) or Sean Peyton running your offense, you're going to have a lot to learn.

    The biggest problem is learning the terminology and nuance of each team. You might have an identical formation to a previous team/coach, but depending on what the other team is doing, be expected to make different adjustments. And that's assuming you read the other team correctly. Even if 1 person messes up a read for something like a block, the play is almost certain to be over since the QB will get sacked in seconds. If you're a corner or linebacker and you blow a coverage, it could be a wide open TD pass. There's also the "type" of personnel that you specialize in. To use your example,
    a linebacker that excels in coverage and chasing the ball moving from Miami will be blitzing much more often in NY (Jets). They'll have to retrain themselves to think a certain way in their position and be expected to react in a way that the scheme calls for.

    A lot of kids coming from college aren't used to running books as complex as those found in the NFL, so it's the biggest set back for them. Since players study opposing teams every week before playing them, veterans are more familiar with other teams and packages to begin with.
    Last edited by t3ch; 26th July 2011 at 02:23 PM.
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    How similar are plays from team to team? Say you've been playing as a defender (if that's the right term) for the Miami Dolphins, would it be that different if you moved to New York?
    Different teams run different schemes on offense and defense, but there are a lot of similarities. However, every team has it's own language for naming the different plays and they will all run plays differently to each other, even if it is almost the same. So, moving from one team to another a player will have to learn the slightly different nuances, but also the names of each and every play. I've read interviews with players who have joined the Buffalo Bills from another team and they have said it can take them a year or more to become 100% familiar with the new terminology. Most rookies take 2 years to fully understand the NFL once they are signed.

    For a quarterback it is much more difficult, as they essentially not only have to know and understand their own job, but they have to know the assignments of every player on the offense. They tell the linemen who to block, the receivers where to run and they have to be able to tell what the opposing defense is trying to do. I honestly think the position of QB is the most cerebrally challenging job in the whole world of sport. They have to be mentally quick and physically able to throw the ball exactly where it needs to be, all the while having 5 or 6 16 stone men who can run 40m in under 5s trying to knock them into next week.
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  3. #33
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    Gents

    It's a complex game to understand for sure. As an outsider it strikes me as a game of set pieces if you like, very little open play, and obviously if you do the same thing every time you'll get sussed out, just as you would with football and taking the same corner all the time. Do they ever do anything off the cuff? Chuck the playbook away, ignore the coach and try something out of the blue?
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  4. #34
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    That's a bad idea since the calls are being made by an experienced coach watching the game from the top of the stadium, observing everything the defense is doing. That's also a quick way to get benched and lose respect from the coach and your contract with the team. There are times when the coach will call a play out of left field and run something completely orthodox, but as far as players going "eh screw coach lets do ____", not so much. Generally when a team is outcoached it's pretty obvious, so the players don't take a lot of heat.

    Having said that, there are certain players that actually run the offense entirely themselves, such as Peyton Manning.
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  5. #35
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    Sorry for all the daft questions.

    But how does the defence read what the offence is going to do?
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  6. #36
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    Coaching tendencies, QB audible tendencies, looking at where all of the players are lined up, watching movements on the line, seeing where the RB is lined up, checking whether the TE might be used as a blocker or receiver, considering the situation (is it 1st and 10 or 3rd and 2?)....

    Same for offenses reading defense. Are there extra men on the line looking to blitz? Does a corner move with a receiver during motions for man to man or are they playing zone? Are the DB's playing deep? Do they have a premier pass-rusher that switched sides or is playing more to the outside? Are their linebackers looking to be in a position for coverage or blitzing? Does anyone move during the snap count?

    Lots of things go into it.
    Last edited by t3ch; 26th July 2011 at 02:40 PM.
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  7. #37
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    I will get there eventually.

    Thank you for your help.
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  8. #38
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    Honestly a lot of Americans don't really even understand the nuances of the sport. Hell, I'm probably one of them. It's much more complicated than it gets credit for. If you get a good announcer they will often point things out during replays that I hadn't even begun to notice.
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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    Sorry for all the daft questions.

    But how does the defence read what the offence is going to do?
    They study a lot of film of the teams playing and learn their tendencies. So if a team runs a play out of one offensive formation based on down and distance (say it is 2nd down and 9) they can anticipate what that play might be and call a defensive play appropriately. The thing is, this is where the beauty of the game comes in IMO because smart coaches will set teams up. So for instance if it is 2nd and 9 and they typically run a certain play out of one formation, they will suddenly run a completely different play out of that formation. And they might only ever do it once. And it might be saved specifically for one opponent and the defence that they expect that opponent to run. I know Buffalo last season ran a lot of one type of play out of a certain formation, showed that same formation several times in a game against Baltimore and then on about the 5th or 6th time of using that formation ran a completely different play because the defense lined up in the way they anticipated. The play they ran went for a 45 yard touchdown. All because of the set up and the studying of film. It really is ingenious.

    The NFL, for all its brutality, is a thinking man's sport.

    And to add to Tech's answer to your earlier question, there are times when things break down offensively, when the defense has called everything right, where a QB might scramble around and improvise a throw because he has no other choice other than getting killed! But the great thing is teams practice that and players know what they have to do should a play break down like that! So although it is on the fly improvisation, it is still rehearsed!
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    Deutsch, I would have thought with all your vast knowledge of stats and the fact that you appear to think quite deeply about your sport, the NFL would be a perfect sport for you to get into!!
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toon Wolf View Post
    Deutsch, I would have thought with all your vast knowledge of stats and the fact that you appear to think quite deeply about your sport, the NFL would be a perfect sport for you to get into!!
    It does intrigue me, so I am interested to learn more. To a layman it looks like a load of massive blokes piling into each other quite a lot but I am trying to see beyond that.

    I did have the original John Madden game on the Game Gear so there is some history there.
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  12. #42
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    The madden games are a pretty quick and dirty way to get a grasp on the sport. It can be frustrating for someone who doesn't understand the game though because the AI does a decent job and if you make bad calls you'll pay for it. I hadn't played football since the Sega Genesis days and bought Madden '09 for my xbox... yeah, lots of interceptions. Wasn't used to the stupid AI being so smart and not being able to pass however I wanted. You also come to appreciate the unsung positions such as lineman, fullbacks, etc. when you're well protected and blocked.

    I know a lot of foreigners into football-football get impatient trying to watch the NFL and I can't really blame them. Too many ads! Last year I bought the NFL cable package and would watch games after a Wolves match, fast forwarding between commercials, extended time-outs/reviews, etc. Gotta love DVR's!
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    This is part of a great video series that the Bills have been running on their website, highlighting performances of some players, with their coaches talking things through. It might help give you an bit of an insight into some of what goes into a play. When they talk about 'play-action' by the way, that means faking the ball to the running back to make the defense think it's a run, and then throwing a pass...

    http://www.buffalobills.com/media-ce...e-fa97cffc11d5
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toon Wolf View Post
    This is part of a great video series that the Bills have been running on their website, highlighting performances of some players, with their coaches talking things through. It might help give you an bit of an insight into some of what goes into a play. When they talk about 'play-action' by the way, that means faking the ball to the running back to make the defense think it's a run, and then throwing a pass...

    http://www.buffalobills.com/media-ce...e-fa97cffc11d5
    The sound card is knackered on this PC so I will have to wait until I can switch to my Dad's, but many thanks.

    I don't know whether either of you actually play the game yourselves, but you might be able to answer anyway; what's more difficult, scoring a goal in football or a touchdown in NFL? I can see that you get more scores in the latter but there's probably more thought that goes into it because quite often goals in football are the result of luck or a single piece of genius, obviously that can't happen so often in American Football, it's more of a team effort.
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    Easier to score in the NFL. It's a given that scoring will happen in games. All field-goal or super low scoring affairs are in the minority, and even in those games some points are getting on the board. The opportunity is much higher for NFL players.

    Of course, a number positions will never score in their careers (or only a handful of times). In the NFL it's much harder for a player like a lineman, fullback, safety, etc. to consistently get touchdowns than it is for a tall defender to score on set pieces. Those chances for a defender happen several times each game, whereas an interception or fumble only gets into a normal players hands once every couple of times a season, and then having the room to take it to the house...

    edit -- read the question wrong, rephrased my answer.
    Last edited by t3ch; 26th July 2011 at 03:28 PM.
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  16. #46
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    The few games I've watched, the players all broadly look the same - massive upper bodies, quick, strong - do you ever get an absolute flyer like Matt Jarvis playing? Like in rugby you have huge forwards but lithe wingers and fly-halves, but there doesn't seem much difference in the NFL.
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  17. #47
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    Yes. My favorite player is something like 5'9" and 190lbs. He can jump like 30 feet high though and plays like a rabid chihuahua. He'll burn 90% of the league on his routes with speed and quickness and is almost always going to win the ball battle 1-v-1 in the air. Dude could still rip me in half, but he's a "small" NFL player.

    Certain positions like linemen are certainly needing to be huge, but it's not at all uncommon to find "smaller" guys playing WR, RB, or corner. Now I say "smaller" because they are smaller in comparison, but pretty much everyone is really built and fast. Some are built like Elokobi, others have that skinny but muscular look.
    Last edited by t3ch; 26th July 2011 at 03:35 PM.
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  18. #48
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    5'9'' and 190lbs! Wow. I'm 5'8'' and 142lbs. I'd need to be sticking three stone on to match that!
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  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    The few games I've watched, the players all broadly look the same - massive upper bodies, quick, strong - do you ever get an absolute flyer like Matt Jarvis playing? Like in rugby you have huge forwards but lithe wingers and fly-halves, but there doesn't seem much difference in the NFL.
    Wide receivers in particular can be lightning quick. A good deal of them could get into the GB 4 x 100m relay team. There are small players too- certain ones come to mind- Darren Sproles running back of the Chargers is 5'6", Roscoe Parrish wide receiver of Buffalo is 5'7" and about 11 stone. There are players out there who are small. You get the big brutes who are linemen, the mid-size players who tend to be linebackers, tight ends and running backs and the smaller players who tend to be wide receivers and defensive backs. But one thing for sure that even the big buggers are pretty damned athletic.
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    Yeah but it's muscle. Look at how small he is compared to the defenders.

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  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by t3ch View Post
    Yes. My favorite player is something like 5'9" and 190lbs. He can jump like 30 feet high though and plays like a rabid chihuahua. He'll burn 90% of the league on his routes with speed and quickness and is almost always going to win the ball battle 1-v-1 in the air. Dude could still rip me in half, but he's a "small" NFL player.

    Certain positions like linemen are certainly needing to be huge, but it's not at all uncommon to find "smaller" guys playing WR, RB, or corner. Now I say "smaller" because they are smaller in comparison, but pretty much everyone is really built and fast. Some are built like Elokobi, others have that skinny but muscular look.
    Steve Smith? Great player. He may not be your favourite much longer, he wants out of Carolina...
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    Don't remind me!!

    I'll still be rocking the Smith jersey next year.
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  23. #53
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    i used to love watching the NFL in the 80's on channel 4 with Simon Reed - fave players were Walter Peyton Lawrence Taylor The Fridge and the fast running receiver Jerry Rice. Loved the music on the intro Holding out for an Hero - suited the action brilliantly

  24. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by t3ch View Post
    Yeah but it's muscle. Look at how small he is compared to the defenders.
    Ha ha!

    See, in football (like, proper football ) the big buggers, especially at amateur level like we play, are slow and rely purely on physical presence. I love running at them because I'm quick (yes still, even though I'm 30 now!) and there's less of me to hit. My nightmare is a quick centre-half, 6'0'' or so because I lose a lot of my natural advantage.

    It doesn't seem that you can do that so much in NFL - ie get someone running at a massive bloke, like when Torres murdered Vidic a couple of years on the trot - because the physical edge is much more important.
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    Right. And the big guys are also athletic. You'd be surprised how many 300lb+ fatties would be able to outrun you.

    You and I would be a fun matchup on the pitch; I'm 6 foot 240lbs (and not slow). I recently played pickup with a bunch of high schoolers who I had 5+ inches and 50+ lbs on... knocked several of them to the ground on numerous times because they tried to cut around me. Not on purpose or anything of course, but knocking them off the ball was comically easy since they were all small/quick guys trying to compete with me physically. Honestly though that's about all I've got going for me, so I've got to make good use.
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  26. #56
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    I'm deceptively strong for my size and a bastard to play against (by all accounts). When you're a little bloke you have to gain whatever advantage you get....

    But always shake the bloke's hand afterwards and have a pint, that's what it's all about.
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    I'll just flop to the ground and fake injury anytime you get around. I'm a much better actor than a footballer.

    What I'd really like is to play some NFL-football with a bunch of Brits. I wonder if they'd be able to quickly get the hang of throwing the ball... I assume most over there are competent on a football (as most here are comfortable playing NFL football); it would be interesting to see the flip side and performance with a hand-egg.
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    I have played rugby as a kid so I am familiar with the shape of the ball, catching wouldn't be an issue. The problem being that as I played as a fly-half back then I'd be tempted to boot it all the time!

    We had a team over here in the mid 90s, the London Monarchs I think they were called - Clive Allen (ex-Spurs, Palace, QPR, West Ham, England etc) was their kicker. Neither he nor they were a great success.
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    Ahh obviously, how could I forget about rugby... Throwing it is a bit different, but handling a ball of that shape wouldn't be too foreign. I'd be thoroughly amused playing with someone who kept kicking it!
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  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    I have played rugby as a kid so I am familiar with the shape of the ball, catching wouldn't be an issue. The problem being that as I played as a fly-half back then I'd be tempted to boot it all the time!

    We had a team over here in the mid 90s, the London Monarchs I think they were called - Clive Allen (ex-Spurs, Palace, QPR, West Ham, England etc) was their kicker. Neither he nor they were a great success.
    Actually, I think the London Monarchs won the World Bowl one year and in their first season averaged crowds of about 45,000. It did dwindle after that though, because people soon realised they weren't watching NFL quality. NFL Europe did have some success though in working as a development league for NFL teams. They could sign a player who went undrafted and allocate them to NFL Europe to help their development. The Bills' current starting running back, Fred Jackson, who has 2 1000+yard rushing seasons back to back, was the leading running back in NFL Europe in 2006. Kurt Warner, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams and played again in a Super Bowl for Arizona Cardinals, played a season in Europe with Amsterdam, where his back up was long time Carolina QB, Jake Delhomme...
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