November 22, 2011

Spread Offenses: How to shut down a “Shut-Down Corner”

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Written by: CAVE Editors
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I love how many NFL teams are have switched their philosophies, from chewing up the clock with a traditional running game, to putting the game more on the quarterback’s arm, slinging the ball for as many yards and touchdowns as possible. Week after week, the 2011 NFL season outdoes itself with eye opening passing statistics, and inflation of league wide offense compared to recent years. It seems like the league has finally found a way to excite and cater to CFL purists and fantasy football fanatics.
We’ve all heard the cliché of “defense wins championships”, but in the last two superbowls, it’s been high powered spread offenses that take home the hardware. This brings up the question of what is the worth of an individual “shut down” cornerback, when facing an offense boasting a four or five wide receiver set like the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

Namdi Asomogha was the key free agent for the Philadelphia Eagles, last year, the New York Jets’ Darelle Revis held himself out for him a big contract. Still, both teams have struggled defensively. Simply put, one “shut down” corner’s impact is minimized when the offense does not need to focus on the one receiver they are matched up against. In a traditional pro-style 2 or 3 receiver set, it is more damaging for an offense to have one of their weapons taken away by a defense, however, this problem is hard to find in spread offenses. Spreads not only hurt corners, but theres a great effect on receivers too.

Less frequently do teams focus on having one star one wide receiver and build around him, not to say they would prefer a star, but having the elite QB who can spread it to four or five decent receivers is becoming more popular. Spread offenses help reduce the drama between receivers and quarterbacks
Big name, “diva” receivers like Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Anquan Boldin, Braylon Edwards, Roy Williams just to name a few have seen a decrease in performance and value. Teams do not need to put up with the headaches of having to feed a receiver just to keep him involved in the game and happy.
While many NFL apologist prefer the methodical approaches and defensive battle in games with traditional offenses, I prefer the evolution. Canadians get the great offensive numbers and performances in football from NFL teams. NFL spread offenses are more exciting to watch, rather than the traditional pro-style as they give smaller name receivers and tight ends an opportunity to shine; the vertical passing game keeps people on the edges of their seats.

It’s like in baseball, fans prefer home runs to singles and doubles. To nickel and dime your way to the end zone is fair but it is also boring, fans crave the big play. Devin Hester and DeSean Jackson catching long vertical streaks down the field is more exciting to see than Wes Welker catcher 8 or team yards hook patterns and the running back take a 3 yard dive up the middle.

The NFL finally has the understanding of how to engage all fans, the higher scores and bigger numbers from spead offenses bring out the star in anyone.



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