BENTLEY ON FOOTBALL: THE DEFENSE RESTS

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I’ve been knowing this for some time now but purposely put it on the back burner. Let it simmer, gain some steam. But no longer can this sit back and be chewed like a nice juicy cud. Brace yourselves.

It’s time to spit.

Great defense no longer beats great offense.

Oh, you know it’s true. As much as it hurts this old linebacker, it’s true.

WHEN DEFENSE WON CHAMPIONSHIPS

Back in the day defenses could actually carry the day. The history of football is rife with great defenses. Some had some unforgettable nicknames like the Dallas Cowboys Doomsday Defense. Pittsburgh had the Steel Curtain, Minnesota produced Purple-People-Eaters. The Rams featured “The Fearsome Foursome,” the Miami Dolphins had the Killer Bees. The ‘85 Chicago Bears did the Super Bowl Shuffle.  Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens blitzed their way to a title.

It was known. Defense wins championships.

But that is becoming ancient history.  When was the last time a defense was good enough to garner a catchy nickname?

SABAN SAYS

College football sets the pace as far as trends in the game and stout defense in the intercollegiate ranks has ridden off into the sunset. Nick Saban, the greatest college football coach of all time has said as much, “Good defense no longer beats good offense.”

He wasn’t particularly happy about it either. You see, what had happened was they began legislating defense out of the game. A communist plot, of sorts.

BAD BREATH AND TOOTHLESS

The rule and policy makers like touchdowns so much they have taken the teeth out of the D. To be fair they had to address the concussion issue but they have gone too far when it comes to quarterbacks.

You can barely hit the QB anymore. Hellsakes, I don’t even know what roughing the passer is these days. Just don’t breath on a QB, especially if you have halitosis – that could add another 15 yards.

E-Z PASS

You can’t smash receivers who dare to venture over the middle anymore.  Those guys have a field day with all of their crossing routes. It used to be a compliment to say a receiver would go over the middle. There used to be a price of admission into the sacred middle. Now it’s a frickin’ free-fair. These poor padded warriors have been deemed “defenseless.” What a shame.

This makes it a lot more difficult to develop an intimidating presence.

DEFENSELESS = LESS DEFENSE

There used to be a saying, “Keep your head on a swivel.”  This was fair warning that once you stepped onto the field you were fair game. As it should be.

After you get ear-holed a few times you usually learn your lesson.  No more tunnel vision; your head gets on a swivel.

Now people are considered “defenseless” on a football field.  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

And they are usually on the offensive side of the ball. Less defense.

DIRTY TRICKSTERS

But the biggest culprits in the demise of defense are what they call Tempo and RPOs.  In football Tempo means they go fast.  And they go as fast as they can which creates issues on defense.  Alignments, assignments, communications and proper personnel match-ups take time. But that time is fleeting especially after a big play when the defense is already on its heels.  It’s trickery really. They line up quickly because they can’t beat you in a fair fight.

I told you it was a communist conspiracy…

RPO? WHAT?

The Trump card for the offense is very controversial – The RPO. The Run/Pass Option is just that.  The QB has the choice of handing the ball off in a designed, fully blocked run play or pulling the ball and throwing a pass downfield. The big danger is if the QB throws the offensive line may end up going too far downfield (three yards) while executing their run blocking responsibilities. Though it happens frequently it is seldom flagged. Obviously, it is worth the risk.

This is downright cheating in my book.  At its core, the RPO makes the defense wrong regardless of what they do. A front seven defender has to read and honor his run keys but if the QB throws it then the defense is out of position. Linebackers can no longer believe their lying eyes.

The pendulum has swung, and we all know what happens next…

It swings back. The defense may rest, but like rust it never sleeps.

Illustration form Buzzist

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