Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Simmons vs. Gladwell

I just spent like 37 minutes reading the Bill Simmons/Malcolm Gladwell email exchange on

I do not consider this a waste of time. Far from it. I bring it up here because of something Gladwell brings up regarding the no-huddle offense toward the end of the 2nd part of their exchange:
I feel the same way about the attitude of professional football teams toward the no-huddle offense. Right now, great teams (such as the Colts and Patriots) use the no-huddle selectively, as a way to maximize their dominance. But why don't bad teams use it? If you were the Lions, why not run the no-huddle this season? Why not put together a lighter, better-conditioned offensive line and a radically simplified playbook and see what happens? It's not as if you are risking a Super Bowl if it backfires. Your offensive line is lousy anyway, so there's no harm in tearing it down, and your fans aren't going to turn on you if you get killed while you work out the kinks. Last I checked, your fans have already turned on you. On the plus side, maybe the no-huddle exhausts the other team's defense so much you slow down their pass rush in the second half. And maybe giving your quarterback a bit more autonomy helps develop his knowledge of the game, and his leadership skills.
It made me wonder why, with all of the speed on this current Raiders team, Cable doesn't put some no-huddle in. Are you telling me a zone-blocking, Fargas/Bush to punish the d-line and tire out the linebackers, and then McFadden coming in and blowing by everyone, or DHB or Johnnie Lee running a hitch-and-go, wouldn't be awesome?

Wouldn't it?

Obviously, you don't run it the whole game. But picking your spots? I'm wondering if that's not part of Al is doing with this roster, "putting together a lighter, better-conditioned offensive line and a radically simplified playbook." I know he said he wanted more power, but other than Lorenzo Neal, he didn't exactly go out and load up on beefy offensive players.

I'm just speculating, and probably giving the Raiders more credit than they deserve (which is none). But that's why this is the best time of year to be a Raiders fan.

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