Tuesday, September 30, 2014



 By Tim Wutz!

This article will not be for everyone, but I know there are many people that are not full time sports/ beat writers or analysts that have had the same thoughts as I had recently. This is for the casual fan that does not follow sports for a living, and simply watches it for enjoyment or who dabbles in fantasy sports games.

 I was watching the Monday Night Football game while Travis Kelce was having his breakout game. There must have been others out there, besides me, wondering why his coaches didn’t see his talent sooner. I know I have been talking about him since early August and have seen numerous posts on Twitter about him as well. My thoughts then turned to Ladarius Green and his abilities. It seems every year, fans and analysts spot athletes with elite attributes and qualities and talk them up long before they actually come into their own for the teams they play for.  I am sure some of you said, as I have; if I can see this kids talent, why can’t his coach?  He does this for a living for goodness sake. To get a little better understanding about this, I turned to Mr. James Cobern, the self-named “keeper of the giant metric spreadsheet.” His Twitter handle is @Jmcobern1, and his very informative website is allprofootballsource.com. That site is a must visit for a better understanding of metrics. He was kind enough to give me some of his time and answer a few questions for me.

The conversation with him gave me some great insight.  There are many reasons an obviously talented young man may not start right away and takes time to develop. One is the coach’s preference for the position in question. Each coach has a unique idea of what and who he wants at a given position. Another is the type of offense and playbook they implement. A WR type tight end obviously may not be a good fit for a power running offense. At least until they are sure he is going to be playing, and they can add some plays to the playbook to take advantage of that. 

When a tight end reaches the NFL level, the game is much faster, and the players much stronger. Many playbooks and schemes are also much more complicated. All this takes time for a rookie or young player to absorb and grow into. Even if you have an athletic stud, many of the finer points of the game have to be picked up. Earning the trust of your coach can also be problematic. For instance, in San Diego, you have Antonio Gates, a future Hall of Famer, ahead of Green. He is a true pro that has earned the trust placed in him over many years. I am sure there is also a bit of deference given to a veteran player such as Gates, or even KC’s Anthony Fasano. In Fasano’s case, he is a veteran and also a much better run blocker than Kelce.  That is the type of tight end that fits the power running game of J. Charles better.

This article has concentrated on just two players and teams, but can be used in general terms to explain most situations. In summary, there are many things that we do not see that the coaches do on a daily basis with these players. All we see are the few plays that the players stand out. We do not see the film where they missed a block, lined up out of position, or ran the wrong routes. In short, we see their highlights, when the coaches see the entire picture. Before jumping to conclusions about a player or coach, take the time to think about the unknowns. Or talk to a guy like I did, Mr. Colbern, who knows the finer points of the game and can give you things to think about.

Written and arranged by - Tm Wutz TWITTER!!!!

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