Since You’re There, Would You Mind Playing Offensive Line?
Sports has always been a microcosm of society. A representation of the current times and of the current people. A mini-verse of the universe.
For example the NFL Roster contains 53 team members. Just like any business, it’s made up of millennial's, xgen’rs, and boomers. Made up of jerks, roughens, church-goers, republicans, democrats, idiots and geniuses. Just like any corporation or organization it’s a mix of peoples with a common goal of trudging through strife in order to achieve a goal.
In Short: It’s a cluster-bleep with a sketchy plan.
Now, with everything going on around us; rona, zombie bugs, murder hornets, and the public in constant disagreement, the NFL and it’s teams are facing the times and facing the possibility of being short staffed. Employees are opting out every day, so others who are in the building are being asked to do more for the sake of the team.
A recent example; Ja'Wuan James, The Denver Broncos Potential Starting Right Tackle, opted out of his contract. The Broncos, already weak at OT, now have to scramble to find a replacement. Just like a business who is currently missing team members, someone will now have to fill in and take responsibility for a role they potentially are not ready to fill, but it will "have to work" until we "get back to normal”.
So like any business, what are the Broncos to do?
Do you fill in a spot with someone off the street? Is that a reliable option or just more of the same with a higher payroll?
Do you do like most businesses and ask someone to step up and get ready, hoping that they have the skills and are ready for the task at hand?
Do you think WAY OUTSIDE THE BOX?
NFL Teams much like other businesses are going to have to get real creative this season. And those who are creative, who are able to adapt on the fly, will win. Those who can’t adapt, who refuse, who didn’t see this coming, will have zero chance at any sort of success in 2020.
To think outside the box, lets step inside the tackle box for a moment. The NFL is already short on talented fat kids, meaning offensive lineman. It’s a tough position to play, one you need a lot of bodies to fill, and one that is the most susceptible to injuries.
Enter in the fact that social distancing at the position is impossible, and if one lineman has a bug, they all have a bug.
So being short on O-lineman is going to be a constant narrative and a wacky plan must be in place "just in case".
Let’s say for the sake of emergency planning- you are down to 4 lineman- NOW WHAT?
- Do you have a formation with 4 lineman and a TE?
- Do you move a D-Lineman over and teach him to play guard?
- Do you ask the NFL to change the rules for one season if a team can’t fill their needs with the current roster numbers?
- This sounds crazy- But you can bet it’s being discussed.
How about other positions? Tight Ends?
If you have three TE’s go out, do you grab a Strong Safety and have him double dip? Do you not play with any at all and go 5 WR’s.
If your QB opts out and your backup goes down, do you play without a QB for a game?
How about if your punter quits in week 5, 30 min before kickoff? You go for it on most 4th downs?
These might not happen, but scenarios like them will. Like business, the team who can adapt this season will win, the teams that can’t, those who are not prepared, will fall apart, and be left behind.
Let us hope the Broncos are at their best, with all the preparation for the worst. Because I fear, for all of sports, the worst is yet to come.