Driving into work this morning, I flipped over to the AM side of the radio dial and started listening in to one of the talking heads that was on. An interesting point came up, with both sides being argued (more or less). The question brought up was, Is it a good or bad thing that the Bucs are going into training camp with no idea who the starter will be against Dallas?
Let's take a look at the ups and downs of wandering into August with absolutely no idea who the starter will be
First, let's hit the pros.
- It truly provides an open competition. If there is no starter, no "first-teamer", every guy should be showing up early, staying late, studying film, taking extra reps and putting in extra effort to win the job.
- It gives the coaching staff flexibility and leeway in shaping the offense to their liking and can adapt it week to week based on the starter.
- Allows for extra weeks of evaluation, rather than pigeon-holing yourself with a player
I'm sure there are others, but let's look here. I'm all for open competition, giving each guy a chance to showcase his talents and prove he deserves to be the starter. It let's each player face some adversity, have some pressure put on them in what is typically a no pressure environment. It removes any excuses (hopefully) about favoritism or someone being entrenched in a spot they didn't earn. The extra time can give coaches an opportunity to run players through different drills, see how they prepare for the practices, what they are willing to do. It sounds cheesy, but I want the guy who comes in early, stays late, takes extra sessions with the receivers, asks questions and shows he can be a leader.
Here are a few of the cons
- Can't establish leadership if you don't have the job.
- No consistency or extra reps with starters.
- Shows either indecision on coach's part or lack of standout on player's part
These seem to be the most obvious. The quarterback position is seen as the "field general", the leader of the offense. If a guy can't win the job early, it takes time for him to become the vocal leader in the huddle. Consistency and familiarity are important intangibles on a team. Knowing exactly where receivers want the ball, how they make their cut, what depth they take the routes, non-verbal audibles or signals via hand motions or head motions, all of these things take time to develop. The longer it takes to name a starter, the more unfamiliar the players will be with each other.
The last one may be the biggest. If the coaches can't establish who is the better player, it means that either they lack the necessary skill set to evaluate talent or the players simply can't distinguish themselves. Not a good situation on either end.
To go back to the radio show, the host argued it's not a good thing to be unsettled going into camp. He wanted a starter to be named and to stick with that guy, let the team get behind him, develop some confidence, and get some momentum going into the season.
Anyone have any problems with that? I do. What if you pick the wrong guy? You should never, EVER, name a starter or do something just to do it. That's just plain stupid if you ask me, stupid.
The caller pointed out that Dominik was relishing the fact we didn't have a starter yet. True open competition seems to let the cream rise to the top, for lack of better words. By giving each guy a chance to compete, not only was he saying the best guy will play, but it provides an atmosphere around the whole team that you have to work for your position. Obviously if you have a Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Tom Brady, there is no competition. I think we can all agree that at this point, we aren't quite sure what we have, so competition is the way to go.
No real issues there, unless we get to September 12 and still haven't named a starter. I imagine we'll have a pretty clear picture as to who will line up behind center right around the third pre-season game. It should be down to two players at that point, and each will get a full quarter or so to prove their mettle. I'll be honest, I want the guy who gives us the best chance to win NOW in there.