Greg Cosell is one of my favorite NFL analysts. The NFL Films producer is the man behind the NFL Matchup show, and he knows football. A lot. Because he has access to every single piece of all-22 and other footage shot of NFL games, and he's been watching that footage and discussing it with football people for nearly three decades. Cosell appears on podcasts these days, one of them with Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar.
What he said in that podcast about Vincent Jackson and the Bucs offense was very interesting to me.
"If you're the Bucs, you've just signed Vincent Jackson, correct? Vincent Jackson at his best is a "free access" vertical receiver. Free access, of course, means that he is not pressed, that he has room to release freely off the line of scrimmage. So the corner is in off coverage, not in press position.
If you line up with run personnel in run formations with a very good running game and a good back, you are more likely to get defenses that play with 8 in the box. And very rarely when defenses play with 8 in the box do their corners play press.
If you are the Bucs you have to think long and hard if Richardson is there at 5, taking him, because he's going to make your passing game better. So if your whole offense is better, that will make your defense better."
The idea that the Bucs want a strong running game to help their passing game isn't particularly new, but the way in which this happens is. I haven't heard anyone talk about Jackson's 'need' to have free access, nor the benefit of a strong running game for that objective.
Of course, Cosell then goes on to make the point that you could get the same result with Doug Martin in the second round, although Martin isn't on Richardson's level. Hit the jump for some of the quotes on Martin and Richardson.
Farrar himself highlights two quotes on Trent Richardson and Doug Martin respectively:
[On Richardson] "He's incredibly powerful, first of all. He's naturally powerful. He can run through contact, and he's very quick laterally. He can stick his foot in the ground and accelerate. I'm a firm believer that it's more important to be a great NFL back, to have lateral explosion as opposed to vertical explosion. In fact, I would argue that top-end speed -- which is the only thing that Richardson is theoretically lacking -- is way down the list of important attributes for a feature back."
And on Doug Martin:
"The thing that struck me watching the Boise games was that Martin has the running mentality of a feature back. He's an aggressive, urgent, downhill runner. He's got natural toughness and physicality to him -- he moves the pile. He might be short, but he's not small, and there's a big difference there. He's another guy I thought had excellent short-area burst."