Monday, July 26, 2010

He's Got Size And Speed, And He Stinks

Much is made in modern football of the miraculous case of the short D-back. For these players, the convention seems to be that the shorter they are the faster they run, and the faster they run the better they cover. That would put the double whammy on Fischer, who was small without being fast.

But just wait a minute, Pat; don't go nowhere. Speed is not inversely related to size. If it was, Usain Bolt would be the size of a gluon. And if speed is truly all that matters for a D-back, why not simply stick Usain Bolt back there and let wang chung? But Usain Bolt is not a D-back and no one is talking of making Usain Bolt a D-back, much less letting wang chung.

What's going on?

What's going on is a lie. It's like the old saw about how it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of fight in the dog. It's not about size but quickness, and not about quickness but about a specific type of quickness: the ability to change directions quickly.

You hear a lot of talk at the scouting combines about how a D-back prospect is either fluid in the hips or not fluid in the hips. This is not a hip thing the way some puppies get a hip thing and have to be put down. This is a hip thing that means a good D-back has to quickly throw his hips to change direction to keep up with a quick-cutting wide receiver.

Yeah, not running like Sherman Plunkett is a good thing, but assuming a D-back can cover ground faster than a garden slug, or the aforementioned Mr. Plunkett, it's far, far better to be able to stop in a heartbeat and whip the hips and catch up to a flanker coming out of a cut than it is to have another tenth in the 40.

Pat Fischer could change direction faster than Eric Mangini trying to describe his latest loss, plus he had the engaging aggressiveness of a Looney Tunes weasel contemplating Foghorn Leghorn's drumstick. He was not fast, was never fast, but was quick enough to start at corner until he was 37. It's possible. But it really has nothing to do with size.

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