We've had some interesting conversations recently that's gotten me thinking about some things. The other day some of us were talking about draft strategy and the philosophy of countering recent trends to position the team to leverage against the structural integrity of future opponents. Basically, it went like this... League rules have now been implemented and enforced to allow offensive passing games to flourish. Receivers can now run down the field unimpeded and across the field without fear of violence. In this environment, the speedier and more mobile receivers will flourish. Defenses are then likely to acquire more speedier and more mobile defenders of their own to keep up with these receivers. Speedier and more mobile players tend to be smaller and lighter than those less so. So some of us thought it would be smart, if you saw the trend beginning to take hold, to use the middle-to-late rounds of the draft to load up on bigger and more physical offensive players that are no longer en vogue (big ol' guards and blocking TEs and FBs and big ol' RBs). The notion being that as defenses began to shrink, a big and physical offense would be in prime position to bully their way around.
And Salmon was talking the other day about offensive balance, but not your father's boring old run/pass ratio offensive balance. He was talking about spreading the ball around and making sure all your playmakers got touches. And I agree with that. Ideally, I think you want multiple playmakers and various ways to isolate them in one-on-one advantageous match-ups. The combination of these concepts brings us to the main idea that I'd like to convey. That is the reintroduction of the 2-RB set.
The wildcat once took the league by storm because it preyed upon structural defensive deficiencies. Simply, defenses weren't built to account for the QB in the running game. Offenses forced defenses to play into one-on-one isolations, and put the ball in the hands of one of their best playmakers to make plays. More recently we've seen a similar spin-off with the read-option and actual QBs which are mobile enough to make plays running. But how do you position yourself to both be able to take advantage of forcing defenses to account for the QB in the running game, and to be able to just run over a defense too light to play physically inside the box? Double running backs.
With RBs that are versatile enough to be utilized as pass catchers, yet powerful enough to bang between the tackles, an offense can devise a million ways to create isolations. With a mobile QB and an athletic TE in the mix, the potential distortions that could be made are devastating. You can run inside traps with misdirections, read options at the edges, counters, bootlegs, screens... With lots of misdirections and a rapid quick-huddle/no-huddle pace, defenses would be perpetually kept on their heals.