Throughout the 2008 season, I heard Mike McCarthy laud the versatility of his players on many occasions – especially those guys on the O-Line. I can see the value, to some extent, of players being versatile and filling other roles when needed – especially because of injuries. But as this season played out, I really began to wonder if there may be too much emphasis on versatility – to the point where the over-emphasis damaged our team.
- The O-Line: over and over we’ve heard about how many of our O-Line guys were rotated in at different positions. I understand that injuries took their toll on the line and some of this was done out of desperation. And, I recognize that in some instances, poor play by certain players (like Moll) required certain changes. But I believe that basically, it makes the most sense to have back-ups for each position and insert them as needed instead of rotating everyone around. Colledge talked about this in an interview the other day – not blaming anyone really, but just saying that when you practice all week (or all season) at one position but then need to shift to another, the transition can be difficult.
- Linebacker: To me, it would have made the most sense to insert Desmond Bishop, THE back-up middle linebacker, into the line-up when Barnett went down. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Hawk did not flourish at MLB like the team assumed he would. It is another example of needlessly imposing versatility when we had a seemingly competent back-up for that position who had practiced all year as the back-up for that position.
- Safety: Charles Woodson is very talented. I am not entirely sure transitioning him to safety someday is a bad idea. He could probably learn that position well. However, the experiment with him at safety this year didn’t work out too well and again, I wonder if going with the true back-up safeties would have been smarter. I know Rouse/Bigby/Peprah have all been injured here and there but I don’t think all at the same time (could be wrong there). But especially after Woodson’s first game at safety didn’t go well (I believe the New Orleans game), I would have quickly gone to someone who is designated as a back-up safety.