With OTA's mostly closed to the Media Lions news has been on short supply. As Nubsnobber pointed out, the Lions players are also keeping it close to the vest (which I agree is a good sign) and finding out where they are at has been more than a trick and a half. I found out about Bell -- but didn't figure out where CJ was until the news about his father's heart surgery broke -- after the fact. As for Foster, who knows? Nada, info wise. From what I've been able to pick up, Sims and Redding were essentailly told to take it easy and save it for the season -- and allowed the coaching staff to get a better look at players who are competing for roster spots behind them. Now, with OTA's over, comes the dreaded dead-time before camp begins.
Fortunately, I have been stockpiling various ideas since before the draft -- so this is one Lions site you won't see posting Hockey or Baseball stories -- unless of course I can make them relevant to the Lions.
So I was reading this typical bit of June fluff from the freep, and another re-hash on the DetNews, when I got to thinking about something I've been mulling around since Martz got canned:
The "New" Detroit Lions Offense.
What I find interesting is that it's not really a "new" offense per se -- they are just running it a different way. What? That doesn't make sense you say? Different but not?
First of all, I think it should, from what we can tell right now, be referred to as a simplified version of Martz's offense. Actually, the offense he ran as OC when the Rams won the Superbowl would be a simplified offense compared to what he ran with the Lions the last couple of years. Anyone remember Marshal Faulk?
Now, before I hear screams of "but the Lions have no line, no RB last year he couldn't run it!" -- lets remember one simple fact: NO ONE knows how well the Lions could really run the ball consistently last season as part of a balanced offense because THEY NEVER DID. All we can do is look and make inferences and guesses -- but that is all they are -- guesses.
I think that this really comes down to one definition: Simple.
Is "simple" offense a concrete definition, or is it a comparison of one thing to another? For my 7 year old adding is simple in comparison to subtracting. Multiplication is really hard. By the end of the second grade, she will have basic multiplication down - which will be simple in comparison to division, which will then be simple in comparison to long division, fractions, algebra....
So what you know how to do, at what level, in comparison to what is being referred to, defines simple. (Does your head hurt as much reading that sentence as mine did writing it? Good. I'm a big fan of critical thinking.) Sometimes, simplicity can be more complex than complexity. Just easier to execute. After all, algebra merely utilizes adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing -- it just moves them around in different ways.
Take what I do, for example. I am an insurance agent. I sell insurance and work to retain customers for my employer. For me, explaining basic auto insurance coverage, complexities of estate planning, homeowners claims, billing issues, underwriting systems and nuances, life insurance concepts, investing basics and concepts, simplifying complex insurance ideas into understandable analogies and explanations for clients, training sales people, training service representatives, setting up office systems -- and much, much more all come easily to me in a split second when required. Why? I've been doing my job and working on my profession for over 10 years.
I am very good at knowing when to pitch a certain product, or how to tell a customer something so they will understand it. It isn't just natural skill -- much of it comes from repetition. I find something that works, and while I tweak it as time goes on to fit either certain circumstances, or changes in regulation, etc -- I've been using some of my stock phrases, stories, examples for over a decade. I've been saying them so long that they no longer sound like memorized platitudes, but spontaneous conversations. They work, and they work well. And they are very "simple" because I can use them without thinking about wording, but focusing on delivery and the impact they are having -- and where I need to go next.
My stock phrases are like the "bread and butter" plays that the Lions are installing and talking about. Take this line that says "the Lions had only 30 or 40 passing plays and maybe 10 running plays. They had more than 200 plays in their game plans last year."
What I feel most people are misinterpreting is meaning they only are going to use 40 or 50 plays total. What they are saying they are going to have about 50 plays that are their variations on my "stock" phrases, explanations, and stories -- what you start with, what you can fall back on when the situation dictates it and know what is going to happen, what you are so good at that it almost always works. This allows the offensive players to focus on how well they are doing a play instead of what the play is. It eliminates doubt and allows them to play at their strongest. While the defense is focusing on where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing to stop the play -- the Lions offense is focusing on executing it better than the opposition, at full speed and power.
Want to see how well that works? Check out New England's offense last season. Boring as heck (variety wise). Indianapolis' basic underpinnings follow the same principle as well. Sure, they'll switch up the TE, FB, RB, or Slot WR -- but it is still the same play --- just a different guy catching the ball. That leads to the second and third misconceptions about the "simplified" offense: That they will only have a few plays, and that they are predictable.
I will cover those, and more thoughts on this subject, tomorrow. In the meantime, comments? Your thoughts?