Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room takes a deep dive into A.J. Dillon’s game and the Boston College running back’s performance is a clinic-worthy demonstration that at the root of good vision excellent judgment.
If there’s one thing I don’t mind making a mantra about ball carriers at the Rookie Scouting Portfolio is that “vision” is a vague term that encourages a massive lack of understanding about the learned skill of running the football. Even at the highest levels of football, there are renowned players, coaches, and personnel executives who perpetuate the idea that ball-carrying is mostly instinctive.
It’s the same thinking that music critics had about jazz musicians during the early 20th century: Mostly black men and women neither smart nor skilled enough to become classical musicians, but they have this savant-like ability to summon intense emotion and just pour it into their instrument. Essentially, they saw this music an expression of instinctive-animalistic genius.
Although (sometimes) unintentional, it’s insulting to the men who play position and it’s reinforced by our society’s ignorance about the expression of intelligence and our limited ways of measuring it. It also underscores that opportunities available for better training of the position at primary levels of the game.
A.J. Dillon’s performance against Miami is an excellent demonstration of the wide range of physical skill, conceptual knowledge, technical acuity, self-awareness, trained sight, and refined judgment needed to play the running back position at a high level. Join me for the next 35-40 minutes for analysis that underscores the ranges of skills and intelligence needed to run the football effectively at a high level. We’ll also examine Dillon’s performance at other facets of the running back position.
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