Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens features running back Le’Veon Bell, who illustrates that there is such thing as playing with too much intensity.
We all love physical football. One of the most enjoyable examples of it is the de-cleater—block from an offensive player that catches the defender unaware and knocks his feet off the ground before the rest of his body has time to follow.
Le’Veon Bell loved going for the de-cleater when assigned to chip blitzing defenders. A lot of running backs do. However, there is a line that players can cross that goes beyond the arena of intensity and enters the zone of immaturity.
I’m not talking about violent behavior that will incur a penalty, but being so focused on a hard hit that you don’t fully account for the surrounding environment that could allow the defender to take advantage of the hard contact.
I’ve seen this type of play unfold numerous times during the past 15 years and as recently as two years ago when Trayveon Williams did the same thing against a UCLA defender and with unintended consequences even more favorable for the defender than what happens with Bell in the play below.
Intensity is a sought-after quality, but awareness and judgment are always superior assets. Scouts are often watching players where the intensity is valued and they hope the awareness and judgment will come with greater maturity.
While it’s easy to say that scouts should seek both form players, all three qualities are in rare supply.
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