With all the talk about injuries, I needed something to get my mind off that and some research did the trick. I am a strong believer, as are most if not all here, that our current running game woes are related to the O-Line instead of our runners. My theory is that we used to spend more mid-level dollars on O-Line which allowed for a stronger line in general. In recent years we have switched over to spending more money on defense and let the O-Line fall by the wayside. This, of course, is predicated on the idea that the best players get paid the most. We all know that is not always the case, but it's a place to start.
I went back and looked at the salary breakdown from 2005 v. 2010. Obviously we can't compare dollar for dollar because the structure of the NFL is different. We'll look at percentages of the whole to make our comparison. I picked 2005 because that's the last time our running offense was in the top half of the league (16th overall). USA Today actually has a nice archive of players salaries back though 2000. Finding salaries for this year was a little tougher. I ended up using Madden '11 (I know, not the most accurate, but usable) for this season.
Be honest people. Raise your hand if you would have said that we spend more on defense than offense? Put your hands down LIARS! Just kidding. Eye opening isn't it? First the things I see, then some explanation below.
- Any team that spends more than half of it's money on defense should get more production than we are currently getting.
- No wonder our running game is terrible, we don't invest in the key point, O-Line.
1) The majority of the money on defense is tied up in Freeny and Mathis. Obviously, this makes sense. 2nd on that list is the defensive backfield. The recent re-signing of Hayden to a top level deal SCREAMS of Polian trying to prove how great of a pick that was by over paying. The Bob Sanders deal seems to be a big waste now. The defense in 2005 that made up such a small part of our payroll allowed 15.4 points and 307 total yards per game. Is there anyone that would kill for that right now (23 and 367 so far this year)?
2) A drop of 5% doesn't seem like that much, but when you think about it, it means that we are not developing and keeping talent (see Scott, Jake). The recent trend has been to find someone on another team's PS or someone that has been released. Are we trying to prove that we know more than other teams? If they don't want them, why should we? I understand that when Tarik Glenn retired, we were caught off guard, but adapting is something that should take a year at most, not 5. Polian seems to be trying to prove he can find "steals" in the draft and turn them into something better than the career backups, at best that they seem to be. It all stems from Polian having to show over and over how amazing he is at drafting. It's like he's scared after the Ugoh fiasco to even try. This year's draft is proof. That's the only way I can explain leaving players like Brown on the board as late as the second round this year.
Well, thanks for reading. I know this will probably get lost in the current barrage of injury posts, but I needed to think about something else for a bit! I appreciate having a sounding board like this!