Monday, October 27, 2008

You do the best scouting through your friends

Good story in the NY Times yesterday about the trading of information that goes on in pro football. As the article puts it, the NFL "does not just accept the casual trading of information, but encourages it."

Said Redskins RB Shaun Alexander:

“Every team that you play against, your friends who play for other teams are like: ‘Hey, tell me about this. Tell me about that. This defense, how does it run its scheme? Do they tip it?’ That’s what happens. It’s like advance scouting. You do the best scouting through your friends.”

According to former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci (pictured above), talking with those you have relationships with is critical:

“I probably knew coaches and scouts on every one of the 32 teams. You can’t keep your head in the sand and assume your team knows everything there is to know. Communicating with your friends is not only accepted, it’s necessary. Asking a question — what did you think about so-and-so, what about their plan against you? — those conversations can occur. No harm, no foul. It’s commonplace.”

According to a story in this week's issue of SI, defensive backs often trade information with each other:

If the Redskins' Fred Smoot, for example, is about to face a receiver that his good buddy and former Vikings teammate Antoine Winfield played the week before, he won't hesitate to pick up the phone and ask, "Toine, what did he give you?" The Jets' Darrelle Revis says that as a rookie last year, he called 13-year veteran Ty Law of the Chiefs—both are from Aliquippa, Pa.—before each game. When the Raiders' DeAngelo Hall was a member of the Falcons, he'd watch not only his own tape but also that of his close friend and mentor DrĂ© Bly of the Broncos, with whom he routinely exchanged critiques and clues.