- Randy Mueller
When team officials, both front office and coaches, sit down during the early stages of building an NFL team, they must ask themselves, "What do we want to be?" Based on the answer, they put their teams together and hope the end result will fit their style and their coaches' schemes, as well as the personality they'd like to exude during the fall.
An "up the field" pressuring type defense, like Tampa Bay's, had better have defensive linemen who are quick off the ball and can beat people one on one when rushing the passer. A front that is going to be asked to play a "two gap" scheme on first and second downs better have some big strong horses who can hold their ground in the middle of the defense. Athleticism is a bonus. On offense, if you want to feature a downhill, between-the-tackles, power running game, like the Vikings are doing, you'd better go with big and strong over smaller, athletic offensive linemen.
And so the story goes. There is no real right or wrong, but you have to make sure the players fit the scheme. Sometimes the team you've built is not what you had originally intended, but good teams identify and adapt.
The Carolina Panthers are among the teams that have found their identity. Others haven't quite figured it out.