- Merril Hoge, NFL
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Merril Hoge, who played for the Steelers and Bears from 1987 to '94, picks his All-Game Tape team -- players who use their film study to best advantage.
SS Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers: The most dynamic safety in football, Polamalu is asked to do so many things down around the box and in coverage that most safeties could not do. As a result, he watches a great deal of tape to understand each opponent.
CB Asante Samuel, New England Patriots: His ability to cover wide receivers like a glove is not an accident, as his tape study has allowed him to maximize his cover skills. Other teams know he studies tape and will avoid throwing the TOG route, in which the No. 1 receiving option runs a vertical route and the No. 2 receiving option runs a 10-yard out pattern.
OL Olin Kreutz, Chicago Bears: As the first player to touch the ball when the Bears are on offense, Kreutz has to direct traffic, including the responsibilities of each player in pass protection. Tape study is paramount for him to make the right calls in the passing and running games.
QB Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals: Despite sitting out his first year, Palmer has taken the league by storm. A big reason has been his willingness to study tape and learn every tendency of his opponents. Tape study has also helped him improve his own skills.
WR Mike Furrey, Detroit Lions: A wide receiver playing in the slot must be able to identify coverage on the move. Furrey studies so much tape that he is able to feel and anticipate coverage, allowing him to get open a lot.
OL Mike Flanagan, Houston Texans: The key to protecting a quarterback in passing situations is identifying who is coming after him. Flanagan studies enough tape to know exactly which defender will rush the quarterback.
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