We have made our case that statistically speaking, Defensive Tackle is a difficult position to draft early because it does not generate the returns commensurate with a first round pick.
One of the reasons why the returns were not good was because we saw anecdotally how rookies were in over their heads with coming to grips with the physical demands of the position. This was echoed by Pat Kirwan of NFL.com.
Now we get a little more historical color from Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones:
If you’re a team that’s projected to make the playoffs and do well once you get there, you don’t start two rookie defensive tackles. Boy, [those tackles] have got a lot to learn.
Last month we thought it was problematic and potentially alarming to hear the words of Perry Fewell on not endorsing the concept of a Defensive Line rotation.
Jones had more words on that subject:
Randy White and I joke about it all the time, that we’d be playing now if they had what I call situational players. I played every down. …Now guys now before the game know that they’ll play 25 run plays or 15 passing plays. And I’m going, ‘I would have played forever.’ …The way they play now, they’re keeping everybody fresh. It’s working. The game’s changed.
The preseason will not matter because they are always rotating, but come the regular season, it will be interesting to watch what Fewell does. We all understand that a meritocracy should reward the best players with the most plays and starts. But we still need to maximize the effort of the team at DL by rotating here. Why does DL rotation make more sense that most other positions? The answer is simple- these ginormous players are asked to run their motors overtime; they need rest during the game to perform at peak intensity.