When the NFL was a meat and potatoes league driven by a powerful rushing attack, it was imperative that you featured a clearly defined free safety and strong safety at the back of your defense. The role of the free safety was, and still is, to check out and try to prevent the big "chunk" over the top plays. An extra cornerback if you will. The role of the strong safety was to identify the running plays and assist with getting the ball carrier on the ground. Just as important, his role was also to match up with the tight ends coming out on pass plays.
Well, the league has continued to evolve. Tight ends still have the size and the pass catching ability they always did - but now they have the speed the wideouts do. And the wideouts just got faster.
So defensive schemes needed to adjust their focuses as well. Everyone in the game is now faster. The traditional safety positions have now morphed into two free safeties to combat the now standard offensive alignment of 2 outside receivers, a slot receiver and a tight end. That means either the safeties or an extra corner need to cover the slot. It really has put a lot more pressure on the defense. Speed and the ability to play multiple positions in the defensive backfield are at a premium.
Meet Nasir Adderly - one of this year's best. Yes, he did play at Delaware (an FCS school) but he did shine against the big boys at the Senior Bowl in January.
Here a bonus question for all of you except Chill (he can answer this correctly in his sleep). A Delaware Blue Hen alum terrorized the Browns for years, but left the AFC North this offseason. Name the nemesis.
Bonus question #2 - Chill you can go on this one - Which Delaware Blue Hen alum became a prominent member of the national media, but sadly, is no longer with us?
Go for it........