Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a ideal villain. That’s what we hear, and when we spin on a tape, we can know why. Just demeanour during how he knocked out Antonio Brown in a AFC wild-card diversion final season.
You can’t have that hit. Shoulder pad to a helmet during a misfortune probable time. The ensuing chastisement cost a Bengals a playoff win and contributed to Burfict alighting a three-game cessation to start this deteriorate for steady violations of actor reserve rules.
No one knows Burfict’s vigilant on that sold hit. He plays fast. He plays hard. Guys can cranky a line during times. That’s how a lot of defensive players are wired. That doesn’t meant they are antagonistic in how they play a game. Maybe he could have pulled up. Heck, maybe he could have avoided a strike all together, we guess.
But as Burfict earnings to a margin on Thursday night, this also needs to be said: I’d adore to play with this dude since he can change a upsurge of a game. And we can tell we that a lot of other guys would too.
This is tough to understand, so let me explain:
As a defender, if we can physically dominate a opponent, that will make each descent actor lay adult a small straighter in a film room when you’re subsequent on a schedule. And it alters how hostile offenses use and play — since they know you’re going to hit.
Burfict gives that to his team. He’s going to digest some arms of far-reaching receivers who wish to work a center of a field. Everyone on a Miami Dolphins‘ offense will be wakeful of where Burfict is during all times during Thursday’s competition in Cincinnati.
As a defensive back, we adore that. It means some basket picks: balls that nictitate into a atmosphere and land in your lap; giveaway gifts since of that linebacker patrolling a center of a margin and delivering blows. Boom. And no one on offense wants to get tighten to a man like that. That’s when far-reaching receivers start revelation a quarterback to equivocate those inside routes.
Look behind to a Bengals’ detriment on Sunday to a Denver Broncos. Would Gary Kubiak’s group have been means to put together that go-ahead, fourth-quarter expostulate with Trevor Siemian throwing slants, inside join routes and far-reaching receiver screens if Burfict was using to a round and pushing by round carriers? That’s only something to consider about here when we speak about a impact a earthy actor like Burfict can have.
What Burfict needs to know is that a diversion has changed. And each actor has to adjust to a new rules. Look during Luke Kuechly‘s strike on Demaryius Thomas over a center in Super Bowl 50. That’s a purify strike — and we can guarantee we it stranded in a behind of Thomas’ mind all night.
The lesson? There’s no surrogate for physicality and danger — though that physicality and danger need not pull 15-yard penalties and three-game suspensions.
It’s a excellent line, a tightrope defenders have to travel in this joining on a weekly basis. You gotta strike or we won’t final really long; and in 2016, we gotta do it clean or we won’t final really long, either. Because of his history, Burfict will be watched closer than most. But as prolonged as he’s out there patrolling a center of a field, his outcome on his teammates and a Bengals’ invulnerability will be palpable.
Remember, defenses that can read, run, strike and dominate foreordain a dash of a game. You can dominate by execution, though it’s still football. It also helps to have that man who creates a small fear. Burfict is that guy.
ESPN.com NFL researcher Matt Bowen played 7 seasons as a defensive behind in a NFL.