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Bill Polian is a big believer in the 40-yard dash

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by MichaelWinicki, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    The 40-yard dash is the marquee event of the NFL Scouting Combine, but it’s also often disparaged by those who say that a player’s speed in running 40 yards in a straight line while wearing shorts and a T-shirt does not say much about what kind of football player he is.

    Count longtime NFL executive Bill Polian among those who say the 40 does, in fact, matter.

    Polian, who ran the draft room for the Bills for eight years, the Panthers for three years and the Colts for 15 years, said on NFL Live that when he looks at the ways a player can show his stuff at the Combine, it begins with showing off his pure speed.

    “No. 1, the 40 times. If you are a believer in speed — and I am, and was — the 40 times are very important,” Polian said.

    For more...

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/02/21/bill-polian-is-a-big-believer-in-the-40-yard-dash/
  2. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    I think the 40 is relatively useless except for 2 circumstances.

    Guys who run incredibly fast. Chris Johnson fast where they are approaching the best time recorded.

    Guys who run incredibly slow. Like a CB who runs a time you'd expect from a lineman.
  3. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Emmitt Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and so many more agree with you.

    I'm sure most agree that all else equal, go ahead and take the faster player. But the guy has to able to play the game at a very high level, first and foremost.
  4. Omegasupreme

    Omegasupreme Member

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    Plus, bloodthirsty competitiveness can make pedestrian non-game workouts look silly. Brian Urlacher has incredible game speed. I just watched a Jerry Rice presentation on NFL Network and Bill Walsh said that Jerry ran a 4.59/40 but his second gear during a game made him untouchable at times.
  5. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Brain Urlacher might not be a good reference because he has excellent measured speed also. A 4.59 forty at 258 lbs is in the elite category.
  6. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    There can be 40 speed and football speed. Also if you are looking at 40s you have to look at the range of 40s on a player while looking at all the other numbers and trusting your eyeballs as well.
  7. Omegasupreme

    Omegasupreme Member

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    The Urlacher speed is beyond just his 40 time. I saw him chase down 4.4/40 KR from 20 yards away. I think it may have been Garrett Wolfe. (It was during training camp)

    But even still, what was Larry Allen's 40 time? Whatever it was, its probably approaching Sainthood by now.
  8. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    You have to combine the forty time with other known parameters.

    You could see by Emmitt's running style that he didn't need to be a burner.

    If you had a smallish primarily outside running college RB, then you would worry about a 4.6 forty.

    I was not difficult to see that Fitzgerald and Boldin were power type WRs like Michael Irvin and didn't need to be burners. Actually, I'm not sure why Fitzgerald is mentioned because he ran a 4.48 forty.
  9. Omegasupreme

    Omegasupreme Member

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    Frank Gore

    Brandon Flowers.

    Both have the right kind of slow.
  10. Nation

    Nation Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    The 40 is certainly important with certain positions. Look at the USC Mike Williams' of the world. Other positions it is less important, but that doesn't still mean that there aren't important "underwear olympics" stats to go with those players. I don't think it's any coincidence that the only edge rushers to run under a 4.1 in the short shuttle are DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
  11. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I agree.

    As for Fitzgerald , I was referring to his NFL combine time...which in the 4.6 range.
  12. TwentyOne

    TwentyOne Well-Known Member

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    All Polian did is to priorise. He did not say that its the only thing that counts. Nor did he put any wheight in his first priority (for example he id not say: speed is 2 times as important as the second priority (which could be size or whatever)).

    So i dont even understand the whole discussion here.
  13. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I had no big complaints about what Polian said.

    The discussion just drifted into 40 time importance overall.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    I think it has importance but only somewhat there are guys who post great speed and end up doing nothing. You have some guys like Welker who ran a 4.55 at the combines who have had great career. I see the combines as a tool but can't tell you what kind of football player you have.
  15. Nation

    Nation Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    So much of this also depends on how you want to build your team. Polian believed in building an offense that could put up a lot of points and get a lead and pairing that with a defense that had a lot speed and could get after the quarterback. That's why when the system did fail it was often due to being too small to play against teams that can hang with them and that's why they always had a terrible run defense.

    If you look at Belichick you'll see a GM who relies less on the 40 and more on big powerful guys that can pair a strong run D with a bend-but-don't-break philosophy in the passing game, so when they got to the red zone they had less space to cover and could hopefully force field goals. That's why then you saw their system fail it was often due to bigger linebackers and safeties not being able to cover more athletic players.

    Both great GMs, both have their philosophies, but it doesn't make the 40 any more or less important on a macro scale just because one likes it and one doesn't.
  16. Omegasupreme

    Omegasupreme Member

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    Well said. My view on Belichick was that he liked utility players who could be put in multiple roles...

    But to your point, Oakland has failed for many years with so much emphasis on the 40 or the impression of the workouts, rather than how truly NFL functional the players were.
  17. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    True but then being the strongest or the fastest does not make a guy a great football player. There are guys who can post good numbers at the underware olympics but they are lost on the football field. I think the combines are a good tool but it does not tell you what kind of player you are looking at. I think the interviews can play as big of an impact than any drill out there.
  18. Nation

    Nation Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    First sure. I think the Combine as a whole is a better tool for finding flaws than it is for finding strengths.
  19. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    And Bruce Irvin.
  20. sonnyboy

    sonnyboy Benched

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    40 times do matter a bunch. It's just that there are a lot of other variables.

    I've always felt the quickness drills like the shuttle are more useful.

    The one thing I never understood is why all these drills are run in shorts. Why not have the players run every drill in the same pads they'll play in?

    Pads have weight and every drill from the 40 to the shuttle to the high jump will have slightly reduced results. But the stronger players' results will be less effected.

    You'd probably have a better measure of how these players' athletic ability will actually translate to the field and we could stop calling this the Underwear Olympics.

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