Of all the myriad of statistics and hundreds of players from Week 2 in the National Football League, the numbers posted by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson were the ones that caught my eye:
- 1-for-1 passing for 17 yards.
- One reception for 17 yards.
- Three punt returns for 10 yards.
- Four solo tackles.
- One pass breakup.
According to Dictionary.com, versatile is defined as "...capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc." Peterson showed that on Sunday. In fact, his picture should accompany that definition.
By design, dozens of A11 Football League players will display that kind of versatility on a weekly basis. The A11FL will not be for running backs who want to carry the ball 30 times a game, but can barely catch a cold or make a block on a blitzer on third down. A11FL running backs also will have to be able to line up wide and catch and block from time to time.
The A11FL also won’t be for 350-pound offensive tackles. A11FL tackles, who, in A11 formations will be “anchors” out wide, will have to be more like Jason Witten, not Jonathan Ogden. Players in the A11FL will still have to be NFL-caliber players. But they will have to have the physical and mental ability to be able to go from being a running back on first down to being a slotback on second down to being an anchor on third down.
Take, for instance, the case of erstwhile NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. In one series of A11FL play, Tebow may run a read-option play on first down from the quarterback position, be involved with a two-quarterback set on second down where either pivot could throw or run the ball, line up as a wingback on third down and take a handoff on an end-around and be the fullback on the punt team to try to trick the opposing team’s return unit.
With the types of athletes the A11FL will attract, along with the limitless options A11FL offensive coordinators will have in running both “traditional” and A11-type plays (thanks to the league’s only rule change – allowing as many as all 11 offensive players to wear pass-eligible jersey numbers), versatility not only will be a buzzword once kickoff comes – it will be a way of life in the League as a whole.