How will A11 Football League defensive coordinators counter the seemingly endless offensive possibilities?
Thanks to the league’s signature rule change – returning football to its roots by eliminating the jersey-numbering rule for offensive players, and allowing as many as all 11 players in an offensive huddle to have eligible-receiver numbers – A11FL defensive coordinators are going to need players who won’t be one-trick ponies.
Defensive ends will have to be able to rush the passer, stop an option run and drop into coverage. Linebackers will need to have good hands to intercept passes, feature the agility to run sideline-to-sideline tracking down running backs and blitz the quarterback. Defensive backs won’t be able to shy away from a running back running downhill after a pitch, and they will have to make good decisions on when to stay with a receiver and when to go after a scrambling quarterback.
There are several linebackers who fit the description of an A11FL-type player in the National Football League, as Kiko Alonso, DeAndre Levy, Sean Lee and Luke Kuechly all have shown a propensity in 2013 to stop drives with interceptions and stop running backs in their tracks.
Examples of 2013 NFL defensive ends (or 3-4 outside linebackers) who are among league sack leaders and have at least one interception are Osi Umenyiora, Tamba Hali, Shaun Phillips and DeMarcus Ware.
What kind of cornerbacks and safeties would thrive in an A11FL defense? How about names like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Charles Tillman, DeAngelo Hall, Antrel Rolle and Patrick Peterson (21 tackles, three interceptions, 14 punt returns, 1 kickoff return, one pass attempt, one rushing attempt and four catches in a half-season)?
The A11FL is going to have NFL-quality players who fit the A11 game. These are just a few examples of those who would fit the bill. I am sure you can come up with many more when watching the NFL and college football this weekend.