Saturday, July 28, 2007

Anderson vs. Brown: The Prestige

Sometimes I kind of like the stuff David Haugh writes for the Tribune, but a lot of his stuff is just too focused on analyzing the personalities of Bears players. And sometimes his articles leave me wondering if he even watches the games.

His analysis of five position battles to watch in Bears training camp mentions two spots on the line. In discussing the promotion of Anderson to starting right end over Brown, he says, "Anderson did have 12 sacks in limited time as a rookie, and likely will improve against the run. But how will he fare playing every down and being a pass-rusher offenses double-team or chip with a running back?" I've heard a few places that Bears coaches treat the line as more of a rotation than being necessarily about who starts and who's a backup, so this statement coming from Haugh seems really strange to me.

In later discussion of Dvoracek versus Adams, Haugh seems to express skepticism about Smith calling the line a "rotation." I have no idea where I'd find any statistics about the percentage of snaps each d-lineman saw, but from what I remember from the games last season, Anderson did see significant time on the field while he was technically a backup. I mean, it was amazing that he got 12 sacks, but it's not like he was getting a sack every other play he was on the field or anything. I expect that the same will hold for this season, and that Anderson's promotion to "starter" will really mean that Anderson and Brown will come closer to splitting time evenly at the position, with it being more likely that Anderson will play slightly more than Brown.

So, sure, it will be interesting to watch the battle between Anderson and Brown for the starting position, but any close observer of the Bears should know that it's not going be too significant of a thing w/r/t playing time for either player. It's mainly a matter of pride and, eventually, of contracts. So why doesn't Haugh just characterize it as that, instead of trying to drum it up into being about who gets to play and who has to watch all season from the sidelines?

Plus, his article would be way more interesting and informative if it had contained interviews or even quotes from the position coaches who'll be assessing these position battles during training camp. If I were a sportswriter I would be doing whatever I could to get to ask those guys a few questions, especially at this point in the season. Why is there exactly none of that in any coverage of the Bears that I've ever been able to find. Is it that papers think readers will be bored when they see an assistant-level coach quoted or something? Why is sports reporting so consistently shallow and uncurious?

No comments: