We had a somewhat light-hearted post to start the day, followed by a rambling examination of some patterns that formed last year. Now, let's collectively address a question that I have after writing the previous post, and after talking with y'all about the team's insistence on sticking with the starting five we have along the line, barring injury.
Brett Keisel vs. Darnell Stapleton.
That's a weird pairing you might ask. What's the connection? Well, neither was particuarly well sought after leaving college for starters - Keisel was a 7th round pick while Stapleton went undrafted. And neither played much at all their rookie year. Keisel appeared in one game while Stapleton did not dress once. Yet, by year two, Keisel was getting plenty of snaps. A starter? No. But a part of LeBeau's substition patterns on a limited basis.. Think Nick Eason from a year ago. It should be noted that Keisel got most of his playing time in year two on special teams, but not exclusively. And by year three, Keisel was inserted frequently on defense.
Now, Stapleton is just in his second year and his bulky endomorphic frame is not conducive to the fast pace of special teams. So when it's his turn, it'll be the real deal. On the line, asked to protect a $100+ million dollar asset.
He may very well not be ready. I'm not at practice, and if I was, I'm not positive it would be clear how to distinguish between him, Essex, et al.
Here's my general question though. I'm not trying to just bang on the drum of 'change for change's sake'. I'm really not. But I am curious why we wouldn't want to throw all our guys out there, particularly the younger ones, to see how they respond. You never know how a young player waiting for his chance will respond. Essex, last year for example, played great in the playoff game. Starks responded well against Miami and Cincy after waiting patiently for his turn. Why not see what happens this time around.
But we've been there before. My question is do you guys think coaches are more reluctant to take a 'risk' with an inexperienced player on offense, particularly the line, than they are putting someone raw out there on defense? A guy like Brett Keisel was able to make a name for himself with the coaching staff fairly early in his career, quickly negating whatever negative baggage came along with his unimpressive draft status. I sure hope we see what we have in some of the other guys on offense that have yet to get their chance, or have gotten very few thus far this year and in year's past.