Jello-Rock: A Football Greased Pig

Running backs that run less than a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash don’t get much respect and they generally get ignored by most college coaches and scouts. A running back in NFL has to meet that speed parameter just as a quarter back in the NFL has to meet the height parameter. It doesn’t seem to matter how you performed in college as a short quarterback or as a slow running back, the metrics are against you and these metric requirements are the holy grail that football scouts, coaches and analyst live by.

So by all means, a running back needs to work on his speed. It is like having a diploma as a job requirement; you don’t get your foot in the door without it. However, once you open the door with speed, how do you distance yourself from all of the other speedy backs vying for the same job? One way to do it is with jukes and cuts. Most good running backs have a variety of moves in their repertoire. Is it possible to add another layer beyond jukes and speed to make a back unique? Yes it is possible. You can add a layer of unusual strength that can be used to move defensive piles and to break numerous tackles as exampled by Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.

Could there be yet another layer? It is my contention that there is. Have you ever tried to move a mattress by yourself? A mattress is not that heavy, but unlike the box springs, it is flimsy and hard to grab. The mattress gives you almost nothing to push back against. This attribute makes moving a mattress difficult and harder to control.

Dancers in ballet, modern dance, hip hop and ballroom are taught isolation skills. They are taught to make certain parts of their bodies operate differently at the same time. For instance, in the ballroom dance called the quick step, a dancer is taught to keep the upper body, above the waist, rigid and erect, while at the same time the lower body is kept loose and nimble so he can nimbly glide sprint around the dance floor like a track star.

What if running backs could be taught to isolate the top and bottom of their bodies. So that in an instant, while pushing a pile of defenders, he could transform the upper half of his body from rock-like to jello-esque. His lower body would continue with the rock-like efficiency it always possessed, but the upper body would become jello-mattress slippery. As a result he would be able to break more tackles and get to the next level of the defense. A back trained with this kind of skill could differentiate himself from all other running backs. He would be slippery. He would be the proverbial football greased pig.

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