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What Constitutes "Respectability" for a Defense?


More by Ed Fulda
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For the past couple of weeks, there has been a raging debate on the WBC Forum that was touched off by Herm Edwards' remark that the defense will be respectable this season. The vast majority of posters have stated that "respectable" isn't good enough. A very tiny minority (basically me) stated that they would be satisfied with "respectable" this season. The varying opinions may be the result of how one defines "respectable."

The dictionary defines "respectability" as: 1.Worthy of respect; 2. Decent or correct in character or behavior; 3a. Fair in size or quantity; 3b. Moderately good; 4. Fit to be seen.
"Respect", for the purpose of this discussion, is defined as "a high or special regard: Esteem." It is important to point out that there is nothing in any of the definitions until you get to the third definition that ties "success" to "respectability." However, for most people, there is no difference between respectability and success. Fair enough, but I prefer the first definition.

One can have all the talent in the world and not be respected (e.g., Randy Moss). One can be respected despite a lack of talent. I know many successful people that I have absolutely no respect for (e.g., Donald Trump). I know many people that I respect greatly but have not been successful (at least not in the way most people would define successful). Those of you who were Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts should remember that the Scout Motto and the Scout Law never mentioned "talent" or "success." It was all about character and the level of effort one puts out.

I think it's entirely fair to rate a defense based on its character and the level of effort. The defenses that were fielded in the mid-'70's under Paul Wiggin weren't successful, but I had respect for the players because they had a great work ethic and they worked their butts off. I had no respect for the defenses that Greg Robinson fielded from 2001-2003 because too many of the players simply were going through the motions. Gunther Cunningham did a credible job last season of getting a better level of effort out of the players he had and there was noticeable improvement. Unfortunately, there were still too many players who played like they didn't care (Paul Warfield, Junior Siavii, and Lional Dalton immediately come to mind).

Warfield has been sent packing and it will be interesting to see how many others follow him out the door before training camp is over. Physical talent and potential mean little; everyone on an NFL roster is physically talented and has potential. If Herman Edwards and Gunther Cunningham are serious about fielding a "respectable" defense, Junior Siavii, Lional Dalton, Greg Wesley, Ryan Sims, Julian Battle, and William Bartee have to be on the hot seat from day one at camp and they have to be prepared to cut ties with the ones who won't work their tails off.






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