So for all the college students out there finals are coming up. While I was supposed to be writing my paper for Psychology i decided to exercise my Brian Dawkins Man crush by watching videos on Youtube. Since I was in a psychological mood, I began to think about the way he was as a person and how that contributed to him as a player.
The one video that stuck out for me was a special segment on ESPN. I am sure that all of you has seen it hundredsof times, but just in case here it is
Brain Dawkins History-Weapon X (via alpthegreat1)
The bit that stood out to me was that he was so soft spoken off the field. On the field he was mean and nasty and played with a fire unmatched by anyone on the field. or in the words of my father, "He has murder eyes!" He has a passion for the game unmatched by almost no one in the league. At the risk of sounded blasphemous, Dawkins wasn't the perfect safety, he had faults. I know he has faults because there isnt a perfect player in the league. While I know he has them I would be hard pressed to name them, in my opinion its because of his passion, it covered up the weak points in his game. While most fans from other teams will say to you that Dawkins was a mean and nasty person off the field he was "a teddy bear". This got me thinking about the other mean and nasty players in the league. (I realize the way i think is long and round about I apologize)
In the video above they put Dawkins in a list with other "multi-talented safeties". The list includes; Bob Sanders, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, and John Lynch. Among the fans I talk to on a daily basis,(in person) all of these safeties are "Mean and Nasty". So I looked at them individually.
My best friend is a die hard Colts fan, so I get a healthy dose of Colts info. From all of the videos I have seen on him he seems like a nice guy off the field. I dont have the same kind of proof on this that I do for some of the others on this list so I will leave it with this video. He seems very chill and laid back and not "Mean and Nasty"
Troy is the only person on this least that I can say without a doubt is not "Mean and Nasty". I met Troy when I visited my Uncle in Pittsburgh. He was easily the nicest member of the team, Big Ben was reclusive and didnt talk a lot to the non team people. He has a reputation as a scary player on the field much like all the safeties on the list, off the field nicest guy you will meet.
Of all the players on this list Ed is the one I have the least opinion on. Everything I have seen of him off the field is a very stoic person who doesn't express himself much. This could just be me not finding anything good. I could not find a video for Ed.
Growing up my dad would always tell me about how mean Lynch was. He grew to be the one player I looked to as an absolute dick. It is hard for me to change that view because it is something that was drilled into my head. However everything I have seen points the other way. He has his own foundation to help the community. He seems like an all around good person.
Video is split between him and Champ Bailey.
You are probably wondering what the point of all this is. The point is that all of these people that are considered "Mean and Nasty" are stand up guys off the field. They come of as "Mean and Nasty" because they play with a passion, it covers up their flaws in the game. It helps the other team mates play better, its what puts them down as legends in the league. Generations of Eagles fans will know Bdawk as the Greatest Eagle Ever. The same can most likely be said for the fans of all the other safeties mentioned above.
Passion plays a huge role in the game, and it is something overlooked by many people. In all seriousness I would put Passion just slightly below actual skill level. You can have all the talent in the world but if you lack the passion for the game it means nothing.
As an example I will use Asante Samuel. He obviously has all the talent in the world, there is no debating that. I may be alone in thinking he lacks passion. But I think that if he had even half the level of passion Dawkins had that he would do everything in his power to win, and not make statements like, "I don't get paid to tackle".
Where is the passion on our defense as of now? Trent Cole arguably the best player on defense has not stepped up as the passionate leader. Stewart Bradley who I thought would fill that role was injured last year, and this year I see him concentrating on getting back to 100%. No one in the secondary has the passion to be the leader.
While I do not think anyone in the draft will have that fire their rookie year in my opinion it is something that I think should be a big factor in who we draft. So my question for you is......
Depending on the results I will put up a post about potential draft picks on the defensive side of the ball and their Leadership/Passion potential.