Sunday, July 14, 2024

Former Raider Incognito on How Football Has Changed

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The game of football has undergone so many changes throughout its history. 

From technological improvements to a shift in philosophies, both offensively and defensively, the game looks different from what it did even a decade ago. 

Is football better now? Worse? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and people will tune in every Sunday anyway. 

It’s interesting to hear from former players about how they see the game. Former Oakland and Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito loves football and constantly watches offensive line play. 

He joined defensive end Maxx Crosby on the latest episode of his podcast, The Rush with Maxx Crosby, and talked about how the game has changed. 

“Today’s game is much more speed-based,” he said. “When I was playing in ‘05, it was much more downhill, it was much more sudden, we had big, old-school 3-4 defenses with guards uncovered, big 380-pound nose guard that’s not going to move. So, I was playing guard versus a lot of 3-4s.”

Incognito broke down the defenses he saw during his playing days. 

“You’re running zone, you’re stepping to the end, and that linebacker is taking your f—ing head off. It was just a bunch of savages, man. Just a bunch of grown men. There’s still some running around in this game today; Maxx is one of them.”

Incognito then got into what offenses look like now.

“But this is more speed-based, especially offensive line play. More zone-based, more post-and-go, more reach-and-run. You don’t really see a lot of teams line up and run their s—.”

He pointed to a successful team that still runs the football often.

“The Ravens,” he said. “The Ravens are kind of the outlier in the NFL, but that’s what old-school football looks like. Pulling guards, running downhill, they have the quarterback that can run. 

Incognito wrapped up his thought with an overall look at how the game has changed.

“It was much more physical,” he said. “I think we spent more time on task practicing. We had longer offseasons, we had two-a-days, we had 40 practices in pads before we played our first game. Now, you show up July 23rd, two weeks later, you’re playing in a preseason game. So yeah, the game’s definitely changed. It’s faster, the collisions are down, but there are still big collisions in our game, but it’s fun. It’s fun to watch the game kind of evolve and the game kind of change. It’s definitely changed a lot in the last 20 years.”

Click here to watch the full podcast episode with Incognito and Crosby.

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