Coaches Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli don’t have the personnel to field an elite statistical squad, but somehow they’ve gotten a crew of has-beens, rejects, and never-weres to make high-impact, game-changing plays – the kinds of plays that win football games.
This is shaping up to be an easy team to root for. How can anyone not love the George Selvie story? Or Everette Brown – a former second-round bust of the Carolina Panthers who turned in a huge second-half strip sack in his first game action mere days after being signed off his couch at home.
Many of these newcomers have had a glimpse of the abyss – life after football. That cold reality that hangs heavy when 32 doors slam shut, and the only path left open is the middling, anonymous grind of a smoothie shop.
Then the phone rings, and Jerry’s on the line. And as a hasty bag is packed for a late flight, perhaps it dawns on them that this is it – this was the last call they were ever going to get. One last, long shot to leave a mark. To matter. To live a life. And that knowledge provides a drive, a determination, an internal motivator that we can’t objectively quantify… An intangible.
Passion and leadership make good teams great, but they aren’t the only intangibles that matter. This defense may not be loaded with talent, but it’s got more want-to than any unit in the league.
With a little luck and a red-hot quarterback, that could be enough.