Ahead of the Curve
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Imagine Vince Lombardi decides to keep Paul Hornung at quarterback and Bart Starr on the Green Bay bench in 1959.  A new coach with a new game plan, Lombardi believes, is just what the Golden Boy needs to find his stride and recapture his Heisman form.       

 

It's 1918 in the bizarro-world and the Red Sox's Ed Barrow ignores Harry Hooper's advice and keeps pitching star Babe Ruth in the rotation full-time.  He decides the Babe's arm is far too valuable as a hurler in baseball's dead-ball era (3-0 in 1916 WS) to risk injury by platooning Ruth in the outfield on off days. 

In reality, history is full of athletes who were re-positioned and found their niche.

Kevin McHale (a starter on most teams) is made sixth-man by Coach Casey Jones (for a time) to come off the bench and give the team a needed spark.  The Houston Astros move rookie catcher Craig Biggio to 2nd base in 1989 enroute to 3000+ hits.

Where a coach puts a player can make or break a career.  It can keep a team mediocre or turn it into a champion. 

Sometimes necessity is the (father) of invention: the Card's Rick Ankiel switches to the outfield after developing arm trouble. 

Sometimes the move is a risk: Joba Chamberlain.  But such is the burden of leadership.

Moving Alfonso Soriano out of the Cub lead-off spot?  I wouldn't call it a risk.  I'd call it necessity.  Alfonso has little patience and no command of the strike zone.  If the lead-off man must accomplish one thing it's to get on base: set the table and score runs.

When Michael Vick is re-admitted to the NFL he'd be wise to swallow his pride and give up the quarterback thing.  He's always been more suited to WR or tailback.  If a strong arm and a tendency to ???rabbit' made a good QB, scouts would hanging-out at the Punt Pass & Kick.  Maybe a talk with Brian Westbrook or Reggie Bush would help.

And then there's Devin Hester.  He's a talented guy who'll catch his share of passes and TDs.  But my advice to Lovie Smith: if it works, don't fix it.

Steven Keys

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