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The Campanile

Team structure influences individual performance

If you have been keeping up with the National Football League (NFL), you may have heard about the New England Patriots’ quarterback (QB) dilemma.

After the team’s star quarterback, Tom Brady, was given a four game suspension at the beginning of the season, the Patriots bumped backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo up to step in for Brady as the starting quarterback. Garoppolo seemed to be making good progress — he helped his team defeat not only the Arizona Cardinals, but also the Patriots’ division rivals, the Miami Dolphins. However, Garoppolo injured his shoulder in the game against the Dolphins and was ruled out for an indefinite amount of time. In late September, shortly after Garoppolo’s injury was revealed, the Patriots announced that rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett would start the team’s game on Sept. 22. Brissett would lead the Patriots to a 27-0 victory against the Houston Texans.

Now, with only one game left before Brady’s long-awaited return as starting quarterback, the Patriots face the question of whether to sign a free agent quarterback or name wide receiver Julian Edelman, who last played quarterback in college a decade ago, as Brissett’s backup QB.

Many experts who have been monitoring the situation believe that regardless of who the Patriots select as quarterback, the player will find success in the position. The team’s numbers seem to back this up — despite having zero prior experience, both players who assumed the role of starting quarterback for the Patriots won all of their games this season. Including this season, all QBs making their first career start under Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick are undefeated. This bodes well for the team no matter who they choose to start this week.

This phenomenon occurs in positions other than quarterback and sports beyond football. A recent example of the coaching scheme taking priority over an individual player is Harrison Barnes’ relationship with the Golden State Warriors. During their past two seasons, the Warriors have won not only 73 regular season games, but also the NBA Finals. Because of this, it seems that almost any player can excel with the Warriors.

Barnes, who now plays for the Dallas Mavericks, will soon show the league whether it was his own performance or the Warriors that made him the exemplary player that he is. In 2016, Barnes made nearly 50 percent of his shots while pulling in 5 rebounds per game for the Warriors. He also made the American Olympic basketball team, yet at the same time he saw nearly no time on the Olympic court. This tells viewers that the Team USA coaches did not believe Barnes was the standout player everyone sees him during the NBA season. While most of the Warriors roster excelled in the playoffs this season, Barnes had a major dropoff, shooting a dismal 39 percent and averaging only 9 points per game. Barnes’ subpar play was exposed in the offseason when he was matched against superior competition. Once removed from the Warriors’ star-studded roster, Barnes’ has been shown to have a dropoff in performance, another example of a coaching system that makes players look like they are better than their true level of skill.

In soccer, players are moved about far more frequently, as the jumbling of players is a regular occurrence. Often times, players have their best seasons with one club, only to ride the bench on another team of the same skill level. Paul Pogba, who became the most expensive transfer in soccer history this summer, has yet to live up to his price tag at Manchester United.

Now, with only one game left before Brady’s long-awaited return as starting quarterback, the Patriots face the question of whether to sign a free agent quarterback or name wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Although the season is less than ten games in, Pogba has struggled to find his footing and has not contributed as much as the club would have hoped. This has caused some to argue that Pogba only had success at his old club Juventus because of their system. Juventus plays a much more defensively-minded 3-5-2 formation which rewards midfielders such as Pogba. This, however, is not the same for Manchester United who mainly play a 4-2-3-1 formation, rewarding the attack and placing more emphasis on attack than defense. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who also transferred to Manchester United this summer, seemed to have no problem easing into the new system and has scored four goals in seven games. This should be very worrisome for United who now faces a fee of over $110 million with Pogba, but has little to show for a player that has trouble performing outside of a system where he is comfortable.

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