Belichick notes downside of roster expansion

Belichick notes downside of roster expansion
March 25, 2014, 8:00 pm
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ORLANDO – The idea of expanding the number of players who can be active from 46 to 49 for Thursday and Saturday games is a sound one on the face of it.
 
But Bill Belichick brought up a downside that -- if roster expansion continued past that what’s proposed this season -- could loom.
 
“Roster expansion is always a two-sided argument,” Belichick said at the AFC Coaches Breakfast on Tuesday morning. “I think there are merits on both sides of it. Certainly I can see the merit for a larger roster size. The negative is just the specialization: we have a long field-goal kicker, we have a short field-goal kicker, we have a punt snapper, we have a field-goal snapper, we have a five-tight end offense, then a six-linebacker defense to match the five-tight end offense.
 
“The more specialization leads to more specialization,” he continued. “There was a time when you watched the National Football League and you saw 11 players out there, basically the same players on every play and you recognized those players. Now, a lot of times, you see four or five players brought on to the field, then four or five players brought on to the field for the other team. I don’t know, it’s different. If you want more of that, more specialization, more guys running on the field, one guy to punt on the plus-50, another guy to punt on the backed-up 50, you’re going to get some of that. There is going to be some specialization that comes with that. If that’s what you want, then that’s part of the rule. If you’d rather have, if you will, fewer players and more continuity, and let the fans actually be able to recognize who some of the players are instead of trying to know all 40-however-many-of-them, then there is less of that. I think there are arguments on both sides of that.”
 
Belichick’s counter is probably not compelling enough to win the day. And with health concerns and player safety taking a seeming backseat to revenue when teams are smushing games into the middle of the week, the added specialization is a risk the league should take. But the notion of teams tweaking their rosters even further was one that roster expansion certainly could lead to.