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WSJ: NFL Tired of being fat (to everyone who's ever said 'So and so's not big enough to be a 3-4 OLB, DE, NT, etc)

Washington Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has proclaimed that he's already dropped about 30 pounds... defensive tackle Dan Williams became so concerned about carrying 340 pounds on his frame that he's wriggled off 30 pounds to get to around 310 But let's face it, nothing takes hold this quickly in the NFL unless there's a growing consensus that it will help win games. As the league's strategists continue to embrace the "pass first" philosophy, they've made some drastic and fundamental changes in recent years to the way offenses operate. As teams de-emphasize the running game, they've been cutting blocking tight ends, and have virtually eliminated the bruising fullback. As these offensive players are replaced by smaller, speedier models, teams that have trotted out a defense full of bulky, even somewhat portly, players are watching helplessly as these speedy new offenses run past them, "The game is getting faster. I remember coming into the league and everyone said you had to be 300 pounds to play on the defensive line, Reggie White was 325," said Holliday, who is now 270 after weighing 320 pounds early in his career. "When you get to that weight, you think 'I can play this game and not be 325, to the point that I'm 270 and comfortable'." Consider the story of Pittsburgh rookie linebacker Sean Spence, who was 230 pounds and had been considered undersized for a prototypical linebacker while at the University of Miami. As he prepared for the NFL, Spence said he consulted with acquaintances like Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and many of his Steelers teammates about how much he needed to grow. The results may have been a surprise: None of his NFL elders told him to put on weight and Steelers linebacker Larry Foote told him that by now, weight had become "the most overrated thing" in football. Spence said that he quickly realized that teams run much less than they used to and when they do run, "teams aren't running power and leads with the fullbacks," he said. When they do run, he added, "they are just running misdirection plays or throwing to tight ends." That means less pounding on the defense in general, which means Spence doesn't need to stuff his gullet every day to stay at 260 pounds. "It's not about bulk anymore," Foote said in an interview. "There's a reason you don't see the guys with the big old neck rolls and big shoulder pads. The game's changed."
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