The Wall Street Journal makes an interesting non-business observation:
Deep in the wilds of the Upper Midwest, Green Bay quietly has recruited a regiment of interchangeable players. The team’s novel idea is to find players—usually linebackers, tight ends or fullbacks—who can play in a variety of formations and situations because they’re virtually the exact same size and weight. The ideal specifications: 6 feet 2 and 250 pounds.
As Packers tight end D.J. Williams explained, only 46 players are allowed to dress for an NFL game. Every team has to cobble together its starters, reserves and special-teams players from those 46. “So if you can have one person doing what three people can do, it may only be 46 people dressed out there but it’s like having 60,” said Williams, who at 6 feet 2 and 245 pounds is roughly the magic size. “It’s a great advantage.” …
The Packers value versatility because it allows the team to save precious spots on the 53-man roster. When you watch Green Bay play, it feels like half the team is 6 feet 2 and 250 pounds, since those players fill so many roles.
Williams and Ryan Taylor, both listed as tight ends, said they have lined up at about six different positions so far in the preseason—including at tight end, in the backfield, in the slot and at wide receiver, as well as on special teams. Linebacker Robert Francois, 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds, calls his size “on the edge” of every linebacker position. Since most teams around the NFL might view a player this size as a “tweener”—a player either too big or too small for a specific position—these players often can be overlooked by other franchises and end up coming to Green Bay on the cheap.
Francois thinks this preferred Packers height and weight combination is perfect because players are lean enough to play inside or outside linebacker. Then, any of them can rush the passer because they’re big enough to go up against offensive tackles, yet quick enough to cover tight ends and receivers. …
Offensive coordinator Tom Clements said that the team’s 250-pound army allows it to use different personnel groups interchangeably. “Make [the defense] change with us and put different guys in different positions where they might not usually be,” Clements said.
Williams, the tight end, said the Packers can have a deeper playbook because they have more players who are familiar with many roles. Dom Capers, the Packers’ veteran defensive coordinator, said Green Bay employs four linebackers in its base defense instead of the typical three, to have the versatility to match up with any type of personnel the opposition uses.
This helps explain why, despite season-ending injuries to tight end Jermichael Finley and running back Ryan Grant, the Packers simply plugged in replacements and won Super Bowl XLV. Apparently Packers coach Mike McCarthy is smarter than your average bear, or Bear.