Greg Olsen Tells Dale Earnhardt Jr. That A Successful NFL Team Isn’t All About Talent: “Good Guys Very Often Get The Benefit Of The Doubt”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Olsen are posing for a picture

The conversation Dale Earnhardt Jr. had with former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on the most recent episode of the Dale Jr. Download is fascinating.

Naturally, they talked a lot about sports, and Greg dropped some knowledge about training camp and how a team selects their final roster of 53 players that I’ve never heard before.

Dale Jr., a hardcore Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) fan, brought up the fact that there are plenty of times when he’s wanted his team to keep a certain player because he simply likes them, not necessarily because they’re the most talented.

And when you think of the NFL, you never really imagine that “liking” someone is ever a factor… at least I didn’t. I always thought it was much more ruthless than that.

As it turns out, though, that’s not always the case. Greg, who’s a 14 season veteran of the NFL, said there actually are times where you keep players because of quartiles that have nothing to do with their natural ability to play football:

“It’s not all talent based. When you’re building a team, the culture and relationships amongst what certain people bring to certain scenarios are very bit as valuable and every bit as impact as their just talent.

So like in our world, where the culture of the team is everything, and of course talent is primary, those last couple spots, those are like culture building guys.

And I’ve seen guys hang on at the bottom of a roster who every year, there’s probably five more talented guys that they cut, because there’s just somethin’ about that guy.

It’s his work ethic, you always can count on him, he’s in at every practice, he’s the first guy down on kickoff, he’s the first guy in conditioning drills… those spots, sometimes for a coach, I don’t wanna worry about my 53rd player.”

Because not a single head coach in the NFL wants anything to do with a guy that’s going to be problematic and hinder the team’s overall success:

“If my 53rd player on the team is a headache, he’s gone. I don’t have time for that. The best teams that do it, and win consistently, they understand that it’s not necessarily always a collection of talent.

It’s a collection of talent, pieced in with like, glue guys, we call them. They’re the glue that keeps everything going. They’re not the fastest guy, they’re not the best player, but there’s just somethin’ about that guy.

You need him on the team because he keep everything together, he keeps things moving forward.”

And often, those are the guys who are awarded the benefit of the doubt and end up being an example to some of the best players in the league:

“So to your point, good guys very often get the benefit of the doubt. And I don’t mean good because they’re a boy scout.

I mean good because they’re tough, they’re reliable, they’re consistent they’re hard working, they’re durable, those qualities make them a good guy, and those guys last for a long time.”

Sounds like good, solid life advice in general for all of us from the great Greg Olsen…

Check out the whole video, there’s plenty more about Greg’s rookie year with the Chicago Bears that’s super interesting, as well:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock