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-   -   Need for Offensive Lines to Adapt (http://www.draftcountdown.com/forum/showthread.php?t=55100)

DBNYDP 01-03-2013 12:01 AM

Need for Offensive Lines to Adapt
Every year we see new trends with the NFL from offenses or defenses that force the other side to eventually adapt. The big trend I've noticed in the past year especially was the lack of traditional pass rushing from defenses. For a very long time many defenses were in my eyes somewhat similar and static in that they traditionally rushed their best edge rusher from one side. Generally the right side (typical blindside) against the left tackle. From that came the value of a great left tackle, someone who can keep your QB safe from his blindside and lock down a teams best pass rusher. But this has now changed.

Teams have done this before this year but this was the first year where I really noticed teams creating extremely favorable match ups for their best guys. Probably three of the best pass rushers in the league JJ Watt, Von Miller, and Justin Houston are typically rushing against the right side of the line and against those right tackles. Frankly there aren't many right tackles that can handle any of those guys. And it isn't just moving those guys to the other side but there is an increasing amount of stunting to the inside to create mismatches with guards and centers that once again doesn't allow for an offense to get a good match up. That isn't even mentioning how most teams are trying or have bookend edge rushers or an increasing amount of great interior rushers.

I guess what I'm pointing to is that defenses have really varied up their game and it is time for the offense to start adapting. I think first thing that needs to stop is this tremendous value placed on LTs, and maybe that is slowly happening as we are seeing other line positions (especially guards) getting a lot more recognition in pass protection. Is it potentially time for teams to start moving offensive linemen around to get the good match up, say a RT and LT switching? I don't really know the answer but its just something I noticed and thought I would bring to attention.

Matthew Jones 01-03-2013 12:20 AM

Some high school and college teams do this sort of thing. For example, Arkansas plays strongside and weakside offensive linemen instead of left or right.

TACKLE 01-03-2013 01:11 AM

I agree about LT being overvalued and I understand the thinking of having O-Lineman move around but functionally I don't like it. Switching back and forth between sides is a more challenging for O-Lineman than people think. Stances, footwork, first steps, post legs are all flipped which makes it very difficult to get comfortable. I'd bet if you all of sudden put Joe Thomas in at RT in the middle of the game, he would likely struggle because of that.

Monomach 01-03-2013 02:16 AM

I've read interviews in which some of the best O linemen in the NFL were asked whether they were comfortable being moved from one side to the other. Basically, they all said that it's a hell of a lot harder than you'd think. They struggle when they do it. Only their backups said it was easy, and usually that was guys who sucked anyway, lol.

Left tackle is going to continue being more important no matter who's rshing on that side just because the pressure coming from that side is the pressure the QB can't identify and avoid. That's the pressure that gets QBs injured. Well, if you have a right-handed QB, anyway.

DBNYDP 01-03-2013 02:29 AM

I don't doubt that but I wonder if teams will eventually start drafting differently because of this or maybe start rotating in linemen depending on the situation. I understand that the Bengals do that sometimes, which is definitely something most teams avoid as they continuity and a cohesive offensive line. It's going to be interesting to see how teams adapt, because otherwise it is going to be a meat market for guys like Miller or Watt.

Iamcanadian 01-03-2013 12:40 PM

It is quite an advantage if you can play a solid LDE against a RT but teams are still going to protect the blindside of their QB if they want to keep him healthy, so the importance of the LT position hasn't dwindled one bit and drafting them will remain the #2 priority on the offense behind the QB.
Teams that are able to play a great LDE usually still have a very decent RDE playing against the LT and I doubt you will see much in the way of OT rotation. A QB can still see the LDE a lot easier than he can see the RDE and that is never going to change.

Witten4HOF 01-03-2013 12:47 PM

I think if anything teams are starting to value athleticism across the offensive line all together. You are seeing less of the traditional mauler that has difficulty moving and more guys that have decent mobility regardless of position.

Iamcanadian 01-03-2013 12:57 PM


Originally Posted by Witten4HOF (Post 3231361)
I think if anything teams are starting to value athleticism across the offensive line all together. You are seeing less of the traditional mauler that has difficulty moving and more guys that have decent mobility regardless of position.

A lot depends on what type of offense you run. Teams that want to throw the ball most of the time, want pass protectors and will use less mobile interior Olmen who can just pass block, while teams that want to run the ball a lot and use a zone blocking scheme will indeed be looking for more athletic and mobile OLmen. Also teams that like to run a lot between the tackles and don't use a lot of zone blocking will always prefer maulers.
Maulers are far more easier to find among interior linemen than gifted athletic OLmen, so even if you prefer the latter, finding them is another story.

CashmoneyDrew 01-03-2013 01:13 PM

Dave Clawson tried the flipping offensive linemen around stuff at UT. He was fired after one season and Tennessee has been drowning in sub-mediocrity ever since. :(

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