Many people overlook the offensive line these days. With the high profile QBs and flashy playbooks, the OL falls right in with the place holder for field goals. Let’s be honest, the line isn’t glamorous or high profile, but it is the most important part of that offense.
Without the line, the pass doesnt get off, the run play gets demolished, and the lifespan of a skill player would last one quarter of play. The offensive linemen are the most athletic and aggressive players you can meet. A QB doesn’t want a runningback to have his back in a fight, he wants the burly left tackle to protect him on and off the field.
There is a solid reason why the left tackle is generally the second highest paid player on the team. He protects the largest investment the team makes, the franchise QB. Joe Theisman will be the first to tell you the LT’s importance; and he has the scar and the video to show what happens when the team does not invest enough money. For kicks and giggles, let’s call the tackle the Jeep Wrangler. They are big, powerful, and once the feet have grip, nothing is moving them.
The runningback’s best friend are the guards. The guards are the Cadillacs of the line. The guards are quick and smaller; but they carry immense power and will run over any DB left unhandled by the tackles, tight end, or the WR. The guards throw the blocks on the screen, set the wall on the inside run, and drive forward to the linebackers to hold them off.
Occasionally the tight end stays on the line as a blocker. The tight end is the F-150 of the group. The 150 is versatile, powerful, and its big hands are reliable to carry the football all the way to the endzone. The tight end’s hands are the bed of the truck, a wide target that nobody worries about throwing stuff into. The tight end as a blocker is also the greatest asset to the tackle for protecting the QB against a DE like Julius Peppers, or setting the edge for a run. The tight end can virtually do anything.
Last but not least is the center. The center is the dumptruck of the group. The center gets the load out quick, and his entire job is to stand there and be a wall. The center doesnt necessarily move as quick, but he is strong and won’t be moved. He is the backup to the rest of the line, and watches the play to determine where the help needs to go. It takes a great center to take on a NT like Ndamukong Suh and still be able to help the rest of the line, that is why they are the quintessential support and safety mechanism of the line.
The line is seldom given the respect and credit they deserve. C’mon people, give the big guys some love. During my football days we went by the same creed, every single day of football season. We were always the first to get yelled at, but the last to get recognized. The only linemen that get remembered are the ones that lead to a player getting injured; unless you are Michael Oher of course. The linemen are loved by the team, and forgotten by the fans. Next time the TV comes on with a football game, watch those big guys at work. They are of great importance, and they don’t last very long in the trenches.