Most people are familiar with the concept of building a football team around the offensive and defensive lines. Win the battle in the trenches, and you have a decisive advantage. I think many people realize the folly of trying to build a team around the "skill players" without having talent in the trenches. Off the Grid has repeatedly advanced a version of this approach which emphasizes not only the importance of players who are closer to the LOS, but also players who are more closely clustered around the football - i.e., in the center of the field. This includes defensive tackles, "midfielders" and interior offensive linemen. Grid's formulation of this concept is the clear straightward: a player's value diminishes in rough proportion to his proximity to the football, thus players who are more peripheral to the ball are less valuable than players who are more centrally located. I call this approach building from the "inside out". It is extremely contrary to the current vogue in the NFL, which has pushed the action more and more to the periphery. Edge rushers, outside tackles, wideouts and outside cornerbacks are the most coveted positions after QB. Just look at the free agent feeding frenzy this year for cornerbacks (Cortland Finnegan and Brandon Carr getting $50M deals), pass rushers (Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and others), and wide receivers. The reason for bringing all this up is an interesting article by Jason Cole at Yahoo.com, which proposes that the left tackle position is gradually becoming less valued in the NFL as the game changes: Left tackle in the NFL is gradually becoming a less valued position - Yahoo! Sports The article echoes some of Grid's "inside out" thinking. In particular, the article suggests (1) that changes in the rules on bumping receivers are resulting in QBs holding on to the ball less long, (2) that this creates a need to generate more rapid and direct pressure on the QB, and (3) that teams are attempting to do this by bringing pressure in different ways, including overloading one side, moving pass rushers around, and generating interior pressure. The article cites Rex Ryan as a good example of this: The article notes that the most prolific scoring offenses in the NFL today and most of the Super Bowl teams of the past decade have not had a dominant left tackle - in fact, several have had offensive lines built around dominant interior linemen more than tackles. The article notes: The importance of generating what Tuck calls "forward pressure" and of collapsing the pocket was advanced by Jay Shields on this board 3 years ago, in a classic post: http://www.patsfans.com/new-england.../308687-my-dilettant-defensive-treatise.html Sounds darn similar to what Tuck said. An effective pass rush has to cut off the QB's avenues of escape and prevent him from stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball. As Grid more succinctly puts it "my Holy Grail is the interior pass rush threat." And increased internal pressure puts more importance on the value of internal linemen who can effectively handle that pressure. The Cole article suggests that an elite left tackle is a "luxury" rather than a necessity, and that "the premium that used to be paid for a left tackle is no longer the case." I'm not sure that's entirely true. Having an ultra-athletic blindside protector who can handle a DeMarcus Ware or Jason Pierre-Paul is a huge advantage. But I think that the article raises some good issues about the importance of direct pressure and the value of internal as well as outside protection, and the need for overall strength of the offensive line as opposed to simply having a dominant left tackle. This also raises some things to think about for the long term, as the team has some aging issues on the inside of both lines. I think this is one of the priorities for the team to address in the 2013 draft and free agency. BB is doing a masterful job about rebuilding the team for the long haul, but I worry somewhat about the team getting old on the interior of both lines. Food for thought.