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Interesting piece on the league-wide decline of OL

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by betterthanthealternative, Sep 2, 2012.

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  1. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative Rookie

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    NFP Sunday Blitz. Dan Pompei

    As I went through my tour of training camps, it struck me how one theme was constant wherever I went: offensive line play is a concern. Every team had some sort of issue up front on offense. I don’t believe there is a coaching staff in the league that is completely comfortable with its offensive line.

    There is no question line play has deteriorated in recent years. Neither individual linemen nor offensive line units are what they used to be. So I started to ask people what they thought the reasons were. Here are some of the theories I heard.


    The rest: NFP Sunday Blitz | National Football Post
  2. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    He writes that Brian Waters won't be playing. How does he know?

    Interesting take that all the best athletes are choosing defense because of pay. Makes some sense. Just thinking out loud but I wonder if it's possible to convert a so-so defensive lineman that's a good athlete into an offensive lineman? Bill likes turning receivers into defensive backs. hmmm.
  3. pats_premi

    pats_premi Rookie

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    Does Dan Pompei know something about Brian Waters not playing this year that other don't ?

    "And it doesn’t look like it will be getting better anytime soon. Among the offensive linemen who played in the 2011 Pro Bowl but won’t be playing this year are Kris Dielman, Brian Waters, Matt Light, Jason Peters and Chad Clifton."

    NFP Sunday Blitz | National Football Post
  4. Raymond

    Raymond Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    Interesting piece indeed.

    I think the OL folks have always been a step behind in athleticism. They are the bulldozers and road graders. Their task is to act in knowing their scheme and force the DL to use more speed to get through and around.

    But this was clearly an amusing point.

    The Giants have a pass rusher in Jason Pierre-Paul who can do 23 consecutive backflips. I can name some guards who look like they would struggle to do a single forward somersault.
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I saw this and was about to post it. Thanks for doing so.

    With the league moving towards more of a passing offense, there has been an emphasis on athletic defensive linemen who can generate pressure. Whereas guys like Vince Wilfork and Haloti Ngata were once considered freakishly athletic for their size, there are now lots more guys coming out with surprising athleticism despite being massive. Dontari Poe is the latest example, but there are a number of guys in the college ranks coming up with an amazing combination of size, speed and foootwork. Julius Peppers was a freakish athlete when he came out, but we're seeing more and more guys with 6'5"+ height and 270-290 lb. weight who have rare athleticism: Mario Williams, Jason Pierre-Paul, JJ Watt, Chandler Jones. Meanwhile, overall OL play seems to have certainly not kept up, and, if you believe Pompei, deteriorated.

    Some of the quotes and theories advanced are interesting:

    1. The better athletes are gravitating towards DL instead of OL, and are better paid. From Mike Shanahan: "Everybody says we don’t have a good right tackle. I say show me who does?"

    2. Lack of experience in a pro style offense at the college level leading to a steep learning curve. Conversely, the advent of spread offenses has led to a decline in run blocking.

    3. The new CBA and fewer practice sessions affects the cohesiveness and overall quality of line play.

    4. Lack of continuity.

    It's an interesting thought. Both Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer are extraordinary athletes for their size, so I'm not sure that I buy the "less athletic" theory. Vollmer was hands down the best RT in the NFL 2 years ago before injuring his back, and was on the verge of becoming a dominant player. Solder is every bit as much of an athletic freak as some of the defensive linemen - his problems stem more from inexperience, technical flaws and a lack of strength than from athletic ability.

    It does make me wonder about how to draft and develop linemen. Rather than using high draft picks on guys who may excel at the college level but be limited athletically, are we better off - particular with Scar running his "dancing academy" - drafting more raw but athletically gifted guys with cross-sports backgrounds and unusual combinations of size, footwork and agility. I think of guys like Jared Veldheer in 2010 (3rd round) and Senio Kelemete in 2012 (5th round), both of whom are exceptional athletes for their size and positions. Veldheer was a small school kid with a high school basketball background before learning OL at the college level. Kelemete started out on DL before moving to OL, and has the ability to be a stud RT or OG because of his exceptional footwork and movement skills. Jason Peters started out as a TE before becoming a Pro Bowl LT for Buffalo and Philadelphia.

    Interesting stuff. And for those panicking about the state of our OL, it seems like we're not alone.
  6. bagwell368

    bagwell368 Rookie

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    Interior OL look somewhat like DT's and OT's look like DE's to a extent.

    Back in the day G's that could pull were prized. Well the nfl is more pass happy, now we want a G that can hold a block, even if he can only move 2 steps while doing it.

    Guys like solder and vollmer might have the abilities to play DL from a talent standpoint - but with long torsos and tall legs they'd be knocked off their pins, or hitin the solar plexus until they couldn't move. Or maybe they lack the mindset to attack.

    If the league made running and passing equally hard or easy to do, then pass blocking mobile G's would be back in vogue.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  7. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nate Solder and JJ Watt were both TEs. One converted to OT, the other to DE. Sure, Solder is taller and longer, but both have long frames. Jason Peters was a TE before bulking up to a 340# LT. I'm not sure that it's the frame that's the key so much as the mentality.
  8. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    if an OL's job was to do flips, then he'd be in trouble........but if it is to push people around, then he is better suited
  9. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interesting piece, although trite and redundant.. we have Dante.

    Beginning to believe Waters is not going to show up..
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2012
  10. borg

    borg Rookie

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    Thoughts

    Both in '10 and '11, I remember thinking how great T play was throughout the league. Too soon to know how '12 pans out, but reports from around the league have been more negative.
    That being said, it has become clear that defenses have emphasized an up the middle pass rush more so than in the past due to 1) lack of premium edge rushers, 2) higher quality Ts, 3) quick release passing systems, 4) less worry of stopping run in this new pass happy league. Take the Patriots for example. The Giants have proven that an up the middle pass rush can destabilize the Pats passing game. There's a reason Mankins gets huge dollars and Waters is allowed to set his own practice schedule (we hope that's the reason). And why Koppen is no longer.
    What I find interesting about roster construction with the Patriots is how every positional group has at least an equal number of backups (K, P, LS excluded) except O line.....with the Pats likely to go into the season with 8-9 O linemen. I'd be interested to learn how other teams go forward with their O line compostion.
    With the emphasis on sub-packaging on D, it appears the overweighting numbers on D come at the expense of the O line depth (and QB this year)
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