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OT vs Edge Rusher Height

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by kurtinelson, Mar 5, 2011.

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  1. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    Great Article IMO by Mike Tanier that discusses OT vs edge rusher height. Touches on Mayock's analysis of the edge rusher's ability to lean (or water surf as Warren Sapp called it) and get under the pads of an OT. It gives mention to the Patriots use of a CB/S (I assume he's referring to Arrington) to exploit this mismatch. It also gives mad props to OT Derrick Sherrod in his technique.
    IOT
    Tanier: NFL wants its linemen big, but not tall - NFL- NBC Sports

    [Edit: Interesting article, I hope everybody reads it! But I had to delete the pasted text -- please don't post full copyrighted articles here, it can get the site in trouble. Thanks.]
     
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  2. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Interesting piece, I do think it's possible to get carried away with OT height, especially when the player doesn't have the feet & technique etc. to make it work. I love the frames of Sherrod and Tyron Smith, who are "only" 6'5" but with super-long arms.
     
  3. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Not a bad read, I'm very glad he went into how height can be a disadvantage, I've been beating that drum for a while, for every yin there is a yang, but unfortunately he didnt carry that line of thinking over to the arm length bit, while they can help they can also be used against the O-lineman because of leverage.

    You'll hear the "experts" talking about the combine mention how it's very difficult for a long armed O-lineman to bench press BECAUSE of those long arms, which is true, they have a mechanical disadvantage, so why wouldnt that mechanical disadvantage apply when working against another person?

    Jake Long, Michael Roos, and Joe Thomas, some of the best left tackles in the league, all have "relatively" short arms, so why hasn't the paradigm shifted so that people think shorter arms are where it's at?

    NFL Videos: Pryce breaks down the NFL Combine

    Here's a great vid originally posted by Off The Grid, Trevor Pryce talks at length about footwork and the ability to change direction and it's importance in the game, and he's dead on. Judging how efficiently one can move isn't quite as easy as measuring someone's arms but people like quick and easy, we're a fast food culture, who wants to look at tape and assess:

    - how smoothly someone can shift and step
    - see if they're breaking their posture in the process
    - try to gauge how much power they can exert while on the move
    - if the person can maintain all that over the course of hours
    - how teachable the person is, will the player be willing to train for several hours a week trying to attain the technique of a Judo expert or will they become very frustrated and just want to bench press instead will the false belief that be as effective?

    Getting into the real nitty gritty of a players skills is not easy and also not completely cut and dry but it'll get you vastly better information than the quick measurables route.
     
  4. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Fair enough, but let me at least quote the salient paragraph:

     
  5. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Maybe because they remain more the exception than the rule? It's easy to find tons of examples in the other direction -- from the sure-fire OT stud Robert Gallery, who with his 32-inch arms moved inside to guard, to prospects with lesser credentials but much longer arms like Ryan Clady, Marcus McNeill and Phil Loadhoalt who have thrived.

    (BTW, I suspect Jake Long's arm length is widely misreported. He looks like he has huge arms and all the qualitative scouting reports said he had huge arms, but one source listed a short number and everybody's run with it. ProFootballWeekly lists him at an impressive 35.75".)
     
  6. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

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    Sorry. Won't happen again.
     
  7. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    - NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Jake Long

    According to the numbers gathered from the combine his arms are under 33 inches at 6'7, and that still leaves Thomas and Roos. I think you can also throw in Jared Veldheer who, to Patriots fans disgust, was a significant factor in the Raiders success this year. At 6'8 he has 33 inch arms.

    - Also, how much does the perception in many coaches and scouts that 'long arms are necessary' influence which player gets extra coaching and time playing? Does that perception also influence how a player's performance is judged? I bet if the short armed tackle gives up a sack that will simply reconfirm the coaches opinions about long arms, but it the long armed guy gives up 2 sacks then 'maybe he just had a bad game' or something else will come to mind.

    - You mentioned a short armed OT that failed, which is legitimate, but what about long armed OTs that also failed? We need to take all those into account of we want an accurate analysis.

    Shouldn't those exceptions cause people to reconsider their theory as to the necessities of a good O-lineman? Since it's obvious that long arms aren't needed to be an excellent tackle in the NFL you would think that people investing a TON of money into their teams would spend some time investigating what IS necessary.
     
  8. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I think whether at OT has long or short arms,it all comes back to technique, especially footwork and balance. Our own Vollmer is a really tall guy, but his footwork and balance allow him to work really well against speed and bull rushers.
     
  9. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think what it comes down to is that ANY physical attribute, in isolation, isn't of much predictive value. (At OLB Dumervil is 6'0", Woodley ran a 4.74 40, Matthews weighed in at 240 lbs. Does that mean we should ignore height, weight and speed in evaluating OLB prospects?) So I agree that it's foolish to write off an OT prospect based on arm length, but that doesn't mean long arms aren't a definite plus as you evaluate the overall package.
     
  10. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Long arms without proper technique does not equal a long football career.
     
  11. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Not sure why this is in dispute. Shorter arms on a tackle is not by itself a disqualifying factor, but it does have implications. When playing a speed rusher on your outside shoulder, you need to retreat deeper and get your feet set faster. Someone with longer arms can set shallower (ready for a bull rush, dive inside or spin move) and recover on an outside speed move to just escort the rusher around the pocket.

    So you make up for a limitation by excelling in another aspect of your game. Happens at every position. I don't see the tackles in this draft class as being exceptional with their footwork and technique (T.Smith excluded) so I would be wary that short arms would translate into a liability that could be easily exploited by NFL-caliber pass rushers.
     
  12. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I never said to ignore ANY aspects of a player's physical skill-set, they all go into the particular mix that is each player and will result in a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

    Regarding arm length, I would disagree that they're a "definite" plus, they will be an advantage in certain instances and a disadvantage in others. This happens everywhere in football: people love tall QBs because they can see downfield but the longer their bodies the longer it's going to take them to reset those bodies, that's one reason why a Ryan Mallet is not going to have the mobility of a Drew Brees.
     
  13. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Amen, brother Jones :youtheman:
     
  14. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Y'all might want to chat together about this. :)
     
  15. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Can you give an example, all other things being equal, where having shorter arms is an advantage at tackle?
     
  16. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I already did: mechanical advantage. The long armed tackles can't bench as well as a shorter armed DT, they admit this all the time when the guys are benching at the combine. The longer armed guys have to do more work to move the same amount of weight.

    Try this experiment, have someone point their elbow at you and then take you hand and try to move their arm to the side (at the elbow), you'll probably find it's quite difficult. Then have them extend their arm completely, so their fist is pointing at you, now place you hand on their fist and try to move it to the side, suddenly it becomes quite easy, the extra length gives you increased leverage. It's the same reason why removing a bolt from a tire is easier with a long wrench than with a short one.

    The longer arms can be an advantage IF someone is rushing around the edge, the longer armed guys can potentially give them a little pop and put them on a wider arc, and that increased distance can give the QB more time.

    But if the guy is bull-rushing the tackle, like when Solder's lunch was eaten by a guy he outweighed by over 100lbs, those long levers work AGAINST the tackle, all the defender needs to do is get his hands to the tackle's elbow (either on the inside or outside) and you can manipulate those arms and make the tackle's strength evaporate. If you know anyone that does Brazilian Ju-Jutsu ask them about working against guys with long arms, in general it's easier than working against a guy with short arms.
     
  17. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Nice examples since they are concrete and involve physics, not just abstract talking points.

    Long arms is an absolute disadvantage in weight lifting. You have to move the weight longer distances, requiring more mechanical energy, and the stress on the elbow (the up/down flex point) is more extreme. The question is how does this translate to football.

    Longer lever = increase torque with equal force applied at the end of the lever. True, but unless you are discussing ripping the tackles arm off at the shoulder, it has limited applicability in this context.

    This is the point where I totally disagree with you. Long arms enable the tackle to engage the pass rusher further away from his body. If the arm length disparity is big enough, the tackle can keep the rusher from getting his arms into the tackle's pads easily. Arm length doesn't make it more or less likely that a tackle will lose hand battles.

    This is the answer I was looking for when I asked the question. There is a downside to having longer arms on the OL. When locked square up with a defender, it is harder to manipulate the defender side-to-side in the running game. So generally that is something not asked of tackles. Against similar sized defenders, they punch one way or the other to open a hole. The interior line needs to lock onto bigger defenders which plays to your martial arts example.

    So I think that is a good illustration that a short-armed tackle could be very productive in a heavy run offense where the scheme protects the tackle from speed rushers diving downfield. While this doesn't apply to the 2011 Pats, it does sound like the way the Titans, Jags, Raiders and a few others want to play.
     
  18. Snake Eyes

    Snake Eyes Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Why thank you:)

    It's about taking space, when benchpressing you're trying to take the space above you and the bar is in the way, in football you're trying to move the other guy into different space that he wants to occupy. Having great ability to take that space, like a Larry Allen, translates very well to football.

    That being said, for football players bench-pressing is very stupid.

    Not really, if he's right up close to me and I want to push him off I'm at a disadvantage if my arms are a lot longer.

    If the tackle's arms extended, reaching the defender who tries but cannot put his hands on the pads, the tackle has an advantage at that moment HOWEVER if the defender realizes he doesnt need to put his hands on the tackles pads to affect him, and simply goes after the tackle's elbows, it will soon become a disadvantage. Long story short, at full extension the longer arms can offer an advantage but the more bent those long arms become the more they become a liability.

    Pushing the defenders side to side can be done but it would involves a push on one side of his body with a simultaneous push on the other, and a repositioning of one's feet. This can be useful for run-block or pass-blocking, it's just a matter of making the defender go in the other direction, ideally you're using his own momentum to get him going, forcing him to start/stop, engage/reengage, which will wear him out physically and mentally.

    The biggest thing to make stuff happen is the O-lineman's legs, all these movements begin with the legs and end with the hands, which is why arm length isn't nearly as important as stated, if things are done well with the legs the arms really don't matter, if they're not done well with the legs the best arms in the world won't make up for it.

    I'll take 32 inch armed Joe Thomas at Left Tackle all day long. I should correct myself from before, the plays don't start with the feet, they really start with the brain. A player's reaction time is even more important than his leg ability, check out this clip of Suh and the burst he gets.

    YouTube - Sports Science:Ndamukong Suh

    Even if the opposing player has superior strength and body control a guy like Suh will be at a great advantage due to how quickly he reacts, if he can get to the opposition just a fraction of a second before they're ready for him to get to them Suh will probably dominate that matchup. Similarly, how well a player reacts to any change in the situation will also have dramatic effect on the play. Someone like Merriweather, who often looks lost on the field, doesn't process info well, dealing with events when they're already past-tense, he's always playing catchup.

    In short, I consider the arm length bit kind of like talking about the paint job on racecar, what sense does it make to talk about it if we're not first looking at the engine? The Processing Ability is VASTLY more important than arm length, the muscular explosiveness and dexterity, technique, dedication, and general nastiness are where it's at in my opinion, if the player has those I probably don't care about how long his arms are.
     
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