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A great article on why the LT position is overrated


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#1 ny33

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:08 PM

http://insider.espn....ing-eric-fisher

A key note from the article is its list of the left tackles who've started in the last five Super Bowls: Bryant McKinnie, Joe Staley, David Diehl, Matt Light, Chad Clifton, Trai Essex, Jermon Bushrod, Charlie Johnson, Max Starks, Mike Gandy. The writer, Andy Benoit, notes that all of these players- with the exception of Staley- were mediocre players at their position that year. He argues that "skill players who can get the ball in space" are far more valuable in the modern league.

#2 San Jose Bills Fan

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:36 PM

Thanks for posting.

This is an idea that is gaining some supporters.

The first person I recall writing about it is KC Joyner aka The Football Scientist who wrote the 2008 book, "Blindsided, Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and other Contrarian Football Thoughts."

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0470124091

Our own Mr Weo has supported this notion from time to time.

#3 Alaska Darin

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:02 AM

A good left tackle can help an average QB look better.  A great QB playing in a scheme tailored to his strengths can make an entire team great.

No one is going to tell me that the Indianapolis Colts of the last 15 years would have been anything but average with a QB not named Peyton Manning.

#4 artmalibu

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:32 AM

A so-so LT will need help from a TE or RB because they are usually facing the other teams best pass rusher.  So a LT that can neutralize the opponents best pass rusher solo, can be like having an extra guy.

#5 prissythecat

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:33 AM

Just look at how many Superbowl runs Philly has made since acquiring the great Jason Peters lol.

#6 widerightradio

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:36 AM

View PostSan Jose Bills Fan, on 30 April 2013 - 10:36 PM, said:

Thanks for posting.

This is an idea that is gaining some supporters.

The first person I recall writing about it is KC Joyner aka The Football Scientist who wrote the 2008 book, "Blindsided, Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and other Contrarian Football Thoughts."

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0470124091

Our own Mr Weo has supported this notion from time to time.

Right. Joyner's basic theory is that defenses will attack the weakest point in the offensive line, no matter where it is. If you have an A+ LT, but a substandard RT, then the defense will run roughshod over your right side. What you want is a B+/A- line all the way across. This is why we didn't overpay (and shouldn't have) for Levitre. It's also why I think the Bills will bring in a free agent vet for the LG position. Someone unremarkable to ensure consistency across the line.

#7 Mr. WEO

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:49 AM

View PostSan Jose Bills Fan, on 30 April 2013 - 10:36 PM, said:

Thanks for posting.

This is an idea that is gaining some supporters.

The first person I recall writing about it is KC Joyner aka The Football Scientist who wrote the 2008 book, "Blindsided, Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and other Contrarian Football Thoughts."

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/0470124091

Our own Mr Weo has supported this notion from time to time.

Thanks SJBF!

The GM's job is to prioritize the positions of QB and guys who can get to the QB.  After that, you get guys who will can points on the board.

This year's draft was bereft of skill position talent, hence so many LTs picked in the top 10.  Safe to say none of those picks will have a measurable impact on those team's offensive performance.

The beauty of taking the position that LT is so valuable is that it can be summed up in a simple catchphrase ("protects the blindside") and, because it is an ensemble position, it is hard to tease out the exact individual contribution of LT.

But history shows us two things: that bad teams picking an LT in the top 5 have wasted the pick (Jake Long was a huge bust in opportunity cost) and that really good teams get by with less than top 20 "talent" at LT.

#8 thebandit27

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:55 AM

It's very true...just look at the best tackles in the game: Joe Thomas, Duane Brown, Ryan Clady, Russell Okung, Jason Peters...not a single Superbowl appearance among them.  In fact, if you look at the success of their respective teams, it all hinges upon...wait for it...QB play.

Not surprising at all.

#9 jboyst62

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:14 AM

The ones who say LT is overrated are the ones with a good LT. The ones who say LT matters more then any other position are the ones without a good LT.

LT is any other position on the line

#10 C.Biscuit97

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:16 AM

I've been saying this for years but old football heads cling to this idea.  Teams use 3 and 4 receivers sets on hte majority of their plays and that makes it much easier for o linemen.  Sinking $10+ million into a tackle is a really good way to get your team in a bad salary cap situation.

#11 Cash

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 08:55 AM

View Postwiderightradio, on 01 May 2013 - 05:36 AM, said:

Right. Joyner's basic theory is that defenses will attack the weakest point in the offensive line, no matter where it is. If you have an A+ LT, but a substandard RT, then the defense will run roughshod over your right side. What you want is a B+/A- line all the way across. This is why we didn't overpay (and shouldn't have) for Levitre. It's also why I think the Bills will bring in a free agent vet for the LG position. Someone unremarkable to ensure consistency across the line.

Makes sense.  In terms of the O-line as a unit, it's obvious that sufficient poor play will kill the offense's performance -- i.e., even a great QB will be ineffective, same for a great RB.  But it's not clear what (if any) the effects are of improving O-line play above a certain threshold.  Once a hole for a RB is open, does it really matter how wide?  More important at that point is the talent of the RB himself -- can he make the safety or linebacker miss, and turn a 6-yard gain into a 20-yard gain?  We can all agree that the more time in the pocket the QB has, the better.  But is there a significant difference between 3 seconds and 5?  How about between 5 and 7?  If your QB lacks the talent (arm strength/accuracy/touch) to make the throws he needs to make, does it really matter how much time he has?  What about a mediocre QB, like Fitz?  If he'd had an extra second or two per pass play last year, would he have thrown fewer interceptions?

#12 Bill from NYC

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 09:38 AM

View PostAlaska Darin, on 01 May 2013 - 05:02 AM, said:

A good left tackle can help an average QB look better.  A great QB playing in a scheme tailored to his strengths can make an entire team great.

No one is going to tell me that the Indianapolis Colts of the last 15 years would have been anything but average with a QB not named Peyton Manning.

Agreed, but let's not forget that the Colts (Polian) drafted Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows, two bookend OTs, the year before they signed Peyton Manning.

#13 thebandit27

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:07 AM

View PostBill from NYC, on 01 May 2013 - 09:38 AM, said:

Agreed, but let's not forget that the Colts (Polian) drafted Tarik Glenn and Adam Meadows, two bookend OTs, the year before they signed Peyton Manning.

And by the time Indy won the Superbowl in 2006, Glenn was in steep decline and on the verge of retirement, and Meadows was out of the league.

The Colts' OL was largely UDFAs and late-round picks by that point.

#14 Kirby Jackson

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:23 AM

I have subscribed to this theory for a long time.  You can find OL in a lot of different places.  The Pats had a guy in Stephen Neal that was a college wrestler. I would much rather take a guy like Tavon Austin than a guy like Chance Warmack.  It is much easier to find a guy that can play guard than it is to find an elusive guy that runs a 4.31.

LT is the most important position on the line. These spread offenses have guys getting the ball out of their hands quicker than ever and into the hands of playmakers in space.  Thus it is more important to have to have those types of players.

#15 prissythecat

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:37 AM

View PostKirby Jackson, on 01 May 2013 - 10:23 AM, said:



LT is the most important position on the line. These spread offenses have guys getting the ball out of their hands quicker than ever and into the hands of playmakers in space.  Thus it is more important to have to have those types of players.

If a QB is left-handed is LT still the "important" position?

#16 Kirby Jackson

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:05 AM

View Postprissythecat, on 01 May 2013 - 10:37 AM, said:



If a QB is left-handed is LT still the "important" position?

Probably not, I guess that it really depends on where the top pass rusher lines up. When I was a kid the toughest position on the line was across from wherever Bruce Smith decided to line up.

#17 Cash

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:59 AM

View Postprissythecat, on 01 May 2013 - 10:37 AM, said:

If a QB is left-handed is LT still the "important" position?

View PostKirby Jackson, on 01 May 2013 - 11:05 AM, said:

Probably not, I guess that it really depends on where the top pass rusher lines up. When I was a kid the toughest position on the line was across from wherever Bruce Smith decided to line up.

Which goes back to KC Joyner's point that LTs are overrated:  If the purpose of an elite LT is to neutralize the opponent's best pass rusher, the LT can only do that if the pass rusher lines up across from him and doesn't stunt.  (Or if the pass rusher stunts his way.)  I don't think we'll ever see an O-lineman who moves around to line up against the opponent's best pass rusher the way Revis moves around to cover the best WR.  And if we did, it would still be pretty useless, because defenders are allowed to shift around before the snap, whereas O-linemen have to be set for at least one full second.  Also, stunts exist, so you can't guarantee that you'll block the guy lined up across from you.

#18 NoSaint

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

View PostCash, on 01 May 2013 - 11:59 AM, said:




Which goes back to KC Joyner's point that LTs are overrated:  If the purpose of an elite LT is to neutralize the opponent's best pass rusher, the LT can only do that if the pass rusher lines up across from him and doesn't stunt.  (Or if the pass rusher stunts his way.)  I don't think we'll ever see an O-lineman who moves around to line up against the opponent's best pass rusher the way Revis moves around to cover the best WR.  And if we did, it would still be pretty useless, because defenders are allowed to shift around before the snap, whereas O-linemen have to be set for at least one full second.  Also, stunts exist, so you can't guarantee that you'll block the guy lined up across from you.

with everyone getting more diverse and schemes more complicated any weaknesses is a major weakness. maybe not every team, but many teams will have the guys and the schemes to hit you where you are hurting. its rare these days to see a team set up base defense and just go (you still have to be able to but....). Guys move around, switch sides, positions, etc...  if you have a great LT, expect to see teams just attack elsewhere. have to be good all over

#19 Why So Serious?

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:06 PM

I brought this same point up when people were stating a case to take Fisher at #8.

LTs are over rated in todays quick passing NFL.

They're not taking 7 step drops in the NFL and waiting for a Receiver to run double moves.
Or Pounding the ball between the tackles all game then run a lslow developing play action.

Guard Play is actually more valuable in relation to Tackle play.

Quick Interior Pressure in the QBs face will disrupt the Quick passing offenses.

#20 jeremy2020

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:23 PM

There's some interesting points in there.