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O-lines not vital to success in today's NFL

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TJV, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Here’s another great article by Bob McGinn. I’ll type it again: We’re lucky to have the collection of writers we have covering the Packers and McGinn tops the list IMO. This piece reinforces what some of us have been saying about the role of the running game and OLs in today’s NFL. I hate to pick just a couple of quotes, it really should be read in it’s entirety, but here’s a couple:

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/pack...-success-in-todays-nfl-vc7lrit-179830621.html

    Don’t get me wrong, my favorite all-time Packers player is Ray Nitschke. Not because he was the greatest player ever or even the indispensible piece of those championship teams. It was because he played the game with a nasty disposition – the way I think it is intended to be played. And of course I loved the great OLs of the Lombardi years and the sweep that was successful even when everyone in the stadium knew it was coming. I loved old-time football and on a much smaller scale that’s the football I played. But as I and some here have posted, it’s not your dad’s or grand dad’s NFL anymore. Whether any of us like it or not as McGinn writes, the NFL is mostly about “quarterbacks and passing, passing and quarterbacks.”

    I think we’re lucky to have a GM who also recognizes this. Nostalgia is great for old-timers like me, but recognizing current circumstances is essential for the person running our favorite NFL franchise.
     
  2. Kitten

    Kitten Feline Cheesehead Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Try telling the QB that. Tell that to Big Ben and Vick.
     
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  3. Cheesehead625

    Cheesehead625 Cheesehead

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    Wow seriously because the patriots have a crap oline and same with the Giants. Eli, Brees, and Brady are alway on their back... Phuleeze! Brady is the most immobile QB since Dan Marino and is hardly ever on his back. I'm glad I don't read his articles. :tup:
     
  4. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    Jack I usually agree with your posts but god we need to do better.
     
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  5. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    My responses to McGinn's article inserted in red below (best read in a snarky tone). What an *** headline...

     
  6. melvin dangerr

    melvin dangerr Cheesehead

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    O'linemen are the secret service of the NFL, if U don't protect them it could disrupt your whole Football Nation,mainly the PACKER NATION.....
     
  7. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    IMO those who responded missed the point: "Obviously, if a unit is as bad as those in Philadelphia, Arizona or Jacksonville, an offense has little or no chance." What he is saying is what many of us have said about the running game. Both the OL and the running game have to be good enough but you don't need a premiere RB and you don't need an OL filled with first and second round draft picks or pro bowlers to win a championship.

    Does anyone dispute the idea that the OL and running game have diminished in importance since the rules have changed to favor the passing game more and more?
     
  8. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    People have a hard time accepting something that is completely different from what they have believed for years.

    Giants had one of the worst O lines last year.

    Kitten said "try telling that to Big Ben and Vick"

    Well, if you think Vick's O line is the reason he hasn't won a SB I have a bridge to sell you.

    And Big Ben? He has 2 rings he won behind a terrible o line. I don't think anyone needs to tell him.
     
  9. shockerx

    shockerx Cheesehead

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    tell that to the bears tonight..they will go nowhere with that OL
     
  10. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    IMO those who responded missed the point: "Obviously, if a unit is as bad as those in Philadelphia, Arizona or Jacksonville, an offense has little or no chance."
     
  11. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Well, if poor offensive line play is fatal, this disproves the article's headline by definition: offensive line play is vital in today's NFL.

    I can agree with this.

    I don't think changes in the game have diminished the importance of pass protection, which is more important than ever for a team like the Packers, and I continue to believe that good teams run the ball with success under a variety of circumstances. I hope the Packers continue to improve in this regard.
     
  12. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    P.S. The mentality that says "we're alright because offensive line play isn't important in today's NFL" overlooks the success that teams like the 'Niners and the Texans have been enjoying, success that is largely built on innovation by bucking the dominant paradigm. I'm not advocating that the Packers emulate these teams (we're built to succeed in our own way); I just admire the independent thinking that says "let's succeed by doing what everyone else is overlooking right now."
     
  13. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Passing efficiency on offense and defensive passing efficiency are the 2 stats that correlate most closely with winning (Advanced NFL Stats). The offensive line has a lot to do with successful pass plays by stopping opposing defenses from making plays--sacks, tipped passes, interceptions, fumble recoveries, etc. The fact that a defensive front 7 may wreak havoc is largely due to its domination of the opposing offensive line. So offensive line stats really are reflected in opposing teams' defensive front 7 playmaking stats. Both the Giants and the Packers had great line play on both sides of the ball during their runs to the last 2 Championships even though their line play was average at best during much of the regular season. Control the LOS and you win games. I don't agree with McGinn's thesis.
     
  14. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    The way I read it, the article reads that OL play is still vital.
     
  15. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    The article states that the bar for "acceptable" offensive line play has been lowered, ie, you can do well and go further with an over-all lower quality line than you could 10 years ago. Rule changes, scheme advances, and a few other things allowed for this change. It also depends on the team.

    Your line still has to meet that bar though. Look at the Bears who are probably just below the bar or the Eagles who are well below. With our preferred starters all healthy (Newhouse, Lang, Saturday, Sitton, Bulaga) I'd estimate us at right above that line. With the current reshuffling, I'd put us at the line to just under the line, depending on the circumstances, play call, down and distance, etc.

    What does all that mean? You don't want to spend too much on your offensive line because past a certain point, you're not getting measurable benefit for those dollars. Think of it this way. Is Joe Thomas worth 10 million dollars per year (which is what google is telling me is his approximate salary.)? He sure is. Is Cleveland getting 10 million dollars of value from him? Probably not.
     
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  16. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    The article sends a lot of mixed signals but this isn't how I would characterize its message.

    If you're going to say that offensive line play must meet the "bar for acceptable play" then you're not really saying anything at all. When teams win games, the favorable outcome itself would seem to indicate that their offensive line play was adequate. It's like saying, "It's good enough if it's good enough." It also glosses over the differences in strategy between teams: Green Bay's requirements for winning o-line play are different than those of Houston.

    You could say the same thing about spending on any position. Good franchises maximize value.

    P.S., Cleveland's problems have nothing to do with the fact they're paying $10 million per year for Thomas and getting pro bowl play at LT. Cleveland's problems are the result of bad management and missed picks elsewhere. Weeden would be getting absolutely murdered and Richardson wouldn't be (somewhat) justifying his draft position if they weren't playing behind Thomas.

    Left Tackle is one of the most critical positions in the game. Outside of Miami (Jake Long), virtually every franchise in the league would jump at the opportunity to pay $10 million/year for Thomas. I would swap Clay Matthews for Thomas straight up today if I could. Yeah, I said it.
     
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  17. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    Franchises maximizing value is the key and is a good way to put it. And my post is a little vague I'll agree. If I can put it another way, with some made up numbers: In 1996 you needed to spend roughly roughly 20% of your cap on the offensive line (and have players worth that amount) to be a Super Bowl contender. In 2012, you can do it with roughly 13% of your cap.

    I agree that Cleveland's problems don't stem from paying 10 million from to Thomas. And I completely disagree with trading Matthews for Thomas or that Left Tackle is that important, which is a bit more in line the article.

    Offensive lines don't win games anymore. Put Thomas on the Packers and what changes on offense? We give up fewer sacks, of course, but Thomas is not a dominating run blocker. He's a good one and better than Newhouse in all facets, but we wouldn't see 18x more offensive improvement with Thomas in the line up instead of Newhouse, which is the the approximate difference in salary (11 million vs. 600,000). We wouldn't even be 2x better.

    On the flip side, look what Matthews does for our defense or rather, look what his absence does to it.

    My thoughts on the matter follow the idea that rosters are filled with 2-4 superstars and 49-51 "guys." The guys just need to not make mistakes and take advantage of what playing with those superstars give you. Our superstars are Rodgers and Matthews.
     
  18. slaughter25

    slaughter25 Cheesehead

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    There is no way in this universe or any other that this idea could even possibly make any sense. The gap between Newhouse and Thomas would have to be twice that of the gap between Matthews and the next man up (Walden?) for this to make sense. I don't see it. An elite pass rusher can have a defense built around him and succeed. As you can see with the browns for example is what happens when you try and build a team around an elite tackle.

    Bottom line, would Thomas make the packers a better football team? Absolutely. Would adding Joe Thomas and losing Clay Matthews make this a better football team? Absolutely not.
     
  19. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    Can you provide some links explaining the methods used to come up with these numbers? -This would help me better understand.

    Offensive lines may not win games but we know they can lose them. I also place quite a premium on protecting Rodgers, since our offense is largely built around him staying upright and delivering the ball to the wealth of receiving options we've assembled.
     
  20. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    i'd trade Newhouse for a stick of Trident layer gum...straight up. On another note this article makes no sense, show me a stat where the most sacked qb in a season has won the Super Bowl. The line plays a huge role in that. The qb could run like RG3, be built like Brady Quinn, and throw the football like Rodgers but if he had the worst o-line in the NFL i can almost guarantee he'd be hurt, or have a losing record. You know you have a bad o-line when teams don't even like blitzing your qb yet you still manage to give up a ton of sacks. Pathetic and inexcusable.
     
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  21. jaybadger82

    jaybadger82 Cheesehead

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    You miss the point. It wasn't my intent to argue that we should swap Matthews for Thomas in my post above.

    Although I would personally make such a deal, it was merely suggested to demonstrate the value of a quality LT in today's NFL. Here was my thinking: Rodgers is our offense and keeping him healthy and upright is necessary for us to move the ball (see NYG game). Thomas would be great in protection of Rodgers' blind side over the next several years. Also, Matthews is going to begin earning a much larger chunk of the cap in the near future, so his value will decline some after he gets his new deal. I also think it's easier to find pass rushers and tweak your defensive scheme than it is to compensate for an offensive line that can't pass protect. For example, we've stockpiled great weapons at WR but we can't make use of them unless Rodgers can get through his progressions. Thomas would really protect the franchise and amplify our strengths in the passing game.

    But, again, not my intent to highjack the thread on this ridiculous proposition.
     
  22. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    Sure. They are completely made up ;) They are merely one way to interpret the article that started this discussion or illustrate the point that I believe is being made.
     
  23. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    There is the rub and the real trick. Your line doesn't need to be great, just not bad enough to lose the game.
     
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  24. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Well ours is bad enough to lose games so we don't even qualify.
     
  25. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    The problem with valuing Left Tackles above all else is another mistake. Newhouse had his share of problems on Sunday. So did Lang and EDS. Having a stud blind side blocker doesn't solve all of your problems. Line play is like team within a team. If there is too great a disparity between your best and worst, the opposition will pick on everyone else. Similarly, there is a way to minimize that one stud's impact in the game: Put your worst rusher on him.

    Imagine if you will, the Packers play the Browns tomorrow. Matthews and Thomas would probably play to a draw. So lets put Pickett or Wilson on Thomas all game long. Either is good enough that they need to be blocked, so I'll 'force' you to waste your best on my worst. Then I'll move Matthews to the offensive right. You can counter that by moving the pocket, but I'll take the risk that most right handed quarterbacks can't effectively roll left over and over again.

    That's probably the craziest thing I've heard. Good, 10+ sacks per year pass rushers are probably one of the rarest of beasts, only the franchise quarterback is rarer.
     

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