Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Buccaneers still seeking height up front

The Buccaneers have continued to seek out one specific trait more than others in offensive linemen: height. This offseason is no different as there are four rookie offensive linemen on the practice fields at One Buccaneer place 6'5" or taller, with three measuring 6'7"!

For comparison, the World Champion New York Giants have two offensive linemen listed at 6'7". The other Super Bowl team, the New England Patriots, have four offensive linemen listed at 6'7" or 6'8". The Buccaneers appear to be taking it to the next level with five players currently listed at 6'7" or higher.

Here are the measurables for the offensive linemen currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneer offense:

Pos Name Ht Wt Yrs
C Economos, Andrew 6'1" 250 7
C Petrus, Moe 6'2" 302 0
C Larsen, Ted 6'2" 305 3
G Joseph, Davin 6'3" 313 7
G Zuttah, Jeremy 6'4" 308 5
G Wynn, Desmond 6'5" 295 0
G Nicks, Carl 6'5" 343 5
T Meredith, Jamon 6'5" 312 4
T Penn, Donald 6'5" 305 7
T Hardman, Derek 6'6" 300 3
T Sowell, Bradley 6'7" 320 0
T Hardrick, Jermarcus 6'7" 320 0
G VanDerMeulen, Mike 6'7" 304 0
T Trueblood, Jeremy 6'8" 320 7
T Dotson, Demar 6'9" 315 4

Is this a new trend in the NFL? Possibly, but more likely it's a tactical maneuver. Big and heavy has been around for a while. For example, Carl Nicks is 6'5" and a whopping 340+ lbs, plenty big to stop a bull rush with good technique. But what about a speed rush? It's difficult to get in front of a guy who's legs are just as long as yours but 30 lbs lighter, and that is how defensive ends have been making a living for the past few years. Defensive ends run forward, offensive linemen backpedal; if you have to be bigger than a defensive end to stop a bull rush, how do you find an advantage against speed? The answer is genetics, specifically height. Longer legs cover more ground in the same number of steps; longer arms impede speed by forcing the defensive end to take a wider track to the quarterback.

Tampa Bay is looking for players who are heavier than most NFL Defensive Ends (to counter a bull rush) and who have long legs (to counter a speed rush). Apparently the Buccaneers are not having much trouble finding them.

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