The Underrated Position

The Underrated Position:
By Jason Muir

The offensive line position has been underrated for years. Players that get stuck with a horrible offensive line are left to fend for themselves.

The offensive line is there to make the entire offense mesh together. They give the quarterback enough time to throw the ball down field and the wide receivers enough time to run correct and precise routes. Last but not least they give that so called great running back the holes to get those hard earned yards.

Athletes that were lucky to get drafted to a great offensive line have had a long successful football career. Just to name a few, such players like Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Jim Kelly ring a bell. The problem with these guys are that all of them were over achievers. In my mind not one of these guys had a great arm but all of them had great offensive lines. That enabled them the opportunity to hold the ball look down field and make a throw, without having a three hundred pound defensive line men putting them on the ground.

It’s starting to click in the general managers head how you can have a mediocre offense and still be successful offensively. The one antidote for this problem is to have a great offensive line. If you were to look at the Kansas City Chiefs offensive players excluding there offensive lines they were all busts at one point. Trent Green had one mediocre year with St Louis out of his ten year tenure with the NFL, and then got his job taken away by a bag boy. Priest Holmes lost his job to Jamal Lewis because he never had one successful year in the league since he was drafted in 93. Their wide receivers in Eddie Kennison and former Chief Jonnie Morton are both solid number two receivers, that benefited tremendously with additional seconds to get open.

So how are these guys able to make huge plays? One reason their “all pro offensive line”. If you have not got a chance to watch this offense run, you’re missing out. These guys are unreal how fast and smooth they operate. They’ll bulldoze their way until the goal line has been reached.

On the other end of this spectrum, great players that got drafted early in the first rounds that turned to be busts, is it credited to the offensive line as well? That’s arguable but it’s not unusual for a top notch player to be a complete bust. Players such as Ricky Williams can overcome such obstacles. In 2003, the Dolphins probably had one of the worst offensive lines in the league, but Ricky was resilient and overcame all the obstacles and earned every yard that season. When Ricky announced his retirement in 04’, the Dolphins had a long year ahead of them. It showed in their record and their offensive production with not one running back reaching over six hundred yards rushing, and as a team not even meeting the agreed upon pylon at a thousand yards rushing. This shows that great players do make the offenses successful, but the great offensive lines make the mediocre offense great.

This year when you draft your players don’t only draft for the player. Draft the players with a great offensive line supporting them. Here are just a few teams to think of.

Kansas City a given. Washington Redskins had a few problems with injuries last year but look for them to rebound, and have a solid running year with Jon Jansen back at tackle. The Seattle Seahawks have the same offensive line coming back from 04’, with the exception of one player. Chris Spencer a first round center and arguably the best center ever taken in the NFL draft. The sleeper of the year are the Cincinnati Bengals, who have been together for some time now. They keep getting better and better every year and look for Carson, Rudi, and Chad to all have great seasons.


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