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Thread: Offensive Tackle talk with Clayton

  1. #1
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    Offensive Tackle talk with Clayton

    New generation of left tackles poised to make sizable impact
    By John Clayton
    Updated: May 7, 2008


    An NFL-record eight offensive tackles were taken in the first round of the 2008 draft. It was the continuation of a trend that might ultimately reshape the league's power structure.

    Six of the eight tackles taken in the first 26 selections play on the vital left side of the offensive line -- the side that protects the blind side of a right-handed quarterback. Looking even closer, 10 of the top 29 picks involved tackles because the 49ers and Colts made trades in last year's draft that put them in position to grab left tackles Joe Staley and Tony Ugoh. Throw in the fifth-round supplemental pick used by the Ravens last year for the massive Jared Gaither, and a third of the league made significant tackle decisions.

    How important is getting a Pro Bowl left tackle? Ask the Browns. Joe Thomas helped the Browns win 10 games last season, and his steady play allowed QB Derek Anderson to have a Pro Bowl season and enabled the Browns' offense to evolve into one of the most exciting units in football. For years, Browns quarterbacks had no chance as they dodged defender after defender in the backfield.

    What will be fascinating to study over the next several years is how the tackles in the 2008 draft class impact their teams. Even though it cost them what would have been the seventh pick in this year's draft, the 49ers still believe they came out ahead with Staley, who moves from right to left tackle this season. The 49ers believe Staley ranks behind only Jake Long among the tackles who were drafted this year.

    Tony Ugoh's strength and versatility make him a perfect fit for the Colts' complex offense.

    The Colts believe they found a gem in Ugoh. It's hard to play left tackle for the Colts. With Peyton Manning at quarterback, the Colts send tight end Dallas Clark out on most pass plays. A tight end might line up to Ugoh's left to help with blocking assignments maybe one or two times per game. Ugoh, as Tarik Glenn was before him, is on an island blocking alone.

    Making the job even tougher are Indianapolis' run-blocking assignments for a left tackle. Manning runs a balanced attack. The Colts run right and they run left. So the left tackle has to be athletic because he'll be asked to pull more than most left tackles. Believe it or not, Ugoh, taken in the second round of the 2007 draft, would have rated higher on the Colts' draft board than Long, the top pick in this year's draft.

    In the Colts' eyes, Ugoh was one of the rare athletes who can handle their left tackle job. And they got him cheap, relatively speaking.

    No one is going to confuse the current left tackle crop with the left tackle crops of the mid-1990s that literally changed the face of offensive football. Jonathan Ogden (Ravens), the fourth pick in the 1996 draft, has gone to 11 Pro Bowls. Orlando Pace (Rams), Walter Jones (Seahawks) and Glenn -- members of the 1997 draft class -- have combined for 18 Pro Bowls.

    That quartet gave their teams the freedom to send out extra receivers because they would handle an opponent's best pass-rusher without additional blocking help. With their success, those four franchises emerged as annual playoff contenders and ranked among the top offenses once the right quarterbacks were behind him.

    Ogden, Jones, Pace and Glenn were the complete left tackles, able to handle solo pass-blocking assignments and perform the athletic moves to help running plays. It will be hard for the tackles drafted in 2007 and 2008 to aspire to their levels because Ogden, Jones and maybe Pace will be discussed as possible members of the Hall of Fame. Glenn, with three trips to the Pro Bowl, will fall short of Hall of Fame consideration, but he clearly had a great career.

    Most of the current group fits into either one of the two categories for left tackles. Ryan Clady of the Broncos, Branden Albert of the Chiefs, Duane Brown of the Texans and maybe Chris Williams of the Bears fit the pass-blocking mold. Long of the Dolphins and Sam Baker of the Falcons are better fits for run-oriented systems. They will thrive in two tight-end power offenses in which they can maul defensive ends with some help on their side.

    Thanks to this draft, half of the league has undergone major changes at left tackle over the past two years. A year ago, the Giants gambled on David Diehl, a guard, being able to replace the oft-injured Luke Petitgout at left tackle, and Diehl helped the Giants win a Super Bowl. On Tuesday, the Giants rewarded him with a new contract. Marcus McNeill, a second-round pick in 2006, has put together two Pro Bowl-caliber seasons for the San Diego Chargers.

    D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth player taken in the 2006 draft, struggled during his first two seasons with the Jets, but Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca is now at his side. The Jets expect big things from their highly paid offensive line.

    With as many as six rookie left tackles poised to become starters this fall, things should be interesting. Rookie tackles are prone to mental mistakes, which could lead to sacks. Thomas was the rare exception. He allowed only 4 sacks as a rookie. Staley, playing on the right side, allowed nine, but the quarterback situation in San Francisco was less stable than in Cleveland.

    Ferguson has allowed 23 sacks during his first two years, but his number likely will drop because of Faneca being the left guard. Long, Clady, Albert, Williams, Baker and Brown could be among the league leaders in sacks allowed as they adapt as first-year starters.

    Finally, this infusion of tackles ultimately could help the AFC more than the NFC. If these first-round tackles work out, the Broncos, Texans, Chiefs and Dolphins could resolve their left tackle issues for the next decade. The Colts believe Ugoh is their perfect left tackle. The Chargers found theirs in McNeill.

    This may not be the golden era of tackles that started in the mid-1990s, but it should be a pretty good stretch.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by BrickHouse View Post
    Ferguson has allowed 23 sacks during his first two years
    That can't possibly be accurate. Can it?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversteady View Post
    That can't possibly be accurate. Can it?
    My thought excactly that seems really high

  4. #4
    23 1/2 sacks are very misleading like most NFL stats. D'BRICK had a stretch of what, 7 or 8 games last season where he DOMINATED the opposing DE. Hard to believe he could gice up 23 1/2 sacks with 7 or 8 games where he dominated in only two seasons............

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrickHouse View Post

    Ferguson has allowed 23 sacks during his first two years.
    Another 1st round bust for the Jets.

    SAR was right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    Another 1st round bust for the Jets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    Another 1st round bust for the Jets.

    SAR was right.
    I knew this f*ckstick was going to chime in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    Another 1st round bust for the Jets.

    SAR was right.

    he's no chad jackson

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    Quote Originally Posted by sourceworx View Post
    I knew this f*ckstick was going to chime in.
    Umm, who has been one of the biggest D'Brick supporters since the day the Jets drafted him?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sect313 View Post
    he's no chad jackson
    And Chad Jackson was not a top 5 overall draft pick.

    See the slight difference?

  11. #11
    Make or break year for DBrick. I'm excited to see that left side this year though.

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    Sacks allowed are not an official stat, because you never know who's really who's assignment.

    Now, that having been said, D'Brick needs to improve, no question. Hopefully not having a horrible LG next to him will aid in this processes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversteady View Post
    That can't possibly be accurate. Can it?
    I remember year one was 10 sacks allowed for D'Brick, I didn't realize that year two was 13 1/2...

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    D'Brick was trying to block 2 guys while Adrian Clarke was impersonating a turnstile for most of last season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetstream23 View Post
    D'Brick was trying to block 2 guys while Adrian Clarke was impersonating a turnstile for most of last season.
    at least a turnstile gives you some resistance unlike clarke

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    Quote Originally Posted by copernicus View Post
    23 1/2 sacks are very misleading like most NFL stats. D'BRICK had a stretch of what, 7 or 8 games last season where he DOMINATED the opposing DE. Hard to believe he could gice up 23 1/2 sacks with 7 or 8 games where he dominated in only two seasons............
    My thoughts exactly.

    Brick showed firsthand his ability to shutdown the likes of Taylor, Suggs, Umenyiora, Tuck, and Schoebel.

    He showed flashes of brilliance playing alongside the likes of Adrien Clarke and Will Montgomery. Now he has an established, 7 time pro-bowler anchoring the LG spot.

    The only flaws I've seen in Brick are his bulk and consistency. He said earlier in the offseason that his goal was to beef up to around 320 heading into camp. You can definitely tell he's added wait the past few months.

    Now the thing that comes into question is consistency. Like you said, Brick had a 6-7 game stretch where he completely dominated some of the elite edgerushers in the business. He just has to do it week in and week out.

    With some added bulk, another year of experience, and a perrenial all-pro now playing next to him....I think this is the year Brick truly shines.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Untouchable View Post
    My thoughts exactly.

    Brick showed firsthand his ability to shutdown the likes of Taylor, Suggs, Umenyiora, Tuck, and Schoebel.

    He showed flashes of brilliance playing alongside the likes of Adrien Clarke and Will Montgomery. Now he has an established, 7 time pro-bowler anchoring the LG spot.

    The only flaws I've seen in Brick are his bulk and consistency. He said earlier in the offseason that his goal was to beef up to around 320 heading into camp. You can definitely tell he's added wait the past few months.

    Now the thing that comes into question is consistency. Like you said, Brick had a 6-7 game stretch where he completely dominated some of the elite edgerushers in the business. He just has to do it week in and week out.

    With some added bulk, another year of experience, and a perrenial all-pro now playing next to him....I think this is the year Brick truly shines.
    Nice UT. I was watching D'BRICK on SNY recently and he mentioned that the coaches didnt neccessarily want him gaining too much weight fearing he would lose some of his quickness. Wouldnt mind seeing him put on some weight but not if it takes away from his quickness. I have noticed that he seems to wear down in a sense at the end of both seasons.........

  18. #18
    My whole take on Ferguson is that he needs to change his training regimen or diet. Both years he started slow and then has fallen apart towards the end of the year after playing pretty well during the course of the season. It just seems like he has a hard time getting in football mode to start the year and as the season goes on completely wears down. Its like he's still in college mode where he figures to get a creampuff in week 1 so he takes it slow to get ready and then his body is ready to call things quits as soon as December hits. He has to get stronger somehow.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason423 View Post
    My whole take on Ferguson is that he needs to change his training regimen or diet. Both years he started slow and then has fallen apart towards the end of the year after playing pretty well during the course of the season. It just seems like he has a hard time getting in football mode to start the year and as the season goes on completely wears down. Its like he's still in college mode where he figures to get a creampuff in week 1 so he takes it slow to get ready and then his body is ready to call things quits as soon as December hits. He has to get stronger somehow.
    he's 25 this year I think people have to temper expectations, there isn't a left tackle on the face of the planet who was dominant from day 1 (and stayed that way). They either peak early like Marcus McNeil or are long term projects (like all the other great ones). It will be interesting to see if Joe Thomas keeps it up after his fast start (but again he was working next to Steinbach).

    This is obviously a key year for Brick but he's the one player on this team we don't really need to spend time worrying about. I believe both Brick and Thomas to be superior left tackle prospects than Jake Long, FWIW. Long is a better Right tackle than both of em but you don't necessarily want to use the 1 overall pick on a right tackle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sourceworx View Post
    I knew this f*ckstick was going to chime in.
    Classic "Green Mile" verbiage

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