Friday, November 14, 2008

The Offense.

In my last post I talked about how a 4-3 run play would work. Later I realized that I have not explained the positions on offense and defense in detail. Let's start with offensive side of the ball.
  • Quarter Back (QB) -> QB is the most difficult position to master in football. He is the leader of the offense. Every team wants a QB who can run the offense smoothly. QB needs to have the athletic ability to throw balls to the receivers with a zip. In NFL if QB can't throw a ball 15-20 yards deep with velocity, he won't be able to survive in the league for long. QB can operate in two ways. He can get the ball from center by lining direly under the Center or in a "shot gun" formation. Shot gun is the formation in which QB is couple of yards deep in the backfield. He signals the Center to give him the ball by tapping his foot or calling a audible signal. Shot gun is primarily used to avoid pass rush.
  • Center (C) -> Center is the anchor of the line. He is the one who gives the ball to the QB. Center calls the line audible i.e. he sees the defensive formation, recognizes the blitz, the middle linebacker or any other pass rush that might come. I would call Center as the second smartest or in some cases the smartest player on the field.
  • Left Tackle(LT) -> As we know that most QBs are right handed, they can't see who's coming from the left side. They are totally exposed, that's where the LT comes. He is the most sought after commodity other than the QB and in some cases, he is the no. 1 pick. LTs are as hard to find as a good QB. LT eliminates the best pass rusher from the defense.The QB won't have sleepless nights before the game because he knows that his backside is safe. He won't have to think about the pass rusher breathing down his neck on every play.
  • Right Tackle (RT) -> The primary purpose is same as the LT, cut down the pass rush from the visible side of the QB. RT does not need to be as athletic as the LT. Both Tackle positions are hard to play because if they are beaten by the pass rusher, there is no one left to stop the pass rusher from getting to the QB.
  • Guards (left and right)-> LG and RG are the interior linemen. Their job is to protect the inside gaps and open running lanes for the running back. If the team employs inside rush to disturb the pocket, guards are there to cancel that inside rush. Generally tackles can play guard position in case of an injury, the reverse is not true in most cases.
  • Tight End (TE) -> The TE position has evolved over years. They are still part of the offensive line but these days more and more teams want a pass catching TE, a guy who can run in the middle of filed and catch passes. Pass catching TEs are great asset to the offense but they need to be good blockers. A bad blocking TE is just a big Wide Receiver.
  • Wide Receiver(WR) -> It is the diva position of the NFL. It's all about speed, size and egos. WRs catch balls thrown at them by the QB. They requirements for WRs are simple; run crisp routes, catch everything thrown at you and don't be intimidated by the safety who's going to blow you up after you catch the ball ;). Generally there are two WRs on the filed in a basic formation but these days teams go with 4-5 WRs at a time to create mismatch with the secondary(CBs and Safety).
  • Full Back(FB)-> The use of FB has reduced from the early days of NFL. FBs help open hole for Running Backs. They carry the ball only in goal line situations.
  • Running Back(RB) -> Running Backs also known as Tailbacks are the ex-divas of the NFL . Their job is to carry the run attack of the offense. One can call RB as the most violent position on the field because they get hit every time they touch the ball. This makes the NFL life of a RB very short. In modern era NFL most teams are using 2 RB set to keep the wear and tear on the RB down, thus extending his NFL career.

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