Guard Vs Tackle What Is The Difference?

When it comes to the game of football there are a huge number of positions between offense, defense, and special teams. This leaves many fans wondering what exactly each position does. One common question being what is the difference between guards vs tackles.

The difference between a guard and a tackle is that the tackle lines up on the end of the offensive line while the guard lines on the interior of the line.

Tackles tend to be taller than guards in order to force defenders to take a wide route around them to reach the quarterback. Guards tend to be shorter and stalkier in order to handle the power of the defensive tackles they are assigned to block on most plays.

Pass Blocking

When it comes to pass blocking guards and tackles have very different responsibilities. Tackles line up on the far end of the offensive line while guards are going to be on the interior on either side of the center.

On most plays offensive tackles are going to be blocking defensive ends and outside linebackers. While guards tend to be tasked with blocking defensive tackles from reaching the quarterback.

Offensive tackles highlighted in red

Tackles are usually matched up against the opposing team’s top pass rusher making their job quite difficult. Additionally, tackles being on the end of the offensive lines mean there is more open field around them.

This makes it much more difficult for the tackle as they will have to keep pace with defenders in open space.

Guards on the other hand tend to block defensive tackles in the middle of the formation. These defensive players do not have much room to work with but they are incredibly strong.

Offensive guards highlighted in red

Defensive tackles are the strongest and usually heaviest players on the football field. This means the guards will have to have some serious strengths of their own in order to keep defensive tackles away from the quarterback.

Run Blocking

When it comes to running the football guards often play a bigger role than tackles. In many cases, tackles are tasked with sealing the edge for running plays.

This simply means they have to hold their position and not allow defenders to get past them into the backfield.

Guards on the other hand often have more complex assignments when rushing the football. Guards will often be responsible for blocking defensive tackles in order to create holes for the running back to go through.

On these plays, the guards will have to block defenders in a specific direction in order to create room for the ball carrier.

Additionally, guards are often asked to act as lead blockers on running plays. This is referred to as a pulling guard. On these plays, the guard will not make any blocks at the line and instead head downfield.

As the guard picks up speed he will stay in front of the ball carrier and block any defender who attempts to come his way.


Another major difference between guards and tackles is the way they are built. Though both these positions are going to be tall heavy players there are a few characteristics that set them apart.

Height and length are traits that lend themselves to tackles. Having length at the tackle position is incredibly important.

Oftentimes outside rushers are going to be incredibly long. In order to counteract this length and reach of the defenders, the offense needs tall players on the end of the offensive line.

This way they can keep the defender at a distance as well as not be at a disadvantage when it comes to reach. If the defender can have their arms on a tackle’s chest and the tackle cannot reach the defender this is a huge disadvantage.

When it comes to guards they are usually a bit shorter and often heavier. As we stated earlier guards tend to take on the strongest players in football.

Having a lower center of gravity is going to help with taking these players on. The increased weight of these players also helps to ensure they will not get pushed into the backfield.

That is all on guards vs tackles in football for other positions comparisons check out linebackers vs cornerbacks or tight ends vs running backs.

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