What Is An Offensive Tackle In Football

An offensive tackle in football is a player whose primary responsibility is blocking defenders from reaching the player with the football. Offensive tackles split their time between protecting the quarterback before he throws the ball, and protecting the running back after he is handed the ball.

Offensive tackles are widely regarded as one of the most important positions on a football. This is because they are often the pivotal piece that stands between a defender and the quarterback.

There are always two offensive tackles on the field. One tackle is on the right side of the offensive line while the other is on the left. The left tackle is the more important of the two as he protects the quarterback’s blindside.

Responsibilities

As we stated earlier there are two main responsibilities of offensive tackles. The first being protecting the quarterback, this is referred to as pass protection. The other responsibility of offensive tackles is run blocking.

Pass Blocking

Pass blocking is the bread and butter of offensive tackles. If a tackle can effectively stop a defensive end or linebacker from getting to the quarterback he will have a long career.

The left tackle is especially relied on to pass protect effectively. This is because he is protecting the quarterback’s blindside. Since most quarterbacks are right-handed, they will not have vision of the left side of the offensive line.

This means if a player makes it past the left tackle the quarterback may not see them coming.

Additionally, pass blocking is more difficult on tackles because they are on either end of the offensive line. Interior lineman such as guards or centers must protect a much smaller area than a tackle.

When rushing the end of the offensive line defensive players can take long and wide routes around the tackle to get to the quarterback. This makes their job more difficult as they have more ground to cover.

Run Blocking

Though the claim to fame for most offensive tackles is pass blocking, run blocking is still a large portion of their game. On running plays tackles will either be assigned a zone or player to block.

The purpose of run blocking is to create holes in the defense. Allowing the running back to run through. On these plays, tackles will often move out of their position to block a defending player.

This increased movement can allow tackles to generate some big hits on defending players.

Offensive Tackle Attributes

In order to succeed as an offensive tackle, there are several different attributes you must possess. In this guide to the position, we are going to cover several we believe to be important.

Footwork

The most important of all attributes an offensive tackle may possess is footwork. In both running blocking and pass protection footwork plays a key role.

Footwork is more important for tackles than any other position on the offensive line. This is because these players must cover a lot of ground.

And in order to block a defender properly, you must stay in front of them. Tackles with elite footwork will make their jobs a lot easier as they will be able to stay in an effective position relative to the defender.

Hand Placement

Having “good hands” or hand placement is another key attribute of offensive tackles. In order to stop pass rushers, tackles will often find themselves hand fighting. This involves the opposing players attempting to use their arms and hands to get an advantage on the opposing player.

The hands are almost always the first point of contact between a tackle and a defensive player. By placing their hands effectively offensive tackles stand a much better chance of stopping an opponents pass rush.

Football IQ

Football IQ is a trait of offensive tackles that many players and fans look over. In many ways, the battle between a pass rusher and an offensive tackle is a game of chess.

There are a series of different moves that a pass rusher can use and certain strategies a tackle can use to defend against them.

Knowing the tendencies and strengths/weaknesses of your opponent can offer a tackle a large advantage on the field. Having a strong football IQ is essential for knowing how to neutralize skilled defenders.

Build

When it comes to build offensive tackles are one of the largest positions in the league. Though they weigh less on average than defensive tackles, they are easily the tallest group of players.

Offensive tackles typically have a heavier build but remain somewhat slim in the legs in order to keep their speed. Though incredibly strong the build of an offensive lineman is not exactly muscular.

Positioning

As we stated earlier tackles set up on the end of the offensive line. On any given play there will be one left tackle and one right tackle. These players will line up just outside the left guard and right guard.

On some plays, the tight end will line up outside the offensive tackle. This technically means the tight end is on the end of the offensive line.

Concluding Thoughts

We hope this guide has taught you everything you need to know about offensive tackles in football. If you have any more questions regarding this position please be sure to reach out in the comments below.

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