guard in football

What Is A Guard In Football?

When you look at the defensive end in the NFL, you’ll see the great role of offensive tackles on the line. But offensive guards also line up on the interior of the scrimmage line. They are under the radar, and their roles are not widely noticed.

So, who is a guard in football? A guard in football is an offensive player tasked with protecting the ball carrier. They ensure ball carriers can run freely without tackles from the opposing defenders.

Guards will line up on the interior with offensive linemen in football on the outside. At any given time, there are two guards in the field.

Let’s dig deep and see their roles, what makes a good guard, and great examples in the NFL.

What is the Role of the Guard Position in Football

The main role of a guard position in football is to protect the ball carrier from opposing defenders. There are usually two guards on the field on the right and left sides.

During pass plays, a guard helps protect the quarterback from linemen. They can also help create openings for the running backs.

They are ineligible receivers and cannot touch a forward pass. However, guards are allowed to recover a fumble. But the main role is to protect the ball carrier from defenders.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Guard

You’ve already seen the main role of a guard in football is to protect the ball carrier. Let’s take a closer look at their responsibilities in a game.

First, guards do run blocking. This is the main and biggest responsibility in a football game. A guard will not be evaluated on how well the block passes but on how well they protect the ball carrier.

The best way to run in football is to run between tackles. At the same time, they create gaps for the running backs. When running through the gap, the halfback will have one running back on the left and one on the right.

Guards are versatile and can pull from their positions. When a running back runs on the outside, a guard will break from his position and act as the lead blocker.

football team in green jersey carrying the ball

He will run downfield and block any opposing player coming to the ball carrier. In high-rushing offenses, you’ll see the important responsibility of guards leading the way.

Secondly, guards in football can provide pass protection. While this is not their main responsibility, they need to perform it in passing plays. Guards help ensure no defensive players come inside of the line during passing plays.

This responsibility means they have to deal with defensive tackles and blitzes. It’s a pretty big ask since defensive tackles are the biggest players on the field.

What Are Some Other Names for the Guard?

In football, guards are also abbreviated as G. The Left-Guard is LG while the Right-Guard is RG.

You’ll also hear some nicknames of guards in football. Below are some of the common football names for a guard:

  • Bulldozers
  • Bruisers
  • Hogs
  • Monsters and
  • Big Uglies

What Makes a Good Guard in Football

To be a good guard in football, players need certain attributes. They come against the biggest and strongest defensive tackles. To perform their responsibilities accordingly, a good guard needs the following attributes:

Body Type – Average Height & Weight

They require a sturdier body build to ensure they can go head-to-head against stronger linemen. Here is the recommended body build, height, and weight.

  • Weight 300-320 pounds
  • Height 6’3 to6’5
  • Sturdy body build

The body type above allows them to tackle stronger defensive players.


Below are some of the recommended skills of a good guard in football

  • Good hand placement
  • Excellent blocking technique
  • Fast and agile
  • Good footwork
  • Functional body strength


Having quick feet is one of the best attributes of a good guard. They need good footwork as they don’t block the player they will block. Once they identify a player, they need to react fast.

Agility & Speed

They also need to be agile and fast to meet rushing defenders. When protecting an outside tackle, a guard needs to run downfield ahead and block defenders coming to the side.

football player in white jersey running with the ball

They require good speed and agility to run ahead and meet coming defenders.

Hand Placement

A good guard needs good hand placements to keep defenders at bay. Players need to know where to keep their fingers when tackling. Apart from good hand placement, guards need to have grit as they will be fighting big defensive tackles.

Blocking Techniques

Lastly, a good football guard needs to learn excellent blocking techniques. There are several blocking drills that can get players good at blocking.

Who Are Some of the Best Offensive Guards Ever?

We’ve seen some of the best and top-offensive guards in football. Let’s have a look at some of the greatest offensive guards ever to grace football.

Larry Allen

First on the list is Larry Allen, who played for the Cowboys and 49ers. His playing career as an offensive guard from 1994 to 2007 was a great one.

He would go on to be selected into 11 Super Bowls and a Super Bowl title. Larry was well-known for the bruising strength that made him outstanding.

John Hannah

The next player on the list is John Hannah, with 13 massive seasons playing for the New England Patriots. John was selected as a 7-time All-Pro. He was one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, with great dominance in run plays.

John was superb in his game and was inducted into the college and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Who Are Some of the Best Offensive Guards in the NFL 2022

As of the year 2020, the best offensive guard in the NFL was Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers. At the age of 33, he was one of the best offensive guards with great runs from the edge. In 2021, he only allowed 16 pressures and had never allowed a sack in his career.

Second on the list is Tristan Wirfs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with excellent timing. Other great names on the list include Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys and Rashawn Slater of the Los Angeles Chargers.

When Can the Quarterbacks Throw the Ball Away?

Quarterbacks can throw the ball away when they run away from the pocket. This can be to the left or right on the scrimmage line. However, they have to ensure the ball goes beyond the scrimmage line.

football players guarding team mate with the ball

Why is The Guard Position Important

The guard position in football is important as it ensures the offense is successful in their passes and runs. They play a vital role in keeping the closest defender away from the quarterback before they can pass or run with the ball.

Who Is the Best Offensive Guard In College Football?

G Andrew Vorhees of the USC Trojans is the best offensive guard in college football as of 2022. He is closely followed by C Jarrett Patterson of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

What Is the Difference Between Guard and Tackle Position?

The difference between a guard and tackle position is that guards major in pulling and protecting the ball carrier and quarterback. Guards line up on the interior of the scrimmage line while tackles line up at the end of the scrimmage line.

Is an Offensive Guard a Lineman?

An offensive lineman in football is a guard. The offensive lineman is usually the right guard and stands opposite the left tackle.


That’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed learning about a guard in football. A guard in football plays a crucial role in protecting the running back and quarterback from tackles. Their roles are not widely recognized but remain important. 

Guards in football need to be fast, skillful, agile, and with excellent footwork, hand placement, and blocking techniques to perform their roles.

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