When things are going pretty okay in a football game, the offensive linemen get all credit.
However, blame quickly shifts to their side when things are not going well. In the offensive, you’ve probably heard terms like OT.
So, what does OT mean in football? The term OT in football refers to an offensive tackle. Offensive tackles in a team block and stop opposing defenders from getting into the quarterbacks.
Offensive tackles play a crucial role that easily goes unnoticed by outsiders. An OT is on the island waiting for the opposing team’s best rushers.
Keep reading below to know more about offensive tackles and what they do.
Why Is It Called Offensive Tackle?
Offensive tackles are called so because of what they do. After all, their main role is to tackle. The term originated from the earlier form of football where they run the ball on the outside.
Defenders on the edge were then tasked with tackling ball carriers on the outside. Its verbiage carried on to show offensive tackles on both sides of the ball. The resulting name OT now refers to a position on both sides of the ball.
In a 5 defense lineman, the OT takes two positions. The two OTs will line up on the same spot throughout the game on both sides of the formation.
What Is Tackle in Football?
A tackle is a name you’ll hear often in football and other sports like soccer. In football, a tackle is a move by a defensive player to stop the progress of an offensive player by grounding him.
Tackling in football is primarily intended to dispossess the ball from the opponent and from gaining yardage. In football, a tackle is a recorded contact on the ball carrier’s body apart from the hands and feet.
A tackle is generally a physical block. We have offensive tackles and defensive tackles.
What Are the Other Names for Offensive Tackle?
Offensive tackles in American football are known as OTs. However, they also go by other names as:
- Big uglies
The names above are nicknames that also mean an offensive tackle. They can also mean the offensive linemen as a unit.
What Does an OT Do in Football?
So, what exactly do football linemen do in football? Is it just tackling players? Let’s see some of the responsibilities of an OT in football.
#1 – Protecting the Quarterback
Protecting the quarterback position (QB) is the first and main role of an OT in football. Since QBs line up at the formation edge, they usually face the top pass rushers of the defense.
You need your offensive linemen to stop these rushers by tackling them. In the 5 man defense, the guards and center will provide defensive tackles.
The left side is usually the quarterback’s blind side and needs good protection from the left tackle. This is the side where the quarterbacks cannot see as their bodies make a throw.
However, the blind side can be on the right for QBs that throw with their left side.
#2 – Run Blocking
OTs play a crucial role in blocking runs. The offense usually has a predetermined hole where they want the running backs to run through.
Once an offensive line moves and creates a hole, running backs will either run to the right or left.
This is where the offensive linemen come in and help block such runs on either side of the field. You’ll always find OT blocking linebackers or defensive ends on rushing plays.
#3 – Blocking Downfield
On a few occasions, offensive linemen can tackle in the backfield. Once an offensive lineman makes a tackle and plays moves into the backfield, the OT will keep blocking downfield.
This is because the OT will be in front of the offense and can make blocks on the 2nd and 3rd levels. Most backfield blocking usually takes place on screen passes.
However, OTs are always careful to wait for the completion of passes to the downfield before moving and tackling.
This helps avoid an illegal penalty. The OTs will always wait for the forward pass to be complete before going downfield.
What Does the Left Tackle Do?
The left tackle is one of the most important players blocking the running back and quarterback on the left side. Positioned on the far left side of the offensive line, they cover the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks.
They protect the QB from being hit from the back on their blind side. This is important since most NFL players are right-handed. Right-handed QBs usually have their backs on running backs.
A left tackle protects their QBs from being tackled to the ground as they make a throw.
For a QB, it’s pretty hard to know when a defender is coming. However, the QB doesn’t have to worry much when they have a left tackle to do the blocking.
You’ll find a left tackle having exceptional foot speed to match the speeds of rushing defenders.
Overall, a left tackle is a crucial position that plays a key role in protecting the quarterbacks on the blindside and ensuring runners are blocked.
What Does the Right Tackle Do?
The right tackle performs a crucial job of blocking runs towards the stronger side. A right tackle performs the same role as a left tackle but on the strong side of the offensive line.
The right side can also be the weak side if the quarterbacks are left-sided. It means a right tackle will be protecting the weaker side of a left-sided quarterback.
Right tackles need to defend against the opposing team’s best-run stoppers. As you can see, the roles of a right tackle and a left tackle differ depending on what the quarterback blinds.
However, in most games, quarterbacks are right-handed, and the weaker side will always be the left. This simply means the right tackle will always face the best opposition-run stopper.
What Makes a Good Offensive Tackle
A good offensive tackle is athletic, tough, intelligent, hard-working, and of good character. In addition, a good offensive tackle needs the following skills:
- Good hand placement
- Functional body strength
- Excellent footwork
- Good blocking techniques
- Excellent coordination
Most people might view offensive tackles as big and slow when compared to other positions in football. However, that’s not true. While they require a big body, the functions they perform require them to possess excellent athleticism.
Most can run fast and display excellent physicality and footwork. These skills make them good at running and passing blockages.
Body Type – Average Height & Weight
An average NFL player playing the offensive tackle position has an average weight of 300-340 pounds. The players also have an average height of 6’3 to 6’8 with a thick build body type.
Overall, OTs are tall and thick in body complexion. However, they still retain excellent athleticism and good lateral skills. The features make them the most talented linemen in the offense.
Who Are Some of the Best Offensive Tackles Ever?
In the history of football, we’ve seen some amazing offensive tackles. It’s a position that has grown tremendously over the last 20 years and keeps evolving. But, which offensive tackles are the best and stand out?
Let’s have a look at some of the best offensive tackles in the history of football according to Bleacher Report.
- Antony Munoz: The Cincinnati Bengals Anthony Munoz ranks among the best OTs. Playing between 1980 to 1993, he was ranked 3rd overall in the 1980s NFL draft nomination up to 1992. Munoz remains one of the most reliable OTs. He also became a Pro Football Hall of Fame member.
- Jonathan Ogden: Playing between 1996 to 2007, Jonathan remains a household name that didn’t let the offensive organization down. He spent his entire career for the Baltimore Ravens making 11 straight Pro Bowls. In four different seasons, he was named to the All-Pro First Team.
- Joe Thomas: Playing from 2007-2017 for the struggling Browns, Joe managed some impressive stats playing 10, 363 snaps before an injury in the final season.
Why Is Offensive Tackle Important?
Offensive tackles are very important in modern football for various reasons. It is a critical part of the offense for any team. Watch any NFL games and you’ll realize the importance of an OT.
In a pass and run game, the offense greatly relies on the offensive linemen to handle one-on-one situations. This is important as most defensive ends nowadays combine speed and length.
Depending on the QBs’ blind side, you need the OTs to provide coverage and make crucial tackles.
In most games, the left side is usually the blind side making a left tackle one of the most important positions. You’ll always find left offensive tackles being among the most talented offensive linemen on any team.
Overall, offensive tackles are important and left on the island of the game. It’s a great way to have the quarterback feel comfortable in his pocket.
QBs can then create explosive runs and help their team score. However, the freedom to make such runs is only possible because of the roles OTs have taken.
Who Is the Best OT in the NFL?
The best OT in the NFL in 2022 is Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers. Playing for Washington from 2010 to 2018, Trent Williams was a superb left tackle.
However, his play went to new levels in 2020 after joining the San Francisco 49ers. He is a 6’5” and 320-pound tackle and one of the most physically offensive left tackles in the NFL.
It’s worth noting he missed 29 games before joining the 49ers due to injury at the age of 31. He remains a central figure in the 49ers and one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL.
Is Offensive Tackle a Good Position?
The offensive tackle is not a good position since it’s one of the toughest positions to play in a football game. In the NFL, the offensive tackle remains the hardest position for any player.
It’s a position that takes a rare breed of players with the right size, quickness, technique, strength, and athleticism to succeed.
This is one of the strongest positions in the offensive line. Offensive tackles sneed great lateral skills and good maneuverability to power their tackles. You’ll always get the OT working against the opposing team’s best-run stoppers.
Yes, this is not a good position for any player and OTs are truly brutal men!
Furthermore, offensive tackles for years have not received the credit they deserve. They are the unsung heroes of the offensive linemen but not very much recognized.
What Is the Difference Between Offensive Tackle and Guard?
The difference between an offensive tackle and a guard is the positions the players take in the offensive line. On the offensive line of a football team, two guards stand between the center and the tackles.
Guards at the center majorly work trapping and pulling from either side. They aim to protect the QBs and the ball carriers.
Guards help on either side of the pass. However, tackles are positioned on the sides of the guards, either on the left or right.
OTs are the outer members of the offensive line and work to protect the weaker and stronger side of the quarterbacks.
Well, that wraps everything from me on OT meaning in football. An OT in football stands for an offensive tackle on a team.
Offensive tackles help block and protect quarterbacks from defenders that might rush into them when kicking the ball. The left and right tackle is protecting the weaker and stronger side of the QBs respectively.
Overall, offensive tackles are important members of the offensive linemen who helping block opposing run stoppers. It’s one of the hardest positions in football that requires the strongest and biggest members of the team.
OTs also need to be fast, and with excellent lateral skills to cover their quarterbacks.