Tackle is a playing position in American and Canadian football. Historically, in the one-platoon system a tackle played on both offense and defense. In the modern system of specialized units, offensive tackle and defensive tackle are separate positions.
The offensive tackle (OT, T) is a position of the offensive line, left and right. Like other offensive linemen, their job is to block: to physically keep defenders away from the offensive player who has the football. The term "tackle" is a vestige of an earlier era of football, in which the same players played both offense and defense.
A tackle is the strong position on the offensive line. They power their blocks with quick steps and maneuverability. The tackles are mostly in charge of the outside protection. If the tight end goes out for a pass, the tackle must cover everyone that his guard doesn’t, plus whoever the tight end isn’t covering. Usually they defend against defensive ends. In the NFL, offensive tackles often measure over 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) and 300 pounds (140 kg).
In the current version of the A-11 offense, offensive tackles are known as "anchors," and have a significantly different role.
According to Sports Illustrated football journalist Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman, Offensive Tackles consistently achieve the highest scores, relative to the other positional groups, on the Wonderlic Test, with an average of 26. The Wonderlic is taken before the draft to assess each player's aptitude for learning and problem solving; a score of 26 is estimated to correspond with an IQ of 112.
Playing, and coaching, the offensive line has become a science. A lineman's technique, footwork, and angles need to be coordinated with each play's point of attack and also match up with the various fronts and stunts that a defense can show on any given play. Offensive lineman are taught base blocks, reach blocks, down blocks, zone blocks, dive blocks, cut blocks, trap blocks to utilize on various run plays. When it comes to the passing game, lineman are taught power slides, kick slides, and rollout crossover steps. All of these techniques need to be coordinated by all five lineman (and sometimes a Tight End) on every play. A lineman must learn his blocking rules for every individual play. Once the rules are learned, he must know what techniques to use that coincide with the rules for that play. After hearing the play in the huddle, the lineman takes his stance and must make a pre-snap read in order to decide how he will go about blocking his rule. If only one of the lineman takes a bad step, angle, or makes the wrong pre-snap read, the play will most likely not be successful.
The right tackle (RT) is usually the team's best run protect blocker. Most running plays are towards the strong side (the side with the tight end) of the offensive line. Consequently the right tackle will face the defending team's best run stoppers. He must be able to gain traction in his blocks so that the running back can find a hole to run through.
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