CBS Sports' Pete Prisco recently conducted an offensive line round-table (In The Line Of Fire) at LeCharles Bentley's O-line Performance (OLP) facility in Chandler, Arizona. Present were the Tennessee Titans' Chance Warmack, the New York Giants' Weston Richburg, and the Chicago Bears right side of their o-line, Kyle Long and Bobby Massie.
They hit on a number of topics and the foursome didn't hold back. They went hard at the popular grading service Pro Football Focus, they talked about lack of positional coaching in the NFL and they came off a little salty.
But isn't that what you want from your offensive line? An edgy, cantankerous disposition?
The entire round-table is definitely worth a read, but we'll bring you a few snippets from Chicago's Long and Massie.
I've been critical of PFFs grades in the past because unless you're in that particular position room, you have no idea what every assignment is. Some fans take PFF as the Gospel and that's simply not true. I grade the Bears' o-line play from time to time and I always make sure to put the disclaimer that my grades are simply my best guesses.
Prisco asked the guys about PFFs grading system and if they have any idea what an individual's assignment is from play to play.
Massie said, "No. They don't know the play. They don't know what each lineman has to do." Long elaborated a bit more, "If you turn on the film, you can see it's a zone concept. But there may be a Bob concept in there. There may be a wham concept in there. There may be we're booking this guy. We're not going to block him. But on film, it might look like Bobby Massie didn't even touch the guy. When in reality, Bobby went and got the linebacker and put him on the safety. And Cris Collinsworth (a PFF part owner) doesn't know that."
When asked if he's had stubborn coaches who only want things done their way Long said, "Show me your All-Pro jersey, coach, and I will do what you do. LeCharles Bentley has one of those." After Warmack responded, Long elaborated some more, "At some point, you have to say I am doing what you tell me to do. But at the same time, you spend eight weeks here with LeCharles and eight weeks with elite guys like Weston, Chance and Bobby. You take things from each other. Why be here if you're not going to take what you learn here? Everybody has a tool belt. We load that sucker up here. That's what we take pride in doing."
Prisco wanted to know if they players would just change when they get to training camp and Massie came back with, "In practice you have to do what the coaches want to make them happy. Make them feel like they have the big d--- in the room. On game day, you have to do your own stuff. The coaches, they're not out there blocking. They're in a big, comfortable chair with the clicker. The O-line and D-line are the best athletes on the field. It's not the quarterback, the receivers or the corners. We're going against the biggest, strongest, fastest in the world."
Long said it's an "Unfair advantage. It's illegal," when asked about he and Massie training so close together in the offseason. Pricso then asked why more teammates don't work out hand in hand in the offseason and Long said, "They don't care enough." Massie chimed in with, "It takes a certain type of guy to come here."
Just to clarify, training at OLP is by invite only. It's not like Charles Leno or Hroniss Grasu can just roll up to Arizona and train. I think Long and Massie are talking shots at players that simply don't commit to their craft in the offseason.
The guys also touch on the offensive line "always" being blamed for sacks and pressures with Massie elaborating, "An offensive lineman can give up a sack every game, and he'll be out of the league. A defensive lineman gets one sack every game, and he'll make $100 million."
They talk about spread offenses in college hurting o-line play, things a defense does to trick blocking schemes and old school line play. Be sure top check out the full round-table here.
And in case you've missed it, we've brought you guys stuff on Long and Massie working out at OLP this offseason before. Here's the Kyle Long Video Diary from January, here's the OLP Player Spotlight of Massie and the OLP Player Spotlight on Long from last month.