Need for Offensive Lines to Adapt
Every year we see new trends with the NFL from offenses or defenses that force the other side to eventually adapt. The big trend I've noticed in the past year especially was the lack of traditional pass rushing from defenses. For a very long time many defenses were in my eyes somewhat similar and static in that they traditionally rushed their best edge rusher from one side. Generally the right side (typical blindside) against the left tackle. From that came the value of a great left tackle, someone who can keep your QB safe from his blindside and lock down a teams best pass rusher. But this has now changed.
Teams have done this before this year but this was the first year where I really noticed teams creating extremely favorable match ups for their best guys. Probably three of the best pass rushers in the league JJ Watt, Von Miller, and Justin Houston are typically rushing against the right side of the line and against those right tackles. Frankly there aren't many right tackles that can handle any of those guys. And it isn't just moving those guys to the other side but there is an increasing amount of stunting to the inside to create mismatches with guards and centers that once again doesn't allow for an offense to get a good match up. That isn't even mentioning how most teams are trying or have bookend edge rushers or an increasing amount of great interior rushers.
I guess what I'm pointing to is that defenses have really varied up their game and it is time for the offense to start adapting. I think first thing that needs to stop is this tremendous value placed on LTs, and maybe that is slowly happening as we are seeing other line positions (especially guards) getting a lot more recognition in pass protection. Is it potentially time for teams to start moving offensive linemen around to get the good match up, say a RT and LT switching? I don't really know the answer but its just something I noticed and thought I would bring to attention.