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Shutdown tackles


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An era of shutdown tackles is coming to a close



Only four years ago, the league had multiple Hall of Fame-level offensive tackles – guys who were adept in both the running and passing game and could consistently lock down elite pass rushers. Looking back at that class, four of the best could be headed for Canton: the Kansas City Chiefs’ Willie Roaf(notes), the Seattle Seahawks’ Walter Jones(notes), the Baltimore Ravens’ Jonathan Ogden(notes) and the St. Louis Rams’ Orlando Pace(notes). A fifth, Washington Redskins tackle Chris Samuels(notes), would have gotten a spot in that conversation, too, if injuries hadn’t derailed him recently.



But with the declining health of Jones (who has yet to play this season), the diminishing play of Pace, and even the possible retirement of Samuels, we’re seeing the final chapter on a handful of players who set the standard for the phrase “franchise tackle.” Looking back, we probably never appreciated seeing five lasting and dominant tackles in the game at the same time.



That’s not to say there isn’t potential among some of the NFL young talent now. The Miami Dolphins’ Jake Long(notes), who has given up three sacks this season, has an abundant skill set and the nastiness to match. And there are others, too: the Cleveland Browns’ Joe Thomas(notes) (two sacks allowed this season), the Denver Broncos’ Ryan Clady(notes) (two sacks allowed) and the New Orleans Saints’ Jammal Brown(notes) (on injured reserve) all have major long-term potential. Even Tennessee’s Michael Roos(notes) and the San Diego Chargers’ Marcus McNeill(notes) could be among the best when it’s all said and done.



But when it comes to protracted greatness, it’s amazing to think that group will have to sustain its current level of play at least another 10 years to push into the class of Jones, Ogden, Pace, Roaf and Samuels. So while the shutdown offensive tackle might not be dead, a pretty significant era in the position’s history is definitely headed in that direction.



I think they will be adding to this list very soon

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