Duke Manyweather did not mince words when asked to describe the Oakland Raiders offensive line. In fact, he did it with three letters:
“Bunch of JYD’s,” the Offensive Line and Development Consultant said.
Junkyard Dogs. It is a term of endearment for an offensive line. JYD’s are mean and nasty. Sums up the Raiders’ trench warriors correctly, no?
From left tackle Donald Penn to right tackle Marshall Newhouse, the Raiders’ O-line is considered the 1B to the Dallas Cowboys 1A. The Raiders arguably have the best interior line in the league. The mastermind that gets Penn, Kelechi Osemele (LG), Rodney Hudson (C), Gabe Jackson (RG) and Newhouse all on the same page is offensive line coach Mike Tice. They are mean and nasty thanks, in large part, to Tice’s tutelage.
“Mike is a guy that’s been in this game a long time, has a wealth of experience and I think he’s done a good job of coaching up the guys, and developing the guys and building their confidence,” Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio told Raiders.com on why he hired Tice. “I know Mike. I know the quality of person he is. I know the quality of coach he is. I know that when he coaches a line, that line is going to be a tough line.”
Tough, indeed. The Raiders’ Nation of Domination front has no doubt flourished. The offensive line is the engine of Oakland’s high-powered and sleek offense. The same can’t be said about all teams, however.
With the game ever-evolving and the NFL turning into a passing league, Manyweather has poignant thoughts on the state of O-line play in this era of football.
“Offensive line is a learned skill that takes a tremendous attention to micro detail,” Manyweather began, “But many can only view and/or talk OL on a very macro level. What we are seeing is an all-time low in OL play, and I truly believe it is a direct result of an all-time low in OL evaluations and plans for development.”
“Offensive line evaluations should always come back to valuation of fundamentals,” Manyweather continued. “If a player checks that fundamental box, he has a better chance at being a fit in any scheme (zone blocking or power) and has a better chance at success play-in and play-out. Mesh fundamentals with the following physical traits: Strength; Power; Explosion; Mobility, chances are, you’ve got something.
“Instincts and God-given natural ability will get you to a certain point before panic hits then you just try to survive, that is human nature. When shit hits the fan you’ve got to be able to lean on fundamentals, dig in that toolbox and have confidence in what you are trained to do.”
Tice is a stickler for technique and fundamentals. Not surprising, right?
“As offensive linemen the mesh you have with the guy next to you, and the footwork and the hat placement and the hand placement really on every down on every Sunday, is what it’s all about,” Tice said.