Friday, September 29, 2017

The 5 Toughest Linemen I’ve Ever Faced

September 20, 2017

By Gerald McCoy

Yo, they got a comments section on this article?

If they do, cool. If not, then I want y’all to go find this on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, because I need everybody to answer one question for me. It’s a yes-or-no question, but you also gotta give an explanation. That’s important. It’s like when you took a test in high school. You must support your answer.

Here we go:

Is Batman a superhero?

I say definitely yes. But I’m biased. I got a life-size Batman statue in my man cave at home. He’s actually my favorite superhero because he’s just as powerful as the other superheroes, but he doesn’t have any superpowers. His greatest attribute is that he’s highly intelligent. He’s just a regular dude who always finds a way to get the job done.

That’s kind of how I look at myself as a football player.

A lot of people consider me to be a big guy. I’m 6′ 4″, 300 pounds or whatever, so I’m not a small human. But in the NFL, all the defensive tackles are pretty big dudes. And if you look at my combine stats, I didn’t have freakish numbers. I didn’t bench as much as other guys at my position. I didn’t run as fast. I didn’t jump as high. My numbers weren’t bad, they just weren’t freakish. They weren’t superhuman.

But when you watch me play, I figure out a way to get the job done.

That’s because I rely on things like my work ethic and my preparation. I try to be in peak condition so I can outlast guys in the fourth quarter. And I watch a ton of film so I can narrow down which plays might be coming based on the situation, the formation or the personnel — I just play the odds.

But my saving grace is my quickness and my get-off. And that comes down to technique. I’m a technician because I believe technique will win out over speed and strength every time. In this league, if you’re not the strongest, fastest or most talented, you gotta outwork everybody else. Outthink ’em. Outlast ’em.

You know, get you a little Batman in your game.

That’s why he’s my favorite superhero. Because he does the most with the least amount of tools. I can relate. So if you think Batman is not a superhero, then you can just get out. Don’t even scroll down and check the list. Just stop reading. I ain’t got time for you.

But either way, if you dig superheroes like I do, I got a good list for you, because these dudes are some metahumans.


Marshal Yanda

In 2014, the Ravens came down to Tampa and just punished us. We weren’t winning a lot of games that year, and they went up like 28–0 in the first quarter. It was ugly.

I had never really faced Marshal Yanda before that, but I had heard about him from other guys — how he’s not the biggest dude or the most physical, but he’s a technician. You know, he’s got a little Batman to his game.

Marshal Yanda is like Tim Duncan … He’s a dude who just gets it done.

I learned about him for myself that day.

He’s a great run blocker. He keeps his pad level low. He’s got great footwork. He’s never out of position. His hands are always in the right place. He’s a lot like Zack Martin because he’s played a lot of offensive tackle, so he’s abnormally patient for a guard.

He doesn’t do anything crazy. He’s just super patient, he’s working his feet and his hands are in great position.

Marshal Yanda is like Tim Duncan. He’s not flashy or physically dominant. He’s just really intelligent and fundamentally sound. He’s a dude who just gets it done.

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