Defensive Tackles: Take Notice

The game is won and lost in the trenches. Coaches, commentators, even the real fans, they all say it. Most of the attention and fanfare is focused on the skill position players, but it is difficult to win if you don't have the warriors to get it done along the line of scrimmage.

Over the years, the defensive line has begun to receive the attention that it deserves. In the NFL, salaries have been there for sack-producing ends, but now even the big men in the interior of the line are starting to see more zeroes at the end of their paychecks than they ever did before.

The importance of the defensive tackle position is becoming more evident every year. It is no longer just putting a big body inside to take up space -- that philosophy is long gone. These days, coaches are looking at players who can fit certain schemes, have the size to hold up at the point of attack, can get penetration and be disruptive and can draw attention and keep fellow defenders free. Size is no longer the only criteria; defensive tackles also have to be quick, athletic and able to make plays.