In American football, a lineman is a player who specializes in play at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line consists of the center, who is responsible for putting the ball into play, two guards who flank the center, and two offensive tackles who flank the guards. In addition, an offensive line may also include a tight end outside one or both of the tackles. An offensive lineman’s motion during a play is often limited to just a few quick steps to establish position, followed by a wrestling match similar to sumo. Offensive linemen thus tend to be the largest players on the field, with excellent agility and balance but limited straight-line running speed.

The defensive line consists of one or two defensive tackles and two defensive ends who play outside the defensive tackles. Defensive linemen—particularly defensive ends–are called upon to do more running than offensive linemen, thus they usually tend to be somewhat smaller and faster.


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