Below #72 shares his “Words from The Trenches.”
What was your most memorable moment in The Trenches?
There was one game where we played Denver. Napoleon Kaufman had over 200 yards. We hadn’t beaten them in awhile and it was important to win and the way we beat them felt really good.
Can you provide an example of teamwork or camaraderie in The Trenches that the cameras never saw?
As an O-lineman it’s very simple. When you think about teamwork. When you have a 4th and goal and you go for it. There’s no trickery, it’s a straight hand off. That is ultimate offensive teamwork. There’s no trickery. You just have to do it.
What was most important to you during a game? What were the little things you kept an eye on or tried to do during every game?
I was somewhat of a perfectionist so I took it personal if my guy got a tackle, an assisted tackle or got a sack. Every stat that came from guy affected me. I always tried to pitch a shutout. It was about personal pride. I didn’t want my guy to get anything.
Was there a single player that you really looked forward to playing against? Was it how they played? Was it their ability?
One that I always took a personal approach to was playing against the great, late Reggie White. In my time right tackles didn’t get a lot of respect. Only when it was against premier defensive ends were you a factor. So when I played against Michael Strahan or Reggie White I knew I had to play my best if I was going to be considered one of the best.
When looking at team units, O-line, D-Line, Special Teams, is there anything you look at beyond the statistics? Which of these units that you played on and against did you admire the most?
For the most part, there wasn’t one O-Line, but I have a respect for the great ones. O-Lines don’t get the respect that the other positions do. One of the things I loved was when I heard about something specific that an O-Line had done well was to go and watch the film of how they did it.
What was the best advice you received from a coach or another player on how to be part of a team? What advice do you pass on to others on how to be a good teammate?
The greatest piece of advice I ever received was from my high school football coach, John Shacklett. At UW (University of Washington) I was recruited to play O-line but I wanted to play defensive end, as there wasn’t much glory for O-line. My coach told me if you play offense you’ll be all pro one day. If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have done it. I give him credit for making me who I was.
Advice I give to kids that play the game. Follow your heart. Not everyone wants to be an O-lineman, not everyone wants to be a grunt, but get into it and make it your own.
What is your take on fantasy football games that only include QBs, RBs, WRs and focus on TDs?
Other than being a waste of time? I’ve never been a fantasy football fan. I’m often hit up by people asking who should I pick or play. Now, with Trench Fantasy it’s different.
What was your initial reaction to hearing about the idea behind Trench Fantasy?
I don’t know why nobody did this before. Peyton Manning wouldn’t be the same without his O-line. The Pittsburg defense wouldn’t be “The Steel Curtain,” without their line. It’s a team effort, why would you exclude it.
What is the one statistic, other than final score, that you think is the best measures the success or failure of a specific game?
For offense it’s time of possession. If an offense can dominate a time of possession you can see they have instilled their will over the game. If it’s 2-1, like 48-12, then they have dominated.
If a football fan was to look at one thing in The Trenches, what should they pay attention to on game day?
Pay attention to the nonverbal communication. Especially with the O-line. As you see the defenses changing watch what they do. If they are on the ball they’ll be shifting before they get set.