Derrick Deese spent 11 seasons in the NFL, playing every position on the offensive line at one time or another. He has never seen offensive line play this wretched.
While many blame it on the college ranks for failing to properly train offensive linemen for the next level, Deese offers a different theory. He cites the reduction in padded practices that came with the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011.
“I think when you come down to practice, offensive line needs more practice time than a defensive lineman does because there’s so much stuff to learn — so many more variables we have to understand,” Deese said, via The 49ers Insider Podcast with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “For one defense, sometimes there might be three different ways to block that play. So when you start cutting down practice schedules, and say you only have this amount of time per week, and this amount of time per day, it’s hard to get all of that in. It’s hard to get all the reps you actually need to be successful. When they cut that down, something’s going to suffer, and you see what suffers.”
Teams no longer can hold two-a-day practices in pads at training camp and are permitted only 14 padded practices during the season with a maximum of one per week.
Deese, 47, knows first hand the reasons for the limitations: He has undergone 17 surgeries and needs three more. He said all the rules changes have made the game “a lot safer,” even if the reduction in practice time has made it more difficult for offensive linemen to develop.