Who Protects The Quarterback In Football?

Written By: Chris Haddad
Updated: December 29, 2023

The quarterback is one of the most important positions in football. The reason it’s so important is because of the unique skill set, both physically and mentally, that is required to excel in the position. For this reason, the quarterback must be protected from all plays. But who protects the quarterback in football?

The offensive line protects the quarterback in football. The offensive line includes the center, two offensive guards, and two offensive tackles. These players are responsible for making sure the quarterback doesn’t get hit.

This article will show you who protects the quarterback and the importance of the positions.

Who Protects The Quarterback In Football

Offensive Line protecting the quarterback

The quarterback is one of the most important positions in football. He must be protected on every single play, as he will always be the first person to touch the ball.

In football, the person with the ball is the most important person on the field. In order to score points, both the football and the person holding it must be protected.

The offensive line was formed to help protect the quarterback. The offensive line is often the largest (both in height and weight) on the field. The job of the offensive line is to protect the quarterback by physically moving the defensive line.

Offensive linemen are often the most selfless people on the field, as they don’t have many stats, and they will rarely score a touchdown.

An offensive lineman must focus on doing his job to help his quarterback and running back move the ball down the field.

There are five offensive line positions in every football game, that need to be aggressive to block the opposing defensive tackles and defensive ends.

Offensive Line Positions

The offensive line positions are the most important in football. Without a good offensive line, defensive linemen are able to control the line of scrimmage. This limits opportunity in the run game and passing game.

Below are the offensive line positions that protect the quarterback in football.

Center

Center in football

The offensive center starts with his hand on the football. This player can be seen in a 2-point stance holding the football, ready to snap the ball to the quarterback.

The center often has the responsibility to set the protection for the rest of the offensive line. This means he helps identify the mike and who everyone should block relative to their running scheme.

Centers have a tough job: they need to snap the football and block the opponent from them. It’s one of the unique positions in football, as a center needs to be able to multitask and still be able to maintain good form to protect the quarterback.

The center will often block the nose guard, middle linebacker, or defensive tackles.

American Football can be overwhelming. That’s why we created a FREE 9-minute video to help you learn everything you need to learn about football as a beginner.

Offensive Guards

Guards in football

Offensive guards in football are often smaller than the offensive tackles, as they must move. Most spread offensive schemes require guards to pull left and right, so these players must be nimble and block on the run.

The guards are located on each side of the center and are responsible for blocking any defensive player who wants to run up the middle.

As with the center, guards must be bigger players, have great footwork, and move defensive players from their positions.

The guards will help support the center in blocking defensive linemen such as defensive tackles.

Offensive Tackles

offensive tackles in football

Offensive tackles are typically the largest offensive players on the field. These players are responsible for blocking defensive ends or linebackers off the edge. There are often two types of tackles.

The front side tackle is responsible for covering the quarterback’s front side. Often for right-handed quarterbacks, this would be the right-side tackle.

The blindside tackle is one of the most important positions on the offensive line. The blindside, or the backside as it’s otherwise known, is the blind spot of the quarterback. This is often the left tackle for a right-handed quarterback.

The blindside is so important that the quarterback can’t see the person rushing from that side. This is why the call is on the blindside. They have to trust the blindside tackle is blocking his man. The quarterback can throw the ball with no worries inside the pocket.

Quarterbacks who get hit from their blindside will often experience the most pain, as they have no idea it’s coming.

Offensive tackles are responsible for blocking defensive ends and outside linebackers.

Tight Ends

Tight ends are another position that can help protect the quarterback. These players typically are just larger wide receivers. However, coaches may keep a tight end to block for the quarterback.

Unlike the offensive line, tight ends can catch the football and get into the passing game. The coaches’ scheme may use tight ends as extra blockers for the quarterback or pass-catching receivers.

This all depends on how the coach wants to protect his quarterback and the scheme he has to do so.

Tight ends are mainly in the game for passing plays. Tight ends line up on the end of the offensive line and act as a hybrid between skill positions ( such as wide receiver) and offensive lineman.

Why Protect The Quarterback

The quarterback is the most important position on the field. He must be able to process information at a high rate of speed, have quick reactions to deliver the football on time to receivers and lead his team to greatness.

This player is often rare; not everyone can be a quarterback. The quarterback is often the most talented player on the field, and teams will win games based on their talents.

This is why he must be protected at all costs. Players in the NFL like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes are significant to their teams. If they get hurt, there’s a good chance these teams will ultimately fail.

For this reason, that’s why quarterbacks are often paid the most money in the NFL. There is a tremendous amount of stress on the quarterback to do well, but also, they are the most talented in doing offense work.

Keep Learning

Offensive linemen protect the quarterback in football. It’s important that they can control defensive linemen from getting in the backfield.

The center, offensive guards, and offensive tackles make up the offensive line. Their job is to block the defensive tackle, defensive ends, and the middle linebacker.

If you like learning football, don’t stop here! We created the Beginners Guide To Football to help you increase your football IQ.

Below are offensive lineman articles to help you learn even more.

How To Play Offensive Line In Football – Complete Guide

How To Snap A Football & The Different Types Of Snaps

Offensive Line Play: The Proper Stance

Why Offensive Lineman Wear Knee Braces & Elbow Sleeves

Protecting the quarterback is the most important role for an offensive lineman. They often treat the quarterback as if he’s their brother. You’ll often see offensive linemen get angry if the quarterback gets hit after the whistle or if the opposing team is trash-talking the quarterback.

There is a strong bond between offensive linemen and quarterbacks, as they both need each other to play well to win.

The offensive lineman protects the quarterback and ensures the team can throw and run the ball effectively.

Offensive linemen’s size may differ based on the coaches’ scheme, but all five linemen are the backbone of a successful offense.

About the author 

Chris Haddad

Chris Haddad is the founder of vIQtory Sports & high school coach for over 12+ years. He has been featured as an authority on Hudl, Bleacher Report and countless other football-centric platforms. Chris continues to study and provide valuable content for those looking to learn more about the game of football.

>