As the NFL has evolved over the years, so too have the way offenses approached the game. Former Redskins Jeff Bostic and Joe Jacoby talked to ESPN 980 about some of the differences.
"The Hogs" didn't earn their name in an era of 40-plus points per game and quarterbacks throwing the ball from the shotgun over and over again.
No, the famous Washington Redskins offensive line that was essential in the team's three Super Bowl victories in 10 seasons made sure the running backs had the necessary room to run free on heavy workloads and that the quarterbacks hit the locker room after the game with a clean jersey.
So, just how different is the NFL now than it was in the 1980's and 1990's?
"I never had a shotgun snap – ever," said former Redskins center Jeff Bostic on ESPN 980 recently. "Never…never. In 14 years, and my last year was 1993, I never snapped a shotgun snap – ever. The fact that [Joe] Theismann, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien never took a shotgun snap with the Redskins…I mean it's crazy. And now you hardly see a quarterback go under center."
During Bostic's later years with the Redskins, he was the primary center snapping the ball to Rypien, the Super Bowl XXVI MVP.
And in the 1991 season – one in which the Redskins would win their third Lombardi Trophy – Rypien was sacked just seven times in 16 regular-season games.
Had he been running an offense similar to the one current NFL quarterbacks run, well, Bostic thinks Rypien would have never been sacked.
"Let's be honest, the way they play football now has certainly changed, but football is like anything else," Bostic said. "You have to adapt to what's going on. Now, people are somewhat convinced that you can't consistently run the ball, but you look at the teams that are successful and competing for Super Bowls, they are the ones who can run the ball. I mean I think it's going to be a pass-happy NFL that we see going forward, but I don't think you'll see another team kind of like our team that was happy [with] four-five yard [gains] and a cloud of dust."
Joe Jacoby, a fellow Hog and 80 Greatest Redskins member who was perhaps the most well-known player of the group, believes credit should also be given to the entire team for their successes.
"We still have those records from the Super Bowls for most rushing yards and stuff like that, and it goes out to every guy on that team," he said. "Not just the offensive line, but it's everybody who was involved in that offensive side of the football from the coaching staff on down to put us in the right position and guys executing all together as a unit."
One other major difference in today's game, Bostic noticed, is the way offensive linemen get in alignment before the snap.
"The amazing thing for me now is I look at the schematics of how they are playing the offensive line and the next time you watch a football game the thing that I notice the most is how close their splits are," he said. "I mean obviously as a center you can't control the split but normally Russ Grimm or Raleigh McKenzie or Mark Schlereth – whoever was the guard had a nice two-and-a-half, three-foot split. Now, they look like they are shoe-to-shoe."
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