31

May

Predicting Packers Butt Height

“There’s two main components that a center needs to have, and it’s not quickness or agility or snapping or anything. It’s two things: One, he has to have a good height, and I’m talking about where his butt rests. It can’t be too low because I don’t wanna get deep in that stance and it can’t be too high so I feel like I’m standing up. It’s gotta be just right. He’s got that.  It’s a feel. My center in college was about my height and he’s real low in his stance. So it made me have to kinda duck down a little bit. It’s hard to get out of center. Scott Wells — my previous center — [and] Jeff Saturday: great height. Great butt height.  And the second is most important, and that’s sweating. How much do they sweat? The worst thing that you can have is third, fourth quarter on an October day where it’s 65, 70 degrees and he’s sweating through his pants. Because that is not a situation you wanna be in. You gotta change pants at halftime. Our backup center — great guy — Evan Dietrich-Smith, he has major sweat issues. And when you get that ball snapped up and there’s a lot of sweat that just splashes all over you and on your hands and the ball — it’s not a good situation. So he actually has changed at halftime before. So those are the two things you look for: butt height and sweating. Jeff’s doing really well in both categories. … Low sweat ratio and solid butt height.” – Aaron Rodgers

Ah, classic Aaron Rodgers; but ironically Rodgers’ observations about centers is one of the more in-depth analysis on what it really takes to be a center in the NFL out there right now.  Fans and the media typically don’t pay much attention to offensive linemen in general, but when they do they gravitate towards the all important left tackle position.  Right tackle and guard are gaining a little steam in terms of importance (just look at how many of them were drafted this year in the 1st round), but center still remains the forgotten position.  Outside of being able to snap a ball, what makes a good center?

This question suddenly became more important for the Packers with Jeff Saturday retiring and backup Evan Dietrich-Smith moving up to starting center (which was a forgone conclusion considering Saturday was benched mid-season for Dietrich-Smith last year).  The backup center (who will likely be the “swing” interior linemen as well) previous manned by Dietrich-Smith is now open with rookie JC Tretter presumably being the preferred player to take over the position after being drafted in the 4th round.  Unfortunately Tretter is out for the year after breaking his ankle during OTAs, leaving a rag tag group of undrafted rookies and unknown 1st year players to battle it out for the last roster spot.  The Packers are notorious for trying to fit round pegs into square holes when it comes to offensive linemen so I wanted to see if there were any physical characteristics that previous Packers centers shared.

 

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I won’t pretend to know really what the Packers are looking for in centers, overall centers are definitely the smallest linemen of the group.   Aaron Rodgers has been criticized for being short for a quarterback, but most of his centers have been the same height as him and offensive linemen on average are way taller than quarterbacks.  The second interesting point is that every Packers’ center has T-Rex arms.  Bryan Bulaga fell in the draft because his arm length was only 33.5”, but the average arm length for a Packers center was a miniscule 31.5”.  Now arguably with players in the trenches, a shorter, squattier player may actually perform better in a “phone booth” than a longer lineman but even guards TJ Lang (32.5”) and Josh Sitton (33.625”) have considerably longer arms.

But the most important question (at least for Aaron Rodgers) to answer is what sort of “butt height potential” each center has.  Obviously butt height doesn’t apply to shotgun snaps so for direct snaps presuming that a center has his hands on the ball (which is resting on the ground) and that he bends predominantly from his waist, leg length should be the biggest determinant of butt height.  Of course, centers also bend their knees, and therefore can change their butt height, but most centers appear to bend then knees at roughly the same angle so we can assume it’s about the same for all centers.

To figure out leg length, I extrapolated leg length from arm length, which are commonly recorded for linemen during combines and pro-days and multiplied by 1.2, which is a commonly accepted ratio between the length of a person’s arm and their legs.  Then I took the predicted leg length of the centers who had started for the Packers with Aaron Rodgers under center and averaged it to see what sort of “butt height” range was “acceptable” for Rodgers, which turns out to be about 37.5 inches.

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After all that, it appears none of the current possible backup centers really have the right butt height.  Greg Van Roten is probably the closest candidate to what the Packers typically have at center, with undrafted rookie guard Lane Taylor as a close 2nd.  Don Barclay, who in OTAs looked like he was being groomed to be the interior swing man is probably 3rd on the list considering his height and weight but has a considerably higher butt height than either Van Roten and Taylor.  David Bakhtiari, who was rumored to be a potential center during the draft is probably the furthest away in terms of predicted butt height with his long 34” arms.

So in conclusion, in terms of butt height, the Packers have a major issue with as no one on the roster really fits what the Packers and Aaron Rodgers typically like.   How big of a deal is this?  Probably not a big one, but a small change like Rodgers having to duck a little more means a longer time getting out of his drop back and getting the ball out of his hands, which might (theoretically) increase the amount of sacks.  However, if you’ve gotten this far in the article, you’ve just read about a 1,000+ words on the butt height of Packers’ centers, so congratulations you are a true cheesehead.

Now if anyone wants to go to training camp and stare at centers’ butts and record the average butt sweat area and number of pants changes that would further the butt height analysis to new heights.  Do it for science!

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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32 Responses to “Predicting Packers Butt Height”

  1. nick perry says:

    Thank you Mr. Hobbs for a very insightful, well thought out article. (Not being sarcastic) I remember the whole butt height thing with Rodgers and I sir, am a true cheesehead. Something about this Lane Taylor kid I like. About a inch bigger than Wells was but 25 lbs heavier. If he’s the road grader as a run blocker I’ve heard he was, I’m pulling for him. He also didn’t allow a sack the last 2 seasons in school. Exactly what the Packers need. Hope that translates into something in the NFL.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I took a look at Lane Taylor and he does look to be a pretty good guard in that road-grader type role, I’m not sure how well he translates as a center but I do think he has a shot of making the team.

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  2. Savage57 says:

    Mmmmh, mmmmh, mmmmh.

    Tought to start the day as you wash down a cup of Joe reading about @$$ sweat. Never really thought about that until now.

    Don’t know who’s going to answer the call and take one for the team and do that butt sweat analysis you’re calling for, but I can promise (with apologies to Bob Dylan) it ain’t me.

    But, (pun intended) I do know this. Every time I’m watching a game and as the QB lines up under center and I find myself wondering – Geez, I wonder how much his @$$ sweats? – I’ll think of you Thomas.

    Thanks for the article?

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    • Pack Fan in ATL says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself. lol

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Well it’s good to be remembered for something. But really, you should be thinking of Evan Dietrich-Smith, poor guy, an future hall of fame quarterback calls his butt sweaty on national radio

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  3. steve cheez says:

    You just don’t get analysis like this on any other site

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      You should thank Al for not pulling the article the moment he saw the title :D

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  4. Mr.Bigg says:

    You just don’t get assalysis like this on any other site

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  5. Big T says:

    What if he sharts a lot too???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I’d guess Rodgers would ding his center on that too, if someone wants to chart that that would be pretty interesting

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  6. Stroh says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • JimR_in_DC says:

      Yeah, like sweat index.

      Great article, Thomas.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      It’s between the draft and training camp, there really is nothing going on in the NFL. This is kind of the reason why the NFL wants to move the draft back, which is to get these non-news periods out of football.

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    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      How about some appreciation for creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking? I love this article.

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  7. brian says:

    Seems like Arod is a butt man.

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  8. redlights says:

    Has anyone considered ARodge pulling your leg? Seriously, I’d put 50/50 odds that butt height and sweat were put out there just to see which reporters would actually do a story on this.

    I don’t know what’s important for a center, but a good snap and blocking would be my choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I’d guess it was more than 50-50 that he’s pulling everyone’s leg (like his favorite subject being string theory). But, Rodgers has a sense of humor where there is a nugget of truth in his jokes. He probably does care about butt height and sweating, but if the guy is a good center it’s not going to matter all that much.

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  9. Batavia Greg says:

    Thomas: Thanks for the well-written and well-researched article. I imagine that some readers will be most amused by the topic and that many comments will include puns, double entendres and Benny Hill-type scatological wise cracks. Some may even question your motivations for choosing this topic (“You weren’t a “psych” major in college, were you?”).

    I think that it took courage to write the article. That, or a great sense of humor. I certainly wouldn’t. You realize that you will be identified forever as the author of “Butt Height.” If I were you, I wouldn’t include it in my resume. However, as Kipling once wrote, “. . . By the living God that made you/ You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I try to write things that are interesting to me and I thought Rodger’s quote was really funny. Personally, I don’t think this is any more outrageous than when I tried to analyze if BJ Raji could do a Lambeau leap

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    • steve cheez says:

      did you really say “wise cracks”?

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    • Oppy says:

      British-Indian literature reference, +1 Gunga Din.

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      • Batavia Greg says:

        I actually thought he was a water boy back in the day of Curly Lambeau’s Packers. As for Kipling . . . wasn’t he an OT for the Falcons sometime in the 1970′s?

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  10. IndianaJer says:

    You all won’t be chuckling after we have some fumbled snaps or the ball slips out of Rodgers’ hand when there is a wide open receiver. This article concentrates on the least important of the two points. Rodgers said “And the second is MOST important, and that’s sweating.” EDS only started later in the year in cold weather. His sweating could be a major problem in September and even October.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Actually most of the article is on butt height, which Rodgers considers the most important part.

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  11. JR says:

    I absolutely loved this insightful article. The following comments and critiques have been just as valuable. Honestly, how many centers out there should simply considering wearing a Maxi Pad or some Depends? Something’s got to absorb all that sweat, and I don’t want it slathered all over Aaron Rodger’s hands! Think about it. How much does butt sweat contributes to QB fumbles or poor passes?

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  12. dave says:

    Well, I guess the logical follow-up article would be ‘receiver drops’ (no, definitely no pun intended…please!!).

    I mean, extend this out…if Saturday was a ‘dry guy’ and EDS was, well, let’s just say AR often was heard humming ‘Slip Sliding Away’ when he went to the line of scrimmage….then a wetter ball snapped by EDS should correspond to a higher receiver drop rate. Did the drop rate increase when EDS took over? Lucky for him the season got cooler when he took over…

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  13. marpag says:

    THIS IS A TOTALLY ONE-SIDED ARTICLE!!!

    Has anybody even considered that maybe a poor, beleaguered center doesn’t like some rich, pretty-boy QB gettin’ his hands all up into his business?

    Well, didya?

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      It’s kinda of par for the job, I don’t think any center thinks he’s going to be shotgun snapping every play in the NFL. If you don’t want someone jabbing your hands into your hind quarters every play, play guard.

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  14. DJensen says:

    Great article, Sir. I always appreciate your insights.

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