Joe Marino and Brooke Kromer, host of The Draft Network, recently sat down with her dad to talk about offensive line philosophies and techniques. Of course, her father is none other than Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who is in the middle of his second stint with the team.
Below is a clip from the interview or you can click on the YouTube link within it to take you to the full video. You can also read the recaps.
“The fastest way to get cut is to play one spot.”— The Draft Network (@TheDraftNetwork) August 24, 2022
TDN had the privilege to speak with #BillsMafia OL Coach Aaron Kromer to catch up on some OL philosophy. Check it out
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Non-negotiables for OL play
The first thing Joe Marino wanted to know about was Kromer’s non-negotiables for offensive line play. The most important aspect, for Kromer, is that offensive linemen know how to be heavy and grounded to run and pass protect. They also need to be able to use their hands for leverage, something Kromer called “underrated.”
Approach to scouting players
“What I’m looking for on tape is can they, every once in awhile, show that they CAN do that. Do they flash the ability to put their feet in the ground and use power from the ground? Do they flash, every once in a while, use their hands and you can feel the power in their hands?” Kromer replied. He also mentioned looking at whether or not a player can bend and get their hips underneath them to lift a defender as important qualities.
Marino was curious about how Kromer ranks a lineman’s ability to finish. The Bills OL coach made it clear that it’s not the most important trait to him. “There’s a lot of guys that can finish in college football but they really don’t have the skills to play in the NFL,” he stated. “We can teach finishing.”
Position flexibility challenges
Kromer called position flexibility an “absolute must.” He even tells rookies entering training camp, “You’re not gonna have success for the first three months being here. Don’t worry about it.” His only expectations are that they learn football and learn how to position their bodies at different spots along the line. “If they can’t, they usually can’t play,” he remarked.
Muscle memory vs. positional flexibility
“How do you thread that needle between developing muscle memory but also maintaining the importance of positional flexibility?” Marino asked.
“I believe that once you get out of your stance, it’s the same position all the way across the line,” said Kromer. “That’s where I feel like guys limit themselves in their ability to play different positions. The fastest way to get cut is to play one spot.”
Kromer was then asked his approach to choosing the starters. “A lot of times it’s the five best players,” he answered without hesitation. “They can perform in a lot of positions naturally and they’ve earned the spot because they’ve gotten moved from left guard to right guard or left tackle to right tackle and they’ve had success.” He also said that he uses this same philosophy when choosing the backups.
Tailoring his style to each player
Kromer understands that every player must be coached in a different way. “We are gonna get the same thing done but there are certain people that can do it one way and other people that have to do it another way and it’s all on body mechanical movement and their positives and negatives of what they can do,” he replied.
Brooke Kromer even told him that she spoke with Dion Dawkins who said appreciates that he puts in the time to coach players differently.