Who is/was the toughest defensive lineman you’ve faced?
Richmond Webb: “I think that one’s easy to fill in. Without question it was Bruce Smith and just having to play that guy twice a year was not an easy task. He was a complete player. He could rush the passer, he played the run extremely well and he was just a smart, savvy veteran. He could line up anywhere over the offensive line, whether it was over tackle all the way down to the center. You always had to know where that guy was so Bruce Smith was definitely the toughest guy I had to play against.”
Which offensive lineman did you look up to coming up and why?
Long: “Walter Jones was always a player I watched. He just made it look so smooth. His pass set was smooth, no one ever got around him and he was in the league for a long time and did a lot of great things, so that was someone that I definitely watched.”
Webb: “The guys I definitely looked up to were Anthony Munoz and Jackie Slater but if I had to say one it was probably Anthony Munoz more because he was kind of considered the benchmark and the typical prototype left tackle at the time. He’s one of the best to ever play the game so you always want to study guys that came before you and were considered one of the best in the game and I would say Anthony and Jackie Slater were two of them.”
How much pride do/did you take as an offensive lineman when a running back goes over 100 yards or you don’t allow a sack?
Long: “That’s what a lineman lives for. If you can get the run game going, that’s our number one priority is get that run game going because that opens up so many other things. When you get your running back running over 100 yards, that’s one of our goals every single game and it feels good for an offensive lineman. Not allowing a sack is big as well and those two go hand in hand, the run game and keeping guys off of the quarterback. Those are two of the biggest things I take pride in is to try to keep the quarterback as clean as possible, no sacks and try not to get him pressured and then the run game, those things are the two most important things for an offensive lineman.”
Webb: “I know we cherished the 100-yard rusher without a doubt because we played with Dan so it was nothing for Dan to throw for 300 yards. That was almost expected. We definitely wanted to keep him clean because Dan was one of the top quarterbacks. You look at Dan, you look at Joe Montana and you look at Jim Kelly and they were the upper echelon quarterbacks and it was like a notch in a defensive lineman’s belt if he could get a chance to sack a quarterback of that caliber. So we always took pride in that effort and from the time I got there, Coach (John) Sandusky was always on top of the game as far as getting his lines prepared to allow the least amount of sacks. That was something we took pride in from day one because that was instilled in us from day one that was not going to happen.”
What attributes make up a good offensive lineman?
Long: “I think there are a couple of things. First off your foot quickness; you’ve got to be able to move, you’ve got to be able to pass set and run block and move your feet and use good technique. Then your hands and your punch and being able to work with others because all five of us have to work together and know what each other is doing and be in tune with that. Definitely moving your feet, punching and technique because technique will always save you.”
Webb: “Good mobility as far as good footwork, long arms and they’ve got to have some strength at anchor in the event that you get a guy that bull rushes you. You’ve got to be able to play the run and the pass.”
What is/was your best asset as an offensive lineman?
Long: “I try to keep getting better with everything and for me personally it’s technique. I try to pound away with technique every single day at practice because I know if I ever get in a bad position or get in a bad play technique will always save me. So I pride myself in being a great technician and I keep working on that part of my game.”
Webb: “I’d probably say my long arms that I had and I had pretty quick feet. A lot of times even if a guy beat me I had the footwork to recover from a move sometimes, but not all the time.”
What has been your most memorable game?
Long: “That Monday night comeback win over the Jets in 2009 because that’s one of those games when Ronnie and Ricky got going and we had a lot of rushing yards. At the end of the game when we needed it they called a power play right behind us, our bread and butter, and Ronnie ran over the guy and we cleared open a hole. That was one of my favorite games to be a part of and I think that guys that played in that game will say that was one of the best games we ever played. As an offensive lineman we kept Chad (Henne) clean and we opened up some big holes for the running game so that was a fun game.”
Webb: “It has to be when we were in Philadelphia playing the Eagles and picked up Coach Shula’s 325th win (November 14th, 1993) to pass George Halas as the all-time winningest coach in NFL history. Keith Sims jumped in there to lift him up on his shoulders and once Keith got in there I knew I wasn’t going to have a chance. That was a true memorable moment.”