Who is/was the toughest defensive lineman you’ve faced?
Keith Sims: “The late great Jerome Brown, former Hurricane and Philadelphia Eagle. Thanks goodness he did not play hard every play. He had the rare combination of quickness and strength and great leverage to get underneath you as a guard. I remember my rookie year Richmond Webb and I played every snap of preseason except three plays and we were playing Philadelphia. In the first quarter I was blocking him thinking, ‘Okay, this guy isn’t too tough.’ Then for probably the only time in my career, he rushed, picked me up and threw me into Scott Mitchell’s lap. And that was my welcome to the NFL moment. ”
Which offensive lineman did you look up to coming up and why?
Incognito: “Orlando Pace. I really look up to Orlando because I played tackle in high school and I was fortunate enough to play a couple years with Orlando in St. Louis and I learned a lot from him.”
Sims: “I remember when I was getting recruited in high school one guy that really stood out was Bill Fralic. I actually had a Pitt Panther poster with him on it and linemen back then really didn’t get much hype. I remember him and I followed his career with the Panthers up to when he got drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons. I wanted to be better than Bill Fralic at that time.”
How much pride do/did you take as an offensive lineman when a running back goes over 100 yards?
Incognito: “Oh man, that’s like Christmas for an offensive lineman. That’s our present. We go out there and grind and work day in and day out and when our back gets 100 yards that’s a notch in our belt.”
Sims: “I don’t know an offensive lineman that doesn’t take pride in that and that was one of the first stats I wanted to see on the stat sheet. We were blessed to have number 13 back there and we knew that he was going to get his numbers but we were always known as a pass protecting line. So we always took such great pride when we were able to get a running back over 100 yards, so tremendous pride.”
What attributes make up a good offensive lineman?
Incognito: “Today you’ve got to be smart. You have to be smart, you’ve got to be physical and you have to be disciplined. Athleticism and things like that a lot of guys are blessed with but I think to really distinguish yourself as an elite player you have to be smart, physical and disciplined.”
Sims: “I think people would be surprised at how athletic you have to be as a big man to play the offensive line. I think you have to be very athletic. You have to be very smart and be able to think very, very quickly and change in a split second. But probably the biggest attribute is being able to have non-verbal communication and Richmond and I had that in Miami. From the moment we walked in the building he was always to my left, we used to eat lunch together and he’d sit to my left and we knew what each other was thinking all the time.”
What is/was your best asset as an offensive lineman?
Incognito: “It would have to be my power. Sometimes I get in a bad spot and my power just helps me come through.”
Sims: “I don’t want to sound arrogant when I say it but I’d have to say it was my intelligence. I was a pretty good athlete as a guard but we had such a complicated system and they installed the left side and we were kind of on her own. Of course Rich and I had the chemistry so it worked out.”