Meeting a Bengals' offensive lineman is an interesting experience for those of us who don't quite measure up to Andrew Whitworth at 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds. One of the last adjectives that many of us would use to describe any member of a group of players that look like him would be 'small'. Then again, the NFL has some pretty crazy standards for the size of their offensive linemen.
To be fair, Whitworth is bigger than most members of the Bengals' offensive line. On average, the various members of the unit stand at 6-foot-5 and 312.8 pounds. According to a recent study done by SB Nation, that's pretty undersized in comparison to the rest of the NFL in terms of weight. So, 'small' is an adjective that could be appropriate to use.
If you're looking at these units by height, the Bengals actually rank higher than the NFL average of 6-foot-4. However, their average weight is much lower than the NFL average (315.5 pounds). This is probably a good thing for a good sized quarterback like Andy Dalton who generally prefers to remain in the pocket, but can be mobile if needed. Having offensive linemen who are athletic and light enough to move around when needed is the kind of thing that, ultimately, can result in a very productive working relationship.
Typically NFL teams prefer bigger players when looking at guys in the trenches. One of the most damning things that a scout can say about an offensive lineman before the draft is that they're undersized. Why? Because technique is something you can improve over time, but size is just something that you have to learn to overcome and find ways around. As long as defensive linemen continue to get bigger, stronger, and faster, offensive linemen are going to be expected to keep up.
But, the Bengals seem to have found a healthy balance. What they lack in size, for the most part, they make up for in efficiency. They have been noted as being one of the NFL's best units throughout much of Marvin Lewis' tenure and, while there are a few instances of certain players bringing the whole team's performance down, the product as a whole usually remains very good.
How much of an impact (if any) do you think weight has on offensive line production?