By Steve Silverman
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Are you ready for Larry David as an NFL offensive coordinator?
He's coming back to do one more season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" – maybe two? – but after that he just may don the headset and start calling plays from the pressbox.
David said in a recent interview that all he would need to do is "shadow" an offensive coordinator for a year and he could take over play-calling duties for an NFL team. Perhaps he would be "pretty, pretty, pretty good." Perhaps he would be the first offensive coordinator to call his players "shmohawks" when they fail to come through.
No matter how thoughtful or creative David would be in his new role, he wouldn't be successful unless he had the men up front to come through.
We wrote about the top offensive tackles in the league earlier this week. Now here's a look at the top interior linemen as preseason games are about to get underway.
1. Marshal Yanda, G, Baltimore Ravens
He's the best run blocker in the game today, and the Ravens' ground game revolves around him. He is powerful and strong and excels at opening significant holes and following through on his blocks. Yanda is also a relentless pass blocker, and he continues to get better every season. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro.
2. Zack Martin, G, Dallas Cowboys
The former left tackle is also a two-time All-Pro, and he is one of the best pass-blocking linemen in the league. Martin is big and powerful at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds, and he is a good run blocker who has a chance to become great in that area.
3. Ryan Kalil, C, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers know they can depend on Kalil to get the job done every time he steps out on the field. He is a technically near-perfect player as he simply does not make mistakes. Combine his skill with a relentless attitude, and you have one of the most effective blockers in the league.
4. David DeCastro, G, Pittsburgh Steelers
Highly thought of when he was drafted out of Stanford in 2012, DeCastro has exceeded those expectations. He has a fighter's mentality that coaches want to see from interior linemen, and he simply mauls opponents with his strength and balance. He's a powerful run blocker and a very solid pass blocker.
5. Alex Mack, C, Atlanta Falcons
Tired of all the losing in Cleveland, Mack signed a five-year, $45 million contract to play in Atlanta, and it should be a move that pays off for the player and the team. Mack understands all his assignments, and he excels at explaining to his teammates what they need to do as well. Calling him a coach on the field is a bit of an understatement. He should be able to take a pretty good offensive line in Atlanta and make it quite a bit better.
6. Josh Sitton, G, Green Bay Packers
Sitton is a tremendous interior blocker for the Packers' system. He is the perfect fit for the team because he is the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL, and when you are blocking for a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, that's a necessity. Unlike some of the blockers on this list, Sitton gets the job done with technique and athleticism, and not because of his nastiness.
7. Mike Iupati, G, Arizona Cardinals
One of the biggest and strongest guards in the league, Iupati is a monster when it comes to run blocking, and when he is at his best, he is a very good pass blocker. He has had injury problems that have hurt his pass blocking, but if he is healthy throughout the season, the Cardinals believe he can be a dominant player.
8. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Pittsburgh Steelers
He would be much higher on this list if he could avoid injuries. Pouncey is a brilliant technician and a sharp blocker who knows how to lead his offensive linemen and keep them focused on the task at hand. He's a great line leader and as nasty as they come. Pouncey gets meaner and more effective as the game moves along.
9. Kyle Long, G, Chicago Bears
Long has established himself as one of the most important and versatile players on the Bears. He played tackle in 2015, but this year he is moving back to guard, where he is one of the best in the league. Long is a remarkable athlete for his position. He is relentless in his attitude, and his technique is excellent. He also has the brute strength needed to knock opponents down and punish them.
10. Alex Boone, G, Minnesota Vikings
Just as Mack was tired of all the issues with the Browns, Boone grew weary of his front-office/contract squabbles with the San Francisco 49ers. He has moved on to the Vikings, and he should be ready for a huge year because he can use his size – 6-7 and 327 pounds – to engulf opponents and overpower them. Boone is one of the most consistent interior blockers in the league.
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