Who should be interested in The Trench Warfare Newsletter?
- Players, coaches, and scouts at all levels of football
- Hardcore fans of the game that want to gain more insight and knowledge into the trenches — and how what goes on there affects why teams win or lose
- Casual fans that want to have a clearer, more robust idea of why their favorite QB, RB, or WRs are succeeding or struggling
What sort of content can you expect when you subscribe?
- Off-season project pieces
1-2 articles per week
The quantity and quality of offensive line analysis has grown since the time I started analyzing the subject online in 2014, but there’s still a long way to go. People’s appetite for quality analysis of the trenches is increasing, and that’s truly exciting. I am committed to helping further an appreciation and understanding of what takes place on the line of scrimmage. I strongly believe that football being “won and lost in the trenches” and smart teams building from “the inside out” aren’t just cliches. They are values and ideas that dictate success in the NFL.
The quarterback is obviously king, so protecting him and creating openings for modern QBs in the run game are vital components for success. Running the ball and stopping the run may not be quite as integral as they have been in years past, but late in the season, they can carve out a path to a championship. The point is simple: The two position groups closest to the quarterback - offensive and defensive line - usually have the biggest impact on whether games are won or lost, so hardcore and casual fans, coaches, players, and fellow analysts should have a resource dedicated solely on those position groups which is where I come in.
My approach to scouting and evaluation is simple; identify the core and position specific traits that are most important for success, using the film to tell the story of a player while gathering as much context as possible to build a robust opinion. I also believe in the idea of having strong opinions that are loosely held.
I also believe it is more difficult and valuable to tell someone what a player CAN do rather than what they CAN’T do. This is a philosophy I carry with me in my process of shining light on line play because the bulk of the attention they receive (particularly O-linemen) is when they screw up. I understand why that’s been the case. Most people watch football on TV and follow the ball, which means that O-linemen are an afterthought that people only notice after they allow a big tackle for loss or hit on the quarterback. For defensive linemen, the opposite is true. People only seem to notice when they’re the ones making the big play.
While those plays make up 5-10% of the position, there remains a giant gap in what happens in-between those ‘splash’ plays and that’s where this newsletter comes in. I want to shine a light on the quieter, less obvious aspects of those positions. The ones you might not see if you don’t know where and how to look.
Don’t worry, though. Splash plays are what normally draw the viewer in and spark their interest in the trenches in the first place, so deconstructing sacks, sacks given up, tackles for loss, and all the sexy parts of line play will always be a focal point in what you find here as well because I know those things are just plain fun.
When it comes to studying line play there is never an endpoint in the learning process. There’s always something to learn and more film to study. Fortunately, I have been blessed with people around me that have spent a lifetime around the game and position far longer than I have. They’ve forgotten more football than I know. That’s humbling, but also exciting. I know that my knowledge base is constantly being sharpened and my conclusions challenged. You can expect my analysis here to evolve over time while holding on to certain foundational aspects of the position groups.
What experts in the trenches are saying:
”There isn’t a football mind that is as thorough as Brandon Thorn. Brandon takes great pride in his work and understands the intricacies, the nuances, the micro and macro details of Offensive Line Evaluation and advance scouting.
Brandon is a big part of OL Masterminds™️ with his advanced scouting work and he reminds of a quote I heard years ago:
‘Do the things that allow others to shine... The things that allows others to excel...The things that let people know you really care... The things that encourage...The things that inspire... The things that are necessary... The things that are INVISIBLE but INVALUABLE!!!’”
- Duke Manyweather, offensive line expert and founder of OL Masterminds
”Brandon shines incredible and truthful light on the trenches. His dedication to his work as well as his knowledgable approach sets his content, film breakdown, and analysis apart. As I have transitioned into media as well as mentoring current players, I have turned confidently to Brandon’s evaluations to further study the game and gain insightful breakdowns of offensive linemen across the league. His understanding and communication of different techniques, schemes, versatilities, strengths, and weaknesses offer consistent evaluations of the offensive line that I can depend on to study and learn from. I am very thankful for Brandon and his commitment to producing the highest caliber of intricate OL breakdowns.”
- 16-year NFL O-lineman, Walter Payton Man of the Year & current Amazon Thursday Night Football studio analyst Andrew Whitworth
“Brandon has become a highly respected voice in the football world. His understanding of technique, scheme and assignment is next level. His will to study, scout and analyze has made of one of the most credible and reliable sources in our game today!”
- Terron Armstead, Miami Dolphins All-Pro left tackle
"I first noticed Brandon's works a few years ago as one of the few analysts breaking down and highlight OL play on social media. He not only spotlights our play but shows people how and why we succeed. He's a great analyst that's dedicated to learning about the game, and sharing it. Few have the knowledge Brandon possesses, and even fewer can articulate it the way he does. And no one outworks him."
- Mitchell Schwartz, Former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro right tackle
"He is a true student of offensive line play. He studies and understands the nuances of the game as well as different techniques used by players league wide. Brandon understands set lines, angles, as well as schematics when it comes to different players and systems. You can take what he says to the bank."
- Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro right tackle
“I am excited to see the work Brandon has planned for his new service because I believe he has put in the time to truly study and ask the right questions of the right people to learn the ins and outs of OL/DL play. He will give an unbiased opinion based on facts from the FILM and that’s all anyone can ask for when evaluating the most under appreciated and misunderstood position in football and that’s the offensive line.”
- Bryan Bulaga, retired 12-year NFL O-lineman
”B Thorn is one of the best... if not the best O-Line analyst around! His work is not only detailed, but very fun to watch. It’s great to have guys like him who appreciate the trenches and point out what most people don’t see in the game of football. The man is also great tool if you need questions about an opponent.”
- Jedrick Wills Jr., Cleveland Browns left tackle and 2020 first-round pick
“As a 7th round pick I remember Brandon being the first to give me some props back in my SF playing days and as now one of the elite O-lineman in the NFL I’ve always thought it was pretty cool how Brandon is one of the few that actually took the time to know and understand OL play instead of spewing nonsense out of their ass!!”
- Trent Brown, New England Patriots Pro Bowl left tackle
”I appreciate Brandon’s work and breakdowns of different guys offensively and defensively that helps me break down players more and even helps add tools to my book from seeing him highlight details of O-line play more precisely than the general eye would from just seeing them play on tv etc.”
- Shaq Mason, Houston Texans right guard
”Brandon knows what makes OL play an art. The man is extremely knowledgeable. He understands the differences between schemes and the techniques that are used in those schemes. You can tell how much time and effort he puts into his scouting. I would say outside of an NFL scouting department, his insights into line play are second to none.”
- Graham Glasgow, Detroit Lions interior OL
”There are very few people I follow on Social Media who dissect the game from the eyes of a Lineman along with giving very knowledgeable insight. Brandon is one of the best I’ve come across who truly gives Offensive Linemen credit when credit is due along with pointing out fault or flaw that happen In ways that only OL and OL coaches appreciate.”
- Brent Key, Georgia Tech Head Coach
”The time and research Brandon takes studying players and techniques is invaluable. The attention he has brought to the frontlines of football, have shed light to many of the people who never knew how technical it was. I look forward to watching this new adventure take shape for him.”
- Mason Miller, Mississippi State OL coach
”Over the years Brandon has been one of my favorite follows on social media. When I view Brandon’s post on social media, I can confidently say he understands what goes on in the trenches of an NFL game. He truly has an eye for talent and really understands blocking schemes and concepts!”
- Jonathan Goodwin, retired 13-year NFL O-lineman
”In a world with a LOT of fake OL analysts, Brandon is as reals as it gets."
- Austin Blythe, retired 7-year NFL O-lineman
”There’s no one who spends more time evaluating trenches than Brandon. He’s got a keen eye for understanding technique and scheme, and grades players according to those principles. I trust Brandon’s evaluation of the trenches.”
- Geoff Schwartz, retired 6-year NFL O-lineman
"Brandon is dedicated to elevating the way we approach, teach, interpret, and talk about offensive/defensive line play. At the highest levels of the sport there is a lack of contextual evaluation for offensive and defensive lineman that leads to a detriment in how young lineman are picked and developed. Brandon is leading the charge to change this and continue to positively impact the sport of football we all know and love."
- Marshall Newhouse, retired 9-year NFL O-lineman
”There are very few people I trust when it comes to scouting and breaking down the trenches, Brandon is one of them. I have found him to be a credible and excellent resource and truly value his opinion.”
- Mark Schlereth, 3-time Super Bowl Champion & Pro Bowl O-lineman
Nobody puts in more work and film study than Brandon Thorn . One of the best follows on Twitter when it comes to Line play. I can’t wait to check out his new website!”
- Olin Kreutz, retired 14-year All-Pro center
"Brandon's effort to learn, study, evaluate and quantify line play can only be described in one word: RELENTLESS. His evaluations are built off of a mountain of time he has invested into studying individual players as well as resourcing coaches, trainers and heads of the industry in order to give the most accurate depiction he can. It is rare to see someone as dedicated and passionate about line play as Brandon. I look forward to seeing where this new venture will take him."
- Matt Jones, Titans assistant offensive line coach
"Scouting the trenches is tough, thankless business. Much like playing the position, there's no substitute for putting in the time to study an incredibly complex unit. Brandon puts in the time and then some, providing detailed written and video breakdowns that are easy to digest and incredibly informative. His expertise is well-earned and widely respected. When I'm breaking down an OL, Brandon's page is one of my first stops to make sure I'm on the right track."
- Mike Golic Jr, former Notre Dame O-linemen and current host of the GoJo Show for Draftkings.
“Brandon has put his head down and gone to work on all aspects of the trenches building out his knowledge and his ability to showcase what is happening in the trenches on the digital platform. He’s a humble, hard worker and highly respected in the business for his knowledge and work ethic to bring what he has learned to the public.”
- Lance Zierlein, NFL draft analyst for NFL.com