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O-line Grades: Week 7 vs. PTG


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O-line Grades: Week 6 vs. PTG


Amazingly I think all three of my storm interruptions occurred when we were on Defense.


12 series with 29 1st-half plays and 30 2nd-half plays... 59 total.


1st Half: S1 12:49; S2 5:09; (Q2); S3 - 13:36; S4- 10:43; S5 7:34; S6 1:27

2nd Half: S7 - 15:00; S8 - 6:15; S9 - 2:04; (Q4) S10 - 11:58; S11 - 6:46; S12 2:36


Revelation of the week: Similar to a chess player sacrificing a piece to develop an advantage, Shanny is willing to sacrifice plays to set up plays. While we all know OCs set up plays, I can't remember two more blatant examples than what we saw in Sundays victory. They were like a left-right slap in the face wake-up to me... like a left to the liver, right to the jaw to the Steelers...

  • S3P2/P4 - out of a 3TE2L (three Tight-ends, two left) set BH tosses right to Crow for 4 yds; only a great block by JG allows it to gain 4. Then, two-plays later, out of the identical formation he goes PAPR (Play Action Pass Right) Boot Left with the throwback to Cam for 42 yards setting up our first TD.
  • S4P3/P4 out of a 3TER set we run left for no gain; the play had no chance... none... zip... nada. On the very next play, out of the same set we went PAPR - 1/4 Roll Left to Cam over the middle for his 51-yd TD.
Rant of the week: Agnew... again...


Playing with him on the field is not quite like playing with 10... more like 10.25 as in he contributes to one out of every four plays. I see the physical talent, i.e., acceleration, speed, etc., but the performance is lagging.


It pains me as an I-formation guy to say this, but our Single-Back sets are much more productive while "the I" is becoming our Prevent Offense.


General Notes:

  • Player totals were generally lower this week. Even more influence blocking was one reason. Fewer plays were another. The trend was there before Mack's injury and continued after.
  • Mack... no... we cannot replace his combination of quickness, leverage and strength, but that said after a shaky start (I think Mack's injury shook the entire line) Greco had a very good 2nd half.
  • McQuistan netted a -1 for his 41-play effort. He finished stronger than he started. The question with McQ is: Will more work during the week sharpen his game more than it tires his body?
  • The Steelers were ready for most of the PAP plays we've shown to date, but Shanny went deeper in the playbook and found new material.
  • Also in addition to our hurry-up, we have added our own "NE-style, quick snap". Our quick line up and snap on Crows TD run right, our first TD (S3P6), caught the Steelers unprepared and was the primary reason the play went for a TD as it was not blocked particularly well.
Joe Thomas: 1st +7-3 net +4 w/ 1D+; 2nd +6-3 net +3 w/ 1D+, 1D- & 1? ; Game Totals: +13-6 net +7


Joe blasted his assignment clear across Tate's 8-yd path to his 1st TD (S5P11) for his first D+. He earned his 2nd with a beautiful, inside seal of an inside assignment on a toss-right to Tate in the second half (S9P4). His D- came on a run right later in the game when he failed to make a similar seal block (S11P1). I suspect that he was thinking more about Alex at this late junction with the game result no longer in doubt. A couple later plays seemed to confirm this including one "?" play.


Joel Bitonio: 1st +3-5 net -2 w/ 1D-; 2nd +8-4 w/ 1D- ; Game Totals: +11-9 net +2


Through almost 3 QTRs Bito looked almost laxidasical this week. He gave up a pressure early (S3P1) when he was bulled into BH's lap off of PA and another pressure early in the 2nd half (S7P5) when he was beaten by an inside swim move. Then a couple plays into our 9th series it was like a switched flipped on. Starting with S9P4 he racked up 7 of his 8, 2nd half +s.

Bito pulled twice this week in back-to-back, goal-line sets (S9P8/9). Strangely neither appreciably impacted the play.


Alex Mack: Game Totals: +7-0 net +7


Alex went out in style posting a flawless half in his 18 plays.


John Greco (OG): 1st +4-5 net -1 w/ 1D+ & 2D-

John Greco ( C ) : 1st +3-1 net +2 w/ 1D+; 2nd +13-5 net +8 w/ 1D+; Game Totals: +20-11 net +9


At RG John started slow giving up D- pressures in the last play of each of our first two series. In S1P3 Heyward bulled him into BH's step up and a sack. In S2P3 John drove inside to dbl team the NT while two blitzers (1 delayed) shot the area he vacated and pressured. Tate picked up the first... he should have been available for the 2nd. In both instances coverages apparently made BH hold the ball longer than he normally does, but JG was the only O-line to allow pressure in BH's face.


Clearly there was no lack of action at the center position which given the Steeler 3-4 makes sense. John seized expanded opportunities to succeed while minimizing those to fail and it started with his first play at his new position. On S5P4 the Steelers tested JG with a blitz; John picked it up nicely for his first D+. His 2nd came when he pancaked the NT (S9P6). He had no D-'s at the Center position.


That is not to say there is not room for improvement, there is. Passing off blocks to either side needs to be rebuilt again. And John need to throw bigger chips before moving on to 2nd level assignments. Hopefully both improvements will come.


Paul McQuistan: 1st +0-2 net -2; 2nd +8-7 net-1 w/ 1D- ; Game Totals: +8-9 net -1


To say Paul came in looking rusty would be kind. He looked slow and rusty even getting beat on influence blocks. At various times he got bulled (S9P7), ripped (S6P3) and blown up (S11P2). Additionally he missed blocks (S5P9) and blitz pick-ups (S9P3), the latter earning him his D-.


However, to say that he did not loosen up and show signs of being up to the job, would be untrue. He did. He had a nice drive block (S9P8) that he finished with a turn of his man and showed some zone-think when he turned to seal a pursuer (S9P2).


Mitchell Schwartz: 1st +4-2 net +2; 2nd +7-3 net +4 w/ 1D+, 1D- & 1?; Game Totals: +10-5 net +5


Mitch had a quiet game... and thats great news. While he had a good game against TN last week, they really had no speed rush threat. While the Steelers are no speed demons, they have more speed so this was an important checkpoint for Mitch. Early on I was not sure he was up to the task with 2 's coming back-to-back and early.


Most important for Mitch is he handled the pass rush well. Only once did he fail to block a speed rush (S2P3), but the rush was very wide and BH saw it coming.


His lone D- came when he missed a 2nd level block on the eventual tackler of Tate after a 2-yd gain (S9P5). His D+ came 3 plays later when he pancaked a defender... maybe he was pissed


Who knows... a few more "quiet" games and even his harshest critics (like me) may be quiet as well.


Other Blockers:

  • TEs
    • Cameron: +10-2 net +8 w/ 1 D- Good week for Cam with more activity and success than past weeks including some on DEs. Probably as good a sign as any that his shoulder has healed.
    • Dray: +13-6 net +7 w/ 3D+ & 1D- Shanny seems to ask more from Dray each week, and so far he's delivering it. Dray led the team in pulls this week with 3.
    • Barnidge: +2-2 net 0 Barn's time is being reduced as Dray becomes more integral to the Offense and Cams play count rises.
  • RBs
    • Agnew: +0-9 net -9 w/ 2D- We started the game with Ag in various I-formations and did nothing. We abandoned it and him in Q2 and scored 3 TDs and a FG. We tempted fate by returning to it briefly in S9, which was saved by a PI call, before shelving it again and rolling to our 4th TD. We returned to it in garbage time. All totaled Ag saw the field for 14 plays; he received -'s for half of them.
    • Tate: +2-2 net +0 w. 1D- As you'd expect all Tate's marks were in pass protection situations. He released past a blitzer for his D-. He picked up 2 blitzers for his +'s.
    • Crow: +0-0 net 0 Apparently he was in only for runs or PAP plays...
  • WRs
    • There were no noteworthy WR blocks or failures.
    • There were a couple Honorable Mentions with 1 each to Austin, Benji and Gabe.
  • QB
    • New category this week... and one I hope does not become a regular...
    • Hoyer: +1-0 net +1 For his roll-block that helped salvage a gain out of the first botched toss to Crow.
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I think last year we passed more than any team in the NFL, and this year we run more than any team.


Where is ol' "the running game doesn't matter" Shep when you need him?



I am missing Mike H. and his spot-on evaluations of guys like Brian Hoyer and Tashaun Gipson as well.


And the Skrine-haters. Great game by Skrine against Pittsburgh.



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Once again, many thanks for an informative and enjoyable weekly read.


I love the fact that we're becoming known as a power running team.


I heard a stat the other day--the eight highest rushing teams in the NFL (which includes Cleveland)

all have winning records.


But it's a passing league now.

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