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THE BROWNS BOARD

Mack's Loss is the Difference... Bito to Center is the Fix...


Tour2ma

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Folks keep saying, "I don't see how the difference can only be Mack," or ask, "How can one player make such a difference in an O-line?" To those peeps I say two things:

  1. you realize you are saying the same thing as Solomon Wilcotts... :o ; and
  2. yes, the difference is Mack.

I am confident the difference is Mack for three reasons:

  1. Seamless dependence on your neighbor is a high-level constant in a zone scheme, unlike any classic, drive and trap, power scheme.
  2. The loss of the Center carries the greatest weight.
  3. Mack is at worst the 2nd most athletic O-lineman we have. He might actually be the equal or better of Joe Thomas.

My Case for Mack as the Difference

Classic schemes' hand out assignments for every run play. Each O-lineman in that scheme attacks their assigned D counterpart. The bulk of the "coordination loss" that is bemoaned when a starter goes down is in pass protection, when the O-line is passively catching and reacting to what the D throws at them. The pass is when the coordinated hand-offs of stunting D-line have to be made. It's when an unoccupied O-lineman chips to help set up a neighbor while looking for any other D coming into their area (or "zone") on a stunt or blitz.

This is life in a zone run scheme O-line on every play. So when any O-lineman is lost, the impact is greater on a zone blocking scheme. But are the impacts of all O-line positions equal? I say they are not.

OT's spend the bulk of their pass protection life on an island. The same is true of their zone scheme lives. On a regular basis they only interact with their OG... and not all that often with them.

OGs aren't on an island; they are in traffic. If the OTs don't interact that much with them, then they've only one O-line with which to interact... the Center... and they do... a lot. And if OGs interact with the Center "a lot", then the C interacts with OGs "a lot" x 2.

 

My Case for Bito at Center
When I look back at my notes, starting in Week 3 (when a think my observations had evolved to a deeper, fairly consistent level) I begin seeing "Chp+2nd" and "Seal 2nd" repeated in Mack's column. As a sub in Week 7 Greco had his share of these as well, but he had many, many negative plays as well. In Week 8 I saw one successful "Chp+Seal" by our Center.

While Week 8's O-line performance was an improvement over Week 7's, that's like saying the RMS Atlantic was an improvement over the RMS Titanic because it made it closer to NYC. While our O-line's athleticism took a sizable step up effectively replacing McQuistan with McDonald, we are still well below the level Mack took us to. While this line can "gel" and can improve its coordination with time, it cannot approach Mack level. To do that I see one, and only one option, move Bito to center and try Painter at LG.

Bito was third among our linemen in athleticism; now he is second. Our 2nd best lineman was our Center; it's time to make our 2nd best our Center again. Only Bito has the combination of speed and power that can restore to the level of athleticism to our linchpin position to a level close to what Mack brought to the position. And, no, we do not need a Bito level replacement LG... close to a Greco level will suffice. Doesn't look like that is McDonald. Maybe Painter?

And without that restoration approaching what we had at Center, we are going nowhere fast. C'mon Painter...

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Agree...

 

While Joe is probably our best option at Center and Bito is our best option to back-up LT... I can't see moving Joe.

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We were fine in the 2nd half the Steelers game without Mack, I honestly don't know whats caused this.

That we've played two games since?

 

For grins I added up the individual line grades each week.

 

Week Total O-line Score

- 1- +148 -51 net +97

- 2- +154 -57 net +97

- 3- +112 -62 net +50

- 5- +107 -49 net +58

- 6- + 69 -40 net +29 <--- Mack Injury

- 7- + 72 -96 net -24

- 8- + 65 -60 net + 5

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We were fine in the 2nd half the Steelers game without Mack, I honestly don't know whats caused this.

 

Playing one half of football on an emotional high. Then given an opposing D-cord a week to prepare with a pretty good front 7.

 

You keep thinking that Mack isn't the issue.

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Mcdonald looked "ok" at parts, tour I'm sure you would agree when referring to your O line breakdowns, that Mcdonald did decent on passing downs. But running the ball was different, looked shaky there.

Id rather keep Mdconald and hae 4 of our other lineman play consistent at spots they are cozy at. Cant shake up too much.

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Mcdonald looked "ok" at parts, tour I'm sure you would agree when referring to your O line breakdowns, that Mcdonald did decent on passing downs. But running the ball was different, looked shaky there.

 

Id rather keep Mdconald and hae 4 of our other lineman play consistent at spots they are cozy at. Cant shake up too much.

All things being equal I agree... fewer moves the better. But I'm not sure all moves are equal here. This week should tell. If gelling continues and improvement is seen, then roll with McD. Conversely Painter might not be up to stepping in at LG. All I know is that Painter showed faster and stronger than McD (combine vs. Pro-day) and Painter's agility approached Bito's (combine shuttle and cone drills).

 

Nick was net -2 on run and -1 on pass plays so fairly balanced there. One thing I've learned about line play doing this... D-linemen take a lot of pass plays off, especially big guys in the middle... that or our opponents often assign 300+ lb, spies to Hoyer... ;)

 

McDonald is going to take some time. However, from what I saw, he was routinely bullied in pass protection.

You saw correctly... His strength/ leverage appears to be an issue.

 

Great post Tour2MA. If you aren't a sports journalist you should reconsider your career choice!

lol... I'm not coming out of retirement for nothing... but thanks...

 

It was a good post but I would ask this... Isn't one of the keys to the line the reads from the center position? And those reeds come from experience right?

Centers normally call the blocking, but the QB can and Greco could from RG as well...

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And to me, basic logic says minimize the moves. Fewer linemen that have to adjust to a different position, the better.

All things being equal I agree... fewer moves the better. But I'm not sure all moves are equal here. This week should tell. If gelling continues and improvement is seen, then roll with McD.

 

Conversely Painter might not be up to stepping in at LG. All I know is that Painter showed faster and stronger than McD (combine vs. Pro-day) and Painter's agility approached Bito's (combine shuttle and cone drills).

tml,

See anything Sunday that told you all McD needs is one more week of practice?

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tml,

See anything Sunday that told you all McD needs is one more week of practice?

 

Lol, I'm an echo.

 

McD getting planted firmly on his ass says enough.

 

For anyone who might need a painful reminder.

 

 

Now will Pettine make adjustments more to your liking? We can hope. Got a short week of practice and into Thursday night at Cinc, so McD gets what, about 3 days to improve in dealing with Geno Atkins?

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