The O Line

One of many experimental iterations ...

Sarge

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What do you think? While I'd say that thus far they look much better than last year, I'm a little concerned with this side to side stuff, which Shanny is known for from his Denver days.

They seem to execute this pretty well, but I'm concerned that going up against NFC East teams, they're going to be overwhelmed when they have to man up and go smash mouth
 

Elephant

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I was concerned that Beck was sacked 3 times last night in one half of play. I don't know if it was because he held the ball too long like Doc Walker suggested or if was on the O-line, but 3 sacks regardless of the yardage and completion percentage.
 

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I think a healthy JB for a full year along with the addition of Chester will be as important to our run game as Hightower
 

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I don't think TW looked great, getting a little worried about him to be honest. He completely missed an assignment on one of the sacks on Beck, and doesn't look as aggressive as I would like to see. Hopefully it's just preseason jitters and they will work through it.
 

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Neil Hornsby from Pro Football Focus has some interesting comments on both the Redskins OL play and Beck including a couple of bits about the sacks.

● The offensive line, while improved, still had its issues. My colleague Khaled Elsayed had some real concerns about Trent Williams last week and while I was actually very impressed with his run blocking (his work on Roy Helu’s 51 yarder early in the second quarter being a good example) the way Dwight Freeney bull-rushed him to sack Beck was a concern. Both Kory Lichtensteiger and Will Montgomery balanced off good plays with poor plays in the running game, but it was the way both got pushed backwards from the line of scrimmage on occasions that left me thinking all may not be as the rushing stats indicate.

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● I don’t want to get down on John Beck because he made some nice throws – my favorite being the play on 3rd-and-4 with 6:30 left in the second to hit a reasonably well covered Terrence Austin on an in route. In the first period it was quick slants on throws with just over two seconds to throw, but as the first string Colts rushers took to the bench in the second, he had more time to work. So what were my concerns? Well first the number of times he took off with no pressure – once running straight into a sack. Secondly, I was a little disappointed with his inability to finish things off; three drives ending in field goals is OK but the pass to close the third drive was very inaccurate and gave Austin no chance to make the first down. The bottom line is he gets a B- grade from me but against the soft coverage and limited pressure the Colts applied I wanted a bit more.
Link to entire article :http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/08/20/first-impressions-redskins-colts/
 

NewCliche21

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I don't think TW looked great, getting a little worried about him to be honest. He completely missed an assignment on one of the sacks on Beck, and doesn't look as aggressive as I would like to see. Hopefully it's just preseason jitters and they will work through it.
Nah, I wouldn't be worried.

He started his very first pro game in prime time against Ware. Yes, he gave up one sack against that Pro Bowler, but that was it.

His next assignment? Mario Williams. Did a pretty good job with him.

Dwight Freeney? He barely got a lick on him.

He goes on to face some other vaunted defenses, and I kind of forgot that he was even a rookie at that point.

I'm not worried about Trent Williams. He had a bad game, just like the hogs occasionally let a sack through. He's getting used to being in the same system and to learning that, hey, you need to participate with your teammates even if it's not on the schedule.
 

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I think Trent got out quicked the other day. It feels like a lack of homework. He did pretty well against the Steelers' power. It also could be the isolation one on ones that you sometimes see more of in the preseason. They wanted to see what he could and couldn't do. Gameplanning should help with this a bit.
 

fansince62

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I'd worry more abt the interior...of both lines.
 

Sam Hill

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What do you think? While I'd say that thus far they look much better than last year, I'm a little concerned with this side to side stuff, which Shanny is known for from his Denver days.

They seem to execute this pretty well, but I'm concerned that going up against NFC East teams, they're going to be overwhelmed when they have to man up and go smash mouth

This is something that I've been wondering about, too, given Shanahan's penchant for stocking his O-lines with starving orphans (I haven't posted much here, because the quality of the discussion on this board is so high that there's usually not much I could add, but this is a subject that's worth researching, so here we go).


Shanahan's record versus the famously smash-mouth NFC East is easy to find, so let's start there. Now, in looking at this, we should note that the Arizona Cardinals used to be a part of this division, but have been in the NFC West since 2002. Since they no longer enter into the picture (and since they've mostly existed for the purpose of padding other teams' winning percentages), we'll toss them out - a minor slight compared to all the others they've endured.

If we start examining Shanny's record beginning in '95, we see that in '95 he goes 1-2 against the NFC East. He doesn't play our division again until '98, when he goes 3-1, picking up momentum. In 2001, he goes 2-1, and in '05 he goes 3-1 again. So his record against the Beast of the East is a combined 9-5 - not bad at all.

Now, if we toss out his inaugural season, '95, to take sytem/player turnover into account, then his record becomes a very impressive 8-3. Either way, it's pretty clear that Shanny has some idea how to outscore the NFC East, when he's got the roster talent to do it (and arguably when he doesn't - see "Plummer, Jake" - but that's a thread unto itself).


This leads to the question, "But was it all smoke and mirrors?" Sure, he put up more points than he gave up, but against the more physical style of play that you see in the Neast, surely he must've got it done by throwing the ball on a few balmy September afternoons, right? Like Steve Spurrier's smarter brother? This'll never work on a December afternoon in the Meadowlands, right?

Maybe. Let's check out his rushing statistics, for and against, but especially for.

In '95, the Broncos did the following:

Rushed for 89 yards, giving up 162 against Dallas. Yikes.
Rushed for 158, giving up 129 against the Skins.
Rushed for 132, giving up 125 against the Eagles.
Totals: 379 vs. 416 - not great, but at least, you could say, competitive. That's 126/game for, 139/game against.

In '98 (to summarize):

Rushed for 795, giving up 516, in 4 games.
Average: a very impressive 199 for, versus 129 against. Makes you wonder what he could've done with a stouter defense - win a Super Bowl, maybe? Wait, never mind, he actually did it that year.

In '01:

Rushed for 350 in 3 games (117/game), gave up 195 (65/game) this defense had nothing to be ashamed of, but it's the differential that shows why the Broncos dominated our division.

In '05:

Rushed for 755 in 4 games (189/game), giving up 386 (97/game), pretty much bending us over an uncomfortable chair.


So it looks like Shanahan's traditional "underfed, sideways-playing, can't win a tug-of-war against the Ladies Auxilliary Bridge Club" O-lines might have what it takes to win in the toughest division in football, after all. If Shanny can faithfully duplicate what he had in Denver, we'll be watching January games with our hats on. :)
 

the Omniscient

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Nice post Sam.

I am one that is concerned about TW. The first game, his second level blocking for the run game was below average. Sometimes, he failed to hit anyone, other times he got pushed to the side, the Foote play comes to mind. Hightower would have had more yardage the first game if it wasn't for Trent. However, that game I was really happy with his pass protection.

The past game he was accountable for at least two of the sacks on Beck. Not sure about the third one.

I am not worried about the stretch plays in our division because you really need a fast defense to stop them. I do not see a really fast defense in the East. In fact, the guys that would be great at stopping this sort of play are the LBers and strong safeties. Both the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys have huge problems at one or both of these positions.

The teams that bother me most with the stretch plays are the 3-4 teams like Dallas. Although we did do well against Pittsburgh last week. It will not suprise me if we have a hard time running against NE, Jets, and Dallas this season. The rest of the games, I think we will be fine.

Also, why are we questioning Shannahan's run game? It is one thing that has proved constant with him. It is the one element of his game that he is known to be dominant at.
 
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Sarge

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And am I the only one that thinks Williams needs to pick things up?
 

Om

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No Sarge. I think we'd all agree he caused a raised eyebrow against Indy. But until we see that kind of performance again, Trent's overall performance since he got cemented in the lineup earns him some benefit of the doubt that it was just a bad night. Maybe his burrito was bad.
 

Sarge

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No Sarge. I think we'd all agree he caused a raised eyebrow against Indy. But until we see that kind of performance again, Trent's overall performance since he got cemented in the lineup earns him some benefit of the doubt that it was just a bad night. Maybe his burrito was bad.
Thing is, he came in with a knock about his work ethic. I'm just hoping he's not going to be like a Randy Moss, someone who probably could have re-written the record books had he decided to put in a little work instead of getting by on God given talent alone
 

Hog Fever

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Nice stats Sam Hill.

I feel a lot better about the O-line this season than I did at this time last year. If nothing else youth gives me hope that we can be a lot better. By mid season we'll know for sure what we have. Sean Locklear is a nice insurance policy against either of or OTs having issues.
 

Om

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Thing is, he came in with a knock about his work ethic. I'm just hoping he's not going to be like a Randy Moss, someone who probably could have re-written the record books had he decided to put in a little work instead of getting by on God given talent alone
He also came to camp this year reportedly slimmed down, muscled up and having put in big time work to improve over last year. Which until Indy seemed consistent with reports from camp and against Pitt.

Not sure what the hell happened in Indy, but he was slow off the ball and seemingly off his game all night. Something watch. If we see that again Thursday night I'll start to wonder if something's wrong....maybe an injury we haven't heard about...maybe he's been sick.... hard to say.

Not going to borrow trouble though. For now I'm treating Indy like a blip.
 

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