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In the Trenches: Offensive Line Grades for Preseason Game #2


This will be my second post on grading the offensive line play. After reviewing my first notes I notice some inconsistencies in my grading from the first preseason game. While I stand by the order of the players ranked I have decided to make some adjustments to my grading thought process.

The first change is that I will no longer assume someone has made the wrong block unless it is 100% obvious. The second is I will no loner have set grades for certain plays. Meaning each pressure, sack etc. will be assess on an individual basis. The third is I will be using grades on a 0.1 scale compared to a 0.5 scale for the first game. This should give me more room to grade not only positive plays but negative ones as well as well as note the disparities between one players good play and another's good play. Technique will no longer have an impact on the grades. Why well I found it hard to remain unbiased when trying to factor in technique being harder on guys like Essex and softer on someone like Pouncey. I will be grading results only while making more in depth comments on the technique. i will also attempt to help differentiate between the players that played consistently good or bad. There will be a +0.1 added to the grade for every five plays scoring a zero or better. What does this mean for the grades? Look for a lot more average grades on individual plays but at the same time the rankings from highest grade to lowest grade should more accurately reflect the play on the field. For consistency and comparison reasons I have gone back and regraded the entire O-lines performances from the first preseason game based on the new criteria included them in parentheses next to this weeks grades.

Perhaps the two biggest changes are I wanted to be grading the entire O-linemen that play, however do to DVR issues apparently It didn't record the last six minutes of the game. I will be using a spread sheet to keep track of plays learn. (my lesson the hard way when I missed grading one player luckily it was on the first series and everyone should have had the same amount of plays.)

- Mike Adams LT #76 -

Overall Grade- -2.0 ( -2.8)

Analysis:

At this point I am going on record that I would rather have Gilbert at LT or Starks at LT, because Mike Adams is not ready. He had 33 plays 19 pass plays and 14 run. In against the pass is was another rough night earning -2.3 grade. He allowed at least 2 pressures and another sack against second team players. He looked uncomfortable with the angles on the his kick slide back. He really struggled with his hand technique and he is late to use his hands. In his kick slide he keeps his hands down by his hips and is slow to use them. If you watch a good veteran OT you will see they keep their hands up protecting their chest. When Adams does extend his arms he is grabbing the outside of the player not good because the defender can easily break his hold. Adams is also still too high in his pass setting, he lets the defender get under him and push him back. On too occasions he did look great, having a good angle, was under control, his arms extended and low in his stance. In the 123 run plays he earned a +0.3 run grade. He look fairly good and was controlling his defender well. A couple of times he did get off the line too high in his stance but overall wasn't bad. He had another good seal block where he used his opponent weight against him and drove the defender side way. In conclusion Adams is still miles away technique wise from where you would want him to be technique wise to start. He doesn't use his hands soon enough and when he does he doesn't use them right, and he is still playing high in is stance which is allowing player to get under him. Get healthy soon Max Starks.

- Willie Colon, LG #74 -

Overall Grade- +0.9 (DNP)

Analysis:

After Colon not playing last week I was really excited to see what he could do. He had 18 plays total and they were evenly distributed between run and pass. In the passing game he was immovable but because of the quick throws he was rarely required to hold his block. He earned a +0.4 passing grade. He did do a nice job of creating a good pocket on a play where Gilbert allowed a pressure, Ben step up and was able to throw it away without taking a hit. He wasn't push back very far all night and it really allowed Ben to step up all night. He was always on his man. He did a great job on one play where Ben sat in the pocket for almost five second before checking the ball down to Rainey. In the running game he did alright but after the preseason hype I was expecting better. He had one really nice seal block where he push the DE four yards right when the play was going left. Overall he was quick enough to get to a LB if needed, strong enough at the point of attack. He was push back once because he got too high in his stance but other than that as Colon gets more comfortable at OG expect great thing from him.

- Maurkice Pouncey C #53 -

Overall Grade- +0.8 ( +0.9)

Analysis:

Against the Colts 3-4 Defense Maurkice Pouncey got to show that his ankle was fully healed. he went one on on with the Colts NT a lot and didn't fail. He ended his night with 18 plays an even 9 running play and 9 passing plays. His run grade was a +0.6, he didn't do anything outstanding but he went one on one with the NT and didn't have one negative play. In pass protection he did a really good job with a +0.2, he will be credited with part of a pressure allowed but that was his only play.However most of the plays Ben had allowed him to get the ball out very quickly which didn't require Pouncey to do a whole lot. Pouncey showed good strength and wasn't pushed backwards all game. He was able to get the second level remarkable fast and look overall really good. The best thing I saw form Pouncey was that in his 18 snaps he didn't nod his head once before snapping the ball. I tweeted him and Baron Batch this after I broke down last weeks film. I like to think I at least got him thinking about it but who knows. Overall Pouncey still wasn't asked to do anything special and still didn't maul his guy out of the way but he was consistently good.

- David DeCastro, OG #66 -

Overall Grade- +0.8 (+0.6 )

Analysis:

David DeCastro look a lot more comfortable in his second preseason game than his first. He had 28 snaps that were split up into 13 runs and 15 passes. In the run game he looked solid, grading at a +0.6. He was playing with a lower pad level and starting to consistently move his guy backwards, though not far enough to be impressive. he was getting to the second level well and getting a hat on the LBs. He had a couple of pulls as well and they were pretty good. In pass blocking he consistently didn't stand out with a grade of a +0.2. Honestly he helped out with a double team, kept his head on a swivel and was quick frankly unnoticeable. He wasn't beat on plays, wasn't pushed back into the backfield, didn't allow any pressures or sacks. He was just solid. You could already tell though he is getting comfortable with the NFL speed, his angle of the line were much improved. He rarely had someone over top of him though so he was rarely challenged but some improvement was shown by DeCastro and that is great to see.

- Ramon Foster, RT #73 -

Overall Grade - +0.4 (-1.9 at LG)

Analysis:

I think the Steelers found their back up RT. Ramon Foster had a huge improvement playing at RT then he did at LG. He had 25 plays 12 run and 13 pass. In the run game he did every thing fairly average, he was beat once and had a nice drive block once. Other then that he was on his man at LOS and earned a just above average +0.1 run blocking grade. In the Pass game he had a lot of help from a back or a TE chipping but when he was 1-on-1 he did a good job. he didn't allow a pressure, sack, hit or anything like that on Ben. he finished the night with a +0.3 passing grade. had he had the same performance with longer developing plays he wold of had a higher grade.

- Marcus Gilbert, LT/RT #77 -

Overall Grade - +0.5 (-2.6 )

Analysis:

Marcus Gilbert look a whole lot more comfortable in the second preseason game then he did in the first. In 22 snaps he was evenly split 11 run play and 11 pass plays. In the run game he graded at a +0.6.He had a couple of nice drive blocks and wasn't push backwards at the line of scrimmage. In the passing game he earned a -0.1 grade. He did allow one pressure and was pushed into Ben face one but overall it was a complete 180 degree turn around from last week. On his one pressure allowed he did do a good enough job to push the OLB down field allowing Ben to step up and throw it away. Overall Ben didn't get sacked once in the game and only got pressured twice (hit once) so I'd say you could see an improvement in the O-line play. Gilbert looked like the Gilbert we expected him to be and it appears he has the ability to fill in at LT if needed. He wasn't great but he didn't have many negatives in the second preseason game.

- Doug Legursky, OG/C #64 -

Overall Grade - +0.5 ( -1.7)

Analysis:

Doug Legursky had 33 plays 14 run and 19 passes. He looked far better than last week against the Eagles. In his 19 pass plays he earned a +0.3 grade. He didn't do anything spectacular but he wasn't beat on the night. He looked like the veteran among the second team O-line and was 1-on-1 against the NT for most of the night. In the run game he graded at a +0.2. He held his own against the NT and made his way to the second level well when asked to. Overall he didn't do anything to wow and he was beat twice but he had a good night. It should be noted he didn't get OG reps this week just backup center. With his guaranteed salary and solid play at center don't expect Legs to be going anywhere in 2012.

- Kelvin Beachum, LG/LT #68 -

Overall Grade - -1.9 Incomplete OG reps only (-0.6 )

Analysis:

Kelvin Beachum had some major rookie struggles. He had 25 plays at OG 10 run and 15 pass. Against the he had a very inconsistent night earning a -1.6 grade. He was getting push back in to the back field fast and wasn't keeping his feet moving. He allowed at least one pressure and was called on two penalties in the passing game. It is clear that strength and size are an issue for Beachum and the a year on the PS will do him good. In the run game he was solid most of the but couldn't get the drive off the line. He had another holding penalty and when asked to people he looked confused on who to block. Give Beachum credit for learning both the OT and OG position but as of right now he is not big nor strong enough to be an effective OG. He has shown potential and I think he will be on the PS for 2012.

-Trai Essex, OT #79 -

Overall Grade - -2.7 (-2.5 )

Analysis:

Trai Essex I believe has lost his roster spot. In twenty five plays he had ten runs and fifteen passes. In the pass game his looked consistently bad allowing at least three pressures and a grade of -2.1. He doesn't move well, is bending at the waist and popping straight up and is just getting physically beat by back up players. In the running game Trai Essex whiffed on a few of his blocks and earned a grade of -0.6. He was too high in his run blocks and could drive the opponent back at all. At this point I would gladly take Foster at back up OT then I would Essex.

- Chris Scott, OG/OT #71 -

Overall Grade - Could not Grade (-2.4)

John Malecki C #62-

Overall Grade - Didn't Grade (-2.2)

Ryan Lee, OG #69-

Overall Grade- Could not grade (+1.3)

Analysis:

I will say from live viewing, that Ryan Lee looked good again. He was driving his opponent back off the ball. He had a couple of nice pulls one notably on a power play he got to the MLB andd allowed Ford to go for a big run. It isn't a coincidence that once they put Lee in the line started to run block better. I think after two weeks he has shown enough to get second team looks. He has impressed against third team defenses and looks to have practice squad consideration.

Kyle Jolly, OT #61-

Overall Grade- Could not grade (-2.9)

Conclusion;

This was a much better game for the offensive line. There were far more players positively ranked and it can be seen from the 4.1 yards per carry the team average (3.4 last week), and a 5.8 yards per play (3.5 last week). While the Starters did allow some pressures, they worked well to allow Ben to step up and get rid of the ball. The unit as a whole needs to work on penalties, The Starters looked very good and I am encouraged to see what they will look like next week.

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