Steelers Film Breakdown: The unsung and under-appreciated Ramon Foster

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Steelers Film Breakdown continues its series with a look at Steelers guard Ramon Foster. Foster is slotted the start 2013 as the starting left guard. What should Steeler Nation expect from Foster this year?

Five games of Ramon Foster were reviewed in order to get a feel for the Steelers' likely starting left guard, Ramon Foster.

He made it hard to view him as a mediocre player. It's more like the Steelers got a steal when they signed him to a 3-year, $5.8 million contract this offseason.

It was difficult to find bad plays. Foster is technically sound, knows his assignments, and he plays physically to the whistle.

This first play, against the Philadelphia Eagles, shows Foster's willingness to block to the whistle.

Foster1_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

In the NFL, you normally don't knock a 3 technique defensive tackle four yards off of the line of scrimmage. Foster is able to maintain an excellent base and accelerate through the defensive tackle. Because of the push on the defensive tackle, the linebacker is able to get sealed off by the Marcus Gilbert. If David Paulson does a better job f cutting off the Will Linebacker, this goes from a good gain to a great one.

The next play is also against the Eagles, and it shows one of the primary differences between Foster and former left guard Willie Colon.

Foster2_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

Once again, Gilbert and Foster execute an excellent combination block. This play, the lead draw, highlights more of a zone scheme as opposed to a gap scheme in the previous play. Foster keeps his shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage. This allows him to get to the linebacker. If Foster turns his left shoulder in order to get more power on the defensive tackle, he is never able to recover and get to the linebacker. Foster is able to generate power because of good footwork and superior pad level. My favorite part of this play, once again, is the finish.

Because Foster has great hand placement and accelerates his feet, he does not draw a holding penalty. That's something with which Colon struggled. Holding is called when a blocker gets his hands outside of the framework of his body. Normally, when a defender attempts to spin out of a block as the linebacker does here, the blocker allows his hands to get wide and a penalty is called. Not with Foster.

Foster, of course, is not without his faults. Foster is not an extremely good athlete. He sometimes has trouble in space, which is why he is playing guard and not tackle.

Foster3_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

Foster also sometimes struggle when trying to stymie a T-E stunt. The entire Steeler offensive line seemed to have a hard time stopping this stunts. Hopefully, the arrival of a new offensive line coach - Jack Bicknell Jr. - will help with this issue.

Foster seems to be the present equivalent of Aaron Smith. Foster is not as good as a guard as Smith was a defensive end. However, Foster is without a doubt under-appreciated. His demeanor and team-first attitude does not attract the attention of the press. After a pretty extensive film study, however, it is safe to say the the Steelers have the potential to have one of the top interior offensive lines in the NFL.

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