When watching offensive line play, certain things stand out to you. The first thing is fundamentals. How good is their footwork, pad level, hand placement, etc. Second, is their demeanor. How do they finish blocks? How aggressive are they?
I went back and watched the 2010 game film of the Tennessee Titans. 2010 was not a good year for Tennessee. They went 6-10, and they parted ways with Jeff Fisher. I thought it would be good to look at the offensive line while they, and they entire team, was facing adversity.
As I mentioned, certain things catch your eye while watching the offensive line. With Tennessee, one of the immediate things was how well they block the second level.
Blocking well on the second level is a result of good, zone combo blocks. This is one of those things that looks easy on paper, but takes a lot of repetition to master. For example, take a look at the center on this GIF. The nose begins his alignment head-up, so the center is thinking that he needs to block the nose. The nose, however, slants into the guard.
The center is able to keep his shoulders square and maintain the integrity of his path to the linebacker. Maintain the integrity of his path to the linebacker essentially means that the center cannot go to where the linebacker is. Instead, he has to go to where the linebacker is going to be.
This is good work and it is something that Maurkice Pouncey is very good at doing. His athleticism is a real asset. One would expect to see Pouncey become even more proficient at blocking linebackers while under Munchak's direction.
This GIF gives you the same idea with a better angle.
First off, the left guard is bad. He was bad for most of the season, by the way. Anyways, the play be the left tackle is excellent. Notice how he does what he can to compensate for the poor play of the adjacent lineman. He has his eyes on the linebacker while still measuring the defensive tackle. He does not break the cardinal rule of zone blocking: chasing defenders on the second level. Instead, he helps to compensate first, and then is able to block the linebacker.
Superior play from the offensive tackles is apparent when you watch film of Tennessee.
To get a tackle to play at this pad level is excellent. Even though Tennessee went 6-10 in 2010, they only gave up 27 sacks. In 2009 they gave up 16 sacks. Finally, in 2008 they gave up 12 sacks. Those are incredible numbers. With those sack totals, we could see Ben Roethlisberger play another 10 years.
Interestingly, I looked up those sack totals after watching the film. As I mentioned, I was very impressed with how technically proficient, and successful, their tackles were in both the run and pass game. The statistics validated what I saw on film.
It is really not shocking that Munchak was promoted to head coach after Jeff Fisher left. It is also not surprising that Munchak was not able to have the success he desired considering Tennessee's quarterback situation. The Steelers acquiring Munchak may turn out to be a turning point for this team. If the team sack totals hover in the twenties instead of the forties, the offense can be special.