FanPost

The Interior of the OL

The OL is made up of 5 individuals. We draft them, hire them, pay them, and resign them [or not] individually. Yet while individuals can play well [or poorly],what matters is how they play together as a UNIT. I encourage folks to read my earlier articles on measuring the OL as units for more details.

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2013/4/29/4281916/measuring-the-reliability-of-the-ol

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2013/2/13/3985294/factors-to-measure-in-the-upgrade-of-the-ol

LT-LG, LG-C-RG, RG-RT

Players have to work with the guy on their sides to be effective. When someone on the OL screws up the entire world sees the results. Yet a major issue is not when they play poorly individually but when they are not on the same page as the person next to him. Player A might left a defender go by him, but that may be a result of a stunt with player B missing his assignment. Further with injuries, we have to use players who might not have played in that position before. As experience grows individually, and together, cohesion increases.

That is one reason why we try out lots of combinations of players in OTA and TC. We want them to have the learning experience in camp instead of their first time in a game situation.

Not just 5 guys

Nor do we want just the best five individuals. Kosier did not play well individually but the OL was better when he played. He was the glue that kept the OL together. He was our best technician and his leadership skills were still valuable. We moved him from LG to RG to mentor Smith. That part went well, but left a void at LG.

The guards have to work with players on both sides of themselves. The team tried to minimize that this past year, by having the tackles work as islands by themselves. In that regard, the tackles individual scores may suffer somewhat, but that allows the guards to focus on the middle of the OL.

In particular, the middle of the OL forms a mini-unit in themselves. Let us look at how the LG-C-RG did last year. PFF scores every individual for every game. The following data shows:

Livings

Livings generally did well. Livings was the left guard for every game. Generally, he was the rock of the OL, but he did suffer in the game where we had to use Bernadeau as the emergency 4th string center. Bernie had never played center in a NFL game.

Additionally, that was the game where Parnell was the starting LT. Playing between a backup project LT in his first game at LT and a 4th string emergency center in his first game is not career enhancing. Couple that with using Dockery in place of Bernadeau at RG, and the D Coordinator feasted on the middle of the line.

Later we used Livings, who had suffered an injury, instead of a healthy Dockery in week 17. That says everything one would need to know about Dockery.

Center

We spent most of the year with our # 3 center. We traded a future 7th round pick late in TC to obtain Cook for insurance as we did not know if Costa and Kowalksi would be available. That insurance policy paid off on the 4th snap of the season.

As has been well chronicled, the OL as a UNIT took some time to get used to Cook. Individually he did fine, but his timing was slightly off. Coupled with the policy of putting the tackles on islands by themselves and we had cohesion issues. Free had 6 of his 15 penalties and Smith had 6 of his 11 penalties during the first three games. As the timing, communication, and coordination increased, the OL did much better as a UNIT.

We also had to use Bernie as our emergency 4th string center. Yet the wonder is that we had a 3rd string, let alone a 4th string center on the team. We cut Gurode for cap purposes as we could not afford three centers. Gurode was more expensive than Costa and Kowalski togetther. Further, while Gurode was declining, both Costa and Kowalski had upside potential.

Bernadeau

Bernie started slowly but did better as he got healthy. I discussed this in more detail here.

http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2013/2/5/3955914/stats-iv-trend-analysis

Data

Game…..LG……………….Center……………………………RG…………………….Aver……Worst...Record

Wk…..rank..percentile…groups

01…..11 of 66…..83…..1…Cook…..19 of 31…..39…..4…..33 of 66…..50…..3…..57…3…..4…..W

02…..20 of 66…..70…..2…Cook…..07 of 34…..79…..2…..54 of 66…..18…..5…..56…3…..5…..L

03…..62 of 67…..07…..5…Cook…..19 of 32…..40…..3…..67 of 67…..00…..5…..16…5…..5…..W

04…..11 of 61…..82…..1…Cook…..17 of 31…..45…..3…..47 of 61…..23…..4…..50…3…..4…..L

06…..08 of 58…..87…..1…Costa….01 of 28…..99…..1…..36 of 58…..38…..4…..75…2…..4…..L

07…..02 of 56…..94…..1…Cook…..11 of 28…..61…..3…..19 of 56…..66…..2…..74…2…..3…..W

08…..37 of 57…..35…..4…Cook…..28 of 28…..00…..5…..06 of 57…..89…..1…..41…4…..5…..L

09…..45 of 55…..18…..5…Cook…..11 of 30…..63…..3…..17 of 55…..69…..2…..50…3…..5…..L

10…..26 of 60…..57…..4…Cook…..14 of 28…..50…..3…..08 of 60…..87…..1…..65…2…..4…..W

11…..19 of 59…..68…..3…Bernie…25 of 28…..11…..5…..50 of 59…..15…..5…..31…4…..5…..W

12…..56 of 66…..16…..5…Bernie…31 of 32…..03…..5…..51 of 66…..23…..4…..14…5…..5…..L

13…..05 of 66…..93…..1…Cook…..07 of 32…..78…..2…..55 of 66…..17…..5…..63…3…..5…..W

14…..43 of 68…..37…..4…Cook…..22 of 35…..37…..4…..48 of 68…..29…..4…..34…4…..4…..W

15…..09 of 65…..84…..1…Cook…..14 of 33…..57…..3…..43 of 65…..34…..4…..58…3…..4…..W

16…..11 of 67…..84…..1…Cook…..19 of 33…..42…..3…..36 of 67…..47…..3…..58…3…..3…..L

17…..61 of 68…..10…..5…Cook…..05 of 34…..85…..1…..17 of 68…..75…..2…..57…3…..5…..L

Notes for groups for ease of presentation

1…..outstanding
2…..above average
3…..average
4…..below average
5…..terrible

Game 7 Costa played first half only – Cook had higher rating for the game so I used his scores. No doubt it would be higher for a full game.

Game 11 Dockery was RG

Game 12 Dockery was RG

Average is the sum of the percentile scores for the three positions divided by three and then turned into a group score

Worst is the group score for the position that did worst that week.

The OL as a UNIT and the team record. as shown in last columns.

UNIT score Ave for OL…Worst score for OL

01…….....0-0…….0-0 - while we had individuals do well, we never had the middle of the OL as a unit do well.

02 ….......2-1…….0-0

03…........3-5…….1-1

04…........2-1…….4-2

05….......1-1…….3-5

Tot….....8-8……..8-8

Conclusion

We had individuals for each of the three positions that had games that ranked them among the best in the league for their individual positions, and we had them do poorly individually.

Yet the middle of the OL, as a UNIT, did not do well. That was true even when they did well individually and when the center did well. It seemed as if the center helped one side or the other but not both.

There does not seem to be a pattern of how well the team did as a direct result of how well the middle of the OL did. Yet there is plenty of evidence that this is an area that the team can readily improve. Not surprisingly, we used our # 1 draft pick on Frederick.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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