FanPost

2013 End of the year OL roundup

The end of the year shows that the long term plan for the OL slowly came to fruition. Let us recap that plan. Garrett has changed the OL significantly every year every year he has been head coach. Among his first acts was to rid the team of high cost, low performers, especially on the OL, even at the cost of eating dead money.

The focus was on drafting talent and developing them from within. Rookies are much cheaper than FA, especially now with the rookie salary schedule. Yet rookies, even first rounders, are generally not productive immediately and often take several years to develop. We signed Livings and Bernie to give time to develop the young guys.

year...starting lineup

2013...Smith, Leary, Frederick, Bernadeau, Free

2012...Smith, Livings, Costa et al, Bernadeau, Free

2011...Free, Nagy, Costa, Kosier, Smith

2010...Free, Kosier, Gurode, Davis, Colombo

This year we made the fewest moves on the OL that we have in several years. Frederick took over the center position upon his arrival at OTA and we did not look back. We tried him at guard, but we try all OL players at strange positions for several reasons.

First, so we can see what they can and cannot do. Memorably several years ago we found out that Holland would NEVER snap a ball at center. He was just a guard only. That, cost, and his health was why we did not resign him even if he was the best interior lineman two years ago.

Second, we want to give folks and the people surrounding them practice if we had to use them in strange positions. We really do not want the first time to be in a game situation.

Last year, we had to use Bernadeau at center, even though he was our fifth choice. He had never played center in a NFL game and we had never had him practice at center until we made the decision to use him. The results were a disaster.

But Costa and Kowalksi were out early. We tried Arkin in TC and eventually traded for Cook. Yet when Cook went down with an injury, we went with plan E.

The other major moves on the OL were to send Livings away with an injury settlement and that forced us to decide on Leary. Then we added Waters.

Discussion

This year, we only used 6 OL players that received 25% of the snaps. That indicates that we had much better continuity than last year. Continuity is one of the factors to measure an OL. see the following for more details. http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2013/2/13/3985294/factors-to-measure-in-the-upgrade-of-the-ol

Further, we eased Waters into the lineup so he could get acclimatized. When he got injured, we used the opening day starter Bernadeau.

Health is another factor. Outside of Waters, the biggest injury factor that we had was Livings in pre-season. He was our most consistent interior OL last year and would have preferred to have him for one more year to develop Leary. Livings was not healthy and we took the long term decision to start Leary. It is better to cut someone one year too early than one year too late.

Talent is always a factor. Generally, Leary was our weak link for the OL this year. Yet he improved as the season wore on and ended the season about average. That bodes well for next year.

On the other side of the ledger, Smith earned his pro-bowl selection and Free started out the season gangbusters continuing his excellent play of the last part of last season. [Yes read that right – excellent at the end of last season]. While, Free had some terrible games in mid-season this year but did better than average for the season.

Frederick improved the line significantly. He played great at center and improved the depth. Talent is a major factor and Frederick was the second #1 pick we used on the OL.

Depth is a factor. Waters is a better guard than Bernie and that is why we signed him to eventually start. That made our depth much better. Yet Waters and Bernie have different strengths. Waters is a better pass protector and Bernie is a better run blocker.

We did not have to play Costa who had improved a great deal over his initial play in the league. Yet Costa is also a great backup, though we are always happy NOT to play any backups on the OL.

Coaching is a another factor. Callahan spent much of the off-season working individually with each OL. Additionally we added Pollack as the assistant OL coach. Each day one or the other would take a group - tackles or interior linemen and work specifically on technique.

Season results by type of blocking with scores expressed as percentiles

Pos...Name.....games...plays...overall...pass...screen...run...penalty

LT....Smith...............16.....1023.....93.......93.....85......86......47 RT....Free.................16.....1025.....74........86.....72......69......19 OC....Frederick......16.....1025.....80........12.....81......97......09 LG....Leary..............16.....1018.....42........27.....53......51......43 RG....Bernadeau....12......696.....76........43.....73......84......52 RG....Waters.............7......336......63........75.....73......46......44

Scores should not be compared across positions. Each position is normed [read curved] and the norming factors are not equal. I have converted each score into a percentile ranking.

It is important to note that the rankings can be skewed by the number of games played. PFF adds each game score to get the season scores. Missing a few games can change the rankings dramatically. This is especially true for Bernadeau and Waters.

Overall percentile ranks by game

Tackles..........Center...........Guards… Free...Smith.....Fred.....Leary...Bernie...Waters

1.....79.....60..........34..........30.....06.....xx

2.....83.....53..........06..........28.....42.....xx

3.....99.....30..........94..........55.....82.....52

4.....79.....90..........87..........49..............89

5.....80.....80..........71..........76..............88

6.....71.....35..........76..........89..............52

7.....05.....53..........10..........16..............51

8.....76.....25..........58..........20.....52.....32

9.....04.....79..........69..........21.....27.....xx

10....28.....90..........83..........47.....98.....xx

12....89.....71..........59..........18.....76.....xx

13....06.....91..........22..........34.....81.....xx

14....78.....86..........94..........69.....88.....xx

15....49.....88..........94..........50.....75.....xx

16....42.....48..........73..........62.....01.....xx

17....86.....99..........24..........46.....96.....xx

Going Forward

At this time last year, I thought that the OL would be better just by being healthy and working together. That has proved to be the case and adding Frederick was huge.

Overall the OL is young and getting better. The three youngest players are Smith, Frederick and Leary. Bernie is relatively young himself. The most senior member is Free and he will soon be only 30. Waters is the age exception but he was signed for a transition period.

Going into next year we have some issues, but not nearly as bad as this time last year. First, we need to improve the pass protection in the interior of the line. Some of that will come naturally as Frederick and Leary get more mature. The middle of the line, LG…OC…RG, have to work together as a mini-unit. If one part is weak, the entire interior is weak. More work with Woicik and Callahan will be huge.

Second, I believe that we need to have one more guard. Waters is signed for another year and is great, but we need to get ahead of the development curve. We have been spoiled by Smith and Frederick, but rookie OL are rarely productive and takes several years to develop.

Leary should get better but he was the weak point of the OL. The major health issue that we had was Livings in pre-season. We had to use Leary one year sooner than we wanted. Next year Leary should be much better. Getting one more guard would allow us to ease the new guy into the line when he is ready unlike what we did with Leary.

We will soon have to work on Smith's new contract. He will be on his fourth year. The rookie salary schedule means early first round picks have four years and can in essence be tagged for a fifth year. His new contract will be market rates and hurt our cap situation but we don't want to wait until he turns into a FA. He will still be a player 25 or younger when he signs his second contract.

Free restructured his contract last year. He took less money overall for more guaranteed money this year and the right to earn guaranteed money next year. I don't know what the trigger to meet the guarantee was but his play probably met the criteria.

We have two backup tackles that we need to find out what they can do. Parnell got a lot of hype last year, mostly of the anti-Free comments. Parnell was injured in the off-season and never really got on track. Weems did well in TC but against the nobodies of the world so we just do not know.

We have a few folks signed to futures contracts. That generally means we control their contracts more than these players can play. Leary was cut last year, went to the PS, but we signed him and he improved a great deal.

Dominguez did not really shown anything at TC last year. We signed Wetzle as a tackle and that is about all I know about him right now. There will be plenty of time to talk more of those players later.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Join Blogging The Boys

You must be a member of Blogging The Boys to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Blogging The Boys. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker