KDawg

The Offensive Line Thread

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So... Let's talk OL.

 

The way I see it... there's not a single position on the offensive line that couldn't use an upgrade. Now, there are more than one way to skin a cat and some positions that are relatively set, but let me run it down a bit.

 

LT: Trent Williams is still going strong. But injuries are starting to slow him a bit. The left tackle position is one that we need to make sure we take care of moving forward. If Trent turns a corner with injuries we're still okay here, but if he is slowing down due to age/set backs, I'd like to see him kick inside to LG.

 

LG: Lauvao is no where near as bad as people say he is. But he's not in there. Roullier is. Roullier is okay. But I prefer him at center. The double switch that let Bergstrom come in at C and moved Roullier to LG drove me absolutely batty. Why change two positions on a unit when you can just change one? And if you're going to change two because you're nervous about the backup LG, why not put your five best linemen on the field? In this case some combo of Williams, Nsheke, Roullier, Scherff and Moses.

 

C- Roullier has been an improvement there.

 

RG: Scherff is good, but I'm not sure he's this top of the game RG some have made him out to be. That said, I think he is the strongest and the biggest piece of the OL corps moving forward given Trent's age. He should be kept at RG for awhile.

 

RT: Moses is big time slowed by injuries and he's hit and miss. When he's on, he's on. When he's off, he's off.

 

Having given a very brief synopsis, I want to say that I am a firm believer in building the OL/DL/Pass Rush/QB and Absolute Studs in the first round of the draft. I don't think there's a whole heck of a lot else that should be drafted early aside from some can't miss prospect ala Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Adrian Peterson, etc.

 

But this line is very much underperforming. And a lot of it, despite my earlier take that Trent is slowing, is from the LG > C > RG areas. I'm fairly certain the Lauvao injury is hurting us more than most here would care to admit. But it's also exposing the fact that we need some help across the line.

 

I don't think these guys are a bad group at all. Although I'm no fan of Bergstrom. But we could definitely use an upgrade or two up front. And that could be Lauvao. He probably won't be here long, has been hurt a bunch and his absence seems to hurt the team quite a bit with chemistry given the line's performance this past week. So LG needs to be a priority. In some fashion. Williams is an option if a stud LT is available. 

 

I don't want to make it sound like I'm totally down on the line. I'm not. The entire team played bad against NO. But our line has to start playing like the unit they're touted to be if we're going to beat these elite teams moving forward.

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Interesting topic to discuss really.

 

In our two losses, our OL got punked easily. And that's becoming a real concern. I share you view on it, but I'll say that at least against the Packer Bergstrom at C and Rouillier at LG wasn't that bad. I'm no fan of Bergstrom as well, but the Rouillier / Bergstrom combo is probably better than anyone/Rouillier combo. At least in our coaches' mind.

 

I too believe nagging injuries are a problem for our OL, Williams and Moses' knee are starting to feel it. And I'm wondering if that doesn't play a huge part on our OL being a liability against stunts. Christian was drafted to be groomed and replace either one (most likely Moses), though I still think he is a long shot to reach their level of play.

 

Which brings me to... OL depth. We're freaking thin at this spot. Dunn, Bergstrom, NSheke and Christian. Not exactly world beaters.NSheke got some playing time this year to replace Trent, but he was not exactly good in this small sample. So it'll be a problem anytime soon as I doubt Moses and Williams will end the season healthy.

 

Now, considering we're talking OL, I believe we have to discuss Callahan as well. Guy is supposedly a genius when it comes to OL, but lately it's not showing on the field. Maybe he's spending too much time on his assistant HC job and less OL, letting our guys in the hands of Phil Rauscher, I don't know. But if that's the case I would suggest him to start focusing again on our 5 guys upfront, because I don't see this thing evolving for the better.

 

I think our guys are going downwards right now, instead of upwards...

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Scherf has got to be playing hurt.  I've heard other local guys say that maybe Williams is too.  The lack of depth is the most concerning issue, IMO.

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Our OL hasn’t been good this year but Smith has zero pocket awareness and finesse. That makes the line look even worse.

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Seems to me that most of our pressure comes up the middle, and much of that is from twists/stunts.  It’s been a problem for us for some time which leads me to believe it’s largely due to coaching.  

 

Aside from coaching the heck out of it (having the defense run them frequently, watch for tells from upcoming opponents, etc.), I’d think you could do a couple different things from a game planning and play calling standpoint.  

 

1) leave your back (could be a fullback of course) in to protect, 2) keep a TE on the line, and 3) run more plays that get around this issue - bootlegs, roll outs, quick screens, shotgun, toss plays, etc.  

 

There is a whole lot I don’t know about football (including whether any of the above would actually work, lol), but I do know there are always counters.  

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You gotta be skeptical of the talent evaluators when you go into camp and think you're good, only to get a month into the season to see your "depth" really isnt depth at all when they have to get in the game.

 

Guys were getting cut at final cuts that were worth a tire kicking and we were like "nah, we're good".  I think they sometimes have too much faith in Callahan to coach 'em up, rather than just getting better people to work with.  

 

They should bring in OL on Tuesdays like they bring in WRs.  

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Our playcalling is predictable, Smith has poor pocket awareness, and the middle of our offensive line at LG and C has been poor, and we knew that going into the season.  I wouldnt lump the other 3 into that.

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I've been ****ing about our overrated O line for 3 years, when can we finally admit our last QB covered up a lot of deficiencies and we are average at best.

 

 

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Love this thread. It is so needed. This unit has been worse than I feared coming into the year and I was one of the ones banging the table for interior line help headed into this year's draft.

 

LT: Williams

He is still really good for now but as you said, he is getting old and oft injured. We need to plan for his decline now, not when it's too late. Plan: hold tight until drafted OT ready to take over (see plan for Moses below)

 

LG: Lauvao

Even when healthy, is merely JAG. And the dude is never healthy. I think his run blocking is better than his pass blocking. Regardless, this was where we really needed help coming into the season and we are just rolling steady with who we went with last year. Not good. Plan: draft LG in first three rounds in 2019

 

C Roullier 

Seems to be doing well, although as K Dawg mentioned, we are getting crushed on stunts up the middle. Not sure if that's on him or bad coaching/preparation. Plan: roll with Roullier

 

RG: Schreff

Best OL after Williams and young/relatively healthy. Plan: roll with Schreff

 

LT: Moses

I've been really disappointed with him this year and late last year. Not sure if he's regressing because he has been hurt or if he's just unreliable. Regardless, not sure we should just stand pat here. Plan: ideally draft OT in first round either in 2019 or 2020 - a total stud that will eventually take over for Williams but in the immediate time frame would replace Moses at RT. Geron Christian would then be groomed as the Nseke of the future (assuming his ceiling is that of serviceable replacement and not elite starting Tackle, hence the type casting)

 

Overall, I'm totally against trying to sign OL in FA other than as a backup since they are either washed up or way too expensive. These are the kinds of players we have to draft. If we want to sign starters off FA, prioritize WR. We can't seem to properly scout/draft WR anyways.

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How much of our bad line play and even worse running plays are we putting on the shoulders of our Oline coach?

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1 hour ago, justice98 said:

You gotta be skeptical of the talent evaluators when you go into camp and think you're good, only to get a month into the season to see your "depth" really isnt depth at all when they have to get in the game.

 

Guys were getting cut at final cuts that were worth a tire kicking and we were like "nah, we're good".  I think they sometimes have too much faith in Callahan to coach 'em up, rather than just getting better people to work with.  

 

They should bring in OL on Tuesdays like they bring in WRs.  

 

We started the offseason with only Kouandjio as a LG on the roster as Lauvao was a FA.

We cut Kouandjio from the 53 at the end of TC, so I believe our coaches and talent evaluators were aware he was not that good.

 

I'd rather blame FO for not getting anything better than Lauvao (thgough as Kdawg stated isn't as bad as many people think).

 

edit: and there's been viable options at time during offseason that we didn't even looked at.

 

Luke Joeckel G 26 SEA TBD -
Jeff Allen G 28 HOU TBD -
Richie Incognito G 35 BUF TBD -
John Jerry G 32 NYG TBD -
Zane Beadles G 31 SF TBD -
Jahri Evans G 35 GB TBD -
Joe Berger G 36 MIN TBD -
Jonathan Cooper G 28 SF TBD -
Allen Barbre G 34 DEN TBD -
Xavier Su'a-Filo G 27 TEN TBD -
Oday Aboushi G 27 OAK TBD -
Alex Boone G 31 ARI TBD -
Matt Tobin G 28 SF TBD -
Nico Siragusa G 24 BAL TBD -
Anthony Steen G 28 MIA TBD -
Donavan Clark G 25 LAC TBD -
David Yankey G 26 CAR TBD -
Chad Slade G 26 HOU TBD -
Chris Barker G 28 CLE TBD -
Dan France G 27 CAR TBD -
William Poehls G 26 JAC TBD -
Orlando Franklin G 30 WAS TBD -
Andrew Tiller G 28 NO TBD -
Jamar McGloster G 23 DET TBD -
Chris Scott G 31 NYG TBD -
Bryce Johnson G   DAL TBD -

 

Those are the available G right now. I'm sure some are worth a call.

Edited by Wildbunny

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The offensive line is not as elite as some think, that includes the fans and media.  The line started looking better under Kirk because of how atrocious RG3 was when he was in the pocket but I still never saw a consistent pocket or push from them. 

 

We will absolutely be a year or two late in transitioning away from Trent. It needs to be done. He is hobbled and also near the end of his career but we know this team does not have the ability to build for the future so they will wait till his legs fall off and we will be left standing there wondering what to do next.

 

Moses, yes not feeling him. Brandon is ok, but not the mauler he was made out to be. He just happens to be better than what we had prior to his arrival. The others, just guys.

 

Granted, you can’t have all pros at every position on the line, but this rag tag group is underwhelming. They are not awful, but I think we certainly need to upgrade.

 

 

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I don't think our issue this year is talent as much as it is communication. In both losses they seemed unable to pick up stunts. Anyone know who made the O-line calls in NO? Bergstrom? Rouliier? QB Smith?

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LT first round; guard second round-  cut Norman, Smith, trade Kerrigan=we will suck so we can draft that Qb from Alabama- and we get him we will have a solid O-line in front of him.  Next year CB and edge rusher as the first 2 picks and we might have a team in the future.

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Wonder if we have any interest in Erick Flowers. He’d probably have a better career if he say a bit and learned. 

 

Not it sure if he’s a tackle either. Maybe just maybe a developmental guard. 

 

Wishful thinking hey. 

 

Hail

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I guess the one thing that irks me about anytime there is a discussion about the OL, it revolves solely around pass pro. When it's been a worse run blocking unit forever. Even AP has to avoid people in the backfield on a constant basis, and I've seen so many of his big run start with him making 1 or 2 guys miss BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE. This unit has never run blocked well. And news flash, the only way we're going to win any game this year is to have a running game to lean on. Gone are the days of being able to throw our way to a win. We need to rush the ball for like 150+ a game to have any real chance of winning.

 

Also, Lauvao is a terrible guard when healthy. He was ranked 71st with a ranking of 37.9.

And he's hurt a lot. To think this guy is a answer to anything except "who's the worst starting guard in the league" is kidding themselves.

Edited by Morneblade
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It's interesting to look at how some teams distribute talent along their offensive line.  And maybe, there's a paradigm shift occurring where a lot of the teams with better o-lines are content with settling for a good LT and putting more effort into building the interior of their lines.  I've got to think that part of our problem with the run game is in no small part due to the performance of our LG and C.  

 

PFF ranking has us as the 8th best offensive line through 5 games:

 

Quote

Left Tackle: Trent Williams, 78.7
Left Guard: Chase Roullier, 57.8
Center: Ton Bergstrom, 55.1
Right Guard: Brandon Scherff, 75.3
Right Tackle: Morgan Moses, 70.5

 

https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-week-5-nfl-offensive-line-rankings

 

Every other line in the top ten of this list only has 1 player at most with a ranking in the 50's.  

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6 minutes ago, KDawg said:

PFF rankings mean literally zero.

 

Besides PFF rankings, I was hoping you'd opine on what you think our 1-2 year plan should be regarding the O Line. 

 

While you appear to be less "down" on our OL than I am, I think we both agree that it needs to be addressed in the offseason and beyond. 

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I don't know how anyone can look at this line as claim it's not a bad group.  Trent is not the problem and at 30 he is hardly near the end of the line, plenty of LTs are still good player well into their 30's.  i know this is not a popular thing to say about a 2 time pro bowler but I don't ever remember a game where they simply hitched their wagon to their pro bowl RG and he cleared the path to victory. He is good, very good perhaps, but he sure ain't great IMO.  

 

And those are our 2 top OL.  Moses is solid but hurt, the rest are average or below average and the depth as we knew going into the season was non-existant.  And that's on the team for putting this group together and thinking it was enough. Hell we've only had one big injury and the whole thing fell apart.

 

 

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Good news is, we should have 11 draft picks in 2019.  I will be shocked if we don't grab a Guard/Center prospect to groom, if not possibly start mid-way through the season.

 

Bad news for our o-line in 2018, we're missing 1 starting caliber player.  I thought Lauvao was mediocre in 2017, and continued to be so in Game 1 (Cardinals).  Then I thought he looked bad in Game 2 (Colts).  Games 3 and 4 he's been hurt.  When is he coming back, and even if it's soon, when will he pick up another minor injury?  The only backup G/C we have left is Casey Dunn, a UDFA.  Has anyone heard if the coaches view him more as a Guard or a Center?

 

The cupboard is bare along the interior o-line.  Even with Scherff regressing this season, we need him long term in part because there isn't any youth developing on the sideline.

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39 minutes ago, KDawg said:

PFF rankings mean literally zero.

 

Disagree.  If you're going to say that you literally need to know every player's assignment on every play I'd agree.  But if you're analyzing hundreds of plays for a given guy, the trend of whether they are winning/losing does tell a story about how good they are comparatively to other players at the same position.   And if that's the criteria you're sticking to, even coaches can't watch players of other teams and grade them either.   

 

Although we really don't need them to know that Trent and Schreff are our best linemen.  And that our LG and C positions are the weak link.  

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