Alrighty fellow ESers, I'll be doing the ES coverage up in the press box at FedEx for the next two preseason games with my main man @Spaceman Spiff taking awesome pics of the action as usual!
As I did last year, I'll be focusing on players (or in this case entire positions) that have intrigued us all offseason. I'll go through what I saw in the previous games and, as we journey through the preseason, who improved or regressed along the way.
And what has intrigued us all more than the Dline this offseason?
So, first, a quick primer as to how I've approached this. I've uploaded a bunch of videos I took of the Dline's snaps to twitter since that seems to be the easiest method to embed stuff here.
The videos I took are essentially snaps that I thought either had a clear win or a clear loss by any single Dlineman or more. I judged wins/losses more off of the initial movement generated, or ground given up, from the player so as to keep it as basic as possible and avoid schematic context. The snaps that occurred where neither a win nor a loss necessarily occurred (player did nothing impactful either way) were omitted in this count. However, that only happened on a few occasions, the majority of snaps held some intrigue for us.
At the end of this, I'm going to compile the number of wins and losses for each player, and then I'll continue to do this throughout the next two preseason games. Click on the videos to see the line of text detailing said wins/losses.
Shall we begin?
(Apologies for the small text size of the chart, wanted it to fit properly in a mobile format, as well)
Player Wins Losses Snaps Accounted For*
63 Brandon Banks 1 1 2
69 AJ Francis 7 1 8
72 Anthony Lanier 8 1 11
73 Ondre Pipkins 1 1 2
78 Joey Mbu 0 8 11
90 Ziggy Hood 0 3 6
92 Stacy McGee 5 2 7
95 Jonathan Allen 2 0 5
97 Terrell McClain 2 0 2
98 Matt Ioannidis 3 1 4
99 Phil Taylor 5 0 5
*Total snaps accounted for is just a tally of snaps where a win/loss occurred on the Dline, and not a total snap count. That being said, the number somewhat reflects total snap counts since the majority of snaps had a win/loss occur.
So what did I learn from this? Let's go down the list.
-Brandon Banks didn't play many snaps, only coming in towards the end of the game (along with Pipkins). So his competition was weak, as well. He had 1 (slight) win and 1 loss, while the 2 snaps accounted for were pretty much all that he did.
-AJ Francis had a great game, tallying 7 wins to only 1 loss. He played early on and often, but mostly after the Ravens' first-stringers came off the field. That was out of 11 snaps accounted for, so only 3 of those snaps were ones where he wasn't impactful either way (again, that doesn't include other snaps where no Dlineman won or loss, but it shouldn't be much more than that).
-Anthony Lanier also had an excellent game, tallying 8 wins and only 1 loss. His 1 loss came after a snap in which you could see he was clearly tired after the whistle, so it was almost expected. He played a lot, but like Francis came in after the 1st stringers for the Ravens went off the field. That was out of 11 snaps accounted for, so 3 of those snaps were ones that were neither negative nor positive along with those unaccounted for.
-Ondre Pipkins, as mentioned above, came into the game late with Banks and didn't have many snaps overall. Like Banks, he had 1 win and 1 loss, though his win was certainly a better one.
- Joey Mbu didn't perform well at all. It's surprising considering he opened up TC as the guy getting the most reps with the first team at NT and had a decent amount of buzz surrounding him all offseason. But you can totally see why he lost ground to both Taylor and Francis. He ended up with 8 losses and a whopping 0 wins out of the 11 snaps accounted for. He played a significant chunk of the game, but like Lanier and Francis it was mostly against the Ravens 2nd and 3rd teams.
- Ziggy Hood also had a poor game. 3 losses to 0 wins on 6 snaps accounted for. He played mostly against the first team of the Ravens. With Hood, there was a decent amount of snaps he played more than what was accounted for, but that only means he did nothing impactful (negative or positive) in any of them including the other 3 that were. Let's see how it goes the rest of the preseason, but overall he had more plays than not that neither were positive nor negative, and he had 3 clear losses.
- Stacy McGee had a solid outing, winning 5 snaps and losing on 2 out of the 7 snaps accounted for. He got a decent amount of time in against the first team, as well. His wins weren't necessarily big time ones, but he was a net positive overall
- Jonathan Allen was an interesting case. The consensus opinion was that he had a good game, and I agree with that to a degree, but his plays mostly came against the 2nd team of the Ravens. He got a decent amount of snaps against their first team, but those neither ended up as wins or losses. Either way, he had 2 wins and 0 losses overall on the 5 snaps I accounted for (so you can see he had a bunch of plays where he was more inconsequential than not). Not too shabby for his first outing as a pro, either way, and he got himself one of the better "wins" of the night with a sack. He shows great awareness for a rookie, as well, which is why he's always around the ball.
- Terrell McClain had a solid outing. Which was a surprise because after the game it seemed like most were down on him. He didn't play against the first team of the Ravens, but he finished with 2 wins and 0 losses on the 2 snaps I accounted for with him in. One of his wins was one of the better ones of the entire night.
- Matt Ioaniddis had a good outing, with 3 wins and 1 loss on the 4 snaps I accounted for with him in. He got a significant amount of reps against the first team Ravens as well as their 2nd team, and the good news is that 2 of his wins came against their first team.
- Finally, Phil Taylor came in with a solid performance. He mostly played against the first team of the Ravens and finished with 5 wins and 0 losses in the 5 snaps he was accounted for. 4 wins against their first team. We might just have a Nose Tackle ladies and gentlemen.
In summary, Hood and Mbu were the only two who clearly had bad games. Not enough for either Banks or Pipkins to go off on. The rest played really well, with Lanier and Francis having the two best individual performance (granted, against 2nd and 3rd stringers). I'm genuinely excited about the prospects of this Dline moving forward. Can't wait to continue focusing on them the next couple of weeks and finding out where they all go from here!