Lets get off the much discussed topic of John Beck vs Rex Grossman, at least for a little bit (I'll potentially do a Beck breakdown later in the week). For me, the whole conversation is irrelevant because we knew coming into the season neither guy was going to lead us to glory, and neither guy was our franchise QB of the future that we've been desperately lacking for a good few years now. We entered the season with the offensive identity being a run-heavy team, that will control the clock and tire out defence's. The whole offence builds from that. We'll run stretch run plays left and right all day long, with the occasional play-action bootleg from it. That stems out to other play-action passes, and regular pass plays. But the base for all that to work is the run game and that is where our major problem lies right now.
Somewhat overshadowed from the QB situation yesterday, was Kory Lichtensteiger's injury. He's out for the season with an ACL/MCL injury. LT Trent Williams is likely to be out for a couple of weeks as well after leaving the game with a high ankle injury, and leaving the stadium with his foot in a boot. This is a HUGE blow for us. The stretch run to the left was our best run. I believe (without fully rechecking the stats) that we we're averaging around 5 yards a carry to left. We ran the ball just 14 times yesterday (including Beck's two runs) and I counted 5 of those plays we're to the left. Now granted, we lost Kory L early (in the first quarter) but we still had Trent Williams in the game at that point. The other big problem was that we ran hardly any stretch run plays, especially considering the Eagles run a "Wide 9" Dline that relies on LBs to come up and make plays. Lets have a look.
I'm very surprised we didn't run the stretch that often against this front. It begs us to us the TE to let the DE rush wide before trap blocking him and sealing him of; while the tackle can chip the defensive tackle to help the guard get a seal on him before getting to the second level against the LB, as we see here:
Obviously this is just in theory, but I would have thought we'd have seen it a lot more often, but instead, on the odd occasion we did run, it wasn't a stretch. Instead we saw things that we don't usually run, like pulling Guards and a power run game, which just isn't us.
Chris Chester is the pulling Guard here. It allows LT Sean Locklear to help Will Montgomery (now at LG) to block the DT. The point of a pulling guard is to strengthen one side of the line and run behind him with power.
But as you can see here, despite Chester pulling into the area, the Eagles wall it off and for Torain to make a play himself. Our traditional run game is all about the Oline doing their job and the RB staying disciplined by following what the Oline gives him. In this situation, Torain has nothing from the Oline and is forced to improvise, something our RB's aren't coached to do.
Torain actually has a little hole that he could potentiallycut through. But he gets caught up inside as Montgomery struggles to push the DT back and make room for him, and is eventually tackled for a 1 yard gain. Here's another unusual run for us, again by Torain and again up the middle.
On this play, we have the LT (Locklear), the Center (Erik Cook), and the RT (Jammal Brown) all ignoring the Dline to try and get to the second level and block the LBs. We leave 2 TE's, a FB and both Guards to block the Dline.
Both TE's actually do a decent job holding up the DE's considering they are TE's. But the two Guards both get blown up by the DT's. I talked earlier about the wide 9 formation. A key to the wide 9 is that both DT's are capable of bulldozing up the middle, making it hard for Guards to block them 1-on-1, and that happens here.
Chester recovers a little bit in that he manages to bring his guy to the ground with him, meaning he can't make the play. But it does close the area Torain has to run into. Montgomery is really struggling at LG to maintain his block. Also notice at the second level, Locklear misses his block on the LB.
In the end, a combination of the DT and the LB make the tackle on Torain, who has no chance to get anything out of the play.
This just isn't what our offence is about. It will be interesting to see what they do with the Oline without Kory L and Trent Williams. Brown has said he would move to LT while Williams is out, and its something we may want to consider, however Locklear has been getting all the back-up LT reps, and Brown hasn't practised at LT since he's been here. I wonder what happens at LG as well. Montgomery is so much better at Center, so do they keep him at C and promote someone else to LG, or just go with him at LG and Cook at C? How we overcome these Oline problems is what will make or break this team this season. The sooner we can get a rhythm between the Olineman going, and get back to running the stretch run, the better. Once that happens, then we can worry about what the QB is doing. Until then it doesn't matter if Beck or Grossman is at QB because the whole foundation of our offence isn't working. What do you guys think?