In the past few weeks, I've looked at Ben Grubbs and Carl Nicks as potential free agent candidates to help bolster the Redskins interior offensive line. Today I'm move to the position where every play starts, center. The most obvious fit for the Washington Redskins is Texans center Chris Myers. The 6'4", 289 pound Myers is an unrestricted free agent that the Texans would love to have back. But the Texans will have other priorities such as Arian Foster and Mario Williams with little cap room to work with. They also have to keep in mind that next year, they have a lot key guys they have to resign; quarterback Matt Schaub, left tackle Duane Brown and linebacker Conner Barwin just to name a few. So it remains to be seen just how much the Texans can afford to pay Myers. Myers will argue, rightly so, that he deserves to be paid among the top centers in the league, because he is just that. But the Texans can't afford to keep everyone and might feel that a center on the wrong side of 30 (31 September 15th) isn't their priority for this off-season.
Myers is an above average pass protector. Like most centers, he generally teams up with a guard to combo-block a big defensive tackle, while keeping his head on a swivel to look for other potential blitzers.
Myers starts this play by sliding right to help the right guard. But on this play the two inside rushers are going to run a stunt.
Myers sees that the left guard is struggling to maintain his block and slides back to his left to help.
Myers cuts off the lane inside and anchors against the Ravens defensive lineman.
He then takes on full responsibility for the block as the let guard peels off to cover the stunt. Myers maintains the block and quarterback T.J. Yates gets the throw off.
But when a defense sends five or more on a blitz, Myers has the ability to go one on one with the nose tackles of the league.
Here he's going up one on one with Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton, one of the best nose tackles in the league.
Hampton has a good 30-35 pounds on Myers, but Myers has great technique. He keeps his pad level low, sets a great anchor and stops Hampton from initially driving him back.
Myers battles for position with Hampton and manages to give quarterback Matt Schaub a clean pocket and all the time in the world to throw.
When Schaub eventually gets the throw off, Hampton is a good five yards away from him. Brilliant block by Myers.
Myers is equality adept in the screen game. He excels in getting out into space and finding a man to block.
The call is for a tight end screen, with the center and right tackle getting out in space to block for him.
As they initially sell the play-action, Myers has to block Hampton with the help of the right guard.
Myers disengages from the block, pushing Hampton to the ground as he does so.
Myers gets out into the open field and locates the immediate danger.
Myers makes the block and takes the man out of the play, allowing the tight end to run into space down field and pick up big yards.
This is Myers strongest point. Myers is brilliant at sealing off inside cut back lanes and getting to the second level to block down field. (Quick note, I watched the Steelers game to get a look at Myers and I could have used just about any play on the first drive for the Texans. It was a massive 11 play drive for a touchdown where Myers was a key blocker and hardly put a foot wrong.)
This is a standard zone stretch run to the right, something we see in our game plan every week. Myers is going to hook the nose tackle Chris Hoke to the outside and create a big cut back lane for Foster.
Myers gets his pad level under that of Hoke. This allows him to drive Hoke back and run him outside.
When Foster cuts back through the hole, you can see that Myers maintains his block to the whistle and completely takes the nose tackle out of the play. Generally, if you can take a nose tackle out of the play, you're going to get positive yards.
Now we'll flip back to the Ravens playoff game and another run in the red zone.
Here we see a stretch run to the left. Myers is going to help the left guard to block the ravens defensive end.
Myers takes a perfect angle an shows great technique to help drive back the defensive lineman. The right guard cuts off the rest of the defensive line to create a hole inside.
Foster gets to the line of scrimmage and has a huge hole to run into. Myers is still pushing the defensive lineman back to give Foster even more room.
Our final play here is a perfectly executed example of how a center gets to the second level in this scheme.
The Texans are stretch running to the right again here. Myers ultimately wants to get up onto the linebackers on the second level, but first he must help the right guard secure the initial block.
He gets a good punch on Steelers lineman Aaron Smith to help push him to the right.
Myers then gets off the initial block and gets up to the second level and blocks linebacker James Farrior, who is coming down to make the tackle on Foster. The block is angled perfectly, giving Foster a big cut back lane which he runs into and picks up nine yards on the play.
If Myers becomes available, the Redskins should absolutely jump on him the second free agency opens. It almost makes too much sense. He plays as a position of need for us, would be a huge upgrade, would allow Will Montgomery to drop to the bench and provide valuable, reliable and much needed depth; and to top it all off he is currently playing (at a pro bowl level) in the same offensive scheme in Houston that the Redskins run here in the nations capitol. The links between the Redskins and the Texans run deep. Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was Mike Shanahan's offensive coordinator back in his Denver Bronco days. Kubiak then hired Kyle Shanahan as a position coach, before promoting him to offensive coordinator with the Texans. Kyle is now the Redskins offensive coordinator and brought former Texans quarterback coach Matt LeFleur to D.C. with him. So why couldn't we extend the ties between the two teams even further by signing Myers?